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basscomm
Joined: 3/27/2003
Posts: 763
Posted 10/13/2006 9:25:15 PM , Calling All Forum Members
Score: 0 


Since the posts in the forums has slowed to barely a trickle, I just was wondering where all the (formerly) active members have wandered off to, or if they still frequent the site these days.
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http://crummysocks.com

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pixelSHREDDER
Joined: 3/20/2003
Posts: 1291
Posted: 10/13/2006 10:29:07 PM ,
Score 0 


Hey, I'm still here. But where the hell is everyone else??
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EA Games: Conquer Everything

"You hit him so hard he's got an afro now!"
-Hank, The Venture Bros.

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Darryl B.
Joined: 1/11/2005
Posts: 578
Posted 10/14/2006 11:08:35 AM ,
Score: 0 


Ditto...
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"He spends five hours a day playing violent video games; what's the point if they don't have any affect on him?" - Hank, King of the Hill

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larsoncc
(Administrator)

Joined: 8/8/2002
Posts: 6412
Posted: 10/15/2006 1:07:10 AM ,
Score 0 


There have been 269 posts since I opened the new forum, July 16. 153 posts are in the "forum proper" and 116 comments are in the NON forum area - the news section of the site.

156 posts that aren't me in the new system. So, I've posted 113 times.

From January 17 to March 17, 2006, the OLD forum got 572 posts. 336 posts are from users that were NOT me. So, I posted 236 times in those 3 months.

So, it's 156 to 336.

So what's going on?

Lack of "power posters", for one.

This conversation made me look up trends, and I'll try to compile a better report.

I did some checks, and basically, there are a couple of people that posted a whole crapload that don't post anymore. Scoots was one. Ditto has been around, but a lot less than before... Obviously, I've posted only half as much as I did before.

Believe it or not, about a dozen posters make up far more than 50% of all the posts that have ever occured in the Stage Select forums. I'm willing to bet that, during the entire history of the site, 80%+ of posts were by a dozen people. I'll confirm that, but it seems to make sense.

So, why aren't people posting? Because they never did. The people that visit the site - about 90% - are search hits (or from news links), and they've never really had a voice on the site, until I enabled this new forum / news posting thing.

Now that I can integrate the forum into the site, I am pretty sure that we'll see more - I just have to find a nice way to integrate the games page - the one that people search on... into the forum.

Or maybe people are just moving away from the site?? Hard to imagine, given that traffic is up so much.


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larsoncc
(Administrator)

Joined: 8/8/2002
Posts: 6412
Posted 10/15/2006 1:37:08 AM ,
Score: 0 


So, here's the top 12 posters in the old forum:

larsoncc 5806
Scoots 3048
chadtower 2031
Ditto 1641
DaFuZzMaStA 1592
pixelSHREDDER 1184
mr_jiggles_13 1130
Shevy 1084
cfirmalovani13 930
Skelix 923
basscomm 607
nightelf_ds 605

That's a total of 20581 posts.

The old forum had 26555 posts, total. So, these 12 members cooked up 77.5% of all forum activity.

I was off by 2.5%.

We might not have as many posts right now, but I think that's temporary.  I think that eventually we'll have more actual people are participating. I just wish we could convert some of the anonymous posters into members... 

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basscomm
Joined: 3/27/2003
Posts: 763
Posted: 10/15/2006 3:27:44 AM ,
Score 0 


Converting some of the anonymous posters would indeed be nice. Not seeing the 'power posters' around is probably what I'm noticing.
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http://crummysocks.com

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Skelix
Joined: 9/3/2003
Posts: 1003
Posted 10/15/2006 2:14:07 PM ,
Score: 0 


Woo hoo! I'm a power poster! Well guys I'm still around, still trying to pry myself away from WoW or the Xbox 360 when I'm not working. It's tough though trying to live a life, play the video games and work.
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BONK
Joined: 11/19/2006
Posts: 8
Posted: 11/20/2006 9:34:35 PM ,
Score 0 


I just got here so im here 2
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Shevy
Joined: 5/28/2003
Posts: 1095
Posted 11/22/2006 1:35:59 PM ,
Score: 0 


I still read from time to time.  I just don't post.  How's it going?

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Skelix
Joined: 9/3/2003
Posts: 1003
Posted: 11/24/2006 9:46:11 PM ,
Score 0 


Hey Shevy! How are things man? Not too much going on with me, not a lot of posting going on here either. I'm mostly a lurker myself, I try to work on the PS2 database here and there it's just overwhelming though.
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Shevy
Joined: 5/28/2003
Posts: 1095
Posted 11/30/2006 11:47:27 AM ,
Score: 0 


Things are going great, Skelix.  You may be interested to know that I have made it a lifetime goal of mine to complete every Ultima game (not including the crappy Underground series).  So far, I have completed a grand total of "none of 'em", but racked up many "I was THIS close" excuses.

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larsoncc
(Administrator)

Joined: 8/8/2002
Posts: 6412
Posted: 11/30/2006 2:20:20 PM ,
Score 0 


Yeah, I'm still here, too.   Not as much as I should be, though.  I'll change that soon, I hope.
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Ditto
Joined: 1/19/2003
Posts: 1712
Posted 11/30/2006 4:35:44 PM ,
Score: 0 


I just have less time to play around on the internet at work these days. I used to make all my comments, write all the articles, and do news searches while on the clock. 
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Ditto
Joined: 1/19/2003
Posts: 1712
Posted: 11/30/2006 4:36:10 PM ,
Score 0 


Oh, and I moved to Vegas.
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Skelix
Joined: 9/3/2003
Posts: 1003
Posted 12/1/2006 9:09:55 AM ,
Score: 0 


OMG awesome! That is a goal I have been trying to force myself to do. The only tihng is you need to start with Akalabeth, go through V on the Apple, then switch to PC.

I beat Ultima I (the 1986 remake on the Apple), many many years ago as a kid. Was the only one I ever beat. Made it soso in III and very far in V.

PC wise made it quite far in VI, haven't even tried >VI.

If you need help getting them for the Apple drop me a line, I have all of them including doubles some triples, even have Akalabeth (which I believe the one for PC in the aniversary was bugged or maybe that was II)

And Ditto, wow Vegas? Gotta be sweet. I'd be spending time at the Mustang Ranch.


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Shevy
Joined: 5/28/2003
Posts: 1095
Posted: 12/1/2006 11:45:52 AM ,
Score 0 


 Thanks for the offer, man, although I bought the boxed collection of Ultimas a few years ago which includes Alkabeth.  I haven't played Ultima IX yet, but I've heard it's utterly horrid.  I'm looking forward to Ultima IX:  Redemption, though.  It's 100% fan built by hardcore classic Ultima fans and designed on the Morrowmind engine.  I'm hoping this is to Ultima what Devil Whiskey is to Bard's Tale.  Cheers!

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Skelix
Joined: 9/3/2003
Posts: 1003
Posted 12/2/2006 11:48:38 AM ,
Score: 0 


Ah nice I'll have to check that out, both the Devil Whiskey and the Redemption. I do remember trying a Ultima V (I think it was) remake using the Dungeon Siege engine, and it ended up corruption my current Dungeon Siege saves.

There were also programs on the web to make Ultima IV and V (PC versions) to look nicer. I tried IV for al ittle bit, didn't look too bad, but I've always had a hard time with IV, the whole "be an avatar" stuff was hard for me, I always wanted to rob the blind reg dealer. Oh well!

If only I could tear myself away from WoW and that damn Xbox 360, I plan on getting up bright and earlier tommorrow and going Wii shopping.


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Shevy
Joined: 5/28/2003
Posts: 1095
Posted: 12/7/2006 3:46:16 PM ,
Score 0 


Kind of a bummer that they feel the need to update the graphics from IV and V.  I didn't realize they were attempting to do it.  Personally, I love the graphics from Ultima V due to it's functionality.  I'd rather they kept the graphics the same, but find a way to turn it into a 2D MMORPG.  There's not much I'm willing to pay a monthly fee for to play, but I would absolutely pay for that.
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Skelix
Joined: 9/3/2003
Posts: 1003
Posted 12/10/2006 1:20:52 PM ,
Score: 0 


To be honest I really never checked out the IV and V original graphics on PC. I think they were CGA? I played them on Apple. The remakes didn't really seem to take anything away, more of addage of colors.
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chadtower
Joined: 5/21/2003
Posts: 2071
Posted: 12/18/2006 2:22:15 PM ,
Score 0 



I stopped posting basically when the initial forum conversions happened and they didn't work very well in the version of Firefox I was using.  Then, after a while, I come back, and the forum system is entirely different.

Now, I come back, it's different again.  Harder to navigate.  Maybe I'm just not used to it but the noise ratio feels dramatically higher than it was before.

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larsoncc
(Administrator)

Joined: 8/8/2002
Posts: 6412
Posted 12/18/2006 3:47:01 PM ,
Score: 0 


Quote - chadtower posted:

Now, I come back, it's different again. Harder to navigate. Maybe I'm just not used to it but the noise ratio feels dramatically higher than it was before.

I do take this seriously, because simplifying navigation is a goal.

I personally think that the forum is easier to navigate - especially the threads. Look at the forum software we used to use (this is a typical thread page, and doesn't include site navigation):



And compare that to what we use now:



From:
  • 8 buttons
  • 4 links
  • A drop down box
  • 3 icons that don't tell you anything... or worse, conflict... like the open folder right below the lock.
  • repeated buttons on the bottom
  • a drop down box at the bottom that does the same thing as the links on top
  • and a blob of text
To:
  • 2 links
  • 2 drop down boxes
  • 1 button in the post
I really did work to simplify the navigation :-/

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chadtower
Joined: 5/21/2003
Posts: 2071
Posted: 12/18/2006 3:51:46 PM ,
Score 0 



That is inside a thread, though, which means the user has arleady found their way pretty much as far in as they can go.



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larsoncc
(Administrator)

Joined: 8/8/2002
Posts: 6412
Posted 12/18/2006 4:10:23 PM ,
Score: 0 


Quote - chadtower posted:

That is inside a thread, though, which means the user has arleady found their way pretty much as far in as they can go.

Ah, OK. So, are you talking...  what?  Main page of the forum?  Or the Discussions page?

Any suggestions?

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Ditto
Joined: 1/19/2003
Posts: 1712
Posted: 12/19/2006 4:10:57 AM ,
Score 0 


I didn't have any problem with it.  Different?  Yes.  Confusting?  Maybe in a transitional intial adjustment sense.  Getting used to it?  No problem.
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chadtower
Joined: 5/21/2003
Posts: 2071
Posted 12/19/2006 1:05:04 PM ,
Score: 0 


Ditto could have the best answer. I came in, everything was different, it felt very noisy and I couldn't find a profile based way to slim it down. So that was pretty much the end of my posting.

Just personal preference. I prefer minimalist interfaces that would allow me to drill down farther if I want. Animated avatars, sig images, thread topic summaries in the forum view, all feel like noise to me.

EDIT:  poking around a bit more... and these are simply personal opinions, not criticisms of quality... maybe it's the pixel based artwork.  All of the gradients in color, the amount of "pixel" squares in places that could easily be solid color in a more traditional interface, is uncomfortable to me.  It is artificially raising the noise ratio for me.  A forum theme option in the account profile could take care of that for some people.

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larsoncc
(Administrator)

Joined: 8/8/2002
Posts: 6412
Posted: 12/19/2006 1:53:00 PM ,
Score 0 


Themes for the site - YESAt long last, this latest code switch enables that!  I know that my preference for blockiness and bright colors frightens most mortal men.  I hope to tie site themes to a user profile, as you stated.

pixelSHREDDER is cooking up a 2600 wood-grain / chrome theme for the site, for example.  I'd love to work with others to create other themes.

As for the animations, sigs, etc - well, we've always allowed those, no different from any other forum.

The "drilling down for more info" statement gives me a couple of ideas, though...

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chadtower
Joined: 5/21/2003
Posts: 2071
Posted 12/19/2006 3:59:35 PM ,
Score: 0 



We did have the animated avatars and such before.  They didn't matter as much, though, as the rest of the forum was a fairly low noise ratio forum.  Throw them in on top of the artwork/layout of what is here now, though, and they become part of the issue.  Inside the threads actually isn't that bad and I don't see much that could be done except profile items that allow one to disable sig images and avatars.

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larsoncc
(Administrator)

Joined: 8/8/2002
Posts: 6412
Posted: 12/20/2006 8:35:28 AM ,
Score 0 


OK, I'll give what you said some thought.

Thanks for the input, the only way I know if something needs improvement is if people say something.

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Skelix
Joined: 9/3/2003
Posts: 1003
Posted 12/22/2006 9:18:08 PM ,
Score: 0 


Speaking of one thing CT said "thread topic summaries in the forum view" .. now when we go into the forums. We've always had a summary for what each area is about. That doesn't bother me. When you pick an area for example, "new discussion"..  I don't like this so much:

"Stage Select Update Thread  -  Fixed the "Edit My Profile" page today (12/21).  Major update today (12/18) - the system page looks a lot more like a portal than a hardware info screen. Nifty effects have been added!. . ."

Now I know we don't have many individual posts yet... but I'd rather see a list of the names of the threads.. if we wanted a brief summary what if we enabled a mouse over? Like you put pointer on the name and it gives that little blurb in a box. I've seen some websites do that.

Another thing I'm not too keen on is on the top of the page.. the "news/community/game systems", I'd rather click one of them and then the boxes pop up underneath, as opposed to me moving the mouse around grabbing wrong one.. maybe my mouse is set to sensitive, just sometimes a pain for me.

I like everything overall, just couple of things...


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chadtower
Joined: 5/21/2003
Posts: 2071
Posted: 12/27/2006 9:26:36 AM ,
Score 0 



Big poppy mouseovers are a major noise generator.  I'd definitely prefer something like that to be a profile item.

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Megatron1179
Joined: 12/30/2003
Posts: 42
Posted 12/28/2006 9:45:20 PM ,
Score: 0 


I haven't posted in such a long time.
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larsoncc
(Administrator)

Joined: 8/8/2002
Posts: 6412
Posted: 2/16/2007 12:38:33 AM ,
Score 0 


OK, I've taken some time to look at what I can do to improve the navigation within the forum. Let me know what you think so far.

Each of the major pages on Stage Select has had a bit of a graphical tweak - specifically, I present graphics much earlier in the page, and I've tried to lessen the occurance of "big blocks o links". So, if you're on the system page, you'll get a game graphic above the fold. If you're on a game page, you'll get a screenshot. If you're on the main page, you'll be greeted with our story highlight. And now, if you're in the forum, you'll see icons for each of the forums.

I've worked on the main forum page quite a bit to lower the amount of noise. Forum icons now visually represent what each topic is about, and there's a lot more white space.

In the discussions area, since the summary wasn't popular, I've ditched it. I also lightened the colors - a very light grey on alternating rows, and I ditched the dark blue header. I also added icons for navigation. The icons are 50px tall so that you can navigate a bit easier on the Wii and other devices.

I asked some people that I know to do some use case testing, and three people really helped out.  I had them focus on the forum specifically.  I asked them "where would you find X" type of questions. I presented several alternative layouts. They preferred this one.

I haven't addressed the base theme for the site. I have specific comments about that, but I haven't decided how best to act.



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chadtower
Joined: 5/21/2003
Posts: 2071
Posted 2/16/2007 12:55:24 PM ,
Score: 0 



For each spot where it says "most recent post", I'd put a link to that post.  That's what I tend to use to get to that spot.  A bit of text next to it, maybe the subject line, would be good too.  That's the biggest piece I used to use that isn't there anymore.


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larsoncc
(Administrator)

Joined: 8/8/2002
Posts: 6412
Posted: 2/16/2007 1:06:15 PM ,
Score 0 


Your suggestion is confusing to me. Not because I don't understand it, but because the link should be "jumping" you to the post you click on.

I use HTML bookmarks for every post, and the links actually point to the bookmark, not to just the page.

EDIT - Ohhh, hold on... It doesn't "jump" you to the most recent post from the topic list!

I GET IT!! I was just talking about the main page and the RSS feed. Sorry about that.


Edit 2 - fixed - you can click on the date/time to be taken to the last post.


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DaFuZzMaStA
Joined: 4/5/2003
Posts: 1597
Posted 2/25/2007 4:44:14 AM ,
Score: 0 


I havn't posted cause I don't have any of my games right now so I havn't really being playing any. And yeah the site did change a lot havn't taken time to become familiar with it...
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'Average action < DS.

Whole night of mad jungle humpin > DS.' - chadtower

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DaFuZzMaStA
Joined: 4/5/2003
Posts: 1597
Posted: 2/25/2007 4:50:16 AM ,
Score 0 


Just a note- the site feels really weird without any side bars. When I open up the homepage it seems like a lack of if all information, doesn't feel like there's a fatty game database with all that stuff.
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'Average action < DS.

Whole night of mad jungle humpin > DS.' - chadtower

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Shevy
Joined: 5/28/2003
Posts: 1095
Posted 12/14/2007 3:02:12 PM ,
Score: 0 


<i>**We might not have as many posts right now, but I think that's temporary.**</i>

I think it would be in the site's best interest to go with a different forum.  The site may be getting traffic, but the boards are barren.

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