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Is this forum ruled by despotism?


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After repeatedly being accused of somehow breaking forum rules that do not even exist, while not even bothering to mention the rules I supposedly have broken, I begin to wonder if it is about the rules at all.


To me it looks like this is the rule of despotism, the worst kind of government one can have. I'm here since the beginning as Torque3D was open sourced,I use it to build real things,know things for real and help people for real, but now somehow I find out that I need to be punished for supposedly writing an off-topic post.


Off-topic posts are natural to a discussion, things almost always go more or less off-topic, otherwise there would be no progress, so it is totally ridiculous to punish people for supposed off-topic, while nobody even bothered to define any rules in the first place.


There is just a random guy I have never seen before in the community, with no background of creating or doing anything, no portfolio, no credentials whatsoever and now somehow such a person is put onto me as an authority being allowed to warn, punish and delete my posts completely arbitrary and of course nobody else ever gets moderated or his posts deleted or warned for being off-topic (which happens all the time).


To me it just looks like some kind of intrigue to sabotage me and you better be open about who is constantly blaming me in the background and begging the admins/moderators to punish me for doing nothing wrong, since nobody even bothered to define rules and I'm not doing anything obviously wrong like insulting people with swear words, so what is the problem?

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He just made that code of conduct up on the fly, because of me, no community was involved in creating that "community" code of conduct and before that no rules existed and everything worked just fine, before the squealer crybabies arrived. There is also no way to find the rules for newcomers, since they are not named rules and there is no link to them.


Most of the points are subjective rules like "be nice", "be respectful", "do not insult", "be constructive" and "do not troll"

All those things are up to subjective interpretation, what is "nice" to one person is not nice to another person, or who is to decide what is constructive or not? What is constructive or not will be proven in reality, you cannot just go and come with our opinion on others and delete their stuff because you think it is not constructive or delete people because you think they are a troll.


But I already posted my critique to that Code of Conduct in the appropriate thread.


Don't you get that it is all based on the opinion of one dictator? There are no definitions on what "nice" or "constructive" etc are it is entirely up to the mood of one moderator and if you question him you will get punished again.


The biggest joke is, that if others or they themselves violate their own rules, nothing happens. For example the rule: "Respect that people have differences of opinion, and that every design, implementation, or choice carries considerations, trade-offs, and costs. There is rarely ever a perfect answer." is broken all the time, because nobody seems to respect my opinions, when I have a wrong opinion I immediately get threatened with punishment.

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Most of the points are subjective rules like "be nice", "be respectful", "do not insult", "be constructive" and "do not troll"

And yet you seem to break all of them all of the time, and yes I have committed these sins in the past and yes I have 'met' with moderation, so please, while you do happen to be the most deserving, you are by no means alone, you arent special, you are just louder about it :)

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I think I have to correct myself, the rulership here is not so much despotism, but more of a mob rule, since I think the original creators or admins are good people with good intentions and they do not even care to moderator or censor stuff.


I think it is primarily some members of the mob who are constantly screaming for punishment and censorship, because someone said things they do not like and since those people from the mob are the ones who scream the loudest the people in power do what they want, just to have them shut up.


However you should never allow the mob to rule, they will just destroy everything. Those people who scream the loudest for censorship are probably also the ones who are not doing anything for real, at least that is my impression when I look up the people who complain about me, they almost all have in common, that they have no portfolio or background in anything.


I mean if you want to get things done for real, you cannot always make your priority to "be nice" to everyone and never criticize anything or anyone. The real being nice is to tell people when they are on the wrong path instead of praising them for their wrongdoing which leads to them wasting their time and never getting anywhere.

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A few topics showing up here:


"Why am I punished when all these other guys are not" - if someone is doing anything wrong, report them. I can no longer surveil all of the forums.


"Some random guy is moderating me and doing a bad job" - if it's me, take it up with Jeff, if it's someone else take it up with me. I will only act on specific examples.


"Off-topic posts are natural to a discussion" - so long as it brings value for the original poster and/or doesn't derail the thread completely. Got something completely unrelated to discuss? Create a new thread. Accidentally derailed the topic? That's cool, realize it after a few posts and create a new thread.


Lastly, on the point of the code-of-conduct. JeffR is the community leader as it stands. As far as I can tell, he is the one who is doing the primary contributions to the engine, and he's generally well-liked among the community.

If I'm wrong: start a revolt, create a petition, rally your supporters and convince me that JeffR no longer has community support.


I provide this forum as a service to the community, and I try to only intervene on direct reports. When a report happens, I try to follow the community guidelines as best, and objectively, as I can. If you believe the resulting action is wrong, please make a dispute/PM or take it up with JeffR or complain about the specific incident openly on the forums.

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@LukasPJ

I have no problems with you and I don't want to start a revolt, since that would just split up people again and be less useful for everyone. The Problem is that you threw all democracy and the committee model over board while nobody had a say in it, Jeff was just the only active steering committee member left after I was thrown out of it and now as he has all the power he refuses to do anything and refuses to put new people up who want to do something.

Leadership and contributions to the engine are separate things, you don't have to be a contributor to the engine to become a committee member.

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So, what kind of improvements do you think is necessary at this point?

And what positions do you think that we need people for / have people that could fill?


I don't think Jeff wants to run everything by himself, I think he would prefer to have a strong team. However, it can be difficult to assemble such a team, let alone define and divide responsibilities between people.

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Isn't that obvious? If he wanted a new team, he could just ask who wants to be in the team and people will show up, it is as simple as that.

Then you go into the forum settings and kick out the old nonexistent members of the team that did not show up for years and replace them with new existent ones.

Of course it will be harder now as many experienced people left or retired, but some team doing something is better than no team doing nothing.

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you don't have to be a contributor to the engine to become a committee member.

Maybe this should be made false, maybe anybody who is part of the 'steering committee' (in quotes because I don't believe a steering committee is needed period) should be a 'contributor' (also in quotes because GitHub is not the only indicator of contribution). Maybe the steering committee fell apart because those not 'active' just faded away and were removed or just removed themselves because of apathy I literally don't know the ins and out and politics, and I'm sure many people will drop torque like the proverbial hot turd if we get a steering committee back and it has politics again.


WE, being the torque community as a whole have a general direction, a marshalling god-emperor whos only goal is improving the engine, we have active game developers feeding back their changes into the engine, in what is frankly a very noble thing and may even contribute to the engine at least as much what jeff is doing; I should mention that while jeff is doing a lot of solo work, he is constantly getting feedback from people which drives much of his work, some times he asks for feedback which he receives, sometimes he posts something and gets feedback whether wanted or not :P


tl;dr God-Emperor isn't a dictator, he is quietly upgrading this engine virtually every day, along with a small handful of others, all unpaid, mostly unthanked, and honestly, if you don't like the engine being developed this way, fork it and fork off.


Your suggestions are no more valid than anyone else's suggestions; should they have merit, then somebody will do the work; when they find time to do it.


But if all you want is a list of red names to make it look like thats something important then by all means, ask those who do a lot of work to put their names on the list of 'important' people. There is more than a few people who contribute, even by my standards to make up a ruling council :p


Az, Lukas, Tron, Steve, all legends of the community, all have done a great deal in one way or another to contribute and improve the engine and the community

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@LukasPJ

Don't you remember the steering committee model the engine started with? You have a team of people guiding the development of the engine, like a handful of people, each with their own area of expertise. Their job is not to do all the work, but rather guide the development. I can't believe I have to explain this over and over again, it feels like everyone has forgotten everything about the past, it feels to me that most people cannot remember things further away than a few years.


Forum moderators are like the least important kind of people and their most important function would just be to regularly delete the spam, but that could be avoided by having a higher entry barrier to the forum, so that the spammers do not bother with it.

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@Duion

I'm just asking for genuine input here. I'm trying to figure out what your issue with the current organization is.


I'm not quite sure I agree on what you wrote. I do not believe it makes sense to have a group of 3-5 people discussing the direction of the engine when the active pool of developers is as small as it is.

As it stands, the direction of the engine is whatever anyone decides to take it, and any "Steering Committee"-esque group would only act as gatekeepers - something you need development experience and a deep knowledge of the engine to do properly. At least based on the contributions that I have seen to the engine so far.


It would be ideal to be able to direct and steer the direction of the engine, but with our current man-power, that is simply not possible.


So, I find it hard to put my finger on what exactly we need from a "Steering Committee", what would be the purpose of assigning a group of people to that role? They would essentially be managing a non-existent group of people as I see it.


Could you come with examples of what such a group of people would contribute with? I.e. if we had 3 people in such a group, what would their "product" be? I find the notion of "direction" a little bit too vague.

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If it were the case that it would also work without such a committee then fine, but this is not the case, we did not even manage to update our website to reflect the fact, that we do not even have a steering committee anymore.


We do not even manage to get the most simple tasks done in like 5 years or more, why is that? Because the people in power do not exist anymore or the few left, refuse to do anything, that is why we need new people there, so that they can do things.


I tried to contribute things multiple times in the past, but it was ignored, even when I was in the committee, then when I was thrown out of it, I was even more ignored, so I had not much motivation to do anything, since I knew, that everything I did was just ignored or trashed.


A good example is the Moddb page of Torque3D, I said since the beginning, that we should update all instances of Torque3D to reflect that it is Torque3D now, one of those cases was the Moddb page, but nobody ever did anything, so after years I finally did it myself, I managed to convince the Admin there to give me the control of that abandoned account, then I thought I handed it over to Jeff, because he is the guy in power now, otherwise people would again not accept that I do things and ignore it. I told him to update the page to reflect that it is Torque3D MIT now and update at least the description and some screenshots. What happened? Nothing. He just wrecked it.


I mean that is just a small example and that website is not that relevant, at least not anymore, but it shows our failures or at least your failures.


Over all those years we did not even manage to update our websites or social media accounts, to reflect what is actually going on. Some people tried to do it in the past, including me, but they are just ignored, because it was not "official", so those people lost the motivation and abandoned it again. The result is that we have not one set of official old outdated abandoned pages about us, but multiple inofficial old outdated abandoned pages.


And people complain about the popularity of the engine, when nobody even managed to tell the outside world that we even exist, of course you cannot gain much popularity like that.

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Alright, so your main gripe here is the PR efforts? And you would like a consolidated group of people in charge of social media, website and the like? Please let me know if I've misinterpreted.


That seems sensible @JeffR does that make sense to you as well?


The issue can be finding a group of people willing to take on this kind of tedious tasks and that doesn't abuse the opportunity to spread their own opinions and messages. So I think that such a group should adhere to a CoC and there should be some control, at least in the beginning. I guess that's details we don't have to discuss in this thread.

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PR is just one example. It is not hard to find people to do those things, people already did and wanted to do, but their effort was ignored, also there is no official place they could go to, we have no website with official news, we have no contact link, we have nothing to show who is in charge of what, we have no official social media accounts etc etc that is what you need an official team for, to streamline this process. You cannot just let everyone do what he wants, because others will complain and then refuse to cooperate as it happened so much before. You need some kind of democracy so at least the majority is on the same page.

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Definitely some valid points being discussed here but I feel like this thread pops up about once a year. Some conversation happens, some proposals are put forward, and ultimately nothing changes. Wasn't it about this time last year we had the 'Why doesn't anything get done?' thread where we discussed how fragmented & unfocused development was, the huge backlog of PRs waiting to be committed, etc.? That spawned a few additional threads where we started reviewing PRs (many of which have still not been committed) and more proposals about how to better involve the community.


I do think there's a need for more organization so development efforts can be focused toward realistic goals & timelines but I'm not sure how to get there at this point. The steering committee model looks good on paper but only works if you have members that are active, capable, and willing to work toward whatever 'goal' the community sets. Past steering committees have lacked at least one of those ingredients and I doubt we have a large enough community to even use that model again. Godot's method of one main developer working on things the community votes on makes more sense but that's also a paid, full time job whereas Jeff and the one or two others still working on Torque are doing so as a hobby so having the community dictate what they do in their free time feels like a big ask.


Just for the sake of conversation, here are some facts that have been relevant for the past several years:


1). The last official release, 3.10.1, happened over two years ago. It is woefully out of date at this point due to the tremendous amount of fixes made to the development branch in the interim. The process of backporting these fixes is tedious, time consuming, and more than we should expect from a new user but even if they do make the effort, they'll be left with a weird Frankenstein version of Torque that's stuck between the 3.10 way of doing things (ShapeBase everything) and 4.0's shiny newness (half-implemented modules/assets/components and incomplete BaseGame template).


2). There's never been a -worse- time to start a new project with Torque. If you build off of 3.10 now you're willingly setting yourself up for pain later but 4.0 is still incomplete and unstable enough to be a no-go for any serious effort.


3). The last commit to the official repo was over a month ago, the one before that happened 5 months ago which indicates either development has completely stopped or (more likely) is still happening in personal/private repos and never making it back into the GG repo. Anyone that's not actively monitoring discord is going to be confused on what the true state of the engine is and will be hopelessly lost if they actually want to contribute.


4). There are still over 70 PRs waiting to be committed & over 300 issues needing to be addressed. Many of these are years old at this point and have been addressed but never closed.

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Alright, could you come with another example aside from PR?

 

Yeah lots of them, for example we have no active website, the website was created by Buckmaster initially and never changed. We also have no official news blog, like Garagegames had, so there is no source you can go to for official news about the engine also our wiki is inactive for years as well. We also have no artist in the committee that tells people when their art is bad. That is already 4 examples. Basically everything is inactive, except the guy that does the pull requests. Need more?

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@Duion

So in my mind a news blog and update og website is very much contained in the term "Public Relations"


I don't know why we need someone in a steering committee to rate people's art? Could you elaborate on that because I don't quite understand it.


The wiki is inactive yes, but anyone can contribute to it, no reviews or approvals necessary afaik. So I don't think we need a steering committee for something that people don't contribute to. That's just the state of the community.



@Happenstance you raise some valid points, and address some of them yourself.

I agree that more could be done in terms of PR, but we need competent people that want to review, approve and merge these PRs, but it's definitely something that could be looked at.

I wonder how many people that we could gather that would be willing/able to review PRs and issues regularly.


If anyone here is interested in helping with that, I would recommend hitting up @JeffR I'm sure he would welcome it

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I don't care if you create a steering committee or not, fact is nothing gets done, if you would get something done another way, I would admit of being wrong, but this is not the case.


You cannot define everything as public relations, since just having a website is not public relations, since just creating a website without doing public relations will do nothing. Public relations is advertising something, not creating it.


But if you argue like that you could say "Well everything is public relations, since everything you do is just because you want to relate to other people" which is idiotic, it is like you saying "Well there exist no other points you can make, because everything is public relations and we do not need public relations and because everything is public relations you have no other points you can make"


Creating and having something is different to advertising it, first you need to create something, to have something that you can do advertising on.


Yes having an expert in art is important, otherwise everything that is created will look bad, but that is probably also just public relations for you so it does not matter, everything is nothing and nothing exists.

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@Duion the main thing I'm trying to dig into here is that "nothing gets done" is a very vague opinion. I would much prefer it to be a lot more concrete, otherwise there isn't really anything to act on.


And it might be that having a website isn't necessarily PR, but a landing page and a news blog is fairly deep into PR territory.

However we needn't make a big deal of what the term PR means, it was mostly an acknowledgement of the fact that your main issues doesn't seem to be directly with engine development, and rather with social media, news blogs, websites etc.

Which is a very different skillset/task than what someone such as @JeffR spends most of his time on, and thus we would definitely need different hands to work on that.


I still don't quite understand the need for an expert in art that can review people's art because I don't understand what art it is that expert needs to review. Is it website designs, 3D models in-engine or something else?

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Nothing gets done means concretely: We have no marketing, no updated website, no active social media, no official news, no steering committee.

There is metrics activated on many things on the internet and you can precisely see if there is activity or not and in most categories there is no activity, that is not a vague opinion but a definitive fact.


I don't even have to prove that nothing gets done, if you pretend things get done, it is your duty to prove it. You cannot claim things are getting done by default and only if someone proves they are not getting done, they stop to exist that would be insane.

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I have acknowledged that little happens on social media and the website news etc.

I'm not contesting that.


I would contest that nothing happens at all, and I think getting concrete in what your specific pain is, is important. Otherwise I would have assumed you meant engine-wise.


Let's put all that aside, what do you propose the solution is? What's stopping you from addressing the problem?

Again, this is not a bit. It's a genuine question.

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