Commendations and features are a great way of encouraging and highlighting quality feedback respectively. Beyond those, offering 1 EXP for your first comment on a story could be another way of incentivizing leaving comments (increase the base of comments from which feature worthy comments can be chosen).
The point is given on the first comment left by a reader (who has also rated the story?), no additional points are given from multiple subsequent comments on a story. The 2 exp points for getting a comment featured stay as is.
This has a risk of leading to misaligned incentives (comment spam), which is obviously not the objective. With both sides in mind, I'd appreciate thoughts from the community on this.
I hope you don't mind, but here's my two cents.
While the idea does seem quite beneficial (since I always appreciate comments), out of principal I do not think this would be effective. People who consistently comment meaningfully (you, Steve, Mizal, Thara, Minnie, et al) have been doing so even though there is no automatic points. However, since the comment can be featured if it is of high enough worth and quality, it would give the user both a commendation and a point. That is already a very nice incentive.
Additionally, this would be highly unfair to users who have already commented on storygames. I, who have not commented on many, could receive over a thousand points by posting generic comments on the storygames. Users like Thara, with several featured comments already, would not be able to acquire the point from a second comment. If the coding changed so that they could still by making a second comment for those who already commented, then it would seem highly odd to give a point for commenting to somebody who has already posted a featured comment fot that storygame.
Finally, comment spam would become a problem. If somebody wouldn't have commented without the incentive, then they did not wish to put out the effort or time. If they simply wanted another point, I'd expect them to put out a comment that involved little effort or time. As a result, Minnie and Thara would be giving End Master countless comments to delete in the Draw My Attention threads. EM would have to delete the comments which would cause our mods to do even more deleting (and less writing).
Thus, I believe that the detriments (more deleting, more spam, unfair disadvantage to users who previously commented) outweigh the benefits (comments that may or may not be helpful).
Hmm, these are wise thoughts, and I thank you for sparing the time to pen them down.
Fundamentally, the question is whether Costs (Tracking Spam, Deleting Spam, Mod Time) < / = / > Benefits (More comments - hopefully better ones, more commentators).
My perspective is that comments are another form of writing, encouraging which comes under the ambit of the site's goal. Yes, there are already readers who leave meaningful comments on a storygame without additional motivation, but perhaps we can encourage more, and from more people. Giving a point incentive doesn't undermine or trivialize the efforts of existing commentators, nor their motivations.
The very fact that there's a small group of people leaving consistent reviews is an issue from another point of view, should some of them go offline (life happens), it'd be a hit to the site's ecosystem. Continually growing a pool of reviewers makes long term sense, which a small carrot could incentivize.
Yes, initially many people may leave weak reviews, but if MinnieKing is anything to go by, they also have great scope for self improvement. By default, everyone reads for leisure, but with a small carrot, perhaps more would switch over to a critical mindset as well - which would help them grow as writers as well.
Regarding fairness to existing commentators, a one time payout could work, though I don't know how feasible that would be technically.
Futhermore, the entire effort hinges on the assumption that people care for EXP points anyways, which limits both the good and the bad (meaning the impact of this change shouldn't be too monumental). Trolls are the number one source of intentionally bad comments, I doubt this change would encourage them to troll more (they know their lifespans are limited till the time they make the account and they meet End's diligent scythe, they don't really care about points. Heck earning points may actually curb their will to troll- unlikely but not impossible), so I'm not too concerned about that side. It's the unintentionally bad comments that will be the issue, but perhaps bearing with those isn't the worst cost.
I wholeheartedly agree, mod time is a precious resource (and End deserves a nod here for his commitment and ruthless efficiency), I honestly don't have any non-technical solution to this problem. Among technical solutions comments could have a like/dislike system which could automate which ones get shown and hidden (like Eurogamer's commenting system). That could work, and save a ton of mod time (at the risk of meme-y posts getting undue attention, which Mods could still remove).
In my eyes, unless this breaks the system, it'll make it healthier in the long run. Looking forward to your thoughts on this.
[I have a proposed amendment to your idea at the bottom. Sorry for the delay.]
I think there’s a very large concept that at the center of this problem. Why do people comment at all? Some people comment for the sake of being featured (which is still a very good thing). Others comment to give advice or point out flaws in the story, yet other have a mixture of both. Nonetheless, there are many comments that have been submitted that have no chance of being featured and not particularly helpful that are submitted anyway.
This brings us to the question of why people comment without the goal of exp. Without the exp goal, there only reason that can encompass the other two categories is that the story motivated the reader to comment. For example, first time (and competent) publishers have a great deal of comments for their story. Why? Our community wants to encourage the author and help him/her improve. For example, my first story had four comments in which were extremely helpful for my future projects. In fact, I was quite happy with just about every comment. If my comments would have been full of short, approximately four-word comments, I would have been discouraged. I would have seen that my readers did not feel motivated enough from reading my story to do anything meaningful. Instead, they rated and commented on it out of more selfish ambition: gaining arbitrary points.
Now, the intended goal here is to increase the quality of the site which is obviously something we all want. Let’s say your idea works: each cyoa receives longer and more comments without undue work for the mods. This may still not improve the site, or at the very least it wouldn’t help me (which I’ll get to later).
First, there are the rather worthless comments that people would give. Heck, I could make over 1,000 points by just saying “This game is good” or “This game is bad”. This is minimal effort for a large reward. In comparison, EM’s Rouges is taking a massive amount of time with the reward of 123 points (100 for the featured story, 10 for being published, 3 for the daily commendation, and 10 for being most commended). Why would authors wish to write when commenting is such an effective way for gaining points? Thara gained controversy simply for racking up an insane amount of points without publishing a single story. (Note: this is not a criticism of her. I am simply using her as an example.) I hate to see somebody not contribute anything beyond simplistic comments and rating a storygame (which can be done without reading anything by randomly clicking links until one finds the ending).
Second, are comments truly this worthwhile? CYS is a writing site, thus we want to write and improve out writing. Comments are integral parts of this site, but reviews are better. To clarify, we all want somebody to post a meaningful and notably long comment for the work that we’ve put so much time and energy into. Giving a point for any format of comment wouldn’t be that much of an increase to the worth of proficient commenting. Instead of having a featured comment giving one point, it now gives two (or three after rating the story); meanwhile, instead of giving nothing to the author (or one point after rating the story), a tiny comment would give two points (after rating the story). This means a featured comment decreased from giving 100% more points than a non-featured comment to just 50% more. That is not fair to the featured commenters when considering their effort.
Thus, I wish to propose an amendment to your plan which would eliminate the blemishes that I believe currently exist. Perhaps, the length of the comment has to be high, about 80 words or 400 characters using a validation method, in order to receive that point. For example, the first paragraph is 79 words, 364 characters, 442 and characters with spaces long. A comment of that length would be long enough to be either: A. meaningful or B. random ranting and thus quickly deleted. This way, the short comments will not receive points, the comments that are featured anyway receive a point, and those comments which are still long yet aren’t quite good enough to be featured will receive a point as well. In essence, good comments with sufficient effort will be rewarded while those short ones won’t be.
Excellent insights, and I thank you once again for taking out the time to detail your train of reasoning.
Adding a content threshold (characters / words / both) to qualify for the EXP point is definitely a sensible way to encourage more detailed feedback, while at the same time not incentivizing 'junk' reviews. At the same time, it doesn't restrict/penalize one liner feedback (as the earlier proposal Minnie highlighted did), so no one's 'hurt' by this change. It's interesting to note that bad stories (<3/8) won't really be worth writing longer reviews for, so there won't be much gaming them for easy points, neat! I think this should suitably address Killa's concerns.
I honestly do not believe the EXP system achieves what it was intended to do - reward literary excellence - due to the daily point issue, and the limited opportunities for stories to gain EXP (123 as you pointed out, of which 13 are linked to the Commendation system). Commendations are the spiritual inheritors of what EXP points were meant to be, and I'm fine with that. I'd personally be for revising the Scrivener titles around the site, into being Commendation + Exp dependent (e.g. huge EXP but no commends = Maven, but that's a topic for a different thread).
Regarding people earning large amounts of EXP without writing storygames, I'm honestly neutral about that. As long as their points aren't from daily points, they're adding to the site - either by value estimation of written content (rating) or feedback (featured comments) (I'm singling out these two as I suspect they're the greatest source of points outside of daily points, though a mod could answer this with data). While I hope everyone on the site becomes a capable author, I would not judge them less for not publishing storygames, though I would highly recommend that they do (the joy of creation, it's something else).
I think there's a bit of confusion regarding proposed EXP point values, which I suggest as follows
I hope I've covered most of the points you brought out, there were many :)
You've covered the points just fine.
With a high enough length (~80 words) criteria, this idea is one I'd be fine with. The last point that I haven't brought up yet is how this'd cause even more points to move to reading and away from writing storygames. Thus, there probably would be some increase in points for writing good storygames that'd be suggested. Hopefully, 3J will consider this, for it could work out quite well.
While I feel this might encourage some spam, I feel like it would benefit the community in a few ways. I like it.
Hmmm... that's a good point.
Sounds like a pain to code and a minimum character limit for comments has been suggested and rejected.
I'll try to find the thread.
Here it is.
I'd recommended novating existing comments as a form of curation earlier, this is in the same headspace but from a different angle. Does the lack of comments annoy me? Yes. When you're low in your storygame count, continual feedback/reactions is a form of positive motivation and engagement, which is nice to have. This becomes less relevant as more stories (and comments thereupon) pile up, no doubt.
To be honest, I've already got most of the critical feedback I was seeking by going the old route (asking for it), but getting impressions from readers on an ongoing basis is always welcome. If the Page Analytics idea rolls out, I'll honestly care less about unexpected comments, for I'll already be getting feedback from their actions if not their words, so there's that too.
A clarification, do you mean 3 Commendations for a comment is too high? The recommendation was one EXP point for a comment for the first comment on a story. Also, I don't question the low literary value of current comments, I just gamble that if they're encouraged, over time better reviewers should emerge.
At the end of it all EXP is monopoly money. If it can incentivize good behaviour, then everyone wins. Commendations being more of hard earned monopoly money benefit from their scarcity in relation to EXP, so they only seem more attractive if average EXP rises further. The original idea was that EXP was meant to capture great writing effort, but outside of the bonus from a featured story (~100, and very very few get that) a good story only gets the author 10 EXP points. The EXP system does not meet its original design goal of encouraging and rewarding literary effort as elegantly as Commendations do, therefore I honestly would not mind a further opportunity for readers to increase EXP, while keeping Commendations the outright goal of the site. EXP as a tie breaker for Avon is utility enough for its purposes.
I could give your storygame a review if you'd like.