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File 133408979892.png - (396.28KB , 780x720 , book.png )
36803 No. 36803
Hey /collab/,

I've been talking about making a guideline thread for /collab/ so people will hopefully learn how to make better threads and through that - get more people to help them out!

But before I just make the thread out of nowhere I think it's a good idea to work on a rough draft first to run by everypony here. After we feel that the guidelines are complete, we can take it to /meta/ and see what we can do to get a thread like that stickied.

So to that effort I've started on a very rough draft of the guidelines to be found here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ExhCvTQar75bNHlOhEo6V-HgjWMb18lzZsiWNbaWSFk/edit

Right now everypony should be able to view it and leave comments as long as you follow the link.

I've written down the parts that I thought were the most important: the table of contents and the first three "chapters" if you will (describing what /collab/ is for, what it isn't for and general rules for people who want to make a thread)

I can keep writing no problem, since obviously it's not complete right now (although I am in a European timezone, so I'll apologize for any delays in replying, writing and/or editing) but I do need some advice from you fine ponies.

What I want to know specifically:
- Is the table of contents 'good', as in, does it encompass everything that should be in an official guideline thread?
- Spelling and grammar issues aside, are the already-written chapters any good? Are they clear for the reader, or are they totally unclear?

Of course any other advice, help or idea is much appreciated.
I'd also love to hear some of your experiences working with people on /collab/ threads, whether that's in voice-acting, games, animation or anything else.
Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 36805
>>36803
It looks great so far.
>> No. 36806
I like it.

Suggestion: Emphasise that ideas alone ("I've decided who the characters are and what their special attacks are / the villain will be X and here's the story") doesn't constitute progress nor will get people helping, since they could easily come up with such ideas themselves.
>> No. 36807
You should probably also add to the general rules of conduct that if you find a project that doesn't follow the guideline, you should not bash it instantly, but instead lend some advice so the OP can correct his/her mistakes.

eg:

OP makes thread "Please help me make game. I need a spriter and somepony to code"

in this case,
what not to do: "What are you stupid, do you just expect everypony to do everything for you? Do you think we are your personal slaves or something? sod off!"
What to do: "This thread does not follow the guidelines; you can red them here >>[link] . Please post what you have so far; concept or whatever you have made. Also please notice that it is very unlikely that anypony agrees to helping you if you haven't done a good portion of the job already"


And yeah, admittedly most of the time the OP doesn't actually deserve a second chance, but you never know =/
>> No. 36812
>>36807
Yeah, this should really be reiterated. They don't always deserve a chance, but you can easily scare off others who would have posted by acting like a jerk.

Also, you might want to include a statement about what is/is not constructive criticism and discussion. Some people find it acceptable to point out flaws in another's work without providing solutions. That's not constructive in my opinion.
>> No. 36819
>>36812
>Also, you might want to include a statement about what is/is not constructive criticism and discussion. Some people find it acceptable to point out flaws in another's work without providing solutions. That's not constructive in my opinion.

I don't think this is up to the board to decide. This is up to the people making the projects. If you want feedback then you should be prepared for negative feedback, and I personally disagree that pointing out things that aren't good isn't constructive. For instance in a game, it's not the players job to fix your game or to suggest fixes; it's their job to play it have fun. If they feel something is broken then it's the creator's job to think how to fix it.

I can say food tastes bad without knowing how to cook it better.

This is how I see it anyway, I think that saying people can't post criticism without suggested ways to fix it is not a great rule.
>> No. 36824
>>36819

As far I could see it, >>36807 and >>36812 are attempting to hijack this guide to prevent people from saying anything that isn't "nice".

And speaking about opinions, I have one: Maybe the guide should say something like "If you don't have the skills or talent to make a game or project, then simply don't start one to begin".

I can understand people asking for help, but I've seen too many people who -literally- just come here to request people to do EVERYTHING for them, and on top of that they become all smug and agressive when they are called on that.
>> No. 36833
>>36819
I guess i hadn't considered it like that. It might still be worth including, but you're right.
>> No. 36834
File 133412855240.jpg - (53.55KB , 654x688 , finally ah can get some eatin done.jpg )
36834
>>36807
That's mostly what the guide is for, so hopefully we won't have to deal with shitty threads anymore (or at least, a whole lot less), or we can at least redirect them.

>>36812
I agree with:
>>36819
This especially goes for when you're making games, sites or services that people are going to use or play. Desktop Ponies, email services, Facebook mods/clones, video games, they all fall under this category because people are using them. The player/user is more than entitled to point out what he did or did not like about the project and it is up to the creator to do something about it (or not!).

>>36824
Indeed, far too many threads are being made by people who want other people to do stuff for them. Frankly, it's an insult to the people who work so hard to get their stuff out there.
However, this doesn't go for every project entirely. Stuff like sing-a-longs is different from a game: those can usually launch with just the idea, but they'll launch a lot quicker if the original thread maker sings as well and promises to edit the piece.
I think the Summer Funimation thread is another great example: because there was already a piece of animation to talk about, people got interested much more quickly.

So it should be viewed on a case-to-case basis, some projects need more than others, but general rule of thumb is: if you have nothing to show outside of an idea, you better get to work first.

I'll be working on this again tonight so keep the comments coming in!
>> No. 36836
>>36834

I just came back from hiatus, and I know from my own experience that a big problem is that people want to help, but can't figure out a way to contribute besides coming up with ideas. Despite devoting weeks and weeks to a project, like say spriting, when somepony twice as good as you comes along and stomps your feeble attempt, it is a little discouraging.

Even being a fan-boy of a game is tiring. When you can't contribute to the fan-base, the only thing you can do is watch it pass you by. That is why people are always coming up with more and more ideas.

I typed that whole bit and forgot completely what the guidelines were... Well at least I feel better.
I'm going to eat biscuits and Gravy
>> No. 36845
>>36836

If you don't have the skills and other people is doing a better job than you, sometimes the best help you can give is simply stepping aside and not attempting to help at all. It happens and there's nothing to feel ashamed about.
Also, 9/10 times when somepony "contributes" to a project by suggesting ideas, all what they accomplish is overloading the project with extra work and causing more problems than it had to begin with.

You don't jump in a pool if you don't know how to swim, and you don't get in a fight if you don't know how to defend yourself. The same should be applied to people who wants to start a project without having the needed skills or who tries to "help" despite having no idea of how to.

Just don't, and lots of problems and headaches will be avoided for everypony.
>> No. 36853
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36853
>>36836
The best thing you can do as a fan is to give support. There's no way that isn't important.

I spent most of my last 4 months working on a game for a school project. It was a big project, especially with only two people working on it. When the deadline came around and people were able to play it... I was so happy hearing people praise my team's work and effort, to hear that people genuinely liked and enjoyed playing it.

That's why /collab/ is such a wonderful board. You can't always contribute: but you can support. If you really like Fighting is Magic, Ponykart, the Doctor Whooves radioplay, the Beatle Bronies, the Summer Funimation or ANY other project with a thread here: showing and spreading your love for it is probably the best thing you can do.

Yes it sounds sappy, cliché'd, what have you, but it's the darn honest truth.
I won't be as cheesy with the rest of the guidelines, promise!
>> No. 36854
>>36845
While, I can agree a project benefits more from semi-professionals producing games, I catch the feeling your saying you want to alienate amateurs rather than help them grow.

>Also, 9/10 times when somepony "contributes" to a project by suggesting ideas, all what they accomplish is overloading the project with extra work and causing more problems than it had to begin with.

I'm not sure if I fully catch what you mean but I see nothing wrong with ideas, they either work and you use them, or they don't and you scrap them.

Amateurs make mistakes, it's the very nature of learning. If you want to learn how to swim, you at least have to get in the pool.

To make this fun I made a metephor:

/collab/ is the pony party pool, where even Jimmy can play. Yes, he may look weird with his floaties and odd swimming trunks. Yet, he too has the potential to be the next Olympic champion. Now, from what I can gather, instead of streamlining our pool with nice lights and clean water, you want to stick sharks in the damn thing, throw in a couple toasters and have only the strongest survive? I say Nay, Nay, Thrice Nay! Think of the ponies! Think of Jimmy. I wrote a Haiku for him, but it's to soon.
>> No. 36860
>>36854
>While, I can agree a project benefits more from semi-professionals producing games, I catch the feeling your saying you want to alienate amateurs rather than help them grow.

No, what I want is to make people understand that there's a place for everypony. If a guy who can't do anything right decides to latch on a project and starts throwing out "ideas" you can tell his ideas are going to cause problems because he doesn't even knows how to implement them by himself, doesn't know if they are going to be compatible with the current project, or WHO is going to go out of it's way to work on them and of course, he doesn't even knows if they are going to be good ideas to begin. (Most of them could be sumed up as "This is what I want... plz do it... pls... I want it.... I want it so bad... please?")

PonyKart is a good example of people throwing a dumb idea after other, aka requesting entire race tracks, special modes, special characters, online multiplayer options, etc. They have no idea of how the project works, or how much effort is already taking on the developer mteam, or compatibility, performance, etc. They just say "This is my idea. Use it."

I'm going to use your pool example: You menction poor 'ol Jimmy, with his floaties and 'ol swimming trunks. And we have not one, but two fancy pools available: a tiny, safe and cute pool for newbies, ideal for training and all that, and then we have the big, deep pool where only the pros can safely swim.

Poor 'ol Jimmy barely can keep himself afloat, but he -insists- of being allowed to swim on the big pool with the pros right off the bat. Poor 'ol Jimmy doesn't wants to practice, poor 'ol Jimmy doesn't cares if he's going to became a burden and a hinderance for the pro swimmers.

Poor, poor 'ol Jimmy only wants to jump on the big pool bandwagon so he could feel like he fits in, all while demanding to be understood, cuddled, etc, ignoring the mess he is causing to the other swimmers. He refuses to use the small pool, because it's boring, and for babies and he has all this awesome ideas (on his head) about swimming, so his place is the big pool, with the pros!

Eventually, everypony will get tired of poor, poor 'ol Jimmy's antics and problems and will ask him to stop being a pain in the flank. And what will poor, poor, POOR 'ol Jimmy do?
Jimmy will piss in the pool as "revenge against the meanie poo elitists" who refused him to get things his way.
>> No. 36862
Very good guide you got there so far, Thrityfour.

I also agree that if you can't actively help the project (coding, modeling, animation, audio, whatevs) you should hand some moral support to them. It really helps. :)
>> No. 36873
File 133417368959.png - (112.94KB , 368x345 , pillowjack.png )
36873
Here's the update for today. I made some edits to the General Rules and added the two most important chapters.

The doc can once again be found here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ExhCvTQar75bNHlOhEo6V-HgjWMb18lzZsiWNbaWSFk/edit

I also added some extra chapters to the table of contents and removed some as well. I doubt we'll really need a Directory so I'm still thinking about removing that part as well.

If everything goes according to plan, the rough draft should be finished tomorrow.
>> No. 36874
>>36873

The best thing that's happened to this board. Your tone and style is perfect and your examples illustrative.
>> No. 36880
>>36860
You sir, are a bit of alright.
>> No. 36892
>>36873

As Rarity once said, I like it very much.

May I suggest you to dig around to find -terrible- threads such as happened in >>32854 ?

That is a poster example of how NOT to make a request.

Also, dedicating a few lines to explain things like the difference between getting somepony's permission to use their material and giving credit for using their material.
Too many people thinks that they just take whatever they want and everything will be alright if they say "oh, credit to forumguywhatever for all the stuff I took from him"
>> No. 36895
>>36892

Another great example of how NOT make a project can be found here: >>31654

I also remember a very dumb girl who called herself "ponyluver" who latched on the Desktop Ponies thread (after being unmasked as a thief, no less) and nearly drover everypony crazy with her stupidity, horrendous "animations", self centered spamming and complete inability to understand what was being told to her.

She refused to go away and insisted to "help" by flooding the thread with stupidity until nearly a couple months later they finally managed to kick her out... and then she began her own projects to "contribute", which involved lots and lots of stolen material that she tried to pass as her own.

Ugh.
>> No. 36925
File 133425614945.png - (105.67KB , 250x350 , standjack.png )
36925
Here's the final for the rough draft:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ExhCvTQar75bNHlOhEo6V-HgjWMb18lzZsiWNbaWSFk/edit

I'm going to need people to give it a looksie one more time and give out their comments. I've got a specific question in mind: Is there any part or question that people are still missing?

And I'll have to ask people to do some proofreading as well. Please check for grammatical and spelling errors! Although I'm confident in my English, it still isn't my native language, so there's probably a bunch of errors that I've missed.

I've omitted the directory now - I think it's something that can always be added at a later date. For a rough draft, it isn't really necessary.

Also, does anypony have some information on how to get a thread stickied? I'm planning on taking it to /meta/, but if anypony has some info about this that'd be great.
>> No. 36944
It looks very good. My lone suggestion is this one:

>I want to contribute to a project, what should I do?

This part needs something like "Before offering help, check if your skills are on par with the group's skills. Otherwise you will become a burden for them."

Lots of people genuinely wants to help on a project, but they simply don't have the skills. despite that, they insist of wanting to "help" and it goes all downhill from there.
>> No. 36974
File 133433792342.png - (117.95KB , 294x356 , thinkinghat.png )
36974
>>36944
I added it.

I'll also address some other posts that I've skipped earlier:
>>36892
I don't want to put too much emphasis on the bad examples, so I've decided to put a limit of three. I've replaced one of them with the first thread you posted.

I'll leave the draft up for people to read it over the weekend. URL's the same as always, of course. If there are any more issues that need to be adressed, I'll be happy to hear it.
>> No. 36975
I got mentioned in the text, yay?

The sad thing is, I honestly don't know what else I would have needed to show.

It is quite clear that I already had the programming skills to pull it off, from the fact that I posted a mostly working build of the game.

And I think I was clear enough on what I was looking for.
>> No. 36980
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36980
>>36975
What the hay... I only just now noticed that you actually uploaded the game.
I didn't even know you could do that here... Serves me right, I suppose.

As to actually answer your question: your thread doesn't actually have an idea on how to make it look like a pony game. Plus, I think a lot of people might've missed the fact that you uploaded the .swf itself, therefore swiftly ignoring the thread, especially considering how small the thread is. People probably drew their conclusions too quickly, like me.

Try it again, use a screenshot of the game as a picture and provide a link to the game instead? Or upload it in the second post instead. A little more description also can't hurt.
>> No. 37104
File 133461324871.png - (71.86KB , 304x327 , swag2.png )
37104
(Shameless bump for frontpage)

Seriously though, I did add a piece about being descriptive because of the issue with >>36975

To that end I've also changed that example to the one listed in >>36895

I've also added a little bit about how important the first impression is when showing your project.
Finally, I've done a little bit of extra formatting. If there are no other points people would like to mention, I'll send this over to /meta/ tomorrow.
>> No. 37138
>>37104

This thread should be pinned indeed.

Pinned AND locked so nopony could try to fight the guide with dumb semantics to call it "unfair" or claim to have "special rights" so they could keep doing their thing no matter what.
>> No. 37151
/meta/ thread has been posted and can be found here: >>/meta/110350
>> No. 37175
Allright under "General Rules" >All of these ‘rules’ might have scared you into working with us, but well… don’t be!
I don't think that is worded correctly. I think you were going for something like "All of these 'rules' might have made you scared of working with us, but well... don't be!"

Then it looks like you forgot the rest of the sentence in the "I need help for my already established project, what should I do?" section, after "If you don’t show us your work," maybe "how can we see what you're working toward and get excited to help out." would be a way to finish that sentence off.

Next under the "I want to contribute to a project, what should I do?" section, "Be sure to check whether your skills are on par with the group’s skills." This entire part and the bit afterward sounds really negative and doesn't always seem true. "Check whether you have the skills needed to contribute to the group. If a group doesn’t accept your application, don’t push the issue. People will have different expectations about what they want out of their project and what's needed from their group members." sounds better and gets across the same points.

That's all the critiques I have for now and I will try to think up some more for you later.
>> No. 37176
I have some good advice that I hope that you can find a good spot for in the document:

Sit down and write a design document in your favorite word processor. It is not particularly hard to do, just a bit of work. The more you can write down, the better. Try to at least have more than a few pages when initially pitching your idea. Don't be afraid of having a lot of details, have at least five (is five a good number? I just picked something) times as much detail as you initially planed.

If you have a game, list everything about the game, the gui, the story, the core gameplay, the various gameplay elements, scoring rules, anything and everything that will be in the game.

While no design ends up exactly as planed from the start, at least try to design as much as possible.

As for any project that involves programming: think about the target platform. Downloaded native executables? Flash games? Something else? Is there any particular programming languages/technologies/whatever you are/will/want to use?

Not only does all this writing force you to think, it really helps to sell the idea since it is so much more well defined.

And don't forget that a good summary of the idea is critical. The details seal the deal, but it is the summary that makes people care in the first place.
>> No. 37177
I have some good advice that I hope that you can find a good spot for in the document:

Sit down and write a design document in your favorite word processor. It is not particularly hard to do, just a bit of work. The more you can write down, the better. Try to at least have more than a few pages when initially pitching your idea. Don't be afraid of having a lot of details, have at least five (is five a good number? I just picked something) times as much detail as you initially planed.

If you have a game, list everything about the game, the gui, the story, the core gameplay, the various gameplay elements, scoring rules, anything and everything that will be in the game.

While no design ends up exactly as planed from the start, at least try to design as much as possible.

As for any project that involves programming: think about the target platform. Downloaded native executables? Flash games? Something else? Is there any particular programming languages/technologies/whatever you are/will/want to use?

Not only does all this writing force you to think, it really helps to sell the idea since it is so much more well defined.

And don't forget that a good summary of the idea is critical. The details seal the deal, but it is the summary that makes people care in the first place.
>> No. 37180
File 133471590717.png - (188.94KB , 801x997 , not_how_it__s_done_on_the_farm_by_maximillianveers-d3lfvv2.png )
37180
Hey guys. Sorry to interrupt; just wanted to pop over from /meta/ after seeing the thread there about this topic - this is an awesome example of community initiative working to improve their board. !!Celestia's commented on it as well and I think is looking forward to what you think the potential sticky would look like. (In my estimation, the guide looks really good after having looked through it, but of course a concise and direct sticky is just as important.) You might consider asking in that /meta/ thread for a mod input for how best to word it.

Good luck, this is a really great thing.
>> No. 37186
Gave it a read and it looks good to me.

I've caught wind of the discussion being had as well. Mistakes are going to be made and people might get hurt, but that's how we're going to learn. This is a process and we will constantly work to make it better as we experience and solve problems.
>> No. 37201
File 133473483878.png - (137.01KB , 400x400 , smile (2).png )
37201
As mentioned by >>37180, support is rolling in for our guidelines to get stickied. Keep the comments coming in, any idea is worth sharing.

It's also time to start posting about any grammatical and spelling errors you can find, like this post: >>37175
I really appreciate it, since my English isn't exactly perfect.

>>37176
Programming and design documents is mostly about game design and /collab/ does more than that, but you certainly have a point that writing a design doc forces you to think about it, which will make selling the idea much easier.
I'll have a looksie this evening and see how much I can put in.
>> No. 37211
>>37201
Perhaps add a little more emphasis on how it's better to start on a small project if it's the first time you're working with other people over the internet or if it's your first time at all doing a project of that (or any) sort, instead of going straight for something spectacular or large.
>> No. 37212
I read through it and it looks pretty good and I think it might help a lot of people. I've been starting to see quite a few bad threads in /collab/
>> No. 37225
I've done some more general editing, making the overall piece smaller. Most of the cutting was in the general rules. Right now, the entire piece is 5 pages long (of which 2 pages are the most relevant, the 1st and the 3rd).
>> No. 37238
>>37201
It is true that a design document is very good for games and programming. But one can't deny that it can be applied for a lot of other projects. It is never wrong to sit down and document what the project is.

Anything with a story can document the characters/settings/key events. Everything can document the theme and setting used.

I say, sit down and document to the level that the project will match your vision even if you hand it off to complete strangers.
>> No. 37249
This version of the guide is even better. The bolded keywords and breaking everything down in small ideas helped a lot.
>> No. 37492
Hey guys, sorry I've been letting this slide over the last couple days. I just made the thread on /test/ to see if hopefully we can finally get some of that sticky action going.
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