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AG

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Re: How to grow the forum
« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2014, 00:36 »
thanks guys.

Yes - essentially we do need to grow.

The goal of the forum has always been and still is that its a forum run 'by the fans and for the fans'.   It is whatever we make it to be.  Most people have said that what they like is the 'small, friendly feel', and we can still acheive that ... but we need more members contributing accross the board.

At some point, we need to get to a cricitical mass .. and that is not in terms of number of members but critical mass of activity.  That means the majority of posts/discussion/content being generated by peer-to-peer interaction rather than being generated by members of staff or a handful of key members.

We have currently about 15 - 20 people generating about 80% of the content ... and that isnt healthy for our forum for the future.  When those people move on or change circumstance, and dont have the time to devote ... we are going to have problems.

Lets be clear - the problem is not today.    But a review and a strategic plan, and getting you guys (the founding/core members) involved in formulating ideas is something we need to do.

Money isnt really the issue.   We seem to be doing ok on that front, as our forum generates lots of page views, and we have had lots of members donate (thankyou   :niceday )

Passion doesnt seem to be the issue either - our members are a hardcore, passionate bunch who care about the topic and about the forum.

interest is high - we generate an amazing amount of pageviews and interest for the content that we have ... its just converting that interest into activity on the forum.

So ...

- I like Gotlands idea of tasks for members.   Things like stage previews and run downs are a good way for members to get involved. 

- the shop did generate a lot of activity, but it was pretty hard work for Dim I think.  One to think about.

- maybe think about some ideas for competition

- we have a pretty healthy gaming section

anyway  -  this isnt about my ideas but about your ideas.

Thanks guys

 :nomnom
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  • krabkakes

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #31 on: May 13, 2014, 01:21 »
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    Dim

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #32 on: May 13, 2014, 01:28 »
    Will make my comments in more depth when ive slept, but some passing thoughts.

    First up, I speak to a lot of forum owners, forum developers, and most would kill for the kind of figures we get regarding page views and visitors, especially for a forum that is only two years old. In SMF circles they consider "big boards" one with x amount of posts and we hit "big board" status within a year.

    I also know from talking to people that sports forums are some of the toughest to get going. Even some of the biggest football forums out there are dead outside of matchdays and transfer windows. On Footie forums transfer windows get huge traffic, match days get match day chat, but outside of that they struggle. Not dissimilar to cycling.

    I think one thing we mustnt do is try and compare ourselves. We know CN are the main cycling forum, but I dont think we should ever look and say, they get x amount of posts a day etc etc. We are not trying to be them, and they have been established for many many years, and have much bigger resources as they are backed by the well known news site. By contrast though, all the other big cycling forums have fallen by the wayside, velonews, gone, velonation will go soon, Futures other cycling one, barely used. (But there are some really good independant ones out there mind you).  Roadbikereview is still good and I think there are a few crossover members.

    The thing that drives this place is partly the friendly nature, but also the content. Sometimes though the quality of the content can maybe be a negative. To a new forum user, or someone who maybe only uses twitter, going ahead and doing a race preview must take some confidence as they will look at existing ones and think they cant do as good. This is why I like the grand tours because it gives everybody the opportunity to dip there toes in the water so to speak.

    but anyway.. will post when im more awake.
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #33 on: May 13, 2014, 08:51 »
    I like Gotland's preview template idea. People could still do "manual" previews as it were for monuments or other big races, but having a user friendly template for smaller races would take away a lot of the "work" feeling of doing a preview (Feels like work to me, and I've only done three or four. How must it feel for JSG!  :P)

    I don't know how feasible it would be to set up or how much work would be required, but just something where you could copy and paste stuff into boxes and it would auto-format it into a simple preview (stuff like the image floating left, past winners in a csv etc)

    box 1 - copy and paste race poster image in here
    box 2 - c + p some blurb from a press release about the race
    box 3 - c + p map of stage 1
    box 4 - c + p profile of stage 1 (option here to add more stages)
    box 5 - c + p past winners from wikipedia/cq

    etc etc


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  • cj2002

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #34 on: May 13, 2014, 09:11 »
    That's a really good idea - I know some of us like to be creative for previews for the big races, but having a box-filling template for smaller races would be brilliant.

    Dim will have now have to let us all down gently as he explains quite how much work the coding would be...
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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #35 on: May 13, 2014, 12:03 »
    Games and competitions do seem to be a good way to get people both to the site and then involved with it when they're here.  Doing the youth CQ game, I noticed a few new members signing up to play (thanks to JSG pushing them to play most likely).  I think the same goes for the predictions game - not least cos that requires regular posts to be involved.

    A game on the basis that Gotland suggests probably has the likelihood of being exclusive rather than inclusive (as you have to be part of the process and there needs to be a limit on the number of players for it to work), and we've proved on here before how difficult draft/bidding games can be to organise.  Maybe predictions games for each of the GTs could be good (so that people who've missed the boat of the season long comp can be part of it)?  Perhaps with a subjective competition for predictions with 'most flair' or 'best justification' for a prediction to draw people into the habit of posting their thoughts.  Prizes cool as well - but even just a trophy in the side panel (loving my pink and white jerseys atm).

    As for race previews i think a set of guidelines would be better (especially if an actual template is awkward to produce), but with mentors available (which sort of happens unofficially anyway) to help and advise.  Perhaps also when people do a race thread for the first few times they are encouraged to act as a 'moderator' in the debate/discussion sense ie provoking discussions or playing devil's advocate in response to a posted view.  On the few race threads i've done i get a real sense of ownership for the thread, so I think people would be happy to do this,

    Also we have to accept that some people are naturally happiest lurking, and also that there will be times when things feel quiet (just look at Cheers sometimes there's only Sam, Norm and Cliff there, but they still manage a few laughs) - and this place quiet is still very friendly

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    Zam

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #36 on: May 14, 2014, 12:05 »
    Games and competitions do seem to be a good way to get people both to the site and then involved with it when they're here.  Doing the youth CQ game, I noticed a few new members signing up to play (thanks to JSG pushing them to play most likely).  I think the same goes for the predictions game - not least cos that requires regular posts to be involved.

    A game on the basis that Gotland suggests probably has the likelihood of being exclusive rather than inclusive (as you have to be part of the process and there needs to be a limit on the number of players for it to work), and we've proved on here before how difficult draft/bidding games can be to organise.  Maybe predictions games for each of the GTs could be good (so that people who've missed the boat of the season long comp can be part of it)?  Perhaps with a subjective competition for predictions with 'most flair' or 'best justification' for a prediction to draw people into the habit of posting their thoughts.  Prizes cool as well - but even just a trophy in the side panel (loving my pink and white jerseys atm).

    As for race previews i think a set of guidelines would be better (especially if an actual template is awkward to produce), but with mentors available (which sort of happens unofficially anyway) to help and advise.  Perhaps also when people do a race thread for the first few times they are encouraged to act as a 'moderator' in the debate/discussion sense ie provoking discussions or playing devil's advocate in response to a posted view.  On the few race threads i've done i get a real sense of ownership for the thread, so I think people would be happy to do this,

    Also we have to accept that some people are naturally happiest lurking, and also that there will be times when things feel quiet (just look at Cheers sometimes there's only Sam, Norm and Cliff there, but they still manage a few laughs) - and this place quiet is still very friendly


    Games and competitions do seem to be a good way to get people both to the site and then involved with it when they're here.  Doing the youth CQ game, I noticed a few new members signing up to play (thanks to JSG pushing them to play most likely).  I think the same goes for the predictions game - not least cos that requires regular posts to be involved.

    A game on the basis that Gotland suggests probably has the likelihood of being exclusive rather than inclusive (as you have to be part of the process and there needs to be a limit on the number of players for it to work), and we've proved on here before how difficult draft/bidding games can be to organise.  Maybe predictions games for each of the GTs could be good (so that people who've missed the boat of the season long comp can be part of it)?  Perhaps with a subjective competition for predictions with 'most flair' or 'best justification' for a prediction to draw people into the habit of posting their thoughts.  Prizes cool as well - but even just a trophy in the side panel (loving my pink and white jerseys atm).

    As for race previews i think a set of guidelines would be better (especially if an actual template is awkward to produce), but with mentors available (which sort of happens unofficially anyway) to help and advise.  Perhaps also when people do a race thread for the first few times they are encouraged to act as a 'moderator' in the debate/discussion sense ie provoking discussions or playing devil's advocate in response to a posted view.  On the few race threads i've done i get a real sense of ownership for the thread, so I think people would be happy to do this,

    Also we have to accept that some people are naturally happiest lurking, and also that there will be times when things feel quiet (just look at Cheers sometimes there's only Sam, Norm and Cliff there, but they still manage a few laughs) - and this place quiet is still very friendly

    Barry doesn't like being called Norm all the time :P
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  • Dim

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #37 on: May 15, 2014, 18:29 »
    That's a really good idea - I know some of us like to be creative for previews for the big races, but having a box-filling template for smaller races would be brilliant.

    Dim will have now have to let us all down gently as he explains quite how much work the coding would be...

    erm, pretty much involve rebuilding smf from the bottom up.

    post template, display template, database, the lot.. pas possible
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  • Eric

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #38 on: May 15, 2014, 18:45 »
    This will be controversial, but the chat box discourages people from posting. I like it though and I'm sure everyone else really enjoys using it, but maybe for the bigger races, we could shut it down and use the relevant thread instead?
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    LukasCPH

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #39 on: May 15, 2014, 18:58 »
    This will be controversial, but the chat box discourages people from posting. I like it though and I'm sure everyone else really enjoys using it, but maybe for the bigger races, we could shut it down and use the relevant thread instead?
    This IS controversial. :P

    I can see your point to some extent - it would increase posts. But there are several downsides:
    1) You would have to refresh the page constantly to see new posts - the chatbox auto-updates.
    2) The chatbox is a pretty unique way of following a race, it gives an immediality (is that a word?) that a thread simply cannot.
    3) Many people come here primarily for the race chats. OK, this one is a point in favour of your argument, I guess - but I don't think these people would then post in the thread, many just wouldn't come at all anymore. Rather have chatbox traffic than none at all.
    4) I like the chatbox the way it is. ;)
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    cj2002

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #40 on: May 15, 2014, 18:59 »
    Dim - that could have been more gentle. But I understand.

    Eric -

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #41 on: May 15, 2014, 19:00 »
    erm, pretty much involve rebuilding smf from the bottom up.

    post template, display template, database, the lot.. pas possible

    Cool, so it is possible then?  :D
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    Gotland

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #42 on: May 15, 2014, 19:15 »
    One thing that has struck me is that female cycling fans seems to find eachother on twitter. But female cycling fans doesn't find VR.

    I'm just saying that we are a bunch of friendly cool cats, and it would be not so smart to neglect half of the population based on gender. Based on my previous experiences in working life as well as a student a good leadership (which we have) and fairly even divide between the sexes ususally equals a good environment.

    There's room for growth in the Velorooms sex ratio too. Current sex ratio between active members must be like 5/100
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #43 on: May 15, 2014, 19:32 »
    Current sex ratio between active members must be like 5/100

    I wonder which five VR members are getting jiggy with each other.  :D

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  • Gotland

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #44 on: May 15, 2014, 19:51 »
    I wonder which five VR members are getting jiggy with each other.  :D

    Well in this case, statistically speaking of course, the more the merrier  ;)

    Oh, by the way, sex ratio is a technical boring term in demography. So you can keep calm and carry on, no hanky panky was implied
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  • « Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 20:11 by Gotland »

    l29205

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #45 on: May 15, 2014, 19:57 »
    Cool, so it is possible then?  :D

    I will put in perspective for you.

    CJ2002: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, DIM. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
    DIM: Not good.
    CJ2002: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
    DIM: I'd say more like one out of a million.
    [pause]
    CJ2002: So you're telling me there's a chance... YEAH!
     :D

    But in all seriousness, a simple template of how to start on your first race preview would be great.  It doesn't mean that DIM would need to code something.  A shared document on the basic guide lines would be great.  I have thought of doing a race preview but really the quality of poster we have is somewhat imitating even for someone like me who has followed cycling for longer than some (maybe most have been alive).
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  • cj2002

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #46 on: May 15, 2014, 20:07 »
    Jsg put a guide together. I'd be happy to collate it and create a template word document (or Google or similar). Dim, could you then create a link to that, that people could fill in the blanks and copy all the code into the post?
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  • Gotland

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #47 on: May 15, 2014, 20:14 »
    I will put in perspective for you.

    CJ2002: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, DIM. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
    DIM: Not good.
    CJ2002: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
    DIM: I'd say more like one out of a million.
    [pause]
    CJ2002: So you're telling me there's a chance... YEAH!
     :D

    But in all seriousness, a simple template of how to start on your first race preview would be great.  It doesn't mean that DIM would need to code something.  A shared document on the basic guide lines would be great.  I have thought of doing a race preview but really the quality of poster we have is somewhat imitating even for someone like me who has followed cycling for longer than some (maybe most have been alive).

    That movie scene is hilarious!  Speaking of sex ratio it hits a little bit too close to home  :lol   
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    AG

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #49 on: May 16, 2014, 00:44 »
    This will be controversial, but the chat box discourages people from posting. I like it though and I'm sure everyone else really enjoys using it, but maybe for the bigger races, we could shut it down and use the relevant thread instead?

    we have trialed that a couple of times.

    Most recently for the Tour of Turkey.

    it was sh*t.  I hated it.

    If there is a vote, I will vote for having a live chat and finding another way to increase posting.   :D
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  • Dim

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #50 on: May 16, 2014, 01:21 »
    The debate on chatrooms has been going on between the staff for over two years, pretty much constantly. :D

    On one hand, it decreases race day posting, so at various times weve decided to cut back on chatrooms, and then some rebel creates a chatroom anyway for the municiple tour of zambia and we are back to square one again :D :D

    As AG said, we tried turkey, and it just didnt work. The internet is changing, people want instant communication nowadays on live events, which is why twitter etc is such a force. The race day chats are probably what make VR, but yes, the do detract from in thread discussion. its a catch 22.

    Ultimately i guess the answer is after participating in chat people then go and give their sumups in the thread. I think the problem is, by the end of a stage people have been glued to their computer for 4 hours chatting away in the shoutbox, and when the race finishes they want to go out, or go make food, or take a break, not head to a thread and post.

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  • AG

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #51 on: May 16, 2014, 01:39 »
    I did copy and paste the chat from stage 5 into the thread ... will try and do stage 6 today

    Do people like that?   are they interested in reading the chat?

    Is it worth the effort, or should I not really bother?  (it was quite a lot of effort, so would only continue to do that if people want it/like it)
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #52 on: May 16, 2014, 09:12 »
    Difficult to tell until I miss a big race whether I'd use it or not. I guess it could be fun in the barren no-cycling months of winter to go back and re-read what had been said, but whether it's worth a huge amount of effort I don't know.

    Couldn't Dim rustle up some easy method of exporting the chat? If he could, I'd say go for it. If not and it still required a lot of effort, then you'd have to think about whether it was worth it or not.
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #53 on: May 16, 2014, 09:29 »
    ...

    Maybe this is a bit far fetched, but I'm throwing it out there. why not create our own "CQ-ranking game". But more integrated in the forum and more automatic than doing calculation on a spreadsheet...
    Of all the 'new' ideas, I like this this one. Not designing a new game, but designing a portal through which riders can be assessed, teams can be selected and performance can be monitored for all CQ based games. Then link back into the threads for previews, news, comment etc.

    I'm guessing it wouldn't be straightforward but know nothing about how these things work on the interweb.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #54 on: May 16, 2014, 11:19 »
    Is it worth the effort, or should I not really bother?  (it was quite a lot of effort, so would only continue to do that if people want it/like it)
    I re-read (well, skimmed) the post you made (EDIT: Giro stage 5).
    As I see it, the biggest effort is sorting everything "the other way" (oldest first, newest at the bottom); and that often messed up the attribution (who said what). But to me, that's an important part of it all.

    If there's an easy way of doing the sorting - there must be some software geek somewhere who can do that in 0.5 seconds without any errors (no, Dim, I'm not necessarily looking at you ;) ) - I'm all for it. If there isn't, either stop it, or just copy the livechat as-is. People can read bottom-to-top once in a while.
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  • « Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 11:38 by Fus87 »

    Zam

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #55 on: May 16, 2014, 11:29 »
    I like tha chat...i hope there is a function like the ones MIRC have.
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  • Gotland

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #56 on: May 16, 2014, 11:38 »
    I re-read (well, skimmed) the post you made.
    As I see it, the biggest effort is sorting everything "the other way" (oldest first, newest at the bottom); and that often messed up the attribution (who said what). But to me, that's an important part of it all.

    If there's an easy way of doing the sorting - there must be some software geek somewhere who can do that in 0.5 seconds without any errors (no, Dim, I'm not necessarily looking at you ;) ) - I'm all for it. If there isn't, either stop it, or just copy the livechat as-is. People can read bottom-to-top once in a while.

    If the data is extracted with a time-stamp sorting is a piece of cake (even in excel). Otherwise the first thing you do after extraction (assuming rows are in order, and the data matrix too) is add a consecutive number from 1-Xirows. Then just sort accordingly to the column where you put the consecutive number in excel/google docs/whichever program you prefer.
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  • AG

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #57 on: May 16, 2014, 15:00 »
    yeah I worked it out

    I can do it easily enough.   
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  • Dim

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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #58 on: May 16, 2014, 15:15 »
    Thats what i did, pasted into excel, inserted a column and numbered it, then reverse sorted it all.

    can also be done in notepad++ using textfx tools
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    Re: How to grow the forum
    « Reply #59 on: May 16, 2014, 15:54 »
    On one hand, it decreases race day posting, so at various times weve decided to cut back on chatrooms, and then some rebel creates a chatroom anyway for the municiple tour of zambia and we are back to square one again :D :D

    Number of post clearly should not be a goal, basically discussing the race in the race chats is perfect if you ask me, because it is of no interest later on. Nobody will care if we discussed strategy at 10Km left. People will only care what happened.

    If anything is needed I would say a VR video podcast would be nice. Honestly I don't think there is any great ones out there right now, How The Race Was Won by Cosmo Catalano is great, but his Week in Bike doesn't hit the same nerve. It seems HTRWW is great because it is entertainment, but as far as information goes, it doesn't say what exactly happened. There seems to be room for an information driven pod cast on cycling.
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