I know that something like my framework has already been posted. I thought it could work, and work well. I'll just jump right in there and explain my thoughts and we can just discuss it from there.
Good skill, item and hero ideas are often lost in the current forums. Finding something good is often far too much effort for Icefrog and his team.
There needs to be filtering, both automatic and manual. Ideas that are good need to be recognized. Potential in these ideas need to be brought out, and investigated. More than one audience needs to see the ideas and contribute to them.
Keep the current forums, they work to an extent. Most suggestions that have proper formatting will get a little bit of community feedback. Keep this as a base level, a "sandbox" for new and developing ideas.
People need a place to put ideas that they think are good. Yes, the suggester them self. Not a moderator, or anything like that. Individuals need the chance to place suggestions they think are good, into a higher level of appraisal. In my opinion, we should let people have this opportunity.
Step 1: Make a new subforum called "Published Suggestions":
This will either be a large one containing: Heroes, Items, Abilities (or whatever) or make the "Published" subforum stemming from the original forum that it pertains to. I.E: inside heroes, you will fine the Published heroes. Inside abilities, Published abilities. Etc.
Conditions of posting here:
- 1 thread, per user, per 1-2 months
- Created thread must already exist in the sandbox for 1 month
- No further modification of suggestion once posted here
- Public is not permitted to discuss ideas here
- Staff(explained later) will review suggestions here
- Threads are closed 2 weeks after they are posted
This, in my opinion is good filtering. Users cannot spam this forum with any old idea they think has a chance. They must pick their best ideas. Furthermore, there needs to be an attempt at previous discussion. By staying in the sandbox (the forum that we have now) for at least one month, there is atleast some potential for the idea to be reviewed and improved upon. Users must become self critical. "If I post this here, will it be liked". "Have I wasted my suggestion for the month (or 2)?"
If our users become their own filters, this alone creates better ideas, which are more relevant. Users who submit ideas that are quickly turned down in this forum will learn quickly what is expected of them (at least I hope. Is that assumption too optimistic?). Regardless, the Published forum will guarantee that we can easily find suggestions that have EFFORT behind them. At least, I hope.
Step 2: Hire "Reviewers" or "Voters" and "Review Moderators", above them
This is the bit that becomes harder. Face it, any amount of automatic filtering is fine, but it's not going to work after a while. Real people need to view the suggestions and think about what's being written. It's just a given. At some point or other, we need people with the capability to do something about a suggestion. We need people who can say "I like this idea, and now I'm going to make sure you're recognised".
We need to hire staff for this to work. I look at the staff lists and there are plenty of people assigned to the moderation of suggestions. You CAN trust people to be reliable, and post frequently to a particular standard. It's possible.
For my idea, we need to hire 1-2 teams per section. (1-2 teams for heroes, 1-2 teams for items. Etc). Each team will have 1 moderator, who has increased forum capabilities (like the staff we have now. The selected people could even be existing staff. Rather than hiring new ones). The teams will also have 5 or so delegates. These delegates are just regular people. They will be known as "voters" or "reviewers". They have no extra forum capabilities or tags. All they have, is a team leader, who they can speak with about the ideas they find.
When a suggestion is published, the voters of the section the suggestion was posted in, will post their thoughts. Should a voter see potential, or something he likes. He will add to his post, "I have forwarded this to my superior" or something like that.
The intention would be, that only 25% of published threads get a mention to a superior.
The moderators will get these messages from their delegates. They will be directed to threads that have been seen to have potential. The Moderator then examines the thread using a strict marking scheme.
Step 3: Develop an All Encompassing Marking Scheme:
Hiring staff can be easy. Just go and look at users who make consistent, good quality posts, and offer to hire them. It can be done and the proof is found in some of our current staff today. If we are talking a maximum of 6 moderators across 3 forums (heroes, items, abilities) with 5 other forum users assigned to them... then that is 36 people we need to hire. Considerable, but not impossible to find enough people.
When a moderator is given a thread to look at, they should be using a Marking Scheme, to grade the suggestion. Hiring staff to find potentially workable ideas is easy. But creating a scoring mechanism will be so much harder. But it would be worth it.
Benefits of a well created marking scheme:
- Will make a moderators job easier. They do not need to think of things to say. All parts of a suggestion that need covering will be laid out for them
- Will quantitatively show what parts of a suggestion are good, and what needs improvement.
- Will allow users to see exactly what IceFrog looks for in a suggestion
- Should IceFrog need a different style of idea, the Scheme could easily be changed to suit.
Downfalls of a poorly created scheme:
- Could make a moderators job harder to get a point across
- It could oversee parts of a suggestion that actually have great potential but need work
- It may cloud what is actually expected from a suggestion
- It could cause more confusion than clarity
Appropriate marking schemes would be difficult to develop. However, I maintain the belief that a well made marking scheme will help the suggestions forum immensely.
A moderator that is send a link to look at a published thread will create their report card for a suggestion and post it in the thread, after all the voters have posted. The report card will examine whether the suggestion will move on, or has failed. I expect 5% of all published suggestions to get this far.
Step 4: Move the suggestion to private moderator discussions.
From here, the other moderators of the suggestion forums will be instructed to judge the suggestion. Should there be a unanimously positive acclaim for the idea (expected 1% of published threads). Icefrog will get a final say. He could either reject, accept or deffer the suggestion.
Rejected suggestions become just that. The marking scheme is designed to allow the desired suggestions to trickle through. However sometimes, moderators may view it as a good suggestion and Icefrog will not. The suggestion will be unsuccessful like ever other.
Accepted suggestions and Deffered suggestions will have obvious potential and will either be implemented without futher discussion or moved to the "Open suggestions" Forum.
Step 5: Open suggestions and the wider forum's views:
I return to the original post of this thread. The aim is to have a low number, of good quality ideas, that can be developed through meaningful discussion and brainstorming.
Go look at the requests forum. Icefrog posts there projects that he wants the community to be involved in, for further inspiration and work. With a little for structure to the conversation, if should be a fantastic format for the published suggestions that become highly acclaimed. If Icefrog can get workable ideas from these discussions, that's good and the purpose of this filtering system has been achieved.
In my opinion, this requires very little continuous work from staff. A group of 30 or so people just give a few quick reviews to a few threads a couple of time a week. Moderators are notified of a handful of threads that have top notch ideas, and some marching scheme will be applied. If the idea holds up against the marking scheme, Icefrog and his team can take a look and either accepct, reject or pass the idea to further "open" discussion.
It fulfills its purpose. We filter from the astronomical amount of suggestions down to only a handfull. These ideas can be futher discussed. This fulfills the intention of the forum redesign. A couple of top quality ideas are discussed with meaningful intention. People have motivation here, if the discussions lead to good results, the suggestion ultimately gets implemented. This will please both users who helped to make it, and Icefrog, because the idea will no doubt suit him and his needs as game developer.
My only personal concern is creating a marking scheme that can reward concepts that are not developed enough yet, but have potential. However, there may be no need for that if my clause of "ideas must be in the sandbox for 1+ months before being published" yields any fruitful discussions.
Anyway, I hope this post can fuel some more discussion.