|Sorry it has taken so long to reply. The problem with megaposts like this is that it's very hard to digest and reply, because there are so many different chains of thought. I will try to be more concise this time.
Originally posted by Robbie Rage
What I was referencing here was indeed the "hidden community" portion. From what I've seen, Jul is hidden and niche enough that, at the time, I believed that alone could work as a deterrent. I thought that those who actually find this place, stick around for a long enough period of time, and make enough posts could eventually prove themselves trustworthy enough.
However, this might only help if an attempted expansion of activity is what people actually want. A solution to something that isn't a problem is no solution at all.
The private sections of the forum have been getting officially discouraged by me, to try to shift the (admittedly little) posting that happens there into the public areas, with an exception for things that need to be private. This is also why #x has been a little more active than usual, actually.
The original solution of having the private forums was a ham-fisted solution to a problem of wanting a private place to discuss things; originally this whole board was private, as a side-area for personal friends, and it suddenly got thrust into public view when the board2 split happened. I just kind of kept going down that path, and it retrospect it wasn't the best idea.
This is one point that I do not fully agree with. While the backbone of the old forum was indeed ROM hacking, not everyone who showed up and stayed was a ROM Hacker or a programmer. I certainly was neither of these things. I was into role playing and video games, so the general Mario/RPG aesthetic got my attention, and the RP forums got me to stay beyond the "general bullshit" forum need.
While mediums like Facebook, Twitter, and Discord might scratch that online social "itch" for some people, Acmlmboards like Jul play a much different role in practice. Any community has it's own unique "tone" not just from the unique features that it provides, but also from the users it brings in and maintains. This difference in community tone and service, while not as gigantic as in it's heyday, can still have a unique appeal like it does for us.
Put another way, if Facebook is like a Big Mac in a shopping mall food court, places like this are like freshly grilled burgers in the backyard. You still get fed, but the quality and flavor is vastly different, and will have a much greater appeal for many.
I wasn't trying to imply that ROM hacking was the sole reason for the existence of Acmlm's Board's activity, but more that it acted like a "focal point"; a better real-life example might be something of a club for people about (thing). People initially come to it because of the thing, but as time goes on the group may branch out into unrelated activities (say, going to a movie on the weekend, meetups, etc). People start bringing their friends, who aren't interested in the original thing, and suddenly you have a general-purpose group of friends that had its roots in one thing but is now mostly focused on something else.
Acmlm's Board was that. People came for ROM hacking, but stayed because of things like the Story Forum or the forum games (and the news, back when the internet wasn't as aggregated as it is now); as those parts grew, other people joined for them, and so on. But without any of those things, and without a "critical mass", you can't just start a group and have it survive. There's way too much competition on that front from social media now.
As for the "home board" idea, I feel like that isn't quite as universal as it may seem. I don't really see myself as being tied down to one particular place. It just so happens that Kafuka as it stands today has a lot more of the old Acmlmboard features and vibe that I missed, so the vast majority of my activity will go there rather than Jul. I'll still pop in and lurk around here every so often, I just feel less inclined to post more frequently here than I do on Kafuka.
I find it a little ironic that you talk about having more of the old Acmlmboard features when this forum flat-out is the old Acmlmboard.
As for the vibe, though, I understand. Jul was always a little
elitist "focused on quality of posts", because for a long time we saw the kind of rapid, low-content posting as spam that needed to be removed. It was a fairly oppressing atmosphere and it drove some people away (what fun is there to be had if you can't relax and just chill?). I've tried to shake that for now, but there isn't really enough activity here to make a difference.
And that just confirms what I kinda figured. I always knew Jul was your baby, and the privacy of yourself and it's core users seemed understandably paramount. When I first made my post, I confess that I was on a bit of a nostalgia high and wanted to see what was possible to recreate the best of the I1 and I2 days while learning from the past. I don't blame you at all for wanting to retain what good you still have here.
Jul is... I wouldn't say it was my baby, as much as it was an increasingly frustrated series of attempts to recreate the nostalgia we felt with the original Acmlm's Board, all the way back to the beginning. The problem was that, not only were we a little naive with our goal... but that the atmosphere on the internet had been changing, too. It has been a losing battle for 10 long years.
That is what I mean when I say I have kind of accepted the fate Jul has now. I would love to see this place somewhat active again, but... part of it was just that, back then, a lot of us were unemployed, or at school, and had a lot more free time to just piss away on the internet. These days, there's so much less of that time, and so much more pressure to be "productive", that just chatting feels like a waste of time. I barely check this place any more because I'm usually so busy doing other things...
Now THIS I remember. For whatever reason, much of the audience of I1 and I2 did skew kinda young, and I was there too. I also remember that some of my earliest I1 posts were some of the absolute stupidest posts ever typed, and it was a valuable period of learning for me. Like it was said, if you end up pushing too hard, you end up losing someone who could eventually grow into a better member of the community.
While this may not be an issue on Jul so much anymore, I've seen it elsewhere, and I really don't care to ever see it again.
I feel like I mentioned it before, but it's very hard to tell the difference between someone who is being intentionally obtuse (being hard to work with or understand on purpose, trying to troll, etc) and someone who is legitimately learning and will be receptive to feedback... especially when you also have to weigh the feelings of other users who are getting annoyed by it. If they turn out to be bad, you've just ended up driving off people who were getting tired of what was legitimately garbage; if they turn out to be good, you've potentially driven someone away.
Administrating isn't a black and white affair, and there is a lot of room to make mistakes. I will be the first in line to admit that we have made many over the years.
Hmm, I don't think I really managed to be concise this time. Sorry. These sorts of things tend to draw out the big effort posts from me, I guess.