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What makes for a great forum?

PostPosted: Thu 16 May 2019 19:46
by Cralis
I've been getting a little more time back and we've been making progress on long-standing projects, and then the webhost migration came along and I've got an itch to cast aside my mortal commitments and do some real work around here. So I've been thinking...

I will admit... I'm not really a big people person (anyone who remembers back to the email group has probably already figured that out). I'm not a marketing guru. And I'm a little bit awkward at parties. So I've always struggled to try and find and impart great motivations to the players. And I think that extends to the forum.

But recently someone new suggested to me that maybe my problem is that I've just not asked the players what they think would make the forum an interesting... a great! place to visit. And while I've had some conversations, there's some truth to that.

So what would motivate you, the players, to want to visit and participate in the forum? I'm sure I can guess a few things, but I'm not going to interject. I want to hear what YOU have to say. And while you're thinking about it, tell anyone you know who hasn't visit in a while that I'd like to hear their opinions too.

Once you've thought about it and put down a few some ideas, I want to ask an additional question.

If I was to open the forum a little bit to allow more content creation by the players, what would you like to be able to do here on the forum? Yes sir, I'm thinking about opening up the forum a little for players with the right ideas and motivation. It's certainly not going to become a free-for-all, but I am thinking maybe it's time that I let some of you drive some of the forum.

So what do YOU think?

Re: What makes for a great forum?

PostPosted: Fri 17 May 2019 16:53
by southwestforests
Q: What makes for a great forum?
That's a very easy answer,
A: Great members.

Re: What makes for a great forum?

PostPosted: Sun 19 May 2019 15:12
by Xveers
In my mind, what makes a forum great is a reasonably broad set of topics, supported by a half-decent set of posters and lurkers.

A lot of forums out there, especially for smaller game companies or more niche interests in general, tend to be pretty dead. That's not because they're bad games or neglected interests! It's just that the more specialized forums tend to result in people only going "when they care" about something, as opposed to a more regular visitor. There isn't too much going on, so there's no reason to regularly visit.

Related to this, you need to have people regularly generating content or commenting. This is not just people like Cralis posting game updates, or myself posting story stuff, but also people commenting and interacting with things they find interesting. Even if it's just a "Gip more" post. Those look to be low tier, but they're also usually the first signs of someone transitioning out from just being a lurker to being someone who actually posts content of any kind.

Posters and comments and lurkers are a fairly solid positive feedback loop. I admit that seeing my "views" counter go up is a pretty nice ego boost, even if nobody's actually commenting. Comments are awesome too, but just knowing that stuff is being seen is a big thing all its own.

So the question is then, How?

Well, for starters I think the forum should look to expand its "Off Topic" section. Keep Starfire at the top, yes, but look to perhaps adding some additional forum subjects that other people have in the past talked about, or looked interested in. Encourage people to talk more in general. Not just about Starfire and stuff space-related, but perhaps expand towards covering other crunchy games. There's a lot of cross-pollination between various different games that we all play, and that may be a path towards getting some people out of their shells.

Secondly, this forum should perhaps look towards extending a few tentacles elsewhere. The first place I'd suggest as a start would be Reddit (bear with me here). Yes. Hive of scum and villany it is. Cesspool that it is, it's ALSO where a lot of people are. At the least, creating a fitting subreddit and then just posting links to that subreddit that come back to this forum aren't a bad idea. One guy I follow (both on their website and on reddit) does exactly this: https://www.reddit.com/r/eldraeverse/

Note both the shere low entry to creating work, but also the fact that he IS getting some hits and subscriptions on Reddit, and it means that when someone searches reddit for his keywords, they're finding him as well. I can tell you that if I do a search for Starfire, I'm NOT finding the game... :P

Re: What makes for a great forum?

PostPosted: Tue 21 May 2019 00:10
by Cralis
Xveers wrote:In my mind, what makes a forum great is a reasonably broad set of topics, supported by a half-decent set of posters and lurkers.

A lot of forums out there, especially for smaller game companies or more niche interests in general, tend to be pretty dead. That's not because they're bad games or neglected interests! It's just that the more specialized forums tend to result in people only going "when they care" about something, as opposed to a more regular visitor. There isn't too much going on, so there's no reason to regularly visit.

Related to this, you need to have people regularly generating content or commenting. This is not just people like Cralis posting game updates, or myself posting story stuff, but also people commenting and interacting with things they find interesting. Even if it's just a "Gip more" post. Those look to be low tier, but they're also usually the first signs of someone transitioning out from just being a lurker to being someone who actually posts content of any kind.

Posters and comments and lurkers are a fairly solid positive feedback loop. I admit that seeing my "views" counter go up is a pretty nice ego boost, even if nobody's actually commenting. Comments are awesome too, but just knowing that stuff is being seen is a big thing all its own.


We are on the same page here, that's why I started this conversation. It's the how part that I'm trying to explore...

So the question is then, How?

Well, for starters I think the forum should look to expand its "Off Topic" section. Keep Starfire at the top, yes, but look to perhaps adding some additional forum subjects that other people have in the past talked about, or looked interested in. Encourage people to talk more in general. Not just about Starfire and stuff space-related, but perhaps expand towards covering other crunchy games. There's a lot of cross-pollination between various different games that we all play, and that may be a path towards getting some people out of their shells.


I've considered before opening up off-topic style forums specifically for posting news articles related to sysgen (aka astronomy and astrophysics), and another related to space technologies (space flight, science, etc.). My thinking was that it might help us spark new ideas about how these parts of the game work and/or give us new ideas to add to the game. But I didn't because I don't have the time to keep it going.

I wonder if anyone else would be interested in being main contributors to channels like these? If you have your own idea for a channel and would be willing to push it, now would be a great time to mention it :D

Secondly, this forum should perhaps look towards extending a few tentacles elsewhere. The first place I'd suggest as a start would be Reddit (bear with me here). Yes. Hive of scum and villany it is. Cesspool that it is, it's ALSO where a lot of people are. At the least, creating a fitting subreddit and then just posting links to that subreddit that come back to this forum aren't a bad idea. One guy I follow (both on their website and on reddit) does exactly this: https://www.reddit.com/r/eldraeverse/


I do post on Mike's Starfire facebook page and on the Task Force Games facebook pages, and I also cross post to the Star Ranger forum (if you haven't seen it, it's a forum about space games at http://www.star-ranger.com/forum/index.php

But Reddit is an interesting idea. It's not so much that it's scum and villany (it is the home of Tales from Tech Support and Tales from the Military

https://www.reddit.com/r/talesfromtechsupport/
https://www.reddit.com/r/TalesFromTheMilitary/

I just haven't ever done enough with Reddit to have it anywhere near my conscious thoughts. But you make some good points.

Note both the shere low entry to creating work, but also the fact that he IS getting some hits and subscriptions on Reddit, and it means that when someone searches reddit for his keywords, they're finding him as well. I can tell you that if I do a search for Starfire, I'm NOT finding the game... :P


Good point... I guess my biggest problem with branching out is that we are talking about more time, even if it's just reposting the same news to three, four, five or more web sites.

Re: What makes for a great forum?

PostPosted: Tue 04 Jun 2019 23:55
by Cralis
I was hoping that one or two players with some extra time would be all "me! pick me! I want to do cool stuff on the forum!" :D

What about the scenario forum? Would someone be interested in moderating it? I would expect them to help make sure any new scenario submissions are properly formatted and make sure everything is associated correctly. Aside from actual forum moderation...

Re: What makes for a great forum?

PostPosted: Wed 05 Jun 2019 12:29
by Otterman
Too bad the server won't host images. Makes it a lot easier to post the fun stuff.

Re: What makes for a great forum?

PostPosted: Thu 06 Jun 2019 17:04
by Cralis
Otterman wrote:Too bad the server won't host images. Makes it a lot easier to post the fun stuff.


Most of the forums have users host their own images and link them or else they’d have huge bandwidth bills. I thought you used imgur for that?