Immediate derail material October 21, 2012 12:28 PM   Subscribe

This is a way that many posts about independent games tend to go, where it is almost immediately sidetracked in to a discussion about Windows vs. everything else. Part of the solution is probably to put a windows only notification on the post, and part of the solution is probably just to move on without commenting if you're a mac user.
posted by codacorolla to Etiquette/Policy at 12:28 PM (53 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

But Mac users can also run Windows.
posted by 4ster at 12:34 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Given that Windows has a larger market share than English, we should start with "English only" notifications instead.
posted by Egg Shen at 12:36 PM on October 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


But Mac users can also run Windows.

I don't imagine codacorolla intended this thread on the grey to be yet another venue for the exact type of discussion he was objecting to in the linked thread on the blue.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:38 PM on October 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


I thought Mac users were all standing in line somewhere anyway.
posted by philip-random at 12:42 PM on October 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


Yup, this tends to be a pan-internet phenomenon. There was nothing wrong with the FPP, but game talk will incite OS slap-fights. Why, I have no idea, especially in this age of Windows emulators, virtual machines and dual booting. There's even console emulators out there. Hell, I'm running a Linux distro and love my Windows games, thanks to WINE.

The pros and cons of different operating systems is inconsequential to gaming, and I too would love it if game threads didn't derail out of the gate about "Windows only". There's no such thing as Windows Only anymore.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:46 PM on October 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Could someone put a "Windows and Mac only" above the fold on this post?

Frankly, I think a) products that b) a significant portion of the userbase can't use shouldn't be on the Blue.
posted by DU at 12:47 PM on October 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm going to clean up that derail now, but for posterity, I can confirm there were a number of comments complaining that the game is Windows-only.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:49 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah that was really weird and unpleasant. While we try to make sure that posts are at least somewhat accessible to everyone, whether it's regionally, password-wise, language-wise or whatever, people need to not make their own anti-Windows grar screw up someone else's post. It's totally not okay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:54 PM on October 21, 2012


I would hazard that game threads derail out of the gate about "Windows only" when the original post talks in universal terms about a Windows-only game, as was the case here. I imagine the same thing can happen with links to YouTube and Hulu videos that have geographical restrictions, and non-U.S. members note that a video can't be seen outside the United States. While derails should be cleaned up, and going on and on about it or having it degenerate into an off-topic discussion isn't desirable, I don't think it's unreasonable to mention -- just mention -- the restriction in the comments if it isn't mentioned in the original post.
posted by mcwetboy at 12:56 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks to the moderators for nipping this in the bud. I also find this really annoying. Look I'm a mac user, but I'm also enjoy pc gaming. So I have a windows machine. I'm a realist.
posted by meta87 at 12:58 PM on October 21, 2012


Yeah it's definitely more optimal if people mention in the post if there is some sort of platform limitation, but outside of comments like Forktine's I don't see a need to make talking about the lack of Windows options, as well as the "Well Mac users can run windows!" and "Shut up Windows costs $__ and SUCKS!" into part of that particular thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:59 PM on October 21, 2012


I like Windows. Doors too. Ceilings are a personal favorite.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:01 PM on October 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Odd how we never have this discussion when it comes to FPPs about local art exhibitions, TV series that mostly US Mefites can watch, or numerous other art/entertainment FPPs that in some form exclude people from actually experiencing them. At least the pointless comments got deleted - thanks mods.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:04 PM on October 21, 2012 [13 favorites]


Man, we have computers that are more cross-compatible than ever, and now people choose to complain about small-budget games that aren't carefully written to be great on every platform?

I mean, my primary machine was a mac for the past five years, and I got that it was annoying when a Windows machine could do something easier or better, especially in games. And when I started, many games were still terrible emulated ports when Mac did get a big name game. But that's why I also have a Windows machine.

Or does it all come down to the FPP not saying explicitly that it's Windows only?
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:09 PM on October 21, 2012


Odd how we never have this discussion when it comes to FPPs about...

We occasionally have them about post about New York. We often have them about US-only stuff so much so that we try to keep people from posting links to things that are for the US only if at all possible and we have an entry in the FAQ about how to try to get around those. The problem, to my mind, has to do with

1. how center-of-the-universe and accessible your post may imply that this thing is
2. how center-of-the-universe and accessible readers of your post think that the thing actually is

So like a post that was in Italian would at least clearly be in Italian and while we'd like people to try to link to some content accessible to English speakers it's at least quite clear what is going on. Sometimes people link to Hulu or Comedy Central stuff unclear that there are geographic restrictions and we can set them straight. Sometimes people link to inaccessible content with some sort of "suck it haters" commentary about the links inaccessibility to other people and that sort of sucks. And sometimes people link to stuff that is happening in New York as if it were relevant to and interesting to people outside of NYC (and maybe it is and maybe it isn't). But it's the interplay between the two things, not the actual availability of the thing, that seems to be a problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:21 PM on October 21, 2012


Frankly, I think a) products that b) a significant portion of the userbase can't use shouldn't be on the Blue.

Yeah, why would female MeFites even care about how hard it is to get a viagra perscription?
posted by radwolf76 at 1:26 PM on October 21, 2012


Frankly, I think a) products that b) a significant portion of the userbase can't use shouldn't be on the Blue.

How significant does the percentage have to be to meet your approval?
posted by octothorpe at 1:28 PM on October 21, 2012


I've seen FPPs go into all kinds of weird, bean-plating tangents. Somebody posted a neat FPP about a father and son playing L.A. Noire together recently (the father had grown up in the game's real-life setting) and the thread derailed into a debate about how to define a term that had been used in passing to describe a tangential ancedote in the FPP'd article. That wasn't egregious. That's typical around here.

I don't think "How come this wasn't made for Mac too?" is any more of a derail than many, many, many of the other tangents that FPPs around here regularly take, and just because a larger portion of people are more tired of hearing about Mac versus Windows doesn't make it so.
posted by cribcage at 1:32 PM on October 21, 2012


Yeah, why would female MeFites even care about how hard it is to get a viagra perscription?

Everyone wants to make sure their toys have the proper batteries available.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:32 PM on October 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think "How come this wasn't made for Mac too?" is any more of a derail than

Well, I dunno. There's literally nowhere to go with this "I am disappointed about the lack of support for my preferred platform" discussion, is the thing. The game will not suddenly be available for Mac or Linux or be a Flash vs. Unity game because someone complains about it being otherwise; there is no rich vein of philosophical discussion waiting to be had about the fact that a game does not run on a Mac; etc. It's like shouting at people for being excited about a sunny day because it's too darned bright out. I'm sorry that it's bright out, that shit hurts my eyes too, but I put on sunglasses or go inside or something instead of shouting about the sun.

So to the extent that you're saying people get into all sorts of silly no-joy derails on all kinds of subjects, I don't disagree—that's human behavior for you, obnoxious as it is sometimes—but this is definitely one very specific rodeo that just about everybody should know better than to get into at this point, particularly the folks who show up in yet another game thread to make it clear that they're super annoyed that the game in question isn't available to them right now the way they'd like, etc. It's silly, it adds nothing, and it would be nice if people could just leave the thread if they're feeling like going there instead of kicking off a pointless complaint.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:40 PM on October 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Everyone wants to make sure their toys have the proper batteries available.

Point. Which is why it's nice that thread's linked article had a second prong. MeFites in places where medical marijuana is not yet legal should also count for "a significant portion of the userbase" who can't use the product in the post.
posted by radwolf76 at 1:45 PM on October 21, 2012


MeFites in places where medical marijuana is not yet legal should also count for "a significant portion of the userbase" who can't use the product in the post.

Your definition of "can't" appears to be somewhat different from many, many other people's.
posted by Etrigan at 2:14 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's ok, so is the definition of Mac users who "can't" run Windows games.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:32 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's silly, it adds nothing, and it would be nice if people could just leave the thread if they're feeling like going there instead of kicking off a pointless complaint.

For indie games in particular, there's a better than zero chance the author might check out the MeFi thread and listen to responses. In that case, complaining is not pointless.
posted by fleacircus at 2:36 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


> The pros and cons of different operating systems is inconsequential to gaming

Amen to that. It makes me intensely nostalgic for the original DOOM, which loaded its own f*cking OS.
posted by jfuller at 2:43 PM on October 21, 2012


For indie games in particular, there's a better than zero chance the author might check out the MeFi thread and listen to responses. In that case, complaining is not pointless.

That's a bit of a reach. There's a decent chance that the combination of significant fanbase pressure toward cross-platform support and circumstances that allow that change in dev workflow to be practical and practicable could generate a change, but mefite A complaining at mefite B that they failed to mention platform in their post is not a good example of that dynamic.

It's been interesting to see the sort of up-front attention cross platform wants has gotten in indie-ish Kickstarters; there's a situation where you've got people actively discussing their interest in Mac/Linux/iOS/whatever support at the moment that they're standing around waving money at someone who is asking for cash and feedback to support a work in progress (or a work not-yet-in-progress).

And there there has been some pretty visible willingness to talk platform turkey in some cases; but those are pretty consistently the cases that involve (a) a product early in the dev process where cross-platform support is something they can plan before a major investment in toolset and workflow, and (b) a lot of money hitting the table. "Stretch goal: at $500K we'll add Mac support!" is a pretty common sort of form for this to take. The guy who wants $10K total to support him finishing his one-man indie opus is in far less of a workable position to redefine the platform targeting of his game.

Anyway, I'm all for platform variety and can appreciate the desire to have this stuff work out optimally for all players. But grousing at each other in Metafilter threads is not the path to encouraging that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:47 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


but outside of comments like Forktine's I don't see a need to make talking about the lack of Windows options, as well as the "Well Mac users can run windows!" and "Shut up Windows costs $__ and SUCKS!" into part of that particular thread.

I certainly wasn't complaining that the developer is lazy or that Windows sucks; if people were saying that then it's a total derail and should be deleted. But commenting in a non-complainy way about access limitations sure seems on topic to me, just like one might in a FPP about an art show in a far away city.
posted by Forktine at 2:58 PM on October 21, 2012


Am bewildered people argue about this at all. I have 14 games consoles with several hundred games which each only run on one of them. Plus a MacBook but no PC, and a Kindle but no Nook. Software incompatibility all over the place.

But, so what? There's only 24 hours in a day, most of which is taken up by sleeping, fiancee, medical treatment, working, eating, reading MetaFilter and chortling, and other things. There's not that much left to play games, read books and so forth, so I'm AT BEST only going to play a TINY FRACTION of ALL THE GAMES EVER MADE, or read all the books ever written. It seems weird, therefore, to bleat about just one game I can't play. More time spent, this time whining instead of playing or reading.

On a related point, after just a couple of months of MetaFilter use decided that my trigger FPP - the one that will make me say gah, leave and move on somewhere else - is probably titled "Israeli oppression forces Palestinians to use old Mac OS, cannot upgrade to Snow Leopard, Lion or Mountain Lion, reports Reddit."
posted by Wordshore at 3:01 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


My PS3 emulator on my Android tablet can run Windows 7 and OS X Mountain Lion as VMs.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:31 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have 14 games consoles with several hundred games which each only run on one of them. Plus a MacBook but no PC, and a Kindle but no Nook. Software incompatibility all over the place. But, so what? There's only 24 hours in a day

Which is a shame, too, as I've only just recently discovered the marvel that is console commands in Fallout 3. The many possible hacks Bethesda not only allows but encourages you to make to this game can be pretty time-consuming. And by that I don't mean in difficulty - type out a single line of code and you're done - I mean in balancing between "no, I'm not going to trigger the final leg of the main quest just to learn how to wear power armor" and "I AM YOUR GOD NOW, WASTELANDERS!"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:36 PM on October 21, 2012


Am bewildered people argue about this at all. I have 14 games consoles

Am bewildered you think that is normal
posted by ook at 3:42 PM on October 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Am bewildered people argue about this at all. I have 14 games consoles

I gotta know what consoles you have now, you are counting historical consoles and odditieslike the vectrex,lynx, jaguar, neo-geo in there right?

There are obviously pretty cool games like Splatterhouse which only run on the turboGrafix-16 but were are talking historical archive here.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:04 PM on October 21, 2012


Ad hominem. Okay. As Jessamyn is one of the two people in the library sector who scares me a bit, taking this onto mail and off this thread.
posted by Wordshore at 5:54 PM on October 21, 2012


Am bewildered
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:32 PM on October 21, 2012


Man, quick offhand tally of physical, operational console systems actually in my possession:

GBA, DS Lite, 3DS, SNES, Gamecube, Wii, PS2, PS3, 360.

And a lot of PC gaming, of course. Windows and Mac, plus lots of in-browser stuff.

No longer have my old NES (lifechanger that it was), and my original Gameboy eventually gave up the ghost. I'm not sure it's quite fair to call an Amiga 500 a game console but that's sure as shit what I mostly used it for.

It may not be normal-as-in-median, but a pile of consoles and a bigger pile yet when you add in the graveyard is not actually all that weird in the life of someone who loves games. I know people who have way more bookshelves than I have any need for, but some people really go through books in a way I don't and so it goes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:33 PM on October 21, 2012


Sigh.

I was definitely the first derail out of the gate. My thinking was:
  1. Hey that looks like a great game.
  2. Oh, it's only for Windows.
  3. Darn it.
  4. I should make a comment.
Truthfully, I've been around here long enough to know what a bad idea step 4 was. My apologies to Upton O'Good and the mods.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:03 PM on October 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think I was misreading Wordshore, now -- I took it as "why would anyone complain about compatibility, the obvs solution is to buy ALL THE CONSOLES". Further in I guess he was making the opposite point to that.
posted by ook at 8:42 PM on October 21, 2012


At least the project page actually says it’s for Windows. I don’t get upset that something is platform specific (that would be weird) but I do get really annoyed when I see a promo for software and there is no mention of platform, go to the page and nowhere on it does clear that up. It happens all the time. Just let me know right off the bat that this is something I can’t use. I’m OK with that.

This is part of a weird thing that I don’t understand. I know Windows is the dominant computer platform, but it’s almost like Windows is the thing that cannot be named. Software is often listed as being "for Mac or PC". No, it’s for Mac or Windows. There is no platform or OS called PC. A PC is hardware. I can take a PC and run any number of OS’s on it and the software won’t work, it only works with Windows. TV news will run a story about a "computer virus" and never say the word "Windows". It’s downright bizarre sometimes. You don’t hear stories about a big recall of "cars" or that "a movie" broke box office records.
posted by bongo_x at 11:16 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've just wasted my weekend playing Carmageddon on my phone.
posted by Packed Lunch at 11:21 PM on October 21, 2012


I feel like posts about software should mention what platforms they run on. Isn't that, like, basic information? That would certainly cut down on the derails.
posted by speicus at 11:50 PM on October 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Packed Lunch: "I've just wasted my weekend playing Carmageddon on my phone."

I want your phone, please. All I can do on mine is play a dice game that uses the motion sensor.
posted by Samizdata at 2:48 AM on October 22, 2012


speicus: "I feel like posts about software should mention what platforms they run on. Isn't that, like, basic information? That would certainly cut down on the derails."

SLWGP?

Single Link Windows Game Post then?
posted by Samizdata at 2:49 AM on October 22, 2012


Has anyone ever said Mac PC?
posted by smackfu at 5:33 AM on October 22, 2012


I'm a Mac user and partisan. I have been since the early '90s, when that was a tough row to hoe. I acknowledge that with a few sterling exceptions, most of the personal computer videogames that appeal to gaming hobbyists are Windows-first or Windows-only, with the Mac getting a half-assed port a few years after everyone else stopped caring.

I'm OK with that.

The Mac's a top-tier productivity and communications device - it's really, really good at turning creativity into results, and keeping track of who's doing what when and why in my life. This is what causes users to love it so much.

You want to play games? Buy a damn X-Box, or get comfortable with Windows emulation.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:34 AM on October 22, 2012


Frankly, I think a) products that b) a significant portion of the userbase can't use shouldn't be on the Blue.

What is the percentage of Windows users on Mefi? What is the percentage of Mac users? What is the magic number cut off point?

So would this mean that there shouldn't be any posts on the Blue about:
  1. Android software
  2. Safari
  3. Macintosh software (because if more members have Windows then that would be a significant portion of the user base who couldn't use it)
  4. BBC and other non US media sources that are region limited
  5. Products that are not available in the United States
  6. Products that are only available in the United States if the percentage of non U.S. based Mefi users matches the percentage of Macintosh users
  7. iOS only application if the percentage of Android/Blackberry users matches the percentage of Mac users
  8. And so on...
Would there be some sort of page that keeps track of the numbers that when they change would suddenly allow posts about these topics? Pretty difficult to enforce and frankly, pretty absurd idea.

I still don't think this would stop derails into my platform is superior to yours and yours sucks because you're not creative, you're biased, you're sheeple and so forth areas.
posted by juiceCake at 5:47 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


In this day, when cross-platform, web-based games are very common, I think a clear disclaimer up-front about whether a game is platform-limited would be a polite gesture.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:35 AM on October 22, 2012


I've always sucked at video games that require hand-eye coordination. Case in point: I've been playing Super Mario Brothers off and on since 1985, first as an arcade game and now on the Wii. I have never finished the game!

I don't go into threads like that and grar about how a) It doesn't work on Linux* and b) I can't play it with my big, clumsy sausage fingers.

Since I'm part of the tiny minority that uses Linux and I don't buy very many games, I understand that there is no financial incentive to make or port a game that caters to me. I like my Wii because it favors my gross-motor skills over my fine motor skills. That allows me to kick my son's ass at golf after he uses me to mop the floor in Modern Warfare 3.

As for the PC/Windows thing, I think that may be to head off confusion for grandma when she buys a game for little Jimmy. "Windows 98+ required? I don't know what 98+ means. Maybe I should buy this other game. I don't want to buy him something that doesn't work and makes me look like a hopeless square!"

* - There are a lot of things made for Windows, including a lot of games, that work fine on Linux via Wine
posted by double block and bleed at 6:41 AM on October 22, 2012


I've made this comment somewhere before, but this seems like as good a place as any to rehash it:

So. I'm a game developer, who has just released a hypothetical title that did surprisingly well for being small-market . It has made me some money, but not enough money that I'm doing this as a full-time job, and definitely not enough that I'm a studio. It's just me, cranking out code after I get home from my 9-5. I wrote the first app in some flavor of C++ and compiled for x86, which comprises somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of the world of desktop users. It's not ported to iOS or Android. Now I have three choices for where to devote my next coding effort:

1. Port to iOS or Android, depending on whether I'm more comfortable in Java or Objective C. I'm not very comfortable in either, because they're new-ish (to me) technologies, but I can probably pick it up as I go. Targets a new market, which has fewer users (though growing quickly) but probably a higher percentage looking for casual game play. Distribution will cost me a flat percentage off the top of every sale.
2. DLC or sequel, which lets me target that same very-large-percentage of desktop users. If the original was well-received, this will let me target the set of people who have already expressed a willingness to pay for my content. Distribution will be through my own website, so I'm just paying for bandwidth and hosting.
3. Port to Mac OS. User base consists exclusively of people who have decided to pay an enormous surcharge on their hardware for the privilege of living in Apple's walled-garden software model, knowing that in order to play 90%+ of the games that will ever be released, they will have to dual-boot or run an emulator--that is to say, users whose hardware purchases suggest that they are the least-likely group of people who will want to run my game. Requires me to learn Objective C if I'm not already familiar with it. Apple leans heavily on developers to use its App Store distribution model, which takes a flat 30% off the top of every sale.

(1) and (2) look like pretty reasonable follow-up efforts; (2) is probably the quicker and easier cash-grab, but depending on what I want to do in the future and how well the game would play in a touchscreen setting, (1) might be the better long-term option. (3) is the domain of madmen, notwithstanding the bilious ravings of a handful of users.
posted by Mayor West at 7:35 AM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Speaking of immediate derail material.
posted by ook at 7:51 AM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


3. Port to Mac OS. User base consists exclusively of people who have decided to pay an enormous surcharge on their hardware for the privilege of living in Apple's walled-garden software model, knowing that in order to play 90%+ of the games that will ever be released, they will have to dual-boot or run an emulator--that is to say, users whose hardware purchases suggest that they are the least-likely group of people who will want to run my game. Requires me to learn Objective C if I'm not already familiar with it. Apple leans heavily on developers to use its App Store distribution model, which takes a flat 30% off the top of every sale.

I think the only factually correct statement in this entire block is the last one, and I'm not certain about that. The primary difficulty porting to OS X these days appears to be DirectX and MFC, and Cider appears to be a reasonably robust solution that can be affordably licensed.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:58 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


More on topic, I'm largely in agreement with cortex. I'd rather read great commentary about what makes a given piece of software unique or interesting, even if I can't run it, than a lot of discussion about why people can't run it on their favorite platforms.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:24 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's why macs are so awesome - you can run pc stuff on a mac, but not the other way round. its like bill gates won't even let you run mac oxs on his windoze machines. because he's scared and he knows its like 100% better.
posted by zoo at 6:48 AM on October 24, 2012


/smash cut to everyone typing furiously on their keyboards.
posted by zoo at 6:50 AM on October 24, 2012


« Older The best thread on eating well?   |   Substantiating AskMeFi comments Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments