I strongly believe online gaming communities should allow self promotion, even/especially if it’s curated/filtered. Enforcing a complete ban of self promotion in gaming communitites prevents would-be gamers from finding great games and it also discourages developers from making the games in the first place. As an indie developer – if a gaming communitry moderator said to me “your game is not quite good enough to share in this forum” that’s 100% okay. I think that’s a great opportunity for feedback on what to improve. The moderator could provide some actionable advice like: ‘your graphics look bad’, or ‘the game is too simple’, or ‘there isn’t enough content to the game’, etc. Then the developer can take action to improve it and come back later.
Alternatively, when moderators completely block every developer from posting about their game, it stops this conversation from happening in the first place. Who does that serve? In this scenario gamers that might want to learn about a new game are missing the opportunity to see it and play it, and developers lose the opportunity to have a feedback loop for continuous improvement.
Now I know what you’re thinking… SPAM.
It’s obvious that moderators couldn’t just allow everyone to post about every game unfiltered, because the community would become saturated with posts of low quality games that aren’t fit for eyeballs. Taste is subjective, and what is trash to one person might be treasure to someone else, so it’s hard to say what’s good or bad, but the person moderating the group should be able to make the call. What I’m saying here is: It’s unfair to provide a place to talk about gaming where developers aren’t allowed to speak, at all. Moreover, it’s important to understand the symbiosis: gamers need developers and vice versa. If you’ve accepted the responsibility to maintain a home where these conversations can take place, you should be willing to accept the fact that there will be work required to maintain it, and you should try to understand that in order to create the best gaming experience we have to keep the conversation flowing between devs and gamers.
When the conversation ends: the gamers suffer equally with the developers. Please consider these facts, and if you feel the same way, please speak up in your communities!