ProtoBowl

Packet databases and other quizbowl sites, apps, or software should be discussed here.
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Hannibal
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Hannibal »

I think it would be great to immediately cut back on number the moderators. I, for one, am posting this after getting banned without warning for hitting enter a few times. I must congratulate you on the effectiveness of your block system, though; it managed to defeat all of my attempts to access the lobby via proxies. Some sort of system which makes it mandatory for admins to warn before banning would be nice.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Kilroy Was Here »

Hannibal wrote:I think it would be great to immediately cut back on number the moderators. I, for one, am posting this after getting banned without warning for hitting enter a few times. I must congratulate you on the effectiveness of your block system, though; it managed to defeat all of my attempts to access the lobby via proxies. Some sort of system which makes it mandatory for admins to warn before banning would be nice.
I support this statement, although the caveat of "other than for obvious bigotry and trolling" should be applied to the final part.

(Tajin, whatever moderator banned you (it could have been me even, I don't remember) probably saw the "pressing enter a few times" as spamming and decided to ban you)
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by vinteuil »

Hannibal wrote:I think it would be great to immediately cut back on number the moderators. I, for one, am posting this after getting banned without warning for hitting enter a few times. I must congratulate you on the effectiveness of your block system, though; it managed to defeat all of my attempts to access the lobby via proxies. Some sort of system which makes it mandatory for admins to warn before banning would be nice.
I just randomly got banned along with many other users almost immediately after joining the room.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by kevink »

perlnerd666 wrote: I just randomly got banned along with many other users almost immediately after joining the room.
I haven't been monitoring protobowl recently, but there haven't been any recent reports, so I assume it's been fixed. Right?

Anyway, we're still working on protobowl, though we haven't done anything in the past few months. Progress has slowed down a bit, but there's still a huge number of features which have yet to be released, and in the coming weeks we'll be rearchitecting the site so that we can smoothly add those new features. The change which will come first is shifting from using a single nodejitsu drone for everything to a static site run from nearlyfreespeech.net and github pages, which should allow the various components to be updated independently and tolerating minor NodeJS outages.

Also, just because it'd be cool, we're probably going to add some backup communication systems for "serverless" multiplayer, using WebRTC PeerConnection, pubnub, pusher and app engine so that even in a post-apocalyptic scenario (i.e. three years from now if Ben decides to stop paying the bills), things should still be able to function.

Also, the traffic seems to be declining, which is bad, so uh, go spread protobowl some more.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Oh No You Didn't »

kevink wrote:
perlnerd666 wrote: Also, the traffic seems to be declining, which is bad, so uh, go spread protobowl some more.
no don't
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

Traffic is down because of the trolls that populate /lobby.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Kilroy Was Here »

cornfused wrote:Traffic is down because of the trolls that populate /lobby.
There are a good amount of mods now, so that number has plummeted significantly.
Collin Parks
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

Weighted Companion Cube wrote:
cornfused wrote:Traffic is down because of the trolls that populate /lobby.
There are a good amount of mods now, so that number has plummeted significantly.
The "oreoz" guy is still in there pretty often, though.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

So like do you Annandale people play quizbowl?
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Whiter Hydra »

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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by vestben »

Annandale actually has an It's Academic team, which is like a local game show type of competition and therefore no Quiz Bowl.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Whiter Hydra »

vestben wrote:Annandale actually has an It's Academic team, which is like a local game show type of competition and therefore no Quiz Bowl.
As someone who went to TJ, I know what It's Academic is. It is an awful show and is in no way, shape, or form, a substitute for Quizbowl.

Also, I hope you aren't implying that It's Academic stops you from participating in real Quizbowl events.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I'm kind of, uh, weirded out that the people who invented one of the more controversial study methods out there don't actually play quizbowl (It's Ac is not quizbowl).
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by vestben »

Yes I recognize that it is different I was making the distinction for clarity, and to say that our school has no QuizBowl team. The application was created more so for others and for the purpose of learning and experimenting with a fairly cutting edge web stack, although our team did use it some.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas »

It's kind of a moot point this late in the season, but you can TOTALLY play quizbowl tournaments even if your school is more interested in [or wholly interested in] It's Academic. It's a little disheartening to see you guys have never been to a tourney.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Frater Taciturnus »

Their school website lists Megan Saladino as the VHSL Scholastic Bowl coach, but yeah by all means come to tournaments and what not.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by tgaddy »

Yea, considering TJ is like literally less than 10 minutes down the road and they usually host two tournaments per year, you guys should definitely try to make it out! That's not to mention the tons of other tournaments less than half an hour away in DC and Maryland. Many very good DC area teams like Richard Montgomery also dominate in It's academic, so you can definitely do both. I also think that getting deeper knowledge from quizbowl will really help you succeed in It's academic, especially in the later rounds.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by vestben »

tgaddy wrote:Yea, considering TJ is like literally less than 10 minutes down the road and they usually host two tournaments per year, you guys should definitely try to make it out! That's not to mention the tons of other tournaments less than half an hour away in DC and Maryland. Many very good DC area teams like Richard Montgomery also dominate in It's academic, so you can definitely do both. I also think that getting deeper knowledge from quizbowl will really help you succeed in It's academic, especially in the later rounds.
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll probably talk to our coach about that for everyone next year, the advantage does seem pretty clear. You're definetly right about our proximity to TJ, in fact my house is less than a minute away. We were planning on attending one of the tournaments this year but not enough members were able to attend for whatever reason.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Couch's Kingbird »

Also, is it possible that more middle school questions can be used?
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Corry »

Athenatennis42122 wrote:Also, is it possible that more middle school questions can be used?
While I think it would be neat for Protobowl to have more middle school questions, I'm not sure it's possible. As far as I know, there are only two middle school question sets: NAQT middle school sets and CMST(the Collaborative Middle School Tournament set). Since NAQT never releases their sets to the public, Protobowl can only use CMST .
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by the return of AHAN »

Corry wrote:
Athenatennis42122 wrote:Also, is it possible that more middle school questions can be used?
While I think it would be neat for Protobowl to have more middle school questions, I'm not sure it's possible. As far as I know, there are only two middle school question sets: NAQT middle school sets and CMST(the Collaborative Middle School Tournament set). Since NAQT never releases their sets to the public, Protobowl can only use CMST .
But there are now 4 iterations of the CMST. Are the first 3 loaded into protobowl?
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Eddie »

Corry wrote:
Athenatennis42122 wrote:Also, is it possible that more middle school questions can be used?
While I think it would be neat for Protobowl to have more middle school questions, I'm not sure it's possible. As far as I know, there are only two middle school question sets: NAQT middle school sets and CMST(the Collaborative Middle School Tournament set). Since NAQT never releases their sets to the public, Protobowl can only use CMST .
There's also NAQT's sample packets - it's only two (a regular MS packet and an MSNCT packet), but I guess it's better than nothing.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit »

Will the big categories ever be subdivided? I feel like some people may prefere to privately practice on Painting and Other Arts, but not Music, or just ignore distributions like American history.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Mewto55555 »

Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:Will the big categories ever be subdivided? I feel like some people may prefere to privately practice on Painting and Other Arts, but not Music, or just ignore distributions like American history.
Why would you want to ignore the history of the best North American country north of Mexico?
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Eddie »

Mewto55555 wrote:
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:Will the big categories ever be subdivided? I feel like some people may prefere to privately practice on Painting and Other Arts, but not Music, or just ignore distributions like American history.
Why would you want to ignore the history of the best North American country north of Mexico?
If this were some other forum, I would probably take this opportunity to derail the thread with a series of 'MURICA-related images of bald eagles and "BACK TO BACK WORLD WAR CHAMPS" T-shirts.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit »

This appears to be down.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by kevink »

Okay, it should be fixed now.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Eddie »

Could you make it so that when I select "Points earned in the last 20 questions," the number of negs changes to reflect the last twenty questions as well?
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Eddie »

Image
I'm curious, is "Zhongguo" just some sort of hidden portion of the answer line, or is there like an algorithm that identifies common alternative answers?
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by kevink »

kibinai wrote: I'm curious, is "Zhongguo" just some sort of hidden portion of the answer line, or is there like an algorithm that identifies common alternative answers?
I'm fairly certain the algorithm isn't doing anything cool and special like that. It's probably just a very fortunate coincidence because the answer parser is just really insane. It's going to get replaced soon.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by kevink »

So I've been working on the next version of protobowl for a few days now, and it's making good steady progress

Image

But in a few short days we'll be at the earliest possible day which could be plausibly considered Protobowl's first birthday. May 24th 2012 was the first day that I had the concept of building a real time multiplayer quizbowl website. The first lines of code weren't written until July and it didn't have a name at that point though.

But that's enough about the past, here's some stuff about the future:

Right now in terms of code management, there's a new compilation system which is significantly more robust and interesting than the last iteration. That means that it'll be able to have compilation parameters (enabling auth is one of them, which I think will be disabled for quite a while). Experimental authentication support works. There really isn't any point to logging in at the moment, since it doesn't really mean anything.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Emil Nolde »

point 1. More pics?
point 2. Will any of this go on the site itself before it happens/has this already been done and I'm just stupid?
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by kevink »

thyringe_supine wrote:point 1. More pics?
point 2. Will any of this go on the site itself before it happens/has this already been done and I'm just stupid?
Protobowl hasn't been updated since March (you can find that out from the build date on the bottom). So the update will happen when it does.

The question header has been made a bit more dense, and will support tagging questions with sub-categories (i.e. biology, chemistry, author, book, etc) so that there might be a more nuanced way to select specific sub-categories.

Image

And there's an experimental question search thing. It'll be smarter with storing bookmarks and possibly questions that have been seen so that they can be searchable and scalable.

Image

The chief reason for the rather significant updates almost a year after it began is mostly in the interest of scalability. There will be eventually a time when Ben and I won't care enough to manage the protobowl servers on a day-to-day basis. And what's been apparent is that nodejitsu is not an exceedingly stable platform for hosting the entire application. So we're migrating to an architecture which is divided between several hosts and will hopefully be more or less immune to downtime.

Here's the new room menu. Private room is a room which can only be accessed by the logged in user (it's permanently single-user). The bottom three are the three most recently accessed rooms.

Image
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Emil Nolde »

By 'this' I meant more like "notification of impending updates on site where said updates are going to occur".
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by kevink »

thyringe_supine wrote:By 'this' I meant more like "notification of impending updates on site where said updates are going to occur".
Uh, maybe.

Anyway, happy date-of-conception-day (uh, is there a term for that?) to protobowl!

[hr]

Soon I'm going to rewrite the answer checker algorithm to take into account the bolded words. This means that answer checking accuracy will go down when it is initially released, but there's now an interface for changing which words are bolded.

Image
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Eddie »

Is there a limit on how many questions you can bookmark/star/save?
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by kevink »

kibinai wrote:Is there a limit on how many questions you can bookmark/star/save?
Not in the new version, but in the old (current) version the app would slow down until it becomes unusable.

Anyway, new search has pagination

Image

Also different bookmark levels

Image

Clicking on a the star toggles it (the current behavior), but if you hold shift and click, it'll increase the bookmark level. You can shift+click to keep making it higher in priority, or regular-click to return it to unstarred. There isn't actually a limit at 4 but it stops changing the color at that point. It's used in the search sorting order.

Image

Here's a look at what question tagging looks like for now. While it technically supports multiple tags, the interface doesn't.

And there are some subtle refinements that are really subtle and hard to notice owing to the upgrade to Bootstrap 2.3.

And there's that new answer checker which relies on the question bolding rather than magic voodoo.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by whaatt »

kevink wrote: And there's that new answer checker which relies on the question bolding rather than magic voodoo.
The prompt system is really cool, as is everything Protobowl in general, but the current bolding that exists seems somewhat arbitrary; from what I can gather, bolded words are most non-particulate words with certain exceptions. This results in prompts on things like "Brazil" for "Federative Republic of Brazil," which is marginally annoying.

There is the option to suggest edits to answer line bolding, but I feel like there must be a more efficient way to do this besides crowdsourcing. You've posted your JSON file of questions on here before, so I'd assume you don't have access to the original bold/underline formatting of packets. If that existed though (and writing a parser to cleanly extract this information from documents would be an interesting project), it'd make Protobowl even closer than it already is to the real deal.

Re: Magic Voodoo - I'm guessing you were using something loosely based on Levenshtein distances or the like? This is just my random, uneducated suggestion without your perspective on the intricacies of answer checking, but it might be interesting to have a button allowing users to approve the automated answer checking, the results of which would refine the mistake tolerance level of a given question. Disregard this if that made absolutely no sense in the context of what you are doing.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Eddie »

Yeah, this is really a problem.

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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Mewto55555 »

kibinai wrote:Yeah, this is really a problem.
Yeah, you're spending your practice time on 2009 From Here to Eternity!
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas »

Visiting Protobowl recently seemed to confirm to me that it's the worst, as one player just kept spamming the n-word as his answer and people seemed to think this was charming and hilarious.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Matt Weiner »

Emily Krok wrote:Visiting Protobowl recently seemed to confirm to me that it's the worst, as one player just kept spamming the n-word as his answer and people seemed to think this was charming and hilarious.
All the people who think that posters sometimes disagreeing with bad ideas on this forum is "driving people away from quizbowl" who then recommend that high schoolers use ProtoBowl: you're tremendous idiots. I have a good mind to propose banning discussion or promotion of ProtoBowl on this site, on the grounds that the people running it have never even participated in a quizbowl tournament in any capacity so we don't owe them any presumption of good intentions, and that obviously it's an incredibly effective machine for making everyone in quizbowl look like psychotic racists.

Congratulations on building the Worst Thing On the Quizbowl Internet. Now, justify yourselves so the staff can consider not removing you from these forums.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by kevink »

The Protobowl lobby is pretty atrocious. A few months ago we appointed a handful of moderators to patrol the lobby in hopes that it'd curtail the rampant racism and trolling, and apparently it worked for a short while, but there aren't nearly enough moderators to provide the constant monitoring which would be necessary to fix the problem.

I've just pushed an update to the server which will instantly ban any user immediately if the N-word is found in the chat, username or buzz contents on one of the primary public rooms. And people in public rooms now have distraction free mode (i.e. all chats are hidden) enabled by default and username lengths capped at 30 characters. I have absolutely no idea if that'll actually work to curtail the bad behavior, but we can all hope.

But it's a bad idea to send new high schoolers to the Protobowl lobby anyway. It's almost always far too frenetic for new users to actually be able to answer questions without being intimidated. Much better advice would be for people to create their own rooms or privately inviting another team to to their own private room.

There's a reason most users aren't in one of the public rooms, but rather private ones shared within a school or circle of friends. That's really the primary use case. For the first month of its existence, Protobowl didn't have a lobby and going to the website would just throw you into a randomly generated empty room (lobby was created chiefly because search engines would get confused hitting a random redirect).

We've attended VHSL Scholastic Bowl Districts for the past few years (and one or two other tournaments), we do scrimmages with other teams, and do things like history bowl, but it's true that we haven't gone to many tournaments and certainly haven't advanced far in them. So we aren't exactly foreign to the dynamic and certainly don't have any incentive for malice.
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by AKKOLADE »

Assuming sufficient moderation isn't a viable solution, wouldn't this problem just be fixed by getting rid of the lobby and having all users going to protobowl being prompted to enter a room name (without a list)? People wanting to play against each other would have the ability to tell each other where to go, while idiot racists wouldn't be able to see a list of rooms to spam?
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by theMoMA »

Is there a way to have people log in with their forum IDs (or maybe Facebook or something like that)? It seems (not that I really know; I've been on the site once, over a year ago) like anonymity is the main cause of all of the horribleness, so requiring people to tether their Protobowl presence to their real identity might clean it up.
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i never see pigeons in wheeling
Rikku
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling »

Grams's Go-Go Boots wrote:Assuming sufficient moderation isn't a viable solution, wouldn't this problem just be fixed by getting rid of the lobby and having all users going to protobowl being prompted to enter a room name (without a list)? People wanting to play against each other would have the ability to tell each other where to go, while idiot racists wouldn't be able to see a list of rooms to spam?


This is the best way to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The insidiously terrible part of Protobowl is the 4chan (the bad website)-esque environment of the lobby, but there are legitimate uses for the resource as long as certain misconceptions are cleared (as in, nobody should ever be directed to Protobowl as a way to study for quiz bowl. It's purely a practice tool and should remain that way).

EDIT: Sorry, was confused about the moderator edit.
Ankit
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vestben
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by vestben »

I think it's fairly extreme to name this the worst thing on the internet that is QuizBowl related, as it clearly isn't malicious software. We do not have any advertisements on the site and we are honestly gaining absolutely nothing from having Protobowl on the internet. It was our goal to help people and I believe that we have done that to some effect, as I get messages almost every day on facebook about how the site has helped someone or their team. The users cause problems and it's almost impossible to truly control people in a massively multiplayer situation such as this, although we have tried as hard as we could to do just that. The fact remains that those who complain about Protobowl are the people who never actually use the site, or have only ever been to lobby. "Don't knock it till you try it" seems like an apt phrase in this situation.
Ben Vest
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Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant »

A thing doesn't have to be intentionally malicious to be the worst of something.
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Cheynem
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by Cheynem »

The thing is when you go to ProtoBowl, you end up in the lobby. That is how you would be trying it for most people. I don't doubt there are great ways to use the program for directed or organized study, but the lobby is terrible and something needs to be done to make sure that is not where new teams/players/people being asked to try it end up.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

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AKKOLADE
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Re: ProtoBowl

Post by AKKOLADE »

Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant wrote:A thing doesn't have to be intentionally malicious to be the worst of something.
roadhellpavedgoodintentions

I'll repeat that I'm impressed with what the software has accomplished and I don't think it's a good idea to abandon it because of issues with the user base that can be resolved. I do believe that the biggest problem (due to user behavior) is the presence of a lobby; removing the lobby will remove the high visibility of the problem. This doesn't mean that racists can't create a room called, I don't know, racistbowl , but it would hide such a room from being prominently displayed.
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