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LotBlind: 2018-01-03 09:57:59 am
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LotBlind: 2017-12-31 10:47:36 am
Links to the survey and analysis found in this post. Use that post for talking about the survey in general and lets keep this one about SDA.

Just thought I'd post this on New Year's eve for greater or lesser effect. I'm going to invite people to read this from other websites as well. Most of it will be familiar to any old-time SDA-goers.

First of all, we owe a lot to tonic, the main engine behind the survey. It feels he's more or less done our job for us.

Whatever happened between anyone and SDA in the past should stay in the past in my humble opinion. It benefits no-one to harbor some kind of [first-world] grudge. I myself became an admin here after most of the hubbub was gone and don't have nor do I feel it's necessary to have a complete picture of all that. This is just meant to clear any misunderstandings about the role SDA is/should be playing in speedrunning so you can make an informed decision about how it fits in with your individual speedrunning efforts.

First off, a few small notes about the survey itself:


The question "Considering outside opinions in categories/timing etc. rules": what surprised me here is... isn't there more a question about whether those on, say, SRC need to come and check what's been done on SDA/somewhere and ask for their opinion or vice versa? I think the question of "should we ask non-speedrunners" is a somewhat strange one. Yet that seems to have been the question so many respondents primarily or solely answered. Thinking about the viewers is one thing that may sometimes contradict what the runners would like to be able to do, but even in those cases it doesn't seem necessary to go out and start asking questions from "bystanders" – just try to see it from that perspective yourself.

Resources and guides: well, sounds like people would love more wiki-style resources but only few actually want to do it. Which sort of sucks because that goes solidly against the idea of a wiki. Personally I'm going to tolerate being almost the only person updating the wikis for games I've studied if and only if the others are actually being useful and doing the "fieldwork" I'm asking of them, or at least doing something useful... Sometimes I feel some runners are more in the way with their PBs and their Twitch channels, their lonely egos and laziness. Which is a shame. It should be noted that SDA's [url=Knowledge Base[/url] is very, very easy to edit and you can get away with a lot of copy-pasting to get started, past which it sort of acts as you keeping your notes online instead of just your hard drive. I understand that there are times where you won't want to do every edit in real-time, but if there are any others interested in the game, I do make it a habit to keep it up-to-date. [plug] BTW: If we could find someone to devote to developing the wiki, we could do even better than current in accessibility etc. Doesn't require special technical skills really. Apply here.[/plug]

"No definition for an accurate emulator" – I'm sorry if I read this hastily, but there IS a definition... that's simply whether the same inputs result in the same outputs on the emulator and the real deal. It's exactly how TASVideos finds out which emulators they will allow. This should mean that at least a part of the legitimacy question has been taken care of since others can then run in real-time on those same emulators, however it doesn't really address the controllers, nor are there such verified emulators for every platform.


Now, about things pertaining SDA.


EDIT: It seems some people would like to be able to both stream their running with splits etc. and do SDA-oriented local recording with clean video and audio. I know at least OBS nowadays supports this without compromising either. Check out this page. It's very flexible.

"SDA timing (Speed Demos Archive timing) - an older timing method, which is typically RTA but defines that one specifically starts timing on ‘first control’ and stop controlling on ‘last input’."

Hmm... I don't think "last input" is correct, unless it means "last time the game polls for inputs where that can still alter the result" which is a bit vague but in practice usually turns out to be exactly how runners were timing it themselves. "Last input", i.e. last actually given input, not just the possibility of giving them, is TAS-timing and may cause TAS timers to stop before the last hit on the boss or whatever. The starting point being start of control seems to be what defines SDA timing. Here's some general thoughts about this: With SDA timing, there's no difference between starting a new game from the menu vs. from a reset, which certainly is more handy with games that offer that option, but I'm guessing other communities would also have timed from control in that case (but this means they're not being as consistent from game to game). With SDA timing you can leave in (or even splice in) the opening cutscenes which might make for a more satisfying watch in general.  Also, if you're going to time those cutscenes, which is usually just mashing to skip it, why wouldn't you also time the end cutscenes in principle? Just like after beating the boss you usually can't lose anymore, you can't really lose or go wrong in the opening cutscenes either. It's not 100% the same (in the end cutscenes you've definitely already beat the game so maybe it shouldn't be timed for that reason) but there may be some kind of symmetricity there... maybe. Other than this I don't really have a strong opinion. I guess SDA timing slightly skews the actual run lengths in cases where the intro is particularly long.

As a side note, PC runs might have variance in the loading time between hitting start and gaining control, so SDA timing makes a lot of sense with those.

Of course SDA doesn't always use "SDA" timing if there's good reason not to, like if it's impossible to know exactly when control starts. I don't know what's been done historically with any given title but it's more flexible in general than people are assuming. With other kinds of rulings, we seldom see a reason to mess with whatever the communities seem to be okay with, but we have to have global baseline rules in place as well if there e.g. isn't really a community, so we don't have to reinvent the wheel every time.

"SDA isn't required for publishing runs anymore"

Most people totally miss what SDA is actually about – to provide a stream of quality runs the same way a news site doesn't cover every news story in the world, but people don't want to read about them all anyway. It's a curated feed of speedruns that are far likelier to be a complete package and actually worth your time than an average new PB/WR on SRC. Those who don't want to go through any extra effort to get their runs properly published (I will adress the "big community" question later) are less likely to want to write detailed comments either that specifically more random viewers would appreciate, which is why I'm assuming this wouldn't be very popular to do on SRC. I don't know what the percentage of people watching each run is on SDA who genuinely don't know anything about the game (we should probably do some polling of our own) but I'm fairly sure there are those who aren't superparticular when it comes to it, and there is some evidence of this in the survey responses as well. And it's not like there aren't viewers of GDQ's etc. who will watch whatever happens to be on. This kind of "ecumenical" nature of the site is, AFAICS, not incredibly emphasized on something like SRC even though it has one big listing of everything that's new – it doesn't actively highlight or describe any of that content (I'll respond to TheKotti's idea to do this further down). I'm not in any way demeaning SRC here, as even we find its leaderboards to be handy for some quick referencing for verifications. It's unfortunate SRC has its problems – as anything of its nature will – but its architecture is obviously good for certain things.

It might as well be pointed out that on SDA at least, the runs will never be commercialized, no ads, no paid subscriptions.

"SDA verification isn't needed to legitimize runs"

SDA doesn't do verification to "officialize" runs (check for cheating and filling the requirements for the category) as much as to check for their A/V and these days especially gameplay quality: that it's a good-enough run to publish on the front page without betraying the site's standards. It always had these other two aspects included, and those, obviously, haven't gone anywhere. If you don't care about good presentation [being guaranteed] and documentation [being likely], you can usually find more and faster runs on SRC for specific games, especially the more popular ones.

"Modern verification is faster"

Apples and oranges: firstly, if there were as many active users on SDA as SRC, verifications wouldn't ever be left waiting for so long (something the new public verification system has helped immensely anyway). Secondly, SRC doesn't verify the run gameplay quality at all, something that often has to be scrutinized and debated on in SDA verifications. Thirdly, verifications on SDA also give the runners helpful feedback on their runs and running even when they get turned down at first... another thing "modern" verification doesn't explicitly do. So this is a complete misunderstanding. It used to be very tardy from what I've heard, back before I became an admin here, and this is in part because SDA wanted only knowledgeable verifiers, which is only natural. Another reason being the asymmetry between how much volunteering people are ready to put into SDA vs. the amount required to offset the processing of their runs. It's ironic that SDA is being accused of being outdated when so many people have outdated or plain wrong ideas about it themselves...

"SDA runs are obsolete"

For the most part, with all the most popular games, this is a true statement if you only want the fastest runs available per category. There are individual runs where the execution was so dang strong that they actually look better than new ones with more tricks or whatever, but seeing as SDA's verifications have gotten [to my knowledge] steadily more strict up to this day, not all older runs, naturally, will be the bee's knees anymore from even that point of view. We're going to look into making it more obvious that SDA runs aren't WRs, possibly in the FAQs somewhere (done). To clear a particular misconception, SDA doesn't "update" the game pages autonomously with anyone else's runs and never has. Only the communities for those games can, if they'd like to.

"SDA isn't required for archival anymore"

It makes more sense for there to be a central repository nevertheless. It gives the runs and the entire hobby more dignity. And indeed storing runs on Archive.org (which is done with every SDA run) as well as SDA's server gives them a longer life expectancy compared to just some YT upload, though in practice not many will go and delete their old uploads even though they could. Still, the way YouTube has been going as of late (takedown requests and such) makes one uneasy.

"SDA couldn't possibly keep up with publishing everyone's runs when speedrunning is so much more popular now"

Well, this is mainly just a product of two things:
a) What kinds of runs people choose to submit, and to a lesser degree, SDA chooses to accept.
b) How much work people are willing to put into making it happen.

If the submissions count was greatly increased, SDA could maybe impose a rule by which only one run per game per category could be submitted inside a one-year period. We currently accept whatever progressive improvements come in after the first accepted submission but with this rule in place, we could at least cut out all such runs – how many runs will the larger audience really want to see for each game? If they had the time or interest, they'd already have bookmarked their favorite SRC pages. Beyond this, we could also change the wordings on our rules page etc. to make sure people are aware of what kinds of runs we want to archive.

The minimal amount of work every runner should put into SDA to offset each one of their submissions can be "calculated" like this: we prefer there to be at least two verifiers, so you should, in return, verify two runs yourself, preferrably of the same length as yours. Of course each community can agree to "send us" a different person to do that "on the runner's behalf". And you obviously don't have to submit runs in order to verify them. The communities participating in the verification of their own runs is ideal, even though it might seem tautologous to them. How is SDA supposed to know what you know about the run and what's lead up to it?

Another thing we could do is simply to keep people better informed as to what the queue is like so they can more easily decide when it's time to make a submission and how polished it should be. You can already see this if go to the verification summary page which could just be linked in the FAQ or submission form as well.

"My community is too big and records change hands constantly: there's no good opportunities for anyone to submit a run"

First of all, congratulations, because your game is in a very small minority. To quote one of the respondents:

Quote from jelmeree:
maybe other "milestone" runs can be published there as if it was a museum, where every community can showcase some runs/tricks.


"Museum" is not a bad term for it actually and this is exactly what I feel truly organized communities could well do. It's up to each community to decide which runs are worth submitting but I don't think that's mutually exclusive with everything else they might want to be doing. If anything, it's respectful for your game itself to give it the best treatment and doing a bit of self-effacement, both on the level of the individual and the community as a whole. It's a way to turn to the audience that doesn't check up on the game every day even though they've played it (which is, as a side note for those with head stuck in ass, MOST OF the audience). Generally speaking the SDA-submitted run is going to be one with particularly clean execution, because we know strats can and do change, even if people are working hard to uncover the best ones. The fairly recent Vice City run is a good example, coming from a big community with its own leaderboards etc.

"SDA front page updates are too wordy"

Follow the Twitter feed instead. Other than that... the amount of people who will look at the update, see where the salient-enough links go, and require further information to be able to make a decision between watch/don't watch can't be very big.


I think I'll also respond to some specific comments even though the key points have been laid out already:


Quote from ingx24:
I think SDA should rebrand itself as a place for hosting 1) segmented runs and 2) RTA runs that are "clean" (i.e. few mistakes) and have text or audio commentary explaining what's going on. To put it another way: SDA could be a place for showcasing runs that are "recommended viewing for newcomers", so to speak - sort of like GDQ runs, except cleaner.


[Newer] SDA runs ARE, supposedly, sufficiently clean. The requirement for commentary is a bit difficult to impose, because if someone does that against their will, the quality won't necessarily be great either. We do often repeat it in verification threads etc. that people appreciate getting those comments. As for segmented vs. single-segment: as per what I said earlier in this post, you'll understand why no such distinction needs to be made just because SRC is all real-time runs. I agree with you that competition isn't necessarily an interesting way to approach speedrunning, at least not for everyone, and it would be great if people didn't get the impression that's what everyone does.

Quote from BossCrab:
I think the current culture of the speedrun community at large has progressed to the point where livestreaming runs and maintaining videos of PBs on leaderboards / chatting about runs has helped to give a better representation of a community of runners, instead of the speedrun itself.


"Better representation" is the problematic expression here. Any bigger community will have both people who enjoy racing and socializing and casual running, and those that really just care about the run (i.e. one ideal run per category) itself. Except that those who just care about the run are probably going to hang around such communities less on average. The only reason anything needs to be represented is so people interested realize it exists. SDA thus promotes that "other" side of speedrunning which I'm going to call pure speedrunning. For a given community, because most SDA runs come from before Discord chats or SRC were popular, those are not linked in the run comments and thus the SDA game pages don't represent those aspects of the present-day communities that well. The critical part is: it's up to those communities themselves to make sure they've got a run up on SDA with relevant links given in the run comments (or the wiki or at least forum thread). SDA is supposed to be their window to the broad audience. I know there's going to be those that want to avoid it all the more after I've said that but that's just arrogant ("Our community is special! You have to come to us!").

Quote from BossCrab:
One of my main problems with SDA's page is the slow verification and video requirements often discouraged people from submitting videos of their good times, and thus resulted in a lot of outdated times


This ties in to the last point: if you want your game's speedrunning to be well re-presented on SDA, make it presentable. The problem isn't SDA's quality requirements any more than those are a problem for TV channels or any form of media. The verification point I addressed.

Quote from BossCrab:
while an SDA run can be a good presentation of a great run, the hobby is to continue to collectively push it further and further, and even an amazing run can simply be obsoleted. While "WR Culture" can be toxic and lead to not appreciating some good runs, I think SDA's approach was not the best either, and felt more like putting the weight on One Run of a game instead of the overall community


People who come to SDA generally don't want to see more than one run for a given game and category in any short span of time. Again, you can link whatever you like in your run comments etc.

Quote from BossCrab:
I think GDQs are a much better general "presentation" of speedrunning than SDA's website itself


Well, yes and no. Depends what you mean. If there's a lot to say about the game being run with really knowledgeable commentators presenting it well, this implies there's probably even more knowledge out there. If they've taken the time to document it in an accessible way (in a wiki), then the wiki represents something as well. Besides, a marathon run doesn't usually answer the question "how would this look if it went almost perfectly", and segmented strategies are missing completely – apparently we used to get proportionally more segmented runs in the past so probably the marathons have actually hurt that side a bit. Depending on the marathon, especially if you look at just the GDQs, entire genres of games might be missing. Adventure games and 4X/turn-based strategy games at least, some because they're not so marathon-safe, some because they're deemed too nichey or uninteresting. In the end, I don't understand why there needs to be, by your words, some one general presentation, so long as people are aware of the alternatives. It's very good if these different sites are still being advertised during marathons.

Also you're making it sound like "weight put on commentary, explaining the games, and explaining what goes into it, and presenting a speedrun / the hobby to a large audience" is somehow opposed to what SDA is looking for. You're right if you mean the marathon setting forces there to be some kind of commentary... but you're never going as in-depth as you can in written notes, and in a way it's being distracted from (I don't mean this as criticism) by the charity stuff, donations etc.

Quote from vaxherd:
think SDA verification is useful more as a long-term activity in the sense of preserving known-good runs for posterity; for the shorter term, I feel like (at least for games with an active community) individual communities and leaderboards do a better job of managing video records of top-level runs.


Spot on. Let's remember most games have basically no community at all, at least as far as speedrunning is concerned.

Quote from vaxherd:
As for the SDA front page -- I honestly don't think I've ever seen it...


:´(

Quote from Aexoden:
There's a lot of outdated stuff over there, and it might confuse people as to the state of the art.


Several people said this. If you mean the game entries themselves: as tonic points out, SDA was never claiming to be a WRs site. SRC's structure is better if you just wanna quickly share a new record run, for sure. Also SDA's collection/forums/guides are whatever you want them to be: of course the less people submit, the less of the runs are "state-of-the-art" (which is kind of not the point either). The real distinction to make, then, is one of philosophy, in which regard SDA hasn't really changed that much. SDA is for people who'll take "second best" if it means it's a clean video with (hopefully) a bit of commentary. That's what I believe the games themselves deserve as well.

A change was made to the SDA FAQ page to make it clearer not all SDA runs are WRs.

Quote from Broedgeman:
if they focus on making great GDQs that's the best bet


SDA is no longer directly affiliated with the GDQs although a lot of the people involved in it come or came from an SDA background.

Quote from Krygowski:
I really think SDA could have been great had it continued to keep up with the community, but these days I think it's impossible with the advent of discord and speedrun.com


What might you mean by this? Discord and SRC both cover a part of the spectrum of what benefits the speedrunning of games, whereas SDA is, as per its name, an archive, a repository, for what ideally should be the créme of the crop.

Quote from Surreal_:
the amount of workload is too much for the "staff" there with how many runners we have nowadays


I don't know why the quotation marks. Guess you mean we're all volunteers. The amount of work would be too much if there were no volunteers, only selfish demands for service. SDA is what you make of it. But yes, there could probably be improvements made to the site architecture, and even if every single run was the best imaginable for its game, there would be too many runs for the current staff to handle. I'm fine with being left with time on my hands, personally, cause it means one day I'll finish a run of my own finally, but I'm also fine with continuing to put that time into SDA if there is any semblance of a balance between runs/volunteering.

Quote from herreteman:
any info found [on SDA] can be obtained by many other means at this point.


That's a weird and incorrect statement. If someone has made a good Strategy Guide in our Knowledge Base, then that's where your info is at. If they haven't, it's not.

Quote from CartinaCow:
[SDA has a] verification method that is way too strict and honestly doesn't prove runs are legit. I actually believe some SDA runs for sure have to be cheated, its inevitable, even with their scrutiny.


I'm not sure what you mean by too strict, perhaps for A/V quality? It is true there have been cheated runs. There's no way to prevent that but some at least have been caught after the fact. It's the best you can do, and the quality of the verification depends on how many volunteers we have, and what kind of effort they put into it, so it's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy whatever you say about SDA/anything.

Quote from Billnye_fan:
Why would anyone want to watch a "high quality video" when a decent quality video which is verified to be the fastest is available on the leaderboard?


Ask everyone who specifically does that. The finishing time isn't everything. Also for a lot of smaller games especially, the SDA runs, especially new ones, are actually WRs as well, we just don't believe that's relevant in any explicit way. If you have to frantically mash your remote control to find the BEST channel on TV, your problem isn't in the TV or the remote.

Quote from Countdown:
The knowledge base is a good idea on paper but isn't adequately updated to be considered useful. A very small fraction of the overall community still submits, so the front page is also increasingly useless.


Then update it and submit if you think it's a good idea Smiley It's also like you're saying "because it doesn't have every run, all the runs that come up are worthless".

Quote from tomdiamond:
Just because something was verified on SDA didn't make me feel any different about the speedrun or what I was watching.


The "no cheating" bit in the 5-second intro isn't as central as knowing you're getting good clean quality is.

Quote from RibShark:
        SDA tries to use a "one-ruleset fits all" mentality which just isn't practical, hence the rise of community-lead leaderboards.


Most categories on those community leaderboards, especially ones that the runners would seriously call speedrun records for their games, are more or less the same as SDA has: SDA doesn't try to control the rules for each game any more than makes sense to for there to be a baseline understanding of what a speedrun is. This is a common misconception. We often have discussions about whether we'll allow some gray area thing for some game and the existing community's (if present) standards are basically always taken into consideration. Whenever that community doesn't really exist, we obviously have to participate in creating the rules ourselves.

Quote from FellVisage:
        i think every popular front for speedrunning as a whole needs to be kept as up-to-date as possible, since new runners can be misinformed due to outdated resources.


As I said to someone above, SDA is what you make it into. Everyone is saying "it should be kept up to date" as if that was a matter of someone in power making some single decision. Nowhere on SDA does it say the runs are WRs. That assumption might be made by some new runner if this was the only site they came by... Most runners seem to be able to find the other, newer runs etc. on the Internet anyway. You obviously should be looking for any and all resources and if you're not actively doing that, I guess you wouldn't have been able to come up with anything particularly good anyway.

As mentioned, the FAQ page now explicitly mentions not every run is the WR.

Quote from rozer:
sda is outdated in their ruling for games, and their bias. The ontly games you would see on the front page, would be popular games by popular runners.


Are you referring to some long-since past state of affairs? Feel free to expound on this.

Quote from faulty:
        SDA is pretty dead at this point. The idea of the single "official speedrun" for a game is rather dumb now that speedrunning is becoming more popular, and the centralized, manual process is far too slow to keep up.


It's not so much at odds with there being one verified WR that most people (just looking at a leaderboard) will promptly click on, is it? We do want to eventually implement keeping old runs with their comments visible in some way. The manual process is slow because... it's manual. And because most people just want their fun stuff.

Quote from Joka:
Runners doesn't want to wait weeks for a couple of people that doesn't even know/run the game, to verify a run and then another month or so before it's published.


What does that tell us about the runners if it's really such an issue to wait a few months? Also if everyone takes that attitude with verifications, then yes, the people who do eventually show up to do it (e.g. SDA admins) won't necessarily know your game: that's not on SDA though, that's on your own community. You have to see SDA as a feed that joins together every community, more or less lively, so they can sometimes send something out to those people who don't actively follow that game (i.e. most non-runners) who would nonetheless not mind seeing a classy run on occasion... in a high-quality, well-prepared package. Which brings us right back to verification. Those two months or whatever it is may obsolete the run, but only the runners and the most active viewers will care, honestly, if it's 1% faster or slower. If you think otherwise, you're absolutely fooling yourself.

Quote from TheKotti:
Everything SDA tried to accomplish could be done better by allowing run highlighting on SRC.


Okay, so I suspect you're one of those young'uns who thinks they've got the simple solution for everything and by god if others could be as clever as you... But let's test how "through" you've actually thought that idea. I'll pose to you some simple questions:

How are the highlighted runs getting chosen? If there's a button that lets you highlight something and let's say it takes two mods (if present) clicking on it, and that you can only highlight a run that's the current fastest on the leaderboard (for its platform), that might work on some basic level but never can hope to amount to the same kind of filtering that SDA's process is designed for. What if there's just one runner? Are they allowed to highlight their own run? Who is going to check if the run is really worthwhile to highlight? What are the standards supposed to be like anyway? Are they supposed to be the same for games with less competition as for ones with more of it? How often can you highlight runs for the same game? For the same category? Do the highlighted runs also have to come with any amount of commentary? What if the mods don't agree on whether some run is good enough? I guess it has to have the majority vote. Trusting everyone to use the system in a responsible way sounds kinda like trusting all the mods to act fairly to begin with, which I suppose for the greatest part they are. I'm not totally skeptical about this, it would probably work somewhat better than just the feed as it stands, but I think ultimately there is either poor/uneven quality control or someone has to put in the same kind of work that goes into SDA verifications, bringing us to square one more or less. Also even with runs that don't come with any commentary on SDA, there's at least a little bit in the update and the game page about it, which I feel (I would) makes every run feel more "official" and meaningful, for the same reason every show tends to have a host instead of just the acts unceremoniously walking out on stage one by one. Then there's a bit of interaction between the runner and verifiers as well, which makes it less lonely for those who run a game by themselves. Ultimately I feel SDA and SRC serve different audiences and we're definitely interested in sticking to what this site works for best while moving away from ideas that SRC's architecture can handle better.

BTW if by "fiasco in verifications" you mean the Max Payne 2 ILs, I won't go in-depth into it here, but after reading the threads, I think it's not a black-and-white situation and perhaps it's not useful to condemn the whole site if you disagree on one decision which seems to be kind of subjective anyway, depending on how exactly you define a speedrun (and tradition seems to be on SDA's decision's side). You and the other runners certainly didn't see the whole picture. After some thought, and I think this is where we were left in the verification thread, I think I see no other way than accepting that the IGT category might be repetitive and cheesy... But don't run it then! Don't watch the runs! You're making it sound like every speedrun is without grinding or other boring stuff when quite the opposite is true. Think about some 100% runs for example. It does not mean the category isn't legitimate if the in-game timer is the timer you're optimizing for. I think you did point out a certain inconsistency in the way SDA has been handling "bad" improvements that UA also acknowledged in that same thread, and it's probably one of these things that's just up to somebody's discretion at the end of the day.

Quote from emptyeye:
I'd say SDA's primary audience now is less "people who want the absolute latest videos" and more "People who want reasonably modern videos that is JUST THE GAME, with none of the ancilliary elements that come from, EG, a live stream".


Correct. That's our target demographic, more or less. Except they do appreciate any commentary tracks included, but then those tend to be 100% on the run/game. Also SDA is good if you sometimes will watch runs for games you don't really even know. I don't know how rare that is but it happens. I've seen tons of really cool shizzle in verification and such myself. It's not so different from watching a marathon except it's even more focused on just the game and run.

Quote from CavemanDCJ:
Nobody is going to read a huge wall of text filled with LotBlind's (whoever that is) stale ass memes. I complained about this once, and they actually did, for a single time, update the front page with a post that just had new accepted runs, the times, and the runners. It was great and everyone liked it, there was even a forum discussing such. For whatever reason, this was never done again as far as I know. With Games Done Quick being the most visible aspect of the speedrunning community, SDA will, for better or worse, always be something people interested check. Having this ugly, drab ass website filled with the ramblings of a literal who talking about runs that are probably not the world records anymore can only be damaging to how we as a community are perceived.


I just had to include you in full CavemanDCJ, whoever you are... Thanks! You've made my day... Sorry it's not for you (or for anyone as per your words) but we're being accused of being pointless already so turning our front page into SRC's front page couldn't help now could it.

Protip: you can still just skim though the links, and there's generally just three of them, one of them is the name of the game in question, the second one tells you who ran it and the one with the run time will magically transport you directly to the run itself. I know this isn't the most convenient but cavemen are notoriously hard to please.

Quote from Flip:
I'm not a big part of the scene anymore, but it seems that the community-at-large is more interested in the leaderboard style of SRC. Allows for more participation for runners who can't get the WR.


I get what you wrote in your response isn't your own view necessarily, but there is everything wrong with it in either case. For starters, not everyone has to be a runner at all to participate. Sometimes the runners definitely think a bit too highly of themselves. We need someone who can execute, sure, and who will memorize all the low-level details of the route/levels etc. but we don't need TONS of people just trying to get some time on the leaderboard cause they're too thick to come up with anything new. Instead, there are so many games you could be looking at if only from a theoretical point of view, doing testing, routing, spreading the workload...

Quote from Flip:
viewer tastes have moved away from simply having a high quality encode to watch, and more towards wanting to watch the battle for WR of their game.


So few people have "a game". Most of us don't want to have just one game. How many people will only watch one TV show? What percentage of people are even going to only follow one esport really, and that's more expansive than the speedrunning for a single game I'd argue? But perhaps you've got some empirical evidence for this? In either case, that's exactly what SDA isn't for. (Again, I realize this isn't you saying this)

Quote from Flip:
at this point video quality is not a sticking point for viewers anymore.


It seems we're getting less runs that get rejected for A/V reasons, so I'm assuming this is true... in the sense that the base quality of the stream or whatever it was recorded as tends to be good, and so people don't need it to be even better. Ofc it still matters on the whole.

Quote from Yoshi348:
ESPECIALLY important for games that aren't super popular with the masses, things besides your Marios and Zeldas and Sonics and stuff. Plus quite a few people are turned off by having to watch face cam stream rips.


Yup, some of us are into speedrunning, not people's stupid faces. And we can appreciate a good thought-out speedrun whether it's by our favourite band or not.

Quote from PLANET:
I wish it was updated more often


Just send in your polished runs... we can't update if there's no runs. I expect there might be some more again once this has come out, which means the time to publication will increase if we get no more volunteers to match.

Quote from ReverendTed:
        This is what keeps me coming back - the front page, though I wish it was more to-the-point and less "creative writing exercise".


Hahaha. Judging by your words, you're still an active visitor and thus I'm assuming you're talking about the most recent updaters. If so, your words have been noted, but ofc how much there is to say about a given run varies greatly from run to run... either the run comments are already taking care of... well, commentary, or the game is really simple, or it's been covered once already in the none-too-distant past, or everyone and their two doggone dogs knows what it's about. You might recall I once jokingly started one of my updates by pretending I was going to spend time educating people on what Grand Theft Auto was. There's even the game page intro (at the top of every game page) to cover the basics. Take the recent Marble Blast runs for example: they were both very short, came with audio commentary, and the game is as simple as could be really. When writing "to the point" is tautologous, I don't feel too bothered if I bring up ancillary or even somewhat far-fetched topics. I like to think it doesn't take anything away from the runs if it shows people that you can approach anything from any angle instead of it being just another game (so many games don't even try to stand out!). Plus this stuff isn't supposed to be super-serious: if I couldn't spice it up a bit (and let's face it - my style is moderation - the middle way - by comparison with what was once going on and what some people, evidently and myself too at the time, still didn't really mind), I'd keel over and die of BORING. While I'm in charge of the front page, we're not going to have just bullet points (probably not what you meant) because that's SR.com and I at least feel this should be every runner's reward, but I'm playing with the idea of trying a slight modification nonetheless. We'll see. If someone feels strongly this way or that, feel free to post about this: I'm always ready to philosophize on this stuff. Just remember there's the Twitter feed.

Quote from Fistbutter:
overall it gives more casual fans a simple and concise place to view full, verified, record breaking runs without having to search specific content or slog through hundreds of videos of single segment times or whatever.


Couldn't have said it better myself! Except I wouldn't necessarily run with "record-breaking".

Quote from ilCrowli:
The ~6 month delay between content being created and posted means everything on the site is too old to matter


Nope. The only people for whom half a year is "too old" is that handful who runs it, who should be greatful they have the time for that to begin with. And it only works as well as actual physical people help to make it work as I keep reiterating.

Quote from kirbymastah:
Back in the day, speedrunning was not so competitive, and submissions were seen as a collaborative project to demonstrate the run. With how much bigger speedrunning has gotten, however, this isn't a realistic expectation to maintain given how frequently runs are being improved and updated.


Even for that handful of games that has a big community (believe me, a gigantic majority of games do not see any "updated" times virtually ever), this shouldn't be a matter of anything other than a bit of coordination. Not everyone running the game has to participate in creating that submission: you just need to take a round of hands, set a target time, and maybe split into segments/ILs if it's possible. If it's SS, I guess it's just whoever gets the first sub-something-major who gets the honors... but please don't leave it to anyone else to make SDA work, in concrete terms, if you like it on paper.


------

There were a lot of statements that were simply too vague/adolescent to be able to respond to them. Also other people may have brought up the same exact things. I couldn't bring myself to take anonymous comments seriously either (although not all of them were bad) but feel free to post here instead if you really don't think your "thing" was addressed. The SDA ban on guest posting has been lifted for now.

Happy 2018 everyone!
Thread title:  
Happy new year
I survived MIKE-Fest 1
Nice post addressing the SDA related comments in the survey LotBlind.

For me SDA and SRC both are important to the community and I think you made a good job saying where the essential differences is.

For me it comes down to the following points:

SDA:
+ Verification process is done with more diligence
+ Timing is done by staff and not by runner and the method is consistent while still flexible for individual games.
+ A/V quality!!
+ Front page updates (some are better then others but most of the time they are good and I might click on a game I didn't know before because of the writing around it)
- Long verification times
- Long time between updates

SCR:
+ You can follow runs and get notification if there is a new one
+ Times are more up to date
- Video quality can vary enormously
- Too many categorys for each game (this diverts the focus of the runners and can lead to many imperfect runs in a lot of categories instead of near perfect runs in one or tow categories)
- Frontpage updates so much you get a constant stream of runs you really don't care ... the 176 place in Mario is just not that interesting
- timing for each game can be extremely different and the creation of different categories is often done without any form of discussion or main red thread.
- No segmented runs (I now there are a few but they are really the exception)

Overall I think SDA is more about the run, or the game and how far it can be pushed and
SRC is about the runner and how many WR one can hold while streaming and interacting with a audience/community

I also think that we would need more people writing in the wiki, but as it is a really time consuming thing to do I don't know how ...
One idea might be to create some templates that can fit many games and only need to be filled in.

I personally prefer the SDA approach to speedrunning as it focuses on the game and the run and not on the runner but I also like that I can easily find other/better runs of a game on SRC

This is not the giant
Why does a website with Archive in its name not keep an archive of older runs that get replaced?
SDA keeps making excuses and trying to shift the blame for its dwindling userbase on the users and not itself. SDA has made it perfectly clear over the last years that it is not at all interested in changing the site in any meaningful way and even if it wanted I think that ship has sailed long ago. It's going the way of Twin Galaxies.
Honestly, I feel like SDA's main issue right now is that your quality standards are just inconvenient.

I want to run with splits. I keep those splits in my video, viewers on stream or on youtube appreciate them. SDA doesn't (or hasn't, if I've missed any rule changes) allowed them. So, should I set up a second recording system that doesn't capture my splits, and while at it, captures at a high bitrate and full resolution so it looks nicer, when I'm just doing some attempts for an hour or two?

No, I'm not going to do that. So when I get my good run that I'm proud of, it's going to have suboptimal video quality, it's going to have gold splits in the video, it'll probably have somewhat irrelevant voice-over, and it's going straight onto Youtube.

Out of all the speedruns I've done in the past 3 years, only two of them would pass the SDA quality standards. But they were TASes, so I instead submitted them to SourceRuns.
The Looney Bin
I already mentioned this in another topic, but I think a vast majority of the problem is that people are expecting change to happen but aren't willing to help actually make it happen. Case in point:

Quote from Aexoden:
There's a lot of outdated stuff over there, and it might confuse people as to the state of the art.

I don't mean to pick this quote out or insult the person who wrote it, but if runs are obsolete on the site then...why not submit runs that are faster? The only way for things not to be so obsolete anymore is if people supply the site with runs that, you know, actually obsolete it. Hell, not to go on a tangent but that's part of the reason why I've been running SADX for the past few years so that the runs on the page can finally be updated. Tongue

That's not to say that the SDA staff aren't entirely at fault here. They haven't really done much in terms of motivating people to contribute in making the site any better (whether it be some staff busy with AGDQ or just don't have the time). I think maybe some new fresh blood in the Admins/Mods could help bring some more activity as a lot of the old Admins don't seem to even be around anymore.

It seems like people are busy pointing fingers at whoever is to blame for the dilapidation of the site, but the truth is that everyone is at fault in some way or another. Both the staff and the users have failed to properly decide on how to evolve SDA in such a way that people will widely utilize it today. At the end of the day it doesn't matter. What matters is that something needs to at the very least be done, whether it be by the staff or the speedrunning community at large. Because at the end of the day, if all people do here is beg for change to happen by somebody and blame people who don't do it, then this site truly will be forgotten.
Formerly known as Skullboy
Quote from PvtCb:
Why does a website with Archive in its name not keep an archive of older runs that get replaced?

We do have a page on the knowledge base that links to some older runs but the project was never finished (it started back in 2011). I'll be fixing that soon.
If your time can't stand for 6+ months without being beaten, don't submit it...

SRC seemed like a neat idea, but as it gets more bloated, the more I think the old SDA setup is superior. The reliance on the forums rather than fragmented discords kept a natural archive of strats and explanations, too.
Tigger77: "need more people writing in the wiki" – there has been an ad out for a wiki guy. I believe I mentioned it in the response too. The idea for a template is one I had as well.

Quote from burningsteel:
a) Emulators - Accurate emulators might be the way to go in the future.  For instance I have gone through 3 sega cds and several hundred dollars, and I am not holding much more hope for these.  Without being able to play on the actual console means I won't be able to submit to SDA. And as time progresses working consoles will become more rare and expensive.


This sounds like a reality, barring an endless supply of rerelease consoles. Of course there already exists services like the PlayStation Network, but there's probably always going to be games with no official distributor meaning at some point we might have to look for alternatives. Aside from making it easier to cheat (should we require streaming?), keyboard controls might make it more convenient to play some games.

In any case, it's a very convoluted question, and one that affects the whole broader community. Reproduction consoles such as the RetroN have also been brought up. Another idea was to have an alternative, non-rerecording, speedruns-oriented branch of a versatile and precise emulator such as BizHawk, but no-one has talked to its developer yet or anything.

Quote from burningsteel:
f) Possibly accept streams.  This would reduce needed effort on the side of the players.  It seems like they have one program that combines the various audio and video streams into one video.  Trying to get just the video might be beyond what the player would be willing to do or even know how to do.


It should be possible to set up so that (a) you're recording the pure game output video as part of your encode and the rest of the windows can later be cropped off for your submission and (b) you're recording two (or multiple) audio tracks as well. OBS at least supports it. Instructions.

Quote from burningsteel:
g) Change the order of the verification process.  When someone submits a game, it can go to the game page, BUT it needs to be made very clear that it has not been verified and can be removed at any time.  The ones that have been verified can have a gold star or something next to them.  This would increase activity I believe, and lots of people myself included like seeing changes and activity. 


Well it's an interesting idea. At that point the run wouldn't necessarily have either the final encodes, run time, comments, nor even the correct categories in some cases. It might not even have a sufficient run quality. All in all, this sounds like going 90% SDA and 10% SRC when we could just stick with 100% SDA. The system doesn't really support this very well either without some significant changes, at which point other things would be prioritized.

Quote from PvtCb:
Why does a website with Archive in its name not keep an archive of older runs that get replaced?


It just wasn't ever implemented. Initially game pages were created manually (from templates of course) and I don't know what anyone's thoughts were. In any case, as I'm sure you're aware, all runs are sent to Archive.org so they're not lost.

Quote from Blubbler:
SDA keeps making excuses and trying to shift the blame for its dwindling userbase on the users and not itself. SDA has made it perfectly clear over the last years that it is not at all interested in changing the site in any meaningful way


I'm picking up a pattern of using expressions like "ship has sailed" and having nothing material to say.

Quote from Onin:
I want to run with splits. I keep those splits in my video, viewers on stream or on youtube appreciate them.


(a) I hope you can understand there's another part of the potential audience for whom your splits are mostly indifferent, and detract from the experience. If you don't also supply some other comments, it feels like a pretty lazy way to address those who don't follow the game so closely, and if you do supply them, you might as well make some more detailed comments on what went good and what went bad etc. in those.
(b) Just make sure no overlays overlap the main game window and crop the video down to that window for your record run. This can also be done by the SDA staff (you can use the same rendering tool, yua). As for the audio, at least OBS allows recording into separate audio tracks while streaming everything at the same time. You can even use a setup where you're recording your live commentary into a separate track if you don't want to do a retroactive commentary. I edited this near the top because I think you might not be the only one.

Quote from Sonikkustar:
They haven't really done much in terms of motivating people to contribute in making the site any better (whether it be some staff busy with AGDQ or just don't have the time). I think maybe some new fresh blood in the Admins/Mods could help bring some more activity as a lot of the old Admins don't seem to even be around anymore.


Are you saying you're volunteering for something? And what do you mean by motivating people exactly?

Looking forwards to seeing your run!

Quote from Aftermath:
If your time can't stand for 6+ months without being beaten, don't submit it...


You also have to consider games like let's say [url=https://www.speedrun.com/gtavc#Any]Vice City[/quote]: as you can see, basically every category has had better times within those 6 months. Personally I try to be as thorough as I can in finding all the tricks before doing any runs at all, but then again I haven't really had any examiners for my "dissertations". This is why the main argument is, as I pointed out, that it's not important to most potential viewers if it's the WR or not, just that it's not obviously bad-looking.

SRC and SDA can both work side by side.
Problem I've seen with SDA is that it's mostly held back by technical difficulties that prevent it from really advancing anywhere. Have plenty of people had ideas for what to do with SDA and push it forward? Sure! Many times over the past however many years. But whenever I asked about overhauling the site itself I heard about more or less the same problem over and over: Inconsistent formatting with old runs preventing automatic entry into a database of sorts. Is this still the hold-up?
It's not the dwindling userbase's fault that the userbase dwindled. A site that for years actively refused to evolve with technology got left behind as an artifact of speedrun past. The initial post is rife with hypocrisies that shift blame to anyone but the people actually capable of committing change, old and new alike. I'm sure you meant well, LotBlind, but your posts show a lack of maturity necessary to hold any meaningful dialogue with what amounts to the peanut gallery you so derisively call out. SDA had its place in the community, but in this current sprawling landscape of immediate gratification (with many streams having better quality than the A/V specifications necessary for a published run), that place is lower and lower on the hierarchy of importance. BRB, Mom's calling me
Formerly known as Skullboy
We have these threads and discussions every few years and it always devolves into everyone fighting each other, calling each other out, and generally not getting anywhere. It would be nice to actually have productive conversation instead of passive aggressive polemic. I know that some people just don't like each other but if we're all supposed to be one big community with differing goals, how about let's talk instead of feuds that have been going on for half-a decade.
Edit history:
Onin: 2018-01-05 09:49:45 am
Quote from LotBlind:
Quote from Onin:
I want to run with splits. I keep those splits in my video, viewers on stream or on youtube appreciate them.


(a) I hope you can understand there's another part of the potential audience for whom your splits are mostly indifferent, and detract from the experience. If you don't also supply some other comments, it feels like a pretty lazy way to address those who don't follow the game so closely, and if you do supply them, you might as well make some more detailed comments on what went good and what went bad etc. in those.
(b) Just make sure no overlays overlap the main game window and crop the video down to that window for your record run. This can also be done by the SDA staff (you can use the same rendering tool, yua). As for the audio, at least OBS allows recording into separate audio tracks while streaming everything at the same time. You can even use a setup where you're recording your live commentary into a separate track if you don't want to do a retroactive commentary. I edited this near the top because I think you might not be the only one.


The point is that we don't want to. All these extra hoops to jump through just to meet your quality standards, when we reach a far greater audience on twitch, youtube, and SRC.

And it seems clear to me you don't intend on meeting anyone half-way when your offered solutions are all "do things in a way that solves our problems." They're not my problems. SDA is inconvenient, and it refuses to adapt to the way presentation of speedruns has altered throughout the years. If that's the hill you want to die on, then so be it.

I mean, is it seriously such a big deal to have splits overlaid on a video? Does that completely ruin the aesthetic integrity of the website? Or are we just preventing a slippery slope argument?
Edit history:
LotBlind: 2018-01-05 11:20:36 am
TheMG2: Well this is true, and it's actually my area more so than anything. Every time a new run comes along for a given game, if the old game page had any runs not present in the database, what me and my predecessor have been doing is import it all then. It's just not been particularly expedited. This isn't the only thing though: UA, who did a lot of the programming in the past, hasn't had time for any backend work in a long time now and I don't personally know how that stuff works so I can't ask around for a new programmer (I wouldn't know what their qualifications would have to be). Anyone reading this, feel free to volunteer. There have been people volunteering in the past, but that's a whole different question to whether or not any of these people have actually stuck around. A programmer is probably the most committed of anyone, having to get to know the existing code first (or so I imagine).

jape: "committing change" meaning putting in lots and lots of effort? Am I getting paid without noticing? You're also ignoring every other aspect than the A/V quality.

Worn_Traveler: Better yet, let's volunteer! But only if you're serious.

Onin: A far greater audience? I don't have the figures in front of me (I believe someone once checked this) but unless you know how many views each SDA run gets, how can you compare them? A lot of your stream audience is the same people over and over, and even on YouTube, you have to understand it doesn't really even occur to most people to look up a speedrun for a particular game, nor do they have any guarantee it's worth their time. It certainly depends on the game you're running as well, so your usage of the word "we" is suspect. Speak for yourself.

If you have ideas about how to lower the quality requirements without sacrificing... the quality requirements, shoot me. The SDA rules are not arbitrary whether or not you personally take objection to splits etc. There is nothing less subjective than "just the game video and audio". Anything else can be disagreed about. There usually has to be some concern for slippery slopes as well, as you bring up, and yes, that would in part make it undesirable to allow anything extra on the screen under almost any circumstances.

BTW: I don't think the instructions for setting it up looked that difficult at least if using OBS is not the problem itself.

"refuses to adapt to the way presentation of speedruns has altered" - this is one of those arguments that attempt to assert there's some kind of single consensus at any given time as to what's important. That there's one "zeitgeist" that does or should dictate everyone's values for them. Like there haven't always been those who preferred the one over the other regardless of what anyone else thought. Can you step outside your point of view for long enough to at least notice there's a lot of people out there who will definitely "jump the hoops" because they believe they are worth jumping?
Quote from LotBlind:
Can you step outside your point of view for long enough to at least notice there's a lot of people out there who will definitely "jump the hoops" because they believe they are worth jumping?


Since you're so prone to cherry-picking, I doubt you'll find fault with me doing the same -- The consistent decline of game submissions, verifiers, and general traffic on both the forums (10 users online is the most I've seen since the thread's creation, even accounting for hidden users, not a good look) and front page shows that, no, there's really not a lot of people out there anymore that will jump the hoops. Again, the reason for this isn't the fault of those who found greener pastures, but the severe lack of evolution in mindset and unwillingness to compromise. Which is really ironic considering the first half of the quoted question, lolz.
jape: Your continuing problem is a lack of imagination. Just because there were lots of runners back when there was no alternative like SRC doesn't mean everyone back then wouldn't have chosen to go the easy path if it had existed. Aside from this, the goal here is not to be the most popular. It's just to cater to a particular audience. You're obviously not a part of it so why do you still linger? You can tell this isn't leading anywhere.

Do make sure to post one more time, just to let us know you really care.
Edit history:
Onin: 2018-01-07 04:27:23 pm
Onin: 2018-01-07 04:22:37 pm
Onin: 2018-01-07 04:20:21 pm
Quote from LotBlind:
Onin: A far greater audience?
My latest runs of Divinity 2 all have over 10,000 views on Youtube. Would I have gotten 10,000 views on SDA if I had submitted it? I would be surprised if runs submitted these days get more than 100 views.

And I don't have a big presence on Youtube, I do mostly get my views from people searching for them.


As for the other topics, we're just telling you why we're not submitting runs anymore. I used to submit a bunch, I haven't for the past 3 years, and those are the reasons why. If you're not interested in getting back the submissions from runners like me, that's your prerogative. I can just get out of this thread if you're not interested in drawing me back to your website. I don't need SDA to exist.
Edit history:
Worn_Traveler: 2018-01-07 05:18:08 pm
Formerly known as Skullboy
I wasn't around SDA until 2006 so someone please correct me if I'm wrong but the original intention of the runs was to have just the game video and the game audio. Splits (and streaming) weren't widely used yet so the idea of having a "clean" video was a given. Maybe we weren't (and still aren't?) flexible with this. I prefer watching runs with just the video and game audio (commentaries are always welcome). I know a lot of people aren't. A lot of speedrunning has a social aspect to it now to that it might not have had when the site started. I'll watch a lot of runs off of Twitch and SRC though I prefer the bare bones because I can focus more on the run than splits, overlays, etc. Perhaps the onus should be more on us to set up the video accordingly.

My biggest concern about splits on SDA videos is confusion that could possibly arise from differences in community timings. While SDA is more RTA friendly, we still have our own method which conflicts at times with more popular methods. I prefer the timing points we use here though I also understand the convenience of using race and RTA timings (this is coming from someone who ran a game that had to alternate between IGT and real time about 26 times or so in a run). 

I believe that it is possible to come to some sort of consensus/compromise without losing site integrity. There's changing to adapt and changing just to change.
one thing that I hold SDA in high regard is verification, even though I believe cheated runs have passed, in an era of youtube/twitch runs you never know whos for real and whos just doing it for popularity, and theres no verification whatsoever to help.

otoh, this thing I read that SDA is behind on tech, is true. Also, I agree that the game is the most important, but making the divide at "we focus on the game, they focus on the runner" is a black/white view, the runner should be important too (although second). Staff should make decisions thinking on improving the qol of runners, not improving their own lives, and never if at the expense of runners'.
also what the hell is an split and why is it important? segment? context tells me its something that goes over the game feed? unnaceptable, render stuff to the sides.
Onin: I don't know what the figures are, but I can see the Archive.org pages have around 100 views each, so I'm assuming there's a lot more than that through SDA itself. Divinity 2 is a recent and very popular game. Thus you'll get lots of hits through YT. You wouldn't have gotten as many for any random far older game. And none of this really affects anything because, as I've said before, it's a different slice of the demographic who will watch the run off the front page and who looks for them via YT, at least as far as one run is concerned. They wouldn't have done both.

This is how SDA is, and as Worn points out, has been for a good while. It was never a mistake. Make your choice.

Worn: True, SDA timing might differ in some cases so the splits would maybe be off. Not a major reason though and there was never a rule against sending a clean video here and posting the other one somewhere else. What do you mean by "compromise" exactly, in concrete terms? I feel you're just trying to be conciliatory.

dsfs: No it's not black and white, but there's no real reason to have leaderboards from the point of view of getting good representative runs in... unless you wanna argue it makes it more competitive leading to better times. Personally I don't need such motivators and I believe that a lot of runners submitting specifically on SDA might be the same. Well, and there's good evidence of this too when you look at people making periodical self-improvements etc. If you have concrete suggestions as to the "quality of life" of runners, feel free to post them.
Quote from Worn_Traveler:
We have these threads and discussions every few years and it always devolves into everyone fighting each other, calling each other out, and generally not getting anywhere. It would be nice to actually have productive conversation instead of passive aggressive polemic. I know that some people just don't like each other but if we're all supposed to be one big community with differing goals, how about let's talk instead of feuds that have been going on for half-a decade.

This is clearly showing no signs of stopping with this thread itself being an example. Why does SDA continue to linger? I mean, half a decade fueds? That is insane! The others are making it clear on why they are not returning. To parrot what others have said. The ship has sailed. Time to throw in the towel.