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Moving The Community Forward
Posted: 20 November 2018 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I don’t run this place, but I am part of the community. If you’re reading this, you are part of the community, too. You’re here because you care, or because you get something out of this site. Because of that, please keep reading.

I am aware of many complaints being made about the site. Through Jim we’ve heard that many members, and many prospective members, take issue with the tone of the former OTP threads. That appears to have spilled over into other threads since the OTP closing. I recognize that the tone is created by community members, and thus the feedback is necessarily directed at the members most responsible for that tone. Several of those members, in response, have cited numerous problems with the site: the interface, the business model, the sensitivity of members and non-members who complain, the management that is simultaneously hands-off and heavy-handed. Some have looked for ways they can personally improve; others have looked in every direction but their own.

I believe that the path forward for the community must involve the community. I’m sure Jim can tweak the UI and the TOS to effect changes in the community makeup and behavior, but ultimately it’s not a community without people actively participating. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of code, rendering pages on the web. So consider this thread a catch-all for thoughts on how the site and the community can be improved. And by “community” I mean not just the current and/or active members, but potential new members. For example, it was mentioned on another thread that the “ignore” feature can work to squelch the appearance of comments by habitually irritating or offensive individuals, but it does not work for non-members nor site members who are not logged in; this would be an issue in attracting potential new members. This is a good observation that I’d overlooked but is obvious in retrospect. 

Anyway… Have at it.

Posted: 20 November 2018 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You are correct, this is a better place to reply than using the Baseball Prospectus thread.

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Posted: 20 November 2018 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Meh, it’s been brought up before and most people seem to hate it…. but community policing works when the community has the tools.

I am pro-ratings system… but it takes some work to tweak, factor, re-factor, etc.  You’ve got to scale it such that overly aggressive policers cannot function as vigilantes (limit the number of donuts or downvotes, scale their effectiveness when it becomes post A always downvoting poster X).  In the realm of BBTF, maybe you expand it to include a misdemeanor (i.e., “off topic”) donut.  Further, provide merit uprate options.

Everyone has always hated the idea - but from reddit to twitter to other forums that use such stuff, the evidence seems to say that it works.  But its a lot of work I know people hate the idea so I don’t expect it to go anywhere… but them’s my 2 cents.

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No exile!  No exile!  You\‘re the exile!

Posted: 20 November 2018 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]

Because the political discussions get nasty in a way that others don’t.

I think people are forgetting how vitriolic some of the older baseball-related threads got.  I mean, Sam’s brand of posting was probably unique to OTP, but the steroid debates were about as nasty as anything otherwise found in OTP.

Posted: 20 November 2018 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Zonk qualifies as an invasive species - 20 November 2018 11:13 AM

I am pro-ratings system… but it takes some work to tweak, factor, re-factor, etc.  You’ve got to scale it such that overly aggressive policers cannot function as vigilantes (limit the number of donuts or downvotes, scale their effectiveness when it becomes post A always downvoting poster X).  In the realm of BBTF, maybe you expand it to include a misdemeanor (i.e., “off topic”) donut.  Further, provide merit uprate options.

I don’t get it. What’s the point of putting forward suggestions like this? It’s not going to happen. Nothing has happened for well over a decade. There’s almost nobody left now. There’s no will to attract new members. Why bother even typing these thoughts out?

Posted: 20 November 2018 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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PreservedFish - 20 November 2018 11:29 AM
Zonk qualifies as an invasive species - 20 November 2018 11:13 AM

I am pro-ratings system… but it takes some work to tweak, factor, re-factor, etc.  You’ve got to scale it such that overly aggressive policers cannot function as vigilantes (limit the number of donuts or downvotes, scale their effectiveness when it becomes post A always downvoting poster X).  In the realm of BBTF, maybe you expand it to include a misdemeanor (i.e., “off topic”) donut.  Further, provide merit uprate options.

I don’t get it. What’s the point of putting forward suggestions like this? It’s not going to happen. Nothing has happened for well over a decade. There’s almost nobody left now. There’s no will to attract new members. Why bother even typing these thoughts out?

Seeing my big baby trump avatar still gives me pleasure!

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No exile!  No exile!  You\‘re the exile!

Posted: 20 November 2018 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]

I was tempted to apologize for not mediating between Dan and Andy. But I don’t have time to be a mediator any more. I did think that I was partially at fault for the Steroid wars because I liked people on both sides and failed to resolve that. But I feel less scrupulous these days.

Site improvements? I’d suggest bringing back some original content. Aren’t there folks here who sell link their blogs? Bring ‘em under the BTF umbrella and provide them with some editorial help.

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Designated Sitter: Occasionally brilliant, always astigamatic.

Posted: 20 November 2018 02:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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PreservedFish - 20 November 2018 11:29 AM
Zonk qualifies as an invasive species - 20 November 2018 11:13 AM

I am pro-ratings system… but it takes some work to tweak, factor, re-factor, etc.  You’ve got to scale it such that overly aggressive policers cannot function as vigilantes (limit the number of donuts or downvotes, scale their effectiveness when it becomes post A always downvoting poster X).  In the realm of BBTF, maybe you expand it to include a misdemeanor (i.e., “off topic”) donut.  Further, provide merit uprate options.

I don’t get it. What’s the point of putting forward suggestions like this? It’s not going to happen. Nothing has happened for well over a decade. There’s almost nobody left now. There’s no will to attract new members. Why bother even typing these thoughts out?

I’d argue that the shutdown of mainland OTP demonstrates a will to attract new members, given Jim has cited OTP as a main reason, if not the main reason, given by prospective members for not joining. These are people who found the site and went into a few threads to see what’s going on, people who are our “best leads” toward new members. That’s not a holistic marketing plan by any means but it is a good first step.

Posted: 20 November 2018 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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GGC - 20 November 2018 01:52 PM

I was tempted to apologize for not mediating between Dan and Andy. But I don’t have time to be a mediator any more. I did think that I was partially at fault for the Steroid wars because I liked people on both sides and failed to resolve that. But I feel less scrupulous these days.

No need for a mediator; I have no wish, need, or desire to get along with Andy.

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Posted: 20 November 2018 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
DJS Holiday-Related Pun - 20 November 2018 03:16 PM
GGC - 20 November 2018 01:52 PM

I was tempted to apologize for not mediating between Dan and Andy. But I don’t have time to be a mediator any more. I did think that I was partially at fault for the Steroid wars because I liked people on both sides and failed to resolve that. But I feel less scrupulous these days.

No need for a mediator; I have no wish, need, or desire to get along with Andy.

But the site would be better if you did, or spare the rest of us and just ignore him.

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Designated Sitter: Occasionally brilliant, always astigamatic.

Posted: 20 November 2018 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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As far as improvements, I’d suggest a few modest low-cost clean-ups. Get rid of the Game Chatters from 2014, and make the Newsblog more prominent since it’s the most popular part of the site. Add links to team threads, and encourage submitters to do a better job of adding tags for their threads, and then make the tags accessible. Make the posting guidelines more prominent, and add info on how to link & quote material. There are still people who contribute substantively but claim not to know how to do that. There’s more to be done, but it probably requires time, money & effort that may not be available, but doing enough to make the home page a non-disaster would be a start.

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For the many, not the few

Posted: 20 November 2018 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]

village: I wrote on the other thread but if people are serious then someone or someones need to define who is wanted as a user and anyone is not a good or viable answer. What are the characteristics or traits that this community wants to add to the current user base.  And from that a requirements document that fits that user profile.  But jumping to configuration based on feedback from current users is not going to help build the new user base. I am trying to help because this is some of what I do but if folks want to politely tell me to #### off I get it, no problem.  Good luck.

Posted: 20 November 2018 06:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]

Jim has cited OTP as a main reason, if not the main reason, given by prospective members for not joining

Respectfully, I do not believe that he can know that. I do not believe that a prospective new user stumbled across BBTF, browsed around the site for a bit, saw OTP, decided not to “join”, then said ‘hm, let me see if I can find a ‘contact us’ link so I can describe to this fellow Jim what turned me off about this random website.’ I certainly don’t believe that this happens regularly enough to establish a pattern.

The main reason ‘prospective members’ don’t ‘join’ BBTF is that there is zero effort put forth to attract traffic to the site.

Quick experiment - I googled ‘Adrián Beltré Retires, is a Slam Dunk Hall of Famer’ which is the hed of an article currently on the newsblog, the front page, and the hot topics sidebar. Of 33 results for that phrase, some of which are links to news items about sports other than baseball, BBTF is ranked… not on the list.

Please understand that I’m not complaining. I still come here regularly and I’m grateful beyond words for the value the site has provided to me in my lifetime. The discussions have calcified a bit as the user base has diminished and the ‘same old’ voices gradually become the majority of the comments, but there’s still fantastic content here. I just want to make the point that if one is concerned about the ‘future of the site’, there’s only one meaningful place to start to make any real impact. And if not, no community lasts forever, particularly in this day and age. The 20-25 or so year run that this one is currently winding down is far better than most message boards ever get.

Posted: 21 November 2018 09:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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OTP is the excuse for the failures of the creator and I’ll also say the creator has never really understood what he had.  Way back when Furtado belittled active posters here and told them all that they were just a minor part of this site.  But lurkers have stated that they come here not just for the links but for the poster discussions.  Despite what Furtado thought we were and are a product and he squandered that resource by misunderstanding what he had and what he needed to do.

Posted: 21 November 2018 12:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]

A few suggestions:

1.  I can’t speak for Jim, but I think most of us want people who are interested in an intelligent discussion of baseball.  There is currently no effort, as far as I’m aware, being made to attract new members so I don’t think any special targeting beyond that is necessary.  We have a community of people who spend enough time here that they would probably be willing to help in that effort, so why not give a few of them the keys to the site, as well as the Facebook page?  The latter can just be used to push links to the new threads already being posted to the Newsblog and other parts of the site.  Nobody is going to be Repozian, but that’s not required.  And let someone create a Twitter account, again even if it is just to do the same thing.

2.  The Hot Topics bar is great because it tells you which discussions are active in the Blogpen.  It would be nice if the Forums had something similar.  When I go to the Forums right now, I see a range of most recent posts that goes back to 2008.

3.  The Hall of Merit is a cool project and I bet could be used to drive more traffic to the site if the content was more easily accessible.  Have links to the Plaque Room and Important Links more prominently displayed there, rather than buried in threads from 2004-2005 which aren’t even pinned to the top of the page.  Push those links out on FB and Twitter when new content goes up.

Posted: 21 November 2018 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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At the top of the forum there are various links to sort posts.  One of them for instance is view today’s active topics.  Another one is to view new posts.  You can also subscribe to topics and then check them out on your own page.  The forums work like a regular message board.

   
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