Do I brag about my own projects too much?

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tepples
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Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by tepples » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:27 pm

In a post about Final Fantasy Adventure, a user brought it to my attention that I may be having one of those moments again when I need help with characterizing a fault with my own behavior. (Compare the "Who is sick of me?" incident on forum.gbadev.org in 2007.)
I don't see you complaining about the fact that tepples references "Haunted Halloween" in every second development thread. (I.e. instead of saying "You could do this and that kind of compression", he says: "The Curse of Possum Hollow uses this and that kind of compression.")
[...]
Here, go to any of these 118 posts and tell tepples that constantly mentioning his game makes him insufferable if that's really your opinion
What goes on in my head:

"Don't you see how this is wrong?"
"No, in fact, I don't. Please help me understand."

Sometimes when someone asks a question about how to do a particular thing on the NES, I'll answer based on how a released game has solved it. For example, if someone asks about level map data compression, I might describe the nested metatile structure of Blaster Master or the object list format of Super Mario Bros. Likewise with the use of small details in Blaster Master to trick the PPU into generating NTSC signals whose artifacts imply more colors than there are.

And the games whose internals I know best are my own previous projects. For example, if someone asks about aiming, normalizing a vector to a unit vector, or evening out a random number generator's distribution over a short period, I'll describe how Thwaite or RHDE approaches these challenges. Or when explaining how to organize a platformer engine, I may explain how things are done in one of the platformers that I have completed for Retrotainment Games. I don't mention unpublished projects in this context for a couple reasons: fulfilling my nondisclosure obligations and the possibility that the published version may end up using a different solution. At least I imagine it's better than referring to that M.C. Kids internals article from 2003 all the time.

In my opinion, making the solution concrete by referring to a particular game helps my answers appear stronger by satisfying the "Back It Up" principle, as described in "Good Subjective, Bad Subjective" by Robert Cartaino. Answers to the question "How widespread is the 'back it up' principle?" on Meta Stack Exchange state that over a dozen Q&A sites hosted by Stack Exchange have adopted this policy or something like it. Wikipedia likewise has its verifiability policy, which it holds even higher than truth. I acknowledge that forums are not quite the same as wikis and Q&A sites, as FrankenGraphics has pointed out, but the fact that a solution has proved workable in a playable game makes it appear more appealing than one that would work only in theory.

Does this habit of citing myself cause my posts to fail the humility test? Do I need to change my approach describing solutions to problems that I have encountered? Do I need to carefully read other homebrewers' source code and/or join the ROM hacking or TAS scene in order to become more familiar with others' solutions to the same problems in the interest of giving them equal time?


EDIT: Corrected link to post that prompted this; added quotation; added link to "Who is sick of me?" topic on gbadev

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by gauauu » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:59 pm

tepples wrote:In this post, a user brought it to my attention that I may be having one of those moments again when I need help with characterizing a fault with my own behavior.
I think you linked to the wrong post.

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by NovaSquirrel » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:08 pm

There's absolutely nothing wrong with mentioning your own projects when you're answering a question about how you would approach a problem. The act of posting a reply to the person's question means you're sharing your expertise with them, and I think sharing how you personally found it best to tackle that problem is appropriate.

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by toggle switch » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:09 pm

i'm not seeing the interaction you described in the link you posted.

either way -

your contributions here are always useful to me, and you should continue to talk about your projects as it gives a unique insight into your own style.

anybody who would critique the way you help people here would just lose credibility in my eyes, since i can't think of anybody here more helpful than you.

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by pubby » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:11 pm

You do mention your projects more than others and it may hurt your sociability with people not understanding of your autism. People who don't know you are going to question the intent of why you're talking about your own projects. They may assume you're bragging or self-promoting or trying to steer the conversation to be about yourself. Your intentions are not this. You are good-natured and helpful. But people can assume otherwise.
Do I need to carefully read other homebrewers' source code and/or join the ROM hacking or TAS scene in order to become more familiar with others' solutions to the same problems in the interest of giving them equal time?
The credibility is in you, man. People trust you. When they see the name "tepples" next to a post, they know it's truthful and smart. People don't care what your games do. They care what YOU do. They want to hear your opinions and recommendations, not facts about games.

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by koitsu » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:27 am

@tepples I took the time to read your post slowly and in full, as well as check out a couple of the links. The short version of my response would be exactly what NovaSquirrel said. A more terse version would be "No, no, no, and no" -- direct/literal answers to your subject line and each respective question in your final paragraph. Also, you don't brag.

Here's a lengthy answer and my thoughts, if that isn't enough:

You do a perfectly good job of 1) being yourself (you're quite a humble person IMO) and 2) utilising the "Good Subjective, Bad Subjective" approach in most, if not all, of your replies -- you do certainly a better job than I do**. It's important to never deny being who you are (read: don't let other people dictate who or how you are. I've told you this in PM many times, and I will repeat myself until the cows come home), while simultaneously never losing focus on what makes a good answer. Like everything in life, it's about balance.

But I'll point out that the nesdev forum is not like StackExchange (re: their FAQ entry). There is a diversity here that makes this forum kind of unique; it's more like a old Usenet group. This applies to nearly all the regulars and semi-regulars here. Some observations about this forum that I think pertain to the question you're struggling with, and in contrast to SO/SE:
  • Most of the time people here share approaches or information based entirely on what they're familiar with -- regardless if that's something they themselves wrote, reverse-engineered, or even discovered by happenstance.
  • Almost everyone here spans at least two, often three, "subjects" they're familiar with. There are some which are "specialised" in one particular thing, but more often than not it's not limited to just one. Also, we're all at different skill levels and depths.
  • What projects we might be working on *actively* in our personal and professional lives, understandably, influences what sorts of answers we give at the time.
  • We tend to keep one another "in check" as far as information goes -- why approach X might be better than approach Y or what is factually incorrect. (I can't speak for others, but I actually enjoy it when I'm wrong; I think most people feel shame/embarrassment when they're corrected, I actually feel a sense of enlightenment)
  • We will respond to a question with a question (or questions). When I see that on SO, there could very well be a great response that is "lost" due to the "Show NNN more comments" model and use of font sizes based on upvote count. I was raised and educated to believe that asking questions, even in response to questions, is universally a good thing; a sign of an analytical and curious mind. "I want to help you, but I need to know more. Help me help you".
  • We are more "community" than SE/SO, I think. There is a sense of trust and faith in one another's responses; I feel that's something that's earned over time here.
The model here is better-suited for what this site is about, given the fact that I think we all embrace the fact that there's more than one way to skin a cat. I'll leave you with a quote that's semi-off-topic but not (it's with regards to thought processes, perceptions, attitudes, and open-mindedness):

"It includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."
― John Dewey, How We Think (ref; page 136)

I wrote several more paragraphs, but realised that they're less about what you're struggling with and more about how nesdev and SO/SE are different. I saved them to a file if you want to read them; just ask.

** -- The reason I don't often "back up my statements" is because I come from a place/time/whatever-you-call-it, both online and off, where the de facto understanding was that words coming out of people's mouths or from fingers were considered to be subjective by default, thus only "back it up" if asked. Here's a recent example where such an exchange went down.

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by DRW » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:53 am

tepples wrote:Do I brag about my own projects too much?
tepples, my statement wasn't directed against you, it was directed against koitsu's hypocrisy:

He told me that me bragging about my game makes me insufferable.
Now, my game isn't even out, it doesn't even have a name and I only ever mention it in passing, and never to praise it or something like that.
But for some reason, koitsu seems to have a problem with my statement: "I'm not looking for a story-heavy adventure on the NES anymore, I'm doing my own now."

That's why I pointed him to you: If it was really his opinion that mentioning one's game makes one insufferable, then you should be koitsu's mortal enemy because you mentioned your game more than 100 times.

But since koitsu never called you out on this, but he called me out, even though I didn't even provoke him, I must conclude that koitsu simply saw my post and since he can't stand me, he felt the need to disagree with me in something.
And since the post didn't include any questionable contents this time, he simply invented a new opinion out of the blue: He invented being pissed off by people mentioning their own games, just so that he can be pissed off at me.

And this is something that I will not accept. If he thinks that I brag about my game and it makes me insufferable, then I want to see him daring to attack you since you do the same thing hundredfold.

If he doesn't attack you, this means that he doesn't really hold this opinion in general and simply pulled it out of his ass because he wanted something with which he disagree with me.


In case anybody is wondering: Those are the actual posts regrading the topic:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=14009&start=45#p235193
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=14009&start=45#p235212
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=14009&start=45#p235215
My game "City Trouble": www.denny-r-walter.de/city.htm

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by FrankenGraphics » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:27 am

Mostly just saying things people have already said.

There's nothing wrong with providing an example. It's also sensible to pick examples you're already quite familiar with, which would include efforts made by yourself.

I don't see anything wrong either with promoting, for example, the use of pently whenever it relates to the questions of the poster. Best case, it results in positive feedback from having more users who might add to the knowledge base how to make the most of it, who might build suporting social or software structures, or return you relevant feedback. "Worst" case, they elect to use another solution.

I think with humbleness, people sometimes play it extra safe just to be well within margins of what's considered socially acceptable - just to feel sure they didn't cross such a line. But i don't think it'd make sense to go out of your way to research an example that's not your own (unless of course you're curious about other options) just for the assurance that you are well within margins.

I honestly enjoy that the nesdev forums are a bit oldschool - meaning that unlike modern social media platforms, promoting your image and character is not as prioritized as the general topic at hand (so you simply need to accept that people are different and quirky and not hidden behind a facade) - but at the same time is more social and communal than a Q&A site, which helps promote incentive to - to name some things - cooperate, show and tell and get peer reviews, or just engage at length in "too nerdy" topics you can't have elsewhere.
koitsu wrote:I can't speak for others, but I actually enjoy it when I'm wrong; I think most people feel shame/embarrassment when they're corrected, I actually feel a sense of enlightenment)
I don't think one excludes the other wholly, but unfortunately i'm a little bit too much of the first variety; feeling embarrassment. Do you have any special tricks?
DRW wrote:"I'm not looking for a story-heavy adventure on the NES anymore, I'm doing my own now."
I think that's a good reason as any to be making a new NES game. I don't always follow the same maxim, but i often feel motivated to try to do something that covers at least some aspect that was uncommon, rare or non-existent in the original NES library. A similar approach is cathode rae's call for people to dare make more radical things within homebrew - meaning that we have this unique chance to redefine what the platform is about. culturally, technically, content-wise, context-wise..


---

For that matter, i mention Project Blue a lot currently because i'm spending a lot of time with its level design for the last couple of months and can't stop thinking about tools, level compression variants, general learning outcome and such things. I also mention Metroid a lot because i started taking an interested in nesdev learning from its well-commented disassembly as an example. That's simply just two examples i feel are close at hand whenever i feel it is relevant.
http://www.frankengraphics.com - personal NES blog

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by never-obsolete » Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:36 am

I think including examples of where a solution was used can be helpful. Someone can then take a closer look at that game and see how that decision may have impacted the final product.
. That's just like, your opinion, man .

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by gauauu » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:31 am

It's completely ok to mention your own projects, I think most of us do. That said, it can come across in a way that sounds like bragging, and a way that doesn't.

The advice I try to adhere to myself (which applies to anyone, these are not directed specifically at Tepples or DRW) to make sure I stay in the latter:

- Don't inject advertisements for your projects out of context. If somebody asks an assembly question, I shouldn't answer that they should use my C framework instead. If someone is talking about how to use a music engine, don't use that as an excuse to advertise your own, UNLESS it's really relevant to answering their question. If someone asks "how do I scroll?" then answering "in Halcyon, I did XYZ" IS relevant.

- If you're self-promoting, be clear about it. If somebody asks about the best GBA zelda-like games, and I casually include my own game in that list without noting that I'm self-promoting, it comes across as more arrogant. If I tag it with a disclaimer (ie "this is my game, I don't know if it's really the best, but give it a try!" then it may come across better)

- Say positive things about other people's projects. If the only projects I say anything positive about are my own, then the positive things I say about my own projects come across as more braggy.

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by ccovell » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:53 pm

I never considered it bragging, but it was annoying all the same because:

you referenced (usually) your own games to explain something when a far-better-known game (like a licensed one from the actual NES era) would help explain it better. More likely people have played Konami, etc. games and so can understand the example/reference/technical trick. With your own games you might potentially have to pile explanation on top of explanation.

Sad but true, our own games are not on the same cultural level as Capcom's and Nintendo's. I am always careful in a list of games to at least single out my personal homebrew ones.

Eg: I consider "A great sci-fi atmosphere like Lifeforce, Xexyz, Guardian Legend, and Solar Wars..." a real faux pas.

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by tepples » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:17 pm

ccovell wrote:you referenced (usually) your own games to explain something when a far-better-known game (like a licensed one from the actual NES era) would help explain it better.
In order to reference the internals of more popular NES games, I imagine I would have to buy, play, dump, and reverse-engineer these games. How is it worth the time and money? Or what am I missing?

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by Sumez » Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:25 pm

It makes sense to use your own projects as an example, as it is what you are most familiar with. But when you consistently do so unprovoked, and while both highlighting and emphasizing their full title, it is understandable that it comes across as some kind of advertisement. I'm surprised no one has pointed it out before.

I can understand the reasons for doing so, and I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but personally I do try to avoid doing stuff like that. As humans we like talking about our own perspectives and experiences, but in doing so we also have a tendency to turn conversations about something else into something about ourselves.
If I want to bring up an example from a personal project I will try to focus on the relevant subject and avoid namedropping the project. As people have been pointing out, using named titles as examples of something usually only serves a purpose when you expect people to be familiar with those titles.

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by tepples » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:40 pm

Sumez wrote:But when you consistently do so unprovoked, and while both highlighting and emphasizing their full title
By "emphasizing", do you mean the use of HTML emphasis as rendered by browsers in italics? I thought using italics was standard for work titles, such as The Adventure of Link or Skyrim. I do the same thing with Concentration Room or Thwaite. As for "full title", when I call it The Curse of Possum Hollow, I'm making a point not to use the game's colon cancer full title, which is Haunted: Halloween '86 (The Curse of Possum Hollow). I did not choose that title. I could abbreviate it as HH86, but I don't because I feel it would be less readily understood, seeing as the game is far less famous than CV3 or SMB2 or FF7.
Sumez wrote:If I want to bring up an example from a personal project I will try to focus on the relevant subject and avoid namedropping the project.
So are you recommending the equivalent of subtweeting? If it's one of my open-source projects, and I link to the relevant source file on GitHub, that's a namedrop in the URL anyway.

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Re: Do I brag about my own projects too much?

Post by rainwarrior » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:56 pm

tepples wrote:
ccovell wrote:you referenced (usually) your own games to explain something when a far-better-known game (like a licensed one from the actual NES era) would help explain it better.
In order to reference the internals of more popular NES games, I imagine I would have to buy, play, dump, and reverse-engineer these games. How is it worth the time and money? Or what am I missing?
You're missing that this is not an issue for anyone here except yourself.

Is it really even an issue for you? Do you actually refuse to take an inspecting look at any NES game you do not own the cartridge for? Over the years you seem to have spoken in depth about many titles I assumed you couldn't possibly own, so I have a hard time believing this issue is a genuine one for you.

You do frequently jump into conversations to advocate an issue like this that nobody else speaking will care about, but on several occasions it has been very unclear to me that even you care about the issue. Interjecting to advocate for an issue that only you care about is OK, I guess, but advocating for an issue that not even you care about bothers me. Sometimes it's just more like you seem to be advocating for an issue that happened to someone else you know, but you're so adamantly vague about every detail in it that I have no ability to decipher who it's about, or if it's even about you, or why anyone should care.

I'm not exactly trying to force you to admit to having pirate ROMs on your computer on a public forum right now, but it's hard to tactfully and tacitly just assume this like I do for everyone else here when you so frequently make statements that seem to be at odds about it. If you really never use ROMs you don't own, and that's a big struggle for you to somehow learn NESDev without it, that'd be a very interesting topic maybe worth its own thread... but if you're speaking on behalf of someone else who isn't here and isn't going to benefit from the particular conversation it's a waste of everyone's time. Maybe this goes back to koitsu's point that this place is not Stack Overflow.


If you can reference a game that most people already know and have played, and probably already have a ROM file they have decided is acceptable to have on the computer... this is accessible to them. It's helpful to the conversation.

If you reference your own game knowing they're unlikely to have played it in lieu of an example they have... well, maybe this is self promotion? Are you referencing your game instead of one you think they would already know to help them with an issue they care about, or one you care about?

Even when homebrew ROMs are freely available, they're generally still more obscure to find and get for most users than something like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (U).nes. It's worse when you're referencing a homebrew that has never had a free or public ROM release. While I think I can say that most users here are comfortable with piracy when it comes to older games, this is not equally true of homebrew. These just aren't equivalent to most participants here. Homebrew is not fungible with commercial-era NES releases for a lot of reasons I won't go into.


Anyway, for the most part, I think your references to your own games are acceptable, but there definitely are cases where you seem to be bringing them up at the drop of a pin. If it's relevant to the conversation, though, great. Keep it coming. If possible, though, try to keep in mind that getting the ROM and playing it to understand and get context for it will be a burden to understanding for most people, whether or not these things may seem equivalent for you. It probably helps to link to a thing they can download or look at rather than just saying the name of an obscure thing and expecting them to understand what you mean about it. ...and in those cases where you feel compelled to be deliberately vague about something, maybe also consider that this vagueness will just make it more of a burden to understand for others too, and that choosing a different example that you don't have to be so obtuse with may help.


On a personal note, one of the big reasons I had for making source code of my (non free) game available on github is so that I can link to a source example here when I want to mention something relevant. Being able to link to specific lines is really handy.

Anyhow, to give an example of my perspective I percevive an increasing burden between between the following cases:
  • Castlevania did this. Here's a focused and annotated disassembly.
  • My game did this. Here's a link to the relevant source line. (implied burden: do they need to know my game to understand context?)
  • Castlevania did this. (implied: user probably already has the ROM, and has played it, has the context without doing any extra work, maybe can jump into a debugger and breakpoint/trigger an example)
  • Time Lord did this. (implied: user still relatively likely to have the ROM, may have to play it a bit to understand context before even getting to study the issue at hand)
  • Lizard did this. (implied: user may try and figure out how to download the demo,and then have to play it for a while to try and understand the context)
  • Lizard did this. (implied: user may need to google it, or have a hard time googling it before they can get to the previous stage)
  • Sneak 'n Peek did this. (implied: user will google it, be confused about a related Atari 2600 game, realize they can't download it, find that RetroUSB and KHan have both discontinued the cartridge, and mostly just be frustrated that I brought it up)
I'm not saying always do #1 on the list. All of these are acceptable in the right situation, but picking the right example depends on knowing who you're speaking to and what you expect them to know and need, and it may be a trade for what you want and need as well, as the conversation is for your benefit too.
Last edited by rainwarrior on Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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