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YetiChow Aug 14, 2014 @ 9:27pm
Community Values Thread
It shouldn't have to come to this, but whatever...

This thread is being set up for you guys, the community, to make a clear and definitive statement about the values you want to see being used in this forum. This is the place to suggest changes, new rules, getting rid of existing rules, whatever you think the community needs.

I want there to be a clear and visible record of what this community wants from its members, so there's absolutely no grey area when it comes to upholding the community's wishes.
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BlackWolf1170 Aug 14, 2014 @ 9:56pm 
i know this may sound stupid to you but why do i have to download something else after i buy the game?
BlueSteelAUS Aug 14, 2014 @ 10:23pm 
??? what are you having to download ??? Towns is playable as is. Mods are available for those who wish to get more out of the game, just like other games that support modding
YetiChow Aug 14, 2014 @ 10:51pm 
Originally posted by BlackWolf7193:
i know this may sound stupid to you but why do i have to download something else after i buy the game?

If that's in relation to needing to grab an updated/different Java: Towns is written for a certain environment, it is theoretically possible to support all environments but that's not really a practical goal. Most games would list the JRE required in their required specs; but that doesn't necessarily mean that they'll ship the game copy with that software.

In the case of Towns, there's no way it would have been practical to ship the game with the JRE version it was written for. Xavi made the decision, rather, to explain the requirement and how users could access that software themselves. It's not as convenient as shipping with the required software, but arguably it's "better" for the end user/player - if gives them more control. That does go directly back to one of the values inherent in Ben and Xavi's design choice: Towns is designed to give players as much control over the game as possible.

Although if it's not listed in the requirements (I haven't checked lately) then it certainly should be.
BlackWolf1170 Aug 14, 2014 @ 11:14pm 
Originally posted by YetiChow:
Originally posted by BlackWolf7193:
i know this may sound stupid to you but why do i have to download something else after i buy the game?

If that's in relation to needing to grab an updated/different Java: Towns is written for a certain environment, it is theoretically possible to support all environments but that's not really a practical goal. Most games would list the JRE required in their required specs; but that doesn't necessarily mean that they'll ship the game copy with that software.

In the case of Towns, there's no way it would have been practical to ship the game with the JRE version it was written for. Xavi made the decision, rather, to explain the requirement and how users could access that software themselves. It's not as convenient as shipping with the required software, but arguably it's "better" for the end user/player - if gives them more control. That does go directly back to one of the values inherent in Ben and Xavi's design choice: Towns is designed to give players as much control over the game as possible.

Although if it's not listed in the requirements (I haven't checked lately) then it certainly should be.

ok thx, and yeah its required because it dosent allow me to play without it
Cyborgt Aug 15, 2014 @ 12:35am 
Originally posted by YetiChow:
That does go directly back to one of the values inherent in Ben and Xavi's design choice: Towns is designed to give players as much control over the game as possible.

Please Yeti, just stop saying things like this. In reference to a game where most of your activities are performed through indirect control, things like this scream propaganda. It's fine that you're trying to be positive and helpful but lets please stick just to that and leave out the questionable, clearly pure opinion based fluff.

It just doesn't seem like professional conduct for a moderator. It's one thing to see that kind of talk from some random person on the forums but it's a bit different when that person has authority over the conduct of others. I feel you need to work on maintaining a professional distance.
BlueSteelAUS Aug 15, 2014 @ 2:56am 
i've successfully run towns using java 7(1.7) 32 and 64 bit and now am running it using java 8 (1.8) 32 and 64 bits no problems. towns isn't the only game out there that requires java to be installed. you should alwars be running the latest version of java that you can to avoid security leaks and or bugs. I don't know about on the mac . at least this is what works on the windows OS's
YetiChow Aug 15, 2014 @ 9:11pm 
Originally posted by Cyborgt:
Originally posted by YetiChow:
That does go directly back to one of the values inherent in Ben and Xavi's design choice: Towns is designed to give players as much control over the game as possible.

Please Yeti, just stop saying things like this. In reference to a game where most of your activities are performed through indirect control, things like this scream propaganda. It's fine that you're trying to be positive and helpful but lets please stick just to that and leave out the questionable, clearly pure opinion based fluff.

It just doesn't seem like professional conduct for a moderator. It's one thing to see that kind of talk from some random person on the forums but it's a bit different when that person has authority over the conduct of others. I feel you need to work on maintaining a professional distance.

I do believe we're on different pages here. When I said "it gives players more control", I wasn't talking about in-game, I was talking about control over the game itself.

Most games still follow a "here's the story, here's what you can do in the game, now go do it" design mentality. Towns, like Majesty and Dwarf Fortress and many of its other inspirations, is about giving the player a different choice: "here's the world, figure out how it works and then do what you want to do in it". Moreover, Towns takes it one further to say "in fact, you can have control over the meta-game as well - change the game environment to suit your style better if that's what you want to do".

As someone who appreciates that kind of meta-game freedom, it galls to no end me that a lot of players are blaming the Devs design choices for the fact that they, as players, haven't even begun to explore the different ways they can use Towns. That's where my passion shows through more than it probably should; but then I've always been the first to say that "professional distance" was never an option for me. The fact of that matter is, I even without maintaing a cold formality I can still see things from the other perspectives that they're presented in; and cold formality doesn't seem helpful to me. I'd much prefer it if we could all get along casually and have a laugh and a good time together... from my previous experiences that's what most people have wanted, but if that's not what some people want, then this is the place to speak up about it. Again, I can only respond to the information I'm given (well, I can infer a lot, but I'm not so arrogant as to assume my inferences are always accurate so I try to avoid leaning on them unless I have no other information to go on).


Originally posted by Nalidus:
Yeti, first, you need to stop locking threads where you deem something is "argumentative". The fact is, discussions about a game are arguments. Interesting ideas and understanding of others' positions come directly from arguments. Now, removal of flame-baiting (Trolling) and flaming is acceptable as that is against the Steam Forum Rules. However, just because you deem something as an argument just represses any true understanding that may come from discussions. It is censorship on your part.

Second, remove your rule against discussion of morality of Xavi's past actions as they are not rules that are covered under Steam Forum Rules. Instead, provide a sticky or a specific thread for people to provide their discussions about this relevant subject matter without cluttering up all the forums with this subject. Anyone's discussion about Xavi's morality on any thread besides the dedicated thread could be either removed or moved over to the dedicated morality thread. You claim that people are unable to make decisions on this subject. That is your opinion. People who have kept up with Xavi's actions are, in fact, able to make a decision on the morality of his actions. That doesn't mean they are right. However, it is not the job of a forum moderator to dictate what is right or not. So long as a person is not violating the Steam Forum Rules (which don't include your additional rules) then their opinions should be heard.

Third, stop the propaganda. The job of a forum moderator is not to spin information for the devs of the game that they forum is about. The job of a forum moderator is to make sure every poster is following the Steam Forum Rules (which don't include your additional rules). For you to attempt to try to spin the information into a more favorable fashion tarnishes not only your reputation, but also the reputation of SMP and Xavi. And, don't try to deny your spinning of information: Both Cyborgt and I have caught you doing those very acts.

Interesting discussions are not arguments - at least, not by the defenition I've been taught. In my understanding, debates (probably what you call arguments) are good but arguments are unproductive - they're what's left when people run out of evidence and fall back to proselytising and opinion-pushing. To put that another way: arguments are what you get when there's no respect between the two people debating. And by that defenition, arguments are anathema to what we're trying to do here; respect is paramount to a healthy community.

The second point you make ties directly into my answer to your first point: these discussions about Xavi's morality are the height of disrepect, not only to Xavi but to the community as a whole. Many, many, MANY people on both "sides" (again, I don't believe that there are sides, but a wide spectrum of shades of opinion) have called for those discussions to stop because they're unproductive. I made a clarification to Steam's "no derailing threads" rule in order to make it easier to deal with those threads.

And finally, I'll be the first to admit that I advocate for Towns in a positive light, and that I look towards a better fouture for the game. But "propaganda" is a long way off what I try to do. Propaganda denies a voice to anyone else; and my whole purpose for taking on this role was to let everyone have their voices heard. In fact, I'd throw the ball into the other side of the court on that claim - the "propaganda" lies in claims about immoral developers, lax production standards, bad game etc. Those claims don't leave room for discussion, and that's propaganda in its most basic form. My points are ALWAYS aimed at opening up dialogue; even when i directly refute someone's information I do it in a way that allows the discussion to take a new path; or leaves the debate open for more evidence.

My personal opinion is that a lot of the "offence" taken by the "anti towns side" is nothing but overblown baloney. One thing I've learned the hard way is that taking offence on someone elses' behalf is entirely counterproductive - not only will that not accomplish anything, it will often alienate the "flagbearers" from the people they set out to support. Of course, it's easy to turn that back on my own actions; however there's a key difference: I'm not doing this for Xavi, or even for the community as a whole. I am, primarily, trying to clean up some of these problems because I want them cleaned up - I'm sick of seeing them get in the way fo the community activities I want to take part in. It's a happy coincidence that cleaning up the issues is helpful to the community; but my motivation ultimately resides in wanting to be part of this community, and the fact that while these issues continue I'm missing out on some of the stuff I've "paid" for with my previous efforts.

That's where I'm coming from, and what gets me so riled up. People are all too happy to fling accusations of trolling, double standards, abuse and whatever else in my direction; but there's little consistency. Consistency is the main thing I'm going for here - I originally LIKED Towns, and the community, because it was consistent. Ben and Xavi put forward an idea, and for a long time they stuck to that idea quite well. From what I observed, the inconsistencies started creeping in when the Devs started deviating from their idea to accomodate the really loud community members - at that point, the loud cries were often "get the update out ASAP"; this was back in the days before heroes were a part of the game and new content was the main focus. To my mind, that content-rush was the first crack in the foundations of the game - not a major problem while the Devs were able to keep an eye on it, but once the pressure piled on, that's where the bigger problems started.

In a roundabout way (that I'm somewhat notorious for - sorry it's so long), that's why I want to define the community values. Before the real work of fixing the game's foundations can begin, everything else has to be raised up or cleared away in order to take the pressure off that foundation, and let the Devs work with it. The problems can be cleared away, but the community can't - so what we have to do is "raise it up" so that it can support itself, then the Devs have one less thing to worry about while they fix up the damage to the game and get back to the idea that we all orginally were interested in.
SoonTiaxRules Aug 15, 2014 @ 10:32pm 
That's a big ol' house of text; you made 4 walls and put a roof on it. Your making of additional rules is the one thing that struck me, and while I haven't asked anybody at Valve (the company that owns these forums) about it, I'm not sure that making "clarifications"/additions/addendums/etc to their code of conduct is within the power of a volunteer moderator. This is especially important since some of the rules in that thread can be interpreted in such a way that leads to legitimate information being grounds for moderation.

For example, the part about "Do not make arguments about what "should have been", because that's a moot point and only muddies the waters for people who are interested in the game as it stands" could be used in that manner. Features that are missing from the game IS a legitimate point of discussion, even if these features have been added recently but should have been in place a long time ago, like terraforming. Mods to the game have had terraforming for a while now (even if it was a workaround which simulated it; I never got into modding the game seriously so am not sure exactly what it entailed code-wise), so it most likely wasn't something that was extremely difficult to implement. Limiting discussions only to exactly what is currently in the game will hinder the positive on-topic discussions that you're trying to protect.

I understand and agree with some of the points you made in that thread though, so please don't interpret this post as an attack or anything. Rule 4 is cool, and I understand why moderation action should be taken when people call Xavi/the devs names and allege that he is unethical and so on. Those types of statements are pure conjecture since all we have to go by is the history of the game and the few comments that he and others have publically made. Now, I certainly understand why people come to those conclusions, especially since Xavi has never really done anything to curb those conclusions. But those statements violate the Steam rule about flaming or insulting other members, thus action should be taken.

I just think that the additions thread isn't necessary, since the Steam rules are pretty cut and dry. When users violate those rules, by all means explain why to them as you take action. If they don't learn, then things will procede as they will, and the poster will suffer the consequences. Steam rules don't need to be clarified in public, and they certainly don't need to be added to. The additional rules, and your interpretations can be used to suppress valid information and eliminate legitimate discussions, and that is a problem.
Joeltron Aug 16, 2014 @ 12:47am 
Since everyone is targeting the moderator instead of the forums as a whole I will give my input on the same. I for one think that more forums could benefit from mods like Yeti. There has not been any suppression of valid information whatsoever. Every forum deleted and locked is documented, locked ones being linked so they aren't lost forever. Moderators shouldn't be afraid to moderate, due to the reprocussions or angry outcries of those they enforce their duties on. There are more unhappy customers on these forums than happy ones, so obviously it is going to look a little unbalanced when pointless arguments are getting locked left and right. After reading several of the locked posts, I have noticed that most had a lack of knowledge regarding the games history, and the rules which are in place on steam. The rest were simply disrespectful and did not contribute to anything other than causing more problems. As with any rules pertaining to social discussions, they are highly dependant on perspective. Meaning that some people may see a round-about argument as a valid discussion, while truly it is not. Some people may see their repetitive posts with derogatory and demeaning statements as constructive criticism, while they most certainly are not. All this being said, I am not a very big fan of the game ( as you can see in my playtime) , however I do support the moderators choices as being just and within his rights. A logical person will see his lock/ban decisions and learn from it, while finding ways to get their point across in a civil manner as to not cause further disruption.

Very few, if any, people who are satisfied or agree with the decisions being made here will post. It is a well known fact that those who are unhappy speak much louder than those who are happy. So I figured I would give opinion so that everyone knows there are people out there who agree and see the benefit to strict moderation.

One thing I would like to add as criticism towards the moderator however, Is that I believe more tactful means of getting your point across could be taken. I'm sure it is stressful and frustrating dealing with endless discussions with no value, that target you and a game which you have chosen to invest your own free time to help out with. That frustration is evident every now and then, in the way you respond to people, but I think you already know this as you commented above and I will quote it. ["As someone who appreciates that kind of meta-game freedom, it galls to no end me that a lot of players are blaming the Devs design choices for the fact that they, as players, haven't even begun to explore the different ways they can use Towns. That's where my passion shows through more than it probably should;"] This statement comes off as a little passive aggressive, and could be taken as an insult by someone who reads into it wrong. Text is very hard to guage the writers attitude.

You then go on to say professional distance isn't an option for you as you don't see the benefit in cold formality. Perhaps you are right when it comes to the majority of forum users, as most people won't respect that or appreciate it. However, I strongly believe that a balance of passion and cold formality is very beneficial when you are in the position of moderator. There are people browsing the forums who will see it and appreciate it, even if they don't post to voice that appreciation.

Well that's my input and opinions on it all, good luck and I wish you the best. I think you are doing a good job moderating these forums. I'm glad to see work is still being done on Towns, and I hope with some time these discussions will become more civil and an increase of positive feedback will be found on the forums. The game has had quite the history and it would be nice to see it succeed in the end so more players can enjoy it.



Last edited by Joeltron; Aug 16, 2014 @ 1:25am
Charon Aug 16, 2014 @ 5:17am 
Originally posted by YetiChow:
these discussions about Xavi's morality are the height of disrepect

Well the $15 hole in my bank account Xavi inflicted through false advertising isn't exactly respectful to me as a consumer. Had he not conducted himself in the way that he did, there'd be no fuel for the criticism which is legitimately levelled at him.
YetiChow Aug 17, 2014 @ 3:22am 
Originally posted by SoonTiaxRules:
That's a big ol' house of text; you made 4 walls and put a roof on it. Your making of additional rules is the one thing that struck me, and while I haven't asked anybody at Valve (the company that owns these forums) about it, I'm not sure that making "clarifications"/additions/addendums/etc to their code of conduct is within the power of a volunteer moderator. This is especially important since some of the rules in that thread can be interpreted in such a way that leads to legitimate information being grounds for moderation.

... [snip to save some thread space]

I just think that the additions thread isn't necessary, since the Steam rules are pretty cut and dry. When users violate those rules, by all means explain why to them as you take action. If they don't learn, then things will procede as they will, and the poster will suffer the consequences. Steam rules don't need to be clarified in public, and they certainly don't need to be added to. The additional rules, and your interpretations can be used to suppress valid information and eliminate legitimate discussions, and that is a problem.

I completely understand those concerns; however, I'd like to point out that the "new rules" really just work as supplements and clarifications. As I stated in the very first line of that topic, those clarifications are based on the existing Steam guidelines - it's not about "writing new rules", but being very clear about how those rules apply to a specific situation which is important for Towns. Some users are intent on pushing the boundaries of every grey-area interpretation of their rights to discuss whichever topics; I noticed that the associated responsiblities for those discussions were conspicuous in their abscence. In other words: I set out to make sure that, while the focus is on users' rights; their responsibilities recieve equal attention (because the two are inseparable).

I appreciate that you've aired those concerns; and I'm glad that the community is taking a self-aware look at these issues. I simply ask that a bit of trust be given to take these guidelines at face value; as a safeguard against certain recurring problems, so that we can get on with the other stuff and not keep rehashing the same ground.

Naturally, these actions aren't set in stone - I'm entirely open to discussing those ammendments/supplements and finding a better option if one can be found. It's just one of those "between a rock and a hard place" calls - letting things go on as they had been would have been purely unacceptable for the vast majority of community members, and this seemed like the least offensive option.
YetiChow Aug 17, 2014 @ 3:31am 
Originally posted by Apophis:
Originally posted by YetiChow:
these discussions about Xavi's morality are the height of disrepect

Well the $15 hole in my bank account Xavi inflicted through false advertising isn't exactly respectful to me as a consumer. Had he not conducted himself in the way that he did, there'd be no fuel for the criticism which is legitimately levelled at him.

Ah, but that point is moot (in both senses of the word) - for one, there's an infinite array of "if ___ had been different..." possibilities (a big one that springs to mind is "If the community had reacted more calmly and rationally, without threats and abuse, then there would have been more dialogue and a greater chance for a solution that worked for everyone). For seconds, the question of whether it was "false advertising" is one that can't really be settled; but a whole lot of people would say (and have said) that they could see what they were buying from the store description and that "false advertising" is code for "did not read". And finally, even if you could somehow prove that first damage was a direct result of negligence or maliciousness on Xavi's part, it's still a totally separate issue from the game's future; so bringing the topic up in threads about the future would amount to derailment.

My point is: it's an important personal belief and I won't deny or diminish that fact, but ultimately that belief has no bearing on the information being discussed. Seeking a resolution for that "$15 hole" has nothing to do with the point of these forums; that's what the support page (or send an email to support@townsgame.net) is for.
YetiChow Aug 17, 2014 @ 3:38am 
Originally posted by Nalidus:
Originally posted by Joeltron:
Very few, if any, people who are satisfied or agree with the decisions being made here will post. It is a well known fact that those who are unhappy speak much louder than those who are happy. So I figured I would give opinion so that everyone knows there are people out there who agree and see the benefit to strict moderation.

That's your opinion. There is no fact that the "unhappy speak much louder than those who are happy." So, please stop making specious arguments to flame-bait.

If you see an issue within a post, report it - don't moderate from the back seat.

I would hardly call that post a "specious" argument (there's only 1 point being made), and as for flame-baiting... I think we have very different definitions of that phrase. Suffice it to say that, since no argument has erupted over that post in the last day or two, and since no users have reported it as inciteful or anything else in that spectrum, it's a pretty safe bet that no flaming was baited by the remark. I would suggest that you be more careful in future to only make assertions you can provide evidence for; because there's no evidence of either of those things resulting from that post.
Cyborgt Aug 17, 2014 @ 3:08pm 
Originally posted by YetiChow:
Originally posted by Nalidus:

That's your opinion. There is no fact that the "unhappy speak much louder than those who are happy." So, please stop making specious arguments to flame-bait.

If you see an issue within a post, report it - don't moderate from the back seat.

Ok, except the only thing even close to being "backseat moderating" in that post is the last sentence. I see that more as being a part of his attempt to call someone out on their questionable statements, which I see as more useful than simply deleting them.

After all, Nalidus merely requested that he not make those kinds of statements. It's not really trying to "enforce the forum rules" as the Steam clarification text puts it. If it were the same sentence without the words "to flame-bait" it would be quite the stretch to even try to call that "backseat moderating."

Originally posted by YetiChow:
I would hardly call that post a "specious" argument (there's only 1 point being made), and as for flame-baiting... I think we have very different definitions of that phrase. Suffice it to say that, since no argument has erupted over that post in the last day or two, and since no users have reported it as inciteful or anything else in that spectrum, it's a pretty safe bet that no flaming was baited by the remark. I would suggest that you be more careful in future to only make assertions you can provide evidence for; because there's no evidence of either of those things resulting from that post.

Flamebaiting doesn't require that any flaming actually take place. It's not uncommon for it to be ignored in the middle of a thread like this so saying that no flaming occurred is a pretty weak argument for the idea that it couldn't possibly be flamebaiting. Just because noone takes the bait doesn't mean it wasn't there.

That being said, I can agree it's a bit of a stretch to call that paragraph flamebait. Specious, certainly but flamebait; probably not so much. It's just a bit misguided.
Phanttis Aug 17, 2014 @ 9:30pm 
Originally posted by YetiChow:
Originally posted by SoonTiaxRules:
That's a big ol' house of text; you made 4 walls and put a roof on it. Your making of additional rules is the one thing that struck me, and while I haven't asked anybody at Valve (the company that owns these forums) about it, I'm not sure that making "clarifications"/additions/addendums/etc to their code of conduct is within the power of a volunteer moderator. This is especially important since some of the rules in that thread can be interpreted in such a way that leads to legitimate information being grounds for moderation.

... [snip to save some thread space]

I just think that the additions thread isn't necessary, since the Steam rules are pretty cut and dry. When users violate those rules, by all means explain why to them as you take action. If they don't learn, then things will procede as they will, and the poster will suffer the consequences. Steam rules don't need to be clarified in public, and they certainly don't need to be added to. The additional rules, and your interpretations can be used to suppress valid information and eliminate legitimate discussions, and that is a problem.

I completely understand those concerns; however, I'd like to point out that the "new rules" really just work as supplements and clarifications. As I stated in the very first line of that topic, those clarifications are based on the existing Steam guidelines - it's not about "writing new rules", but being very clear about how those rules apply to a specific situation which is important for Towns. Some users are intent on pushing the boundaries of every grey-area interpretation of their rights to discuss whichever topics; I noticed that the associated responsiblities for those discussions were conspicuous in their abscence. In other words: I set out to make sure that, while the focus is on users' rights; their responsibilities recieve equal attention (because the two are inseparable).

I appreciate that you've aired those concerns; and I'm glad that the community is taking a self-aware look at these issues. I simply ask that a bit of trust be given to take these guidelines at face value; as a safeguard against certain recurring problems, so that we can get on with the other stuff and not keep rehashing the same ground.

Naturally, these actions aren't set in stone - I'm entirely open to discussing those ammendments/supplements and finding a better option if one can be found. It's just one of those "between a rock and a hard place" calls - letting things go on as they had been would have been purely unacceptable for the vast majority of community members, and this seemed like the least offensive option.

I find it very interesting that you still hold the stance that you can in fact "suppliment and provide clarification" on Valves own forum rregulations, rules and TOS. Are you in fact stating you have this authority? Honestly you seem more about drama than actually making a game. I paid for this tripe a long time ago and wish it would just die already. Your own assumption of ultimate authority is the cherry on this not so great cake.
Last edited by Phanttis; Aug 17, 2014 @ 9:30pm
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