These are editorial comments on some of the common concerns on Newgrounds, and the opinions expressed are solely mine. If you agree with them, however, feel free to link to them when/where appropriate.
1. Why spammers can win Underdog and Review Crew Pick and why it's your goddamn fault
2. Why mass voting is always wrong, and how to do what's right
More are sure to come as things tick me off.
Why spammers can win Underdog and Review Crew Pick, and why it's your goddamn fault---a short editorial on why one should stop and think before voting and reviewing on spam flash.
No one is surprised at spammers winning Turd of the Week, although they might be surprised at how much ridiculous and time-wasting fighting goes on behind the scenes for it. But many people are shocked at how spammers can win Underdog (requiring either high score or high review average) or Review Crew Pick (requiring a high review avg). It's actually pretty simple.
Of course, the submitter gets his or her buddies to ten-review it. Might even drag in some alts. But that alone isn't enough to win an award.
The problem, Newgrounds, is you.
You see a spam flash and become so personally outraged that you write an angry, abusive zero-review. Many others do the same. And then those reviews are deleted for being abusive, some of you are banned from reviewing, and the average review score for that flash goes right back up to damn-near ten. A similar principle is responsible for shitty flash passing, but I'll save that lecture for another time.
By losing your cool over something on the internet, you satiate the spammer's desire for a reaction. By writing reviews of such angered ardor that they're guaranteed to be deleted, you guarantee the spammer's desire for exposure. And by rallying for others to do the same, you perpetuate the problem.
If you truly want to stop spam from winning those awards, you must accept that you share some responsibility for the problem. As immature as the spam-flooding losers are, the Newgrounds population is equally immature in their overreaction to them.
If you see a horrible flash, whether horrible in terms of construction or in terms of morality, STOP AND THINK, DAMN IT. Don't go on a whiny rant or whistle it for no damn reason. Stop being pussies and act like adults.
If it breaks any rules---if it's stolen, crashes your browser, spouts certain terminology for people of certain ethnicities, etc---then by all means whistle it, and report it to Wade if it passes. But don't abuse your whistle, or you'll just be crying wolf and the next truly rulebreaking flash may be ignored.
Don't vote zero on it every day. For one thing, doing so has NO EFFECT. If I had a nickel for every time I've seen an angry reviewer swear to VOTE ZERO ON THIS PIECE OF SHIT EVERY DAY UNTIL IT'S DELETED, I'd be able to solicit most of your mothers several hundred times over. Once a flash has passed, the only way it can be deleted is for the author to delete it themselves, or for an admin to delete it. And secondly, zero'ing a flash over and over will only help them get TOTW, and thus more exposure.
Don't spaz out and write a FUCK YOU THIS IS GARBAGE AND YOU SUCK COCKS abusive review. That's just as much abuse as spam is. Write a coherent, respectful review, even if they don't deserve it. Give suggestions for improvement, even if those suggestions are just "make it longer than a three-second animation loop set to Night of Fire" or "perhaps abstaining from crudely drawn Family Guy hentai would be better". By writing a non-abusive zero-review, you simultaneously lower their review average (keeping them away from Review Pick and Underdog) and set a good example for other Newgrounders.
Don't make a thousand BBS threads and news posts whining and crying about the spam. It won't do a damn thing. Unless a flash is breaking the rules, it's not going to be deleted. If it was a fileswap or something, tell Wade. If not, shut up and stop giving them attention.
If you B/P for points, you've got no damn right to complain at all. It's you and those like you who caused the problem. If you hate the spam so much, go to the Portal and fucking vote properly, because right now you have the Portal you asked for, and it's the Portal you deserve.
If you suspect that someone is using alts to leave multiple reviews on a flash, PM a review mod so they can check it out and potentially stop a spam flash from stealing an award. The review mods are (taken from the FAQ) absent, AllReligiousDrunk, aviewaskewed, BlueHippo, BR, Canas, CaptainBob, Evark, FIGMENTUM, idle, Jercurpac, Jonas, kidray76, life, Malachy, Maus, NEVR, RageVI, ramagi, Sanjay, Seamonky, SevenSeize, ShitOnAStick, Stormwarden, Streakydesign, The-Swain, tigerkitty, and UberBarista.
In conclusion, STOP FUCKING CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROBLEM YOU DICKHEADS.
That is all.
Why mass voting is always wrong, and how to do what's right---a short editorial on the foolishness and arrogance of those seeking to form blam clubs.
It's aggravating, isn't it? Such utter garbage passes judgment, and you don't know why anyone could be stupid enough to vote to protect it. One frame flashes? Tiny loops of dicks and crude sketches? And it's passing, and will remain on Newgrounds forever, and it infuriates you.
You've got to do something about it; this site is going to hell in a handbasket. But what? Perhaps you should get a group together, and all vote to blam such garbage with your combined voting power. Then the Portal would be clean and wonderful, right?
What you are proposing is a blam club, a group dedicated to mass voting, and such things aren't just against the rules of Newgrounds; they also make things worse off.
It's not that there aren't enough non-spammers to blam shitty flash; hell, normal Portal browsers outnumber the spammers by at least a hundred to one. The problem is just how many of those Portal browsers are stat whores who vote solely for protect points. Ironically, most spammers DON'T mass vote; they rely on the Newgrounds public to vote five on the flash, since they mistakenly see it as a "guaranteed protect point", creating a cycle of self-delusion---you vote five because it's sure to pass, but it's only sure to pass because you vote five. You could have fifty people mass voting and still be ineffective against the other hundred and fifty who would rather have internet stats. It's nearly impossible to overcome that foolish majority, and thus so-called counter mass-voting is ineffective.
But that's just why mass voting doesn't work. Now let's move on to why it's wrong.
Mass voting is against the rules because it goes against the very foundation of the B/P system---that individuals decide on flashes and form a sort of community consensus on what is worthy of being on the site. If the whole of Newgrounds voted based on what they considered quality---never going to happen, but let's pretend that it could---the Portal would be in its ideal state. There would be flash that some people hated, but enough people would like them to warrant their passing judgment. Those who didn't like those flashes could simply not watch them, and the Portal would be a sort of pure, fair democracy.
Mass voting is abusive because one group seeks to impose their definition of quality on the entire site. Sure, some spam is almost universally considered shit---those one-frame flashes, for instance---and it's okay to be mad that they're passing and voting zero on them when you see them. But it's NOT okay to try and tell a group of people to vote zero on them, because deciding that YOU know what the community consensus should be is the equivalent of a dictatorship. If there was only one correct definition of quality, Tom would have trashed the B/P system years ago and picked everything by hand.
In an ideal points-are-irrelevant Portal, the utter shit would be taken care of by group consensus. Thus, the goal is not to tell people how to vote; the goal is to get people to realize the function of the B/P system...for the collective judgment of Newgrounds to be rendered, sparing that which most deem worthy and denying that which most deem garbage.
The reason why the Portal is a shithole is not because of the spam itself, but rather it is the lack of that democratic consensus that is the B/P system's ideal state. Instead of the popular opinion of Newgrounds being expressed in the saves and blams of under judgment flashes, we are flooded with the spammish submissions that enough people have deluded themselves into believing will always pass. And indeed, they always pass until the NG public realizes that they're the only reason it's being protected and strive to change that fact. Until then, as I've said before, Newgrounds has the Portal it asked for, and the Portal it deserves. For the time being, that IS the group consensus.
All that those dedicated to helping Newgrounds can do is to teach the NG public that the group consensus does not have to remain fixed. We cannot change it ourselves, and even if we could, we have no right to choose for them. We must vote how we, personally, feel that we must, and let everyone make their own decisions, regardless of what those decisions are. It may be frustrating, but that's how it must be.
If I have one piece of advice, it's this: learn to relax. Spam flash passing judgment is not the end of the world. It will drift off the Portal soon enough, joining the hundreds of thousands of submissions in limbo, never to be seen again. Newgrounds isn't running out of space, and it's not going to crash because a fake preloader got by with a 1.80.
Never neglect to whistle that which breaks the rules, but don't let non-rulebreaking spam get you aggravated. Some people, believe it or not, like some stereotypically spammy flashes. I, myself, joined a spam group (the Barney Bunch) and was able to enjoy myself AND fight over-the-line abuse. It's not impossible to embrace both aspects of Newgrounds. I suspect that in that extremely unlikely ideal Portal, there would be much less 'spam', but not none of it. A little controversy is healthy; it toughens you up.
Vote fairly, vote individually, and for fuck's sake, vote. Every person who B/P's for quality instead of points brings the Portal a little closer to that ideal state.