So on the back of this thread, Iíve been thinking a lot this week about all the different ways we could be improving the forums. We know this place has a lot of problems, but weíve never had a proper look at the whole thing all together in one place.
So any time Iíve had an idea for something we could do to make OWF better, Iíve added it to a list Iíve built up over the past week. Iíve also taken a look back over this thread at some of the suggestions brought up by others, and had a skim through the rest of this subforum for complaints people have had.
Warning: there is a fukken long list below.
This is the rational behind my list of suggestions, so I had an idea of what I thought would be most effective to focus on when trying to improve.
- Focus should be on encouraging more activity
- Get more people to join and stay
- People need a reason to join
- Content and activities will encourage activity
- Discussion threads generate active posting
- Itís an Oddworld forum, so more activity/content about Oddworld will help greatly
- Oddworld is a game series, so most members would be gamers of some kind
- Activity related to gaming would therefore be a good way to encourage activity
- Create content and activities that people want to join to take part in
- Build a welcoming and friendly community that people arenít scared away from and will stay to participate
So without further ado, the comprehensive list of suggestions I have compiled:
Since the main problem is a lack of activity, Iíve focused on coming up with ideas for different things we could be posting, discussing or doing through the forum. This is almost all stuff we could be doing right now, as Nate has pointed out, so itís really a question of are these good ideas that people would take part in
, and who would organize/maintain threads where needed
- Club threads
- TV shows
- Member appreciation
- Member interviews
- Member of the month
- Pen and paper games (D&D etc)
- board/card games (e.g. Cards Against Humanity)
- Multiplayer games
- Member game streams
- Forum awards (more formalized and maintained, new host every year?)
- More about forum history:
- Highlight interesting discussions on the forum e.g. thread of the month
- Look back at older times in the forumsí past, expand the Classics thread
- Forum competitions e.g. for fan art
- Member-created podcasts
- Game tutorials/walkthroughs
- Game Technical Help/FAQs
- Regular Oddworld character/creature/location feature threads
- Letís Learn Together threads? (lots of members have shared hobbies, we should get people talking together about them)
- more Ďevergreení threads (hobby threads etc)
- more resources in Fan Corner for creators to use Ė vectors, anatomy/proportion refs, sound files, official resources (rips etc); this can be a group effort
- bring back social groups and do some actual stuff with them (if we canít build them into the forum skins weíd need to work out how else to make people aware of them)
- Competitions between social groups
- Stream/LP/speedrunning tech help (setup guides etc)
- Oddworld merch threads
- Merch highlights Ė someone such as Xavier could show off interesting parts of their collection in semi-regular threads
- Oddworld trivia
- ĎLetís Draw Togetherí regular threads Ė set a challenge for users to do their take on a subject; a way of encouraging people to go to Fan Corner
Here are some things we could do with admin assistance to update the forumsí structure/organization, to make some things easier to find and/or more visible, make things friendlier for new members, and encourage more posting.
- Improve on-boarding for new members Ė expand forum help, FAQ threads etc.
- Expand Non-Oddworld Art into a separate subforum:
- It feels really strange to have Non-Oddworld Art as a subforum to Fan Corner; if someone wants to share their own original content then having to do that in a hidden corner of the fan art subforum doesnít inspire confidence.
- Move Welcomes & Birthdays and Non-Oddworld Gaming into main section of Zulag 2:
- Non-Oddworld Gaming is a large enough topic to be made more visible, and as a forum dedicated to a game series we should be able to generate more activity here than anywhere else
- making Welcomes & Birthdays more visible would help make this place feel a little more welcoming to newbies, and itís reasonably active in its own right
- create another Zulag to help keep things organized - all of the forum themes allow the Zulags to be collapsed from view, so adding some length to the page would not be detrimental to browsing the index
Iíd suggest the new forum structure would look something like this:
- Zulag 1 (Oddworld):
- Oddworld Discussion
- Mods & Hacks
- Letís Plays and Speedruns
- Spoiler Forum (seasonal; can be closed for now)
- Zulag 2 (General):
- Forum Suggestions & Help
- Welcomes & Birthdays
- Off-Topic Discussion
- Non-Oddworld Gaming (rename for simplicity)
- Non-Oddworld Art & Literature (rename for simplicity)
- Zulag 3 (Fan Corner):
- Fan Art & Literature
- Oddworld RPG
- Zulag 4:
- Employee Lounge
- Necrum Burial Grounds
Possibly the hardest thing to change on this entire list, but if we want to be a more active community we need to be a friendlier and more welcoming community.
- Letís improve the quality of posting here, to encourage less toxicity and shitposting. The forum has dried up over the years as itís become more hostile. This might involve stricter moderation.
- Letís be more welcoming to new members. This has been discussed many a time, and has gotten somewhat better recently, but we still need to do better. Letís not have member welcome threads become shitpost central.
- Encourage activity in Fan Corner Ė I know, Fan Cornerís been the butt of many jokes over the years, but at the end of the day fan communities thrive on fan-made content. We should be more welcoming of fan content.
- More discussions about Oddworld Ė itís tough when weíre still waiting on new games from OWI, but Iím sure we can come up with some topics of discussion.
A list of what we should be doing if Alcar ever comes back, or hands over the reigns to someone more active. I didnít want to focus too much on these ideas since theyíre likely not going to happen any time soon, but theyíre important nonetheless.
Relations with other sites
- Update forum software (goes without saying)
- New themes; update old ones to work better
- Mobile/touch-friendly features
- Integrate with mobile forum apps e.g. Tapatalk
- Content-specific features (improve the blog feature, add galleries tied to fan art threads, etc)
- Connect to social media? Add social media to user profiles in more visible way
- Make avatars bigger Ė itís 2017, guys
Weíre not the only place on the internet where Oddworld is being discussed, so we should be working out how to get people from elsewhere in here, and how we can improve the forumsí reputation by being cool with other sites.
- Set up a wiki thread/improvement team to encourage forums users to get involved with improving the wiki
- Content from TOL could be shared (with permission) on a regular basis with highlight threads, e.g. Image of the Week
- Set up a TOL improvement team (with permission) to get people helping out with improving TOL
- Set up/cultivate game groups on online gaming platforms (Steam, PSN, Xbox Live etc)
- Interact in some way with other social media platforms e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Reddit that encourages users to visit and participate here
So on the back of this, I would like to hear the following from people:
- What do you think of the above suggestions; are there any in particular that you find interesting and would like to see happen?
- Are there any of the suggestions above you would like to help work on if they were to happen?
- Are there any suggestions you disagree with/think would be a bad idea? Why?
- Do you have any other suggestions not included in the list that you would like to see?