Some aspects of Gaia Online, such as the new layout, glitches, and controversial advertisements, have been the spark of criticism.
NOTE: Editing, Correcting, and Additions to the article is encouraged, but DO NOT REMOVE whole pieces of content, these post are here for history purposes.
Site appearance / function
The release of new layouts create uproars among some longtime users. Several users dislike new layouts when they come out, believing that Gaia should revert to the previous one or keep it available to users as an option. Users with low resolutions have had difficulty viewing Gaia's most recent layouts. In addition, new homepage changes cause confusion for some. A few users question if Gaia is attempting to make things easier or look "cooler"; others have no objection to new layouts or prefer them.
Some users have nicknamed this Layout fever and noted that in the past Gaia has had over 3 different layouts and each time a new one has been released, users started an uproar saying that it should be reverted to the previous one. In time, most members grow to accept a new layout.
Every time a new layout is added, the site experiences glitches, and runs slowly, sometimes logging users out. These are all problems commonly experienced when Gaia makes changes and/or adds a new feature.
Issues involving Money
A survey released by a third party company included a question in which it mentioned the addition of a paid "Premium" feature. This, along with the release of items the administrators promised against, lead many to believe that they are going against their word and are going to make Gaia more for money rather than for the people.
However, the administrators have stated that such will never happen.
Gaia Cash is a curency on Gaiaonline which can only be obtained in exchange for real money and while almost all the Gold shops accept Gaia Cash, La Victorie accepts only Gaia Cash.
Recetly Gaia has made it so that people could obtain Gaia Cash (GC for short) by completing surveys, however certain or most surveys don't seem to be available to the users that are outside the USA.
La Victorie is the name of the Cash Shop, at first the Shopkeeper had been Flynn but recently she has been removed in favor of Mintaka and Rigel who are the older siblings of Saiph (who is the character of the EI "Fallen Wish") and Hatsya who made her appearance in a comic for one of the first CIs.
Users feel that the many updates to the Cash Shop take away potential updates for the Gold Shops.
Due to Evolution items varying in price and quality, Gaians expect certain EIs to evolve and maintain quality throughout its evolution. In most cases an EI that was expected to evolve for the week, does not. These incidences have caused confusion and anger among Gaians.
Many site that the lack of communication is the problem, stating that leaving things "In the Dark" is not good customer service.
It has been spread by the Artists that Evolution items have no set schedule to evolve regardless of its cost.
Avatars / Items
Neglect to Male Avatars and Sexism?
Due to the fact that more items are equippable by female avatars, including the G-LOL items, another controversy has emerged, questioning if male avatars are being neglected. It is considered by a few that male avatars are given ugly faces and smiles, while others feel that female avatars have that same problem. Many also feel that female avatars look childish or too thin.
Females avatars have a greater selection of items under Gaians have the choice of changing genders, some male users have chosen female avatars for better item selection which alters the male-female ratio on Gaia. However, this may also be attributed to men who prefer female avatars in principle, or that Gaia appeals more to females. It is important to note that many female users also choose to use male avatars.than the males have. Females also have more color selection of their items. Since
The Admins addressed this issue by trying to make all clothing unisex, including hairstyles. Some also argue that the Item Update of September 11th was a sexist move. These items included the Missy item set, which consisted of items traditionally considered female that were equippable by any gender, including dresses, high heels and mini jackets. Some Gaians with male avatars were upset at this because the Admins have been making female items unisex and not just traditionally male items.
Others, however, had been waiting for the ability to wear these types of items on their male avatars for years and were overjoyed, as previously they were restricted only to traditional male clothing styles. Supporters of this update felt that Gaia had only been sexist before such clothing was made available to male avatars.
Evolving Items aka EI's, are items that have evolution stages that turn into new items (with a theme). The criticism with evolving items is the pace at which they evolve, the number of EI items that are released at a time, and the cost of GC for them.
Early Evolving Item Reports in 2007 consisted of 3 to 4 Evolving Items being reported on. This gradually increased as EI Reports headed into early 2008, but as EI Reports progressed into 2009 the number of items in reports fluctuated, consisting of anywhere between 4 to 6 items being reported on, to as little as 1 or 2. And so going by the early years, Gaians gradually began to get use to and comfortable with multiple items evolving during an EI Report day.
The phrase "EIs have no set schedule" began to crop up when Gaians questioned the pace of the EI's. This has caused a number of debates between Gaians. One half believing that EI's had no schedule, and the other half believing that since the items are paid for with real money, that they should not be put on hiatus. And if there is a hiatus, then Gaians should be told why, rather than the Artists behind the EI remaining silent.
When it comes to the criticism of how many EI's are released during the month, the feedback has been mixed. Some feeling that the there are too many EI's being released because other EI's are still evolving at the time, while others question if the artist assigned to the EI can actually keep up the pace. While the other half finds the release of new EI's positive due to more possible use.
When it comes to price, the highest cost for an EI (thus far) has been $10.00 USD. The lowest cost has been ¢49 Cents. No one really knows how the prices for EI's are assigned. But many Gaians assume that if an EI cost more, then it should: evolve at a steady pace, be of high quality, and contain lots of poses when completed.
While some show positive feedback on $10 EI's (even requesting for more) others dislike the price and request for lower costing EI's. Some Gaians feel that the high cost of the item, does not match its quality, while others point that EI's that have cost $4.99 USD have been of exceptional quality.
Thus far, $7.99 USD has become the price for new EI's. This is possibly an attempt to lower the cost of EI's, keep quality, and still make profit. This could be due to recession.
Recently Gaia has added Rapid Evolving Items (or REIs), these are items that evolve at a certain constant pase. The newest current REI is "Lumiere Noire" that evolves every Tuesday and Friday. Other REIs include "Pistolera", "Checkmate", and the "Mana Seed" which was also the first REI. REIs are expected to be fully evolved by the end of the month in which they were introduced and unlike normal EIs they also don't have generations for every time when they evolve. Every time a pose (or poses) are added to a REI the previous poses also remain and when the REI finishes it's evolution it gets a 2nd generation in the Cash Shop that has all the poses unlocked. REIs are however are not that new to the site as certain Hlliday EIs have also evolved in a similar fashion, only that they have different generations for each evolutions, these include "Noel's Gift" , "Bad Moon" and others.
Soulbinding is a mechanism to prevent an item(s) from being traded or sold for Gold currency.
This activity has largely increased from 2008, since the binding of the zOMG! Rings and binding of Sealed Letters for 7 days, this is only if there is a new Paypal Account added to a Gaia Account.
Despite Gaians raising their protests over the use of Soulbinding, there has been no direct response to them about it. Many feel that soulbinding (when not zOMG! related) is a useless addition to the site. Since it has caused a lot of anger with very few positive feedbacks about it.
Some Gaians do not understand and some disagree with items (wearable items) being soulbound to inventories. The debate over unsoulbinding the CI item called- Oni Set continues to this day. Another item was from Gaia Online's 6th Anniversary item called- Gaia Anniversary Sash. On Nov 25, 2009, tobacco based items were removed from shops and whatever tobacco items were left, were bound to inventories. Though the tobacco items have since been restored and unbound.
Gaia autos (cars) are also soulbound to the User, so thus far, there is no way of selling a car back to a shop if the car is not wanted.
The Sword Belt is an Item that was created as a result of User submission for the Coca-cola create-a belt Contest.
As of Aug 16, 2010 4:17 pm, Gaia moderators and Admins founded out either by an anonymous source or coincidence that the design of the "Sword belt", in which was in First place of the Contest, was a plagiarism by using an art by Lessruth from Deviantart. The item was then removed from public access, and replaced by the second place winner, in which users criticize the new current belt for being "dull" and badly pixeled due to the second belt not being as colorful as its original entry design.
As the users questioned the Admins to keep the Plagiarized belt, Lessruth sent a request that the Admins/Moderators to keep the belt open to All Gaians, however the artist wanted to either work for Gaia or profit from each belt given and remaining on the site. This request was turned down in favor of being fair to the true contestants of the contests who drew their own work and were voted on fairly.
Identity / Personality
Killing Off Characters
Many people were upset after Ian was shot, causing a controversy on killing NPCs. He was not the first character to have been shot, although there was less of an uproar when The Von Helson Sisters were crushed due to negativity of their character and their small fanbase, compared to Ian, who was an NPC from the start. Though a storyline update revealed that Ian did not actually die. And that both Gino and Gambino are alive too. The killing of characters secretly could be considered another one of Gaia's twisting plot such as when they lead us to believe that Ian was going to kill Gino.
However, the newest plotline update has revealed that the Von Helson Sisters did not die.
Developers / Artists
There have been incidences where a Gaia Artists will illustrate their feelings to a situation visually or by posting in their journals. While others remain silent on a matter.
One case is the EI Fremere's Guard, which was given visual cues that matched up with incidences in Site Feedback and Gaia Community Discussion. These cues seemed to begin on its second stage, with an item called "Fremere's Elite Party Sash", which was meant to spoof Gaians dislike of the Soulbinding of their Gaia Anniversary Sash.
Another incident involved the EI The Case of Pietro, which had its title and description changed to reflect its lack of evolving for the week. This arose after Gaians showed their frustrations over the item not evolving.
While one half of Gaians feel that Artists reacting to their criticism is unprofessional, the other half feels that the Artists have a right to express their feelings.
Some feel that the Artists are overworked (or have too many projects at one time) and shouldn't be scolded by others due to bad scheduling. While others believe that if the Artists have too many projects going on at once, then they should state their situation ahead of time, so communication stays open.
Spam / Text matters
Chain letters tend to be very popular on Gaia. Chain letters may disturb or scare other users and urge them to pass the message to others. Of course, like all chain letters, they are all a hoax or joke, and should not be taken seriously. However not everyone is aware that they are a prank or the product of an idle user, and choose to believe the message. Since chain letters generally purport to bring bad luck to users that do not paste the letter in forums or through Private Messages, users are sometimes frightened into passing it on to friends, who also pass it on, forming the "chain" of the name even though Gaia Online disallows Chain Letters and Solicitation. According to the Rules and Guidelines, anyone receiving a Chain Letter should report it. The usage of these had fallen greatly due to the gaia staff.
Talking in 1337
Many users like to talk in a way called leet(1337), Gaiaonline finally decided that talking that way was unacceptable due to the fact that you can put banned words in 1337 and they will appear. 1337 is now banned on the forums and users may receive a ban for using it.
Profane or Bad Words
Some users believe that swearing on Gaia forums is a problem. Many users use profanity, and this makes others uncomfortable. Concerned parents may prevent their children from visiting the site, although anything more than PG-13 rating is against the TOS and children under the age of 13 are not permitted to join Gaia. A word filter was released and by default is activated on all new accounts until the user chooses to change it. Many feel that freedom of speech includes 'bad words' and that anyone who is bothered by it should use these filters.
Adult topics of discussion in public and guild forums
Moderation of the Gaia forums has declined in some users' opinion, because of the discussion of adult topics like: BDSM, fetishes, and other adult situation that some may find questionable. Others are concerned about the discussion of harmful or unhealthy social issues like relationship abuse, sexism, etc. in that it may influence others, more specifically the younger users.
Some people complain about and report these adult discussions, believing that they are inappropriate on a website that is "childlike" in nature, content and theme. On the other hand, Gaia Online does cater to an "older" (teenage) audience as one could gather from the online manga that frequently has innuendos and PG-13 subject matter, as well as the avatars themselves which can be quite PG-13.
Sexually Charged Ads
There have been reports that some ads being shown on Gaia Online promoted 18+ services of a sexual nature. Many Gaians say that this and similar ads should be removed. Though administrators cannot control the ads, most of these have stopped, though some still continue.
These ads are viewed on occasions including others dealing with the same topic. Many Gaians are disturbed by this, but a small majority of Gaians say there is nothing wrong the ads shown on Gaia Online. If users are disturbed by these ads, they can use Firefox with AdBlock, Opera Browser, IE7Pro, or other browsers/browser add-ons to block these types of ads.
Users may report the advertisement to any moderator so they may deal with it. When reporting the ad, try to include a screenshot, the location of the ad (i.e. the page it was found on) and the link it leads to.