"Helpful Advice"

Hey this is a great forum to come and get advice but I’ve had a number of instances that users have reported feeling uncomfortable about the responses they have been getting to posting code.

Before reading through someones code and finding things that you would do differently, or think that the other user would benefit from knowing you should first ask yourself “do they care? is this actually constructive? or am I just trying to make a point?”.

I don’t want to have to make an official policy against unsolicited feedback on code unless someone asks for the critique. Just remember that sometimes when people post code it’s to share the game in the state that they made it, not open it up for peer review.


Haven’t noticed it over here (maybe overlooked it) but it seems to be common practice in other fora (or forums if you please).
The way some people like to “comment” posted code is sometimes more harassing then helpfull.

I must agree wholeheartedly with @bateske that this should be “not done”.

It’s really not a big issue, just a small one that needed a note moving forward to maintain this forums awesomeness.

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Hulk calm now…

Not to play the devil’s advocate, but what can you do with code other than analyze it and suggest improvements? Programming forums are not like Instagram where everybody tells you how pretty you are.

I know some users take it pretty far but there’s much to be learned, even for experienced programmers. That opportunity should not be dismissed because someone’s feelings are hurt - we already have enough of that.

Uh, read it? appreciate it and learn from it quietly?

If someone asks for feedback it’s fine, but just publishing a code isn’t an invitation for feedback.

Actually I am telling you specifically that it is, I’m telling you that it is the community expectation that it is not up to you to decide when people need help.

I guess I do have to institute a policy, before giving a user unsolicited feedback on their project you must ask them first if it is welcome.

And I’m not talking about if they are posting asking for help. If they post a game and say “here is my game” then someone is like “you haven’t adopted the proper camel case conventions” I’m going to put that someone in timeout.

I post code so people can play the games I make. If someone wants to leave feedback on my code, I am fine with that, though. I do think that if someone is a new programmer, overwhelming them with code changes could deter them from wanting to program more. I can understand the need for this thread.

It’s an official policy:

Don’t hassle people because they used tabs instead of spaces, their file structure isn’t conducive to all operating systems, that their code format is difficult to read, that their use of camel case or capitalization is incorrect. Don’t bug them because they are taking too much resources… Without asking first.

Want to critquie someones code? Just be like “hey I noticed a few things that could be improved on your code, would you be interested to hear about them?”

And then people can be like “sure” or “nah”, me for example, am pretty strongly in the “nah” category. But, this is also “your” forum so you are welcome to criticize me as much as you want. But between different users, there must be a higher standard to make sure it’s an open place for all users.

It sucks to try and post a game if you know the first several posts are going to be from advanced users being like “oh you could have saved a half a byte here”. It’s annoying, we all know it, MOST of us don’t mind, but some do, and have talked to me about it, I agree, thus… rules.


Just to throw an idea out there…

What if we enabled Discourse’s tag system, and then had a policy that people should put feedback-wanted and no-feedback-please tags* on their game to indicate whether they do or don’t want feedback?
(It kind of puts me in mind of ‘traffic light parties’, but for ‘assistance status’ rather than ‘relationship-seeking status’.)

(* The exact details of what the tags would mean and be named can be debated, I’m just using those as a simple dichotomy to demonstrate the intent of the idea.)

While I’m mentioning the tag system, I think it would be possible to use tags in future game jams to separate jam entries from non-game threads in a jam category, which in turn might make it possibly to automate the generation of the jam poll, which would save jam organisers time and effort.

At any rate, if anyone found any of my advice,
help or suggestions less than helpful I’d certainly hope they’d be willing to tell me directly.
Speaking as someone who likes helping people,
I can only know if my help is appreciated or unwanted if someone actually tells me.
(After all, half the point of a forum is to communicate with each other.)

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I mean most posts are generally asking for code help anyways, which is obvious they need feedback.

The issue specifically pertains when someone makes a game post.

I think everyone appreciates the advice, even when its unsolicited. What they don’t appreciate is how it “feels”.

Yeah forum tags might be a way to do this, I 'll have to see how it works in practice to see if its easy enough to use.

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I don’t know how easy setting it up is,
but I know actually using the tag system is very easy because I’ve seen it used on other forums.

I did look a little while ago to check whether it’s a plugin or built into the system and what I found suggested it should be avaiable by default and just needs to be enabled, but I didn’t bookmark the pages I found.

There is a section in the admin panel where you can just add variables to be defined at post time, I just don’t know how it all shows up to the user and stuff. I’m in the middle of trying not to catch on fire and also get the final-final-12 version of the production files for FX out the door, so it won’t be for a couple weeks.