On the Griefing of Projects

Project griefing is an issue that needs to be taken into consideration, and I’m asking the community for feedback and suggestions for the best ways to address the issue

The problem of projects being griefed has been an ongoing issue throughout the history of Tremulous. This issue is not limited to Tremulous, the griefing of projects is something that occurs often in game development, as well as with projects in general that involve the public.

We want to encourage people to contribute development, content, and services to Tremulous. Additionally, one of the objectives of GrangerHub is to provide a home (to various degrees) for independent Tremulous related projects that choose to utilize GrangerHub’s resources and/or services (and agree to the rules for doing so).

First of all, whether there is someone who is working on a mod, the next version of Tremulous, a map, other assets, a game server, or some other kind of Tremulous related project, such an individual works on such a Tremulous project in their limited spare time without being paid. The most common motivations are enjoyment in working on such projects, enjoying the results of their work, and hoping others will enjoy the results of their work with them.

Ongoing griefing of a project can be very distracting, discouraging, destructive, and can fuel negative drama. Even if a majority of people might enjoy the project, or at least refrain from griefing it, a small noisy minority (even just one or two or a few people) can still cause a lot of grief. Also there may be many cases where someone who griefs a project, might not even be aware that they are griefing.

This doesn’t mean that a given project doesn’t have issues to address, nor that the project isn’t a dead end, but people can get discouraged from improving upon their project, and if it is a dead end, discouraged from trying another project in the community.

The griefing of a project should not be confused with positive/negative feedback and useful criticism. It is important to know what it is you are doing right and where you need to improve. It is the nature of even the best planned projects that when you actually implement them, there are issues that come up that were not anticipated and need to be addressed. Or perhaps it is found that various ideas that looked good on paper, don’t pan out in practice.

If useful feedback/criticism is blindly disregarded and/or discouraged, then chances are you are not going to be fixing/improving your project to approach more awesomeness and many people may even lose interest in trying the results of your project. You might even enjoy a project you are working on regardless, but if others don’t enjoy it, don’t be surprised if you are enjoying it alone. If GrangerHub banned everyone who complained about Tremulous 1.3, it will have 0 players (us developers would have to be banned too).

Another thing to consider is that even though Tremulous players don’t have to spend any money to play the game, they are still spending their finite spare time to do so, that they could be spending on something else. So players expect to get a quality experience from a game that is free in price, as a from a game they decided to spend money on, because if they don’t enjoy the experience, they would be right in wanting to do something else.

You might even have an awesome project with a lot of potential, but if players have a poor experience, there is a good chance that they would not want to have anything to do with it. I’m not just talking about the technical quality of a project, but also in how the players are treated. People generally are not going to like being in a repressive environment, nor being in an environment that is dominated by negative drama.

At GrangerHub we understand that giving and accepting useful feedback and criticisms are essential aspects in projects, and we want to encourage that, as well as look into providing systems/tools/features/policies that better facilitate useful feedback and criticisms.

One of the things we would like to do at some point is even have a productive system for rating and reviewing servers/maps/mods to help the project contributors (who are interested in accepting such feedback) see where they can improve, and to encourage competition in those projects by providing players with useful information that they can take into consideration for deciding if they would be interested in giving a specific project a try.

The bottom-line is whether you are a contributor, or an end user (or both) of Tremulous, to various degrees we are all spending finite time and/or effort when participating in Tremulous without any monetary gain.

The following questions need to be taken into consideration:

  • How do we encourage both contributors and end users to continue to actively participate without having anyone’s head ripped off?

  • What constitutes project griefing, and how is it distinguished from useful feedback/critcisims?

  • How should project griefing be addressed when it occurs?

  • What proactive ways can be utilized to reduce the occurrences of project griefing, without resulting in a repressive environment that discourages useful feedback/criticisms?


that’s the question due to which i was banging my head against the desk per occurrence of that term in that wall of text.