Removal of content - community responsibilities.

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sp762
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Removal of content - community responsibilities.

Post by sp762 »

In recent months a lot of freeware content has been removed from this site by the owners. This is entirely their perogative, of course.

This post explores the underlying reasons why content is removed and suggests ways that the community can stop it from happening.

It appears to the moderators that content is removed for one of three or four basic reasons:

* The file contents are obsolete, because a someone else's superior product has replaced them.
* The file contents are obsolete, because a new version of the file has been released.
* There is a fault with the contents of the file.
* The owner has become disenfranchised as a result of community actions, and removes their content by way of 'payback'.

This last category has become a major factor of concern for the moderators and the site owner. While it may give the author some short term satisfaction, it penalises the entire community for the duration.

This is because many activity writers use UKTS hosted content. If it is subsequently removed from the site, then all of the activities which use it need to be updated to use something else. This problem affects people who download the activity in the future - and since these people tend to be newcomers to the community, it directly affects the growth of the hobby.

Additionally, file removal makes work for the moderating team and site owners in identifying which files have been 'pulled', as well as resolving the flamestorms that often result. 'Flamestorms' break out because, of those that have removed their content in a fit of anger or frustration, to date not a single one has ever informed anyone - moderator or site owner - about it.

This leads to confusion and extra hassle, stress and work for people trying to support the community. Frankly maintaining the site is already plenty of work, and all the moderators have 'day jobs' as well. If you really want to remove your files, is it too much to ask that you let someone know??

It's less of an issue if entire routes are removed - because that doesn't cause as much fragmentation - other things don't stop working (except activities which use the route.) It's still a shame, though.

As a community, we cannot allow this trend to continue. Recent weeks have seen the departure of several prolific route and content creators from active participation in the community, mainly due to continuing adverse comments.

As always, there are two sides to this argument. The 'snipers' in the community can make the very plausible statement that without criticism, improvements to content will not occur. In response to that, I would suggest that helpful, constructive criticism will always be welcomed by content creators.

On the other hand, 'sledging' and abuse tend to result in the withdrawal of content without replacement. Since it requires the extra exercise of effort to post the content again, the chance of it being returned is unlikely.

To illustrate my point, compare these two comments on a model:

a. "That diesel looks like a balloon!"

and

b. "You appear to have used too much polygon smoothing on your new diesel."

Which of these is the less constructive and helpful?

If you didn't answer (a.) then frankly, you are part of the problem.

Equally, commercial developers get a lot of bashing by members of the community. Commercial developers should not be considered any more "game" than freeware when it comes to being free with your assaults. Yet resolving flamestorms in the commercial support forum resulted in the closure of this part of UKTS - arguably to the detriment of the community.

You need to be aware that most of the commercial developers either were or are freeware developers too - so spitting on a commercial product (deserved or otherwise) could lose you a chunk of the freeware that you value.

How can the problem be resolved?

A range of measures are being considered by the moderation team. But realistically, without community involvement they aren't going to work. Our plea to all of you is that you don't treat problems with a model as a chance to display your rapier-like wit to the rest of the community. If you can see the problems, chances are everyone else will - and there are no prizes for stating the obvious.

If you are a content generator and feel slighted by a thread, please contact Matt, myself, or another member of the moderation team. We will take the time to resolve the issue to the best of our abilities.

Don't just press the "X" button unless we have tried and failed to resolve the issues. All you are doing is reducing the chance that your work will be used and enjoyed by the silent majority who download things and enjoy them without sniping about the quality. The ultimate arbiter of quality is, after all, the download count.

There is a subsection of the community who will argue that any attempt to encourage politeness impinges on their freedom of speech.

In response to this, we would like to point out that we fully support your right to be as critical as you like. Please be honest in their opinions, but equally, bear in mind that it's a fine line to tread. Doesn't everyone deserve respect for their work? How would you feel if you had spent hours slaving away on a project, then be attacked because the lights were too big?

In closing, please note that the moderators prefer constructive criticism and will take steps to remove people who affect the rest of the community by their actions.
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