The pitfalls of contribution

Since the beginning of Legacy back in April of last year I have been constantly impressed, astounded and humbled by how one-sidedly supportive almost EVERYONE has been toward this mod. I have gotten almost NOTHING but positive response, praise and honest constructive criticism which I’ve always tried very hard to take gracefully and gratefully. It’s truly a testamentĀ  to the quality of the community at the Nexus and a testament to the fans and their enjoyment of Legacy to have them spend extra time noting issues and reporting them to me, and I am always very grateful for that information, even if it’s something I’m already aware of.

The only exception I have to this appreciation (not with the effort, but rather the end product; because I ALWAYS appreciate the effort), is when the issue has already been well documented or base guidelines for beta testing have not been observed. Now I am certainly not talking about someone missing a single post that happened a week ago or more and got swept under the waves of the torrents of communication that go on through the comment thread on a daily basis, it’s totally understandable to miss stuff there, I do as well occasionally and I’m posting at least 3-5 times every day. I document baseline concepts that are MUST KNOW issues or guidelines and I sticky them right up top. If it’s even more critical, I also write articles for the article tab dealing with it specifically and ALSO have a sticky tab linking to those key resources.

Running a beta is hard, a nightmare I might even say. While it does afford me the freedom to alter anything in game without thought to the ramifications of an existing save after update, I do end up having to say things a multitude of additional times than I really should have to, and that’s why observing and reading the documentation is vital.

This rule doesn’t apply just to Legacy by any means. ANY large mod has documentation which is critical to the successful operation of the mod, and a beta of a large mod needs to have these guidelines even MORE strictly adhered to.

The way I look at it, and I spoke to this in my article Legacy V12 V13Beta upgrades and installs, This is a scientific experiment where my copy of the game is the control copy which functions under X Y and Z conditions. Mine is the base install with all support content and only a few other variables (mods) attached. Everyone else trying out the beta are the various test subjects which all must operate from the same base parameters (not same load orders, those are the test conditionals, but rather same base rules). Those rules are to start with the latest version, a fresh install and start a new character that has never had legacy in any form installed. Anything you discover before the next update can be reported and should be considered legitimate test result data which I can investigate and either confirm needs a fix, or troubleshoot the unique issue as being caused by a test condition variable (eg someone’s mod load order). Then when the next patch comes, the player needs to either start fresh with a new character on the newest version if they intend to continue reporting or they should just keep playing and cease reporting issues UNLESS they check the posts to ensure that their concern was not already addressed in the latest patch notes.

I had a situation where I had an awesome user who really loves Legacy (like most seem to; thanks by the way), and wanted to help out and went to great lengths to record and report issues they had experienced. The problem? They upgraded from V11 to V13.X and while many of their observations were in fact valid ones despite the breech of protocol, as a SCIENTIFIC endevour (which a beta must be treated as), the results have to be immediately discounted because they violated the base parameters for the experiment. Say for example you were running a test for a new topical antibiotic on newly replicated skin cells which are subjected to a set of variable germs and bacteria to see the medication’s effect on preventing infection, and someone decided to just scrape off some of their own skin cells into a dish and test it when the base parameter was to only use grown cells from the base control. Those results would not be valid because the series of germs and bacteria on the scraped cells would have too many variances and unknows vs the test subjects… It’s like that.

That all said, I do feel bad for the individual because they felt disregarded when several other rabid supporters of Legacy responded and explained several times the same things I just explained above in this article, and I too responded and confirmed that though I greatly appreciated the effort, the results would do me no good. In retrospect I may have been brash before explaining WHY they were discounted, and I can understand them feeling ganged up on and marginalized, but let me say to all out there; the number one way to get me to lose my decorum and get short is to expect me to repeat core instructions a multitude of times when they are plainly placed. And that was the issue here that made them feel so ganged up on I believe, because EVERYONE who replied sited stickies, article links and quotes from things I had plainly posted just lines above their original post.

I do know how bad being ganged up on can feel, and while I feel it was all meant in best intent, I do still feel sorry for the end result of how it made this user feel because as I did say several times then and several times now, I do greatly appreciate the effort of assisting with polishing this mod, but I much more appreciate if that contribution is made from an informed position. It does take some work and reading and maybe asking a question or two before getting started, but think how much I’ve put in here, 6000+ hours of work and answering many of the same questions over and over again. Think about it… read… question…. then contribute, and thank you so much for doing so!

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