Author Topic: I don't think people understand...  (Read 331 times)

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Online Arnox

I don't think people understand...
« on: May 08, 2018, 09:01:13 AM »
These days, a forum is secondary to the site itself. An image hosting site with a forum on the side. A blogging site with a forum on the side. A gaming news outlet with a forum on the side. And that's alright. But back in ye olde times, forums used to be a main attraction, not just a side thing. Forums were the de facto form of social media before even MySpace came along.

This forum aims to bring that back. And not just that, to be the one forum to rule them all. To give members as much posting freedom as possible while still keeping things stable and under control. We do gaming articles although that's not what we focus on. We discuss history although we're not a history site. We share blueprints although we're not an engineering site. This is what the Sanctuary is. Not another website with a pathetic me-too forum attached to the side of it. We are the draw. We are the attraction. That and the freedom to say what you mean. To post what you want within reasonable limits.

These days, the internet would have you believe that unless you're famous, your views don't count. That you need to obey everything a corporation says. That nobody cares about what you contribute. But over here, we care, because you are truly our source of "content". We want to hear your questions. We want to see what you're good at. What you know. What you wish to know. You need to get out of the mindset that the internet has put you into for way too long. We want you to open your mind.

You definitely won't agree with everything here and we don't and never expect you to. There may be some sub-forums that you will never even look in. (Although I think every sub-forum deserves at least a look.) But as long as you try to give everything a fair chance, that is the spirit of what we are. Just keep these things in mind as you browse and post on this site.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 06:10:06 AM by Arnox »

Offline PsychedelicDiamond

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Re: I don't think people understand...
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 03:28:54 PM »
Well, the thing about forums is that people tend to seek them out if they're connected to a subject matter they're interested in, which is in turn connected to a website about that very subject matter. Of course all of that is a very Web 1.0 way of looking at things, nowadays forums in general have become a bit of a relic with larger sites like your 4chans, reddits, Tumblrs and, I guess, Facebooks having become the go to place for communication in general.

They've been left behind by the general centralization of the internet, which is a development I always found... well, disagreeable to say the least. People complain about echo chambers, rightfully to an extent, but to have everything out there for everyone to see on large, publically accesible sites isn't exactly ideal either. It's rather have a larger number of small to medium sized communities than very few giant ones. But that's a different matter all together.

Let's make the best of this forum.

Offline Runic Rogue

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Re: I don't think people understand...
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2018, 06:10:06 AM »
Forums feel like a weapon of a bygone age of the internet nowadays. Companies have cracked down on discourse on all major sites and actively try to stop discussion by either forcing one side, or empowering users to weaponize the rules in some fashion to do it themselves. They have been relegated necessary additions to content providing sites the forms of forums or comment sections, attached to other media out of history or a feeling of obligation to satisfy the user's desire to post their thoughts, rather than any desire to hold conversations.

I like the long-form way of communication myself. But I know that it is rarely as visually kind, or as easy to digest as a lot of current social media options. Even these forums, as nostalgic as they are, feel a throwback to a bygone era.

Perhaps I am wrong. The rise of discord harkens back to this style in some ways after all. But I feel this sort of communication tool, it needs an upgrade, perhaps the sort such sites never got before the rise of facebook and reddit and twitter, and the changes they brought stopped the dedicated forum's evolution. While I can't say I would know how to do that, I think the answer may be worth looking at what helped the others rise with regard to visibility, ease of use, visual design, and personal investment. Perhaps even the neglected parts of the escapist may serve as inspiration, with things like badges.

I do know that people are starved for community investment and a sense they are a part of the community and not merely children being babysat in the complimentary ballpit. Far too often sites, or just moderation, makes people feel like their desires and opinions about the community do not matter. Avoiding that pitfall would probably be a good move too.

Online Arnox

Re: I don't think people understand...
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2018, 07:12:48 AM »
Forums feel like a weapon of a bygone age of the internet nowadays. Companies have cracked down on discourse on all major sites and actively try to stop discussion by either forcing one side, or empowering users to weaponize the rules in some fashion to do it themselves. They have been relegated necessary additions to content providing sites the forms of forums or comment sections, attached to other media out of history or a feeling of obligation to satisfy the user's desire to post their thoughts, rather than any desire to hold conversations.

I like the long-form way of communication myself. But I know that it is rarely as visually kind, or as easy to digest as a lot of current social media options. Even these forums, as nostalgic as they are, feel a throwback to a bygone era.

Perhaps I am wrong. The rise of discord harkens back to this style in some ways after all. But I feel this sort of communication tool, it needs an upgrade, perhaps the sort such sites never got before the rise of facebook and reddit and twitter, and the changes they brought stopped the dedicated forum's evolution. While I can't say I would know how to do that, I think the answer may be worth looking at what helped the others rise with regard to visibility, ease of use, visual design, and personal investment. Perhaps even the neglected parts of the escapist may serve as inspiration, with things like badges.

I do know that people are starved for community investment and a sense they are a part of the community and not merely children being babysat in the complimentary ballpit. Far too often sites, or just moderation, makes people feel like their desires and opinions about the community do not matter. Avoiding that pitfall would probably be a good move too.

Forums are not quite as easy to browse compared to content generation sites like Reddit and Imgur due to the simple fact that the content is delivered raw and uncurated in any way besides the sub-forum sorting. There's no community upvote/downvote system. When you post a thread, the value of it will be determined simply by its popularity. How many people are posting in your thread. It's not a perfect system, but at the same time, it's still the best way to actually encourage and foster discussion and community interaction without some arbitrary community popularity rating getting in the way.

HAVING SAID THAT, I think sites like Reddit do absolutely deserve a place on the internet. I can't deny that it's nice to just go on the front page and browse the top entries for a while when I'm waiting in line or something. But lots of problems arise when those kinds of sites are the ONLY social media/content sites available anymore. And since a certain amazing site died, that's basically all it's been. Content generation sites, forums with heavy-handed moderation, and the shitshows that are the chan boards. And even with the appeal of content gen. sites, a forum such as this with massive activity also holds a different but equal appeal in terms of idle browsing. Perhaps even moreso actually. For example, I posted the recipe for C4 explosive and RDX. If I posted that anywhere else, I'd probably be called a terrorist.

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I really liked the Escapist badges, but unfortunately, without some coding work, we would not be able to do them. We CAN implement a quiz system much like the Escapist's, but at the moment, there's no way to link them to earning badges. However, SMF is not where we're gonna stay. Once I get done with my mission, I'm going to get a XenForo license and then the stars are the limit in terms of what we can do with the forums. When that happens, I'm also gonna start promoting the site like crazy and pulling in select members to post here. So yeah, this site is just the beginning. I mean, it's already a very nice site, but if this forum is gonna be the forum to end all forums, we need to continually push the bar. We need to excel above everyone else. Good enough isn't good enough.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 07:18:26 AM by Arnox »

Offline Houseman

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Re: I don't think people understand...
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2018, 02:02:04 PM »
I think I like forums more than other "social media" format out there. At first, I went for the content, your Newgrounds and Albinoblacksheep sites, but then I entered my first forum around 2006, and it was like a switch flipped. I was hooked.

Gamefaqs forums are pretty cool, depending on where you go.

I dislike live chat systems like Discord, because you might miss entire conversations if you happen to be away
Reddit's problems have been mentioned, and should be obvious.
Twitter has a problem with allowing people to create safe-spaces of censorship through mass-blocking.
Youtube is just a collection of individual soap-boxes, and has a biased moderation problem
I never got into facebook, so I don't know how discussions are handled there

Honestly, I think a lot of problems with this culture war we're having are only exacerbated by one-sided discussion. If people could just speak freely to one another without all the obstacles that "modern social media" presents, I think things would be a little better.

Somewhere along the line, the major players just reached a consensus that open and equal discussion was a bad thing and that walls should be erected at regular intervals to keep ideas enclosed. Guard posts with shooters were then erected on those walls, to put down "problematic" ideas.

I guess it was more profitable that way?

Come to think of it, all of the political tampering that went on with reddit in the space of time leading up to the last election was crazy. Every day there was some first-page post with Bernie on it, and then after that, anti-Trump posts held the front page 24/7. Huge communities getting infiltrated and astroturfed like that is perhaps even more terrifying of an idea than segregated thought.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 02:07:35 PM by Houseman »