Talk about just about anything else that is non-gaming here, but keep it clean
User avatar
Ziggy587
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 12273
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:12 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participation?

by Ziggy587 Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:04 pm

Forum participation has been pretty low. I feel like we are over using the all-inclusive threads that we have. Don't get me wrong, I love having these threads. But I feel like they are ultimately hurting forum participation. I think we're using them wrong.

For example, we have the Switch Discussion Thread. Anytime anyone wants to talk about the Switch, they post in that thread. So now we have a bloated thread that's currently at 394 pages. Or the "How is your X gaming going?" threads. The SNES one is currently at 229 pages. And the worst culprit, the Random Gaming Thoughts thread.

I thought these threads were great (and I still do) because it was a place to post thoughts that weren't good enough to start a thread for but would otherwise go unheard if we didn't have such threads. But then we all started to use these all-inclusive threads way too much, instead of making new threads when appropriate. It became clear to me when a new Nintendo World Championship cart was discovered and the Racketboy forum only had a brief mention in the Random Gaming Thoughts thread (which is currently at 2,007 pages). C'mon, guys, if that news isn't new thread worthy than I really don't know what is.

New threads and replies in said threads is what's gonna keep forum participation up. A new NWC being discovered is huge news in the retro gaming world, that NEVER happens. A brief remark in a thread with over 2,000 pages isn't gonna get a passerby to decide to join and start posting, but a new thread about it might.

Again, I like having all the "official" and "random" threads, but not at the sacrifice of never making new threads. Some silly random thought about the SNES? Sure, post that in the "How is your SNES gaming going?" thread. But discovered a new game that you've been hooked on? THAT needs a new thread, not to be buried in a large and bloated thread. It's easy for those of us that have been here for years to be OK with having ANY discussion in these all-inclusive threads, but it really puts an outsider off from wanting to join in. Think about it, if there's a Switch thread with almost 4,000 replies, how is that gonna make a newbie feel like they can join in? They would like like if they posted that someone would certain say, "Gosh, we talked about that already," but they can't be expected to catch up with the rest of the community over the past 4,000 replies in that thread! Or if they find a post in Google that they would want to reply to, but it's on page 58, they might feel like they can't reply now because it was hundreds of pages ago. But if that discussion on page 58 was it's own thread, with maybe only 2-3 pages, that wouldn't be the case.

In addition to putting off potential new users, we also have seen a decline in regular users. Myself, who has been coming here regularly for the past 11 years, find it difficult to keep up with the forum because of these threads. For example, every time I check the Random Gaming Thoughts thread, it's several pages past the last time I checked it. I can easily miss something that could have been a nice conversation if it was it's own thread.

I don't want to see these "Official X" threads go away, but I feel like we need to stop using them almost exclusively and start creating more content on the forums. Maybe we should have all of the "Official X" threads locked for a certain amount of time, to try and retrain ourselves how to use the "create new thread" button?

What do you guys think?
Image
User avatar
Gunstar Green
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 4788
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:12 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by Gunstar Green Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:08 pm

I don't think so. I think people have just drifted away from forums in general. It's difficult to find any super active forum now unless they're huge. People don't want to sign up to something new when they can just go on Reddit or social media or even more likely these days, Discord.

It certainly hasn't helped that the retro-gaming boom kind of came and went.
User avatar
BoneSnapDeez
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 18973
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 1:08 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:51 pm

Yeah, I regrettably agree with the above.

Retro gaming, as a hobby, is declining. And "forums" are a dead format, superseded by massive websites like reddit and social media. Sites like this are on borrowed time, I'm afraid to say.
User avatar
Ziggy587
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 12273
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:12 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by Ziggy587 Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:09 pm

I don't know if that's true, at least not for all age groups. Maybe it's true with the younger people, but retro gaming is made up mostly by an older crowd. For example, I've been talking on a Telecaster forum that's made up of a mostly older crowd, and that forum is still very active. The NesDev forum is still as active as it's ever been.
Image
User avatar
Ack
Moderator
 
Posts: 20930
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:26 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by Ack Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:58 pm

Ziggy587 wrote:I don't know if that's true, at least not for all age groups. Maybe it's true with the younger people, but retro gaming is made up mostly by an older crowd. For example, I've been talking on a Telecaster forum that's made up of a mostly older crowd, and that forum is still very active. The NesDev forum is still as active as it's ever been.


Maybe, but there's probably not as much competition for Telecaster and NesDev forums. Retro entered into a sort of bubble where a lot of folks got into it, but prices skyrocketed, many of us played the games we wanted to seek out, and eventually a lot of folks got out of the hobby or moved to other sites, forums, etc.

Reddit and YouTube have hit us hard, not to mention other social media sites, and we get forgotten because we don't have the impact that we used to. Notice how few of the social media personalities that used to be big presences here still come around. As for ideas that were developing here, they ended up manifesting in places like RFGeneration. Our articles put a lot of info out there...but that info is now all over the place because we were successful, but also because people learned the importance of such metadata and developed new ways of using it, storing it, and showcasing it. We also stopped putting out so many articles because the main writers had other things going on in their lives, and though we tried reaching out to the community multiple times, it never developed into a sustained push.

We have our gaming clubs, but those have changed and shifted over time. We used to have TR as well as genre-specific ones, but the genre-specific groups whittled away or dropped when key people took time off or quit entirely. And then we experience copy cats and splintering that draw people away to other sites.

Yes, it's probably tough for new people to come into a site where many of us have a decade of time and tens of thousands of posts. We're probably also hard to talk to, because we've revisited some of these conversations repeatedly. Someone just discovering how amazing A Link to the Past is probably won't have anything new to say that hasn't been said here dozens of times. I don't fault the guy, and I'm glad he's found something new and fun, but I've said everything I have to say on the subject.

And then there are the arguments that have broken out and the rules we've had to implement over societal polarization. It's led to wear and tear, and good folks have quit entirely or in some cases been harassed into walking away.

It's a lot of different factors that have whittled away and needled at us. If you can come up with ideas to counteract this, it would be good to reach out to Nick.
Image
Image
I have a movie review website now: https://moviereviewsbyamook.com/
User avatar
Ziggy587
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 12273
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:12 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by Ziggy587 Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:15 pm

I don't disagree that there's a lot of contributing factors to the dwindling forum participation. My point is, we're not exactly making the forum enticing to new members when most of our posting these days are done in these large on-going threads that are several hundred pages deep. If people stop by the forum, they wont stay if there isn't enough good content that interests them. If someone decides to join and make their first post, if the reception is warm it's likely that they'll post some more.

Sure, we had some people leave over arguments that got out of control and hurt feelings. You ever walk into an argument? You freeze, then slowly back out of the room hoping that they people arguing wont notice you. "Let's not go in there again." There were definitely some personal issues between various members here, but it seem like the fire burned itself out at this point. There's no reason we can't rebuild.

But stuff like this and trends and bubbles are the easy reasons to identify. Sure, the kids are flocking to all the newer forms of internet communicating but it's not as if people aren't still using forums. Maybe my two examples were bad examples, but my point is that there's still plenty of forums out there that are still very active. I truly believe that the overuse of too many be-all end-all threads is hurting the regrowth of the forum here. It just wasn't an obvious problem.

Me, personally, I can remember why I joined. I had just bought a Saturn mod chip and was searching the forum for a quick answer. I found my answer, but happened to notice a few other threads that peaked my interest. I joined, made my first post, and haven't left since. I don't think mine is an unlikely event. I think this is how most people end up joining forums. Point is, we need the forum content to attract more forum users.

And while I'm on the subject... I also think that the "Active Forum Discussions" should be featured more prominently on the front page. It's all the way at the bottom, not giving it the best chance of being seen.

PS, I sent Nick a link to this thread.
Image
User avatar
emwearz
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 4665
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:24 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by emwearz Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:23 pm

I have always disliked "official" threads.

If I want to talk about good memory cards for the Switch, I would prefer to have a topic dedicated to it, rather than going through a thread of 250 pages.
User avatar
marurun
Moderator
 
Posts: 9428
Joined: Sat May 06, 2006 8:51 am
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by marurun Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:47 pm

People can create new threads if they want. Those monolithic threads are places to put one-off thoughts. Maybe the problem isn’t the threads themselves, necessarily. Maybe some others should simply post by example. Post the way you want to read.
B/S/T thread
My Classic Games Collection
My Steam Profile
The PC Engine Software Bible Forum, with Shoutbox chat - the new Internet home for PC Engine fandom.
User avatar
pierrot
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 3715
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:54 am
Location: Banned

Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by pierrot Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:14 pm

At the risk of sounding like another complacent voice in this, I think you're just observing a symptom of the current state of the boards. There's not enough activity to support one-off threads for everything, anymore. Most of the people who still post even semi-regularly are in a bit of a refresh-loop, mostly updating progress and/or milestones. Even some of those style of posters have seemed to drop off completely: SSNintendo comes to mind. A lot of my posting has probably drifted in this direction, too.

If the goal is to rebuild the Racketboy user-base, I don't think that's likely to happen without a fair amount of outreach on other platforms, and it's not like Racketboy is getting name dropped in nerdy rap videos anymore, either. For whatever reason, the boards seem to have become inhospitable to new members, as well. There have been a handful that I thought might be around for a bit longer than they were, but they ultimately seem to have stopped frequenting the site, too.

If you just want to see where the activity is, it's mostly in the Slack channel. That's where the majority of the forum member conversations have been for about the last two years now. Even some people you might have thought were gone completely are there. The other place people have moved to, and I don't necessarily want to point it out, but, it's over at the Hardcore Retro Gaming (Exhuminator's) forums. I can count on roughly one hand the number of times I've poked around over there, but it seems to regularly have more activity. It doesn't appear as though the number of users is larger, necessarily, just probably that they're posting more.

Edit: The other thing that occurs to me is that, even the "How's your X gaming going" threads haven't had anyone posting in them for months. It used to be that I would go to specific sub-forums to see what was up, but now I can cross off huge portions of the site from my routine because I know no one is going to post anything in them. (I actually have just acquiesced to using the Active Topics link, because it's too much work to figure out what, if any, sub forums have any new posts in them.
Last edited by pierrot on Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Image
User avatar
SamuraiMegas
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 2918
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:42 pm
Location: ಠ‿ಠ

Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by SamuraiMegas Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:16 pm

I made that NWC post, I wasn't really sure if it was confirmed 100% yet so I didn't make a thread.
Hobie-wan wrote:Milk the banana for all it's worth.

My BST Thread
This account isn't used much anymore. You can find me on reddit and steam @ SamuraiMegas as well.
Return to Off-Topic / Whatever

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests