PSA – Necroing Threads Is Good
Yes, that’s right, its unpopular opinion time.
So I’m sure most people reading this have been to a few different game forums at this point in their lives, and if you have, you’ve probably familiarized yourself with 2 of the cardinal rules/sins of most game forums.
- Search for your question (or subject matter) before posting a new thread about it.
- Don’t necro bump (post in) old threads.
Now the time limit of what is considered a necro bump is a matter of opinion from site to site but it tends to be somewhere in the 1 month to 3 month range of when the last post was. Either way, anything beyond 3 always seems to be considered a necro worthy of disdain in almost any place I’ve seen.
Now here’s where we begin to run into issues with the above rules and mentality.
Issue 1: Most if not all, forum search engines are utter fucking garbage.
Got that? Good. Now to circumvent that we can use “site:” tags in real search engines like Google or Bing, to get a better result of what info is really there. This leads us to the second problem.
Issue 2: Older content ranks higher in search results.
Most forum admins who have complained about necros probably haven’t gotten this far in the process because they are seeing the content every day and probably have some level of a library in their mind about the chronicles of events on their forums, and how they lead to the present day, but anyone besides them and then 10 people who choose to play this one game and nothing else ever, have no fucking clue what events have transpired over the years.
They might be looking for an old mod they heard about or trying to fix a bug that was highlighted long ago, but the game is no longer at its peak, or the bug subsided but was never patched, or finally came back again but only in some more rare instances while affecting fewer people overall because the game isn’t as popular anymore. Maybe it’s not even the game that changed but some other part of their system that re-introduced an issue that was discussed 2 years ago but seemed to be resolved, only to again return.
Either way, thanks to the way search engines work and the time the old threads have been established, the time other’s have been spending sharing the links to it in the past, increasing it’s relative rankings, etc.. The older content will be what’s seen first by most people looking to familiarize themselves with an old issue.
If it’s a mod that has had several new versions, with large gaps of time between, the oldest or first threads might be seen far more easily than the new thread that was just started a week ago, but is still on the second or third page of the forum because there’s other busy threads to, keeping it from being readily seen without a search of some kind.
The Cascade of Problems
So now we have a quickly compounding problem, where:
- A single topic is being split across multiple threads because of necro rules and locks.
- Old topics that are locked can no longer be updated with new reference info or links to current threads. This could be fixed with moderator intervention, merging threads or using edits to add new links in the OP or last post but nobody actually does that.
- Outdated and inaccurate info persists and causes frustration if not addressed prior to a lock. Reasons for problems might change but that info isn’t reflected anymore. The top search result could offer a possible fix that once worked, but now breaks your game because a different “fix” is needed for the new version of the bug. Nobody who is already up to date will realize this and anyone who breaks their game cant post in the thread to warn others because its locked.
- Every diligent attempt to “search up” the info in good faith ends up turning into a drawn out Nancy fucking Drew mystery over the course of hours or days to fix what should be a 5 minute problem to solution turn over.
- By the time the diligent searcher actually loses all hope of finding the right info, most likely after screwing things up further with outdated info along the way, they are highly irritated, worn out, exhausted and frayed by the trash they had to wade through up to this point. They finally decide to make a new thread asking for help, or bumping the last old one they found, in the hopes for assistance.
- Even if they actually know how to find the problem, some of the regulars or mods who are there every day will now find time to berate said person for their bad form, because that person knew about it “for months now”. This is a great way to start a whole bunch of toxic BS for no good reason, as the OP never really had a chance.
This is all based on regular occurrences I go through personally, especially researching so many different games intimately to do guides on them, looking up detailed info from others on game forums on a regular basis. Because I don’t have time to keep up to date with most of them in the long term, I am always playing this game of catch up and it is fucking exhausting. I know others have to be dealing with this to, but there’s another big problem that keeps this from changing.
Issue 3: The Experiences of new players are often disregarded in favor of the regulars.
New player joins a forum to make a new post, complaining about this entire experience, the first reaction from the rest of the forum? Negative. “Nobody else here experiences this issue” kind of responses, even though there are almost always other new players with 1 or 2 posts littering most forums, mirroring these complaints.
They aren’t counted though because their experiences are never valid because of their “newness” but their being new isn’t the problem. The newness is an important factor as to understanding how they are encountering these problems and should be looked at as an opportunity to better understand how the new players experience the game and its community in its present form, not as a reason to dismiss their problems or blame the player themselves.
I’ve personally witnessed countless games that have been aggressively pushing away the acquisition of new players through the clogging of search results, overwhelming amount of outdated and frustrating information, complaints ignored or never seen by the regulars or moderators whom hold the only opinions that matter to the people who could do anything to address it, and policies and rules that accelerate this process.
Locking necro threads, penalizing necro bumps, and creating new topics for the same subject every few months, is destroying the ability for anyone who doesn’t understand the game currently to understand it in the future.
You are killing the growth of your community and toxifying anyone new who joins. People who are pleasant to interact with, don’t want to be forced through frustrating hoops to enjoy the thing they just paid for or expressed curiosity in. But toxic assholes with all the time in the world to hold onto their rage and frustrations just might make it through those hoops or decide to stick around anyways, right or wrong, just to take out their frustrations on those they see as being “part of it.”
Think of it like this.
Imagine you have a large building with a single floor and a single entrance, just a long rectangular warehouse, basic looking type of building. This building is a single game’s community, including its forums. A bunch of people enter when the building is brand new, and continue to hang out there, most of them coming and going over time, but a substantial portion will just stick around for the most part.
As these months go on, the group of people start making “stuff” (content/forum posts) that they just set down besides them as they move about the building, and this stuff starts piling up by the entrance where people were first gathered. As the entrance area is filled with this stuff, the people in the building move further away from the entrance, towards the back of the building. Nobody ever cleans the stuff they are now leaving behind, it just stays there taking up space.
The people in the building responsible for cleaning it don’t notice the mess because they’ve grown accustomed to it, plus it’s way “over there” now where they can’t really see it. If they have to go back out the building and return later, their familiarity with the stuff taking up all that space by the entrance, makes it much easier to navigate and get back to where the group is near the other side. Kinda like having a path through your own messy room. You can get through it no problem, but someone else tries to, they’ll probably break your stuff, stub their toes, or cause other forms of injury or destruction due to their lack of familiarity with your mess. And that should really be relatable to the majority of you reading this too, frfr.
This is what it’s like trying to get in on a game that’s been out for 4-10 years or more. The moment you need any additional help or info from the community, you have to wade through years of pilled up content that has been left to turn into garbage and trash before you can even begin to get to the useful stuff, and because it all looks the same to the unfamiliar eye, you have no fucking idea when you’ll be where the good info is.
So yes, seriously, enough with the Necro rules and berating newbs who couldn’t sift through your trash heaps to find the one paper hidden somewhere in that mess that had the info they needed. That shit needs to go. Locked threads are making search results as useless as the moderators who leave them lying around. Yeah, that’s shots fired, and you have no right to bitch about it because you are the cause.
Last Updated on September 3, 2020 by Standard of Entertainment