Originally Posted by Manco
I think the core of getting the forum active is to have regular discussions and content happening on the forums – so Clubs, Game Nights, Member Appreciation stuff is all great and contributes to that; but the key is going to be keeping it sustained. We’ve had attempts to revive the forums before, and even a couple of attempts to set up gaming sessions etc, but they’ve all stalled at various stages. How do we keep that sustained?
I like the ideas that revolve around games – this is a forum based on a game series, after all. We already have the Steam group, a few members already run streams, and I’m sure we could come up with ways to make it interesting.
Then there’s the diaspora of other Oddworld fans and the places they are – how do we encourage people to come here and post, instead of going to other places? TOL, the wiki, fan art sites, Reddit, social media – what do we do to engage with them and bring people from there to here? What do we offer that they don’t?
It comes down to keeping sustained, regular content going up. That will over time lead to more activity, meaning more users, and so on.
There’s a lot we can do without even touching the forum software or the hosting, but it does come down to a sustained effort.
Thanks for taking the time to reply, Manco!
I firmly believe one of our major handicaps is the aesthetic state of the forum. Mobile optimisation is quintessential for any successful website of the past five years, or so. The majority of folk access the internet with a mobile device now, and if a website isn't optimised properly, most will just leave. Unfortunately, most people do judge a book by its cover, which repels—in my opinion—a large percentage of potential members.
That being said, however, there's absolutely nothing we can do about it. Ergo, we need to employ a greater effort at our end. I firmly agree with everything you have said: We need unity, and we need to sustain that unity, but there's one thing standing in our way.
This forum has a penchant for negativity. Whether it's the hazing of new members; fulminating against each other; or acting so bellicose that fellow members—including some from the OI staff—have pulled the Harold Holt, never to be heard from again. For too many years, while Oddworld was in a stage of great uncertainty, the forum became a lawless playground as everyone waited for it to inevitably die. I don't think anyone actually expected Oddworld to return. Alas, when it did return, this forum remained cold and callous, and even though the atmosphere has improved tremendously over the past couple of years, from my perspective, there's still an all-too-occasional air of hubris.
I think the negativity can be purged. I think a revival, with new content, and a sustained effort from our regular members to create a warm, inviting atmosphere, with plenty of activities to bide us over between entries in the Oddworld universe, could be the saving grace for these forums. And it needs to happen now, otherwise this place will fade into obscurity, until the day Alcar decides he doesn't want to front the bills anymore.
All the ideas I mentioned are preliminary, of course, but I'll spend some time over the next few days creating something more concrete.