For those who are new, this is a weekly post where you can share your praises/complaints/wish features for our forum, game pages, content, etc. So, have at it and let us know your thoughts! (Sorry about the late post by the way).
Also, here's something more specific we could focus on for this week:
Some of our users have raised concerns on the current format of our forum, with the main issue around our forum's nature of aggregating all user posts. Because the general discussion and game-specific posts are all displayed on the main forum page, it can make it difficult to have a focused discussion around a specific game without generating threads that can go off-topic. To clarify, the main issue isn't that there are off-topic discussions happening, but that the nature of the current format makes it unclear when it's appropriate/desired or not.
Another issue that's been on my mind is that our current format isn't suitable for rapid growth in our community. If you think about how fast some of the posts can get buried even after a day, imagine how difficult it'll be to keep up with the pace if we grew 100x in size (and that's still nowhere near the size we want to be at).
So, here are some of my thoughts before I share my ideas for a solution:
- I like the conversational/friendly nature of our discussions. Our community certainly has a different feel in comparison to reddit and BGG, and I enjoy that.
- Our community is too small to call for a complete separation between general and game-specific forum posts. Assuming the game-specific forum posts could only be accessed/viewed from the game page, these posts will likely get zero traction/comments from users.
- I do agree that there can be off-topic threads. I personally don't mind them, but I could see how if someone made a game-specific post to ask about different strategies, it wouldn't be desirable if we had loads of off-topic threads happening. Again, I don't mind as much because we have threaded discussions where you can hide the "trees" (and again, it's due to the nature of our small-knit community where a lot of us currently know each other and are on familiar terms). Also, as others have mentioned, the issue is usually when it's not 100% clear that a post is for general or game-specific discussion, either due to the description of the post not making that line clear or because of the structure of our forum not providing that clarity.
- Even when I can't contribute to a game-specific post due to lack of knowledge or experience, I prefer to be able to see the post so that I could read others' thoughts on the topic.
With that said, here are some of my ideas (please feel free to comment on this/add your own suggestions). Some of these ideas have already been discussed in the past and were going to be implemented in the near future:
- First, make it mandatory for all forum posts to be assigned to a "topic" page. This will help provide more organization. I will also need Trent to allow me to assign past forum posts to topic pages if they haven't been assigned to one already (or if they've been assigned to the wrong ones).
- As a side note, our forum needs a "Community Guidelines" section to make sure everyone's on the same page and for everyone to have one standard to point to if and when an issue comes up.
- Keep the main forum page as is but provide better visible cues on whether a post is for general discussion or game-specific discussion. OR, the alternative could be to add a checkbox to specify whether the post will be visible to the main forum or not. If we go with this idea, I could also imagine that if a content creator wanted to "catch-up" after finding out about BGA, they could have an option to post 100's of their links at once if they're okay with having them default to not showing up on the main forum page. I'm split between the two ideas because while I like seeing all posts in one spot, the current forum format isn't practical to house a flood of daily posts that will happen in the future. At the same time, a post that doesn't show up on the main forum page will likely get zero traction due to the current size of our community (how would you feel about this? I personally feel like it would be discouraging for a user to make posts if they never get a response).
- I think the best way for now is to keep the forum as is, but do two things: First, add better visible cues to distinguish between general and game-specific posts. Second, create a subscription based forum page view. You are currently able to subscribe to specific games, users, and in the future, to topic pages. This page will create a custom feed of content you're most interested in. This should be especially valuable when the community has grown much larger in size. I'd also imagine having an option to make this page your default. We could even consider having three separate views for the forum: (1) general discussion, (2) game-specific discussion, and (3) personalized feed.
Well, that's all I have for now so let me know what you think!
Next week, let's focus on how we can revamp the game pages :D