Roll Call - DECEMBER 2018 & New Year's Resolutions!

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Roll Call - DECEMBER 2018 & New Year's Resolutions!

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Thu 27 Dec 2018, 00:55

With a little bit of a delay, here is your next update on the "State of the G4TW", plus some New Year Resolutions, even if it's a few days too early for the latter.  Very Happy


1) Facebook

People who (on occasion) follow our Games4theworldclub Facebook Page may have taken notice of certain problems lately. It took us a while to notice, but for some time all our links to the games4theworld.club domain were "shadow-banned" from Facebook, which means these status updates were not visible to anybody, except the person who wrote them, therefore it took us a while to remedy the situation. While the situation now is that the original domain seems to have been un-banned again, we will probably make some changes to the way we use these external platforms. We suspect that our Forum was reported, which was the reason these status updates were shadow-banned in the first place. 

Given the additional fact that "organic post reach" is declining steadily if you don't pay a respectable sum of money to Facebook, it becomes less and less feasible for us to have a presence on Facebook. 

Back in the days of the old Admin, the situation was different in that you had all these "fan-pages" on Facebook, and you were guaranteed that your followers could view whatever you posted. Now with the explosion of Facebook-usage, it is needless to say that there is some noticeable competition in terms of what people see in their "news feeds". Recent algorithm changes have made it such that content from friends and relatives are being preferred, over anything else. That may sound logical, but what many people fail to see is that for most businesses and organizations - unless they have the financial means to do otherwise - these changes do have a bigger impact than one might think.

While ~Ann~ has emphasized we will keep up the Facebook Page, we will nonetheless reduce our messaging activities there, and mostly going to focus on announcing new game releases and other important news. As for everything else, that will take a backseat. 

And no, don't get me started on the other platforms such as Reddit or Twitter. That wouldn't work either. If any of you has any good ideas on what we could instead try in that regard (apart from paying a fortune to Facebook, which we won't), feel free to comment down below.

To sum up - and the following is mostly aimed at the people who may have experienced "back then everything under the old Admin was a million times better" - things from the early 2010s are not necessarily working anymore in the year 2018/2019. 



2) The Sims 4 Gallery

Given the limitations of DRM-free copies of The Sims 4 (Gallery access is not possible anymore since early-mid 2015), alternative venues have seen a rise in interest. As of most lately @anadius has come up with an experimental Gallery, so feel free to check it out. 

I've also noticed that people keep bumping me about "keep posting updates" on the main Gallery-creator thread, which I will do, no worries. It is a popular staple of the G4TW platform (and admittedly also brings us some advertising-clicks What a Face  ), so it will be continued...somewhat regularly I guess.

From what I've seen clicks are strongest with well-known Sims 4 YouTubers, but you're more than welcome to also give the other creators a try. Never know what you could be missing out on.

Someone also suggested that we edit the announcement and put "icons" next to each creator, to indicate the focus of the creator, so either "sims" or "households", or both. It sounds good in theory, but in practice I'm not sure to what extent something counts as "focusing on something". A creator with 51% of their items being sims, but the other ones being beautiful houses, would that be considered a "Sims-creator"? Mathematically yes, but in the end I might as well not bother. 

Since I pack and re-upload entire creator-updates each time I work on this, you are more than welcome to use tools such as the "Sims 4 Tray Importer" to filter out the items you don't like in each creator-update.


3) Forum

We have made a few more changes to the structure of Forum sections. The sections "The Sims 3 Exchange Mods & Media" were removed, and their contents moved to "The Sims 3 Exchange Miscellaneous". Also, we have put the Software/Hardware/Maintenance/Viruses sections together with the chatter about PC games and The Sims Emporium, due to their thematically being close-ish together. This new category is named "The world of games and computers".

We have also instituted a "welcome private message" that every newly-registered user will receive, with helpful links and further contact information. Speaking of the latter, there is now a Contact Us-thread, which explains how you can get in touch with the Administrators of the Forum.

Our most recent new project on the Forum is also the opening of the Indie Corner section, which will focus on Indie game repacks on G4TW plus any associated news/discussions/tutorials about the Indie game scene.

Closely connected to the Indie Corner, we will also be utilizing more our new YouTube channel, which will feature selected gameplay clips of our game releases. We probably won't post installation guides or tutorials on this channel, as chances are they would simply get reported over time. Instead we will try and come up with an alternative download format for any installation videos in the future.

Finally, we have also abandoned the "Thankyou-posts" section; if anybody of you really wants to open a new topic thanking us, feel free to do so in the Off-topic corner.


4) Forum Rule changes

We have edited the Forum Rules such, that any communication about Game Support outside the Forum is now prohibited. Which means you cannot post on Facebook or send e-mails anymore asking for whatever game problems you experience. I suppose this is a lasting legacy of the old Admin and his baggage that "e-mail support is guaranteed". As stated above however, times are changing. If we already have a Forum (which we will not abandon), what's the point of having e-mail/Facebook Support? So that when people feel they didn't get a satisfactory reply, they just post all over the places?

Game Support requests posted outside the official channels (= Forum) will be ignored and/or deleted. And if people spam (= keep sending messages and expecting a response), they may be subject to moderation.


5) So what's coming in the new year?

We will of course be keeping up with The Sims 4 updates and DLC, plus updates on The Sims 4 Gallery. Rumor has it that EA is planning more updates for the coming 2-3 years or so. Though as far as my own activities on the G4TW Forums are concerned, there will be a general reduction of the typical "Sims-Support". 

Instead there will be an increased focus on the Indie Corner and any other new game releases that may come up, plus work on external platforms like YouTube. As has been stated above, we will most likely reduce our Facebook presence. We will also reduce these e-mail newsletters.

I think I've said this in another post somewhere, but my own "meta" for the year 2019 is going to put emphasis on general commentary/tutorials and what I call "users who genuinely care", rather than keep attempting to be popular with the masses. Don't get me wrong: The Sims stuff will still play a crucial part in G4TW's activities, but at least as far as I am concerned I will try catering to an audience that is genuinely more interested in what we do, on a day-to-day basis.

Again, everybody who respects the Forum Rules is welcome. But it hasn't gone unnoticed by me that - again, I'm speaking only from my own perspective - that I keep giving Support, and a lot of people do not have the decency to even respond back with any follow-up feedback. Contrary to what you may think now, this is not about me. This is about helping fellow users who read these topics, and then find themselves in a position asking if the topic that received a reply has been actually resolved. It is likely at this point that I myself have overly unrealistic expectations from the average internet user, but so be it. 

Symptomatic of the fact that the general 'level' of communication appears to be taking more and more a nosedive, is my attempt to explain to a user that the e-mail communication channels are not for actual game support, but rather for general site navigation questions, account problems, and such.




No no. The notices in bold red under my Forum signature and Forum profile are just jokes. The Contact information too. And let's not forget the stickied announcement on our Facebook Page. FAKE NEWS EVERYWHERE! 





Sometimes you just have to make more of an effort and look at the bigger picture, instead of blindly clicking on links that you see and automatically assume that whatever pre-conceived (and sometimes flawed) assumptions you may have, are true. This doesn't go for just G4TW, but for general internet usage as well. Granted, I suspect part of the 'issue' is that some of our followers are sharing our links and contact information on unrelated Facebook/Twitter/Reddit/YouTube/whatever channels, which other people then pick up there. Of course in such a scenario they won't notice the bigger picture, and maybe assume that it's OK to e-mail for game support. In the end, it's maybe best to gather first-hand information by visiting our platforms directly.

If the user above had at the very least suggested (or tried to suggest) how we could improve our presentation of information such that these details are more visible/easier noticeable, it would have been different. But another part of the 'issue' is that there are complaints, and no efforts whatsoever to contribute to solutions. In this instance, I can't really come up with anything else except maybe an initial automated e-mail reply, stating that game support is not provided. 

It is to be expected that computers in whatever physical or non-physical form they may come, are going to play bigger and bigger roles in our lives. For better or worse, I won't go into that discussion here. But general computer literacy is still very low. Most Western countries' public educational institutions have somewhat failed to prepare for this development in advance. I recommend reading this article here which, mind you, was written in 1993. Thematically, WAY ahead of its time in my opinion.

A lot of people are going to be turned off by the condescending undertone ("I will leave G4TW now!111111111111"), but I mean everything I just said. And this is going to be the general "meta" that you can expect from me in the year 2019, and I suppose as long as I'm active on here. Can't speak for the other team members, though.

In contrast to the old Admin whose final words were allegedly that he "lost the spirit" in running the Forums, I would rather prefer being honest and upfront with these issues and at least try doing something immediately, instead of putting on a fake smile and hoping things will turn out good. It is my opinion that had the old Admin, who is still revered by so many on here, 'sobered up' earlier, it would have saved us all a lot of trouble in the end. 

With that being said, it is your choice whether or not you will accompany us into the new year 2019. If you do, it's cool, if not then it's also fine. Regardless of what you personally think of whatever you believe will come up in the year 2019 on G4TW: may prosperity, peace, health, luck and happiness be upon you. And also regardless of what you think about the tone that I adopted, I would advise you to think about this for more than a second. Can you maybe learn something, for your own lives? I'm sure that some of you can, but that will be up to you of course in the end.

Good luck!

Happy B-day!


Last edited by The_gh0stm4n on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 02:43; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Roll Call - DECEMBER 2018 & New Year's Resolutions!

Post by xXx_Tarac_xXx on Thu 27 Dec 2018, 11:34

A great number of visitors (I think even the majority) come to this site to find an answer for their Sims-related questions.
Now it's just what you prefer on this forum, either a good overseeable search function or a new post about a question that is already  been posted over a 100 times and adequately answered.

I also noticed that the Members-list has been scrapped again.
Some well-known and respected members of this forum have links in their signature.
When I wish to lead people to f.e. the alternative installation by @anadius, I must now search for Anadius, then open his profile, search for messages posted and then I can copy the corresponding link. Ok, in case of Anadius it's not to difficult but when I want to quote someone else whose exact name I don't remember, I can't look it up.
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Re: Roll Call - DECEMBER 2018 & New Year's Resolutions!

Post by Sim Architect on Thu 27 Dec 2018, 16:07

To Tarac: Your links seem to be showing fine in your signature, @Tarac...

==========

I agree that we should not provide private support, all support (except when there's a VERY relevant reason not to, of course) should be public, in my opinion, so other people can search and find answers for the same issues here.

To Carlos: Can you set up your email system to send an automated reply with a form that forces the user to read a message saying that NO support shall be provided through e-mail, with a link to the forum, and, only if they acquaint that, they can click on a button after a captcha to be able to unblock a previously sent email to be actually delivered to you? Oh, and your private email address is in your screenshot!


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Re: Roll Call - DECEMBER 2018 & New Year's Resolutions!

Post by xXx_Tarac_xXx on Thu 27 Dec 2018, 16:44

@Sim Architect wrote:To Tarac: Your links seem to be showing fine in your signature, @Tarac...

==========
I think you misunderstood me, the links are working fine but suppose you don't remember my name but you know it starts with Ta. You could then find the full name via the members-list
Or another example, is it Loonieloose, Loonyloose, Lonieloose ?
Just typing lo in the members-list gives me the correct name.
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Re: Roll Call - DECEMBER 2018 & New Year's Resolutions!

Post by Sim Architect on Thu 27 Dec 2018, 20:32

Tarac wrote:
@Sim Architect wrote:To Tarac: Your links seem to be showing fine in your signature, @Tarac...

==========
I think you misunderstood me, the links are working fine but suppose you don't remember my name but you know it starts with Ta. You could then find the full name via the members-list
Or another example, is it Loonieloose, Loonyloose, Lonieloose ?
Just typing lo in the members-list gives me the correct name.

No, I do not understand, sorry. Is a feature of the forum (search) broken?

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Re: Roll Call - DECEMBER 2018 & New Year's Resolutions!

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Fri 28 Dec 2018, 01:11

@Sim Architect wrote:To Carlos: Can you set up your email system to send an automated reply with a form that forces the user to read a message saying that NO support shall be provided through e-mail, with a link to the forum, and, only if they acquaint that, they can click on a button after a captcha to be able to unblock a previously sent email to be actually delivered to you? Oh, and your private email address is in your screenshot!


The thing is, Protonmail (the free plans) don't allow automatic replies. I used to use the Russian mail.ru, but once I started sending out torrent links to people, the service started making things difficult for me...and refused to send out those emails because the system considered them spam.

No worries, the e-mail address you see in the screenshot is the same as the one that you can contact with the red button under my signature. Most messages I get there are comments like the one I screenshot' above, but on occasion there are also messages from genuinely friendly/interested people. Plus, the new advertiser contacted me through that channel, which I then forwarded to ~Ann~...and after which we slowly started abandoning the adfly.

I don't think I will rely on American-based services for most of my G4TW-related communications, and instead use the Swiss Protonmail. As for the rest, I mostly ignore game questions sent to that address.

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Re: Roll Call - DECEMBER 2018 & New Year's Resolutions!

Post by Loonieloose on Mon 07 Jan 2019, 07:45

howdy, just wanted to let you know that I read the roll call. Wishing you all a happy, prosperous and productive new year. thanks for all the hard work ddone. All Hail Carlos!

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Re: Roll Call - DECEMBER 2018 & New Year's Resolutions!

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 23:16

Tarac wrote:A great number of visitors (I think even the majority) come to this site to find an answer for their Sims-related questions (...)

Again, I'm not objecting to the fact that the majority of users are interested in that area. I will also keep working there, as well. A great statesman of the mid-1700s once said accordingly "Everyone must live as they themselves see fit". Since everybody has gotten so used to The Sims, it would be futile on my end to try and un-do a development, that is the result of many years of hard work. The newer stuff will be meant for a very tiny audience, and consequently I will attempt to manage my (decreasing) time and resources accordingly. Yes, I will try drawing some interest also from the people who otherwise only play Sims. If they want to participate in the new sections, then that is good. But if not, it's also fine. 

What I am objecting to is the ever-increasing apathy in communications, as well as decreasing decency. Besides what was mentioned in the opening post, I think it also has to do with the general hostile climate, and somewhat changing views about our type of activity. As an example, most American users get these "warning letters" nowadays for torrenting stuff, which will make them use these items less frequently, compared to the early stages of G4TW. The development is further elaborated by de-facto satellite states of the American Republic (thinking mostly about the likes of Germany, France or the UK), who are increasingly doing the same. 

I recall those instances where users who registered under the old Admin in the early 2010s suddenly show up again here after many years, e-mailing me and asking to delete their account because "they have moved on [insert real-life or online career here] and don't want to be associated anymore with a platform about piracy". First off, a lot of our tutorials are also applicable to legit software/games as well. Secondly, my reaction is virtually always the same: the request to delete Forum accounts is rejected, leaving the user to either use the Forumotion unsubscribe-tool, or just roll with the situation. Most people who ask me to delete their accounts - interestingly enough - don't actually end up using that Forumotion-tool, but that's also OK I guess. Some people also simply choose to remove their avatars, as it seems to depicts their real-life persona, which is also fine by me.


Tarac wrote:I also noticed that the Members-list has been scrapped again. Some well-known and respected members of this forum have links in their signature.
When I wish to lead people to f.e. the alternative installation by @anadius, I must now search for Anadius, then open his profile, search for messages posted and then I can copy the corresponding link. Ok, in case of Anadius it's not to difficult but when I want to quote someone else whose exact name I don't remember, I can't look it up.


I find it interesting that you still - after all these years - have such difficulties in looking at the sections that are named "Fixes" or "Tips & tricks". Look at the topic titles, and simply copy the links from there. Why is this so difficult? All important tutorials are stickied under either "Fixes" or "Tips & tricks". I find it hard to believe that someone with your experience in using Forums has such difficulties with that concept. I can maybe understand the average millennial who tends to be less familiar with traditional message boards, and may prefer Facebook/Twitter/Reddit/YouTube/Instagram/etc. But you? Granted, the Forum indeed is outdated in many respects, and less user-friendly than other possible alternatives out there. Maybe we can do an overhaul in the future.

I also find it interesting that you seem to use the "tagging" feature very often (want to be modern, huh?). I myself am less excited about the "tagging" feature, and I only use it if I want to address anybody directly, which doesn't happen very often. If you absolutely can't remember exact usernames, use this link here:
https://www.games4theworld.club/memberlist


Other than that, you are welcome to try and convince ~Ann~ of your arguments regarding the operation of the Forum. 


@Loonieloose wrote:Wishing you all a happy, prosperous and productive new year. thanks for all the hard work ddone.


I myself am not working too hard though (anymore) as you maybe already noticed, but thanks anyways.  Haters gonna hate

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