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Author Topic: Who Uses the Forge the most?  (Read 6364 times)
Matt Gwinn
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« on: March 03, 2003, 11:41:30 AM »

The Forge has continues to grow by leaps and bounds over the past year, but I haven't really noticed a huge swell in posts.   As of this post, we have 374 members with zero posts, 159 with 1 post and 106 with 2 posts.  

This has led me to the conclusion that either 1) People have been joining the Forge and then bailing out, or 2)  There are a lot of lurkers about.

Overall we have 922 members with 10 or fewer posts.  I think it would be helpful to be able to tell where these members stand.  not to chalenge their participation level, but to gauge how many people are actually making use of the forum in some way.

Are theese members getting use out of The Forge?

Are they feeling intimidated and bailing out after joining?

Is something else going on?

Anyone have any ideas other than demanding that lurkers speak up?  Is the forum software capable of calculating the number of hours a member has been logged in?

,Matt G.
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Mark Johnson
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2003, 01:03:55 PM »

I ain't tongue-tied, I just got nothing to say.

On average, I post once per week; but I spend at least 30 minutes a day reading here.  Since I am not as devoted to game development as most of the regular posters, I feel that most of my input probably lacks the hard-earned wisdom of an indie veteran.  On the other hand, I really do get a lot out of reading the discussions.  If anything, it has turned me on to some really good games.

In the mean time, I will tinker with my designs and pipe-up only if I really feel compelled to.

Thanks,
Mark J.
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Trevis Martin
Member

Posts: 499


« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2003, 05:55:48 PM »

I answered a similar post dealing mostly with statistics on the forge some time ago.  I admit I do mostly reading here so far, but there is so much information to absorb and so much previous discussion to reference.  When I pose a question I want to be informed about what's already been said on it to avoid repetition.  So most of the time is spent reading tons of linked threads and doing searches on terms.

If you're just concerned about abandoned accounts, I'm sure the sysop has ways to tell if they've logged in within some time and can trim where necessary.

regards

Trevis
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Jack Spencer Jr
Guest
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2003, 08:35:39 AM »

I tend to come here daily and post often. I have no life. I suspect other members are actually working on game designs. I have no life.
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Jürgen Mayer
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2003, 11:35:19 AM »

I am lurking, but I am here!
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URL]http://disastermachine.com[/URLhttp://disastermachine.com
dalek_of_god
Member

Posts: 29


« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2003, 12:18:21 PM »

I'll throw my lot in with the lurkers. Personally, I don't have much to say on most of the topics of discussion here. But that doesn't mean I don't find the information presented to be interesting and sometimes useful. The fact is, I wouldn't have created an account if I hadn't wanted to chime in once. And now twice. Lurkers don't get a lot of respect in weblog and BBS communities, but they're always there. Especially at a site like the Forge. There's a lot of information here that isn't readily available anywhere else, and a lot of unique insight into RPG design.

Demanding that the lurkers speak up won't do any good. Most of the time I tend to agree with the general direction of conversation, and don't feel that I have anything to add. Why would I want to shout ME TOO all the time? The only way to get me to speak up more often would be if the people I agree with stopped posting so much. But that would probably also cause me to lose interest in the site. It's a Catch 22 situation. But since you were wondering, I'm here and I'm getting as much value from the Forge as I possibly can.


Dwayne
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Dwayne Kristjanson
Valamir
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2003, 03:07:13 PM »

That's good to know Dwayne.  Through much of the Forge's history (brief as it is) there were only a couple of dozen registered accounts that were clearly not active posters.  Over the last several months as word has gotten around that there are some great hard hitting discussions going on here literally hundreds of new accounts have been registered.  And several new active contributors have come on board also.  But as a result the number of obvious "lurker" accounts has increased 6x (sextupled?).

So from time to time its good to discover that there are actual "active" lurkers (i.e. reading and interested) as opposed to folks who looked around and never came back.

We also are well aware that sometimes the jargon filled discussions and high post rates of the most active members can seem a little unwelcoming.  But we really do like to get new perspectives and new contributors involved, so any current lurker should feel fully welcome any time they want to delurk and start or add to a discussion.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2003, 10:01:50 AM »

I think that the rate of increased lurkers or hit and runs is higher now simply because The Forge has become a bit better known. So a friend says, "check it out." And you do, but after registering you find that it's not your thing. So you leave.

This probably happend a lot less in the early days because those who found The Forge were probably looking hard for just this sort of site.

Who cares about the lurking population. If they are interested, they'll delurk. If they're not, they won't. I can't see changing things much to try to get them to delurk. The Forge isn't a popularity contest, and serves it's purpose well as is, IMO.

Mike
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Matt Gwinn
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2003, 10:58:27 AM »

Mike,
I'm not try to get the lurkers to "delurk".  That's their perogative.  I'm simply curious about whether or not they are there at all.  If you look at the Forum Statistics you can see that the most users we have had on the Forge at one time is 35 and that was way back in October.  It seems to me that it should be much higher than that whether people are posting or not.  If we could somehow log a person's "total hours logged in"  it may indicate how many peopel are truly utilizing the forum.

I'm just wondering if the Forge is as big/popular as it appears.  Are we really making a difference outside the core Forge posters?  Are gamers coming around and looking at roleplaying in a new way?  Or are we just spinning our wheels?  It's important information to know IMO.  

,Matt G.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2003, 11:13:35 AM »

My point, Matt, is that this implies that we're doing something wrong potentially. That there is something that we could do to make The Forge more popular than it is now. For Lurkers, Hit and Runs, whoever.

A) Maybe The Forge is not as popular as the stats would imply. But I garuntee you we are more popular than ever before. There are, objectively more posts coming in than previously there were.
B) I'm not sure being popular is, or should be a goal of The Forge. Ron, Clinton? As was discussed recently, is it The Forge's job to evenglize, or to simply promote the creation of good games that speak for themselves?
C) Even if we could prove that there was some potential audience that was being somehow turned off by what goes on here, what would you propose that we do about it? What change could we make that would not cause the level of discourse here to suffer?

Every couple of months or so, somebody comes out with one of these, "I think there's something wrong with The Forge" post. But they can't tell you exactly what the problem is, or what should be done about it. The concern shows that you're really dedicated, Matt. But I think that it's all going very well, and until presented with a compelling case, I'd rather we talked about something more productive.

Like when you're going to put out another game. :-)

Mike
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Matt Gwinn
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2003, 11:46:44 AM »

Quote
B) I'm not sure being popular is, or should be a goal of The Forge. Ron, Clinton? As was discussed recently, is it The Forge's job to evenglize, or to simply promote the creation of good games that speak for themselves?


Personally, I consider Forge members (Ron in particular) to be pioneers.  I guess I would like see the changes we are making (if any) and it always hurts a little when people just don't get what we're doing here.

Quote
C) Even if we could prove that there was some potential audience that was being somehow turned off by what goes on here, what would you propose that we do about it? What change could we make that would not cause the level of discourse here to suffer?


I think the Forge booth at Gencon is a good start.  We are definetly making ripples on the player side of things.  But what about retailers and distributors?  Gamers in general will never open their eyes to new ideas and games until they are made readily available to them.  Would it be possible to set up seminars at some of the bigger cons?  Or how about a quarterly indie newsletter that goes out to retailers?  It could play up the indie movement and how the industry can be strengthened by what we are doing.  

Hey, I'm no revolutionary, but ocassionally I get a bug up my ass and like to see some progress.   I guess I'm just a visionary with no patience or plan.

Quote
I'd rather we talked about something more productive.
Like when you're going to put out another game. :-)


Hey now!  I'm working on it.  My new game Forth Edition is in its early stages.  I simply haven't decided on a mechanic yet.  We're not supposed to post about it if we don't have anything to show people right?

,Matt G.
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2003, 09:01:06 PM »

Quote from: Matt Gwinn
Or how about a quarterly indie newsletter that goes out to retailers?  It could play up the indie movement and how the industry can be strengthened by what we are doing.

This caught my attention. My reaction was that it was a clever idea.

But then, if we're talking about a print newsletter, we're talking a lot of money to send something to a lot of people, most of whom are going to consider it one more piece of junk advertising to drop in the waste basket.

And if we're talking an Internet newsletter, I'm not sure how we get the subscriber base to make it work. It's a lot of work for someone to do something, even monthly. Maybe quarterly works? But who does it? And how do we actually get retailers aware of it and subscribed?

Perhaps all that is really needed is a quick news section in a site such as this--somewhere that would post mini briefs on games that become available as they are released.

I was surprised to hear this past week that a relative half a continent away from me of someone I only recently met was quite enthused about my game, which he had picked up at a game store I didn't know existed, that had heard about it I don't know where and liked the idea so much they stocked it. Something that let people know what was out there and how to find out more might help. But what form should this take? Is print necessary (and how is it executed)? Should it be delivered to the e-mail boxes of interested people, or placed on a web site they can visit when they wish?

The remaining questions are, how much different is this from what's being done by web sites already (Pen & Paper Net announces our publications sometimes before we do), and how would we make such a thing useful without it either becoming a burden on someone who has to maintain it or having it degenerate into an announcements forum where every game company or writer posts every press release they've got?

I think it's something to consider; I don't know how to execute it.

Thanks for the ideas, Matt.

--M. J. Young
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Piratecat
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2003, 03:17:17 PM »

I'm just stalking Jared.

Seriously, most of my design work is for D&D (and most of my activity at EN World), but I wanted to participate here as well. There's some damn cool ideas floating around here, and I'm hoping to take advantage of some of them.  Maybe I'll even be able to give a little bit back in return.

 - Kevin Kulp
   Admin, EN World
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- Kevin Kulp
Admin, EN World
Pyske
Member

Posts: 30


« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2003, 06:41:40 PM »

Quote from: Matt Gwinn
[...]I think it would be helpful to be able to tell where these members stand.[...]

Are theese members getting use out of The Forge?

Are they feeling intimidated and bailing out after joining?[...]


A little bit, at least in my case.  The moderation level, focus, and quality of posts are a large part of what give the Forge it's value, so I certainly wouldn't suggest changing them.  At the same time, they do tend to deter casual posting; for many, RPGs are ultimately a casual activity.  Time is also a factor:  meaningful and well-thought-out posts simply take more time, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were more than a few people who had started to post something here, but ran out of time to write before they had the idea in a form they felt comfortable submitting.

Ultimately, 'though, I think this is a good thing.  There are more than a few casual posting environments available for RPG discussions.  One of the consistently positive things I hear when people recommend the Forge is the signal / noise ratio and quality of the substance posted here.  If fewer posts and more lurking is the cost for that quality, I would suggest that it is still a worthy niche to fill.

 . . . . . . . -- Eric

edit: minor typos / grammar changes
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(Real Name: Eric H)
Psycho42
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2003, 03:19:48 AM »

Ok, time to stop lurking again. I come here at least every other day and spend a 10-30 minutes reading. Like Psyke I think most posts have such a high quality (which mine most likely will not have) that I'm kind of initmidated and don't post very often...

Please don't change anything, I like The Forge the way it is...

cheers
Frank
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