SBAllen Interview 2012
1. Do you keep in regular contact with CJayC?
Yes, we talk quite regularly. We were friends before we were co-workers and that hasn't changed.
2. After being on the forums for over ten years, how has the site changed the most?
I'm guessing this question is more aimed at the forums by the first half of the question. In that case, I'd say probably the most changing facet of the forums has been in the rules, or more specifically in the interpretation of the rules. Almost by necessity, moderation was handled more harshly in the beginning. As it was all that we knew at the time, it was the way that things continued to be handled. The problem is that the interpretation continued to slide more and more towards harsh moderation and reached the point where it was almost impossible to post regularly and avoid moderation. I finally got the go ahead to greatly relax the rules, and I feel like the users are responding quite positively to this change.
3. How does it feel to be treated as a god among men?
I believe you're asking the wrong person, as I don't have that feeling at all. As I was a "regular" on the boards before I took up the role of moderator and ultimately administrator, my posts aren't really considered all that special. It's true that I don't post often anymore, but I feel like when I do sneak in the occasional post, most people don't freak out about it because it isn't a big event.
4. What's it like dealing with corporate?
There aren't a lot of dealings with corporate, really. For the most part, the higher ups rely upon my expertise when it comes to what benefits GameFAQs. There are times when they want to push something that I don't agree with, and on occasion I lose the battle and have to do something to the site that I don't really want to do, but that's how any large corporation works. I'm blessed with large amounts of freedom and have earned the trust to be able to veto most things I'm not happy about, so I think that's a good thing both for me and for the site in general.
5. What future do you see with GameFAQs?
I'm pretty happy where I am, so I don't foresee myself leaving this site anytime soon. As for what's happening in GameFAQs itself this year... well, that's a secret. ;) Rest assured that there are some big things happening this year.
6. What was it like switching from CNET to CBSi?
7. If you could take control of Gamespot for a day, what would you do?
Take the day off work. GameSpot runs an amazing ship and they don't need me meddling with their operations. We (that is, GameSpot and GameFAQs) offer two wildly different services, and I'm pretty pleased with the product that they put out on a daily basis.
8. What's the song stuck in your head right now?
The intro song to Bones, as my wife and I have been watching the show on Netflix from the beginning for the past several weeks. I'm a big fan of The Crystal Method as well so that makes it all the better.
9. Do you enjoy your job?
Absolutely. It's always been my philosophy in life that if I don't enjoy a job, I won't stay there. When this job isn't fun anymore, that's when I'll be looking to pass the site off to someone else.
10. Is there someone on the mod staff qualified to become the next admin should you step down? Would you choose someone else, like another user?
At the moment, there is no one trained to take over as administrator if I were to step down. This is a problem for many reasons, but as of yet I haven't gotten the okay to hire on a young padawan. I have some people in mind for when I do though. If something were to happen to me before I could break in a new administrator, there are a few people in the company who know enough about how things work to keep things going until a suitable replacement could be found.
11. Best username you ever saw?
Favorite pun: BigWangTheory (read-only of course)
Most bizarrely random: OBAMAxHASxCRABS (also read-only)
12. Do you ever get impatient dealing with immature, sociopathic users that like to violate the site's rules for their own amusement?
Nope. If it weren't for troublemakers, I probably wouldn't even be here today. And unlike a lot of jobs out there, I don't have to deal with troublemakers in person. It's a lot easier to deal with when it's just words on a computer screen.
13. Does your job as administrator have you sit in front of a computer too much, or do you get to do physical work occasionally?
There isn't really a physical aspect to this job and I frequently spend long hours in front of a computer working on the site. I counterbalance this on my own by stretching frequently, exercising, and finding any possible excuse to get out of the house.
14. What's in your wallet?
You'll very rarely find cash in there unless I know I'll need it for some reason. There's a driver's license, couple credit cards, business cards, medical cards, etc. Standard wallet fare. Oh, and one of these: youtube.com/watch?v=hfnwI9KxXA0
15. What's your favorite meme?
Musically Oblivious 8th Grader.
16. How's your health?
Over the holiday I had a pilonidal cyst (it's gross, so keep that in mind if you look it up) that I had to have lanced. Recovery from that killed almost my entire holiday. Outside of that, I keep myself in good shape and rarely have health issues outside of nasty allergies that I take monthly shots for.
17. What's the most ingenious exploit you've heard of?
It wasn't an "exploit" so much as just a really weird bug. A couple users found a way to log into any account, including yours truly, by using a specific password. Unfortunately, instead of reporting it a few of them decided to get people they didn't like in trouble. Luckily they weren't too creative and didn't do much with it. Using it to log into my account wasn't very smart as that's what got them caught. It could have gone worse though, so thankfully these people found it and not some of our worse hooligans.
18. Your opinion on the spin-offs?
I don't have much of an opinion about them either way. They serve some purpose to the people who visit them or else they wouldn't exist. If they are getting whatever they are looking for out of it, then more power to them.
19. Do you get free stuff for being the admin of a gaming website?
The free stuff goes right to the corporate office (I work from home half a country away). I have a few people who hold aside stuff for me, but I give most of that away to the moderators. I do get a free GameFly account though, which is handy.
20. Have any famous people wanted to thank you for running the site?
If they have, they never got around to doing so. Or at least the message never reached me.
21. Do you think this is a thankless job?
It's hard to feel that way when I get messages every week telling me that I'm doing a great job or just sharing how much they love the site. I love the feedback I get and it helps motivate me to keep doing what I do.
22. Did you have to change your name from Sailor Bacon to SBAllen because CNET made you, or because you thought it'd be nice to be more professional?
There wasn't any requirement to do so. I just chose to do it. Sailor Bacon was my youth and SBAllen is my present. Who knows what will be my future.
23. Other than gaming, do you have any other hobbies? Particularly ones you spent a lot of money on?
I used to play Magic: the Gathering back in the 90s. I spent quite a bit on the cards but have since sold them for massive profits. Nowadays, I spend as much of my free time as possible geocaching. I've put plenty of money into geocaching, buying a nice GPS and various tools and other safety items that I carry with me while I'm out in the woods. When you work from home and you're forced to sit on your ass for long hours, geocaching is the perfect hobby to get outdoors and be active.
24. Got an album you'd recommend?
As far as obscure albums you might not have heard, The Future Sound of London - Lifeforms is something I can still listen through today and enjoy every track.
25. What's your OS you used outside of work?
Windows XP on my PC, Windows 7 on my work laptop.
26. What do you think about SOPA and NDAA?
There isn't much I can say about either of these that hasn't already been said a million times elsewhere. SOPA could destroy GameFAQs. I'm a bit partial to the idea of GameFAQs not having legal issues. As for the NDAA, I'm completely against indefinite detention, as I would imagine most freedom-loving people are.
27. In 2008, you said, "I think the ToU is about as perfect as it could be." With the new changes, do you still agree with that statement?
28. What are your favorite bands/video games?
I like almost every genre of music. It would take forever to list out all of my favorite artists/bands. To give you an idea of how varied the music I listen to is, here's a list of random artists I've been listening to lately: Journey, Pendulum, Kelly Clarkson, Busta Rhymes, David Guetta, The Chemical Brothers, and Antonio Vivaldi.
For video games, it's relatively well known that I'm a big Final Fantasy IV fan. I'm a pretty big fan of FF games in general, including FFXI which I played for more years than I'd care to remember (I quit last year though). Other series I really enjoy include Disgaea, God of War, Infamous, Fallout, Castlevania, and Uncharted. I also have a huge soft spot for Plants vs Zombies, which I've played on numerous devices.
29. How in-touch do you think you are with the board communities?
I try to keep tabs on some of the larger social boards, but there's no way I can really consider myself to be fully in-touch with them. I learn a lot from disputed moderations and feedback tickets though.
30. What do you drive?
I had a 2008 Pontiac G6 but we sold it recently for a more practical vehicle. Now we have a 2011 Ford Escape Limited. It's the same color as Dexter's (not a hybrid like his though) and has a lot of bells and whistles. I don't know how I lived before without heated seats and a reverse sensing system.
31. What are most hilarious disputes you've gotten?
I don't really memorize disputes, but I've listed several pretty funny disputes in the past on my Twitter account (@allentyner).
32. Are spoilers and improved quotes still on the schedule?
33. How often do you read the "ATTN: SBAllen" topics on CE?
Not very often. I check CE maybe three or four times a week and unless there happens to be an active topic mentioning my name on the first page or so I'm not likely to read it.
34. Why do you frequent Hellhole the most?
I visit Hellhole because it's a good place to see what people are pissed off about. It's like reading feedback tickets from people who would rather complain publicly than just privately message me with their concerns.
35. Do you browse the social boards?
Like I said above, I check a few social boards maybe three or four times a week. Sometimes more when we launch a new feature or have a contest running or something.
36. If you could meet one person, real or fictitious; living or dead, who would it be and why?
Harry Dresden. He's hilarious and seems like a cool guy to hang around with. Maybe not the safest though.
37. Where is CJayC?
Earth. Crap, I've already said too much.
38. Have you considered logging into CJayC's account and post as him with his post style?
Not even once.
39. How many Super Bowl rings will Tim Tebow win?
At least two. Go Gators!
40. Out of all the site changes, upgrades, etc. YOU implemented, which one are you most proud of, and why? Are there any which you regret making?
I really like the way that the new My Games turned out. It's easy to use and has generated a lot of really interesting content. I can't think of anything that I personally created that I really regret. Some things aren't wildly popular, but they aren't causing any harm either.
41. Do you read any comics?
I'm a big Marvel guy so I read quite a few of their comics. I'm particularly fond of anything X-Men or Spider-Man related.
42. Follow any webcomics?
Not so much these days. There isn't enough time in the day, so I usually only check out a webcomic when a friend links me to a particularly funny one.
43. Do you use alts while posting at gameboards to avoid revealing your identity?
44. Can you tell us a bit about GameFAQ's server infrastructure? How many servers are there? What OS does GameFAQs run? Are there any interesting / new technologies that GameFAQs is using? How involved with the day-to-day operation of GameFAQs are GameSpot's server admins/DBAs/etc?
Afraid I can't really go into the technical details about how the site operates, sorry.
45. Are there any changes you'd like to make to GameFAQs but have been told 'no' by CBSi/CNET?
Nothing comes to mind. My projects sometimes get delayed, but never shot down.
46. Will the GameFAQs PM system and GameSpot PM system ever be joined?
It isn't currently in the works.
47. Do you ever get recognised in public?
Not really. I used to back in the SB days on occasion. Nowadays though when I do meet new people and they ask me about my job, some people get a little.. starstruck? It's an enviable job, apparently.
48. When is the next big GameFAQs redesign coming along?
Can't answer that, sorry.
49. Will we ever be able to delete our own archived posts?
It isn't currently in the works.
50. Are there any new features planned for the next couple of months? Any hints?
Some awesome things are currently scheduled to happen in the next several months. Unfortunately, I can't say what they are. Sorry again!
51. Will more customisation options be added in the future? For example the ability to set site colours (without choosing from a list of pre-written CSSs)?
It isn't currently in the works.
52. What do you think of the infamous Sailor Bacon cosplay photo of you that's floating around the Internet? Are you maybe a little embarrassed, do you think it's funny, are you proud of it, apathetic, etc?
I think it was hilarious for its time. A lot of people don't really understand parody and don't understand why it was funny for its time. I wouldn't be surprised if those same people found Monty Python to be hysterical, but that's neither here nor there. SB was a fun character to play and I made a lot of friends during that time because of it. It's all in the past though as I'm not so big into anime anymore, but I still talk to many of the friends I made back then.
53. Did you play Duke Nukem Forever? What do you think of that entire saga and the future of the franchise?
I bought the collector's edition... the game wasn't that great, but it wasn't as bad as some people claimed it was. I played through the game completely once and that was more than enough. I couldn't stomach the idea of playing through it again for a platinum trophy though. I'd like to see another Duke Nukem game though, preferably with a lot more polish.
54. What are some of your favorite GameFAQs moments?
No real particular moments jump out in my mind, but that's mostly because all of my time here in my various capacities has been enjoyable. Whether it was contributing guides, posting on the boards, moderating, or administrating, it's been a fun ride. I guess the initial promotion to co-admin and subsequent promotion to sole admin were pretty memorable though!
55. What sort of computer set-up do you use at work and/or home?
I built my PC 4 years ago. It's pretty outdated now but it was high tech for its time. For work I use a simple laptop that was provided by CBSi. I don't have any super cool and exciting computer stuff at my home, if that's what you're wondering.
56. What is your favorite smell?
My wife's perfume.
57. What's your favorite type of cheese?
58. Favourite NHL team?
59. Favourite choice of beer?
60. Do you have a framed picture of any of OTACON's artistry that he made using a photo of you hanging above your computer? For reference: Intense Allen | Splatter Allen | Impressionist Allen | ToU Allen
I do not. Not really sure what to make of those, honestly.
61. What is your favorite game of 2011?
62. How do you feel about the Hellhole community?
I don't have any feelings either way.
63. With most of the administrative moderations reduced or eliminated after the recent etiquette changes, will NKLs be next to follow?
The moderation system will continue to see tweaks this year. That's about all I can say about that. Sorry!
64. Since you've taken over for Ceej, has your outlook on your job improved or not? That's worded kinda odd, how about are you more satisfied with your job or is it as frustrating as I am envisioning it to be?
Any job can be frustrating, but I'm very satisfied with what I do. I don't see myself doing anything else anytime soon and I'm really eager to get the ball rolling on some of my big projects for the year.