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Posts with tag moderation

How the WoW community is about to push the self-destruct button

This post is going to be very meta in some regards, and it's going to touch on a few things that deal with the WoW community's very existence. We've written this article in hopes that it might help calm the waters, or at least bring some will on the part of the multitudes of individuals not to jump on the wrong bandwagon.

If you've been paying attention to the role forums and the "Ghostcrawler drama" this past week, you know what I'm talking about. If not, we'll begin with a brief rundown.

The Inherency of the Status Quo

WoW is designed and run by a team of people, with a handful of "leads" in position to direct the design of the game. These people, such as Ghostcrawler, are at the top of the ladder in terms of game development. They are the conglomerate of the entire design and development teams underneath them.

Ghostcrawler, and in the past a few people like him, post on the role forums daily in an effort to establish a dialogue with the community over some, but not all, game design principals.

The community, as expected, is more than happy to talk with Ghostcrawler and the rest of Blizzard.

The Harm of the Vocal Minority

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard

EpicAdvice.com lets you ask and answer Warcraft questions


Reader Jesta sent us a note about his new website. He's a big fan of Stack Overflow, which is a big Q&A/advice site for programmers -- you show up, ask your question, and then other folks who might or might not be working on the same problem post their answers, in moderated and organized threads for everyone to read. Jesta decided this same type of thing could work for our little game, so he put together EpicAdvice.com -- the idea is that you go there, leave a question about anything in the game, and then wait for your answer from other people browsing the site.

Stack Overflow actually has a little "badge" system where answerers can earn reputation points for answering questions correctly, and Jesta says that they're working on doing something similar for Epic Advice (though they'll probably have Achievements, as that's more Warcraft-y). But as of this writing, the site definitely needs more questions and answers, so if there's something bugging you about WoW (that our own Queue hasn't answered yet), or you consider yourself an expert and want to clear some things up, head over and give the site a look.

Filed under: Tips, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Quests, Classes, Forums, Fan art

Study: Playing in a guild actually lowers stress


A new study done by researchers at Australia's Queensland University of Technology says that spending time online playing World of Warcraft with others can actually be good for your mental wellbeing -- within moderation of course. Researcher Huon Longman studied WoW players who played alongside guildies in game, and found that players often shared their real-life concerns with their virtual associates, which resulted in lowered levels of "anxiety, depression, and stress." In short, it seems that when you build relationships and share emotions even with people online, it can help you deal with problems in real life as well. That follows what we talked about earlier this week with Dr. Hilarie Cash -- games like WoW can definitely complement real-life relationships and actually help you relax.

But only when used in moderation -- Longman also found that 10% of the sample he studied played considerably more World of Warcraft than normal, and that those players not only didn't experience a bigger benefit to their wellbeing, but actually experienced more "negative psychological symptoms." A good balance of virtual and real life can have a lot of benefits, but falling too much into virtual life can actually cause more problems psychologically, according to this researcher's work. Obviously, this is one study of many about how playing these games can affect how we think, but the results are definitely reflected in experience: in-game relationships, used in moderation, can definitely help you deal with the real world in a healthier way.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Guilds, Blizzard, Raiding

TagWoW shrinks your WoW URLs [Updated: NSFW]

There are already quite a few "shrink your URL" sites out there, from the famous TinyURL to my favorite, is.gd. But former Wowhead honcho Tim Sullivan has seen fit to add one more to the mix, and who knows, maybe the tiny bit of functionality it adds will be worth it. TagWoW will shrink your Warcraft-related URLs (well, it'll shrink anything, but it's meant for Warcraft stuff) into whatever tiny URL you want, and then it'll track the most popular pages on the homepage.

Sure, it's just another URL-shrinking site, but there is some usefulness to be found here -- Blizzard forum URLs, many guild websites, and talent builds on Wowhead and elsewhere all have gigantic URLs, and shrinking them down to a memorable phrase could be helpful. Not to mention that Tim tells us that they want to "heavily moderate" the service -- gold farmers, keystroke loggers, and phishing sites are supposed to be kicked right out of the system, so if you see a TagWoW link on the forums, you will hopefully always be able follow it without worrying about compromising your security.

Like I said, there's just enough functionality added here that it could end up being something big. Currently, there's apparently only a few URLs saved in the system (the site only went live last week), but you can probably expect things to pick up with our post here -- and hopefully we won't burn the site down. With the right URL submissions and, as Tim promises, some serious moderation to make everything trustworthy, TagWoW could be a nice service.

EDIT: Be advised that as of this writing one of the links on the front page of TagWoW leads to an adult site though it doesn't say so in the link description. Click the links on TagWoW at your own risk.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, News items, Making money

Forum post of the day: Where's my big brother

At one point in time Chuck Norris jokes dominated trade chat. Then it was the Murloc game. I'm sure we've all noticed that now it's the anal <insert spell> gibberish that now floods the channel. Dolce of Blackrock believes that it's time the Blizzard begin moderating trade channels during prime time. The chat channel can be turned off, but then it loses utility for valid messages such as selling enchants, transmutes, and well, general trade.

As a parent, Dolce continued his argument:

Wow has a very broad appeal and the average parent would look at the packaging of the World of Warcraft and assume that it is nothing more than a fantasy game where their son or daughter can play with their friends and have "adventures".
The average parent I imagine (and this is merely a broadstroke comment based on the huge playerbase), may not have any sort of familiairity with online games, and even to a certain degree, computers as a whole.
Asking parents (although I am extremely attentive to what my childrens activities are) to have an intimate knowledge of joining and exiting out of city channels is a bit extreme. Perhaps if there were parental controls that you could set ot make this easier...... /wink
In any event I would not be suprised to see some news anchor with some over the top expository on the lewd and profane content that is seen in WoW spun out of context in the near future.
I would say they would be killing a variety of birds with one stone if they simply moderated these popular channels.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Forum menus tweaked, cleaner and easier to browse


If you've visited the main page of the official forums lately, you'll notice that things are a little different -- they've replaced the simple links to class, realm, and battlegroup forums with a dynamic interface. All the forums that were there are still there, but the navigation to them is a little faster and less cluttered. It's not Flash or anything fancy, so it should work just fine across any number of widely used browsers.

Something like this was probably inevitable, considering how much Blizzard's WoW forums have been multiplying -- there's one for every release, event, and topic Blizzard can think of. And considering they have only so many people running them, it means the threads further off the beaten path, especially realm threads, can run rampant with forum violations.

Not that that's a problem -- what's in those threads can be pretty entertaining. But Blizzard moderates the forums for a reason, and the more threads they have, the harder time they'll have moderating them.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Forums

How much moderation do the forums need?



Before we even get started, I'm going to warn you now that some of the language behind the links in the next paragraph is not safe for work, so please be careful when you click.

Warcraftchicks.com argues that the official World of Warcraft forums need full time moderation. This is an issues that I am very divided about.

I generally fall under the 'say anything' school of free speech. If you know me personally you know that, while I'm capable of expressing myself without any vulgarities at all, I'm actually a fairly salty individual and when I talk I can be rather crude. Furthermore, I'm very comfortable with discussing topics that would probably nauseate or sicken a lot of people. I grew up on a farm and spent a lot of my time doing things that most people don't nowadays. One of my summer jobs every year was working in our slaughterhouse, and I spent almost every morning mucking out stalls. To this day, I can talk about these kinds of things while I eat. So I generally have a much higher threshold before anything really bothers me, my hot buttons tending to be overt racism or prejudice, and even then I usually just opt to avoid talking to the people spewing those kinds of things.

But clearly the examples SugarChick lists are, in addition to being insanely crude, horribly racist (especially the lists posted on Martin Luther King day that she mentions) and otherwise generally unfit for social discourse with strangers (which is, after all, what the forums ultimately are) have no purpose aside from trying to be offensive or shocking.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Forums

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Filed under: Odds and ends, Humor, Forums

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