- About This Guide
- Whistle Basics
- Flagging Under-Judgment Flash
- Flagging Flash Reviews
- How to Improve your Whistle
- Eagle's Review Tips
- Slash's Stolen Flash Tips
- What if a Stolen Flash Passes?
- More Information
1. About This Guide
Is your whistle not good enough to join the Barracks? Do you have a garbage whistle and don't understand why? This guide can help! The Barracks encourages proper use of the Newgrounds whistle to help protect the Portal from bad Flash. However, the proper method of whistling is not often apparent, as the flagging rules provided by the Newgrounds FAQ can be unclear about exactly what can and can't be flagged. Also, since the "Rage's Gift" thread on the BBS was locked and whistle-blowing threads have been banned completely, it is hard to find good sources of flag-worthy reviews.
This guide attempts to fill the holes that the Newgrounds FAQ leaves and gives all NG users that want to improve their whistle a leg-up in doing so. Note that if you are familiar with the whistling system and are just looking for tips on how to improve your whistle, you can skip ahead to section 5, "How to Improve Your Whistle."
2. Whistle Basics
The Newgrounds FAQ states the purpose of the whistle as follows: "Due to the large amount of abuse to Newgrounds by malicious users we have implemented features that allow users to help police the site." Specifically, they are referring to two different things the whistle can be used for:
- Flagging any Flash submissions on the Newgrounds Portal that do not belong on Newgrounds
- Flagging a review on any Flash entry on Newgrounds that does not meet the proper guidelines for reviewing.
Flagging reviews and submissions properly will raise your whistle status, while improperly flagging a flash or review that does not break rules will lower your whistle status. The ranks are as follows:
- - Garbage Whistle - Lowest status
- - Normal Whistle - Starting status
- - Bronze Whistle
- - Silver Whistle
- - Gold Whistle
- - Deity Whistle - Highest status
There is no indication on how many points are necessary to raise/lower your status. Additionally, you are not given any statistics about your whistle except for its actual status. The Newgrounds Staff has multiple statements about this:
- They do not wish to encourage "stat-whoring" of the whistle, similar to how the B/P rank is
- Your whistle status will lower with improper flagging to deter mass-flagging of reviews to gain status
- To encourage whistling, proper flagging has more of a positive effect than an improper flagging has a negative effect
- Flagging Flash has a greater effect than flagging reviews
- Higher whistle status are more effective at getting a flash or review flagged for attention by the NG Staff/Mods
- If you "break" your whistle by obtaining Garbage status, you no longer are allowed to flag Flash (though you are still allowed to flag reviews)
Therefore, while the NG Admins are trying to prevent abuse of the whistleblowing system, they are not stating it is wrong to aspire towards a better whistle. In fact, they do encourage proper flagging to keep the Portal clean. Your reward for proper flagging is a better whistle status. Now, we'll cover exactly what you'll be looking out for.
3. Flagging Under-Judgment Flash
There are three main criterion that the Newgrounds Staff lists for determining whether or not an under-judgment Flash is flagworthy:
- Stolen Flash - If you know the Flash is stolen, you can flag it for this reason. You MUST provide evidence of this. Good examples of evidence are a link to the Flash if it is already submitted to Newgrounds, or the official website where the Flash was posted. Note that most third-party Flash sites do have official accounts with which they submit Flash on Newgrounds. Therefore, only flag the review if it is not submitted by this account.
- Malicious Flash - If the Flash performs some kind of malicious act, including auto-spawning of pop-up windows, attempting to run harmful scripts on your computer, or other similar acts, it is flagworthy under this criteria. Additionally, if the same Flash is submitted many times in a row by one or more people, that is considered a malicious act as well. Note that this only applies to a massive-submission of flash that are either identical or near-identical, not somebody that is attempting to improve a flash and resubmitting it.
- Unsuitable Flash - If the Flash has content that is unsuitable for Newgrounds, it is flagworthy under this criteria. This includes content such as hardcore pornography, a Flash that is nothing but a slideshow of pornographic images, any hateful content (such as racial slurs, sexist or sexual-preference-hating content, etc.), or anything that is illegal. Note that adult content is allowed on Newgrounds, but not if it is hardcore, just a slideshow, or something of the like. Adult games are fine. Additionally, illegal content includes such items as child pornography, information on how to steal computer software, or anything similar.
When you come across a Flash that falls into one of these three buckets, make sure to flag it under the proper category. Note that you by yourself are not enough to get the Flash flagged. Depending on how many people flag the flash and what their whistle status are, the Flash may or may not be flagged for administrative review.
If the Flash is flagged, it will be directed to the attention of Wade Fulp, the Newgrounds Administrator. He will review the Flash and determine whether or not it is rulebreaking. If it is, the Flash is deleted and you will gain whistle points. If it is not rulebreaking, the Flash will be allowed to continue under-judgment and you will lose whistle points.
Note that if the Flash does not get flagged at all and is either blammed or protected by the B/P system, you do not gain or lose points.
4. Flagging Flash Reviews
The review system is pretty straightforward. When a user posts a review on a Flash, it will show up in the review list. Under each review, other members can vote on the review to determine whether it was "Helpful" or "Useless." This gives a nice green or red indicator under each review to indicate to users which reviews are worth reading and which ones are not.
In addition to these two votes, there is also an "Abusive" option which allows you to flag submissions that do not meet the guidelines. While the Review Guidelines are listed in the Newgrounds FAQ, here is a quick summary of what is considered abusive:
- Offensive remarks towards the author (such as "You Suck," "Go Kill Yourself," etc.)
- Massive amounts of review submitted at one time to gain review counts
- Promotions of other Flash or personal websites
- Long strings of words in the review's title (such as "WWWWWWWWW" or similar garbage all the way across)
- Stating the flash should be blammed (e.g. "BLAM THIS CRAP")
- Agreeing or disagreeing with other reviews on the Flash
- Stating the review is stolen
- Stating the submission does not deserve an award or a score it has been given
- The review is written in a foreign language (since the admins only speak English, they cannot determine whether or not it is offensive)
Note that any review that does not fit within this list is merely "useless," not "abusive." A common cause of lowering your whistle status is flagging a load of useless reviews that you thought were abusive. Therefore, it's always best to err on the side of caution and NOT flag a review you are unsure about.
5. How to Improve your Whistle
Here comes the meat and potatoes of this FAQ. Even if you understand the basics above, you might be making progress towards a better whistle. Here's a few good tips that will make things considerably easier. A lot of these might sound like common sense, but it's easy to forget these:
- Be patient. Just like B/Ping, it takes time. The more you realize this, the easier it'll be to go on.
- ALWAYS err on the side of caution. If you flag submissions/review you are unsure are flagworthy, you will probably be getting just as many negative points as positive ones. This is the most common cause of not getting ahead. Rather than risk your points, play it safe and steady.
- Don't count on Flash submissions alone. While flagging Flash will improve your score more than a review will, there are far less Flash to flag than reviews. Not pursuing the reviews will make your journey towards Deity a very long one.
- Make it a habit to check for reviews often. If you try to make flagging part of your daily NG routine (along with B/Ping, reviews, BBS posts, etc.), you'll make much quicker progress than only flagging when you think about it or come across it in happenstance.
- ALWAYS scrutinize if someone tells you to flag something. This was the main cause of the "Rage's Gift" thread's locking. Users would simply go down the thread and flag anything and everything people told them to. Chances are you will hurt your whistle more than help it. By not assuming they are automatically correct, you'll prevent a lot of those negative whistle points from those false positives.
- Ask for help if you're not sure about something. There's no harm in asking for advice. The EGB is full of members that are more than willing to assist people that want to help protect the Portal.
6. Eagle's Review Tips
It took me the longest time to really learn how and where to search for abusive reviews. I've compiled a good list of where to search below, including some tips from SlashFirestorm and SlntCobra1:
- Flash that recently passed judgment - Since it's the first time anyone has been able to see the reviews, there will be plenty of bad reviews to pluck out.
- Low-scoring Flash in the last 50-100 Flash that passed - These are often gold mines for bad reviews.
- Any foreign-language Flash - Since foreign-language reviews are not allowed, you'll find plenty of them in these submissions
- Flash regarding religion and/or politics - You'll find plenty of flamebait in these.
- Flash from any of the NG groups - Even if the flash is good quality, you'll find some haters willing to flame them at any chance.
- Any award-winning Flash for the week - These flash get plenty of views and reviews. There will always be detractors, especially for Turd-of-the-Week or Review Crew Pick.
As you can see, if you go by these few bullet-points, there will be plenty of reviews for you to find on a daily basis. As long as you exercise discretion, you'll have a steady flow of whistle points coming in!
7. Slash's Stolen Flash Tips
First up, if I see a very good flash, but it has no author's comments...or the author's comments are stupid...it sets off a warning siren in my head. Usually authors capable of incredible flash are going to talk about the flash to the viewers, not saying nothing or mangle grammar with "yeah this is kewl" crap.
In this event, further investigation is warranted. First up...and this is often something I do with submitters with only one or two other flash, anyway...look at their other flash, if they have any. If they've only got one or two, and either/both are already flagged, that's a big sign of potential trouble.
Also, if they have no previous flashes, that can be a warning sign. No one becomes a flash master overnight. Now, it is possible that this person is a talented artist who has just found Newgrounds and decided to submit it here. So before I go on, let me say that you should never flag solely on suspicion...ONLY if you can find an original source.
Okay, if you're getting some/all of these warning signs, it's time to do some searching. Search for the title of the flash. Now, also look IN the flash for the title. Sometimes, to try and dodge being caught, they'll give the SUBMISSION a different title than the flash. For example, the stolen "I Love Egg" flash submissions were called "Happy Egg" or something along those lines.
If you find search results matching it, WATCH THE SEARCH RESULTS. It's possible the names are just similar, so make sure the .swf's are the same.
If you find no results, but you still got a bad feeling about it, try Google. Not every good flash is on Newgrounds, because we (unlike some sites) don't just steal good content, we ask artists to submit.
If you do find it on another site, make sure the accused submitter doesn't have the site as his profile site...if so, it's very possible he just put the flash on his site, AND on Newgrounds.
And lastly, if you do confirm a stolen flash, post a link to it in the Elite Guard Barracks AND the NGPD (and the Department of Defense if you wish), with a link to the original's location. We don't whistle flash without hard proof. If you have suspicion, you can ask the EGB/NGPD to investigate, but we will not whistle without clear confirmation.
8. What if a Stolen Flash Passes?
Inevitably, there will be stolen Flash that pass judgment, even if you did everything right. Here's what you should do in this case:
First off, alert the EGB about it. If you were following Slash's tips above, you probably already posted a link to the Stolen UJ Flash with proof. Simply reply to the thread and state that the Flash actually passed. State that you are going to contact Wade about the Stolen Flash. Since we in the EGB don't want to flood Wade's PM Inbox with the same message, we leave it up to one person to alert him, usually the person that caught the stolen Flash. However, other people might have already alerted him, so check the thread first before PMing Wade.
Once you let the EGB know you're informing Wade, send him a PM with all pertinent details of the stolen Flash. Make sure you include the stolen link, the original link, the NG users involved, and any other details you might have.
This guide is meant to be a comprehensive whistling guide for the EGB member and NG user alike. However, there are many more places to find more info about the whistleblowing system. For EGB members, consult the Portal Violations Desk for all of the latest intel managed by the Portal Violations Officers. For NG members, feel free to contact any of the EGB or a Newgroudns Review Mod for questions or info that might be unclear to you. Lastly, if you find something that should be in this guide but is not included, please contact me and I will be sure to add anything that belongs in this FAQ.
This original version of this guide was posted by SlashFirestorm in the old forums on August 3rd, 2007.
The current version of this guide is a complete re-write of the old guide. It was posted in the new forums by EagleRock on June 23rd, 2010. The information used in this guide was primarily from Eagle's personal experience, but includes info from Slash's old guide, as well as from other Barracks members, most notably the EGB's Lt. Portal Violations Officer, SlntCobra1.