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The Big Ol' Make TFS Better Suggestion Thread

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 11:53
by Konpeito
Gooooooood morning TFS! Some of you may not know me, but as you can tell from the fancy-colored username I am, in fact, your friendly neighborhood forum admin. Unless you were reading a Dwarf Fortress succession thread in the Random forum, you probably haven't seen that much of me here, and I'll be the first to admit I haven't been doing my job. That's not, as you might expect, stickying/unstickying threads on request or randomly banning people for using the letter Q, but rather making sure that the community stays healthy, vibrant, and active. Unfortunately, as you've probably noticed, we've been getting steadily less and less traffic over time. It's not because people aren't coming around- the introductions thread has posts from this week on it. No, it's because there isn't enough going on to keep them around as anything but an occasional lurker.

Obviously this is not what we want.

So, what are we doing to fix this? Well, as you've probably noticed, there's been some general reorganization. The webcomic forum has been archived for the time being. Why? Because there isn't a webcomic here, and there hasn't been for quite some time, and we haven't been a webcomic forum for any of that time: we've just been a forum. I've also moved the Indolent Admin Method forum to the top of the page, where it'll serve as an announcement clearinghouse as well as an oh-god-help-me forum, and the high-traffic Random forum has been moved to right underneath it. I'll be doing some more reshuffling of forums, but those are the big moves. Fear not, we're not eating your favorite forums! In fact, we'll be adding a couple of sub-forums, but that's still a project in the works. You'll hear more about that when the time comes. There'll also be some shakeup of the moderating teams, due to time commitment issues and other concerns, so that we'll have a more active mod corps.

This brings me to the audience participation segment of the post. I have ideas. I have an active core of users who want to help the forum community get back on its feet and active again. But this is not enough, because I also need to hear from you. Suggestions are welcome! Any idea is a good idea (unless, y'know, your idea is that we move to Alaska to hunt grizzlies for a living, because that'd be a pretty bad idea), so please speak up! Yours could be the idea that makes the rest of the Exalted community on the internet sit up and say "Hey, TFS isn't just porn after all!"

That said, just because you offer a suggestion does not mean it will get taken up. We can't make everyone happy. There is a very high probability that no matter what we do, some people will be extremely unhappy (this is the internet, after all). We can't do everything suggested, so don't take it personally when your brilliant idea to sell a line of sig-character action figures made entirely out of corks doesn't go anywhere. This is an incredibly important issue, not just for me, and we have to do this right if we want this forum to persist as an active community.

With that, I throw the floor open to you fine folks. Let's make TFS even more awesome! :D

-------
Ideas Clearinghouse!

People are already starting to fork off discussion groups, so I'll include links to them here.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 13:15
by Epiphany
Kon, I appreciate and respect your desire to infuse more life into the Freedom Stone. Bravo. I imagine projects and reorganization will both help, though you may want to detail what some of those are in advance if you're interested in what the forum membership thinks of them.

It's not my intention to derail this thread but the chief reason I rarely come to the Freedom Stone anymore has little to do with how much content is here. To be perfectly candid, it has to do with the behavior of some forum members who post here. The people, rather than the content, have been the chief turnoffs. (Okay, being honest, splitting the writing forum into two isn't something I liked either but that's about 15% of it).

I don't enjoy fighting in general and I'm unconvinced the behavior will change because I suspect those doing it feel there's nothing wrong with it. I'd call them on it anyway but experience on the internets suggests I'll be dismissed or they'll be offended (or feel guilty) enough to leave, which is a lose/lose. So I've mostly opted to withdraw.

I only speak for myself here but a number of people I still keep in touch with have said much the same thing. You might consider a poll to that effect, if you really want to know if I'm unique. If you do pursue a poll about forum member behavior and there's enough people who feel as I do, I'd probably be willing to discuss it further with the parties in question.

Meanwhile, as the Freedom Stone Admin, I'd be happy to discuss specifics with you privately, Konpeito, with the cavet that it stays private unless others feel the same. Don't feel obligated, though. I'm just one person at this point.

Best of luck with the Freedom Stone reorganization. I loved this place a great deal and knowing that it prospers is a nice thought.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 13:25
by lumber_of_the_beast
Do a new webcomic.

No, seriously. As it stands, there's nothing to compel someone to chat here, rather than at the official forums. We have nothing unique. We're just a general discussion forum for a game that already has an official general discussion forum with a much larger list of posters. Including several of the writers who work on the game.

A new webcomic, one that actually sticks around and is good and stands out from KoC, would help its forum stand out in turn.

Alternately, substitute webcomic for anything particularly interesting - music composed to use as part of a session, a series of articles containing tips on how to ST an Exalted game, how to make interesting and effective characters, whatever.

Also, I disagree with Epiphany; while the chat sometimes makes me wonder if TFS's user base is comprised of a combination of idiots, trolls, and whiners, I don't see those elements carried over to the forum very often.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 13:32
by Konpeito
lumber_of_the_beast wrote:
Do a new webcomic.


This is actually a suggestion that's come up in my discussion of the issue with some others (this post was not the first time the subject was brought up), and we have some ideas, but I'm glad to hear that others agree.

Likewise, we were considering some other projects and community activities. Music wasn't one of 'em, but I think that's a pretty neat idea, myself.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 13:33
by Logos Invictus
A new webcomic is something we're looking at, albeit in a format that would distribute the work across the group as a whole, or at least a group, so that we don't run into the same problem we had with the old webcomic.

We're also looking at combining that with ways to encourage more people to post art, writing and even music. In our research, we've found that the writing forum actually gets more activity than any other part of the board except possibly random subjects, so we're definitely going to try and use that to our advantage to help keep the community alive.

We feel that a combination of approaches, rather than one central hook, is the best way to create something that will eventually sustain itself.

That said, lumby, thanks for your input - constructive ideas are always appreciated, and it's good to know we aren't the only ones thinking along those lines already.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 13:58
by lumber_of_the_beast
Another idea I just had, regarding the writing and art forums (and the crunch forum, now that I think about it): Maybe set up a panel of three or so "judges" who are tasked with commenting on every bit of work that is posted, no matter how fantastic, terrible, or mediocre it is? That way, every author is guaranteed at least a little feedback, which might help to encourage more posting of works there.

Also, I'd totally be up for trying my hand at composing some music, but I don't have a clue about whatever software I could use :V

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 14:13
by bassist159
Before I say what I have to say: First, sorry for a derail. Secondly, If I am one of the people Epiphany or any of his contingent have an issue with, and I'm fairly certain I am, I encourage you, drop me a PM or corner me on AIM or IRC, and I'll do my best to bury the hatchet somewhere that isn't your back. This is a standing offer. I am willing to put aside any issues I have, smooth over any misgivings, and - you might want to sit down for this one - sincerely apologize if it means not letting the community gutter out. Again, this is me trying to open a dialog, so we can get real trolling issues handled beyond arguments.

That said, I'd been wanting to discuss running another writing project. Kon, as you mentioned in chat, the long-fiction forum does get the most traffic, so it would make sense to capitalize there. And, as much as I'd like to restart Vanished, we're missing too many people. Of course, we'd need mod stamping on this, but could we get a project sticky up if it sounds like a good idea?

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 14:13
by Path
What I appreciate most about the Freedom Stone:

People are (generally) interested in each others' characters enough to draw them, write them, or use them themselves. I love seeing various takes on any one character (and who isn't flattered, to see others liking their work?), so I really enjoy seeing the amount of gift writing and art here. Sharing, man.

So yeah, I heartily approve of group projects. *thumbs up*

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 14:16
by Kailan
Something I had thought of kicking around, and hadn't really gotten around to discussing, was a fanfic archive. I have to disagree slightly and say that what makes TFS really stand out is creative contributions in the form of fan art and fanfiction (both of the safe and not-safe-for-work varieties), and I think playing to those strengths would definitely be beneficial. One of the reasons I've been so gung-ho about that writing project we started last year was to do just that, encourage forum participation, and so forth.

Judge panels for crit would be neat - I'd vaguely kicked around the idea of doing a "reader's choice" sort of thing with fanfic, but never ended up doing anything with it. Music is a cool idea and one I hadn't considered, ironically enough!

Keep the input coming, guys. :D

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 14:35
by bassist159
I might also recommend perhaps we consider getting a custom style sheet and graphics for the forum? I mean, as it is, we're kind of free website-looking. Even SomethingAwful, which mandates pretty much everything on the forum still be 56K friendly, proves you can look good while doing that.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 14:53
by AstraKiseki
Silence or snark, that's what happens here. Bluntly, the site isn't friendly anymore. Seriously. I don't post here anymore because it's not fun.

All the organization and hooks in the world (and the fan fic archive is a wonderful idea) won't keep people here if the crowd here is unpleasant.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 15:04
by Konpeito
AstraKiseki wrote:
Silence or snark, that's what happens here. Bluntly, the site isn't friendly anymore. Seriously. I don't post here anymore because it's not fun.

All the organization and hooks in the world (and the fan fic archive is a wonderful idea) won't keep people here if the crowd here is unpleasant.


You may think so, certainly. I'd argue that the silence is a consequence of the lack of traffic rather than a cause.

In any case, I'd prefer to keep this thread constructive. If you have issues with specific people on the forum, take it up with your friendly neighborhood moderator. S'what they're there for.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 15:30
by BrilliantRain
I have to both disagree and agree with Lumby. What makes this site unique is the fan-fic and art that we have here. But I think that one of the problems we have is a lack of replies, so a set of judges or something would be nice. I don't visit the writing areas that much, so I can't say if this is necessarily true there, but the Crunch section does have problems with lack of responses. And, yes, I think it is most visible with me, but I like to think that it's because I read everything posted in the crunch forum and try to remember to reply to anything that hasn't been replied to. However, I don't always succeed at that.

To try to remedy the problem, at least on the Crunch forum, I'll post some suggestions and guidelines to try to make your things more response friendly, but I'd also like to invite anyone to PM me if they have some crunch that they want comments on. I think I do best with artifacts, but I'm glad to discuss anything. I fully intend to reply to a bunch of things, but sometimes I need reminding.

Additionally, if someone wants the unofficial position of charm judge or something and have it be their job to reply to all charm posts, I'd be glad for the help. The only thing I can give in return is prompt comments from me on their crunch. But, if that's enough for you, I'd welcome the help.

Also, as far as unfriendliness goes, I haven't seen much in the Crunch forum and I try to read everything, but I'm sure I miss things from time to time. If you have a problem there, please PM me and I'll see what I can do.

After all, I haven't gotten to use my Piston Driven Megaton Banhammer on anyone in a while. (I'm kidding)

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 15:32
by Obscaenus
<JaitoWalkz> If I had better rules, a pbp LARP would be interesting
<andrensath> PBP LARP? How would that work?
<JaitoWalkz> Exaltation threads, scenes loosely connected in time. Combats or other conflicts run as Fic Polls, with the Rule of 3
<JaitoWalkz> Each side posts thrice, 3 days of poll voting on the winner, ST describes conclusion.
<Greenling> sounds pretty interesting.
<JaitoWalkz> And even scheduled "live-scenes"
<Bassist159> ...Jaito.
<Bassist159> That's brilliant.
<Bassist159> Go post it in the thread, please.
<JaitoWalkz> I'd offer to write and run it
<JaitoWalkz> I am on my BB at work

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 15:38
by bassist159
To echo Brilliant Rain's comments about the lack of discussion in the crunch forum, I was going to suggest we reorganize the forum so all the fanworks sub-forums are lined up together, and perhaps open in the Index to the crunch guys as well? No reason the guys doing what I think is the hardest part of the fanworks should be the poor cousins separated from the others.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 15:59
by Konpeito
bassist159 wrote:
To echo Brilliant Rain's comments about the lack of discussion in the crunch forum, I was going to suggest we reorganize the forum so all the fanworks sub-forums are lined up together, and perhaps open in the Index to the crunch guys as well? No reason the guys doing what I think is the hardest part of the fanworks should be the poor cousins separated from the others.


I was actually going to do that at some point today. Try not to get lost as I move stuff around, everyone. :D

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 16:27
by Epiphany
Lumber of the Beast et. al.: Wow, a new webcomic would be a fantastic idea. To be honest, I started learning to draw over the summer so that I could do a webcomic and even went as far as asking Rai and Mak for the ability to host a comic here. I've been fairly derailed on that goal lately but I would love a good quality Exalted comic.

As ideas go, I'd lean toward a comic with a centralized plot. Either written by one person or colloratively but a bit less open-ended than people posting whatever. Ongoing plot seems to draw readers for webcomics.

Bassist159: To be clear, I don't have a contingent. I have my sentiments, which I chose to express, but I don't speak for anyone else. Just thought it'd be relevant to mention I'd heard others complain and I trust they can speak for themselves. I know how intimidating it is to say so, though, which is why I recommended a poll if the administration wants to get a better less-intimidating feel on things.

I very much appreciate your grace. If you are one of the people, given your kind invitation, I'll follow up with you in private since I don't think public posts are the best way to talk those kinds of things out. :)

I'd also like to restart Vanished, am game for it if people want to, and greatly enjoyed the Writing Project concept. I second (or third, or forth, etc.) writing projects as a good idea for this forum.

Kailan: Fanfiction archive...wow. Yeah, an easily accessible well-indexed archive would be fantastic for this place. Yes please. :)

Konpeito:

Konpeito wrote:
You may think so, certainly. I'd argue that the silence is a consequence of the lack of traffic rather than a cause.

In any case, I'd prefer to keep this thread constructive. If you have issues with specific people on the forum, take it up with your friendly neighborhood moderator. S'what they're there for.


While not commenting on Astra's opinions, I'd argue that a lack of traffic has a lot to do with silence. And other things. Be interesting to see how well this forum retains newer members, especially in the 10-50 post range.

Agreed on the Moderator bit but would encourage people to talk to the parties directly. Tends to be more effective and peace-making in the long run. Note to self: Follow my own advice.

BrilliantRain: You're a fantastic Moderator in my opinion. Honestly, your example is part of what made me realize my example was lacking when I was the Writing Forum mod and led to me stepping down so someone who actually did read everyone's fiction and comment would take over.

Bassist159: Totally agree Crunch indexes should be indexed together with fiction. No reason for the Artistic Organization thread to be fiction-exclusive.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Separate ideas following.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 16:36
by Epiphany
If we're talking about radical things, I think a really powerful Index could do amazing things for this place.

Imagine if a user could log into the Freedom Stone and sort through threads based on things like 'Charms', 'Martial Arts', 'Artifacts', 'Fiction - Solar', 'Sketch - Abyssal'. While the forums could remain as general holding cells, having a really effective index would bring a number of benefits.
  • Allows people to more easily find something they've already read once before.
  • Allows people to look for new things far more effectively.
  • Would likely improve comments because someone shopping around for, say, a custom MA might be more likely to post on why they liked one or why they didn't like one.
  • The easier it is to find things, the more likely they'll use it and the more likely people they use it with will be to come here as well.
  • If you include Newest Posts feature, would probably solve the problem of popular threads bumping less popular threads.
  • If you solved that, you'd make it possible for new posters to comment on older posts without feeling like they're committing thread necromancy.

Maybe people could 'tag' their posts with tags like 'Solar', 'Sidereal', 'Fiction', etc.

But now I'm wondering if what I'd like is more than a forum can do. I don't know. But I'd love it if this site had that kind of functionality.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 16:39
by Kailan
Epiphany wrote:
If we're talking about radical things, I think a really powerful Index could do amazing things for this place.

Imagine if a user could log into the Freedom Stone and sort through threads based on things like 'Charms', 'Martial Arts', 'Artifacts', 'Fiction - Solar', 'Sketch - Abyssal'. While the forums could remain as general holding cells, having a really effective index would bring a number of benefits.
  • Allows people to more easily find something they've already read once before.
  • Allows people to look for new things far more effectively.
  • Would likely improve comments because someone shopping around for, say, a custom MA might be more likely to post on why they liked one or why they didn't like one.
  • The easier it is to find things, the more likely they'll use it and the more likely people they use it with will be to come here as well.
  • If you include Newest Posts feature, would probably solve the problem of popular threads bumping less popular threads.
  • If you solved that, you'd make it possible for new posters to comment on older posts without feeling like they're committing thread necromancy.

Maybe people could 'tag' their posts with tags like 'Solar', 'Sidereal', 'Fiction', etc.

But now I'm wondering if what I'd like is more than a forum can do. I don't know. But I'd love it if this site had that kind of functionality.


I don't think the forum in its current iteration can do that, but a community wiki or something like that might.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 17:14
by Elric
An index would be awesome. Being able to find things like the Elemental Pole of sexy would be great.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 17:24
by Dinosaur
Epiphany wrote:
Wow, a new webcomic would be a fantastic idea. To be honest, I started learning to draw over the summer so that I could do a webcomic and even went as far as asking Rai and Mak for the ability to host a comic here. I've been fairly derailed on that goal lately but I would love a good quality Exalted comic.


I could conceivably help with that, as I've been practicing drawing with varying levels of seriousness (rather more serious now) for the past year now. Though I'd have to push stuff in on the weekends, given the whole "graduate school" thing.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 17:48
by Deaths Pale Mistress
Like Astra Kiseki, I've been loathe to even log-in here until recently. The community (in general) has degenerated from fun, porn-loving people who like Exalted (and other things) to a cluster fuck of self-interested snooty cliques and until recently (in my opinion) often errant mods/admins who werent even doing there jobs unless it something that required immediate attention - flames wars, controversial subject matter etc. The old Fanwork forum was supposed to have been moved into the new one YEARS ago. However, like all of us here (well, mostly) even mods/admins have real lives (read: playing wow).

As far as suggestions go...

:mow: I'd like to see a newly elected Mod or two thats actually dedicated to being a Mod instead of just being granted Mod rights because they are 'friends' or 'signifigant others' of an admin. This forum is a community, blatant shows of favortism will see what masses we have here fleeing to the hills to *shudder* rpg.net or worse, white-wolf's message boards.

:mow: A new webcomic with a dedicated staff. Fuck base the comic on the forum posters here and use there avatars as a parody (alot of forums do that) with poster permission ofcourse, if funding becomes an issue - setup something so we can donate...pennyarcade and vgcats arent where they are because they produce there work for FREE.

thats about it for now, everyone seems to be on the same page as to what can be done or needs to be fixed.

-DPM :mow:

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 18:11
by Wintergold
I say a few of these projected ideas are pretty solid.

I'm sorry I've been kind of in-absentia the last several months due to health and work crisis, but I still do come by at least once a day to make sure the forum isn't exploding, and I see the other mods are hard at their job (like Brilliant Rain and Kailan). But even I have noticed the slowdown in traffic and comments.

A new and different forum project and a nice visual overhaul I think would be a great start to that.

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 18:26
by Logos Invictus
It looks like we've already got some serious interest in a webcomic project for the chat, so instead of turning this into "Let's discuss webcomics", I'm gonna go ahead and fork the topic off into its own separate thread, that way we can turn this one into a general idea generator and organize specific projects on an individual level.

The webcomic project thread can be found here: http://www.thefreedomstone.com/phpBB3/v ... =15&t=8241

Re: IMPORTANT DAMN ANNOUNCEMENT - Read it! Post! Input plz!

Posted: 02 Nov 2009, 18:28
by Path
Konpeito wrote:
Try not to get lost as I move stuff around, everyone. :D


*is getting a little dizzy, actually* :P

Deaths Pale Mistress wrote:
Like Astra Kiseki, I've been loathe to even log-in here until recently. The community (in general) has degenerated from fun, porn-loving people who like Exalted (and other things) to a cluster fuck of self-interested snooty cliques...


There need to be more fun, porn-loving people who like Exalted. I do also agree with the comments above that it's really hard to get feedback, so the judges idea... intrigues me.

Deaths Pale Mistress wrote:
I'd like to see a newly elected Mod or two thats actually dedicated to being a Mod instead of just being granted Mod rights because they are 'friends' or 'significant others' of an admin. This forum is a community, blatant shows of favortism will see what masses we have here fleeing to the hills to *shudder* rpg.net or worse, white-wolf's message boards.


It does kind of feel like there's a wall there when you first get here, that there's a core group that's not so noob-friendly. It's not necessarily true, but there's a bit of the illusion of it, at least. I'd probably also vote for another mod or two.