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The Future Of These Forums - Please Read

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Since I'm no longer working full-time with FEZ, the crew sat down and decided what we wanted to do with the site. You'll have to remember that we were once a podcast that we used to produce on a bi-weekly basis on our own free time and FEZ followed the same line. We weren't a reaction to anything except Gamertype because that site, obviously, went nowhere.

We're at a point though where it's costing more to keep FEZ up than it's worth and we should be engaging stuff that we want to do rather than what we feel obligated to because it'll get us attention/some revenue (read: articles). The result of that thinking is that we'll be building a network of small sites and most of us will be concentrating our efforts on those, rather than FEZ, and FEZ will be downsized.

A steady flow of traffic and the ability to comment between articles and the forums (since they're linked) is the reason why we went with Vanilla) and with a slower traffic rate, the question of whether these forums will grow is one we have to answer. I've really enjoyed interacting with you guys here and this serving as a 'chill' forum home, but we don't quite know what to do with these as we move forward. These forums were never designed to replace Gamertype or otherwise, but they were designed to grow and they didn't.

We've considered a few things:

- Shutting them off entirely as many of these new sites will probably migrate back to Facebook Comments

- Keeping them around, but as a vBulletin forum, unlinked from the comments sections of our articles

Since you guys post here and elsewhere, we're curious what you think we should do. Would it be worth having a standalone, vBulletin-powered set of forums? Would you migrate to Facebook comments on articles?

Let us know!

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@N, I for one won't migrate to Facebook. I don't use it. I used to, still have my account somewhere, but haven't logged in because I don't like what Facebook's become.

I'm not super active in online discussion worlds, I'm here because I got in with Sons of Odin and this is where they hang their hats so this is where I 'chill' for my very limited forum time. I do really enjoy the articles you guys post, but I haven't had downtime at work since I've been on leave following surgery and only recently went back.

I'd hate to see this board go, I really do enjoy them, the discussions, and the people (even if it's only because I lurk more than I comment), but you guys have gotta do what you guys have gotta do.

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I've definitely appreciated having SOO on-board and am glad we've been able to keep you guys around. You've also been the vast majority of our forum traffic, but being hidden away and with not nearly as much bleedover as I would've liked, the rest of this place looks like a ghost town, which was never intended to happen, but that's the way it's been in the year since we brought this thing up. We have a lot of military folks in here and, yeah, I understand vacancies.

Thanks for sticking around :)

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I would definitely take a vBulletin forum over Facebook-managed conversation threads. Facebook is not a mature means of communication. Great for linking and tracking and sharing article comments; but otherwise not really a great way for expansive, meaningful communication. I like Vanilla and all because it's is clear, but not oversimplified, communication organization.

I had hoped the Time Warner merger would have funneled some more traffic across here, but I have noticed a lack of new users that aren't spammers or SoO.

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What Time Warner merger?

Thing is, Facebook wouldn't be replacing the forum system, but for comments it's worked out incredibly well. In fact, the only reason why we switched away from Facebook Comments is because they didn't have a forum system. Some of our best commentary came from when we were on Facebook.

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Above all else, we've been honored and proud that FEZ has help supported us the way you have, tell us what you need, an we'll do anything we can to help yall. As for facebook, i'll be honest not so much for it because again don't like what its become but at the same time i'm not a stranger to it. And I think the facebook option would be a good idea, anything that will generate good commentary and feed back.

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It's difficult to say really. I enjoy coming here and really like the fact that there is some meaningful content to read and comment on (although I am generally an OTLer - old habits die hard I guess).

If I'm going to be honest with you guys, as a vBulletin forum I could see the place becoming another Gamertype. Without content to drive it, it might become a bit redundant as there aren't many consistent posters here. I just don't think it would work.

As for Facebook, I too don't like it these days, but if it allows a system of commenting on content then I may use it a bit. However, it seems that with Facebook you can't build up a community and really get to know people because they don't have accounts/avatars etc. and I guess that's one of the reasons I like forums.

Those are my thoughts for what they're worth.

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I'm not much of a Front Page person unless I see a feed that an article was posted about a Movie or TV show that interests me. I didn't really get into the podcasts or videos.

Otherwise, I hang around forums for random discussion.

Also, I quit Facebook like 3 years ago. I think it's become something ridiculous.

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It's difficult to say really. I enjoy coming here and really like the fact that there is some meaningful content to read and comment on (although I am generally an OTLer - old habits die hard I guess).

If I'm going to be honest with you guys, as a vBulletin forum I could see the place becoming another Gamertype. Without content to drive it, it might become a bit redundant as there aren't many consistent posters here. I just don't think it would work.

As for Facebook, I too don't like it these days, but if it allows a system of commenting on content then I may use it a bit. However, it seems that with Facebook you can't build up a community and really get to know people because they don't have accounts/avatars etc. and I guess that's one of the reasons I like forums.

Those are my thoughts for what they're worth.

We're on the same wavelength, I think.

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I'm wondering if there are free alternatives to Vbulletin that are better than Vanilla. I don't know how hard it would be to work with some of them like PHPBB?

I mean if you're willing to have a stand-alone forum maybe you could have more options than Vanilla but still save money.

I wonder if this could be an opportunity to go in another direction. Many people at WCG are rather pissed at vBulletin actually.

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I'm not sure if either option is ideal.

Facebook is great for having people who aren't registered comment on articles. But there's nothing to make them stick around. It just lets more comments appear per article.

I do like how articles link to the forum, but the FEZ site may be trying to reach too wide an audience for the amount of staff you have. New people may be attracted to an article, but don't see a community based on their particular interest.

I do like the idea of having a network of separate sites. Each site focused on pushing a lot of content in a narrow subject. Heck, even "technology" may be too wide a net.

The base of online communities are often fanatics over something. Very specific somethings. Like Apple, Android, or Windows Phone. Sci-fi, body building, surfing, etc...

Find two or three things you're fanatic about and make sites focusing on just those. 2-4 articles a day on each subject.

Then... Have all sites share the same forum! A subforum that is dedicated to each site, and a general area that they all share.

Just my 2 cents.

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Well, these smaller sites would be stuff like pictures or comics, not quite articles.

Having a "master forum" for all these sites is something that's been batted around, but without a connection between the articles/images and the main forum, it's hard to say what traffic on the forums will do.

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Well, these smaller sites would be stuff like pictures or comics, not quite articles.

Having a "master forum" for all these sites is something that's been batted around, but without a connection between the articles/images and the main forum, it's hard to say what traffic on the forums will do.

You could always do a hybrid Drupal setup where the PHPbb element is the main forum and Drupal manages the individual sites' content with thread-linking. I haven't ever tried actually doing a multi-site Drupal but it feels like it's possible, lol.

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Well, these smaller sites would be stuff like pictures or comics, not quite articles.

Having a "master forum" for all these sites is something that's been batted around, but without a connection between the articles/images and the main forum, it's hard to say what traffic on the forums will do.

I think a master forum could work if there there are clear divisions between site types and the the different sites share similar demographics.

You just don't want to try merging very different small communities.

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If you are losing money then kill it. It makes good business sense and you can use that revenue towards other projects. Life and the interweb will go one.

It's a very pragmatic view of things, but at the same time, we spent years even getting the regulars we have here to toss it away. We're all kind of two minds about it.

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N, Sons of Odin has a great deal of competent writers and technically gifted individuals, if you need us to help drive website content I'm sure a lot of them would jump at the chance to get stuff published. That said, either format seems like it would render the forums... obsolete.

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I too appreciate you giving Sons of Odin a place to stay and chat. These forums are great! Nordic has a good point too. There are many Odin members that have long discussions are various tech topics. I'm sure those conversations could be turned into quality articles.

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