How can we make this subreddit even better?: Suggestions for improving engagement and discussion.

I read

r/truegame for quite some time, and I’ve had a lot of discussion and reflection on the subject. If this subdit works, it really works. But there are many times when it doesn’t work. We’ve seen all the posts wind up on this topic…. so it can play its full part. Yes, it happens sometimes, but I think it happens more here than it should.

I have been thinking about some ways to improve the activity in this sub-law, however it is used. Many of the changes in attitude, some require a little more effort in terms of engagement – but all are designed to increase the quality and quantity of active contributions here. As always, these are just suggestions. That’s it:

1) Reconsider the lowest price.
2) Prepare discussion questions.
3) Avoid absolute language.
4) Steelman, if applicable.
5) Don’t limit yourself to the OP.

Proposal 1 : Reconsider the result.

This is probably the biggest mindset change we can make. When I’m browsing something new, I almost always find at least one thread that is 0 upvotes, which would be perfect for starting a good discussion. I click on it often and find 40% positive votes or very low value. Other positions may stay in single digits forever with only 53% of the vote or something.

A post with 0 karma is one of the most direct killers of Reddit discussions: few people see it, when people see it they are discouraged from participating (even if they are interested) because very few people see their comments and come back, and it tells the PO that your efforts were worthless and may cause them to abandon the post entirely. For a subreddit that expects posts with higher eforth and comment value, these effects are amplified.

Here’s an example from a few weeks ago (when I started thinking about writing this post). The PO wrote a good short description of what he was asking, gave some examples, and of course asked a clear discussion question. I was fascinated by the conversations and it made me think about the examples I saw.

He never went beyond 0 karma, and after a while the PO just deleted his post. I hope this didn’t cause them to leave the subreddit or stop posting in the future, because I liked their question and they made an effort.

Here’s what I propose: Do not use the bottom of the page to express your disagreement. Don’t use the bottom of the page to say you’re not interested. Reserve derogatory quotes for rude comments, incredibly low posts, or the same post you’ve seen thirty times this week. Don’t forget to increase voting rights not only based on agreement or interest, but also based on effort or ability.

Proposal for the implementation of the model series : Change the text in the summary to a positive/negative vote to encourage use for submissions rather than personal approval.

Proposal for Implementation of Mod (Strict) : Remove the down key.

Proposal 2 : Make discussion questions.

Another important point, especially for the posters here: Give readers something understandable to engage with. If someone reads your post and doesn’t know how to get involved, you’ll get more information about exactly what we should be discussing in the comments than actual involvement. Think about the explicit topics you want people to relate to – this will help them understand your arguments better, and makes access to the discussion immediately accessible. It’s a win-win situation. Even if you have an argument, you need to be able to articulate it clearly so that people will engage with it. Always give readers a clear opportunity to participate.

Proposal for the implementation of the model series : Include a clear thesis or discussion question or something similar in the rules.

Proposal 3 : Avoid absolute language.

That’s probably what kills my interest in the job or the comment the most. Please, Saint, try to avoid absolute language. There’s a reason why things like Mechanic X are terrible and have no traction whatsoever. Instead of saying that Game X is the best game of all time (the current post I remember), we should say that Game X does amazing things to make the .

I get it. We all have strong opinions here. I’m gonna go talk to the Final Fantasy II people. But think about what this absolute language really does:

  • This reduces the size of the discussion landscape. Instead of saying that Game Y also made great innovations that led to XYZ, some of which were better than X or Man, I never realized that Game X did all that. I was particularly impressed… that you attracted people with the most absolute statement. No, X was no good. Or yes, X was great. I liked it too. It’s much less interesting and leads to less engaging sub-discussions.
  • It focuses on an absolute statement. We’re all here as critical people who like to argue (this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone). But when we see fruit on hand, we tend to focus on that. It’s easy to argue the absolute claim, and you’ll see a lot of commentary focusing on that.
  • We get the impression that the PO doesn’t want to debate. This point is often overlooked by posters who use absolute language, but if someone writes a comment that relates to your position, it’s an investment. And if they don’t think it’s worth it, they’ll skip the job. If someone sees the position and thinks it is open to participation and discussion, it makes it easier to invest. If they see and interpret the message as something for which they only need approval or argumentation, they can simply avoid it. You don’t want to give the impression that you are too uptight and that the discussion is not worthwhile.

Avoid it if you can. It sets the initial tone for the entire post (or comment), and this first impression is very important. Express your contribution in a way that expresses a willingness to listen to disagreement or nuance.

Proposal 4 : Steelman, if you will.

The Wiktionary defines steelworker as (verb) Refuting a version of an argument that is stronger than the one given; correcting errors in an argument before refuting it.

In many ways, he is the exact opposite of a stooge. We’ve all seen posts that don’t ask a clear discussion question, where the central thesis is weak, where the examples are poor, where the OP uses absolute language, etc… but there is still an interesting nugget hidden in the general postulate. Feel free to sidestep any weakness and strengthen the discussion! Whether you present another thesis, provide a stronger example, or offer advice to the OP, we should try to do more.

I have seen many threads with a good idea, but a weak example where all the comments are about denigrating is the return to low fruit concepts. But I rarely saw anyone do it well, so X was a bad example…. But that said, the OP makes some sense with other examples. I’ve also seen it happen at the Y. It can be invaluable in generating discussion, and I’d love to see more of it.

Many of us here are new to this kind of engagement. A good argument needs practice! Formulating thoughts is clearly an art! A little kindness can go a long way.

Proposal 5 : Don’t limit yourself to the operating room.

This is very similar to point 4, but important enough to separate: They should not be limited by the actions of the OP. Instead of treating the item as a written document and arguing through the PO, change your mind so that this is the beginning of a possible discussion. This could go fast! (And I hope this is a hint for other suggestions!).

Is the OP close to the thought you had, but didn’t have time to meet? Commentary at the highest level! It can be more useful to explore a topic in more depth than to communicate it directly. I wasn’t able to ask discussion questions to the OP, but can you identify some? Then you must abandon them!

Don’t be afraid to take the first job and go somewhere else with it (if that makes sense).


Thanks for reading! I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this (and perhaps other suggestions)!

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By 2020, there will be a ton in the world of video games. Here are fifteen games waiting for you in the first half of 2020.

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