View Full Version : How does the community feel about professional vs amateur maps?

03-28-2014, 05:09 PM
Hi guys! Less than a year ago I joined the forums because I wanted to start making professional battlemaps. I gave a quick hello, talked about my aspirations, and posted a few of my rough works.

I got a LOT of feedback at that time, mostly "this looks great, keep going!" type of stuff, but really all sorts of comments. The support was really welcoming.

Now, we've got over 50 completed maps, an online atlas, and far more professional maps. I swing by occasionally to mention what I've recently finished and post pictures, but these days I get almost no responses. '1000 view, 0 replies.' type of stuff.

I'll usually get 1-2 "this looks great" posts, especially from mods and very avid forumgoers, but nowhere NEAR the normal amount of comments. Right alongside my posts, I'll see people getting started posting 'my first map' stuff and it'll have that same great community support, and I'm really curious why. My friend (also an artist) says he's noticed the same type of response on his art once his work became professional. People simply don't comment, or they'll hold normal support and only mention criticisms.

Perhaps a sense that professional artists aren't interested in your opinion? If so, why would I bother posting it at all?

Or is it perhaps that the work no longer seems like a first-hand source getting posted directly on the forums, but instead work reposted from somewhere else?

Either way I'm not complaining, please don't misunderstand, I'm just curious if anyone else has noticed a similar change in reactions and what they believe it might be.

03-28-2014, 05:27 PM
Let me ask you this- did you post your rough works and their evolutions when you first started, then later only posted finished maps? I ask because a similar thing has happend to me over on the paper-cardstock modeling forums. I can start a thread about a model that I just started and I might get dozens of replys, encouragment, and advice, but when I post only image of a finish model, I often will only get 2-3 of the die hards saying "Great job".

I think people like to "go along for the ride" and will get more involved and interested if you start posting to the forums at the beginning of a project as opposed to the end.

Just my 25 cents.

03-28-2014, 05:30 PM
I comment much more rarely on finished projects than ones in the process. This is for two reasons: some people are posting finished work they are very proud of so I don't want to cut them down and secondly though the criticism might help their future works there is less feeling of being able to improve the work at hand. So works in progress get more of my comments. As far as offering more help to newer members, I am still working on my skills myself I often have less advice for highly polished pieces than I do for people who are just getting started. I do have less interest if I feel the piece is only a repost from elsewhere by someone uninterested in offering help and support to the guilds other members.

03-28-2014, 05:34 PM
Right. If you have announced that the project is finished, I'm not going to feel right about offering advice on making changes or telling you I dont like it when its too late to make any difference.

03-28-2014, 05:34 PM
This makes a lot of sense. Yes as we became more professional we're tearing through pieces at a faster rate; meaning that I typically come to post finished works.

Also, I certainly do find it tedious to post the finished products to my atlas, and then update kickstarter, then post on facebook, then come here and 'also' post on the forums, so I do feel its possible that I'm giving the impression that I'm only "reposting" some finished piece from some other source, rather than something we just completed and are excited to share and get feedback on.

I can understand this making the difference, but I find the complete opposite to be true in my own case : I may or may not give support to a new artist, but when I see amazing and completed pieces, that's when I feel like shouting "great work!" and typically do so.

03-28-2014, 05:34 PM
I'm reading you but I'm not answering this.

:) Kidding

I thinks one reason that people haven't replied is because battlemaps are less popular than world map, for example. I admit that I prefer world map over other kinds of map.
That being said, I remember participating in a contest where no one commented my regional map for two weeks. I won without any kind of feedback but I would have preferred to have some.

I don't know for sure but what the others said while I'm writing my message make sense.

03-28-2014, 05:35 PM
But again, when I see "finished works" that are far less professional, especially "this is my first finished map, what do you think" style posts, there are gobs of responses.

03-28-2014, 05:37 PM
That's really funny Azelor =D at least you received the eventual nod that you were doing the right thing since you won.

03-28-2014, 05:40 PM
I tend to feel it's a bit of a waste of space for me to comment just to say "good job", since it feels like I'm adding absolutely nothing to the conversation. The few times when I do comment to congratulate someone it's generally because the work is so good that I feel compelled to praise it, particularly when I want to highlight something specific I feel works perfectly. If I have a specific criticism then I'll post it, but that's far less common on finished maps than it is for a WIP for obvious reasons.

If it's a WIP then there is far more scope to comment on the direction and the style, give pointers etc since it's at a point where it's all very relevant for the person making the map, and simply giving encouragement feels much less redundant. A lot of people find it hard to stay motivated and see something through to the end, so encouragement can be a real help at that point.

Obviously I can't be sure, but I would guess that those are the underlying reasons for a large number of people behaving in this way. When that happens, you'll get what you've noticed - a load of comments on partially finished work, and far fewer on finished ones.

Edit: also completely agree with Azelor re battlemaps vs world/regional maps. I'm probably inherently more interested in the larger scale things, and to make it worse I've only played D&D once (really enjoyed it though, just happens that my schedule rarely fits with the D&D GM friend I have), so I feel even more useless when commenting on battlemaps than I do elsewhere :D

03-28-2014, 07:39 PM
I have also noticed this and i can give you a nice example. It still baffles me as to why this is the case, but the evidence is there to support it. My finished map of my World of Tor Risk Board (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/18037-world-tor-risk-board.html) has 1,174 views and only 2 comments but the WIP (http://www.cartographersguild.com/board-game-mapping/17962-fantasy-risk-board.html) has 9,962 views and 19 comments. the weirdest thing is that most of the views and some comments for the WIP came well after I posted it in the Finished Maps forum.

Why in the world is the WIP getting all the views and not the finished product? Could be because I put the WIP in the board game map forum which tends to not push threads down as fast therefore making it linger longer than the finished one in the Finished Maps forum...hmmm

Well anyway I recognize your theory and it could be tested using the scientific method. Just have to erase this thread and have everyone who posted on it post a finished map without posting a WIP and keep track of the type of comments and how many comments vs views. Then do it again but only after you post a fairly normal WIP and then we all share our findings.

03-28-2014, 08:11 PM
I think the suggestions made above are probably all part of the truth. Another factor is that people will visit one forum more than another. If there is a new thread in the town/city mapping section, I always give it a look, at which point the urge to suggest/comment arises. I don't tend to bother so much with the regional maps (and I'm yet to visit the board game mappers). The finished maps forum, however, I visit much less often, because there is less chance I'll find something that interests me there.

By the way, if getting responses is what you are after, post something that generates discussion (mine is the 10th reply to your initial thread just today; MCC's question about subterranean city maps also generated a lot of interest in a short space of time).

03-28-2014, 08:38 PM
I think that it's a good thing, if you want people to comment, to insist on a certain aspect of the map by asking a question about it. Instead of saying '' comments and critics welcome'' say '' what do you think about my mountains ?''

Greason Wolfe
03-28-2014, 09:36 PM
For my 2 cents here, I am much more a fan of watching a map evolve from start to finish rather than just looking at the finished product. On those occasions that I do peruse the "finished maps" sub-forum, I am more likely to follow a link to the original WIP thread so that I can see how the poster got from a blank sheet of paper to the finished product. For me, it's a chance to learn something new (hopefully) that I can apply to my own work.

In terms of "first finished map" versus something like "fiftieth finished map," I think it starts to become a matter of repetition. For some, that "first finished map" is a milestone of sorts, even when it doesn't have a professional look to it. For those of us viewing that "first finished map" it is a chance to offer encouragement, constructive feedback, tips, advice, and suggestions. Eventually that "first finished map" becomes a "second finished map," then a "tenth finished map," and, as it is in your case, a "fiftieth finished map." Okay maybe not all of us are quite that prolific, but, hopefully, the point I'm trying to make is clear. By the time you get to a tenth, twentieth, or fiftieth finished map, the style and quality of the map, and more specifically, the cartographer, is usually pretty solid and, I'd be willing to bet, unlikely to change. At that point, there may not be much for the rest of us to offer in the way of comments other than "nice," "great job," "excellent work," and so on. As nice as it can be to hear those kind of comments, it can be a bit cumbersome in terms of postings. Fortunately there is that little "like" button that we can hit if we want to show our appreciation.

Now, I'll readily admit that I'm guilty of not hitting that button as often as I should. In my defense, I'm only recently back as an active member of the forum and haven't had a chance to peruse the "finished maps" sub-forum at any length. I have every intention of doing so as time between my job and working on my own map permits.

In any event, I wouldn't take a lack of comments on a finished map as a negative. It may very well be that we just don't know what else to say that you haven't already heard.


03-29-2014, 08:33 PM
All of you are not posting enough! You can make it all better by going out there and commenting. It's a virtuous circle - the more comments you make, the more comments they are likely to generate!

Go forth and comment, my sisters and brothers!

03-30-2014, 06:44 PM
I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I have a teacher and helper mentality. I like to help people get "over the hump," so to speak, until they get to the point where they have enough expertise to start helping themselves. I am far more likely click on a thread that's asking for help than I am one that says, "Look what I did." I almost never click on threads in the Finished Maps forum unless someone's caught my attention and I want to see what they've done. When I do, I seldom reply because I usually only say something if I have actual information to add to a thread.

I'll admit that fully half of my replies to all threads don't even get posted because right before I click Post, I always ask myself, "Really, does anyone even care what I think?" Usually I wrongly answer myself, "No" and click Cancel.