The Deadliest Kvetch

Miss Manners and the case of "Payware, Freeware or No-ware"

Rating: 6 votes, 5.00 average.
Let the kvetching begin!

We've all read the threads arguing the merits of payware over freeware, or freeware over payware, but how do you prevent either from becoming "no-ware"?
It's tempting to believe that the end user has no control, that a creator will just endlessly continue to produce the wares of their choice. I disagree. When a creator produces payware our first inclination is to chalk up the motivation to profit. I've witnessed creators that have moved from creating freeware to payware and I have to wonder if that is the motivation at all. I rather believe that the creator transitions when they are able because they feel the need to attach some worth to what they are spending their time creating.

Let's look at some simple figures, taken from today's forum. 487735 members, of that 4,269 active members (whatever that means), I always assumed that meant members that use the forums, but I could be wrong. It may mean members that use the DLS, or Planet Auran, or that download through CM. Using the "Citizens Online" function at Planet Auran you can find a breakdown similar to this:

That seems to tell me that the forum statistics may not just refer to those visiting the Trainz forum. None the less, it's fairly easy to figure that of all "Members" of the Trainz forum, the percentage of "Active Members" is less than 1%, if you take the numbers at face value. I wonder what the percentage of creators would be? Rather small, I would imagine, leading me to believe that of all the members of Trainz Forums there are damn few actually making content of any kind.

I can further make the case that the downloads of items from the DLS tell an even more enlightening story. I check the download numbers of my content frequently, to try to gauge what is popular and what is not so that I can concentrate on reskinning buildings that users seem to want and offer them to the community, versus making what I want out of selfishness. I have asked for feedback several times, but the information has come back to me in several ways:

First, the amount of feedback is very small, almost non existent.
Second, it's obvious that some of those responding have no idea what I even do as far as content, they are just lunging at the prospect of someone making their dream item for Trainz.
Third, you may get some worthy feedback, but the percentage of it is far too small a sample to base further work on.
Fourth, the number of those downloading items is anywhere from 10 to 1000 times greater than those that actually bother to comment on the item in the forums.

I haven't counted, but it's safe to say that in my general release thread, there may be about a dozen members who come by time to time to offer encouragement, useful feedback, or just acknowledge my efforts at all. If you take that dozen and compare it to the 4,269 "Active Members" you see that works out to a very small number of "Active Members" who have actually taken the time to respond at all!

Miss Manners would say that if someone gives you something for free, you should at least say "Thank you very much!" Those who now make payware may have never made the transition at all if only they were properly appreciated when they made freeware. Those who make freeware now should be thanked, encouraged and provided with useful feedback NOW. Some may simply discontinue spending their time on what seems to be an UN-appreciated, futile endeavor, and those that have modeling skills may just begin to offer payware instead in an effort to receive some compensation for their time and effort.

It's disheartening to observe the mass consumption of items, be they routes or scenery or simple reskins with such a small return in the way of a simple kindness. If I were a farmer and regularly gave away a portion, no, ALL of my crops for free, I would expect the simple courtesy of a "thank you, I really appreciate what you do". Don't get me wrong, I've seen a few of those as well, but I'm sure you don't want to see the percentage!

Lest you readers are tempted to to label me a "whiner", or that I am speaking only for myself, I can assure you that I see it happening to many on the forums. Such a small percentage of content creators to begin with, and an even smaller percentage of consumers who bother to post to their threads! There's a few members that do so frequently, and regularly, and you know who you are. I won't embarrass anyone by putting their names in print. I have been around the forums long enough to recognize trends, and this one has been in place for a very long time.

Is it so hard to type a simple "good job, thank you?"? I even visit threads of creators that I don't personally care for, and can often find something encouraging to say. I may not like the content, or have a use for it myself, or want to pay money for it, but I do recognize that some one else will.

Miss Manners would recommend encouraging creators of all kinds, lest we end up "No Ware".

Be safe Trainzers, this concludes our broadcast day!


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  1. mick1960's Avatar
    Lest you readers are tempted to to label me a "whiner", or that I am speaking only for myself, [...]
    You are definitely not! It is sometimes very frustrating to experience the lethargy of most common users and even content creators. Seems the Trainz community is also degraded to a complete consumer society. They take everything as an one way street, first and foremost taking, taking, taking, not to forget demanding…

    I myself learned huge parts of my knowledge from other cc of the first generation (of whom most are gone already!) and still like to share it (lately also in a blog here). But without any feedback, the motivation disappears more and more…

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