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Old 2013-07-21, 18:20   Link #1
Triple_R
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"Anything Goes" Threads (for Spoiler discussion in subforums)

The idea behind my proposal came from reading this post, and this reply to it.

I'm increasingly sympathetic to where Marcus H. is coming from there. Anime is increasingly one small part of a broader multi-media entertainment world for the modern otaku. So you get these big, broad, sprawling multi-media franchises like Raildex, Nanoha, and the Fate/Series. VNs become anime become light novel prequel become anime become spinoff magical girl manga become anime, and the whole thing becomes a giant multi-media mess where it can be increasingly hard to keep everything straight unless you're actually talking about everything put out by this particular IP.

At some point, these properties are obviously more for long-standing fans of the entire property, and not for people that just watch the anime portions of it. Even as someone who tends to just watch the anime portions of such properties, I definitely think that proper accommodation should be made for the diehard fans who take in the full multi-media experience. But as these properties grow and grow and grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to just splinter everything (original VN goes here, light novel prequel discussion goes there, VN sequel goes over here, magical girl spinoff manga goes over there, etc..., etc...).

So how can we accommodate fans of these properties while still enabling anime-only viewers to remain as spoiler-free as possible?

My suggestion - Anything Goes thread.


Every IP that has its own AS subforum, and is splintered in this Fate/Series, Nanoha, and Raildex sort of way, would get an "Anything Goes" thread. People can discuss every last nook and cranny - Every last little Sound Stage (ugh...) - everything connected to the IP - in said thread. This thread would be for the diehards of the diehards, and people who don't care about getting spoiled on a different part of the multi-media empire because they just want a spoiler to better understand the part of it that they care the most about.


Marcus H and friends are finally liberated. Anime-only viewers like myself can choose whether or not to risk spoiling ourselves on the broader Empire by posing a question in the "Anything Goes" thread. If we want to avoid spoilers at all costs, we can (just don't go into the "Anything Goes" thread). An "Anything Goes" thread would also hopefully lead such cross-media discussion away from anime-only threads (like episode threads).

So, what do people think?
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Old 2013-07-21, 18:38   Link #2
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I think this is a very good idea. Nice thinking, my son.
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Old 2013-07-21, 22:18   Link #3
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"My son"? He's 32. You're 25. Shit, he was making macaroni art while you were still in your mama's womb!
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Old 2013-07-21, 22:23   Link #4
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"My son"? He's 32. You're 25.
Not a problem. You underestimate just how skilled a doctor I am, Urzu. That's all I shall say for now.
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Old 2013-07-21, 23:38   Link #5
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The source material thread can already house any relevant discussion of any of the adaptations of said source.

But besides that, this proposal would accomplish two things:

1. People who could have made valuable contributions to one of the topical threads may now siphon it off to this catch-all thread, fracturing the discussion. Similar points may be raised by different people in multiple threads, resulting in pressure to cross-link and cross-post so as to not repeat one's self, and generally just making things more of a mess than it already is. This breaks our general forum principle of "one topic, one thread".

2. People who don't have valuable contributions to make but just want to discuss "stuff" related to the franchise without worrying about what's "on-topic" will use this thread as an all-purpose chatroom, and this will result in the threads being bloated, meandering and generally devoid of purpose. In these bloated threads, people don't bother to read back, so the same topics end up coming up over and over causing frustration among regulars.

Interesting and relevant conversations hidden in this catch-all thread would become difficult to find as it'll be buried between a mess of other unrelated topics and randomness. It is essentially just an on-going franchise chat thread. Isn't this the role we currently relegate to Social Groups?

A key benefit of a sub-forum is to split the discussion into several topics, helping people more quickly locate the sub-topic they're interesting in discussion. An "Anything Goes" thread seems like the complete antithesis to this objective. This is a reactive solution to appease a complaint (like a workaround), but not an actual design solution to the core conceptual problem. In the end, it seems to only make things conceptually worse by mixing metaphors and violating current design principles.
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Old 2013-07-22, 00:31   Link #6
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Most of these "topical threads" you've created for Railgun because of short off-topic tangents went nowhere, however, and ended up deleted because their creation was utterly pointless. That the Accelerator thread you made managed to take off was a one-in-a-million chance, and now you've created a thread just to permanently lock it, making the whole action look absurd. All such an action is going to do is clutter up the forum and make it more difficult to find relevant threads. You're not doing yourself any favors, whereas an "Anything Goes" type of thread would last longer and be more useful in the long run.
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Old 2013-07-22, 00:44   Link #7
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They don't have to "go anywhere"; the point is to group the topic into a single thread.

And what would you have me do with that locked tangent? It's a common habit to split and lock off-topic tangents on many forums because people don't like seeing their posts deleted. And I get a lot of grief for deleting posts already. We recently had feedback that people didn't like it when their posts "disappeared". And then, when I decide "okay, I won't delete the posts that people put effort in, instead I'll create another thread for posterity", I get grief because now I'm apparently cluttering up the sub-forum with pointless threads. Meanwhile, I have other people telling me they find the sub-forums boring because there's nothing but pre-templated threads, and people arguing that sub-forums would be better off if we just allowed free thread creation (even though a lot of those threads would be redundant, cyclic and pointless). But whenever a non pre-templated thread is created that doesn't take off, people say "their creation was utterly pointless". And an "Anything Goes" thread is better just because it would "last longer and be more useful" even though it's just an excuse for an off-topic chatroom (which we otherwise forbid)?

*shrug*

Because everyone thinks everything would be perfect if only the mods did things the way they would do things. Except everyone has a different opinion about how they'd do things, and most of those opinions conflict. This is impossible.

I'm just doing the best I can, along with the rest of the staff. I'm willing to listen to constructive suggestions, but if it really isn't good enough, you're welcome to leave and find (or build) a website that organizes discussion the way you'd like to see it done. Because I just don't see this one perfect way that I'm just too stupid to realize is Right; it's only a mountain of trade-offs. And any time I try to move in any way to respond to criticism from any side, I just get people yelling at me that I'm doing it wrong. And people wonder why this site is so slow to change.
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Old 2013-07-22, 00:57   Link #8
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The issue with the "deleting posts" was unrelated to moving shit out of a thread and into another new thread. First of all, how "spoilers" are handled are still problematic. There are times where spoilers can be remedied by just keeping it under spoiler tags, while there are instances where moving a thread of discussion to a more appropriate thread.

What happens instead? Said thread of discussion is deleted while another thread of discussion (which is started by a rather obvious troll, take note) was given its own thread, albeit locked.

I feel that there are several wrong decisions made that made this issue a lot bigger than it should be. And unless someone has it pointed out, those mistakes will continue to be committed, contributing to more chaos, not only in the Nanoha and Index/Railgun forums, but in other large franchises as well.
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Old 2013-07-22, 00:59   Link #9
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Good job Triple; I think this will allow more freedom of movement and people won't have to worry about that kind of stuff anymore. Sometimes it's just really hard to find an appropriate place for discussion.
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Old 2013-07-22, 01:40   Link #10
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I personally find To Aru forums difficult to maneuver in terms of spoiler discussion. I've watched all the To Aru series, and I agree that handling spoiler has remained problematic in the Railgun S forum. I'm not familiar with the source material and an anime-only viewer, but I still know the story Railgun S is retelling because of To Aru Index anime. At the same time, I need to be mindful of people (however in the minority they are) who have just started with To Aru series via the Railgun S. Hence, the Spoiler Policy is still valid.... and in turn, tangent discussion may become problematic in anime-only threads such as the Episode discussion thread.

Now if I continue thinking in those lines, I fail to understand how such thread like Anything Goes remedy anything considering this particular discussion stemmed from the event of episode 15 Railgun S thread before it took off. The idea is intriguing and probably worth trying considering how more and more franchise likes to go back and forth with particular events and stories. But I still don't understand how such thread will remedy the spoiler related chaos these franchises are creating. I know some sub-forums have all-out spoiler discussion under the title "Experienced Viewers/Novel Readers" etc which is open to everyone with a mouse-click at their disposal..... so is this thread supposed to accommodate similar sort of discussion in same fashion? Help me understand this better.
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Old 2013-07-22, 01:54   Link #11
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It's a thread for anything relating to the franchise in question. The faithfulness of the adaptation, character relations, cinematography, anything that could theoretically crop up during an episode thread and go on a short tangent as people discuss it. Not segmented into spoiler-restricted threads where even mentioning the slightest inconsequential detail can get you banned, or some overly-specific meta topic that crops up because someone is overly critical about one aspect of the overall show.

As opposed to the recent practice, which is to take every tiny tangent and shove it into its own thread for us to watch it die because the overall topic was not enough for some lasting, 200-page discussion. Railgun in particular has had at least four of those kinds of threads now, only one of which survived for any meaningful discussion. One of the dead threads was a discussion on the design change of specific characters compared to the Index anime. It lasted five pages. Another was a discussion concerning the protagonist's morality concerning the main plot. It lasted two pages. And if this practice continues on, where every tiny little tangent gets ripped out into its own thread in every ongoing anime... what's the point?
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Old 2013-07-22, 02:06   Link #12
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The problem with such a thread is that chances are, it will degenerate into a chat thread with pointless posts (I can't call them digressions / off-tangents since 'anything goes' ) or even flame-wars increasing the work for the mods. Moreover, even for people who are already well-informed of all the source content, it'd be tiring to sift through pages of posts that hold no interest to me just to find the stuff I want to talk about or contribute to. I've already experienced that many times in some of the less modded thread (in LN & Manga forum) and other forums. I mean, the point about segmenting topics is so that I only read the stuff I want to read.
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Old 2013-07-22, 02:56   Link #13
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We do already have existing template threads for this problem. I don't believe they are in Railgun/Index because of their age (and prior to this, lack of need), but they do exist in new subforums, such as Sword Art Online. The use of these would likely be satisfactory in providing threads for more experienced viewers to talk.

As for an "anything goes" megathread....not a fan of the idea, personally. The whole point of a subforum is not to shove everything into one thread.
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Old 2013-07-22, 03:02   Link #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rising Dragon View Post
It's a thread for anything relating to the franchise in question. The faithfulness of the adaptation, character relations, cinematography, anything that could theoretically crop up during an episode thread and go on a short tangent as people discuss it. Not segmented into spoiler-restricted threads where even mentioning the slightest inconsequential detail can get you banned, or some overly-specific meta topic that crops up because someone is overly critical about one aspect of the overall show.
Gotcha! That's much clear. I got one more question, (more like an observation)..... how does it focus any discussion when the purpose of such thread is to pile em' up in one giant-thread? The post count will accumulate, sure, but more often than not the discussion won't be picked up from where it left off. Instead of a cluttered forums, we now have a cluttered thread that has all kind of topic of discussion. News Stories thread in the General Chat section is a perfect example of what I'm trying to point out. The other issue raised with these individual thread seems to be the attempt to enforce a spoiler-free atmosphere in those spin-off discussion, but that can be remedied easily by keeping such tangent-thread open to everyone, anime-only viewers and experienced ones alike.

While I am starting to understand the frustration you and Marcus H expressed, from a moderators perspective a new thread makes more sense for a new discussion rather than just move them into a single thread every time a discussion spawn of an episode thread, especially when such series has its own forum. The various reasons behind that logic can be summed up in one idea that the forum belongs to everyone and with many many different perspective and opinion. How to accommodate all these opinions and ideas without stepping on too many toes is the line moderators are constantly walking. Hence, Relentless's frustration above. We know we won't ever be able to cater to the way each person would want to see a discussion progress and grow, so the next best thing is to come up with a compromise where a consensus by majority might be reached. It's all guess work and it's a very thin line to walk on.... and we are always tripping, but guys like Relentless are genuinely trying to make this forum accessible to everyone while attempting to keep away the trolls and the flames and everything in between so it doesn't add to a negative experience to a forum discussion for most. It's a noble goal, but at times a mod just can't help but wonder if it is all worth the trouble, especially when the feedback are so testy.....

Bare with us, please!

Anyway, I still would like to try out this idea for a thread topic though with different thread title than the suggested one. The current one seems to tell the future trolls it's okay to post whatever in such thread. A good opening post would be nice too, something along the line of what I've quoted in your post. Feel free to pm/vm me or just post it in here.
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Old 2013-07-22, 03:12   Link #15
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I spent the better part of the last hour writing this, so I'm going to post it, but maybe it's better to just let the discussion continue from monir's post. I am admittedly frustrated because I've been trying damn hard to come up with a solution to the Railgun spoiler/off-topic problems (and many other criticisms people have about sub-forums and Index/Railgun sub-forums in particular) that will please as many people as I possibly can, and I feel like every time I try to do anything I get met with "fuck you, you're doing it wrong".

TL;DR…
 
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Old 2013-07-22, 03:27   Link #16
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^ case in point about opinions. I'm a bit hesitant about the idea, monir seems interesting in trying something (he's quite the mad scientist), and relentless is tsun with a dash of dere.

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Old 2013-07-22, 03:49   Link #17
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Originally Posted by Solace View Post
^ case in point about opinions. I'm a bit hesitant about the idea, monir seems interesting in trying something (he's quite the mad scientist), and relentless is tsun with a dash of dere.
I like to think this post describes the way you three are in the bedroom, too.

I remember that one of the reasons given for the retraction of the old spoiler policy ('anything goes so long as the spoiler is properly tagged') was that spoilers often weren't properly labeled, or even labeled at all. If the Spoiler Policy is revised, it might help to require a label, a label that conforms to a certain character length. Kind of like how posts have to be at least 10 characters, let's say that spoiler labels have to be a good 20 or 30 characters. Let's say that at the present, spoilers can be divided into three categories (properly labeled spoilers, mislabeled spoilers, non-labeled spoilers), with one category ideal and the other two damaging. Requiring a label would reduce the categories to just two (properly labeled spoilers and those that aren't labeled as clearly), with the number of 'spoilers gone bad' categories cut down from two to one, reducing the overall number of bad spoilers.

I'm not sure if that would require any special programming, of course, and I don't have any fully-realized ideas for a revised spoiler policy on the whole. Just throwing a random idea out there in the hopes that it might come in handy somehow.
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Old 2013-07-22, 05:04   Link #18
Solace
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I like to think this post describes the way you three are in the bedroom, too.
Well, you do have a unique mind.

Anyway.

There is a system that forces you to put something in the spoiler line (if you try to use the spoiler features without tagging, it doesn't work). It's just that people will use the word spoiler, or some other generic label. As a result, tags become unreliable and eventually everyone is using spoiler tags just so that they aren't the odd one out and earning the angry eye of the mods. When people are using spoiler tags on entire posts, for an entire discussion, something is wrong.

There might be a programming solution to this, but human behavior isn't so simple to handle.

What the gist of the spoiler policy is really all about is basic common sense, respect, and tact. Yes, we're all well aware that certain people know more than others. We know this because episodes air at different times at different places, that episodes aren't always translated immediately after airing, that they're based on source materials that may or may not sync perfectly with the flow of events in the adaptation, and so on.

What the policy is asking for is, essentially, restraint and mindfulness. It's not purely designed so that anime only viewers have a spoiler free experience. It is designed so that people aren't just blurting out whatever shit they feel like discussing simply because they have information others may or may not. We work hard to please as many different groups as possible. We know it's not an attainable goal, but to not try means allowing the forum to devolve into "anything goes".

We ask people not to divulge future events based on source materials, either directly or through hints, in adaptation discussion. In particular, we heavily restrict it in episode discussion and in megathreads. In subforums, we create spin off threads to help offer a place for those ahead to discuss/compare, and typically take a hands off approach to spoilers in source threads provided they aren't disruptive to the community discussing it.

We restrict open thread creation in subforums because it was a disaster when it wasn't restricted, quite frankly. However it seems like it is often too difficult for people to request a topic they think would be interesting to discuss, and they would rather post in whatever place they feel like. There's also a segment of people who don't really like subforums, because they'd rather just post in one thread rather than discuss in multiple ones. Nevermind that one of the reasons subforums exist is because of the other side of the complaint - that megathreads are too hard to follow.

It's never a win win. Compromises have to be made. We compromise by trying to provide space for all discussion and feedback, as reasonably as possible. We expect the community to compromise by having restraint in discussion, both in terms of general rules like not trolling, but also in discussing spoilers while knowing that adaptations draw in a large crowd that has not experienced some or all of the source material for whatever reason.

That said, in this particular case, we can offer some existing template threads which would cater toward more experienced viewers, like "Episode comparisons to source material", and "Spoilers and speculations for experienced viewers". The entire point of subforums is to give room to series which need it. This sometimes means some threads will get a lot of posts, and some will not. But at least they exist and can be noticed instead of fading into obscurity or overwhelming the original thread topic.

What is ultimately at stake here is that people have to be more willing to work within the existing framework. No forum should feel intimidating for someone new to join in, regardless of their level of knowledge. While we offer havens for those who are spoilered and those who wish to remain spoiler free, we are not interested in splitting any community into two separate entities. Community is about dealing with people and learning to compromise. I know that's difficult for some, since people hate branching out of their comfort zones, but do try.

Something I will add to this discussion is that the forum is slowly pushing into new territory. We were formed as a place to discuss anime first and foremost. Stuff like manga, or novels, were not that popular and were mostly curiosities since a lot of it was untranslated. "Massive franchise" had far more relevance to the Japanese than it did to English audiences, and even then it was usually reserved for something like Gundam.

Fast forward almost a decade, and things have changed a lot. Anime are now part of bigger media projects, there is far more awareness of the whole thing, and translations are free flowing for everything even before an anime is announced. As a result the forum has changed too. Anime is still dominant, but manga/novel discussion has boomed, and that's primarily where a lot of anime get adapted from anyway, so the audiences mix in a way not seen before.

Where once most people on this forum couldn't understand any Japanese, and not many manga or novels were translated, most of us went into anime with a fresh pair of eyes and nothing to spoil us. That number is now far less (thanks to the glut of translated materials), but still prominent, but people are now more informed about the source material than ever before. Times have changed, just look at the translation scene itself for evidence of that.

We've had to adapt. We're still adapting. And in that adapting, there are growing pains about how to make the best of these changes in the community. Please understand that.
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Old 2013-07-22, 06:48   Link #19
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A few points I want to raise in defense of my idea...

1) For properties with ongoing anime shows, the episode threads will still remain the primary locus of posting activities, I think. I do think that Anime Suki and its moderating staff has done a very good job of making it clear that anime comes first on this site, hence attracting people like myself who are first and foremost anime fans. It's been my experience that "Source Material" fans often like hearing what "Anime Only" viewers think of the anime adaptation. Taking all of this together, the anime side of things will remain dominant in subforums where there is an actual ongoing anime to talk about. This will be true even if there is an Anything Goes thread.

2) My idea wouldn't apply to every anime suki subforum. In fact, it probably wouldn't apply to most of them. A lot of popular anime titles don't become these massive multi-media empires. But some do. And naturally this creates "franchise fans", people that are passionate about the entire franchise. Franchise fans like having a place where they can talk about the entire franchise. In some cases, this is necessary simply to piece together the full canon (as is the case with Nanoha, for example).

3) My suggested Anything Goes thread would not nullify existing splinter threads. So, if all you want to talk about is a specific portion of the multi-media empire - The magical girl manga spinoff, say - Then there will remain a thread for just that. It still has a splinter thread for it. The way I imagine it, the Anything Goes thread would function primarily for cross-media comparisons and "scorecard" work. By scorecard work, I mean keeping canon and continuity straight. On the whole, Rising Dragon pretty much nails what I'm aiming for with an "Anything Goes" thread.


I think it's very clear that this is the zeitgeist in the otaku world right now. Particular properties take off like a rocket, and they have anime TV shows, manga spin-offs, VN source material, VN sequels, anime movies, seemingly endless Sound Stages, multiple anime chains (ex. Railgun and Index), light novel prequels, and/or some large combination thereof. And a lot of these individual offerings reference other ones within the same IP franchise, meaning that full understanding of a particular individual offering might depend on knowing something about another offering in the same IP franchise. So not having a place where fans can discuss all of it at once really can serve to nerf discussion for the overwhelming majority of this IP Franchise's fans.

In fairness, I can see potential downsides to my proposal. But like Monir, I do think it's probably worth a shot. Why not test it out in the To Aru Kagaku no Railgun subforum? See how it goes there. If it causes more problems than it solves, then you can later scrap it. But if it works there, you could then try it out in Fate/Series and Nanoha. If it works for all three, then you might have a good way for resolving these spoiler issues for large multi-media empire-style anime properties.
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Old 2013-07-22, 12:08   Link #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
2) My idea wouldn't apply to every anime suki subforum. In fact, it probably wouldn't apply to most of them. A lot of popular anime titles don't become these massive multi-media empires. But some do. And naturally this creates "franchise fans", people that are passionate about the entire franchise. Franchise fans like having a place where they can talk about the entire franchise. In some cases, this is necessary simply to piece together the full canon (as is the case with Nanoha, for example).
This point I think is critical. There's a huge difference between a single anime series such as say Anohana as opposed to franchises that span multiple series such as the Fate/ series. Treating them the same would be like fitting a round peg in a square hole. There will be trouble, and there is trouble. Otherwise you and others would have never said anything.
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