I agree with the spirit of the OP if not the individual examples (an earlier
draft of this post listed out point-by-point responses to the specific issues
but I don't think that will ultimately be productive).
To some degree, I'm in agreement with @Alusq that the community is about as
welcoming as it's ever been, with the possible exception of the first ~6 months
or so (and we weren't saints then either). Anyone remember FECafe? That isn't
to say that the criticisms of elitism are ill-founded, nor that there's no room
for improvement, but it pays to have some perspective. One direct thing I
will comment on is that, if the FEBuilder vs buildfiles debate is really such
a hot-topic issue to the point of being a community wart, please get the
staff involved. This isn't the first I've heard of this issue, but it's
certainly the first time I've heard of this "witch hunt". For that matter,
especially reach out to the staff if there's a member of the staff involved.
Arch was always a fan of extremely lax moderation and avoiding rules-lawyering,
and I'm of the same mind. I am always available and willing to listen via PM on
this site or Discord (I am "Camdar") if you want to make your voice heard.
@Agro has said many of the things that I would have liked to wrt the forum vs
the advent of the Discord -- the Discord is much better for moment-to-moment
conversation, but it helps to have a more permanent record of things. I won't
say that switching to a more traditional forum software has never crossed my
mind, but, setting my philosophical objections aside, there are too many
logistical concerns for this to be a practical solution. (CC @FPZero)
Part of the issue is that the general community known as "Fire Emblem Universe"
has drifted significantly from the scope of what Arch's vision initially was.
Arch wanted this place to be a library of hacking resources, tutorials and a
place where people could be on the "bleeding edge" of advances in ROM hacking.
Before Archgate happened, we were even considering putting together some kind
of FEUniversity redesign. Something Circles mentioned during the staff
discussion of this thread was that "FEU feels like an awkward teenager that
grew up too fast and now none of their clothes fit", which I think is apt. It
kind of feels like FEU has become a weird amalgamation of SF's Fan Projects and
Sprites board -- it's great that we're now attracting those sorts of users, but
it's absolutely a departure from the original intention for this board.
Arch is no longer in charge, however, and I welcome the discussion with regard
to how we move forward. When Archgate happened, our community presence was on
the order of maybe ~300 people. Nowadays, we're a much bigger name as far as
"community weight" goes; it also doesn't hurt that we now have a big project to
our (well, Circles') name in Void's Blitzarre Adventure (I've said my piece on
"blitz culture" in the past, but I'll say more in a moment). Do people believe
that we should be moving more towards being a "project-based" community? Or
a "intro to FE making" community? Or what, and how can we (the staff) be more
involved with moving in that direction?
As far as blitzes go, I think that they're absolutely a good thing to have
around. I don't mean it lightly to say that Void's Blitzarre Adventure is
possibly the first completely successful community project (the only other
contender, as far as I've seen, is The Last Promise, which is in a bit of a
different boat). I don't have an opinion on what constitutes a "canon" blitz,
but I also am in favor of running smaller, community-headed (as opposed to
staff-headed) blitzes to get people involved.
In fact, I would argue that this is possibly the biggest problem that I see
amidst the community today. "Success" and "failure" seem to be the be-all
end-all amongst many of the would-be project leaders. During the "why is MC
writing the blitz???" debacle, it was brought up that only "respected" leaders
really have a chance of running a "successful" blitz. Well, what's wrong with
that? What's wrong with failing? We went into the original VBA with zero
expectation that this would work; it had never been tried before! Have fun,
experiment, learn! That was the entire intention of the original blitz, to
get people who might not otherwise think they could contribute to a major
project to get their feet wet! Sure, you might not like the idea of "wasting
your time", but look -- whatever progress you made towards a "failed" blitz can
be recycled towards the next one! Who cares if the project is a non-starter?
You'll never know if you don't try. Why does it need to be a blitz? Why not
make a standalone project, or even try something completely new with regards
to project organization? Arch was a fan of saying "I'd rather be outdone than
flattered" in response to imitation, and I think that applies here as well. One
of my biggest mistakes from earlier in the collective community timeline was
taking too hardline of a stance about "realistic" expectations. Shoot for the
I'm going to end this wall by reiterating that we (the staff) are always open to
suggestions and concerns, and would be happy to discuss ways you think we could
be operating this community better. Thanks to Kirb for starting this conversation.