Hey all, it’s been a while. So I’ve been gone for a while, and while you could say I’m the same person, the fact of the matter is that I’ve done some soul searching and some research, and also I’m two years older. As well as that, things have happened in the world that have shattered my bubble, and I’m currently floating around looking at all the different bubbles. There are a few that make more sense now than when I was younger, especially when examined objectively rather than subjectively.
Case in point: I wrote an article in 2014 called “Guests: A Proposal.”
At the time I remember being startled at the amount of attention it got over a four to five month period, from April to mid-July up into August, and continuing into 2015 at a lower level. The article, in a nutshell, was both my idea for how a guest system could work, and my rant on how discrimination against Guests was making for a worse Roblox in general. I called for action to virtually make Guests almost equal to registered users.
Around a year later, I was in the process of writing a rebuttal to arguments for the price floor. Basically, I felt that a user should be able to sell an item on the market for whatever price they feel is appropriate. I still feel that, in some respect, but as will be explained in a future article there is a caveat.
Another year later, the removal of tix happened. I was angry, of course, because I bought most of my clothes and items with tix. I was going to write this argument: that just because some people scam for tix using alternate accounts, that’s no reason to remove tix entirely. And again, I still agree with that sentiment to an extent, but for other reasons my view on the decision has changed. This will be explained in a future self-rebuttal.
At those times I thought I was fighting on some digital civil rights frontier, where everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. But as I took my hiatus, I became more and more aware of something called “free enterprise.” What a concept.
Basically, what I believe now is that Roblox has every single right to do whatever it wants on its platform, within the realm of the law of its country of origin, that being the United States, and the state law of California. If Roblox wants to create new features for guests, it can do so if it wants to. However, it should not be forced to by any portion of its users, unless an overwhelming majority feel the same. Judging by my comments on Guests: A Proposal, there is no overwhelming majority.
Speaking of Guests: A Proposal, I have the full essay laid out below, and I shall now analyze my positions and deliver my thoughts, and at the same time elaborate upon my specific position regarding Roblox.
Hello my readers.
If you have been on Roblox any amount of time, you will have noticed these fellows by now. They walk our streets, partake in our games, interact with our people. And yet at the same time they are not us; they are alienated by prejudice and the settings that Roblox has given them. I speak, of course, about Guests, the Temporary People. Honestly, they deserve a lot better than they have it now, excluding the fake troll Guests of course.
First of all, the point where I say that Guests are “alienated by prejudice” is rather ridiculous, for a very important reason: Guests are fundamentally not equal to Users, and they shouldn’t have to be. Guests, as they stand today, are simply a “demo” of Roblox, introducing the basic mechanics to people who don’t know if they want to invest their time into creating an account yet. Guests as a mechanic of the site are better than just some sort of FAQ, because the controls are exactly the same as a normal user.
Also, we cannot reliably distinguish between a “good” Guest and a “troll” Guest, except by action. I don’t know that I provided for this in the original article. So the fact stands: by acknowledging that Guests cannot be distinguished from each-other, I also unintentionally proved that you cannot tell a troll Guest from a normal Guest, whatever normal means in this context, from first glance. It is perfectly natural for any user to think of Guests by default as potential trolls, and act accordingly, until actions by the Guest prove otherwise.
Personally, I feel Guests are in need of a complete overhaul. It may seem a little extreme, but it may be necessary for a better Roblox.
Guests are not in need of a complete overhaul, and giving Guests more privileges would not make for a better Roblox. What would make for a better Roblox would be more effective moderation, which actually deals with people who cause trouble rather than punitively punishes speech. It would also mean more people getting accounts, because more accounts equals more economic activity, and thus more potential revenue streams for the company itself. Giving Guests extended rights would destroy this beneficial phenomenon, as I will explain later. Let’s move on to the next argument.
So, here are three things I feel need to be fixed.
Point number one: Guests cannot speak except with a pre-defined and very limited set of words. The English language has over 220,000 words in its possession, and yet Guests can only use about a hundred or so... whereas a user is unlimited unless we count the swear word "filter" (###, anyone?).
As I recall, the Guest chat feature was removed several years ago. I believe I addressed this in the second part of Guests: A Proposal. However, I don’t believe that Guests should have any ability to speak. For that argument, I will return to my above point about the nature of Guests: that is, that they are a physical/control demo. Game mechanics are completely separate from social mechanics; thus, social dynamics are not important for someone who, for example, is testing Roblox out and seeing if they want to play based on mechanics alone. The efficacy of any control system is very important; good controls generally make for a better game experience. The physics engine and whatever mechanics are present in popular games may also be a part of the decision making process as to whether a potential user wants to invest their time into Roblox. The Roblox community, as a factor of gameplay, does not matter.
I think this communication barrier should be fixed, personally. Guests at least need some context.
They do not need any context. In fact, they have not earned any context. They have not registered as a part of the community.
Currently, the chat menu is very limiting, and we need more tools to communicate effectively with our mute brethren. Perhaps there could be a feature where players can assemble their own chat messages out of available words/phrases, then click a submit button to... well, submit it. I'm not sure how easy this would be for Roblox to implement, but it seems possible. We could call it Guest-o-Speaker or some silly name along those lines, I don't know. Of course, the Guest-o-Speaker would be limited to words with a non-offensive subtext (in other words, no swearing or slurs).
Again, Guests and users do not need to communicate. If Guests have (or had) only around a hundred words to speak in their inventory, then what is the point of a Guest speaking in the first place? Roblox should not have to put in any sort of speaker system for Guests to communicate. It will waste their time when there are far more pressing issues facing Roblox as a whole.
Point number two: Guests are frowned upon by the community as a whole. This is more of a bi-product of Guest's habits of destruction and blank misunderstanding.
Exactly. I have proven my current point perfectly: that because Guests cannot communicate by default, they are far more likely, statistically speaking, to cause trouble with no warning.
Because of these things, users shun them. Because Guests are shunned and banned so often, they have no opportunity to learn and will therefore keep their uneducated ways.
That’s not an argument. Guests cannot learn about the community because they are fundamentally cut off from communication. They can learn about the game mechanics by playing the game. Shunning and banning is a byproduct of the fact that they cannot function socially.
My solution? Guests should be made un-bannable, but have a time limit of a half-hour that they can be on one particular game. That way they have just enough time to learn the ropes of a game, but do not overstay their welcome.
This is a terrible idea. Just awful. If a guest needs to be banned, all powers should be allocated to the particular game’s administrative team to ban the guest. I do believe that there should be a vote-kick feature in Roblox, but that’s another story.
This all goes towards Guests reshaping their image from uneducated obtuse noobish griefers to respectful and upstanding members of society.
Point number three: Guests look the same. Guests are truly the faceless masses. They are identical save for gender differences, and their faces are naturally locked into a smile.
Again, that’s the point. You get an account, you become unique. You don’t get an account, you don’t get to become unique within the system. That’s how Roblox incentivizes people to sign up for an account, and eventually to contribute to the economy and create new revenue streams for the company.
A Robloxian, when he sees another user like himself, will feel more sympathy towards that user if something bad happens to him/her.
Not necessarily. I’ve KO’d users without shedding a tear, and precisely nobody has cared, historically, when I’ve been KO’d. And something tells me users don’t care to kill other users. Want to know why? Because it’s just a game.
A Guest, however, is uniform, and therefore a user will have no problem mowing through rows and rows of anonymous unsympathetic players.
I propose something new. A guest should have an option that is basically a stripped down version of the average user's Character interface. This would allow them to browse through the catalog and wear any face, shirt, or hat that they desire, with no fee. They can also change their body colors like a user can; for example, if a Guest wants to they can become a rainbow harbinger of destruction or a dark figure of mystery. However, there would be some limitations. Guests cannot obtain gear from the catalog. They cannot take the Roblox logo off of themselves. Plus, when they use a new Guest at another playing time, their outfit will be reset. This is to give Guests limits on their customization, so the users with legitimately made accounts will not feel undermined. But hopefully, this will make Guests more relatable as fellow players and comrades, and give them personality.
This is another completely terrible idea. If Roblox were to do this, it would cripple the economy. Let me give you the reason why.
If you give anybody who signs in as a Guest the ability to wear whatever face, shirt, or hat that they would like to have, it would take away the incentive to sign up and to contribute to the Roblox economy. This has the negative effects of sellers receiving less money per purchase, even with the price floor update taken into consideration. This also has the potential negative effect of a drop in sales of Roblox gift cards, which would see a certain percentage of Roblox’s revenue from said gift cards vanish over time. A result of this could also include de-incentivization to purchase things like Builder’s Club from Roblox, and if fewer people pay monthly or yearly for BC or any kind, this will create a further dent in Roblox’s finances. Roblox’s finances, by the way, keep its employees paid, and its servers running, and when employees are well paid they theoretically do a better job than if they are not well paid. A drop in revenue will see a drop in pay.
In conclusion, I ask the people this: would you rather Guests remain as they are, or be changed for the better? That is all.
So there you go. That was Guests: A Proposal. All in all I’m still proud of it; however, I believe that on most if not all of my points I was in the wrong, at least relative to how I see it today.
Roblox is not an uncontroversial company. Roblox has done things in the past that were kind of scummy, like the price floor update, which I do not agree with in regards to how it matches with free market principles. Basically it amounted to price fixing, but that’s another matter entirely. However, Roblox does most things for a reason: so that it can create a great platform for every registered user. Making Guests the complete equals of ordinary users would be taking away the incentive to be a user in the first place, and it would be rewarding people for not signing up for Roblox’s service.
But that’s just my opinion. I would love to know what you think. Don’t hesitate to shoot me a reply below.