Know that the rest of the community doesn't have to trust you. The featured game standards form their argument and yours. If you stray from the rules then you are harming the integrity of your fellow reviewers. However, if you play it by the book then every one of you has backup.
Some of us will likely get stuck reviewing your work again. Please don't make us do it often.
How To Review
- You are free to select any game you wish to review. Helping to reduce a backlog of games is appreciated, but I'm not going to tell you what to spend your donated time on.
- Always refer to the featured game standards. You may stop testing a game after the first applicable failure.
You are more than welcome to continue testing and find further conflicts! As a matter of fact, it is preferred.
However, nobody should look down on you for not having the time. Developers should reference the standards on their own. If any volunteers disapprove then they can give that extra feedback themselves.
- Make use of the Claims and Verdicts forum. Declaring that you're reviewing a game may help you gather players for testing and let other volunteers know it's handled. The privacy is also a way to keep any infighting and confusion from rubbing a developer the wrong way. More importantly, it's a clear channel to be referenced by those who can actually change the status of a game.
- State which standard(s) each game failed on the feedback tab of its hub page! This will tell developers what they have to improve and protect you when some malcontent starts making accusations. We're not just flinging games around. We're forming relationships with our development community.
- If you believe in a game that almost makes the grade, try making a request in the Minor Fixes forum and maybe we can help the developer get it done. If it's a help file or skin issue, we might even be able to just hand over some new files for compilation. Just don't rely on other people to do a developer's work for them! =)
How to Update the Standards
At the time of this writing, all decisions regarding featured games go through me. I'm more focused on seeding the list with what's there so bear with me for now. However, expect the standards to be updated as we find new problems and software features raise the bar. (I even have an interface issue that I'd like to add to be even more anal!)
While I refuse to intentionally ignore a rule in order to pass a game, I would like to weed out inconsistencies. The standards are intended to reduce individual reviews to a checklist while the major decision making goes into forming rules we can all follow. When a situation sounds confusing, go ahead and say so in its forum thread. If you've noticed that a certain point of contention keeps popping up, the Process forum offers a more general chat section for fellow volunteers. We can revise a rule to make it more clear.
This sounds minor, but make sure the changes are dated! At some point, you're going to come across a submitter who pays attention to what is already featured. You're going to be stuck explaining the discrepancy and will need evidence to back you up.
- Remember that we're not all from the same culture. Depending on where you live, 1/12/2011 should be read as 12/1/2011. Use abbreviated month names to keep it clear.
What if ACWraith is Unable to Perform his Duties?
- Make sure there is someone capable of editing game status. There are quite a few people with this ability at the moment, but only the BYOND staff can assign it. You will probably have to speak with Tom.
- Find someone with enough writing skill to broadcast featured game news on the Facebook page. Make sure they have the page rights to do so. This is one of our promotional abilities that we use to bribe/taunt developers into polishing their work.
- Make sure there are people capable of editing the standards should the need arise. Fortunately, the rank rights make granting that ability relatively easy. We should be able to handle it on our own.
- Keep nagging Tom with more ways to feature games that pass review. ;)-
How Does One Become a Featured Game Reviewer?
One of the points of BYOND Volunteers is bring in new blood! I'm more than happy to have the help.
You can try to get a current volunteer to vouch for you, but a more solid method to become a reviewer is to perform roughly the same duties as would be expected of you. If you do the work then you get the job. It's that easy! (In case you skipped it, that's a hint to scroll up to the How To Review section!)
- Find a couple games that might meet a reasonable amount of the feature standards. They don't have to be perfect. Just try to find something that hasn't been submitted before.
- Follow the standards and note anything that's wrong.
- Submit the games with your review notes. One game per post is probably preferred for recordkeeping.
- Offer your results as feedback on the hub pages of the respective games. Don't pretend to be an official reviewer yet. Just act like a decent citizen.
- Wait for a current reviewer to check the same games. If their results match (roughly) then it makes more sense to bring you in than to keep performing redundant tasks.
Note that the assignment of site-wide switches is outside the scope of BYOND Volunteers. With the reasons for failure posted, the worst you're going to do is post a forum review that says an undeserving game gets a pass. We'll fall for it, get egg on our face and turn off the featured status. It will be annoying, but it's not much of a threat. That means there's less reason to avoid taking a chance on someone.