Lack of useful feedback in LD23

Posted by
May 14th, 2012 12:30 pm

I’ve said my thoughts on the current ranking system elsewhere so no real need to re-state here, but theres something to me that’s quite a bit worse that could be addressed, and this is more of a community thing really but perhaps there’s some way for LD24 some “encouragement” could be put in place to do it.

Much like LD22 I take the same issue with my comments/feedback… comments and feedback are 100% positive (well..99%..someone did bring up that more feedback in the HUD would have been nice 😀 ), nobody could really say a bad thing at all.. out of just over 100 ratings 40 of said people posted that they “loved” the audio and thought it was “really really fun!”….and that was about the extent of my feedback. (And not just my game of course, I’m just using it as a easy example as it effects me the most personally, many many others I’ve browsed through are the same, nothing but positive feedback and glowing praise towards the game….then a really low score)

I scored a 3.07 in fun and 2.75 in audio

Now…whatever, those scores arent “bad” by any means, but they don’t reflect the feedback in the least!  if 40 people of 100 “loved” those….then I’m looking at probably 20-30 ratings who did not like the gameplay/audio who did not leave feedback.

That sucks…mostly because it’s the feedback from those who didn’t like the game that I care about, I want to hear why they didn’t like it!  As much as I appreciate the “I love it!” posts as feedback goes negative feedback is far more helpful. I don’t know if people are just too “polite” to post things they didn’t like or if they are somehow afraid of being “retaliated” against and being given a bad score on their game or what, but, at least to me, I enjoy feedback good and bad…It lets me know which things I tried people liked and which things i tried people didn’t like so I can either explore further into an idea or avoid it in the future.  (Especially in something like this where I made a game type I’ve never done before AND tried a few twists from the “norm” in it’s genre)

So, in saying that, I’d like to re-iterate my suggestion I brought up prior to LD23 based on my experiences from LD22….we need some sort of way to allow people to attach an anonymous comment to their vote (well, the site would still know who posted it, just dont show the name) but still leave a way to leave comments in the thread like we can do now (showing our names).  Perhaps this would allow more people who don’t want to say anything bad to open up a bit and give honest feedback?

Feedback has to consist of both what worked and what did not work to be effective….just my $0.02


16 Responses to “Lack of useful feedback in LD23”

  1. digital_sorceress says:

    I’ve noticed that too — everyone gets a ton of praise, but receives just 2s and 3s in their ratings!

    Sometimes people can struggle to give constructive criticism. Artists especially can be of this nature.

    For myself, I like to hear constructive criticism. But I also like to hear sweet nothings 😉

  2. Pierrec says:

    I gave feedback on every game I’ve played, but I have to admit that most of the time, I just pointed the things I liked and not the things I didn’t. Even if I think this could be helpful, I’m aware that some constructive critics on the game could be even more helpful.

    I don’t think I was afraid to give negative feedback…it’s just…I don’t know…giving negative feedback is hard, it takes time, you have to understand yourself what you didn’t like, and explain it. When you have to rate hundreds of games (well…you don’t have to, but I like playing a lot of LD games), maybe you don’t have much time for that.
    My point is : what is the negative equivalent of “Great audio!”, “I really enjoyed this gameplay”, “AWESOME” ? It’s “Graphics suck”, “the audio was very annoying”, “BORING!”.
    It is helpful ? Yes. Is it more helpful than the positive ones ? I don’t think so.

    If I play a game for 5 minutes, I think it’s gonna take me 5 more minutes to give a helpful and complete feedback…I don’t have time for that…

    Well…I hoped THAT helped ^^

  3. Toast says:

    Absolutely, if your comment does not reflect your rating, that’s essentially the same as gaming the system, downvoting, etc. It’s the same kind of dishonesty.

    Not only that, but criticism is far more useful than a rating.

    • Attrition says:

      I don’t believe anyone is really posting comments that don’t match their ratings — I suspect many people who rate low simply don’t comment. Either they feel it’s not worth the time or they are not willing to be overly critical. Also it is harder to give good criticism than good comments, in my opinion. I don’t think I gave any negative criticisms either.

      Personally I will try and be more transparent in my voting next time around, I did not leave as many comments as I should have.

  4. KevinWorkman says:

    Since the organizers of Ludum Dare are now being inundated with “this should be changed like this” posts, I’ll just point out that this could be pretty much solved if you add a disclaimer to your game description letting people know that you WANT negative feedback. That way you get what you want, people can keep commenting how they want (because the fears of coming off as rude or facing retaliation are valid), and the organizers don’t have to change anything.

    I should note that I in theory agree with you, that negative feedback is even more useful than positive feedback, but I disagree that it requires a fundamental change in the setup of how feedback is given. Just add a little “I’d love to hear what you think could be improved!” sentence at the bottom, and you’ll get what you asked for.

  5. johnfn says:

    I agree. I was pretty surprised to see my scores fall pretty substantially from last time, even though I thought the comments were about the same. I’d love to have some outside opinions for why that was.

    Raptor85: I think what hurt your game the most was that you really need to buff up those graphics. If you don’t have good graphics, every other score will tend to also fall.

    • Raptor85 says:

      Oh, I agree, I can’t draw worth crap which will always pull down my “overall” rating, so I never really look at that, I mostly only care about the “fun” rating….outside of LD i can just make someone else do the graphics. If people are rating “fun” down due to the graphics not being so good though that’s…not really how the system is supposed to work, graphics has it’s own rating. I would assume it’s mostly the same for others, artists will care mostly about the “graphics” category, and musicians will care mostly about the “audio” category, which is why it’s important to take each one and fairly rate them as they stand alone, overall is where you rate how they work together.

      No real point me spending more time on the graphics though, i could have spent all week on them and they wouldn’t have turned out any better :) (for LD24 i may actually just draw hitboxes and forgo graphics entirely) I really wish we could use premade art under the same rules in the 48 hour compo, since stock code is allowed it would even the ground some for those of us who are programmers and not artists.

      But back on topic, this furthers my point….while I personally know my graphics suck (and don’t really care)… only feedback on graphics was that people LIKED the graphics. O_x

  6. lorancou says:

    Love your blogpost.

    … just kidding :)

    There’s lots of short and positive comments because, as others say, writing constructive feedback takes time. The current system drives people into spending their time in rating games, not giving feedback. We could have a comment-rating system – this might sound overkill, but it has proved successful on Stack Overflow.

    • Raptor85 says:

      perhaps, my feelings on that though are if you’re “blazing through” so fast as to not have anything to say about the game one way or another you’re gaming the system…when you mark 2/5 for audio….you generally have a good idea in your head as to WHY you marked it 2/5…you don’t need to make a drawn out conculsion, how to fix it, etc…just say something like “it loops too soon and got really repetitive” or “the music wasn’t really that interesting” or whatever you actually thought, just quickly jot down….then the developer reading it in the future knows the issue and what he can do to prevent it.

  7. Giving good constructive criticism is incredibly time-consuming. You try to arrange your points, present them in a friendly manner, and most of the time people hate you anyway. It’s much more efficient to just do nothing.

    On that note, go read “I will not read your fucking script”, an excellent article on that subject

    Sometimes I am confronted with a mediocre to bad game – just listing all the flaws and shortcomings would be counter-productive. The person who made it probably knows them anyway. It it was an “I did the best I could!”-approach from the developer it might even be outright destructive.

    But sometimes I spot a moment of brilliance. A completely unqiue, (possibly) minor feature, a beautiful part of the soundtrack, an element that stands out from the rest. Perhaps the designer doesn’t know that it’s good. Perhaps she sees everything as having the same level of quality.

    Then I will go and say “I loved that part!” to encourage extending it. That way they know what DID work, and will hopefully build on it next time. The game might still be mediocre, but in excelled in one point. And that is a success.

    Once a game has passes a certain “quality- & quantity-threshold” I like to give more detailed criticism. Often I stumble upon really good games that for some reason have some stupid backwards features, and then I will take them apart. The more love & work a game shows the more I’m sure people will understand the criticism, and the more sure I am they will build on it to make it even better.

    • Pierrec says:

      Why do I always agree with you ? that’s annoying!

    • Raptor85 says:

      That post is centered around the idea of essentially unpaid work of having a pro review something for you for feedback. That’s a completely seperate matter and quite understandable. Ludum Dare however is about reviewing games and leaving feedback…if you’re blazing through the games and not leaving feedback as you feel that it’s a waste of time…you may as well not review the game as your review is entirely unhelpful….there is NO POINT to ludum dare if people are not leaving feedback as to what they did/did not like in the game. You don’t need to spend a year on it, even if the game has no high points just jot down a few of the annoyances that bugged you most, like poor jump physics making it too painful to play, etc….whatever really stood out the most for then to fix.

      It’s incredibly hard to judge flaws in your own creations, simply “assuming” they know of them all already does no favors, it actually can hurt them in the long run as they may just keep doing it! If you don’t have time to leave 10 words as to what was good/bad in the game you are not giving them a proper rating.

      • Pierrec says:

        Well, as I said, I always give 10 words feedback, and I agree with you when you say it’s an important point in Ludum Dare. But I can’t help giving enthousiastic feedback because….Wow! You made a game in 48h…A GAME IN 48H! How couldn’t it be awesome ? ^^

  8. madmaw says:

    I think the lack of anonymity in the comments discourages negative criticism because people can just fire back at your entry (or give it terrible scores if they are feeling particularly vindictive). Let’s face it, you had 48/72 hours, no matter how good it is, there are going to be things to criticise.

    • Raptor85 says:

      that’s what i’m worried about actually…but the question is how to fix this?

      Right now there’s two major concerns about LD……and when talking about the problems with the rating system it generally comes down to “ratings don’t matter anyways….LD is all about feedback and getting a game done”, and when talking about feedback we can’t get anything useful because people are worried about it hurting their ratings. The only thing I could come up with when thinking about this myself is allowing anonymous comments and requiring a comment when rating…granted that can be abused too but IMHO it’s better than both the rating and feedback being absolutely useless as a tool to gauge the game by.

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