On forums, social media, and the future

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
March 5, 2019 - 3:55pm
Contiuing the off-topic discussion from this thread:

I, too, prefer this site (and forum sites in general) for many of the reasons already mentioned: organization (mostly - current side discussion not withstanding), depth of discussion and ability to format responses instead of a single large paragraph, search ability, visibility, and most of all permenance.

And I also like the other platforms for their rapidity of communication, and ease of connection.  Network effects are not to be discounted.  The Facebook group is steadily growing by about 2 new members every day, it's easy to find and join.  In fact, I now think there are more members there than on this site.  Definitely more active members.  Discord is nice for the various channels that allow you separate the discussions somewhat but both are very fleeting and more ephemeral.

The truth is we have to evolve if we want to stay engaged with the community.  I'm also on Twitter and more and more I'm seeing people mention Star Frontiers there as well.  Shold we recuit people here? Definitely.  Will they come?  Who knows.  If we want to talk with the widest audience, we need to go where they are.  I also think the pendulum is swinging back as well.  The closer of G+, which was a bastion of the RPG community if not specifically Star Frontiers, has sent people scattering to the winds.  A lot of people ended up on MeWe. but a lot of people also went back to blogging and sites more like this and posting links to the social media.  This has also been compounded by the increasing lack of trust in social media sites in general.

This site does have issues.  It's almost a teenager (was started in 2007) and is basically running the same code base which was a hack that Bill put together as his first ever attempt to build such a site.  He freely admits it has issues.  I have tried a couple of times (since it was passed off to me) to update it and fallen flat in the attempt.  It cannot be updated as is, at least not easily.  To upgrade and keep all the content requires a completely new site and then converting all the data to the new system.  This is a project that a company would normaly spend tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on. I could do it if I had the time but I'm spread pretty thin.

One of the problems with it is that it requires such an old version of some of the software that you can't host it on an on-line hosting service.  Thus it runs on a virtual machine on my home server running an OS that hasn't been supported for several years.  It is limited by the hardware I can afford and my home internet connection.  Which aren't that bad but not as good as a hosting service (at least the internet speed).

More and more I considering just building a new site and archiving this one.  It would still be on-line, slow, and searchable but no new content could be added. The newer portion of the site could be faster and more modern.  And over time I could convert all the old threads here to static HTML pages that could quickly accessed and searched on the new site.  Or build software to do so.  As always, it's the project functionality that is the hardest to replicated and transpose.

I would love to see the site used more, and want to fuse it with the wiki aspects of the starfrontiers.info site.  It won't go away but maybe it has to evolve to stay relevant.  Anyway, that's my thoughts on the matter.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine
Comments:

JCab747's picture
JCab747
March 5, 2019 - 4:00pm
Probably the best option would be trying to archive this site and go with a new one. 

Import/convert what seems critical. 

Unfortunately not everything lasts forever... such as the links to fan websites that no longer seem running like Ragnar's Ships & Bots.
Joe Cabadas

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
March 5, 2019 - 4:15pm
For those interested in numbers:

This site:
Registered Users: 1616
New members in the last month:5 (only one of which actually logged on and participated)
Active in the last month:  22  (this is logged in and visited the site)
Registered but never logged in: 469
New posts: 41 (including book pages)
New comments: 218

Facebook:
Group members: 2298
New Members in the last month: 37 (feels like more than that the way my phone beeps at me)
Active in the last month: 1437
New Posts: 77
New comments: 1136
New Reactions: 1967 (this is something we don't do here,  i.e likes and other emojiis)

Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
March 5, 2019 - 4:16pm
But even some of those can be recovered via the internet archive.  I've done a few sites like that on the starfrontiers.info archive section.

Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 5, 2019 - 6:05pm
Ok, this site is for us grognards my vote is archived and accessible but no new posting this site and a new site. Yuck I hate myself for typing that and the change will be a pain but why not a new start for this site since FE is getting a new start? slick new fast flashy more curb appeal to newbies and oldbies that dont currently use it.

I love the projects.  is something like Discord with its channels possible and creatbable project channels? and within a project channels you could have more channels? it wouldn't have the documents or download sections of the projects on this site but those are minor extras IMO. Maybe another archive location for us grognards to post finished stuff?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
March 5, 2019 - 8:58pm
I'm okay with archiving this site and starting a new one with modern software if that's what it takes.

That aside, I have only one offering to make on this topic, and you'll need to be seated as this may take a while...

TerlObar wrote:
New Reactions: 1967 (this is something we don't do here,  i.e likes and other emojiis)

I have mentioned my outlook on this several times before but I'm sure not everyone has seen it, so I'll say it again for those that may have missed it. For the rest of you, enjoy the new and improved rantings of an ornery son of a gun. ;)

The "like" feature is hands down the most anti-social feature that can be added to a social media site. Yes, that's how I used to end this tirade but this time I'll be fresh and open with it (I told you it was new and improved). It's just lazy, that's all there is to it. What it invokes is the equivalent of saying "I agree with what you said but I'm too lazy/worthless/uneducated/moronic and don't have two live brain cells in my head capable of firing off each other to actually participate in this conversation you're attempting to start."

Seriously, it's just plain stupid.

If I have something to say about a topic, by golly I'm going to SAY it. Even if it's just a simple "Hey, that's kind of cool" or "I like that". In a world of instant gratification, the biggest insult I can think of is responding to a well laid out thought or a lengthy composition of wholesome good information by hitting the like button and remaining a silent fool. Why bother? Personally I would PREFER if someone were to remain silent on the matter than hitting the like button and never giving it a second thought.

But the lowest common denominator just LOVES the like button. It's not just a feature but an actual measure of their intellect, no matter how low it may be or how factually incorrect it may be. To them it means "Hey, someone out there likes what I said, they agree with what I said. I'm right, and you're wrong!" Or worse yet, "296 people liked my post and only 11 liked yours, I'm right and you're wrong!" Yep, the simple fact that 296 like-minded idiots out there (pun intended) backed their fellow jackass's banquet of bullshit ends up being complete justification to said jackassery of said jackass. It's not our fault that we are outnumbered by the galactically stupid, the opening of Idiocracy is 100% truth (and for those missing that reference, the movie opens with how an intelligent couple fails to conceive any offspring thus further populating the world with intelligent beings while the double digit IQ Gomers are multiplying like rabbits). It's a sad world we live in where facts are purely optional and the agreements of knot-heads can determine what is actually "correct".

I can't begin to describe how elated I am with the fact that this board lacks that mouth-breathing asinine feature.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
March 5, 2019 - 8:54pm
I can actually recreate something like the projects, I just can't port the existing ones over easily.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 5, 2019 - 9:34pm
Shadow Shack wrote:
I'm okay with archiving this site and starting a new one with modern software if that's what it takes.

That aside, I have only one offering to make on this topic, and you'll need to be seated as this may take a while...

TerlObar wrote:
New Reactions: 1967 (this is something we don't do here,  i.e likes and other emojiis)

I have mentioned my outlook on this several times before but I'm sure not everyone has seen it, so I'll say it again for those that may have missed it. For the rest of you, enjoy the new and improved rantings of an ornery son of a gun. ;)

The "like" feature is hands down the most anti-social feature that can be added to a social media site. Yes, that's how I used to end this tirade but this time I'll be fresh and open with it (I told you it was new and improved). It's just lazy, that's all there is to it. What it invokes is the equivalent of saying "I agree with what you said but I'm too lazy/worthless/uneducated/moronic and don't have two live brain cells in my head capable of firing off each other to actually participate in this conversation you're attempting to start."

Seriously, it's just plain stupid.

If I have something to say about a topic, by golly I'm going to SAY it. Even if it's just a simple "Hey, that's kind of cool" or "I like that". In a world of instant gratification, the biggest insult I can think of is responding to a well laid out thought or a lengthy composition of wholesome good information by hitting the like button and remaining a silent fool. Why bother? Personally I would PREFER if someone were to remain silent on the matter than hitting the like button and never giving it a second thought.

But the lowest common denominator just LOVES the like button. It's not just a feature but an actual measure of their intellect, no matter how low it may be or how factually incorrect it may be. To them it means "Hey, someone out there likes what I said, they agree with what I said. I'm right, and you're wrong!" Or worse yet, "296 people liked my post and only 11 liked yours, I'm right and you're wrong!" Yep, the simple fact that 296 like-minded idiots out there (pun intended) backed their fellow jackass's banquet of bullshit ends up being complete justification to said jackassery of said jackass. It's not our fault that we are outnumbered by the galactically stupid, the opening of Idiocracy is 100% truth (and for those missing that reference, the movie opens with how an intelligent couple fails to conceive any offspring thus further populating the world with intelligent beings while the double digit IQ Gomers are multiplying like rabbits). It's a sad world we live in where facts are purely optional and the agreements of knot-heads can determine what is actually "correct".

I can't begin to describe how elated I am with the fact that this board lacks that mouth-breathing asinine feature.


Jedion likes what you said. Foot in mouth
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 5, 2019 - 9:38pm
TerlObar wrote:
I can actually recreate something like the projects, I just can't port the existing ones over easily.

If the equation is we must evolve to remain rellavent then I can live with the old site being archived and data mining it for ideas and content.

How long would it take to create a new site and to archive the old?

the unvielling will have to be done in conjunction with a new issue of the FE.

The new blood pumping art and submissions into the magazine is nice, we may need to woo the new blood to a new site. Eliminate the negaives this site has and hard to see that the work we do here wont prosper.


I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
March 5, 2019 - 9:40pm
If archive and restart is what works best, then so be it.  I will say that the lack of easy threadability and searchability are a big turn off vis a vis FB.  I much prefer dedicated fora.

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
March 6, 2019 - 7:01am
There is probably zero chance of a new site happening before the next issue of the Frontier Explorer.  Maybe before the July issue but most likely not until the end of summer.  It's just a matter of time and other things going on.  That said, if someone else wants to step up and take over ownership, hosting, maintenance, and building a new site, I'm more than willing to pass it off to them.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 6, 2019 - 10:07am
Maybe Patreon is an option to keep the site ticking over as an archive for now? That is, until all of the data is transferred and/or to help defer costs. Maybe it'd also pay for hosting. I'm not sure what the costs of hosting might be. The host I use in the UK for my illustration portfolio isn't that exspensive (£12 per annum), but I don't know if there would be a higher cost for higher bandwidth use for a SF site.

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 6, 2019 - 10:11am
jedion357 wrote:
The new blood pumping art and submissions into the magazine is nice, we may need to woo the new blood to a new site. Eliminate the negaives this site has and hard to see that the work we do here wont prosper.



Maybe the magazine and the new site become merged in some way?

iggy's picture
iggy
March 6, 2019 - 10:41am
I'm in favor of a new site with the old threads as static pages.  I'm also in favor of leaving out like buttons.  I agree that it encourages lazy conversation. 
-iggy

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
March 6, 2019 - 3:38pm
Hosting isn't an issue.  The Frontier Explorer Patreon and Pay-What-You-Want option on DriveThruRPG cover that if I want to have the site on a web host (where FE is), plus I have a server at my house (where this site currently is located).  I actually think that CPU/Memory wise, my home server is (much) better while the on-line hosting has slightly better bandwidth.

Although I could merge helping to support the new site into the FE Patreon and provide some sort of perk on the site for supporters (probably just an overlay on their avatar that says they support). That's not really important.

Given the response to this thread from the currently active users, I think I'll start working on a new site that doesn't worry about porting all the old fourms and discussion threads over en masse but starts fresh and uses this site as an archive.  (And I never had any intention of implementing a "like" button.)  Then I can work on converting all the old threads to static pages on the new site and eventually shut this one down.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 7, 2019 - 5:25am
I think this is a good plan for the future.


I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
March 8, 2019 - 6:54pm
Okay, I lied...there's one more thing about forums that I need to address in regards to the current generation.

Simply put, the extreme majority just doesn't know how to use them. Rather than post their questions as a new topic --- you know, exactly the way they do on facebook or twitter or whatever soical media they use --- they will somehow find the oldest possible thread dealing with the topic and ask a defunct member the question. Beyond the new generation the only ones capable of necromancing the oldest threads with new posts are spammers. Seriously, that takes some special talent. Result? Since they resurrected a fifteen year old thread and asked the OP of said thread --- who only had two posts, the opening post of said thread and one reply later on from fifteen years ago (this is readily available information on most forae) --- so of course they don't get an answer which turns them off. Even if a regular points out the obvious (which somehow isn't so obvious to the oblivious), they still don;t get their answer and that's the last you see of them.

Which goes right back to instant gratification, which consequently akso weeds out the small minority that actually figures out how to open a new thread with their questions. When they don't have a response five minutes later, they get irritated and drop a "WTF!!! IS ANYONE OUT THERE????????? THIS PLACE SUCKS!" post and that's the last we see of them.

How do we grognards survive without instant gratification? Foot in mouth
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

iggy's picture
iggy
March 8, 2019 - 9:11pm
Shadow Shack wrote:
How do we grognards survive without instant gratification? Foot in mouth


It was beat out of us many campaigns ago.  Get eaten by enough dragons and you learn to wait and parley with the dragon before just wacking it on the nose.
-iggy

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
March 8, 2019 - 10:13pm
I would have a very difficult time resisting the urge of becoming a "killer dungeon master" with entitled players. All the horror stories I read about today's RPGers almost makes me thankful I don't play face to face.

Almost...
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 9, 2019 - 3:02am
Then again, it sounds like you need those sorts of posters like a hole in the head - therefore, there's no need to worry about them. Anyone who is genuinely interested in SF will take the time to find out what they need and ask in the right places. Much as you might be sceptical of modern players, it doesn't mean that they're all like that.

Otherwise we'll all come across as a bunch of old geezers shouting 'Get off my damn lawn!' Foot in mouth

bioreplica's picture
bioreplica
March 9, 2019 - 6:34am
Do upgrade the forum but there is a deeper problem.

No need to put down the younger generation. «Likes» have their utility. I'm 54 and used them all the time. I have a university degree and far from an idiot. Stop demeaning other people you don't know. I rarely come here because of this kind of toxic attitude. It's not condusive to a sense of commmunity and encourages an US against THEM mentality which is divise and frankly not attractive. No wonder the participation on this forum keeps declining...

«Language is a virus from outer space» William S. Burroughs

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 9, 2019 - 9:07am
I actually dont mind most of the necro posting. its occassionally good to go back and say, "Oh yeah"

with new forums I dont think the necro posting will be a problem for at least 1/2 a decade or more. If someone needs instant gratification they will self weed out to FB. that cant be helped. If someone is not interested in what goes on here "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still" they will not stay.

What I want to eliminate is any hurdles to someone who would be otherwise interested and would constructively contribute but is turned off by the outdated performance of the site. Lets remove that hinderance.

Also in this forum lets hear all the negative and try to tackle hurdles to participation. I appreciate both Shadowshack's and Bio-replica's input- they make good points on different vectors of site participation. Lets hash out the issues if we can and see if solutions come up. Anything to promote participation.

The time to have this conversation is long over due.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
March 9, 2019 - 6:13pm
KRingway wrote:
Much as you might be sceptical of modern players, it doesn't mean that they're all like that.

Yep, and you will note that I used words such as "majority of" or "minority of" instead of "all". Wink


bioreplica wrote:

No need to put down the younger generation.

Again, see above.

Quote:
«Likes» have their utility. I'm 54 and used them all the time. I have a university degree and far from an idiot. Stop demeaning other people you don't know.

Just to go into detail --- check any facebook thread and compare the names of responders to the names of "likers". It's very rare to see the same name in both slots. As such it's an observation, when I stop observing it I'll stop reporting it. If you know of a FB group or page where something above a minority representation that hits "like" also responds, please invite me...it would be very refreshing to actually witness it.

Quote:
I rarely come here because of this kind of toxic attitude. It's not condusive to a sense of commmunity and encourages an US against THEM mentality which is divise and frankly not attractive. No wonder the participation on this forum keeps declining...

Anyone that knows me knows I am outspoken. I call it like I see it and I tell it like it is. I won't bullshit you and I won't butter you up. There are others that have been through here that are/were far "worse" than me in that regard. If that makes things divisive, well...modern society has promoted that far more in the past decade than I could ever attempt to do if I had another thousand years to perfect my outspoken nature.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 10, 2019 - 12:23am
A 'Like' isn't really anything to get bothered about IMHO. It's just a general, basic form of agreement/encouragement/acknowledgement. Whether anyone also reacts with feedback in words isn't really an issue for me. If you were giving a talk in a room full of people and you could see that many of them were smiling and/or nodding in agreement, you wouldn't then expect the vast majority to then comment or ask questions. You can just use what you see to read the room - likes are pretty much the same thing. I also think the whole 'instant gratification' thing is a damp squib and a non-issue. It just seems an excuse to berate others, especially people below a certain age.

Like it or not, if a site doesn't move with the times at least a bit it's not going to do itself any favours, especially if it really wants to reach out to a new generation of potential players.