Modding: Avoid making the same mistakes that I did #4

Kick problem people in double quick time

Sometimes you ought to kick someone out. It’s tough to do, but you have to (or you should). I kicked a few people out of FF and God knows I should have done more of it. I wish I had been more ruthless when I had the capacity to kick.

My list of the usual suspects:

People who have constant personality clashes with others

If someone cannot get on with their team, they are actively hurting the mod. It doesn’t matter if it’s work or personal issues, just remove the problem and the others will thank you for the improved atmosphere.  If there are 10 major blow ups during the course of a couple of months and 7 of those have one person at the centre, it’s usually fairly easy to spot the common denominator.

People who offer a constant stream of negativity

Nobody wants to work on a project that has been poisoned by over the top negativity.  Constructive criticism is good to have, but some people just bitch, moan and whine about everything.  If a mod team contains one or more people who constantly snipe, troll and bash others, the impact can be serious.  This doesn’t have to be over the top criticism, little snide remarks here and there are enough to get folks’ backs up.  Have a word with the person and be honest about the problem.  If they do not change their ways, remove them.

Drama queens

If every little problem turns into a huge deal and a 40 page flame-fest which takes hours of people’s time to clean up, only for it to happen again and again then just cut your losses and remove them.  These sorts of shenanigans can offer some light relief at times (“Did you see what x did?  That guy is so highly strung it’s ridiculous!”), but clearing up the fallout can be time consuming.

Modders who are unable to work with others

By ‘work’, I’m talking about technical or artistic collaboration.  Whether the inability to collaborate is down to obtuseness, stubbornness or arrogance, it has the same effect.  If near enough any criticism of piece of design, art, sound, code implementation etc. leads to a slanging match with that person, then they are failures. It’s OK for people to get heated now and then — it’s natural that people feel strongly about their work, but it’s for the mod. If they don’t want to collaborate with others, then that person ought to go make their own personal project where they are free to do so.

Likewise, if someone cannot give constructive criticism, that person is a failure. Nobody likes working hard on something only for some jackass to trash their efforts.  “It’s shit” / “It’s not what I wanted” (no elaboration) / “I don’t like it” / “the last guy was much better” etc. are all totally pointless criticisms. If you have to criticise something, give the person some pointers. You can always point out some of the parts you liked, too.  I ran into quite a few people who just didn’t understand how to work with other people.  Try to mediate and change people’s attitudes, but if it doesn’t work, eject them.  You’re better off without them.

The bottom line

Clashes are almost inevitable, but you ought to know when certain individuals are frequently instigating and causing problems. Remember that modding is meant to be enjoyable. When it becomes a chore to do (in your spare time, no less!) I’m sure you can think of numerous more appealing things you’d like to do instead. For instance: Playing games or joining another mod with a better atmosphere.

You may read this and think “well, that’s obvious”.  However, sometimes you can be too nice and these problems, left unchecked, can snowball out of control.  Nip it in the bud.  Don’t just talk about it, do it.

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