Basic Gamebanana Netiquette

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1. What is Netiquette?

By definition, etiquette is a code of behavior that outlines expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group. It embodies the unwritten rules that govern society, having evolved as civilization itself progresses. And if you are wondering about the name itself, it is derived from the French word “étiquette”, which means label or tag, a strong hint as to how the etiquette codifies and labels these unwritten rules.

Although its rules are mostly unwritten, you mainly learn etiquette from your parents and family as a kid, from your school and teachers, and from having an ounce of common sense and carefully observing the community you live in.

If you meet new people, you are supposed to shake their hands as a sign of friendliness and courtesy; not doing so is extremely rude and can be interpreted as a hostile move. Of course, there is no written rule that tells you to shake hands but the social norms dictate so.

Likewise, you do not laugh with an open mouth or speak loudly on the cellphone while you are at a funeral. Granted, there is no sign on the door that tells you such but you know societal pressure forbids you from doing so.

These unwritten rules govern our daily lives and our interaction with people around us; but what happens when this interaction occurs in the virtual world where you can’t actually see the other person or interpret his facial expressions and body language? Certainly the aforementioned rules would not fully apply and there is a need for another set of rules, more adjusted to the recent advances in the virtual online world. Enter netiquette.

Netiquette, which stands for network and internet etiquette, is a set of social conventions that facilitate interaction over networks and the internet in general, ranging from online communities and mailing lists to blogs and forums.

2. How does it work on Gamebanana?

Gamebanana is an online community (duh!) and as such, it shares the same basic general netiquette that governs online interactions. In addition, Gamebanana has some special set of additional rules, both written and unwritten, to facilitate members’ interactions and ensure a smooth operation site-wide.

Gamebanana keeps attracting new members, but sadly, many of them, with predominant teenage demographic, lack common sense and basic code of conduct, and end up ruining the online community experience for themselves and for the members who interact with them.

And despite not being a wiki or a strict guide, this article should prove helpful for new comers and old timers alike, ensuring a smooth online encounter with Gamebanana.

2.1. I am a new user, what next?

You finally decided to create an account on Gamebanana; good move and I take this opportunity to welcome you aboard.

The first and foremost thing to do is to read the site rules and general FAQ. I can’t stress this enough: read the rules and FAQ in their entirety (don’t skip and skim), and even read them a second time to make sure you understood everything as most of the problems that occur on Gamebanana originate from failure to read or understand the rules.

While you are on the rules page, scroll down to the bottom and you will notice a list of section specific rules. On top of the general rules, each section on Gamebanana has a set of additional rules that need to be read and observed while using these sections. If you are planning on submitting your work later on such as maps, skins, sprays, models, etc., then be sure to carefully read the rules specific to the section you are interested in.

My biggest advice to newcomers is to…lurk for a short period of time before actively engaging in the site activities.

You want us to lurk? Yes

Is Will2k out of his mind? Not at all.

I know that most of you are gawking right now after hearing this bomb shell but if you take a minute to consider it, you would notice that what I suggested makes perfect sense. In fact, recent studies have shown that lurking a new community is beneficial for the newcomer and makes it easier for him to integrate this community with the least amount of frustration and hassle.

By lurking the site for a short period (1 week to 1 month), the new member will get the necessary time to read and familiarize himself with the rules, but most importantly, he will get the chance to understand and witness the community’s inner dynamics in action: who are the major players? Prominent members? Staff? What is acceptable and what is not? What actions are considered ok and what is frowned upon? What are the unwritten rules?

The new member will be then prepared for his integration and for becoming an active member in the community.

2.2. Should I release my first work?

Not all newcomers are beginners or rookies. A new member on Gamebanana could be an established veteran on another community with a decent portfolio under his belt, who just decided to open an account on GB. If you fall under this category, then by all means feel free to release your work as soon as you see fit.

What if you are a new member and a rookie who is just starting his modding journey?

Although there are no rules that prohibit you from posting your first work and Gamebanana will not censor your submitted first job no matter how low quality it is, I highly advise you not to release your first attempt at modding to the public.

I see many new members, who have barely learned the ropes of the job, immediately submitting their creation only to receive negative feedback or flaming in some cases from resident members, which will further frustrate and alienate these newcomers to GB. I know how exciting it is to create something for the first time whether it is a map or model, but you need to refrain from submitting it to the public, no matter how “good” you think it is. More likely than not, it is not good, trust me.

What you need to do is practice; after all practice makes perfect, right?

Take advantage of the big tutorials section available on GB to learn more about the subject of your preference and more importantly, create as many test items (maps, skins, models…) as you can to try what you learned first-hand. The more trial and error you go through, the more experience you build.

If you hit a road bump on a certain issue and can’t find a suitable tutorial, then feel free to post a help thread on the Gamebanana’s forums and the more experienced members will be glad to help.

Whenever you feel confident about mastering the basics, then it is good time to start releasing and sharing your work with the community.

When I started my level design journey back in early 1999, I spent a whole year (on and off of course) reading various tutorials and articles and immediately building small test maps to experiment with what I learned in my free time. I experimented with several engines ranging from Half-Life, Delta Force to Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena. I released my first map to the public in 2000, and although it wasn’t a masterpiece or a breakthrough, it was however a solid map for a beginner level designer.

Of course, I’m not asking you to spend a year preparing yourself but taking enough time to learn the basics is crucial in your journey: your submission will be more welcome, you will receive better feedback when other members see the effort you put in your first creation and you will less likely be flamed or abused by other members.

2.3. Can I flame low-quality first submissions?

As tempting as it may seem, you should not. You might think that this would boost your ego and increase your popularity on GB, but in fact, it could get you into more trouble than you would want (warnings, gags, and bans).

You have 2 options here to deal with this situation:

If you have the time and will, you can write a constructive post on the submission’s profile pointing the author to the flaws of his work while suggesting improvements. You can also guide him to some tutorials where he can further learn and grow his abilities. Further reading about being constructive and helpful can be found in this article.

You’d be surprised how many people actually improve when you point them into the right direction and how life changing your constructive feedback and support could be. You could actually be the reason for the birth of a talented artist.

If you do not wish to leave constructive criticism, then simply ignore the submission. As simple as that: no fuss, no drama. Move along and see something else you like on the site (GB is huge and there must be something in there that floats your boat).

The only time you need to take action (no, not flaming) is when the submitter starts spamming these low quality submissions in a way to disrupt normal site activities. In this case, just inform site staff by reporting the user/submission through a support ticket.

2.4. Can we be friends?

Gamebanana is a community site after all and driven by the basic human sense of belonging, it would be natural for you to start seeking new friends in the community.

Whenever you help someone or have a pleasant chat with him/her or vice versa, or whenever you have some common interests with this person, then it is likely to become friends with him. However you should not force someone to become your buddy; this is bordering on harassment and privacy intrusion.

Don’t go from profile to profile posting and asking members to become your buddies and definitely do not send them private messages to coerce them. Friendship is something natural and intuitive and certainly not forcible.

The same logic goes for posting on personal profiles asking for donations or subscriptions. This is the virtual equivalent of actual begging. Do you see yourself going from door to door in your neighborhood asking for money? I highly doubt it. If you don’t do it in real life then don’t do it on Gamebanana.

2.5. Can I feed the trolls?

Only with high-fiber content food since they have delicate stomachs.

Joking aside, you should not “feed” the trolls by replying or engaging in their flamebait. Engaging in flame wars will only lead to further escalation of the situation where you eventually end up punished as much as the troll himself.

Always make good use of the reporting system on GB to signal the offending troll to staff members and admins/mods will take good care of him (you have our word).

Similarly, if you notice a submission, user, thread or post that is breaking the rules of GB, please use the reporting system (support tickets) or flagging system (for recent submissions) to notify staff members and let them do their job. Don’t engage with the offending member and don’t perform backseat moderating since both will backfire on you and put you in a tight spot.

2.6. A career in farming?

While farming in real life is a well-respected and revered job, it is not the case in virtual GB life. Farming or more precisely point-farming is an activity that is frowned upon by staff and members alike. Besides, whatever points you gain through point farming will most probably be stripped away from you by a banana bank admin.

Point-farming can take several aspects most prominently through spamming a noticeable number of absurd submissions, and the most preferred ones are threads, polls, ideas and low-quality submissions.

If you are considering point-farming, please search for a better job/career. If you spot a point-farmer, you know the drill: submit a support ticket and let the mods/admins handle him.

2.7. Can I write spells?

If you’re a witch then go for it. But even if you don’t write spells, you should still spell right.

Gamebanana is an English speaking site, and even if English is not your first language, you should try your best to write as clear and sound as possible, especially in submissions and forum threads. The only places where you can write in your native language are personal profiles, studios and WIP pages.

Avoid writing in SMS abbreviations, especially on help threads; it is understandable to go a bit loose and wild in off-topic threads and partially ignore proper grammar but doing so in help threads is not recommended and makes you look like a troll trying to derail the thread.

Similarly, never write in all CAPS as this is considered shouting and extremely rude and will get your post trashed with a possible gag if you are a repeat offender.

And since we are in forums threads, let me refresh your mind about a couple of things that are common sense but unfortunately overlooked by new users.

Before starting a new thread, especially one asking for help, it is always beneficial to use the search function; chances are your issue is already discussed and probably solved in a previous thread. Only resort to starting a new thread if you can’t find a similar one that is already initiated.

Do not attempt to derail help threads by posting spam, off-topic or inserting those hideous meme photos that further aggravate the situation. Remember that the person asking for help is already frustrated by his problem and the last thing he wishes for is a troll derailing his thread and luring him into flame wars. If you don’t have anything to help or contribute, then move along quietly to another thread.

It is very impolite to hijack threads, whether by derailing them with off-topic spam, or by posting your own problem on top of the original poster’s issue. If your problem isn’t exactly the same as the OP, then it would be better to start your own help thread to get better and more focused replies and feedback.

2.8. Police brutality?

Similar to cops enforcing the laws in real life communities, administrators and moderators are the GB police force making sure laws are respected and citizens are treated fairly.

Most newcomers fail to read the rules and end up breaking them very early, but instead of learning from their mistakes, they jump on the old conspiracy theory bandwagon instead:

“Mods hate me and want to ruin my work”

“An admin gagged/banned me for no reason”

Worse, they switch to aggressive stance and start a personal holy war against staff members by trash-talking/abusing them on their profiles or through private messages, or by posting threads and polls slandering them.

Let me be very blunt here: this strategy does not work and will quickly backfire on you with a perma-ban.

Staff members do not “hate” any member and they try their best to help new members and old timers alike with any issue that may arise. If you have a brush with the law, it is because you broke the rules by failing to read them or totally ignoring them. It is better to consider your encounter with staff members as a learning experience to become a better law abiding GB citizen.

Staff members are human beings after all; they are all volunteers with busy lives outside Gamebanana, and who are dedicating part of their free time to serve the community. There is always a chance for human error.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully accused or punished by a staff member, then the best course of action is to send the corresponding staff a private message explaining your situation or the unjustified error and mix-up. The staff member will review your case and will gladly take proper measures to mend your situation if an error was committed. There is no need to go full guns blazing by cursing staff across the site or by playing the alleged “martyr” of police brutality across forum threads.

If you feel your situation was not properly handled through the private message, you can start a support ticket clearly explaining your issue and a higher authority (admin) will look into it and decide the best course of action. Being calm and rational in your correspondence and dealing with the “police” will put you on good terms with them and might even get you their friendship.

Whenever a submission of yours is withheld, it is always because it is breaking the rules of Gamebanana. Do not get aggressive; it is not the end of the world and no one is trying to bully you. Take your time to read the withholding wiki and proceed to fix your submission and I can guarantee that it will be released back to public before you say “unwithhold”.

Lastly, if you are gagged, it is because you seriously broke the rules or you are a repeat offender. Staff members will carefully study your case before administering the gag; therefore there is no chance of pleading innocence or ignorance here. Your best bet is to calmly wait for the gag to expire (usually couple of days to couple of months for serious infractions) and try not to relapse into a life of “outlaw” when your gag is over, pending renewal.

3. In the end

The Gamebanana’s netiquette is quite simple, and with knowing the rules and armed with an ounce of common sense, you will never have to go through misfortunate encounters with the law.

If you do however, nothing to be alarmed of; just learn from your mistakes and strive to be a better law abiding GB citizen.

Will2k

August 27, 2013

Posts

  • 1y
    Anonymous
    Funny how mods here talk down to the newcomers. I was in the wrong when it came to uploading my work in progress fair enough Ill admit to that, but I tried reasoning with the mods that flagged my work till it was trashed. They didn't give me an explanation on what to do to fix it, hell they didn't respond to me at all. They just ignored me and trashed my post. I gave them a reason for me not trashing it myself yet they still flagged it and they couldn't even be fucked to change the reason for trashing it even after I explained my reasoning for not uploading it under a different subject. There's nothing I could've done about it, no report button, nothing to defend my work against their power abusive flagging. This site has the most horrendous staff I've ever come across.

  • 4y
    does-not-exist avatar
    Member Joined 4y
    > **Posted by 3zzzTyle**
    >
    > We truly need a binary 1/0 rating system. They are begging for it.

    That would work out better... but it's too simple.

    I just don't like the direction the internet is going - everything's starting to become so simple, people almost don't need to think anymore. That's a real shame. I wish I could keep the decimal rating system, but really, a binary rating system would work out better.
  • 4y
    simple rulez avatar
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    simple rulez avatar
    simple rulez
    980th Production Studios Flag
    980th Production Studios
    > **Posted by will2k**

    > I see many new members, who have barely learned the ropes of the job, immediately submitting their creation only to receive negative feedback or flaming in some cases from resident members, which will further frustrate and alienate these newcomers to GB. I know how exciting it is to create something for the first time whether it is a map or model, but you need to refrain from submitting it to the public, no matter how “good” you think it is. More likely than not, it is not good, trust me.

    I think it would be OK to submit first work in the WIP section, because there are more experienced modder viewing that section, they will receive better feedback and less flaming

    > Similar to cops enforcing the laws in real life communities, administrators and moderators are the GB police force making sure laws are respected and citizens are treated fairly.

    > Most newcomers fail to read the rules and end up breaking them very early, but instead of learning from their mistakes, they jump on the old conspiracy theory bandwagon instead:

    > “Mods hate me and want to ruin my work”

    > “An admin gagged/banned me for no reason”

    Not just newcomers, many veteran also left the site because got pissed off.
    Next Generation of Gamebanana avatar
    Mantra
    Next Generation of Gamebanana
  • 4y
    xCuDi avatar
    xCuDi Offline
    Member Joined 6y
    > **Posted by 3zzzTyle**

    > I have a weird, unexplainable suspicion that only few people will read this article in its entirety, and to most of those there are no revelations of any sort to be found. Maybe a reminder to some of us, but will it affect general atmosphere and reduce influx of MS Paint reskins, two-mesh weapons and one room maps? Nope.

    Couldn't agree more. This should be read by everyone.
    Level Designer
  • 4y
    will2k avatar
    will2k avatar Offline
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    will2k avatar
    will2k
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    > **Posted by Eventyr**
    >
    > ps. are you a real human?

    Haha :)

    Glad you found the article useful and funny.

    > **Posted by Ring-A-Ding Rampage**
    >
    > You ever consider a career as a writer? ;).

    Thanks. Currently doing freelance writing as hobby and side job in the little free time I have.
    • Interesting x 1
    cosa dici! avatar
    Mantra
    cosa dici!
  • 4y
    Ring-A-Ding Rampage avatar
    Ring-A-Ding Rampage avatar In Continuum
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    Ring-A-Ding Rampage avatar
    Ring-A-Ding Rampage
    (づ。◕‿‿◕。)づ
    Good job. You put a lot of members' thoughts to words here. It is helpful!

    You ever consider a career as a writer? ;).
    Sleep is for the weak. avatar
    Mantra
    Sleep is for the weak.
  • 4y
    Eventyr avatar
    Eventyr Offline
    Member Joined 6y
    600 points Ranked 7320th
    I certainly has learned some things after reading this! and there is mixed humor and seriousness in, so well that you can actually understand it better :)

    ps. are you a real human?
    Bananite
  • 4y
    Lord Canistra avatar
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    >The rating system is being currently discussed by admins/mods.

    Think I heard that months ago. Not that I consider it an easy task to design really fair rating system, but the current one is simply preposterous.

    Those complex multi-aspect ratings which could in theory allow for very fine assessment of content in reality aren't worth shit. Well, pardon my outburst, but that's how things are. This type of rating system seems to rely on assumption that the judge, in this case any registered user, will think each point through several times while trying to keep at bay their momentary emotions and personal feelings about author, game, theme/style, w/e. In other words, it takes a community of mature and responsible people to get this machine ticking.

    Most likely you see what I'm coming at, but I won't dive into further details or pull in personal examples so as not to set another pointless comment war. Lets just say that in this environment a simple binary system of like/dislike would work way better. After all, that's how half the people utilize current ratings.

    Not that detailed ratings are completely useless, but in my opinion access to them should be severely restricted. For instance, allowing user to rate all the aspects of someone's work only after giving exemplary feedback and/or adding weight to their detailed scores based on their EF level. A lean towards more meritocratic system, if you will.

    PS: A screenshot from ratings of random skin.

    We truly need a binary 1/0 rating system. They are begging for it.
    • Agree x 1
    • Epic win x 1
  • 4y
    will2k avatar
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    will2k avatar
    will2k
    Map Critic
    > **Posted by Fayeroo**

    > Actually and honestly I don't like reading, and this post is like a long story but what the heck how come I read it until the end! Thanks for the Will2k for posting this and to the person who featured this post. I hope the new comers would be interested to read this post. Good day to us!

    Thank you, glad you read the whole article and found it useful.

    > **Posted by Yogensia**

    > Very nice read! :)

    Thanks

    > **Posted by Skydash**

    > I might put link to this occasionally on some random 1st skins in "my" CS:S section. Instead of wasting time & ruining my mood :D
    >
    > Lots of important and true facts written here.

    Thanks and it might be a good strategy to link users to this article whenever you feel they are disoriented or about to breach the laws/site rules.

    > **Posted by cRUSHpl**

    > What about unjustified 10/10 i almost every piece of work?

    The rating system is being currently discussed by admins/mods.
    cosa dici! avatar
    Mantra
    cosa dici!
  • 4y
    2REK avatar
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    What about unjustified 10/10 i almost every piece of work?

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