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News moderated by you - major upgrades to GameDev.net news!

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Michael Tanczos

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One of the things we've always wanted to do at GameDev.net is to have a steady staff of news editors that provide you with the best source of original game development news around. The problem is this would take a lot more resources than we have available. Fortunately there is plenty of good news coverage out there for the games industry and game development, and there's also some obscure places that are excellent sources of information but don't necessarily get the traffic they deserve.

We've decided to tap into that vast news base on the web and have implemented a system that will aggregate and allow you, the community, to select the news you find important. It's our hope that through community collaboration we deliver content that is more relevant and important to you.

What can you do to help us out? When you see a post you like.. click the like button. You'll notice it's [size="4"]very large compared to the other "like" voting mechanisms on our site and that was purposefully done because that is really what we'd like you to do. Size matters in this case, as it shows you that it's something we should all find important. Voting to like a post, or calling a post "Not Interesting", allows us to collect important information that will help ensure news is relevant to the GameDev.net community.

[size="4"]What's new with the news?

  • Users can now vote up / down news in a more obvious way than stars
  • "Liking" a news post is much more emphasize
  • News posts can be ranked by a quality score we composite by using likes, views, and comments to gauge interest
  • News views are unique to each and every user - If you find something
    not interesting it is permanently removed from your frontpage
  • Likewise you can see each post you voted on when you refresh the page
  • Top news in 24 hours, 7 days, and 30 days has been added -
    navigation done via dropdown
  • Paging has been added to go forward/back multiple pages
  • Existing news has been retained and integrated within the stream
  • Faster access - news now is served via a Redis server for quick access to your own personalized view of the news
    [size="4"]Why did we do this?

    GameDev.net by itself provides about 5 news items per week on average. A lot happens every day in the games industry, though, and 5 news items per week doesn't cover it.

    Sites like reddit and digg have demonstrated the power of community collaboration on news content and ensuring relevant information is delivered to users. We've decided to embrace these concepts and move away from trying to produce original news content on a regular basis. Instead, we are aggregating news from around the Internet that should be relevant to you. And if it's not, click "Not interesting" - over time we'll learn what our community finds interesting, and we'll adjust our algorithms from there.


    [size="4"]Where are you going with this?

    This is the first step in creating a GameDev.net that is more relevant to your personal taste. Every person visits the site for a different reason, looks for different types of content, and wants a different experience out of the site. In addition, the game development is an ever-evolving, global industry that we want to be able to quickly adapt to in order to ensure we are providing information and content that is relevant to you, the GameDev.net visitor.

    In the near future we'll be adding even more capabilities that allow you to find the information you want and people you want to engage with. In the meantime, we hope you find that this change in GameDev.net news is ultimately more useful and informative for you.
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Addendum: Daily GameDev.net posts are currently suspended pending a possible comeback in a new form that benefits the news feed format

Weekend & Weekday Readings from Journal Land will be combined back into just Weekend Reading on Fridays. This is because I will be posting them in my journal (I know, meta, right?) and featuring this in the front page box and I only want to take up one day out of the week to use the front page box for this

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I don't like the news sources you picked, but I don't know if it's because my expectations of GDnet are wrong... I think there may be a disconnect between the target audience of the site and its actual audience.

If you look at the forums, we've got mostly beginners and students, along with a moderately large population of hobbyists, and a handful of people who actually work in the industry, yet a lot of the news we're seeing (before and after the new system) are very "AAA hollywood game biz."

What's Crytek up to these days? What ex-EA executive got hired this week? What technology is Autodesk licensing? Snore. Give me original content, tutorials, academic papers, upcoming indie game releases, post-mortems... I'm a hobbyist game developer, not a wall-street banker!

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[quote name='kiwibonga' timestamp='1302738593']
I don't like the news sources you picked, but I don't know if it's because my expectations of GDnet are wrong... I think there may be a disconnect between the target audience of the site and its actual audience.

If you look at the forums, we've got mostly beginners and students, along with a moderately large population of hobbyists, and a handful of people who actually work in the industry, yet a lot of the news we're seeing (before and after the new system) are very "AAA hollywood game biz."

What's Crytek up to these days? What ex-EA executive got hired this week? What technology is Autodesk licensing? Snore. Give me original content, tutorials, academic papers, upcoming indie game releases, post-mortems... I'm a hobbyist game developer, not a wall-street banker!
[/quote]

Before the change, we put a lot of effort into keeping the news relevant to independent game developers. New engine releases, community news, blog posts by prominent members of the indie community. I'm sorry you felt it was Hollywood. That was certainly everything we were trying to avoid.

Now however, YOU get to choose what is relevant to you as an individual. Many of our users work as independent developers as well as full time industry employees so what may not be relevant to some may be very relevant to others. I hope you'll enjoy the new system.

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Our news is designed to cover the entire industry and that's the reason you'll see a broader spectrum of news. What may not interest you may interest other people. But we're getting back to the simple fact that we named ourselves gamedev.net 11 years ago for a reason - e.g. "game development".net, and to be true to our name we have to open up and cover a wider spectrum of topics. This also opens up the audience a bit more.

As we progress we will be looking to target areas of the site to particular interests.. and knowing what unreal, crytek, unity are up to is important for Indie developers because it gives you an idea of where the industry is going. And because Unreal and Unity (and soon Crytek) can be used by indie developers, you bet they're relevant.

So the truth is.. depending on your indie interest you really don't know what will be relevant and not relevant. Just vote something as "Not Interesting" if you don't find it interesting, and vote it up if you do.

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Okay, I see a whole slew of stories related to game development. Some are great and deserve to be at the top, like "how to talk to a Kinect". Some are not really gamedev related and should be buried, like "Bioshock is on sale this week". But that doesn't seem to be what's happening...

- Stories with high scores are mixed in with stories with no hits.
- There's no way to bury stuff that's unrelated to development. They just sit around with no votes.

The method for voting up seems nice and obvious. Problem is, it doesn't seem to have any effect.

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[quote name='johnhattan' timestamp='1302745400']
Okay, I see a whole slew of stories related to game development. Some are great and deserve to be at the top, like "how to talk to a Kinect". Some are not really gamedev related and should be buried, like "Bioshock is on sale this week". But that doesn't seem to be what's happening...

- Stories with high scores are mixed in with stories with no hits.
- There's no way to bury stuff that's unrelated to development. They just sit around with no votes.

The method for voting up seems nice and obvious. Problem is, it doesn't seem to have any effect.
[/quote]


The default view of the news is just "Most Recent Stories" so that's why everything is mixed.

The effect of upvoting can be seen in the Top News in 24 Hours / 7 days / 30 days views. Right now we are collecting data on burying stories and seeing what an adequate threshold would be. To bury a story click "Not Interesting".. this will affect only your view of the news at the moment. I haven't yet considered what it would take to have a story removed from the frontpage in terms of votes.. I'll probably know in a few days.

Try this link: [url="http://www.gamedev.net/?vm=t1"]http://www.gamedev.net/?vm=t[/url]7

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Yeah, there's definitely gonna be some tuning to be done, but that's gonna be stuff done in the field. And, speaking as someone who's on a half-dozen press-release lists, we'll find keywords and syndicates and authors that post every damn thing they can. Case in point, Gamebryo used to send me a press release whenever they got a new customer. And while I'm sure they were proud to have Bobtown Studios as their new client, it affected exactly nobody other than themselves and was just a publicist trying to flood the market with press-releases trying to get someone to pay attention..

And we'll have to deal with people upvoting their own stuff. IIRC, G4 got busted last week for owning about twenty accounts that they used to upvote stuff on Reddit. That's gonna happen here too.

And we'll have to let the "culture" congeal around the items. While you might be excited that Bioshock is on sale this week, you should also realize that it's not really gamedev-related and doesn't deserve your vote.

But I definitely see it as a step in the right direction. We've now let loose the firehose. People are gonna not like it at first. But I hope we'll get a good staff of upvoters and downvoters who'll tame the firehose to a trickle of worthwhile stuff.

I can see us eventually working towards behind-the-scenes "user karma" and "keyword karma" in these listings. User Dave1234 always upvotes good stuff, so we'll up his karma so his stuff goes a little higher. Similarly, user John2233 is a fanboy who upvotes anything mentioning iPads, even if it's a new case, so his goes down.

Ditto for keywords. While "Bioshock" is a popular game, I don't see any mentions of it that are related to game development. However, "OpenGL" seems to be a keyword that's ALWAYS game development related.

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[quote name='Tiffany_Smith' timestamp='1302739946']
Before the change, we put a lot of effort into keeping the news relevant to independent game developers. New engine releases, community news, blog posts by prominent members of the indie community. I'm sorry you felt it was Hollywood. That was certainly everything we were trying to avoid.

Now however, YOU get to choose what is relevant to you as an individual. Many of our users work as independent developers as well as full time industry employees so what may not be relevant to some may be very relevant to others. I hope you'll enjoy the new system.
[/quote]


I realize it's a bit silly for me to say what I said when you just rolled out a democratic user-moderated system... :)

The main reason I'm skeptical is that front page participation hasn't been great -- a move away from original/editorial content doesn't seem like it would help... I do hope things work out for the best, though.

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As a previous GDNet Daily news editor, I can vouch for how much crud we had to sift through to get to interesting news for people to read. My RSS feeds were crammed with identical stories from the main news aggregators that I'd have to read to find out which presented the best or original version - most actually cited others articles or a single original article as the source. It was all a bit cannibalistic at times - we'd go to lengths to make sure the quality of the stories we found was high enough to be passed onto the readers of GDNet.<br><br>It was a couple of hours hard work for us editors... but I think it was worth it. I have very little time to read anything on GDnet, but I often still stop by the news page because I saw GDNet as a source of high-qaulity, hand-picked and well-summmarised stories for me to read. Now I get nothing else that I wouldn't get from my RSS feed. I never really "got" digg or reddit either, I certainly never participated - like many in this "social-media" craze we're caught up in lately - most of us are passive observers.<br><br>Time will tell if it pays off - I hope so, but I will miss the old dailies.<br>

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I think most of the problem comes down to workload. If we do this right we really should be able to tweak this to a point where it really is useful. And not everyone has an RSS aggregated stream of game development news, so if we can filter one down to just the good stuff more readily we could actually do a great service to viewers.

Honestly though, if we have a group of people that are committed to moderating the news all it would take is to "like" the stories that are good and click "Not Interesting" for the bad stories or dupes. Then we could transition over to just using the Top News in 24 Hours instead.

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All I know is that it 'feels' like too much is happening to keep up with. Why isn't the highest rated at the top?

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[quote name='RSI' timestamp='1302849448']
All I know is that it 'feels' like too much is happening to keep up with. Why isn't the highest rated at the top?
[/quote]

Switch to the top news in 24 hours view.

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Is there any way to color the background of the article snippet based on its current rating? That would make it really easy to see what has been upgraded and what has been downgraded.

In general, I don't really like the idea of having the community in general decide what is good and what isn't. I am a PC Direct3D hobbyist developer, and there is little or no chance that my interests are going to line up with everyone elses... I actually liked the way that the news worked before - about 5-10 news items in a week, and I could easily scan over what I wanted to read and what I didn't.

The rating system would be more appropriate for actual user content, such as journal posts or articles... This is just my opinion, but I wanted to give some feedback.

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As an ex-GDNet news editor I can testify how much work we put into collating the frontpage news... however I feel that work was completely justified. We all had our own RSS readers that we used to pick the best news of the day (or week, depending if you thought it was interesting and hadn;t been featured already). As a result, we had to trawl many, many, duplicate and self-referencing articles to find the definitivie or original article. We put effort in so that the reader could benefit in the form of higher quality.<br><br>When I visited the frontpage after the switchover, I was presented, pretty much, with my own RSS feed. It was full of duplicate posts, often many which are "crap" and not really news. I also saw a mass of "just published" articles in the order they came out. As a result, the gdnet news page was in flux - as soon as gamasutra put their content live, the main page was full of only gamasutra articles. 5 hours later, when europe woke up, the main page was full of IDENTICAL articles from a new source.<br><br>I'll say it now. I don't think this will work. People won't scroll back to find the best or original versions. The community won't put in the effort we did as news editors, quite simply because there's NO INCENTIVE to do so. We may as well all subscribe to the RSS feeds of the sources, that's exactly what the news page is now.<br><br>As news editors - we all had different personalities and slants on the stories. Half the fun for me was reading Trents, Rav's, Promit's or Tiff's article to see how they felt about the stories. Trent and Rev often focussed on games; I focussed on the UK industry - we all had a different view and I think GDNet benefitted from it.<br><br>I really hope it works for you.<br>

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[quote name='evolutional' timestamp='1303072902']
As an ex-GDNet news editor I can testify how much work we put into collating the frontpage news... however I feel that work was completely justified. We all had our own RSS readers that we used to pick the best news of the day (or week, depending if you thought it was interesting and hadn;t been featured already). As a result, we had to trawl many, many, duplicate and self-referencing articles to find the definitivie or original article. We put effort in so that the reader could benefit in the form of higher quality.<br><br>When I visited the frontpage after the switchover, I was presented, pretty much, with my own RSS feed. It was full of duplicate posts, often many which are "crap" and not really news. I also saw a mass of "just published" articles in the order they came out. As a result, the gdnet news page was in flux - as soon as gamasutra put their content live, the main page was full of only gamasutra articles. 5 hours later, when europe woke up, the main page was full of IDENTICAL articles from a new source.<br><br>I'll say it now. I don't think this will work. People won't scroll back to find the best or original versions. The community won't put in the effort we did as news editors, quite simply because there's NO INCENTIVE to do so. We may as well all subscribe to the RSS feeds of the sources, that's exactly what the news page is now.<br><br>As news editors - we all had different personalities and slants on the stories. Half the fun for me was reading Trents, Rav's, Promit's or Tiff's article to see how they felt about the stories. Trent and Rev often focussed on games; I focussed on the UK industry - we all had a different view and I think GDNet benefitted from it.<br><br>I really hope it works for you.<br>
[/quote]

You left, trent left, so that left Rav, Tiff, and Drew. I would certainly commend the news team for their efforts - this is just a different direction that will expose more news. The idea being that the news team should be able to seed the articles that are shown, but the community can also peek into OUR RSS feed and elect certain things to be seen by the community..

So while you may have one, not everyone has one.. and that's what we're trying to ultimately present is a filtered news stream. So far we've only been at this for a few days so it's hard to say this will/won't work. In the absolute worst case, assuming not a single person votes on something in the full news stream.. the news moderators can do that for people.

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