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See also SPOV article on BoardGameGeek


BoardGameGeek (BGG) has been criticized for numerous reasons.

Unfriendly Behavior

"It seems that there are moderators who defend the abuse of threads by people who would be called in German 'kindische Selbstdarsteller' - childish self-promoters." -- Ralf Gering (2008).

While Scott Alden envisioned a friendly community where people 'play nice' and keep the bickering to a minimum, in fact, many users post irritating and annoying posts in the forums (supposed to be "humorous" at best) that detract from the actual topic of the thread and thus making serious discussion impossible. When critisized, they behave like "middle schoolers" (quoted from a discussion on BoardGameGeek) bullying those who strive for a meaningful discourse.

Censorship

"I think that Board Game Geek has every right to censor, suspend or ban people as it sees fit. What I find deeply dismaying is the lack of transparency around how it is done. It doesn't have to be even-handed - it's just secretive and has a Kafkaesque feel to it." - Akhnaten (2008)

Along with the growing membership at BoardGameGeek, a controversy has developed regarding how much individual users should be able to post controversial or potentially offensive content, and moderators have become more vigilant regarding what is and is not appropriate. This has led to the locking or deletion of various GeekLists and forum posts which were perceived as excessively hostile to individual members. Critics have argued that the posts were not intended to be taken seriously and that these acts constitute censorship.

In March of 2007, BGG founder, Scott Alden banned a user for the first time in the history of the site on the grounds of violating the code of conduct. In subsequent weeks there was considerable debate about whether the offending behavior constituted "personal attacks" or merely satire and banter, as well as the ethics of preventing a member from contributing to the website. Since then the banning and suspending of memberships has become an abusive behavior, which is used excessively.

Some games (e.g. Football Tactics 2006, Ninja Galaxy) were removed upon the request of their producers because they received negative ratings.

Growing discontent has caused the creation of a rival site called BoardGameInfo. However, BoardGameGeek will not allow any mention of BoardGameInfo on their website, anywhere in any form.

Sexism

"BGG is their site, and it's a site where sexism is allowed. If you don't like it, leave. I found it deeply disturbing." -- Liz Rizzo (2007)

Male BoardGameGeek users are often accused of being overly giddy over cleavage and general images posted that involve females, at one point even angering one of the subjects of these photos to the point of almost leaving the site.

Bias

"I thus understand that inserting (...) different traditional mancala games with separate entries is not well accepted." -- Maurizio De Leo (2007)

Games often receive negative ratings because they are "just not my type of game". This is particularly true for abstract strategy games. Many BoardGameGeeks write that they don't like abstract games (even to the extent that they "hate completely abstract games"), which they find "boring", although they often admit at the same time that they don't understand them. Blatantly wrong statements abound. For instance, the game of Go is described as "unbalanced", "repetitive", and having "zero player interaction".

Many BGG users are also biased against party games, and will often take points away from such games just because of their genre, often not even wanting to admit that they may have liked one.

It has also been said that BoardGameGeek is biased in favor of adult games over children's games.

The vast majority BoardGameGeek users are Americans or Europeans and it appears that almost no BGG member lives in an Arabic or African country (except South Africa). Therefore, games that are not well-known ourside so-called Third World countries are inadequately represented. The BGG community is US and eurocentric.

For a long time, most traditional games were missing in the database because games in the public domain are hard to market and BoardGameGeek, which is a commercial website, favors copyrighted games. Traditional mancala games are still underrepresented although Moshe Callen (Israel) added many of them in 2009. Nonetheless, most of these new entries contain little information of any value since their descriptions were all copied from Mancala World or wikimanQala. Some popular games (e.g. Kalah, Congkak, Sungka) are lumped together in the general "mancala" entry, which actually is a family of games, not an individual game. Efforts to give these games separate entries were rejected despite their importance.

Traditional versus Modern Games
Boardgame Family Games on BoardGameGeek Games on Mancala World Estimated Number
Traditional Mancala Games 51 185 >400
Modern Sowing Games 52 155 >180

Fanaticism

"To list all the errors would be to copy the article verbatim." -- Meat (2008)

The BoardGameGeek community attracted its share of fanatics who would dismiss in a sweeping manner whatever had been said by those who found something wrong with BGG. Criticism is perceived as an "accusation", which endangers the self-esteem (and maybe even the identity) of group members. Affective blindness towards something as unimportant as BGG has resulted in vandalizing this article on Wikinfo.

External Links

General criticism

Bannings

Bias

Serious discussion versus bullying

Sexism

The "Ninja Galaxy Fiasco"

Copyright

Partly adapted from the Wikipedia article, "BoardGameGeek" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BoardGameGeek (and its talk page), used under the GNU Free Documentation License. First published on Wikinfo in 2008.

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