When I first joined, there were eager players on this forums. Players that wanted to break the game down to further understand it and help others for the sake of helping. Conversations in off topic were always fun, flames barely broke out and everyone was just overall nice to eachother. I found myself frequenting the forums constantly, with a tab open for off topic and the general discussions, but now the off topic tab is the only one I ever bother to refresh.
I think the downfall started with the GoA, AoA and the forum reputation feature. I think nothing negative of the actual point of programs/features, but it killed being nice and helpful on the forums/game just because. Now it's just for self gain. I admit that I too became a bit greedy when the rep system came about, only as for as asking for thanks if you liked my post in my signature. It was fun and something new to work for, but I quickly caught myself and stopped worrying about it. I can't stress it enough; forum reputation isn't important. All I am seeing now are people yearning for notoriety, so they jump on questions just for the chance of receiving thanks. They make pointless guides that are just common sense just to receive thanks. They create numerous threads, make countless posts and frequent every section of the forums regardless of how passionate they are for the section (I myself am never on the SL side, unless I have a question) for a rep opportunity. I've even gotten private messages asking for thanks just for the thanks or asking how to get a lot, which infuriates me. Want to know my method? I post whatever the hell is on my mind pertaining the the thread or post I'm referencing to and sometimes I receive thanks, sometimes I don't. Big whoop. I don't try for it, just happens.
The AoA. I love this program. It brings me back to the days I missed back in the younger days of pl. People helping people is always a beautiful thing, especially in a game you enjoy playing. I wouldn't be as good a pve mage as I am if not for the kindness of others in game. Sure there are hands on and fun tutorials included in the game, but friends will always help more. That is essentially what the AoA do. The first friend a newbie could make that just so happens to be very knowledgable of the game and willing to share their wisdom. There's no need to impress, just show interest in learning. I'm a part of this group too, but my inactivity in the game in general keeps me from participating. I've helped a load of players throughout my play history, before the AoA was even a thought in anyone's mind, as well as the majority of my early friends. Now that there's a label to the act, along with perks, everyone wanted to be an AoA upon the programs announcement. I was upset at the first roster, but the genuine ones reassured me that the program wouldn't be a lost cause. I hope that it stays as balanced with those players as it is now in the future.
Now onto the GoA. The highest honor any player could receive in the game. A reward for being an outstanding player in the community, hense the gift of the vanity Community Shield. The first batch of I think it was 12, we're the best of the best. The following that we're chosen have also proven their worth. There was the misconception that obtaining the shield had its duties that came along with it. This was false. It was a gift, not a police badge. It didn't mean that you were entitled to remain active, it was just a thank you and a kind gesture from the STS team for helping make the game enjoyable for all. Owning such an exclusive, not to mention cool looking, piece of equipment brought along fame. To this day I can't stand idly in a towne without getting asked about the shield, if I have it equipped. It also brought along people trying to help out, getting noticed, JUST for the title and the shield. They just completely missed the idea of it all, and this soiled the program for quite a while.
Nowadays, it's all about the forum rep. In general, it's just about the aspect of fame. I'm not pointing any fingers, but if the shoe fits, wear it. What are they to do when they obtain the fame? Fame dies away; it won't always do you good. It's pointless to put time and effort for it. I'm asking to please join in the fight to bring the forums back to what they once were. Just to clarify, the forum members/players ruined it, not the devs/mods. Thank you for the rewards and making the games more fun and attempting to keep the community happy.
My final words: be nice and helpful just to be nice and helpful. Don't be hypocritical saying thanks don't matter yet visibly showing otherwise and don't ask for it. Stop aiming for fame, it doesn't last and isn't worth the trouble. Stop posting over a hundred times an hour (doubt it's possible anyway lol) just to get yourself out there; it does nothing but annoy us all. If you make a thread or post, don't beat the subject half to death by going extremely in depth. It's extremely obvious you just want +rep. If you leave something to be explored, it'll raise more interest in the subject by making us want to do our own research. Cite your sources before releasing info (I'm looking at you DL forum lurkers and frequenters) as it only pisses everyone off when you were wrong, which is the case 85% of the time.
Let's bring back the forums to its golden age