I invite anyone who doesn't think that this is a problem to spend one day on the Portal. Watch what passes. Blank screens, animated .gifs, a shitload of horrible mass-produced clones of dressups and racing games, and shitty no-effort crap that has so little original content that is effectively stolen...that's what's passing nowadays. I've been active on the site since 2005 and it is, by far, the worst it has ever been. No spam group has ever done close to the damage that a bunch of stat-happy twats have accomplished by passing this garbage.
While I've never been as guilty of save-whoring as many Newgrounders...particularly a few of the most prolific and higher-ranked Newgrounders who manage to pull in absurd hauls each week...I did enough of it over the years to make me uncomfortable with my record. Too many times did I go to the Portal, see a shitload of new submissions, and rush through them just to get some quick points. Too many times did I see someone with 100 flashes submit some piece of obvious garbage but "knew" it was going to pass and went along with it.
Since I've long considered my main purpose on Newgrounds to be to do my little part in making the site a better place, I didn't think just not doing it anymore would be sufficient.
So yeah, like people have mentioned, I asked Wade to reset my 34616 B/P points to zero and he kindly obliged.
A few days later, I don't have any regrets over it. They were just stats, and they're not the point of B/P'ing or doing anything else on Newgrounds---they're just proof of activity, nothing more, and having a ridiculous attachment to something which is both meaningless in the real world AND on the site is not healthy. I let go of all those stats because the purpose of spending time on Newgrounds isn't to rack up tens of thousands of points, but to fulfill a function in the site's design---to act as a means of quality control and keep utter shit off the site. With my B/P reset, I can go forward with a clean slate and spend time on the Portal for the right reason---to act as that quality control, voting what I feel a submission deserves instead of trying to guess the result of everyone else's voting.
And you know what? I'm missing a lot of points. A lot of shit is passing that I could be getting points on. I could be a couple ranks higher already, and EASILY, by just buzzing the Portal every hour and hitting 5 on everything. But that's okay, I don't need to. It's not a race, it's not a competition. Somewhere along the line, a lot of people---including people who have been here longer than me---confused the points with point.
This is something which must be rectified.
Unfortunately, while there are a lot of people trying to do the right thing and judging submissions solely on their opinion of their quality and effort, the fact is that those people are horribly outnumbered, and they're hindered further by a system that allows for a great deal of abuse to pass unchecked. Nothing can be done to stop all abuse, but much can be done to greatly limit it.
Improve your goddamn voting habits, you greedy swine. That's the first step.
But there's some things that need to be done on the site's end, too.
Allowing an account to only vote once on a particular flash would be a good start. It wouldn't help much in terms of the Portal, except to stop double-voting on submissions that are uploaded near midnight EST, but it would limit the rampant zero-bombing which has driven away so many artists from the Audio Portal. Oh yeah, and it'd make those pathetic squabblings over Underdog and TOTW more difficult, especially if this was expanded into not allowing anyone to vote on a flash they submitted or was a co-author on.
It's not like people will run out of things to vote on for experience, either. There are hundreds of thousands of flashes on Newgrounds and way more than five passed flashes every day. And if someone's really voted on so much that they have a hard time finding new stuff (bullshit...), well hey, there's the flash portal! And for people who just wanna deposit their EXP in thirty seconds and do nothing more on the site...well, I'm not sympathetic.
PORTAL MODS. Good fucking gravy, Portal Mods would be the single mos effective change of all. It wouldn't require many people---I'd say that anywhere between three and six people could handle the Portal with its current upload rate. There are many tasks they could be responsible for that would both improve the Portal itself and save Wade a good deal of time. They could examine submissions flagged as malicious or unsuitable and delete/clear them in short order. They could delete fileswaps as they happen---though placing strict limitations on replacing the .swf would be an even more reasonable step. They could delete obvious shit that passes and (and this is important) doing so would remove the points of anyone who voted to protect it.
Obviously such a mod would need to be very trustworthy and have shown good judgment, since that aspect of their jobs would be based on their opinion of what 'obvious shit' is. It could be as basic as "no gif's, fake preloaders, blank screens, etc" or including things like "this is absolute garbage and any reasonable person would agree" shit. Even with the more basic role, it would be an immense improvement. And hey, for the sake of fairness, perhaps Portal Mods wouldn't be able to B/P while in their role. Reasonable enough, I'd say.
Obviously Portal Mods aren't as likely to happen as it would require a great deal more work than simply restricting accounts to voting once on a single flash. But it would be far more helpful. The people of Newgrounds have proven that they cannot be trusted to vote for themselves. If it takes a dose of totalitarianism to bring the site back to its former quality, then so be it.
Speaking of...I think that if certain people cannot rein in their pathetic stat-lust on their own, then it's time that their precious points be forcibly separated from them. I willingly requested my B/P nerfing, but why not apply the same nerfing to those who only vote to save every shitty flash they see? Wade has threatened it before, but AFAIK it's never been carried out (except to me, who literally asked for it). Threats don't help much, though it'd be better than nothing. I strongly endorse nerfing the shit out of people who have shown that their judgment is flawed---if you're not here to serve as that quality control I mentioned, then your B/P is forfeit, simple as that.
Telling people to improve their voting habits is a good step...perhaps, with some experienced Newgrounders urging them on, a few people will learn their lesson and make an effort to improve. But a lot of people won't just stop because we kindly ask them to. If they have to get a swift kick in the ass to get the message, then so be it.
We commoners of Newgrounders can only do so much, but we'll do what we can. Meanwhile I will continue to hope that the NG staff eventually implements measures to help.
The Portal is supposed to be THE center of Newgrounds, the core that the rest of the site revolves around. Right now it's a garbage dump. Everyone, from the newest newbie to the NG staff, is going to have to work hard to change that.
so yeah guys step up your fucking game