Mouktouk (User)

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"Greetings from France !"

The N4G decadence

Mouktouk | 389d ago
User blog

Usually, I don't comment much on N4G nor do I write blog posts (this is even my very first time), for two reasons: first, I'm not a native English-speaker (I'm French), so the longer are my comments, the more I'm susceptible of doing vocabulary or grammatical mistakes. So if you read this blog post and find out any kind of mistakes, please apologize me beforehand. I will do my best to keep this blog post understandable, you have my words.

The second reason is N4G's bubble system. Not that this system is right or wrong, bust most people on N4G abuse of it. Simply because one does not have the same opinion as another, the other can get pretty quickly upset and "punish" this opinion difference popping his bubbles. And with the PS4 and the Xbox One coming, discussions on N4G can be pretty hot pretty quickly, and popping bubbles can be very distracting.

But disregard that, I still felt the need to write this blog post, because I'm noticing N4G's content quality is going quite downhill.

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I browse and use N4G since 2007, I even used to be a pretty active contributor. Not a top notch contributor, but when I had the occasion, I posted some news, mostly from Gamasutra and indie websites. I remember when N4G's comment section was separated in two categories, a "barely normal" section, and a "obvious trolls" one. I remember HipHopGamer's Show, how he used ridiculous flamebait titles in order to get attention, and how people felt how degrading it was for N4G's content quality. I remember when people were considering Surfer Girl as an actual source of trusty rumors. I remember intense discussions because some people were posting cosplay articles, some people argued how was it newsworthy and how other people didn't see what was wrong as it was video game related.

I stopped using N4G few weeks after its design change, simply because I was feeling that content quality was going downhill, but as you can see I'm back after a bunch of months / years, because disregard that lack of quality, N4G was still the best place to get video game news. And I'm here today, writing my blog post and hoping there are people out there seeing what I'm seeing. How since a bunch of months N4G's content quality got much worse.

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The main reason is the Next Gen debacle. For years, Playstation fans have been mocked by Xbox fans because the Playstation 3 was expensive, had no games and got poor multiplatform ports. In my opinion, it is pretty stupid to swear allegiance to one console manufacturer. I mean, I'm a gamer, I want to play games, so why would I close my mind to a single console to enjoy games? Wouldn't it be more rewarding to open up your heart and your mind to all the platforms so you can as much enjoy Gears of War as Uncharted, as Starcraft, as Super Mario? But whatever, fanboys exist since ages and today's fanboys are mostly the same as yesterday's.

But with the PS4 and Xbox One announcement, things changed dramatically in the fanboy community. We are now in a situation where Sony are under a good light thanks to Microsoft's mistakes with the Xbox One announcement and mindset. And of course this totally changed the tendency of the fanboy war, which you can pretty much feel in N4G's comment section, but not just that.

There are multiple websites that profit of this active fanboy community to submit tons of flamebait articles, spec comparisons, game comparisons, fud articles, intangible rumors, etc... The Next Gen hasn't started yet but you can still feel a rampant poisonous atmosphere on N4G, feeded by fanboys wars, and they get even stronger thanks to those click-hungry sites that take no consideration to journalism quality and post non-stop cr@p just for the sake of click hits.

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The other reason I feel N4G's content quality is going downhill is the exact same reason why I left N4G for a while: the lack of content quality supervising and the lack of sanction for those who do not care much about the quality of what they submit on N4G.

Back then, N4G members who wanted to be contributors had to read and respect N4G's contributor rules and were tested with a quick quizz to verify members understand those rules (and filter those who were stupid enough to not be able to lie). This didn't stop people to post crap articles or outdated reviews. There were even N4g members that opened blogs on Wordpress so they can write their opinions on this or that, and submit it on N4G to satisfy their ego.

Today, I see the system is even simpler, as you don't even need to correctly answer few questions in order to check if you're a "valuable" contributor. Now, you just need to click, click, click, click and voilà, you're a contributor. What do we have now on N4G? You have duplicate stories everywhere, sometimes from stories that are a week old, you have Kotaku-like garbage, you have "OMG look at that tweet!!" posts...

I mean, I can totally understand that Mr Yoshida is a respected person in the video game industry as he is the CEO of SCEWW, and unlike most of the persons in the industry, he doesn't feel that much under PR control, but is it really necessary to post a full N4G story because he posted "???" on his Twitter account? Do you seriously think it was newsworthy? Considering the circumstances (the Adam Sessler debacle about how he and his pals couldn't have a free debug PS4), it could be barely newsworthy if you put a minimum of journalism analyze, if you explain what it was all about and what the tweet of Mr Yoshida meant. But just don't post a story with barely three letters to read. Seriously.

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The tweet stories are just the tip of the iceberg, N4G is now more than ever a place where actual good news are flooded with garbage, opinion blog posts, preposterous rumors, tech analyzis from people that actually know nothing about tech and development, gif news (I mean, really? Judging a game with a gif, in 2013? What will it be for the post-PS4one generation, thumbnails? Midi sounds?), fud, flamebait articles... All that powered by blind fanboys and pointless console wars, sensationnalism in major video game websites, journalist wannabes, teh pixel comparisons, out-of-context quotes, click vampires,... and among all that decadence, a website that gives barely any interest to quality control: N4G.

Let's be honest: N4G didn't change. Back in 2007, there were already flamebait news, trolls, fanboys wars, garbage articles and contributors without any consideration for journalism quality. But not that much. Not in those proportions. And the Next Gen haven't started yet...

N4G could have been the video game equivalent of Reuters, but due to a real laxity in quality control and other community-wise factors, the site looks more like the video game equivalent of Fox News, and I can only feel sad about that. But don't get me wrong, there are still quality articles that are submitted on the site, they just are less and less apparent, more and more forgotten.

Thank your for reading. Hope you riked it.

cgoodno  +   389d ago
There is a ton of truth in this. At least truth based on my opinion.

My job here is not to write rules and demand "quality" per se so much as just to enforce the rules we have and do what I an to ensure that the system isn't being abused on one way or another. In fulfilling that task, it's hard to say that this site is what I and others may want out of it as there are still a lot of problems when it comes to how the news is presented and the type.

I'm not sure N4G will ever truly move away from the more "open" rules it has that allow certain abuse by sites looking for hits in one way or another or providing typically pointless news items. There could be an answer on the horizon, at least a potential for an answer. But, with what we have now, it just isn't going to happen.

I tend to find it hard to drag myself to discuss things on this site, though that is aided by my time spent moderating and communicating, due to the usual type of news. Sometimes I even find myself forcing it rather than wanting it.

But, this issue isn't just with N4G. IGN, NeoGAF, reddit, GameSpot, 1UP, Kotaku... the comments section rarely is in such a state that I want to get involved in a discussion with anyone.

In the end, I want my gaming news and I get most of it from N4G in one way or another. So, that's good, right?
darthv72  +   388d ago
i must say, this blog brings up a really good point. duplicate articles. i have seen so many that get reported but still make it through the ranks to the various pages.

i have to ask...why? Is it really a matter of points a contributor gets. has this site come down to he who submits and gets the most votes wins? i have submitted a few articles here and there and was never really interested in the points system.

i am more interested in real news not the new trend of a twitter feed is now proof positive of something or another. so what is the real reason there are so many duplicate stories being posted? why cant these dupes be listed as alternates instead?

I come to this site looking for new bits and pieces of information but as of late there has been nothing but incomplete and unfulfilled posts. Everyone is in a hurry to get the scoop on the next guy that they arent as inclined to present a good finished product.

the stories on this site are very much like the games of this gen. rushed to market and then updated after.
cgoodno  +   388d ago
Duplicates get in because it only requires 5 or so for most people to approve the submission. So, 5 people associated with a site or network and, voila, submission gets pushed through.

Much of what you say I agree with. But, as I say, it's not for me to make rules. It's for me to enforce the ones we have. Every time I flex those muscles I get tons of push back from people in the community and sometimes from other moderators. Not everyone has the same vision for this site. And, honestly, there are a ton of grey areas when you get into defining the good over the bad.

Example: Rumors from random people on the Internet or unnamed sources? They clutter the site, IMHO, and are rarely worth posting since they often only lead to tons of trolling and the like. So, I say don't allow them. But, that didn't work and now we have how many rumors a day over the same topic with the same trollish comments and absolutely no constructive conversation to be had? But, that didn't last long and now we're back to the rumor mill taking over many of the hot topics of the site. Many people thought they should be allowed because of "credible" sources or "it is news" and so they are.
Pintheshadows  +   388d ago
What happened to the supposed system change Cgoodno? I heard the reason that everyone got reset to 5 bublles was due to it being changed sometime after E3. Has that now been abandoned? Also, what ever did happen to the openzone. That was a great way of encouraging discussion within the community rather than infuriating nonsense every few comments.
cgoodno  +   388d ago
What I can say for now is that in the next version of N4G, there will be no bubble system. I can't comment on anything else at this time.
caseh  +   388d ago
With a response like that, you should consider going into politics. :D
HammadTheBeast  +   388d ago
Knowing that you're a mod, I'd say, just let it be. Things pass. Fanboy's will be fanboys. No amount of moderation will stop them, the current system (minus the bubbles, those get out of hand and need to be changed ASAP) works, and sometimes discussions are actually relevant.

The site is, and has been, biased towards certain people, simply because of the open nature of its submission system.
no_more_heroes  +   388d ago
"the comments section rarely is in such a state that I want to get involved in a discussion with anyone."

Pretty much my thoughts exactly. Most of the time I'm just browsing through the comments on each article for kicks.

It's like the Red Wedding on here...
Baka-akaB  +   389d ago
I'm just not convinced it has changed much . The table turned for console wars and popularity .. but that's it . For all the crap sites profiteering from dubious titles and rumors now , there were as many bad articles back then (and then as few quality articles or news reports ), they just usually came from the same old sources , such as the crappy Surfer Girl and HHG rumor mill sites .

If a change is needed , its in the way source site are rated , or the obvious lack of effect of rating them , despite numerous complaints and downvotes over the years for dubious gaming sites that should be blacklisted on sight .
-Gespenst-  +   388d ago
The bubble system, when used right, is done so only for trolling, spamming and offense. There are some elements who like to silence other opinions though. I've seen many, many comments which I've disagreed with, but I've never voted them down a bubble. It's sad because anyone I see whom I agree with usually has a paltry amount of bubbles, and those who I don't have almost the maximum amount. It's kind of telling. Now I know that doesn't mean those with less were voted down so much as it means those with more were voted up, but I can guarantee you a lot of opinions that go against the aggressive N4G majority have been voted down surreptitiously.

The disagree / agree system is also a little bit frustrating at times. It enables people to just pile up disagrees or agrees without actually articulating their reasons. I think a whole of lot of ignorance goes unseen because "agree" or "disagree" conceals it. I kind of feel like people should be forced to give a reason why they agreed or disagreed. I suppose that might clog up the comment sections, but perhaps your agree/disagree vote could be denied if you choose not to comment? It often happens that I see an outrageously wrong comment absolutely fortified with like dozens of likes. People see this and they perceive the comment as somehow "right," but what they don't realize is that most of those agrees come from confirmation bias and pure reaction, not any sort of real consideration. The amount of likes, when seen, in turn add to that illusory sense of self-assurance on the part of the individual commenter. It allows hundreds of people to affirm something without giving any justification for it, which really prevents any dialogue. Instead of really thinking about alternate opinions that are presented, they turn to the amount of agrees as some sort of validation. "Their comment has 100 agrees, so that person simply cannot be wrong, and anyone who disagrees are the ones who must be in the wrong" is kind of the attitude.

Don't even get me started on the fanboyism. It's actually gotten so out of hand. Such violent loyalty to corporations; as a culture it really makes me pessimistic for the future.
memots  +   388d ago
yup that loyalty (somehow) is spread not just on here but everywhere , You can't read any post or pretty much any site without seeing this fanboy nonsense being spewed all over the place.

Youtube, IGN , Facebook , Got any Simracing site i use to go too are now filled with Fanboy who think they are cool shitting on gt or forza.. God this is getting so bad.
kalkano  +   388d ago
I disagree with the agree/disagree argument. You don't always feel the need to say anything more than, "I agree", or "I disagree". I've even seen people click agree, and then also respond with a simple, "I agree". And I thought, what's the point? That's what the buttons are there for.

The bubbles, I understand. There is a consequence to bubble votes. There are no consequences to having 99999999999 disagrees. My only gripe is when people confuse the use of the two, and they downvote your bubbles, instead of simply disagreeing.
DestinyHeroDoomlord  +   388d ago
You know things have gone wrong when all the trolls and fanboys become a (or "The") community...
#4 (Edited 388d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
darkpower  +   388d ago
Go see how people responded the story about Rock Papers Shotgun no longer covering PAX after the reimerging of the "Dickwolves" controversy this year:

http://www.rockpapershotgun...

http://n4g.com/news/pen/135...

"Lame article discussing on something that has nothing to do with real gaming."

"This isn't gaming news"

"Has nothing to do with gaming."

No approvals to the story, either. A GAMING website talks about something that pertained to an expo that covered GAMES is not a GAMING story? Really? Unless they were trying to protect PAX's rep by burying any story that had to do with the controversy, which in that case, there's a bigger problem there (hell, that story got big on NeoGAF on its GAMING board).

And if I go to a mod about this, what do you think the reaction will be, knowing my rep with some people here? That I'm whining about a failed story again or something like that? I go to mods a LOT on this site, but that doesn't mean I whine. I want the site to succeed as much as any other person, but that doesn't mean we have to submit to stuff like this.

What happened to that story was disgusting, but it's all you really need to see to get how N4G is right now! Don't expect anything to change soon if people that use this site can't even connect dots that take straight lines to connect on stories like that! It's either blindness, ignorance, sheer stupidity, or a conspiracy. Either way, it's something that has to change, but I'm not holding my breath on expecting one.
LightofDarkness  +   388d ago
But that story had NOTHING TO DO WITH GAMING!

Where were the gifs detailing the differences between the PS4 and XBone versions of this supposed "PAX" game? Nobody cares about this stuff. Did you see Shu Yoshida's tweet about how he spelled "ass" in his alphabet cereal and then alluded to a games journalist being like his cereal? Now THAT'S news!

Yes, this site is very much going to hell as of late. Heck, even the most popular blog at the moment is about gaming journalists being entitled whiners, all because they criticized Sony's means of granting review access to PS4 hardware and games.

I'm not sure this site can sustain itself if they don't begin regulating things a little more. Eventually it will run itself into the ground, becoming a haven for only the rabid fanboys who won't even read the articles, just the headlines, and sites will stop trying to appeal to the N4G crowd.
DC RID3R  +   388d ago
Great blog!

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