Get the developers at ArenaNet to really listen to the gamers so the best possible Guild Wars 2 can be created.
The Guild Wars Feedback Community has been designed to be THE definitive place for posting user feedback and suggestions for Guild Wars. There are many fundamental problems with current forums/wikis that make feedback difficult if not impossible, and the GWFC site was developed to alleviate all these issues.
The GWFC is not perfect quite yet, please understand that it's currently in beta. I hope that with some input from like minded individuals, this site can become a valuable resource for the developers at ArenaNet and folks who need a creative outlet.
If you're interested, please take a few moments of your time and visit the site. Create an account if you wish – everything is free, there is no spam, etc... there aren't even any advertisements on the site. Feel free to criticize (constructively or not), make suggestions of your own, or brow-beat me in any way you feel necessary. I've set up a topic for GWFC site feedback you can use, but feel free to write to me on my Wiki discussion page, or holler at me in-game (Broken Tree).
Vote abuse prevention
- In a public community with open registration there is always the possibility that people can break the system. There are a few things you can do with Grupthink:
- Integrate with an existing closed member database
- Using our remote authentication feature, you can connect your feedback community to an existing member database. Let's say you have customers who pay for subscriptions to an online service. You could connect your grupthink site to that database. This would allow your customers to skip registration and use their existing logins at your feedback community. Furthermore, your community could be restricted to only those active customers who are in good standing, preventing people from adding multiple accounts freely.
- In other words, if ArenaNet adopted the site, users could log in to the GWFC with their existing player username/passwords – thus eliminating almost all possibility of manipulating voting results. No other voting system that I can find (including Mediawiki extensions) has this potential. --Brokunn
- Create private groups for trusted members in you community, where you can discuss topics and allow users to report suspicious activity.
- In most cases, it will be obvious when someone has tried to distort results. Grupthink gives you and your staff the ability to take immediate corrective action. Grupthink also allows you to investigate user attributes so you can confidently lock or remove abusive accounts, and even ban IP's.
- Note: In cases where having a wide-open, public community is desirable, the threat of "point gaming" often doesn't outweigh the benefit of allowing fast, free registration and getting more minds involved. In fact, the larger the community, the harder it is to distort results. Abusive behavior will happen, but it doesn't have to rule your community management strategy.
- Export Data to Spreadsheets
- As an administrator, you will have access to exclusive reports designed to help you mine the rich data in your database. Currently, you can export full voting and answer reports into your spreadsheet program to run detailed, custom analysis of community participation.
- Administrators can view all submitted information on members (except encrypted data, such as passwords)
- Most communities will require a small amount of moderation to prevent abuse (e.g., spamming and harassment). Typically, even for communities with thousands of members, a single moderator can accomplish these tasks in just a few hours of participation each week.
- All content submissions on Grupthink (answers, topics, and comments) can be rated for quality (relevance, adult content, helpfulness, etc...). This system is completely separate from the answer voting mechanic, so it doesn't affect answers' positions. It is merely a way to encourage people to post the most helpful, creative, and compelling content, and hide abusive or irrelevant content.
- Special distinction is given (little icons currently) to content that rates highly, and content that rates too lowly is automatically hidden. The tolerance by which either of those effects happen can be customized by the Grupthink administrators. Moderators can also use the quality scores to quickly respond to bad contributions.
- In addition to that, we also reward people who get high ratings for their topics, answers, and comments. In fact those members who have highly ranked content will have a stronger affect on the quality score for a given item, once they rate it. Conversely, those whose content has been rated fairly low, overall, will have less "say". To be clear, though, the "weight" that each member carries does not apply to answer voting.
- You can create custom classes (eg, "Master") to distinguish members that have only the permissions you give them.
- For example, you could create a class called "Contributor" whose members can edit topics and answers, but cannot modify members or see the administrative panel.
- The best way to handle abuse is to remove it promptly. Your administrators (and any other members with the following elevated permissions) will be a able to:
- Lock members
- Remove members
- Ban IPs or IP ranges
- Edit or remove any content sumbitted to your community
- In communities with open registration enabled, there is no sure-fire way to keep a specific individual from re-registering under a separate email address. However, if the problematic user comes back, posing as a constructive member in your community, you've done your job!
- It is tempting to think that community members are more likely to become "mutinous" if they have a clearer means to communicate as a group. However, we believe that community members are most likely to become discontent when they feel like their voices aren't being heard.
- Grupthink improves the communication channel between you and your members. By overcoming the typical chaos of online discussion, Grupthink will help the opinions of your members become clearer. Because of this, you will be more equipped than ever to respond to member feedback directly, "once and for all".
- Furthermore, you and your members will be more able to distinguish between "vocal minorities" and "vocal majorities" based on reaction points.
- Grupthink provides many options to suit your privacy needs, whether you want a "walled garden" or an open forum. Here are a few options:
- Unregistered visitors will not be able to get past the login screen and self-registration is not allowed. As with public communties, you can invite thousands of users at a time via email, or through our single-click, "invite-via-URL" feature.
- Unregistered visitors and search engines can view your community and all public topics. You can still create private groups and private topics within a public community.
- Public Community with Integrated Logins
- Allow visitors and search engines to see public discussion in your community, but restrict membership to an existing database. If you have an existing member database, you can allow your customers to skip registration and use their existing logins at your feedback community, while disallowing visitor self-registration. You can create private groups and private topics within a public community.
- Private Community with Integrated Logins
- Allow visitors ans search engines to see public discussion in your community, but restrict membership to an existing database. If you have an existing member database, you can allow your customers to skip registration and use their existing logins at your feedback community, while disallowing visitor self-registration.
- You have many options to kick-start your community:
- Mass invitation by e-mail: Use our invitation tool import a list of email addresses and send our personalized invites to each recipient.
- "Single Click" Invite: Provide a unique link to each invitee which, when clicked, will instantly create the user account and can optionally take them to the Grupthink topic of your choice.
- Integrate with your existing community: Members of you existing community can use their existing logins and bypass registration altogether. Our remote authentication option allows you to sync a new Grupthink community with your existing community. Your existing community platform will always be authoritative in this case, and Grupthink will not store user passwords.
More than just a survey
- Grupthink is community-powered feedback, where your questions can become conversations. In it's most basic form, Grupthink can indeed be used as a survey tool. However, the capabilities of Grupthink go way beyond the limitations of surveys, because it is social. We believe that, although it is important to ask questions, some of the richest information can be found by listening to people talk to one another.
- Surveys are great...
- If you have the time to create a polished list of carefully-phrased questions
- If you know, in advance, all or most of the potential answers to questions.
- If you only need to see results for a single moment in time.
- If you have an audience that is receptive to surveys
- Grupthink is great...
- If you want to give your members a chance to interact with you and each other regarding their ideas and opinions.
- When you have a questions for which you don't know all the potential answers or don't want to risk biasing the results with your preconceptions.
- If you want a chance to address your members around a particular idea.
- If you don't always have time to build and manage surveys
- If you want to let your respondents rank their answers in order their importance, so you can see even richer results.
- If you want to demonstrate that your organization is open to all questions and ideas
- Why doesn't Grupthink use a simple "5-star" (or similar) voting system?
- There are a few reasons:
- By letting people create their own ranked lists of answers, new social possibilities for sharing those lists exist (click here for an example).
- The resolution of the voting data is much more rich. For example, you can make other comparisons when viewing reports such as "Among people who voted for an auction house, a level cap was almost always ranked below the option of being able to swim..."
- Ranking an answer just a few places above or below in your ballot can have significant impacts on the overall results, especially in small groups, . With simpler voting systems this fidelity can be lost.
I like to think that, on occasion, I have have a good idea. And when it's concerning something I'm very passionate about (like Guild Wars) I tend to go all-out. When Guild Wars 2 was announced back in March of 2007, I was very excited! Here was an opportunity to get some of the features I've really been wanting to see in an MMO integrated into one of my favorite games!
The question was, how could I get the developers to actually pay attention to any of my ideas? In my naivety, I began posting them on “Guild Wars 2 Suggestion” topics on several forums of popular GW community sites, only to realize that, as more and more suggestions were posted, my posts became buried. I never got the feedback I desired (were any of my ideas even good?), and I could only assume that ArenaNet would have a slim chance of coming across them in all the drivel and flaming that accompanies forum topics.
Disheartened, but not defeated, I decided that I (and many other creative minds) needed a place where they could post their ideas without them being buried... where other players could easily vote on them, and post suggestions of their own! Thus, I created a site called NikiWiki.
Unfortunately, either due to my requests for fansitedom going through the wrong channels, or a lack of understanding on ArenaNet's part (a history of that can be read here), NikiWiki never really took off. At around that time ArenaNet set up a “receptacle” for posting Guild Wars 2 suggestions here on the Guild Wars Wiki. But I saw this as only a tiny step up from posting in forums. How would ArenaNet be able to sort through all the "bad ideas" and find that ones that really matter to the players?
I continued my approach (very tactfully I might add) that ArenaNet use NikiWiki instead of their new wiki page, and even suggested that they at least implement something similar to NikiWiki... but my posts were ignored/removed. At that point, I had lost some of my drive. I kept maintaining NikiWiki for the folks who were happy using it, even moving it to a professional web hosting company when my little garage-based server died.
Then, by some freakish twist of fate, one of the owners of the web hosting company (Stephen) saw NikiWiki and contacted me. He had been developing a site called Grupthink to do exactly what I was trying to do with NikiWiki! In a nutshell, what Mediawiki does for categorizing documentation/information, Grupthink does for user feedback. With this new tool, I could really achieve my goal!
Though Grupthink was designed to meet a broader scope than just video game feedback, Stephen shared with me that his original inspiration was to develop a feedback community for Hitman. It was incredible meeting this kindred spirit, and my vigor was renewed. He kindly set up a Guild Wars Grupthink site for me at no cost, and now I'm trying to get the ball rolling at the Guild Wars Feedback Community.
I'm currently discussing the GWFC site with a group of Guild Wars Wiki users in the hopes that they'll see what an incredible tool this is for the task. If you have any thoughts, please feel free to post your thoughts on that discussion, or contact me here.