Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! This is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.
For those of you who may not be aware, the NLSC has been around for a little over eighteen years. While I’d like to think that those of us who have been a part of the site’s staff over the years have done our part to keep the NLSC alive and kicking for close to two decades now, we certainly wouldn’t be here if not for the support and contributions of our visitors and community regulars. As far as gaming communities are concerned, basketball games are unquestionably a niche interest, but we’re proud to provide facilities and a home for basketball gamers from around the world.
From time to time, members of the community reach out to me and ask how they can support or help the site. I certainly appreciate those offers, and welcome any constructive contributions that people are willing to make. There are times when we’ll look to add new members to the NLSC Team, but even if you’re not on staff, there are definitely ways that you can help us thrive and grow. In this week’s Friday Five, I’m outlining some of the ways that you can help lend a hand around the NLSC.
1. Make use of our upload facilities
Here’s one for the patchers – or modders, since we’re using both terms interchangeably these days – in the NLSC community. I know that I’ve mentioned it a few times before in The Friday Five, as well as on the NLSC Podcast, but we really would like people to make use of the upload facilities in our Downloads section. There is a 100 MB file limit (though we can arrange mirrors for larger downloads on our big files server), but hosting is free, we won’t delete any files unless there is an issue, and all that’s required is an active Forum account. If you need help getting started, here’s a video tutorial.
For many years, we weren’t able to offer file hosting, or at least we weren’t using software for our Downloads section that easily facilitated community uploads. As a result, many great updates have disappeared over time. This is usually because they’ve been uploaded to sites that delete files after a certain period of inactivity, or the service has been discontinued completely; Megaupload is one such example). As other basketball gaming websites have closed up shop, even more files have been lost. Moving forward, we naturally want to avoid that happening as much as possible.
It bears repeating once again that we’re not encouraging this to profit off anyone’s work, or for any other underhanded means. Granted, we would like to build a sizeable and comprehensive collection of downloads for basketball video games, but in the long run, that’s something that benefits the entire community. If you do host your files elsewhere, you can still add them to the database with an external link, but I certainly encourage everyone to strongly consider using our upload facilities. They’re in place to serve the community, and our goal is preserve these great updates so that they don’t disappear after a couple of years, or even a couple of months.
2. Join in the discussion in the Forum, and create new topics
It may seem strange to be promoting the NLSC Forum, as it’s one of our most popular features along with the Downloads section. All the same, we do want to encourage all of our visitors to make good use of the Forum, and get involved in discussions. See a topic that interests you? Join in the conversation! Have something you want to say, but there’s no topic for it? Create one! There’s no problem if you’re newly registered, as you’re immediately able to reply to any unlocked thread, or start a brand new topic. If you want to talk about basketball video games, we want to hear about it in the NLSC Forum.
We do our best to keep the Forum moderated, while endeavouring not to stifle discussion, dissenting opinion, or making anyone feel that they don’t have freedom of speech. There are a few rules however, and we do ask that you be courteous towards your fellow Forum members. Additionally, there are certain threads where we ask you to keep things constructive – profane declarations of how much a game sucks don’t really help out in a bug report or Wishlist thread – and shoehorning a complaint into every single thread, regardless of how irrelevant it may be to the topic, only derails conversations. Other than that however, we want you to have your say.
In recent years, I’ve noticed that outside of the patching threads, the post-release discussion hasn’t been as lively as it once was. I’d like to change that trend. Basically, if you’re playing the games, whether you’re loving or hating them, have tips and strategies for them, want to talk about ideas for the future, or share screenshots and videos…well, that’s what the Forum is there for. One final note, as we do have people from around the world in our community: while the NLSC Forum is English only, please don’t let that discourage you from posting. Trust me, your English is better than you think it is, and at the end of the day, we’ll find a way to understand one other.
3. Contribute to the Wiki
Earlier this month, I posted a bulletin that invited anyone with a good knowledge of basketball gaming to help out with the NLSC Wiki. To that end, I’d like to thank R4z0r for taking the time to edit and create some articles, including a couple of tutorials. A Wiki is certainly intended to be a community project, and while our Forum does have some comprehensive resource sections, and a lot of information about topics related to basketball gaming in general, sometimes important snippets of info can get lost amidst the back and forth discussion.
That’s where the Wiki comes in. With the Wiki, we can distil that information into some easy-to-locate reference articles, and pool our shared knowledge to help the rest of the community. We’ll always have the Tutorials sections in the Forum, but additional tutorials and resources are most welcome in the Wiki, too. Ideally, I’d like the Wiki to cover every aspect of the games in detail, from gameplay elements and game modes, to FAQs and technical information about the game files. It’d be great to have comprehensive articles that we could link users to whenever they have questions.
Aside from a few protected pages, you don’t need to be registered to edit the Wiki. However, your IP address will be displayed publicly if you make anonymous edits, so if you’re going to make frequent contributions, I would recommend creating an account. Don’t worry if writing isn’t your forte; it’s a skill that you can develop, and the beauty of a Wiki is that someone else can come along and fix up spelling, typos, and grammatical errors, as well as add any missing information. It’d be fantastic to get a few more people regularly contributing to our Wiki, as it I’d love for it to be to basketball games what The Vault is to the Fallout series.
4. Let us know when there are problems
Part of running the NLSC is keeping everything maintained, whether it’s moderating the Forum, or resolving technical issues. I’d like to think that I’m around enough to have a good handle on things, and of course I have some dedicated and enthusiastic people on staff to help me out, but unfortunately some issues do escape our attention. When this happens, it’s not that we don’t care, or that we don’t want to resolve the matter. We just aren’t aware of it yet.
As I’ve said many times before, we have a good thing going in this community, and most of the time, we all get along fairly well. However, there is occasional bickering, as well as disagreements over using someone else’s work. While we are keeping tabs on the Forum, we do sometimes miss inflammatory posts, and we can’t keep close surveillance on every single release to ensure that work is never used without permission. We also can’t see what’s going on in private messages. So, if something needs our attention, please use the Report function so that we can look into the matter.
Similarly, if you’re concerned or confused about the moderating, or some other aspect of Forum policy, all you need to do is shoot us a polite message. If we don’t know that you’re unhappy, stewing about an issue until things get to the point of an angry outburst isn’t going to help us resolve the situation. As for technical issues, chances are I’m aware of them, but sometimes they do fly under the radar. Trust me, there isn’t anything more frustrating for a webmaster than something not working properly, so I’d rather any technical issues be brought to my attention immediately, instead of later discovering that something has been problematic for months.
5. Support our original content
Our patching community is a big part of what we do here at the NLSC, and as long as we’re able to modify the games and there are people willing to do so, it always will be. However, we’ve looked to expand our content over the years with feature articles, columns, the NLSC Podcast, and even some videos. You are of course reading one such endeavour right now. The Friday Five is something that I like to do every week, to express my thoughts on a topic that’s related to our community, and hopefully give you all something interesting to read as the weekend rolls around.
It’s something that we’ll continue to do, alongside supporting our talented patching community. From time to time, I’ll be writing some other articles that JaoSming originated, such as Dumb Mondays and The Tuesday Triple (should a potential Friday Five topic only yield three items to discuss). We’ll also be running some 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content very soon, we’re looking to revive the Top 10 Plays of the Week, and we have a few other articles and ideas in the pipeline.
We want to produce original content that’s interesting and entertaining for basketball gamers, so your reactions and feedback are always welcome. If you enjoyed a feature article or have some thoughts on a news bulletin, we like seeing your comments. We have fun putting out a weekly Podcast for you, and we’re interested in hearing your thoughts on the topics that we discuss. In short, we hope that you’ll check out our original content, and we want to hear from and interact with you.
Beyond that? Well, we’re always appreciative of anyone who helps spread the word about the NLSC and what we’re doing. As always, a huge thank you to everyone who Re-Tweets, Likes, and Shares our bulletins on Facebook and Twitter, and visits the NLSC on a regular basis. You make our efforts worthwhile, which is certainly making a positive contribution to the site. If you’ve got any further questions about helping out around the NLSC, please feel free to drop me a line. That’s all for this week; thanks for checking in, and please join me again next Friday for another Five.