Lately, there has been some confusion about our workflow, the rules of these forums, or something; I'm really not sure where it's coming from, but I find myself spending more time in 'policing the forums' mode and less time actually designing this game.
If you read the other posts on the announcement board, you will see that we try to maintain a professional environment so that arguments and people can be taken seriously and criticized in a constructive, thoughtful manner that need not offend.
Because of the implicit trust we place in the community in fostering an atmosphere like this, we have a couple public forums for debate. The brainstorming board is perhaps the most contentious. Right now, though, all of the FO team participates on many of the boards, and we have no private boards for ourselves -- mostly because we don't want such a clear separation between 'ourselves' and 'everyone else' -- I, for one, appreciate that the only real distinction between a team member and a participant in the community could be a couple weeks' of effort of design discussion, some code, or a few photoshop mock-ups.
To be honest, though, I don't see this structure remaining indefinitely. In the beginning, just about everyone on this project read all the boards. As we've grown (and as our workload has increased), many people on the FO team don't follow all the boards as closely as they used to. Some of this cannot be helped, but the blame for a lot of it falls squarely on the shoulders of the community -- perhaps even you.
The whole idea behind the brainstorming board is that there are inevitably going to be people with a burning desire to talk about things that we aren't ready to code yet, and that, even if that discussion falls outside the realm of our official design process at any given time (all the current threads on space and ground combat, for example), there might be some good ideas that will come out of brainstorming, and bad ones that will be quashed -- it is brainstorming, after all.
Unfortunately, this resource has been abused. Not by everyone -- and I'm not singling out just the most recent abusers; but these undirected discussions are degenerating, more often than not, into petty arguments, extraneous threads, and debates about things like whether or not a particular part of the engine should be put in a separate .exe or a .dll -- a decision that will be made by the programming team far from now.
My point in saying all of this is that, right now, the brainstorming board requires the most human maintenance and offers the least reward for our trouble. Consequently:
Take a moment to realize that this is not an unmoderated, public, free-for-all forum. The more people start to treat this forum like their personal soapbox, the more restrictve the rules will become. It has already been suggested that the FO team have private boards with similar functions to the public ones. Everyone on the team has resisted this, because it decreases our involvement in public debate, which is the heart and soul of a project like this.
The unfortunate reality is that, the more trash the FO team has to wade through on these boards, the less likely we are to read them, and the more likely we are to crave our own space. I hardly ever even distinguish between 'us' and 'everyone else,' but I can't help but feel I've been put in this position by a vocal minority that insists upon treating these forums like most other Internet forums -- a place where your actions have no repurcussions, where people feel it is their god-given right to give their two cents and flame whomever they want.
Please ask yourself if carrying on some silly debate with minimal relevance to the work that we need to do on this project is really worth it before you go start new threads or add to existing ones. The project is why we are all here; if you care about it, please do your absolute best to respect your peers and all of the FO community.
Thank you for reading!
Surprise and Terror! I am greeted by the smooth and hostile face of our old enemy, the Hootmans! No... the Huge-glands, no, I remember, the Hunams!