13

The League of Legends contest has increased use of the site. While I'd normally say this was a good thing, we're getting flooded with questions which don't fit our site very well. They're questions that don't have factual answers and are more like people seeking opinions from other players. These questions are often so broad and sometimes prompt for situational answers. In the end, it's difficult to provide a good answer to these questions, even with experience with the game.

Some examples:

I've been voting down/to close and leaving comments, but this is getting a bit out-of-hand. I've seen this issue during other contests as well: floods of new users, in an attempt to get rep and win contests, will ask questions before they really get a feel for which types of questions are good fits.

How can we lessen the negative impact of contests on the quality of questions? The contests are serving their primary function: to get people to use the site more. However, my general feeling is that the questions being asked aren't questions that have good answers, and that rings alarm bells in my mind.

  • 1
    The bottom two in your list seem fine. – Nick T Apr 2 '12 at 0:07
  • It's increased the amount of users for sure, and increased, in very, very short bursts, the amount of content, but I'm not sure I would call it increasing the "use of the site". The new questions bring in almost 0 google visitors compared to questions about recent big releases. – Ben Brocka Apr 2 '12 at 0:10
  • @Rarity Yeah, LoL doesn't really lend itself to good questions. The highest-viewed question from round 2 had like 400, and that was because an enterprising ggChronicle user figured out the bounty system. – a cat Apr 2 '12 at 1:41
  • 1
    @NickT the first one also looks okay. The second's definitely bad because it's asking about future heroes but... – badp Apr 2 '12 at 8:15
  • @Shaun I think what you're largely getting at here is these are vastly complex questions which are largely being approached by novices and no one is downvoting. Many of these questions (and most of the answers) plain old suck. Its not that they couldn't be answered, its that the answers are terribad. But here is the thing No one is downvoting them. It's one thing to have community moderation tools to increase the quality of the content. It's another thing when they go unused. – tzenes Apr 3 '12 at 13:56
  • @tzenes Yeah, in the end, that's the root of the issue. If the existing tools were being used, the situation would likely not have triggered my "something needs to change" alarm. I suppose the real question is whether they're unused due to lack of domain knowledge or for some other reason. – Shaun Apr 3 '12 at 17:00
  • @Shaun you definitely had the right instinct – tzenes Apr 3 '12 at 17:59
  • I updated question with a few different examples which will hopefully help in reviewing the issue. – Shaun Apr 12 '12 at 2:28
7

Contests are designed to fit in with the way the site works naturally, so moderation tools like downvoting, commenting, and voting to close are still the best way to let the asker/answerer know that what they wrote is not a good fit for the site. I realize that contests tend to bring in a flood of new questions (and new users) all at once, so there will likely be a larger number of off-topic questions than we are used to dealing with. Part of this is just growing pains: if we want to see the site grow, we have to accept that there will be new users that come in not knowing how it works. That said, there are a few things about this particular contest that could be improved.

As Fabian said, this particular contest went along with a live event (the ggClassic LoL tournament), so each round was very quick (between 3 and 5 days). As such, questions went up and needed to be moderated very quickly before the round was over. I decided to have rounds for this contest at the suggestion of the tournament organizer - because the tournament had 3 rounds, he thought we'd be able to get more eyeballs to our site by announcing the winners from the previous round of our contest at the start of each tournament round. This was the first contest I did like this; in general, contests last 2+ weeks, giving more time for the community to moderate questions. If you guys would rather stay away from shorter contests in the future we can definitely do that.

Fabian also pointed out that LoL is very jargon-filled, reducing the number of potential editors. I didn't realize this when we decided to sponsor the tournament. In general I'm going to make a larger effort to either post on meta or get feedback from the moderators before going forward with future promotions and sponsorships, so if there is a particular game that you would rather not focus on, we can decide not to do it. If we discuss things like that far enough ahead of time in the future, we can assess whether there are enough people familiar with LoL (or any game) who are willing to spend more time editing/flagging/voting during contests. Then we can evaluate whether the promotion is a good idea or not.

Thanks for the discussion and feedback. As always if you have questions about a specific aspect of a promotion or anything else, feel free to email me.

  • For the record, I don't have an issue with the contest itself and I totally get that contests are good for the site. I would just like to find some way to solve for the fact that this game required a bit more specific knowledge of jargon to moderate properly and lack of that jargon meant votes were not cast that may have otherwise been cast. :) – Shaun Apr 2 '12 at 21:33
  • 3
    Clearly, the answer was to loan us back use of Grace Note for the contest's duration. :P – Raven Dreamer Apr 2 '12 at 22:33
7

A couple notes:

  • Opinion is fine when backed up by facts or experience. Italic is mine:

    Great subjective questions invite sharing experiences over opinions. [...] Everyone has an opinon. It takes zero effort or imagination to have an opinion about anything and everything. But people who have done things, real things in the world, and have the scars and arrows in their back to show for it — now that’s worth sharing. You should be uniquely qualified to have your opinion based on the specific experiences you had. And you should share those experiences, and more specifically what you learned from your experiences, with us!

  • Discussion is almost by definition people going back and forth about something. You say this question has "a lot of discussion" in it but that's not what I see. What I see is three answers independently reaching the conclusion that if you want to carry a "pub" team you want to go for a tanky jungler, with varying degrees of justification behind this claim.

At the end of the day these questions are asking how to solve practical problem about videogames. To put it with LessPopMoreFizz's wisdom:

recommendations of how to go about playing a game, including aspects like character, item, or weapon selection, are kind of the whole god damned point of our website.

Except for your second example, that's asking about the future of LoL, those questions you marked as bad and are rallying people to close for seem perfectly fine to me.

  • +1 for quoting me! Whoo! – LessPop_MoreFizz Apr 2 '12 at 11:28
  • Meh. I suppose I've gotten used to the idea that most of our questions have had a distinct answer. Most of the questions being linked, in my opinion, don't have one solid answer. They have many, and the person who asked inevitably selects the one that worked best for him, but that might not work best for others. I've been viewing things through the lens of "is this also useful to others", but it would seem the majority opinion weighs "can we address the user's concern directly" as equally, if not moreso. – Shaun Apr 2 '12 at 18:42
  • Plus, if you read the question that I said illicited discussion with the answers, it really starts feeling like a forum thread. Anytime I get that feeling from a question/answer on GSE, it triggers a validity check in my mind. I've been seeing a lot of such questions, hence why I decided to ping meta for thoughts. I personally feel such questions add more noise than signal to the site, but I may be in the minority. – Shaun Apr 2 '12 at 18:45
  • When I think about this, I suppose the root of the issue is I have trouble accepting certain types of "advice" questions, as they feel like better fits for forums or reddit. – Shaun Apr 2 '12 at 18:49
  • @Shaun certainly my sucking at LoL doesn't help me fully understand all the nuances of the situation. I agree that the LoL questions are lacking in activity from the seasoned users — especially wrt voting, and really there's not much I can do about it. Still... at least on the surface they look okay. Please advise if they're not. (Keep in mind the LoL forums are the only ones I know of that do have crowdsourced close votes.) – badp Apr 2 '12 at 19:04
  • 1
    The defining factor, for me, would be whether we're okay with questions that have multiple "correct" answers depending on the user. For example, while there may be an "easy" way to win solo-queue games that work for the majority of people, it may not work for everyone. It's like asking for "what build order will make be super awesome at Starcraft 2". In the end, an easy solo-queue success method is going to come down to playstyle of the player and their ability to interact with others and is not strictly formulaic. – Shaun Apr 2 '12 at 19:12
  • As for when a jungler should buy oracles or when it is worth it to get Will of Ancients, these would be like asking when you should turtle in SC2. There are so many variables to take into account during a match that there's no clear-cut answer in my mind. Team makeup, map control, the builds of the other team, and what objectives have been taken are 4 things I can think of that would vary significantly per match and would affect which item you should buy at any given point. – Shaun Apr 2 '12 at 19:13
  • @RavenDreamer may be able to weigh in here regarding the two previous comments on this answer to indicate if my thoughts are of sound mind and body or if they don't make sense. Raven has more experience (I think) with LoL and is also a moderator, so is more experienced (I think) with the best way to moderate the site. I'd be willing to defer to Raven's judgement on this one, but felt it was worth discussion nonetheless. :) – Shaun Apr 2 '12 at 19:14
  • @Shaun There are similar starcraft questions out there (i.e., when to push, when to nuke), and I'm pretty sure that, were these questions not routinely asked in a poorly written manner, we'd have little to discuss about them. Bad questions deserve downvotes, not necessarily closing. – Raven Dreamer Apr 2 '12 at 22:32
  • 2
    Is it just me or does anyone else think this answer doesn't answer Shuan's question: How can we lessen the negative impact of contests on the quality of questions?. We can quibble on individual questions being appropriate or not, but I don't think anyone is suggesting that the recent LoL questions have been up to the quality of Mass Effect 3 or Skyrim. – tzenes Apr 3 '12 at 14:01
  • @tzenes I'm more worried about "low quality" (as in, potentially misleading) comments from our most active members about moderation of this website. If LoL questions haven't been up to par, Shaun has failed to bring appropriate examples of that IMHO. (I don't have trouble in believing LoL content isn't up to par, at least as far as spelling and grammar standards go.) – badp Apr 4 '12 at 22:50
  • @badp If you think there are better examples, maybe you're in the best position to supply them? If you want to discipline members of the site that's best done in private. A more productive conversation for meta is how we improve the site. – tzenes Apr 4 '12 at 23:52
  • @badp Updated the question with a few more examples. The main problem here is that, to understand why some of these questions are poor in quality, you have to be proficient with the game. These questions are so broad and situational that a comprehensive answer will be challenging to provide even for those who play the game a good deal. It's one thing to ask for recommendations on how to play a game. When there is no good solid answer, though, it brings the quality of the question into light. – Shaun Apr 12 '12 at 2:30
5

I don't think we should make any specific changes to how the site works just for contests. The main difference between this specific contest and the normal site activity is purely the volume of ill-fitting questions and the particular game.

I think this problem is pretty much unique to this particular kind of promotion, because it's a live event the whole question volume was asked in a very short timeframe.

The volume is problematic, because during times of such high activity we need to quickly deal with problematic questions, or the new users might take them as an example for asking more of that kind. We should certainly try to gather enough editors and closers for the times of the contest. If we expect a lot of promotion traffic during a small timeframe, we should try to recruit experienced users to moderate during that time.

The other problem is just the game itself, LoL is so jargon-filled that it is very hard to edit or moderate those questions without having played the game. This dramatically restricts the pool of potential editors and closers, compared to many other games where it's far easier to edit even if you never played the game.

  • 5
    +1 for the biggest problem being the game itself. I know I, and a number of other high-rep users had lately ignored the LoL tag (whether explicitly through the tools on the site, or implicitly by just never looking) simply because the questions are inherently gibberish to me. It doesn't help that the writing skills of the MOBA player base on the whole tend to make first graders look good to begin with either. – LessPop_MoreFizz Apr 2 '12 at 11:24
  • 5
    Jargon? Why, I don't even know what you top ulti cc ad bot carry jungle cs. Everyone should be expected to inhib mid meta morde support ward. – a cat Apr 2 '12 at 11:26
-5

Flag a tag as a 'contest' tag, then trigger additional actions for such questions.

Some ideas (which can be used by themselves or together):

  • Have users below a certain rep threshold who ask a contest question read and agree to the FAQs. This creates a higher chance that a new poster will see what we like and what we don't like to see on the site.
  • Require that contest questions be screened by a review process before they are made live on the site. This ensures that only higher-quality posts make it to the front page and the overall experience remains positive.
  • Show new posters examples of questions that got high votes for the tag and examples that were closed above the question asking area. This may be easier to parse than FAQs and will show people what is good and what is bad. Currently, new users don't really browse the site and don't ever see what types of questions are successful and which ones fail before they post, so they just post what they feel might work.
  • People can just scroll/click past the FAQ, and your second idea would create a pile of things that need someone to edit them/look at them, which might make people titchy if it takes a while. – Ash Apr 2 '12 at 1:20
  • I don't think pre-screening is really needed. There's flags and down/close/delete votes for that. Either way, someone is looking over it. – a cat Apr 2 '12 at 1:33
  • @lunboks My concern with the flags is that so many questions are being asked that I feel like they aren't getting as much moderator attention as normal. Questions I'd normally see locked super-quick are staying open with only a couple of close votes. – Shaun Apr 2 '12 at 5:52
  • @DerpyHooves I'm under no delusion that my ideas are solid gold. I'd love to hear other suggestions that might solve this more elegantly! – Shaun Apr 2 '12 at 5:53
  • 1
    @Shaun I think the reason you're seeing this is twofold: 1) You seem to be holding these questions to a higher standard than is appropriate (or an inaccurate standard) with regard to subjectivity - see badp's answer - possibly in part because, by and large, they are often terribly written, and tend to, even on perfectly good questions, include various 'signal phrases' that we dislike here on SE (soliciting opinions, asking for a favorite, etc.), and tons of incomprehensible jargon because that is the way these people are used to writing on the internet. The questions are fine... – LessPop_MoreFizz Apr 2 '12 at 11:53
  • 1
    just poorly written. 2) as Fabian notes, a lot of eligible close voters just aren't qualified or aren't interested in trying to decode a lot of these questions - not because they're bad, but because the game itself is a cipher. That makes 'moderation' take longer - the problem isn't the flood of low quality, so much as the specific flavor of low quality being one which we aren't well prepared for. – LessPop_MoreFizz Apr 2 '12 at 11:55
  • Add to that that only one of the moderators (me) is more than passingly familiar with said Jargon. – Raven Dreamer Apr 2 '12 at 14:42
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz I think you've made a valid point regarding why these questions may be experiencing a perceived lack of moderation, at least in terms of the lack of experience with the game & its jargon with the people who can flag such questions. That being the case, a screening mechanism doesn't really solve the problem, it just pushes it off to the few people "in-the-know". – Shaun Apr 2 '12 at 18:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .