If anything, this game just shows you how much of a drop GTA 4 was from San Andreas. Dialogue (aside from whenever there are two black characters on screen at once, the whole 'shits' and 'nigger' every second is really starting to wear thin) is really good, characters are belivable (aside from a few side/NPC's), it's also probably the first time in a sanbox game that we've got characters actually showing how they feel through their body language as apposed to just their voice, or at least to this high quality,
Car handling is up there with Driver San Francisco, and I just managed to fly a helicopter for a bit... ok amazing.
But also, and this might be considered a spoiler.
Really impressed with it so far, I don't think it beats The Last of Us for my favourite game of the year, but it's bloody close!
I think... I think potentially I've found my new favourite GTA... even though I love SA to bits!
Love of my lifeeeeee. I find these impossibly moreish. I just eat and eat til my stomach hurts. Since I'm veggie I use Quorn Mince and Supersweet Sweetcorn for mine and it's delish. Salad is kinda awkward so I usually just have the salsa that comes with the kit and sour cream with the kit-seasoned mince/sweetcorn mix.
This here's a topic for tacos, the wonderous food of Mexico! Hey, there's a and a so why can't there be one for these lovely delights?
These are Tacos.
The taco originated many centuries ago, and it's truly undecided where the taco originated. Some say they were originated in silver mines, others say it came from the Spainards exploring the New World. Whatever case it may be, the taco has seemed to lie in the culture of Mexico. Made with corn tortillas, ground beef and toppings like lettuce, tomatos, onions and sour cream, the Taco is one of the most famous cuisines in history once it was introduced to the United States in the 20th century and then became known to the world sometime later.
Food related to tacos include empanadas, frijitos, taquitos, burritos, the list goes on. Feel free to talk about those as well!
My favorite kind of taco is a nice soft shelled one. It's a bit easier to handle than the hardshell ones, but I love both types.
Also has anyone ever tried the Doritos taco at Taco Bell? I hear it's really good.
EDIT (November 5, 2013) - Even though I am now a staff member, the principles listed in this topic are still guidelines and suggestions, not rules that are enforced by me or any other members of the staff. They are there to aid, but there will still be instances which may contradict what is taught in this tutorial. You are now permitted to ask me things where it says "ask a staff member but not me," but I will not always be using this guide as a reference when deciding the fate of a topic.
Hey, you! You there! The one posting a topic in the Sonic Discussion forum! Stop right there! Are you sure you want to post that?
No, you don't. At least, not yet. Here at SSMB, we like to encourage civil discourse and friendly debates about hedgehogs and timelords and pokaymans and a lot of other things that you may like, but the staff are very particular about the threads they allow to remain open. Many newcomers make the rookie mistake of joining and immediately heading straight for the “Start New Topic” button, which ultimately leads to poor topics being created and Newuser72 getting his feelings hurt when a staff member decides to lock it. So what can you do? How can you make sure your topic will be accepted by the community?
Well, by taking the time to read this thread, you have already taken the first step to improving your topic-posting sensibilities. In this topic, I am going to teach you, the lucky user reading this thread, some pointers on how to make your thread truly great and ensure that it is accepted by both the members and staff. This will minimize the chances of your topic being locked, and will ultimately make discussing your topic much more rich and enjoyable for both you and other members.
Please note before continuing that I am not a member of the staff nor do I claim to speak for them. The staff have their own discretion when locking threads and/or carrying out disciplinary actions and are not obligated to stand by the guidelines and principles listed in this article. This is simply a guide created by a member to benefit other members. Remember to always ask a mod about anything you're unsure of, and always take their word over mine.
With that out of the way, let's get started. This tutorial will cover four main points:
Good Topics That Are Poorly Delivered
How to Turn #3 into #1
But before we can get into that, it's important to understand why the staff has such a strict policy on topics to begin with. You see, SSMB fosters a vocal environment. We don't want to know if you agree or disagree with something. We want to know why you agree or disagree with something. We don't want to know who your favorite character is, we want to know what makes him or her your favorite character! That is why topics must be thought-provoking and open-ended, as described below.
#1 Good Topics
So, let's take a minute and think about what makes a topic good. A good topic should meet all of the following criteria-
The topic must present a clear question with an open-ended answer
The topic must encourage thought-provoking replies consisting of more than one sentence
The topic must be all-inclusive.
The topic must be unique.
So let's explore each of these factors in detail.
A topic must have a clear question with an open-ended answer. In layman's terms, anyone reading your topic should know what you're talking about and be able to form their own opinions about the subject. A good topic is a topic that fosters the expression of all different opinions as opposed to perfect unanimity. Basically, if your topic only leaves room for those who agree with a single mindset, it's probably not a good topic.
Do not use these examples as they have probably all been done before.
Good – Are Sonic games accessible to players of all different levels of experience?
Bad – Post here if you love Vector!
Next, the topic must encourage thought-provoking replies consisting of more than one sentence. This is what is commonly known around the boards as discussion value. A topic should not be simplified to either agree or disagree, but should encourage others to explain why they agree or disagree, as well as their own interpretations and analysis on the topic at hand. I will go into more detail about these kind of topics in the “Bad Topics” section below. For now, take these examples.
Good – What are the ethical implications of cloning?
Bad – Do you like Cheez-Its?
Okay, so a good topic doesn't necessarily have to be philosophical in nature, but they should encourage deeper thought and question.
A topic must be all-inclusive. Now, to be perfectly fair, there's always going to be some sort of exclusion in a topic. If you're posting about one game in particular, you're limiting yourself only to people who have played that game or are interested in playing it. If you're posting about scientific innovation, you're limiting yourself only to people who have a broad understanding of the scientific principles described within. For a topic to be successful, you want to aim for the highest-possible audience; however, you're going to have to restrict some users based on their experience with certain topics. This is a rather large community, so if your topic is interesting enough, it should still be fine without being too alienating.
However, if a topic can only be answered by a very specific sample of members, then you simply do not have a good topic. For example...
Good – Hidden Easter Eggs in Sonic CD
Bad – What is your favorite thing about Shadow?
(Girls only) Your opinion on Brad Pitt
The former restricts itself only to people who have played or have viewed a playthrough of Sonic CD; however, as this is a Sonic forum, you can probably assume that most of us probably have. Therefore, this a non-specific sort of restriction, which is perfectly fine. The latter two, however, restricts the discussion to either Shadow fans only or female users, which though we have a decent number of both, is too specific of a restriction. This is a board that prides itself in diversity, and as such, all topics should be open to a plethora of differing opinions.
Last, but not least, a topic must be unique. That is to say, it should not be a repeat of another topic. How can you make sure the topic hasn't been made before? Easy! First, skim the names of each topic on the first two or so pages of each forum. If you don't find it there, continue by using the search engine to search through the rest of the boards. The search engine is located at the top, right corner of the boards.
It looks like this.
But wait, Akito! Why should I scan the first few pages of a forum? Wouldn't the search pick it up regardless? I'm going to be honest here. Though you are definitely encouraged to make use of the search feature when creating a new topic, the cold, hard truth of the matter is that IPB's search engine, and search technology in general, isn't perfect. The search engine hunts for topics and posts based on words in the topic title, tags, and replies within a topic. Sometimes the words one might use to describe the same topic of discussion will not be the same as your own.
So what can you do if you're still not sure? You can always simply ask about it in the status updates. Doing so might also be a good way to gain feedback on your topic before you post it and maybe even give you material to use in the opening post of your thread!
General rule of thumb for creating a new topic: If it sounds like it should have been made by now, it probably has. Topics such as “Who's your favorite character?” “What's your favorite game?” “Why is someone in the kitchen with Dinah?” are all examples of topics that usually get made early on in a message board's lifespan. If you don't see it on the front page, it's because we've moved on past that discussion. However, “favorite” topics are generally frowned upon for reasons I'll get into shortly.
Now, it's time to take a look at...
#2 Bad Topics
Okay, so this one's a little bit longer. Despite how it may initially seem, this site isn't extremely restrictive on the types of topics allowed here, but there many mistakes you can make that will ultimately result in your topic being locked and, if push comes to shove, disciplinary action placed on your account. Bad topics exhibit some or all (but do not limit to) the following qualities:
Does not pose a question
Is a "list" topic
Is not unique/has been posted before
Is inappropriate for users under the age of 18*
Contains disrespectful content*
The infractions marked with an asterisk (*) indicate that a topic which meets that description is unsalvageable and can result in disciplinary to include permanent banishment from the forums based on the discretion of the staff. You do not want to post topics of that nature. Ever.
With that said, let's get these out of the way.
A topic that does not pose a question is not a good topic. Bear in mind, a question does not always have to be blatantly asked. By submitting a topic, you are already asking for opinions on the matter, so you don't need to end every sentence with “What do you guys think about this?” But you do need to make it clear that this a discussion on the matter and not just you stating your opinion.
Good – Waffles: The Good and Bad of the Breakfast Favorite
Bad – Waffles Suck
Stating your opinion flat out with little in the way of analytical reasoning is not only a good way to make your topic look and sound pointless, but it's also a good way to look like a complete tool. Also, waffles are awesome, so don't you dare make a topic called “Waffles Suck.”
Now some of you might be thinking “What about rants?” or “What about analyses and things of that manner?” Let me reiterate in beautiful, golden text so we can make it a “golden rule” of sorts.
Anytime you make a topic, you are automatically asking for opinions on the matter.
With that said, rants and analyses are perfectly acceptable... on the condition they are presented well. (More on that later) – If you're going to go on a rant, it would be wise to put in at least a couple paragraphs worth of explanation that is (1) analytical in nature (meaning “this is good or bad because it does this or that” as opposed to “this sucks because it's fucking stupid”) and (2) constructive in nature, offering suggestions for how a problem can be rectified or improved.
Good – Waffles: The Good and Bad of the Breakfast Favorite
Bad – Waffles Suck
See the difference? One is constructive and analytical. The other is merely opinion... also the grammar is terrible. Learn from the example of the first. But really, don't make a topic about waffles. Because, just don't.
List topics are generally frowned upon and are usually the most common types of topics created by newer members. These topics generally include “favorite topics,” but the two are not intrinsically synonymous. A list topic is any topic that warrants a one-word response. Meaning, the only response one must give is a single word or short sentence.
“Who is your favorite Sonic character?”
“What is your favorite Sonic game?”
And now I hear someone saying: “But what if I said in the OP--”
Nope. Still not okay. These types of topics simply don't warrant thought-provoking discussion. Your best option is to just not make them. End of story.
Topics must not be restrictive. As stated before, topics must maintain the highest possible level of inclusion. Topics which do not permit or discourage the participation of users on the grounds of any factor other than experience with the subject at hand are not suitable for this community. If you wish to talk about something with only a select few members, shoot them a Private Message. IPB now allows for you to engage in a single private conversation with six recipients at a time, which is probably the same amount of people who would enjoy a thread that caters only to a very specific demographic.
If a similar or identical topic has already been made, use that topic instead. Though not typically a bannable offense, you should always abstain from recreating topics that have already been made. Accidents do happen, and sometimes no matter how hard you look, you might fail to find a similar or identical topic even though one is later found to exist. But intentionally doing so... is just a douche move, to put it simply. All you're doing is cluttering the board and causing confusion. So yeah, if you can help it, just don't do it, but chances are, you're not going to get your hand sawed off for it.
As per SSMB rules, topics must not primarily discuss or contain material that is inappropriate for users under the age of 18. This includes, but does not limit to, pornographic material in text, image, video or other format as well as depictions of intense graphic violence such as blood or gore. In addition, it must not contain content that is disrespectful (i.e. that which is alienating to an individual or one or more groups of people) or otherwise bigoted, hateful, or otherwise fall under harassment.
Spam is something that everyone thinks is self-explanatory. But I guess it's not, so let me clarify. Spam contains at least one of these characteristics:
It does not encourage thought-provoking discussion
It's made solely to advertise
A topic is pointless if it has no subject to discuss. A topic without a clear subject is spam.
Repetitive creation of topics that are pointless or are otherwise identical is spam.
Topics that do not encourage thought-provoking discussion are spam.
Topics made for the sole purpose of advertising a product, rather for profit or for views, are spam.
Remember that the status updates are much more lax in regards to this. As long as you don't go overboard and follow SSMB's primary rules (as well as the ) then you're pretty much allowed to post whatever crazy garbage you want. However, topics are reserved purely for discussion and debate. If you want to talk about how much you love waffles, do it in the status updates.
Sometimes, however, there comes a point when you think of a really good topic and it's shot down, anyway. Why? Many reasons, but often times you may find that delivery is one of them.
#3 Good Topics That Are Delivered Poorly
This is a problem that sometimes creeps up. A topic will seem perfectly acceptable... but the presentation will completely ruin whatever credibility the topic may have had. Let's look at an example. No, this does not involve waffles.
Say, the new Super Sonic Bros game has just been announced and, what luck, you get to be the lucky son of a gun who makes the thread and...
“Oh, yeah, I think I'm good.”
Yeah, no. See, the topic itself isn't the problem, but the way you've conveyed it is... well, to be honest there's not much conveyance here at all. The strength of a topic is largely dependent on the opening post. If your opening post is weak, your topic is going to be weak. What can you do to fix it?
#4 How to Turn #3 into #1
I'm going to break this down into different categories:
So let's talk about Mario Adventure 3 or whatever it was again, and see where this user went wrong.
Topic Title – A topic title should be very specific and detail exactly what you are referring to. In this case, the user simply put “new game” Okay... new game about what, exactly? Nobody's going to even want to click on that to see what you're talking about because it's so vague. Let's work on it.
Start by listing relevant details about the game. What is it called? When will it be out? What platforms will it be on? You'll want to answer as many of those questions as possible. The topic title should serve as a single sentence summary of the opening post. That way, your thread will draw more interest and users will know exactly what they're getting into before they click on it.
Body – Just like any post, the opening post of a topic should never be one or two short sentences. Be sure to post a great wealth of information on the subject. A good opening post should be at least one paragraph, though different scenarios may mandate the use of more or less text.
Support – Now that you have that settled, remember to post as much supporting material as you can. Multimedia is not required, but relevant trailers, screenshots, etc. should always be linked or embedded if possible. Obscure facts or claims should be backed up by reliable sources.
Lastly, remember that your grammatical usage also plays a crucial role in how your message is received. SSMB rules mandate that proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation is a must on all areas of the boards. Typos will naturally occur, but legibility is the most important aspect of a post. If your fellow members can not read it, then they certainly can't hope to respond to it.
On Topics in General
One final point I want to make is... well, don't worry if you're topic gets locked. If your topic gets locked, don't get angry or discouraged. Use a locked topic as encouragement to improve, not as a punishment. Unless, of course, you receive a strike on your account for said topic, then you can view it as a punishment. Otherwise, 90% of locked topics go without serious repercussions. Just listen to the guidance of members and staff and don't...
… Yeah, that. Don't do that. If all else fails, just stop making topics for awhile and stick to replies. Try to get the feel of the board before you try to create a whole new discussion.
If you simply can't think of a topic that hasn't been taken already or wouldn't go over well on SSMB, then just... don't worry about it. Worry not about how you contribute but what you contribute. A good, well thought-out reply can be just as influential as a good topic. If you find that the topic you really wanted to make has already been made, don't be disappointed. Be glad that someone else was like-minded enough to make it so you can post in it. After all, there's no rule against topic bumping here. As long as you have something genuinely worth discussing, topic necromancy is not a taboo here. Basically, it doesn't matter who created the topic as long as the topic is made.
And that's it. If you think you're competent enough and have a clear understanding of the principles outlined here, then go and make that topic you've always dreamed of. (Because people have dreams about topics, right? It's not just me? Hehe...) As a reminder, these steps are not 100% guaranteed that your topic will be successful or that it will have a great longevity. These are just a few tips that you can use to make sure your topic is meaningful and contributive to the community. Once again, I do not represent the staff, and as such, can not speak for them on matters which may contradict this post. If you're unsure about something, ask them, not me.
I've left this topic open for discussion and so users can add their own suggestions and correct me on any silly mistakes I may have made. So please, do feel free to do so!
In closing, I'd like to thank Nepenthe for giving me pointers on where to go with this thread and for giving me the green light to make it. If this causes any disagreement between staff and members, then feel free to lock this topic and pretend it never existed. I hope that these eight pages and several weeks worth of writing prove to be of assistance to members new and old. Thanks for reading! <3