Title: Why do you contribute to HonestGamers?
Posted: April 27, 2010 (10:20 PM)
I'm supposed to write a paper for a class about technology and work, and I've chosen to do it on a subject we went over in class called crowdsourcing. More narrowly, I've chosen to do it on video game information sites that employ this technique or model, the prototypical example of which is a site we are all familiar with: GameFAQs.
HonestGamers is also an example of crowdsourcing, albeit on a much smaller scale. It does seem that the most prolific contributors are staff, but this site has amassed over 6000 reviews in part because of the open call for users to contribute.
To my knowledge most of you who are users have not been compensated in any way, yet you still contribute, which ultimately benefits the site. For the purposes of my assignment, it would help me greatly if you could respond here with your personal motivations for contributing here, and what you feel you get out of it. If some of you have actually been compensated or rewarded in some way, tell me that too (unless Jason doesn't want you to for some reason). I have actually received gift certificates in the past. It would also help if you could tell me why you continue to contribute over the course of several years and why you think this particular site and community is able to sustain itself - that is, continually produce content - the way it does.
Any input from anyone would be very much appreciated, but especially those who have contributed much without ever being full-time staff.
Posted: April 28, 2010 (04:34 AM)
Because EmP nags me constantly to do so.
I have a feeling a few others will have this exact response.
Posted: April 28, 2010 (05:15 AM)
It filled the void when the review scene at GameFAQs died... or it was directly responsible for it. I dunno. I'm here out of habit.
Posted: April 28, 2010 (12:59 PM)
It's similar to my interests in film (which I actually pay shit tons of money to do with no compensation). Part of it is portfolio building, but most of it has to do with personal growth and the community that fosters this.
Most people enjoy being with a social network of people who share their interests. What I get out of HG is the ability to share creative ideas with other talent and then get feedback that allows me to further enhance my own skills.
It's building my social capital. With the advent of the internet we can build social capital in ways we wouldn't have been able to in the past and with larger groups of people.
The occasional free game gives the whole thing a sense of shared commitment and responsibility. I feel like I have deadlines and people that rely on me to get my material out there consistently in terms of both time and quality. This is OUR community and our actions reflect back on it and, ultimately, back on us. Taking it to a further extreme, the success of this community will mean success for everyone involved. I think it's a very exciting opportunity.
A lot of companies don't like to share the true responsibility of running the company with the employees. But shared responsibility leads to further reliability.
Everyone's got a stake.
Posted: April 28, 2010 (01:07 PM)
Did someone say social capital? Zipp, you should read Putnam's Bowling Alone. I just read the article but I found it interesting. /nerd
Anyway, I participate here because I think it's fun. I see it as a way to express myself in a community of like-minded individuals (or, at least a community with the same interests, that is, gaming and reviewing). I see it as a way to improve myself as well as give me a sense of fulfillment when I'm alone. I also have an idealistic mindset in which I think that somehow the little I manage to contribute might somehow make a difference, even if what I do isn't as important as, say, what staff or other important people on here do.
Posted: April 28, 2010 (02:31 PM)
Bowling Alone is a great article, I've read it! I need to find it again, though. It would be helpful for my current project. Thanks for reminding me of its existence!
Posted: April 28, 2010 (04:29 PM)
Did you study sociology Zipp?
Posted: April 28, 2010 (07:28 PM)
A large part of my Masters in Education involves sociology, thankfully. It's much more useful than curriculum.
Posted: April 28, 2010 (10:41 PM)
- To exercise and improve my writing abilities.
- To both receive and give constructive feedback.
- Regarding the above, to share ideas and try to assimilate new, creative ideas others suggest into my own works.
- To give fair assessments of games. Conveying what makes my favorite games so great and why my least favorite games are trash.
- To be involved in a community and develop rapport with other people.
Posted: April 28, 2010 (10:44 PM)
Think I wrote my first review for GameFAQs sometime back in 2002, but don't remember why. Shortly after I went to the reviewer's board and asked for advice (this was right when the first TT was ending) and stuck around there ever since. A large part of it was the community and idea of trying to improve my craft.
So my two main motivations are the community and for personal goals. These may be improving my writing, clarity, some stylistic change, etc. I don't review anymore because there isn't as much inspiration around here as there used to be and in general I'm pretty disinterested in videogames today. There are very few games that I enjoy nowdays, so it's difficult for me to analyze them and form an unbiased opinion.
Posted: April 29, 2010 (12:24 AM)
While I am full-time staff, my reasons for still writing here have nothing to do with that. If that was all I had as a reason, I'd have disappeared like so many other have...
I've always written. It's my main skill. I've also always wanted to follow in the footsteps of authors I've followed like Peter Straub, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, etc.
That ain't working. When it comes to stuff like that, I suck. I can't write characters...my ideas are generic and I basically intimidate myself out of every potentially good idea I have because I've lost all confidence in myself as a fiction-writer.
This is different. It's short (600-1500 word) reviews of a medium I'm comfortable with writing about. I still haven't been burnt out, despite maintaining a pace that's been from 25-50 per year for 6-7 years.
Essentially, I've found a niche for letting my creativity flow where I'm good at what I do. It's nice to write something and feel that I just wrote something kick-ass (and have that feeling verified by others from time to time), as opposed to writing something, deciding it just sucks and deleting it out of frustration.
Posted: April 29, 2010 (08:38 PM)
My main reason is because it's a community. And while I know there are other sites out there dedicated to writers as well, I don't really find them as beneficial as HG. To be honest, a good many of them just contain pretentious, over-bearing, know-it-all types that have no real desire to help guide you with the craft, but instead give you advice to either look good, or create a bond so they can coerce you into reading their work.
It's different here, though I've never really taken the time to consider why. Perhaps it's because we (meaning everyone but me) is above the petty, trivial bullshit, and we care far more about writing and games than we do making a name for ourselves. Maybe it's the fact that we are so involved that we start to know each other on a personal level--sometimes good, sometimes bad.
The contests and forums play a big part in that, and help with the motivation. Though there's no prizes, the thrill of competition is often the difference needed in what could possibly become stagnant.
It's having a good staff, and a down-to-earth webmaster. I contributed here for a long time because I wanted to see the site grow, while expressing my ideas. Jason allows a lot of expression beyond the norm--something not a lot of sites can say--and that inspires the artist in me.
And most of all, it's the regular users. Despite a few trolls, I truly believe that everyone is here to help everyone. Especially guys like Zipp, A-Man and Rand who try and give as much feedback as possible, or go above and beyond, editing work that's not their own.
We argue at times, and bicker, and do stupid shit (me especially) but so do some of the larger sites. The fact that HG is a fair size, but not huge, allows us to really get to know one another. And I may be the only one, but there's this bond that I have with a lot of people here--Jason, Genj, OD, A-Man, Zig--that makes this site fun, and encourages me to help it become bigger and better.
Posted: April 30, 2010 (07:51 PM)
What I like most about this site is that people are pretty clear about what they want. It's about an area I was always curious about and forgot about through college--or it can be. It's a place where I can indulge my taste for retro games when I please, or just leave it for a week or two and know I'm not missing everything. And if someone else doesn't post, I know they're probably happily busy too. I know sometimes I delay writing something for a few months, and that's ok--I have my own pace. It's also cool to see someone else return to action after a layoff. It all helps with the process of the writing I really want to do.
There may be places a lot of us post more, and there should be casual sites like this, but this is a place to put our concentrated thoughts down. I think also with something like video game writing, if you meet people who like to do it and not for the money, and you like it too, it's probably a good idea to keep in touch with these people. And sometimes I see something interesting and unusual from someone else I didn't expect.
It's also a great way to know that I have some small corner of the internet with my latest and hopefully best stuff. I have a few niche sites like this. Sometimes it's still a bit surprising that there are people with similar tastes yet different enough to provide variety and that it's lasted for a while.