I don't think that I have either the current mental state(am enjoying a nostalgic trip with alcohol down memory lane, something I rarely do these days) or time to do justice to the post I intended to write here. But given where I currently am at with the forums and other aspects of life taking precedence, I am going to try
to make some suggestions, hopefully somewhat coherently from the perspective of one who has had an amazing time here for the most part on GOG until I started doing a little research that confirmed what other long term members had been saying to me for quite some time. To clarify that, I generally don't learn from listening to others but do so through challenging learning experiences, or as one person PMd me after my farewell thread "pain is the greatest teacher" (possibly quoted or paraphrased).
For the "TLDR crowd"...stuff has changed, some are unhappy about it and would like to find a solution that prevents further issues on this site now that it has gained so much attention. The main suggestion is incorporating a filter similar to that which Facebook has, i.e. a "block list" and a "friend list" as mentioned previously would be very handy.
1/ I have noticed a similar pattern when it comes to social interaction, and that is that everyone's subjective perspective is the
way to fix
the forums. There is a wide range of what those perspectives are, for example - "I don't wan't to see [insert issue] on the forums". In "real" life, something I find strange given all social interaction is real, whether we are face to face, on the phone or sitting behind a computer, we have much more of an ability to avoid that which displeases us if we choose to(I know some could say just avoid x, but that doesn't seem feasible to me without a structural change to the forums). The ability to notice difference and be offended, upset or raging about those differences ultimately lies with our own subjective belief systems of our perception of "right" and "wrong". GOG has a community that come from a multitude of backgrounds, from all manner of countries, ethnicities, cultural, gaming and life experiences.
2/ The idea of promoting active members of the community to be moderators is insane. I say that because no one individual can incorporate the multitude of belief systems that would appease the masses. I have never seen an instance of this working unless
it is in a small community with a shared belief system. See Dunbar's theory on the social interaction between primates
for more in-depth information on this matter. I have had people offer me a lot of praise for some of my investigations(as well as criticism) for uncovering some behaviour which I
consider to be distasteful. That is my own moral stance and I am aware that it is not shared by everyone.
3/ My introduction to GOG was in the form of buying some amazing old games that I used to play, that have been modified to work on modern operating systems, which enabled me to take a step back in time to a place of storytelling and nostalgic joy(to put this in perspective I have bought *every* game which is available here that I used to get from pirate or abandonware sites with the exception of Starflight, which I will add to my bloated backlog someday, due to wishing to support this site and their DRM free stance). Since then, for whatever people think of the changes(us humans often struggle with change, don't we?) GOG has no longer become the place of "Good Old Games" that it once was. Indie games and "AA games" as I have heard them referred to are now on the site. I can understand the reasons for those changes, as ultimately ALL of us should hopefully want to see this company succeed due to the joy we get from purchasing and/or interacting with members of this community, irrespective of our personal gaming tastes. One major issue I can see, that I have been wholly complicit in, is to get caught up in the gifting craze. I won't go into my reasons here, other than to say that overall this most likely has a positive effect on GOG sales, especially during promotion times. It also leads to some issues that have had some(myself included) contemplate or leave the site.
The community has changed demographically. It is no longer a bunch of [insert assumption] those aged 30+ who are here to share a love of their nostalgic gaming memories and have a chance to try those titles they missed out on "back in the day". I jumped on board the gifting band wagon, as the concept of "pay it forward" to shed a little joy on a complete stranger's life by gifting them a game that, for whatever reason at the time, was beyond their means, brings myself and others joy. Given my limited income being on a disability support pension(which I am truly thankful for in this country and try to give back in whatever means I can) I found out about game bundles, which as those in the know know, are mostly Steam and Desura keys. I believe it is that influx of gifting from cheap bundles(as well as those with a little more $$$ for GOG gifts) that has attracted what some(myself included) would deem "greedy leeching or scamming selfish bastards" (darn it I wanted to avoid swearing :P). We all have our own moral and ethical codes, and I have never
encountered a group social situation where those do not come into conflict. I do not wish to see a rule enacted to prevent these giveaways, regardless of the types of people that it has attracted, as a lot, myself formerly, get a lot of joy from.
4/ So with that said, what is a way forward for all of us to tailor our experiences on the site to enable us to enjoy it for what is important to us as an individual? GOG's lack of moderation is something that I see as a good thing!!! The main issue that I have, and that will enable me to continue to enjoy the site as I once did, would be the ability to to enact some social media filters such as those Facebook does. I would really like to see a "block user" button. To me that means if I (or another) clicked that button, that there is NO possible interaction between the two parties - no PMs, no seeing of posts from either party. That would mean that every scammer fearful of me looking into them, could prevent that by pressing that button and I couldn't see any of their(to me) nefarious activities. It also means that once I have taken a dislike to someone, and see them post what I consider to be absolute bullshit to appear to be a "better" person in order to leech more of the generosity of this community, would have a much more difficult time in taking advantage of this generosity. It would allow each member to filter that which offends or upsets them personally
and thus focus on the joy they get from these forums, which differs for each of us.
5/ Friend list - some of us are at times more active on these forums than others. I would love to see a friends list, as mentioned above, where I can see my friend's posts with ease and given some of the quieter members, be able to add them to stay in touch if we've only had a few conversations via a thread or PM. Sifting through hundreds of PMs = urrgh
5/ Transparency - I would REALLY like to see an easier means of looking into a member's post history. To some this is an abhorrent idea, and I have found that the reason is usually due to them having a past history of questionable behaviour that they either continue with or have stopped. If one posts ANYTHING on the internet it is available by some means, regardless of its deletion.
To put it simply, GOG is a company that wishes to make money as any business does. There is plenty of evidence(see the amount of replies to the link to my farewell post above and my PMs - check em GOG staff, I don't mind :P) that suggest that there is at least a few people on this site who understand the sentiment I and others have shared, that gifting is a REALLY good thing for this site, and therefore ultimately GOG making money. The amount of comments I have seen where people say "this is unlike any other internet community I've seen" i.e. that it is very welcoming and generous speaks leaps and bounds about its foundation and continued energetic input by many members to make this a great part of cyberspace to hang out.
Given the overwhelming response I have had in my farewell thread, I am in the process of reconsidering that decision as it has become very obvious to me that a lot of people are NOT voicing their opinions on this matter. I can understand that as it does attract quite a lot of criticism at the same time, especially when one makes an error and has that derail their intent and purpose, which for me was to aid others to make more informed decisions of where their gifts go.
Edit: and the irony I can see here is that within minutes of posting this, my reply was low rated. Thank you for the feedback, obviously someone is taking note :P
Edited for alcohol induced grammatical errors and typos