Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A better way to communicate about miniature gaming?

In the beginning there where the forums, and then came the blogs...

If you are reading this, I'll assume you know how we communicate within the the 40K community and the miniature gaming community at large.  There are some advantages and disadvantages to how things are done.  The forums can cover broad topics and you can hear from multiple voices.  Unfortunately, everyone is of equal status and good information can get drowned out in all the noise.  Blogs provide a way to get information in nice concentrated voices, but tends to lead to mono-cultures dominated by the authoritarian voice of the authors.

Do you think that there might be a better way to build the community?  To help out people with questions about rules and the hobby?

If you are a software developer like me, you may be familiar with a website called Stack Overflow.  This is a question and answer formatted site used by many software developers.  If you need to know why your code is throwing a weird exception, or how to index a column in an Oracle  DB, it's a good first stop.

What makes stackoverflow different from a forum is that questions and answers get voted on.  The more votes you get, the better rep you get, and the more privileges you get on the site.  The rep also lets users know how much credibility you should give to others.  Higher rep user get to close down or protect question that are bad or troublesome.

Stackoverflow also favors facts over opinions.  They provide good guidelines for evaluating subjectivity versus objectivity.

Stackoverflow has branched out into a whole network of topics.  I've been on for about a month, and it's a blast to be involved in.  You get to help people out, and get some help yourself when you need it.  Plus gaining rep and badges gives you nice warm fuzzies.  The kind of nice warm fuzzies that gets people working towards the betterment of the community instead of always trying to tear it down.  Currently you win in a 40K forum or comment thread by beating the original poster up and yelling the loudest.  You win on a stackexchange site by asking good questions and providing useful answers.

The miniature gaming community could use something like this.  A place to help answer people's questions without the normal FAAC versus WAAC BS that erupts.  Where we can down-vote whoever comes along and adds nonconstructive drivel to a conversation.

Well, guess what?  Someone else thought the same thing, and has already made the proposal to the stackexchange network.

I think it would be really cool if we could get this going.  It needs 48 supporters and 40 up voted question proposals to move on to the next stage.  If you get in now, you can help shape what this website will eventually be.

Please pass this along, and lets try to make this happen!

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