What was the point of beta sessions?

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#1 Posted by Blabadon (26011 posts) -

I'm confused why beta sessions for this new site even occurred. Either the testers were idiots or the staff had way too much confidence that everyone else has as shitty standards as them.

#2 Posted by capaho (1253 posts) -

I thought this was the beta test.

#3 Edited by Blabadon (26011 posts) -

@capaho said:

I thought this was the beta test.

You would think so, right?

I understand that the new site was made primarily for the user who comes to the front page, reads and watches a few reviews, and then leaves, but I'm just shocked that they not only allowed such inefficient users and feedback to be part of the beta and also let turn into the main forums.

I once profusely apologized to Synthia for saying she did a poor job as a community manager, but after this recent update, it's obvious that her and Lark are really good at one thing for this site: insistent PR bullshit. Obviously, not all of that falls on them as the site update wasn't solely their design and they have to cover up for some of the awful ideas that the programmers and coders of this site came up with, but as far as actually dealing with user feedback and applying any sort of proper forum design, they give us nonsense.

Of course, I'm just rambly user 2347 to them. Ignored or not, it's a shame such idiocy all around in site-making has caused some of the best users to leave, most of whom actually contributed something to the forums unlike Lark or Synthia.

#4 Posted by Bigboi500 (29401 posts) -

A BIG part of the problem is they don't listen to anyone from the community. I wonder if any of the feedback and suggestions have been paid attention too?

Myself and others have pointed out the flaw in the names of the system-specific game boards and those notifications have gone flat out ignored. I don't know if they're just too proud to admit mistakes, or oblivious to peasant suggestions...

#5 Edited by Blabadon (26011 posts) -

I think it's the too oblivious to actual suggestions that's their main issue.

You know, a big downfall of this general board is that a TC makes their thread, and then squeals in agreement with those whom agree with him/her and whines when those who don't agree post something that doesn't happen. It makes some of the rambly threads (like mine of course) a chore to read and then one to completely ignore.

I just want to say I am open to actual debate on this and am willing to hear what actually happened from GameSpot staff/coders that made this site as terrible as it is. If you want to sugarcoat it (or just disagree and say it's less terrible then I call it out to be, fine, but it's glitchy either way) and then talk about the issues in a more 'rational' sense, cool. Go for it (to anyone reading this).

As part of what BigBoi said

@Bigboi500 said:

A BIG part of the problem is they don't listen to anyone from the community.

Myself and others have pointed out the flaw in the names of the system-specific game boards and those notifications have gone flat out ignored.

I don't understand why the people making the site didn't listen to more involved members in the community when it came to the beta. They had people like super600 and CaseyWegner having first dibs on feedback. These two members, of course, are known for their tendency to either suck up to GameSpot's staff to hell and back (thus reducing proper feedback) or be borderline idiotic more often than not. You're letting these people in instead of, say, the users who are on the top posters list for each board? Speaking of that, most of these forums' design right now is (and please, Synthia/Lark/equally leveled staff member, see if you can answer these individually):

-Badly oriented

-Redundant

-Glitchy

-Less user friendly

-Laggy

-Lacking any clear purpose

-Less intuitive than the past site

-Gimped or takes a great idea the past site had away

-And generally problematic in other senses

#6 Posted by zyxe (4660 posts) -

here are my two cents...

first, my opinion is that GS had its direction on how they were going to recreate the website, tried to obtain feedback but were way too committed to the process prior to soliciting this feedback and pointedly decided they couldn't implement much of the feedback and instead ran full steam ahead. this shows that it really wasn't very professionally done; my guess is that someone at the top gave a directive without much thought, had an idea of how things should be, and made it happen while trying to look like they were open to feedback when they really were only interested in affirmation of their vision.

the support for my opinion is that, a few months prior to the site redesign, a few users in the san francisco bay area were recruited for a Q&A session at CBS interactive headquarters. i was one in attendance. while it was a sincere pleasure to visit the offices and meet some people, the whole meeting was sadly not well-organized and questions regarding site usage and opinions were superficial at best. i was told that there was a sincere interest in retaining community features and actually increasing community involvement in the site, and having been an active community member (unions, awesome user blogs and such), that i would be solicited for further discussion-which never happened.

afterwards, i was invited to the beta, during which i was regrettably in the process of moving across the country and was a bit too busy to pull my weight in that, but in all fairness towards myself, the "fireside" sessions in which we could actively give feedback were announced too soon prior to the event (and were also sometimes during working hours...) that i couldn't react and attend. the beta was WAY too short to be of any use as well.

now, i understand that a few features of the website had to be put on the back burner so that the primary features of the site could be rolled out and attended to before additional features created even more bugs to sort through and fix; however, i am saddened by the rush to roll out the site with so few primary features being functional. yes, the site was recoded from scratch, but i'm a bit disappointed that the roll out wasn't delayed until some of the key features of the site could be refined (site navigation, search engine, finding users on GS, feeds...).

i will continue to visit GS to see how this whole thing develops, but i am no longer invested in this site, sadly, without the community features. i do hope GS finds success, but also that it takes into account things about the old site that DID work and drew users and reinforced the strength of the community.

#7 Edited by Sword-Demon (6970 posts) -

To me, it seems like the GS staff made these changes with only themselves in mind. Their main reason for the change was because the site was showing its age and it was becoming difficult to add new articles, videos, etc.

Meanwhile, even though there was nothing wrong with the site on the community side (aside from the overly lax TOU and the bugginess), They decided to completely overhaul it while completely ignoring the only people who it affects. They went ahead with the changes despite the vast majority of the community being against them. They didn't address any of the issues from the beta (despite that being the sole purpose of a beta). They removed some of the most loved and necessary features. They unbanned dozens of trolls. They changed the TOU, slightly for the better, but only to stop people from calling the staff names (Not that I agree with the way some people treated the staff). And the site is more buggy than ever.

Nothing they have done has benefited the community in any way. No, I take that back; I like how I can access the various forums from the community tab, rather than having to go to the forums page, then to the forum I want.

As the saying goes - If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

#8 Posted by capaho (1253 posts) -

@Blabadon: I was surprised by how buggy the site was when it first went online and all of the problems that still remain. I would never let a new site go online in my own company without it being thoroughly tested. Their ongoing inability in dealing with the spam problem is also hard to figure. All of it together makes it look like the site is being managed by amateurs. Interestingly enough, the site went live only a couple of days after I was invited to participate in the beta test, which was also puzzling. I also get all the complaints about GS not listening to its members. The response I got from GS management was absurd when I complained to them earlier in the year when my account was unfairly suspended, which is another problem that has to be addressed. The new site design will do nothing to stop the steady decline in traffic if it's still managed and modded as poorly as the old site.

#9 Posted by Danyawesomsauce (105 posts) -

I honestly think, and you can call me a conspiracy theorist all you want, that they only cared about feedback from the Mods, Rangers and some other popular users.

When you look back at when all the upcoming changes were announced, most users were upset, but hardly any Mods or Rangers were. And when we voiced our disdain for this redesign, we were pretty much told to deal with it. It seems like there were more Gamespot suck-ups than honest users in the beta.

#10 Posted by super600 (30380 posts) -

Be nice TC.. And anyway they are probably looking at your feedback and are probably busy right now. It's just taking awhile, but be patient.

#11 Posted by The_Last_Ride (70921 posts) -

I don't feel they are listening at all to their users. The fact that unions still haven't carried over is such a disgrace i wonder why they would bother at all with them, because most of the users have all left the site at this point in time. I am so furious because of that and the broken promise to actually convert unions into boards

#12 Edited by JML897 (33120 posts) -

@Danyawesomsauce said:

When you look back at when all the upcoming changes were announced, most users were upset, but hardly any Mods or Rangers were. And when we voiced our disdain for this redesign, we were pretty much told to deal with it. It seems like there were more Gamespot suck-ups than honest users in the beta.

My favorite thing is when someone has a complaint and then a mod just says something like "people always dislike change, give it some time/you'll get used to it."

If mods/staff members truly believe that this is something as simple as "some members are reluctant to change" then they have to wake up. Activity is way down in every subforum. People are leaving in droves. Those people won't "get used to it" because they're already gone.

#13 Edited by The_Last_Ride (70921 posts) -

I honestly think, and you can call me a conspiracy theorist all you want, that they only cared about feedback from the Mods, Rangers and some other popular users.

When you look back at when all the upcoming changes were announced, most users were upset, but hardly any Mods or Rangers were. And when we voiced our disdain for this redesign, we were pretty much told to deal with it. It seems like there were more Gamespot suck-ups than honest users in the beta.

i didn't get invited to the beta until it was open and i complained about issues, and they still aren't fixed or were answered

#14 Posted by super600 (30380 posts) -
#15 Posted by The_Last_Ride (70921 posts) -

@super600 said:

@The_Last_Ride: Synthia's trying to talk to lark about that.

There isn't any point in that now is there. It's clear they don't give a crap about unions whatsoever. They blatantly deleted it even though a lot of users wanted to keep them. They also deleted userboards even though people loved those. How in the blue hell am i suppose to even keep users i had in my union on the site when there is a freaking month between when they removed them and they haven'd done diddly squat about them. They haven't adressed us or even given is a freaking update. So i say screw them. It's so sloppy that i get angry. Because i built something over 8 years and managed to get a community that was fun to talk with everyday and they squashed it without having any regard to us. Yet they still promised we would continue to keep our boards, but yet again breaking their promise and spitting in our faces. I don't know if they just don't care or are just too lazy to even notice this. Because i am just furious with this and i have been such a big fan of this sites for almost a decade

#16 Posted by foxrock66 (403 posts) -

Whatever the point of the beta may or may not have been, it didn't accomplish jack

#17 Posted by capaho (1253 posts) -

I should also add that trying to post a message with an iPad is an extremely cumbersome task. Only the Reply and Flag buttons are visible. It is not possible to quote or to use the format toolbar, for example, to post a link, and the text box for entering the message is only about three lines high with no scroll tools. It's next to useless.

#18 Posted by The_Last_Ride (70921 posts) -

Whatever the point of the beta may or may not have been, it didn't accomplish jack

they rushed the hell out of it

#19 Edited by harry_james_pot (10651 posts) -

During the beta they added features and made changes based on our feedback, so they are indeed listening. And even compare how it looked at launch to how it is now, and there's definitely a lot of improvements.

I'm not saying it's perfect, and I agree that it was a bit rushed and should've stayed longer in beta, but I'm sure it'll get better.

#20 Edited by The_Last_Ride (70921 posts) -

During the beta they added features and made changes based on our feedback, so they are indeed listening. And even compare how it looked at launch to how it is now, and there's definitely a lot of improvements.

I'm not saying it's perfect, and I agree that it was a bit rushed and should've stayed longer in beta, but I'm sure it'll get better.

the wall system is a mess, you can't even see what they have posted on your site. It needs to be on a seperate wall, the unions need to return like a month ago, they need to create more forums, they aren't supporting blogs, etc. There is just so much lacking that this is a beta. Just look at how few forums they have now...

#21 Posted by Blabadon (26011 posts) -

@super600 said:

@The_Last_Ride: Synthia's trying to talk to lark about that.

super, I'll talk to you right where your Achille's heel normally is: Provide us a source for this.

#22 Posted by Blabadon (26011 posts) -

During the beta they added features and made changes based on our feedback, so they are indeed listening. And even compare how it looked at launch to how it is now, and there's definitely a lot of improvements.

I'm not saying it's perfect, and I agree that it was a bit rushed and should've stayed longer in beta, but I'm sure it'll get better.

They sure did, although a lot of these issues shouldn't have come up in the first place. I'm extremely frustrated with the time lapse between actual minimal improvements from their suggestion time, like labeling the Main Boards correctly (no Vita board, Nintendo forum is all-encompassing Nintendo systems in its title, but the PlayStation one isn't?) to even responding to when we'll get basic things back, like our unions, levels, stacks to work, bugs to be fixed, etc.

If it's gonna get better, there's basic steps Lark (@LarkAnderson) and Synthia (@DigitalDame) are completely glossing over in the PR department to make it at least seem like that.

#23 Posted by leon2365 (13050 posts) -

did the "open beta" even occur? or could it be that this is the beta in disguise, and then one day the site will seem to revert to the old site and everyone will shout for joy only to be turned back to this site again?

#24 Posted by TAMKFan (32732 posts) -

It did, but it only lasted for few days. But anyway, I do agree that this could have stayed in beta for at least another month.

#25 Posted by leon2365 (13050 posts) -

dang. missed the announcement then.

#26 Edited by super600 (30380 posts) -

@Blabadon said:

@harry_james_pot said:

During the beta they added features and made changes based on our feedback, so they are indeed listening. And even compare how it looked at launch to how it is now, and there's definitely a lot of improvements.

I'm not saying it's perfect, and I agree that it was a bit rushed and should've stayed longer in beta, but I'm sure it'll get better.

They sure did, although a lot of these issues shouldn't have come up in the first place. I'm extremely frustrated with the time lapse between actual minimal improvements from their suggestion time, like labeling the Main Boards correctly (no Vita board, Nintendo forum is all-encompassing Nintendo systems in its title, but the PlayStation one isn't?) to even responding to when we'll get basic things back, like our unions, levels, stacks to work, bugs to be fixed, etc.

If it's gonna get better, there's basic steps Lark (@LarkAnderson) and Synthia (@DigitalDame) are completely glossing over in the PR department to make it at least seem like that.

Some boards were combined with other boards because they were not as popular as some of the other boards. The playstation 3, sonypsvita/psp boards are probably more active than any of the nintendo boards.

#27 Edited by leon2365 (13050 posts) -

all we can do now is be patient then.