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10-18-18 06:06:23 PM
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Jul - Meta - Forum merging
  
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UserPost
Xenesis
Posts: 2299/2537
A handful of active subforums is better than lots of inactive subforums.
FieryIce
Posts: 3987/4118
I think this is a great idea with the potential of bringing some more activity to the board as a whole. I for one, almost never remember to visit some of the forums (like Art, for example) even though I'm sure sometimes there's some interesting stuff there. Merging things will inevitably increase visibility for everything, especially since as you said, the recent low activity will ensure there still won't be a situation where fringe stuff gets drowned out by the more casual threads.
Xkeeper
Posts: 21590/23358
I think I've mostly decided that I'm going to merge them the way they're laid out in the first post Soon™. Not sure when, exactly, but you know how it goes.


I'm not 100% on how Jul feels about reviving old threads but I have the opinion that if someone bumped their 8 month old art thread with new art because they just haven't been posting throughout the school year, it would be acceptable. Maybe? So either way, it both works and doesn't, and you should go with what you feel. Eight threads in a year isn't terribly bad for a small, niche group of friends.

Generally nobody cares if you're posting with a good reason. The problem is that with how slow Jul is, an eight-month thread might actually be so dead nobody remembers it. But generally as long as it's a real update nobody will say anything.


And on Craziness... Well, personally I don't like forums like that are... uhm... Like that. I've found that, especially among smaller forums, it's better to have a more relaxed general, but I've never seen a forum get rid of the spam forum and not regret it. So you may want to consider that.

Craziness isn't a spam forum so much as it is just very relaxed -- think IRC chatter.


I think you're on the right track, but don't confuse more posts per forum as more activity. Streamlining the board will only do so much. Especially with fall around the corner. The main thing you have to worry about is getting over poster apathy.

All too aware. But part of it is also making active discussions; if nobody's posting, nobody will post. If there's active discussion, people have a reason to come back and communicate with others. Condensing things helps keep it concentrated into a few specific spots, so that it's a lot easier to find and follow stuff, even if you aren't necessarily interested in it.



Just post on facebook

Someone who basically all-but-quit can be quoted as saying "(forums) never won me anything", because they had been entering giveaways on Twitter. It's just a fact that social media like this is going to be more "interesting" and fulfilling because of the chance of going viral — everyone loves seeing their stuff spread around and liked or whatever.

Forums fill in a small niche by being personal. You can generally follow whatever thread you want, whenever you want, and get to know individual people. Compare to, say, Facebook or Twitter, where talking to people is intermittent, and often utterly vapid; no real discussion lasts for more than a few minutes on average, and especially in the case of Facebook your discussion might be magicked away by faceless algorithms. Whereas forums, generally everything stays put, and you can follow at your own pace. There's no huge timeline you have to dig through.



TL;DR: I am very aware of the problems surrounding forums these days. I don't really have a major solution other than to provide a safe, tight-knit community where people can discuss and talk at length without drowning in noise.
nym
Posts: 29/49
So it's been my experience that small sites do better with fewer forums. I'm sure there's some optimal number of forums per active user, and maybe somebody will go out there and figure it out, but whatever the case is, fewer is always better. We've all been to invisionfree boards with 200 forums and 5 users.

That said, I never thought of Jul as having an overwhelming number of forums, but I tend to not come around much, so my view of the activity is a bit (Very) skewed. Just a note on the art forum though: There are ideas for merging it and not merging it, and honestly they're all just as bad. You should merge it with General (or something else) because the few threads that go in there will get more exposure; well that's not true. The people who would look at those threads know where to find them already. You shouldn't merge it because threads will get buried below other threads; okay, but that doesn't change anything, they're still there and nobody looks at them.

I'm not 100% on how Jul feels about reviving old threads but I have the opinion that if someone bumped their 8 month old art thread with new art because they just haven't been posting throughout the school year, it would be acceptable. Maybe? So either way, it both works and doesn't, and you should go with what you feel. Eight threads in a year isn't terribly bad for a small, niche group of friends.

And on Craziness... Well, personally I don't like forums like that are... uhm... Like that. I've found that, especially among smaller forums, it's better to have a more relaxed general, but I've never seen a forum get rid of the spam forum and not regret it. So you may want to consider that.

Most of you don't know me so my opinion probably means nothing but those are just my thoughts on the subject, from someone who's seen a lot of very large forums become very small, and a lot of very small forums become very dead.

I think you're on the right track, but don't confuse more posts per forum as more activity. Streamlining the board will only do so much. Especially with fall around the corner. The main thing you have to worry about is getting over poster apathy. "Why should i post on Jul when I can just post on facebook* and all the same people (And then some) see it anyway?" My recommendation: Pay someone to create content (In this case I suggest romhacks?). Not convenient? Not feasible? Though. I know it. But original content is what brings people to a site. It's too bad VGFacts kind of steals appropriates content form TCRF and makes videos with it, because you could do that and probably have all of their forum users. Hint.

The simple matter is, if you want more posts, you need more posters, not fewer forums. Go to where people are and bring them here. How? I don't know, if you figure it out, please tell me.

*Don't give me your "I don't go to facebook" shit, you know this is the problem, even if it's not specific to facebook, or to you.
Peardian
Posts: 7180/7421
I used to worry that merging Art will cause the art stuff to get buried under news and stuff, but at this point I'm okay with it. In fact, putting art in the central area would give our creative stuff more attention. We can always split off Art again if it becomes a problem.
RanAS
Posts: 81/481
Originally posted by Xkeeper
I have been considering merging Jul forums down to about 5:

-----
- Main (General, News, Music/Entertainment, Art)
- Silly
- Help/Suggestions
-----
- Gaming
- TCRF
- ROM Hacking, as a legacy holdover forum
-----
I have no objections to this, seeing as the News, Art, Multimedia and Technology forums are barely being used.
Xkeeper
Posts: 21573/23358
I'm still strongly of the opinion that the art/creativity forum would continue to be more of an empty shell than anything good, personally. I've mentioned merging it before and tend to hear the same thing every time, but it's never really gone anywhere being on its own.
Kak
Posts: 1440/1809
For me the list would go among the same lines as DigitalBasic's:

Main
Silly
Forum Help
Non-Meta Help

Tcrf
Gaming
Creative
Hacks/Mods

I'm not sure about the computer help being its own forum. For me, it should be a general help forum for everything but Meta.
xdaniel
Posts: 589/772
Can't really offer anything aside from agreeing with Main, Silly, Help, TCRF, Gaming (or Gaming+Tech), Creativity and ROM Hacking, or however to call them in the end.
DigitalBasic
Posts: 9618/9697
Originally posted by Q
As one of the few users of the Art forum, I'd personally like to see it stay as its own forum, at least as a more general "Creativity" forum.

Rename it to "Creativity" forum and leave it up for any kind of creation -- be it drawings, gifs, videos, let's plays, games, stories, ice sculptures, etc. -- and I'm down with that.

Main, Silly, and Help/Suggestions are good main forums. The last could potentially also replace the Computers/Technology forum for computer help. Maybe make a sticky for Jul suggestions and make the forum Help.

And TCRF, Gaming, Creativity, and Rom Hacks are a good way to combine the lower part.
Q
Posts: 2680/2891
As one of the few users of the Art forum, I'd personally like to see it stay as its own forum, at least as a more general "Creativity" forum. To me, it's fundamentally a different kind of posting experience than what goes on in the General forum, even if it's not very active.

However, I do understand the reasons for merging it, and I ultimately don't mind all that much either way.


That aside, I support Xkeeper's proposed list of fora.
dotUser
Posts: 2130/2319
I didn't include or consider removal of help/suggestions due to it being more of a system forum so to speak. It would be likely unnecessary to merge it with anything or remove it.
Girlydragon
Posts: 2867/2943
Some short thoughts.


A part of me really wants to see the "Help/Suggestions" forum be renamed into "Meta", because posting about posting is very meta. It could also flow well with single words for forum names.

Main
Silly
Meta

Gaming
TCRF
Modding



Also yes, another part of me wants to see the Rom Hack forum changed into a general modding one, but it probably wouldn't be able to save the activity and also dilute the legacy of it, so that's not as important to me.


Other things, if we want to keep an art forum I'd wager to calling it "Creative" instead, as a more catch-all type of thing, whether it be layouts, websites, drawings or music.



With that said, I definitely agree that we should do some merging, and dotUser and Xkeeper presented, I guess I just wanted to add some thoughts, take them or leave them.
Bloodstar
Posts: 11116/11267
I don't think it'd be much of a problem if media was relocated into general, though. (I do worry about general becoming too "general", but considering that board's got topics on page 1 dating back to 2012 I don't think it'd be an issue)

Alternately, if you wanted to have one catch-all creative board you could push Art and ROM hacking together (though considering ROM hacking was pretty much what spawned this community in the first place the idea kinda weirds me out -- consider me far too clingy to old things, I guess)

Worst case, I could see us being left with seven boards.

I rewrote this post like four times and I'm still annoyed with it but shrug
dotUser
Posts: 2129/2319
Random thinking that can probably be ignored below.

-- MAIN --
- The Cafe ( General, News, Media[Music/Entertainment/Anime/Books/Etc] )
- The Asylum ( Craziness, Forum Games if ever )
-- SPECIALIZATIONS --
- The Hub ( Gaming, Technology )
- The Palette ( Art, Other Creative Things[Streaming/General Code/GameDev/Writing/Creativity] )
- TCRF ( Duh )
- ROM 'Acks ( As said LegendaryLegacy Holdover™ )

Who knows...
Xkeeper
Posts: 21570/23358
I also removed the merge of general and silliness since in retrospect I agree they should probably stay separate. General would be a more serious discussion, Silly would stay as relaxed/nonsense.
Xkeeper
Posts: 21569/23358
One problem with the separation is, we have media, ROM hacking, and art. If you create something, where does it go?

The other issue is that several of the most recent threads in that forum have almost no views and 0 replies, so it's pretty clear they aren't getting any traffic* right now.


* 100 views or so is not unreasonable for bot traffic due to all the various crawlers these days
Bloodstar
Posts: 11115/11267
A bump into the "Main" category wouldn't hurt it either, though. (Though, I imagine if we're doing some merging we'd be axing the second category.) As it is, it's kinda far down the page compared to the more active boards.

(Then again, maybe I'm just shooting into the dark about the lack of activity there. I know I'm not helping by not making anything like I used to, hell yeah)
Sanqui
Posts: 1371/1755
I'm generally against merging any more fora, though I don't really have any strong arguments... I don't think the activity is that bad, and I generally use IRC or Latest Posts to read new posts so I don't have to check the forum thread listings. I also argued that a forum like Art might actually inspire some new threads.

At minimum, though, I definitely think General and Craziness definitely stay separate.
Xkeeper
Posts: 21567/23358
Art has 8 threads in all of 2015 so far. I would imagine that merging it into an active forum might help give a little more visibility to any posted content.

This is a long thread. Click here to view it.
Jul - Meta - Forum merging



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