Forum changes: Now with more privacy

So, now that everything related to the Real ID fiasco has settled, I think it is time to evaluate the OTHER changes coming to the World of Warcraft forums. Some of these other changes are well overdue, and some of them should really help to make the WoW forums a better place to be. So, lets take a look at the goodies coming to the forums when Cataclysm hits.

First up, we’ll get to rate up and down people’s posts:

  • Players will have the ability to rate up or rate down posts so that great topics and replies stand out from the not-so-great; low-rated posts will appear dimmer to show that the community feels that they don’t contribute effectively to the conversation, and Blizzard’s community team will be able to quickly and easily locate highly rated posts to participate in or to highlight discussions that players find worthwhile.

I think this is a great change! There are many times when I wished a troll post would just go away so that we could focus on the real “meat” of a conversation. Gone are the days of having to tell trolls why their post is dumb. Instead, you get to just rate their post down into oblivion. This is something that wow.com introduced to their reply system at some point, and I really like the ability to rate people up and down based on the quality of their comment. This is a great change! It punishes trolls by making their posts less important.

  • In addition, individual topics will be threaded by context, meaning replies to specific posts will be grouped together, making it easier for players to keep track of multiple conversations within a thread.

This is also good. A lot of the time, you have multiple conversations going on, and it looks like this will work the way that it does on wow.com, where you can reply to specific replies.

  • We’re also adding a way for Blizzard posters to “broadcast” important messages forums-wide , to help communicate breaking news to the community in a clear and timely fashion.

I’m not really sure what this means, but I hate having to search through a dozen different forums to keep on top of the important breaking news, so if this works well, it can be a huge “quality of life” change for the forums.

  • Beyond that, we’re improving our forum search function to make locating interesting topics easier and help lower the number of redundant threads, and we have more planned as well.

The search function is often broken and has never really worked well. This change is very appealing to me, since people often have to use google to search for relevant forum threads, or they just post the same thing over and over again because the search function didn’t work for them.

And most importantly, we will not be forced to post using our real names! Instead, we’ll continue to use some version of character names, where we can keep our real life info private on the forums if we want to. With the above changes, however, we’ll already have a huge quality of life change without having to sacrifice our own personal information. We have made many friendships with other people just based on knowing each others’ character names, and I think that the forum changes will make it a better place to be, even when we can remain more anonymous if we want to be.

We won’t really know what this all looks like until they release the new Starcraft II forums in a couple weeks. I look forward to being able to continue posting on the WoW forums once Cataclysm hits. I’m glad that Blizzard decided to not have to make me choose between posting under real names or not posting at all. However, these other forum changes (now) look really great. I look forward to many more years of posting helpful feedback on the forums!

Note: I’m waiting for a new beta build to evaluate before I post more druid-related Cataclysm talent & ability feedback, since we know a lot is going to change “very soon”.

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14 Comments

  1. JohnG228
    Posted July 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I like most of these changes, but have never been a big fan of user “rating” systems. They can really be abused. If they are going to one, I would prefer one like digg, that just hides the comment, but gives you option of seeing it. The one at Wow.com blacks it out, and makes it almost impossible to read. I would rather see the post than have it censored by someone else.

    But over all, I welcome these changes, and hopefully they will come up with a handle to post with. That would help with the level one troll.

  2. Posted July 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    For the rating thing, what would be cool is if they did it like Wowhead where you get a certain number of ups and your post turns a bright color to indicate it’s really good.

    I think the “broadcast” thing means that instead of mods going to every forum to post the same thing, they can create one post that shows up on every forum’s main page.

  3. Maor
    Posted July 12, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    The forum changes are good.

    *is still hoping for a beta invite*

  4. Maor
    Posted July 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Figured I should add more. I like the forum changes, they should help with the trolling, and should make interesting conversations easier to follow.

    And yeah, I assume that broadcast means they can make one post and it will go to every forum, or a least a redirect to the main one.

  5. Posted July 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Think of the broadcast as a super sticky/announcement.

    It is like a sticky but is visible across multiple forums.

    • Posted July 12, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Thread Test.

    • Lissanna
      Posted July 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Oh hey! This is neat. :)

    • Chezza
      Posted July 13, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      Is a forum broadcast sort of like how the ESRB privacy folks forgot to use BCC and used CC instead on their reply email to the complaints from last week? Thanks guys, I just made 970 new friends…

      http://cheezburger.com/View/3749150976

  6. Posted July 12, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    WoW Poneria is alive. Welcome back.

  7. Posted July 12, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Threading now enabled here. A feature I missed somewhere along the lines.

  8. Treeboi
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Unlimited voting is bad, just bad.

    What happens is that trolls will go through the effort of downgrading (or upgrading) a crap ton of posts, like every post of a single poster. Normal people, obviously, won’t go through the effort of countering that.

    The only solution that works is limited voting. Like 1 vote per week. Yes, *that* limited. It forces people to be careful with their vote, so people only end up using their vote to up vote really valuable posts.

    By default, the limited vote system assumes that anything with zero posts is crap, which is generally true.

    If you want to see limited voting in action, go to slashdot.org. The typical user gets one vote per *month*. It does wonders to keep bring the important posts to the top while ignoring trolls.

  9. Lissanna
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    The unlimited voting system seems to work okay on the wow.com forums, where they are still pretty troll-heavy. I’m also pretty sure that if the forum mods can see who is voting stuff up and down, they could probably ban people that abuse it too much.

    • Posted July 13, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Frankly, Blizzard would be complete Muppets if they didn’t have some sort of algorithmic flag for unusual voting behaviour, so the mods could check it out.

      But after the last couple of weeks’ debacle….

      • Lissanna
        Posted July 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        It might take them some time to figure it out, but they’ll be able to see how it works on the SC2 forums before it hits the WOW forums.

One Trackback

  • By Leafshine: Lust for Flower on July 13, 2010 at 10:29 am

    RealID, Social Theory and Blizzard’s Community Problems…

    So, rather late in the day, it’s time for me to weigh in on the biggest issue that came up while I was away: Wow. Russia has incompetent but very sexy spies. This makes me feel better about the world…….