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So... How's the Escapist doing these days?

Arnox

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I only go to the site to watch Zero Punctuation like everybody else, but it's been a while, and I heard they finally fired Moviebob's ass (seriously, what was up with that guy), so I think it's time to check it out again. Keep in mind, this isn't really a formal review of the site. I'm just going to be browsing around and looking at it from a legacy perspective. Maybe offer some suggestions (that no one will listen to at all, I'm sure).

Forums

I couldn't resist looking at this first. So let's see what we have. And right off the bat, we're actually off to a good start. XenForo is in use here. Arnox approves. Unfortunately though, the badges have not made a return, which really sucks because it was one of the best things about the old site. Having said that though, I understand why they have not been implemented, or at least perhaps, not implemented yet. The Escapist badges were a custom-made feature for a custom-made forum that also had years of quizzes and general development behind it. Now, to reimplement that in XF is actually perfectly feasible, and maybe even easy, but it would still require some man-hours. Honestly, I'd just hire a freelance XF dev to build it and get it out of the way. Obviously, it's gonna cost some money, but I think it's worth it to bring back a dearly loved site feature.

Beyond that, not much else to say really. It's XenForo. It works damn well. But it is also a shame though that they didn't reintegrate the forum to serve the video comments. Instead, we just have this "Disqus" crap. Lame. It also trips one of my privacy add-ons as well. You got an enterprise class communication solution just sitting right there. Why don't you use it to spruce up the damn comments and make it do some more work?

Code of Conduct

Unfortunately, we have more disappointment ahead of us in this regard. Although I really can't say I'm surprised at all. The thing is, I'm not even looking at this from my usual freedom-of-speech/totse perch. I'm just comparing it to other CoC's and honestly, this one is kind of egregious. One of the biggest issues is that the staff cannot be criticized. At all. And I know what they'd say. "No, we're open to constructive criticism." But it's subjective. If a staff member gets uppity for ANY reason, they can ban any person. And not have to give a single reason about it. Or at least, that's what the rules would suggest. There is no guarantee or even an attempt at consistency of enforcement.

Beyond that though, we have our usual suspects. No "hate speech". No illegal activities. Blah de blah. Though I do find it funny that GamerGate is still a banned topic. It's been years, guys. I think you can let up a little there now. lol There's also some kinda redundant rules here. One rule says no hate speech, but yet another says no inflammatory remarks. I mean, if we're gonna be this broad with our wording, might as well be efficient too.

Content

Too much Yahtzee in the video section. He's carrying at least 75% of it. The focus is a little too much on games as well compared to the old site which had a variety of content. Articles are totally fine, but they need to branch out. It's actually kinda strange now because there's a lot of amazing but still small-time Youtubers who would jump at the opportunity for a fixed income and a solid platform. Why aren't they going for that? Now's the time, especially since YouTube is now such an unstable platform for content creators. There's tons of talent that they're just missing out on. Do they not have the money? Do they not care?

Another thing too is that the content is confusingly organized. For example, there's some games content in the movie section. It may seem like a minor thing, but convenience and logical simple placement matters a lot. It's also convenient for content creation as you don't have your creators wondering where the hell to place a new piece of content.

Overall Roadmap/Staff Transparency

It's missing, or I can't find it. Checking the announcements section of the forums doesn't really say much in regards to what they have planned for the future. There's the "One Year In" letter but that was back in July, and it doesn't have any information regarding future plans.

Final Thoughts

It doesn't really seem like this site has any solid direction or vision. There are some solid choices made here and there, but a fair few things are also just... Bewildering. Not well thought out. I don't know how many EICs this site has had now. 3 or 4? And it still, to this day, seems to struggle with itself. I don't understand. But maybe that's the whole issue. They don't understand either.

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Normally, I'd post this on the Escapist but I'm pretty sure I'd get backhanded by the staff/mod team because, as we know, the staff cannot be criticized and we wouldn't want hate speech.
 
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gaijinkaiju

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Funnily enough I still check out the front page, but I use the term "check out" loosely since its more a habit now than anything.
Haven't checked the forums in who-knows-how long.
Don't really bother with yahtzee, haven't for years, but I'm not surprised he's carrying the site. Isn't that the only real content they have now?
Thinking about it, I don't really watch or follow any of the former content creators from the escapist anymore. Even Jim Sterling is staring to loose my interest.

Do they not have the money?
There's your answer. Can't imagine the ads and subscription service bring in massive amounts of money, and by the time they've paid their staff and server fees, I can't imagine there's a huge amount left.
 

Ogoid

Adherent
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Messages
52
Honestly, I haven't felt even tempted to look back since the... well, whatever the hell it was they last made. They made it abundantly clear, what with the whole "Gamergate was literally Hitler, and we will not be tolerating any discussion about it" policy they instituted, as well as hiring back such luminaries as Moviebob, that badthinking unpersons such as my humble self were not wanted there.
 

Arnox

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There's your answer. Can't imagine the ads and subscription service bring in massive amounts of money, and by the time they've paid their staff and server fees, I can't imagine there's a huge amount left.
Perhaps so, but that's the thing. We don't know. There's no transparency and no roadmap as I mentioned.

Honestly, I haven't felt even tempted to look back since the... well, whatever the hell it was they last made. They made it abundantly clear, what with the whole "Gamergate was literally Hitler, and we will not be tolerating any discussion about it" policy they instituted, as well as hiring back such luminaries as Moviebob, that badthinking unpersons such as my humble self were not wanted there.
Yeah that's pretty much what I think they think about me as well. Probably ESPECIALLY about me since I'm free-speech Hitler for starting up Sanctuary (again) and getting a few people over here.

By the way, made a bad typo. I said boogie in the opening paragraph when I was actually referring to Moviebob. But yeah, he's gone now, thankfully. That guy went into absolute bizarro-land. Even among radical leftists.
 

Houseman

The Actual Hero
Sanctuary legend
Messages
550
I have a 2K+ word paper ready to go whenever it comes time to discuss the CoC as a community (which will probably be never).
 

Vendor-Lazarus

Disciple
Sanctuary legend
Messages
483
Since the move to the new website, I've stopped visiting the 'pist completely.
I don't even watch Yahtzee anymore.
 
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