Discuss Scratch

Cub56
Scratcher
1000+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Scratch is a visual, block based programming language but I notice that rather than focusing more on programming, Scratch in general seems to:

  • Cater to young children to quite a large extent
  • Use the Tips page in a way that seems simplistic
  • Not draw much attention to the complex things that can be done with Scratch

If some of these were changed, it would improve Scratch quite a lot and demonstrate the great features of Scratch in a much more beneficial way, in my opinion.

(These aren't quotes, they're just organised that way)

Young children
Scratch is targeted at 8-16 year olds but the site has features like sprites in the editor that could be considered childish, as well as the site hiding nearly all projects with a very small amount of violence in them, even though they are less violent than E10+ or 7+ games. A lot of projects that get featured seem to be projects that are more accessible to younger children, rather than projects that demonstrate the variety of things that can be made using Scratch's programming.

Rather than considering Scratch a “children's programming language”, it should be promoted as a visual programming language easy for beginners to use that is accessible and suitable for young people as well.

8-16 year olds aren't young children, but there seems to be a belief amongst non-Scratch programmers that Scratch is a children's “toy” programming language, when it's not. It would be good to not have this impression propagated further.

The Tips page
The Tips page contains tutorials for very simple projects, so it doesn't make it immediately obvious to new people that Scratch does more than just animate your name and allow you to make a Pong game. It would be good for Scratch to draw more attention to how these projects are programmed, as well as show examples of more complex projects to illustrate what users can create once they've learnt more skills in programming.

Complex things that can be done with Scratch
This is more true for games than other types of projects, but often very simple games get featured, and complex games often aren't. Seeing as the front page is the first thing people see, it doesn't do much to show the variety of projects that can be created. More complex projects should be featured as well - you can't assume they will get popular on their own.

What are your thoughts on this?

Last edited by Cub56 (Feb. 4, 2018 20:21:35)


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myeducate
Scratcher
500+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Complete support. If a parent didn't want their child exposed to “violent” projects, they wouldn't allow them to access the online community. Scratch should be more programming focused. Take Python, for example. Just because schools use Python, they don't go all “oh, you can only make ‘hello world’ programs on Python” and hide all the complex stuff you can do. Scratch should be the same(and maybe, in Scratch 3.0 have a switch between blocks and JSON)

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-ShadowOfTheFuture-
Scratcher
1000+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

111% support!

Scratch doesn't need to be so child-oriented.
Inkulumo
Scratcher
500+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Support, I'm somewhat annoyed that even the more complex projects that involved even a tad bit of violence had to be changed to be something more child oriented. (@griffpatch's laser tag originally had guns AFAIK.)
Marb1
Scratcher
100+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Inkulumo wrote:

Support, I'm somewhat annoyed that even the more complex projects that involved even a tad bit of violence had to be changed to be something more child oriented. (@griffpatch's laser tag originally had guns AFAIK.)

13 year old elevator, coding, OpenTTD and transit fan from Hong Kong!

Please check out these fun idle games:
Scratch Project Clicker: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/98318615/
Bus Idle (Work In Progress, Beta Update 1.1 is now out!): https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/163746873/
Marb1
Scratcher
100+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Actually, Scratch's standards confuse me. Apparently mild cartoon violence is OK, but I can get an alert for saying “What the heck is this project?”, “this sucks!”, “boring” or “0/10”? Real game reviews can have MUCH worse language! Kids need to learn to deal with mean criticism, especially if they're future app developers! Cuz a lot of people use a 0-10 rating system but it's biased as anything under like 6 or 7/10 is reportable. And most projects on Scratch really are boring.

13 year old elevator, coding, OpenTTD and transit fan from Hong Kong!

Please check out these fun idle games:
Scratch Project Clicker: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/98318615/
Bus Idle (Work In Progress, Beta Update 1.1 is now out!): https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/163746873/
DaEpikDude
Scratcher
1000+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Marb1 wrote:

Actually, Scratch's standards confuse me. Apparently mild cartoon violence is OK, but I can get an alert for saying “What the heck is this project?”, “this sucks!”, “boring” or “0/10”? Real game reviews can have MUCH worse language! Kids need to learn to deal with mean criticism, especially if they're future app developers! Cuz a lot of people use a 0-10 rating system but it's biased as anything under like 6 or 7/10 is reportable. And most projects on Scratch really are boring.
mean criticism ≠ constructive criticism

MathlyCat
Scratcher
1000+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Marb1 wrote:

Actually, Scratch's standards confuse me. Apparently mild cartoon violence is OK, but I can get an alert for saying “What the heck is this project?”, “this sucks!”, “boring” or “0/10”? Real game reviews can have MUCH worse language! Kids need to learn to deal with mean criticism, especially if they're future app developers! Cuz a lot of people use a 0-10 rating system but it's biased as anything under like 6 or 7/10 is reportable. And most projects on Scratch really are boring.
I think you haven't read the Community Guidelines…

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Marb1
Scratcher
100+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

MathlyCat wrote:

Marb1 wrote:

Actually, Scratch's standards confuse me. Apparently mild cartoon violence is OK, but I can get an alert for saying “What the heck is this project?”, “this sucks!”, “boring” or “0/10”? Real game reviews can have MUCH worse language! Kids need to learn to deal with mean criticism, especially if they're future app developers! Cuz a lot of people use a 0-10 rating system but it's biased as anything under like 6 or 7/10 is reportable. And most projects on Scratch really are boring.
I think you haven't read the Community Guidelines…
I have, but I just think that criticism should be allowed - kids need to get used to it. Part of the reason why I IRL give huge negative reactions to criticism (which my parents don't like) is this overprotective website.

Last edited by Marb1 (Feb. 5, 2018 05:56:50)


13 year old elevator, coding, OpenTTD and transit fan from Hong Kong!

Please check out these fun idle games:
Scratch Project Clicker: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/98318615/
Bus Idle (Work In Progress, Beta Update 1.1 is now out!): https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/163746873/
Marb1
Scratcher
100+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Cub56 wrote:

Scratch is a visual, block based programming language but I notice that rather than focusing more on programming, Scratch in general seems to:

  • Cater to young children to quite a large extent
  • Use the Tips page in a way that seems simplistic
  • Not draw much attention to the complex things that can be done with Scratch

If some of these were changed, it would improve Scratch quite a lot and demonstrate the great features of Scratch in a much more beneficial way, in my opinion.

(These aren't quotes, they're just organised that way)

Young children
Scratch is targeted at 8-16 year olds but the site has features like sprites in the editor that could be considered childish, as well as the site hiding nearly all projects with a very small amount of violence in them, even though they are less violent than E10+ or 7+ games. A lot of projects that get featured seem to be projects that are more accessible to younger children, rather than projects that demonstrate the variety of things that can be made using Scratch's programming.

Rather than considering Scratch a “children's programming language”, it should be promoted as a visual programming language easy for beginners to use that is accessible and suitable for young people as well.

8-16 year olds aren't young children, but there seems to be a belief amongst non-Scratch programmers that Scratch is a children's “toy” programming language, when it's not. It would be good to not have this impression propagated further.

The Tips page
The Tips page contains tutorials for very simple projects, so it doesn't make it immediately obvious to new people that Scratch does more than just animate your name and allow you to make a Pong game. It would be good for Scratch to draw more attention to how these projects are programmed, as well as show examples of more complex projects to illustrate what users can create once they've learnt more skills in programming.

Complex things that can be done with Scratch
This is more true for games than other types of projects, but often very simple games get featured, and complex games often aren't. Seeing as the front page is the first thing people see, it doesn't do much to show the variety of projects that can be created. More complex projects should be featured as well - you can't assume they will get popular on their own.

What are your thoughts on this?
I agree. Scratch is NOT A TOY! I hate it when teachers don't want me to use Scratch because they think it's a toy.

13 year old elevator, coding, OpenTTD and transit fan from Hong Kong!

Please check out these fun idle games:
Scratch Project Clicker: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/98318615/
Bus Idle (Work In Progress, Beta Update 1.1 is now out!): https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/163746873/
wWSunPandaWw
Scratcher
1000+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Marb1 wrote:

MathlyCat wrote:

Marb1 wrote:

Actually, Scratch's standards confuse me. Apparently mild cartoon violence is OK, but I can get an alert for saying “What the heck is this project?”, “this sucks!”, “boring” or “0/10”? Real game reviews can have MUCH worse language! Kids need to learn to deal with mean criticism, especially if they're future app developers! Cuz a lot of people use a 0-10 rating system but it's biased as anything under like 6 or 7/10 is reportable. And most projects on Scratch really are boring.
I think you haven't read the Community Guidelines…
I have, but I just think that criticism should be allowed - kids need to get used to it. Part of the reason why I IRL give huge negative reactions to criticism (which my parents don't like) is this overprotective website.
Yes, but your type of criticism is flat-out being rude, not constructive.

To the OP:
Support.
Scratch was made to get kids excited about programming, and the tips page helps them get started with that, but I do believe that we need to get the older kids more excited about programming if they're just starting.
Maybe the tips page, at the top, could start out simplistic, with the stuff they have now, then as you scroll down, could give you more complex stuff to work on, like with variables, lists, custom blocks, etc.
Or the tips page could be separated into complexity levels, like Level 1, 2, etc, like with Level 1 being the simple programming we have in the tips page right now, Level 2 could be adding some variables, Level 3, maybe working with some pen or something. When you're at the Tips page, at the top, you could click buttons on a drop-down menu to skip to certain levels, to kids who want help working more complex stuff don't have to scroll and scroll and scroll…

I moved to BelieverGirlSun
DaEpikDude
Scratcher
1000+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Marb1 wrote:

MathlyCat wrote:

Marb1 wrote:

Actually, Scratch's standards confuse me. Apparently mild cartoon violence is OK, but I can get an alert for saying “What the heck is this project?”, “this sucks!”, “boring” or “0/10”? Real game reviews can have MUCH worse language! Kids need to learn to deal with mean criticism, especially if they're future app developers! Cuz a lot of people use a 0-10 rating system but it's biased as anything under like 6 or 7/10 is reportable. And most projects on Scratch really are boring.
I think you haven't read the Community Guidelines…
I have, but I just think that criticism should be allowed - kids need to get used to it. Part of the reason why I IRL give huge negative reactions to criticism (which my parents don't like) is this overprotective website.
“This sucks!” is not criticism. That's an insult.
Criticism (or at least good criticism) follows this sort of structure:
- here's what you're trying to do
- here's what's good
- here's what's bad
- here's how you can IMPROVE the bad and make it good

Saying something is boring without any explanation WHY it's boring doesn't help anyone.

Marb1
Scratcher
100+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

wWSunPandaWw wrote:

Marb1 wrote:

MathlyCat wrote:

Marb1 wrote:

Actually, Scratch's standards confuse me. Apparently mild cartoon violence is OK, but I can get an alert for saying “What the heck is this project?”, “this sucks!”, “boring” or “0/10”? Real game reviews can have MUCH worse language! Kids need to learn to deal with mean criticism, especially if they're future app developers! Cuz a lot of people use a 0-10 rating system but it's biased as anything under like 6 or 7/10 is reportable. And most projects on Scratch really are boring.
I think you haven't read the Community Guidelines…
I have, but I just think that criticism should be allowed - kids need to get used to it. Part of the reason why I IRL give huge negative reactions to criticism (which my parents don't like) is this overprotective website.
Yes, but your type of criticism is flat-out being rude, not constructive.

To the OP:
Support.
Scratch was made to get kids excited about programming, and the tips page helps them get started with that, but I do believe that we need to get the older kids more excited about programming if they're just starting.
Maybe the tips page, at the top, could start out simplistic, with the stuff they have now, then as you scroll down, could give you more complex stuff to work on, like with variables, lists, custom blocks, etc.
Or the tips page could be separated into complexity levels, like Level 1, 2, etc, like with Level 1 being the simple programming we have in the tips page right now, Level 2 could be adding some variables, Level 3, maybe working with some pen or something. When you're at the Tips page, at the top, you could click buttons on a drop-down menu to skip to certain levels, to kids who want help working more complex stuff don't have to scroll and scroll and scroll…

DaEpikDude wrote:

Marb1 wrote:

MathlyCat wrote:

Marb1 wrote:

Actually, Scratch's standards confuse me. Apparently mild cartoon violence is OK, but I can get an alert for saying “What the heck is this project?”, “this sucks!”, “boring” or “0/10”? Real game reviews can have MUCH worse language! Kids need to learn to deal with mean criticism, especially if they're future app developers! Cuz a lot of people use a 0-10 rating system but it's biased as anything under like 6 or 7/10 is reportable. And most projects on Scratch really are boring.
I think you haven't read the Community Guidelines…
I have, but I just think that criticism should be allowed - kids need to get used to it. Part of the reason why I IRL give huge negative reactions to criticism (which my parents don't like) is this overprotective website.
“This sucks!” is not criticism. That's an insult.
Criticism (or at least good criticism) follows this sort of structure:
- here's what you're trying to do
- here's what's good
- here's what's bad
- here's how you can IMPROVE the bad and make it good

Saying something is boring without any explanation WHY it's boring doesn't help anyone.
True.

13 year old elevator, coding, OpenTTD and transit fan from Hong Kong!

Please check out these fun idle games:
Scratch Project Clicker: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/98318615/
Bus Idle (Work In Progress, Beta Update 1.1 is now out!): https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/163746873/
Scratchifier
Scratcher
1000+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Scratch won't stop being a toy programming language until it can run at 60fps, has executable compilation, fullscreen support and actually useful resources. (No, Scratch, adding stereotypical 20 second hip hop loops and letter sprites doesn't improve overall project quality)
Marb1
Scratcher
100+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Scratchifier wrote:

Scratch won't stop being a toy programming language until it can run at 60fps, has executable compilation, fullscreen support and actually useful resources. (No, Scratch, adding stereotypical 20 second hip hop loops and letter sprites doesn't improve overall project quality)
I have to admit, that IS partly true.

13 year old elevator, coding, OpenTTD and transit fan from Hong Kong!

Please check out these fun idle games:
Scratch Project Clicker: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/98318615/
Bus Idle (Work In Progress, Beta Update 1.1 is now out!): https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/163746873/
Cub56
Scratcher
1000+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Scratchifier wrote:

Scratch won't stop being a toy programming language until it can run at 60fps, has executable compilation, fullscreen support and actually useful resources. (No, Scratch, adding stereotypical 20 second hip hop loops and letter sprites doesn't improve overall project quality)
What do you mean by toy? I agree with higher framerates and executables though.

Check out Life Raft Survival, my new advanced sandbox survival game with crafting, building, transportation, weather events, tropical storms, and more!

In the game you're stranded at sea after a mysterious crash and must survive in an unforgiving tropical island environment collecting resources and crafting, in an attempt to finally be rescued.



PrincessFlowerTV
Scratcher
1000+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

I'd love to agree, but if scratch did suddenly become more mature, scratch would be kicking out a ton of people, like all the kids who use scratch at school. Teachers and parents may be un-comfortable.
No support.

Last edited by PrincessFlowerTV (Feb. 9, 2018 20:15:17)

agentToast
Scratcher
100+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

Agreed. The site is for 8-16 year olds,yet they only focus on the 8 yeAr olds. The tips page might make it seem that coding is all just some basic sprites moving, when it is not.

They make it seem so childish. And it's getting even more childish.

The 3.0 Scratch is looking all bubbly and aimed towards younger people.

And the website is way to sensitive to any ‘rude’ thing.
The reason the bad word detector goes off all the time, it's because they completely childproof do anything sounding like an insult.
The reason many are banned for doing nothing, because it's childproofed.

This is my main problem with scratch.

100% support.

TheMonsterOfTheDeep
Scratcher
1000+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

I fail to see what any of Scratch's rules regarding content have to do with focusing on programming. The technical complexity of a project has no relationship to the content guidelines that Scratch currently maintains.

Aside from that, I would agree that there are changes that could be made to Scratch's presentation that would help encourage users to pursue more advanced projects.

However, I imagine that the non-programming-focus of Scratch is almost inevitable, due to the fact that many young people are introduced to it without having an interest in programming. It seems only natural that people who use Scratch but don't have an interest in programming would gravitate towards making animations and related projects, as they have the tools to do so.

If there was some way to get more of the people introduced to Scratch to become interested in programming, I imagine that people would naturally want to make more advanced projects. But I don't quite know how to do that.

The problem is that people new to programming have to start with something simple, but the simple projects that people start out with also do not foster interest in programming. I think that placing emphasis on interactive projects might be the way to go, because that is what gets people excited about programming–the ability to get the computer to do what they want–especially in the case of games and things.

I personally remember that when I first learned Scratch, somebody else on the computer I was using had made a sort of Space Invaders-type project, and I was really curious what some of the blocks in it did. Maybe throwing people into slightly deep water, so they can see things that they don't know but might want to learn, would help spark interest in programming.

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myeducate
Scratcher
500+ posts

Scratch needs to be more focused on programming

DaEpikDude wrote:

Marb1 wrote:

Actually, Scratch's standards confuse me. Apparently mild cartoon violence is OK, but I can get an alert for saying “What the heck is this project?”, “this sucks!”, “boring” or “0/10”? Real game reviews can have MUCH worse language! Kids need to learn to deal with mean criticism, especially if they're future app developers! Cuz a lot of people use a 0-10 rating system but it's biased as anything under like 6 or 7/10 is reportable. And most projects on Scratch really are boring.
mean criticism ≠ constructive criticism
^^^^^^^^^^^

SPA Member and Assosiate - Creator and overlord of ScratchNetwork - 700+ Forum Posts - Web and Desktop Dev - Fluent in VB, PHP and HTML. I'm okay at CSS and Javascript but am still learning. Sig written in PHP using the picture libary. Firebase is fun.

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