5 Reasons why ScrewAttack is failing.
Just like to say that I feel pretty dirty making a blog like this, things like this generally come across to me a very tacky, easy way to generate lots of views and attention, and make the writer seem very self-centered and arrogant to think he has all the answers. I just feel that after a month or so since the site had what was supposed to be its triumphant return, we still aren't happy, and I feel the need to express myself beyond the usual circle-jerk PM discussions that take place between people I won't name.
Oh yeah, and Subscribe, LOLOLOL.
Thought I'd get this one out of the way first, as of writing we've had 3 "Town Hall" Meetings since the site relaunched last year and not once have I come away from those Meetings feeling like something is being done about my issues. For those that haven't watched one of these before it's basically Craig and a laptop reading questions from the live chat and then failing to answer them in a satisfactory way. The above image displays just some of the encounters I've had in the 3 Town Hall Meetings. I can't help but feel Craig isn't the person we should be talking to. Sure, he's the owner of the site and the main "personality" but when the issues are over the website and the community, we should be talking to the developers of the site, or Bryan the so-called Community Manager. The most recent Town Hall Meeting a couple weeks back was by far the worst, it was about 15 minutes long and provided no real answers to any questions submitted, mainly replying with "I don't know what you mean" responses before moving on, Craig in fact spent most of the Meeting bigging up their E3 coverage (Which I'll get to in a moment) which is not the point of these Meetings. Craig just doesn't seem to get that people have issues with his site that are destroying the once great reputation it had, he either doesn't get it or doesn't believe things are issues. One such instance in relation to the infamous Blog Erasing Glitch began with him saying "I've never heard of that", only for other ScrewAttack Staff members saying that they had. There seems to be a lack of dialogue between ScrewAttack and the Community, and whilst I've got nothing against Craig, I don't think he understands the issues at hand, and perhaps in future we should be talking to the people directly responsible who know exactly what's going on.
So, it took a long time for it to arrive and the arrival was the definition of turbulant but hey! We've got the subs and feed and all that wonderful stuff now, right? Well apparently not because after a week or so of slow loading and error pages, ScrewAttack just decided to take it all back again and hasn't brought it back since (I'll get to the lack of communication in a bit). This is a bad thing in itself, but they chose to do this during E3, which is probably the biggest week in the gaming calender. What the hell? If it wasn't ready, then you shouldn't of updated, and if you updated too soon you shouldn't then take it all away without any solid explanation. For the past 3 or so years I've felt like I was taking part in E3 and ScrewAttack's coverage, this year? I felt completely isolated from anything ScrewAttack related the entire week. I haven't ever felt less part of the ScrewAttack "Community" over my entire time being a g1 then I did last week. We didn't have a Feed to talk to each other, we didn't have notifications, which meant we didn't have Subscriptions either, the site was constantly going down or taking forever to load regardless of all the new features being removed. Basically, we're back to square one again, but this time the site is broken in general as well. We still don't have what we need to get the site back on its feet, and we STILL don't know when/if it's coming back, but I'll get to the lack of communication in a bit. This was, and still is my biggest issue with the whole "NewAttack/NewFaceBookAttack" fiasco, it's all been very sloppily released, and the mistakes and errors have been very unprofesionally handled, by that I mean they haven't been handled at all, they've been ignored.
Moving away from the ScrewAttack team itself, time to moan at the g1's! Now, as someone who's been making blogs on this site for severeal years now, I'd like to think I'm resonably well known amongst g1's. Yet, despite this I feel very much cut off from the majority of people. Why is this? Because a lot of people have gone off and formed their own little sub-groups of g1's in what I like to call a "Circle Jerk". Before I anger people, I'm not saying any of these people are bad or wrong to do this kind of thing, in fact I talk to a lot of these people and they're just fine, but I object to this desire to form a "Team" of g1's and shut off people outside this circle. This has been going on for a while on ScrewAttack, but that doesn't mean it isn't a problem, I'm talking about g1 Features, Debased To This, Teh Pwn Shop (Who frankly, can keep their particular group of members) and all that crap. I'm not saying we can't be more friends with certain g1's than others, but if I feel intimidated and isolated by all these groups and their in-jokes and things they do, then how on earth would a new g1 feel? I'm not telling people to stop because I know that won't happen, I just wish g1's would stop banding together when we already are banded together as "g1's". I know some of these groups are trying to form the "new ScrewAttack" or work like a business but, without hurting your feelings, that ain't gonna happen, we're all a bunch of nerds on the internet, mainly teenagers at that, now's not the time to do shit like that. Again, sorry if I've offended anyone, I don't mean too, but the sooner we all stop being so elitist and power-hungry, the sooner we can all have more fun. This has probably come across as a mindless ramble but it's very hard to phrase what I feel about these things properly.
I think this problem came to the forefront most during the update a few weeks back. We'd been told in the (always informative) Town Hall Meeting in January that the update would be coming "Sometime in March". We got to May and we hadn't heard a single thing about it since...or at least I thought we hadn't. Turns out ScrewAttack had been undertaking a Beta test in secret with a select group of g1's without telling anyone but people on Facebook. Now as someone who doesn't use Facebook, I felt very much out of the loop and annoyed by this. ScrewAttack have a Twitter account, in fact most of the ScrewAttack crew are on Twitter, but I hadn't heard anything about the update or what it contained in almost half a year by that point. The only reason I had any idea what was going on was because I talk to g1's who do use Facebook and are less inclined to keep secrets from people. So, anyway, the site went down despite no warning on any place except Facebook promising it'd "Be back in the evening!". 4 days later and the site still wasn't up, was Twitter kept in the loop? Nope, in fact ScrewAttack's Twitter pretty much went silent during the update whilst Facebook users were being kept up to date. When I brought up this lack of feedback to Craig on the latest and worst Town Hall Meeting, his response was "I don't understand what you mean" and that was that, no solutions, no explanations, nothing. Like it or not, the past year has been a bad one for ScrewAttack, a lot of people are disenchanted by the way things have been treated and how poorly we've all been kept up to date. It's still going on right now, when are we going to get the Feed/Notifcations/Subs back? Who knows, I sure don't. You need to talk to us, it takes more than a crappy live stream of "I don't know"'s and "I don't get it"'s every 3 or 4 months to appease us, and keeping Twitter users up to speed on what's going on would be a great start to fixing this problem. Like I said before I don't feel like I'm part of ScrewAttack right now, if anything I feel like I'm at odds with it due to the way I feel we've been treated, and this lack of communication is a big part of the problem.
It's all well and good me moaning at Craig and ScrewAttack for dropping the ball over the past few months, but the fact of the matter is none of this is going to get better if you people don't help make this place better! Whilst I've been one of the more vocally outraged people over the recent changes, I've continued (forthe most part) to make blogs, to try and do things for the g1's and to try and get people involved in things. But with the latter I've had little success, I've tried numerous contests and "schemes" to try and get something fun going with you guys and you just don't seem to be interested, the only thing I've really had success in is my recent Desert Island Cartridges where 6 g1's are queued up to take part, and that's a great start admittedly. But it's not all about what I'm doing of course, problem is a lot of the g1's of old, the people who used to be the "big ones" so to speak have just given up on doing anything on this site, I understand completely why, in fact I myself went on hiatus for a couple of months due to the sheer frustration of things going on, but the fact of the matter is if you don't voice yourselves, we'll never get anything sorted! Fact of the matter is, it seemed to be that until recently ScrewAttack weren't aware people were unhappy with the site, and I continue to worry that they're missing the point in certain areas completely. I know a lot of you have the same opinions as I do on these things, yet none of you have bothered to voice that! Even then it's not just about moaning, if the community is failing how is abandoning it going to help matters? ScrewAttack need to get things sorted out, yes, but we have our own part to play in reviving the community. So...I don't know, stick up some bunting or some shit like that! I'm running out of things to say, so I'll stop, but I hope I've made my point clear.
Before you all fire flaming rant missiles at me, please let me explain two things. I don't mean to come across as some arrogant twat who thinks he knows what's best for everyone, and I know for a fact that's exactly how these blogs come across to most people, I've avoided doing this shit for so long but I've had enough so I needed to get this out there. I doubt it'll do any good but at least I'm trying.
Also, I don't hate Screwattack, or Craig, or the g1's, or anyone I've had a go at in this blog, I just know that things can easily be made so much better if we all take our hands out of our arses and do something about it! Make blogs, voice your opinions, let the people in charge know how you feel, that's the only way we'll get things right again.
Also, YOU'VE GOT TO GET MAD! I WANT YOU ALL TO GO TO YOUR WINDOWS, STICK YOUR HEADS OUT AND SHOUT "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!
I'll probably avoid replying to comments I feel will cause a flamewar on this blog, just letting you know in case you feel left out of my usual "Reply to every comment ever" act.
Man...I havent been on this site in forever. Well the reason why stuff's been going to hell is because the Screwattack's gone through a lot of changes, and one of the big ones i people leaving. When this site first started (I think in 06) it was pretty popular with all the kewl shows and top 10s plus they were their own thing (not owned by Game Trailers). But I mean like as small thing you can only so much. Another thing that's affected the site is the whole Craig and Tom thing ( which I'm not going to talk about because because it's been forever since it happened.)
I was just stating that if Tom was still on screwattack that VGV problem could have been avoided.
If you want Tom so much why don't you go bother him on his own website?
I bet if Tom was still around we would have never had that little "Asterix and the Great Rescue" incident.
Me too. While everybody flocks to Craig, Jared, Ben, and Nick because of their own styles of reviewing games, Tom had the uncanny ability to actually make sure the crew always got their gaming facts right, therefore making their VGV's accurate and very interesting to watch.
Hey Stickman, you are right that ScrewAttack is stuck in the Suckage Zone. One thing you didn't delve into was Stuttering Craig’s betrayal actions where he kicked both Handsome Tom and Guru Larry off his site.
You know I have Facebook so I kept up with the Screwattack updates when the sight was down, but I can see how crippling it would be to not have a facebook and have no idea why the website wasn't working for a few days. But Craig DID put up the detailed message, and I understood that whatever was going on behind the scenes he had to be pulling all of his hair out. I guess because I'm a "casual" g1, (I don't make blogs or videos, even if I did it wouldn't be video game related), I walk around the outer ring of the g1 community.
I think it might help if Screwattack maybe made a second twitter account that would be exclusively for relaying information involving technical problems or maybe offering advice if something isn't working on our end of of the site. Because the site might not work correctly for everyone, but it depends on YOUR computer and YOUR internet, it can't be the website 100% every time something is wrong. For example: the springboard player was incredibly laggy at my mom's home in Colorado, but it's much better here. It's still glitchy but I'll take it over waiting 5 minutes just to see less than 10 seconds of video.
I liked it better when Handsome Tom was helping run the site.
I use to be so active on this site, hell my school work even suffered because of it.
But ever since the New site was launched it almost felt like Screwattack lost its soul. I don't know if that makes sense but it is how I felt about the whole situation. And that is why I haven't been active on the site.
About the blog I do agree with most of your points especially the last one. And that's why I'm back, I feel we need to restore the community to its former glory and I'm here to do my part.
I'll get right on rewriting human nature for ya, bud. People tend to clump into groups. Students in schools do it, actual communities do it, workplaces do it, we all do it. But I'll change that just for you.
I feel like I disagree with this blog as a whole, but then looking at all of your separate points, I can't really disagree with any of them. For someone who apologizes in case they offend someone, you really are good at writing balanced blogs on controversial subjects.
I felt a little guilt over your point on community not supporting the site though... To be fair, the drafts system slowed my stuff because I could save any time I wanted, and now I'm even slower because the drafts system has been consistently crap in Version 5, so I do everything in Word.
One other thing I want to say is about the interaction between community and staff. I think it's better than you may think it is, but I see a problem. It's kind of one-way. It's silly to look back to when ScrewAttack was a much smaller site, but I remember on V3 and even V4 when my stuff occasionally got a comment from a member of staff. Now I feel like if it doesn't get a community showcase, or if it's not a news story, they don't even look at it. But that's a more personal complaint.
So anyway... don't agree on everything, but well-written and thought-provoking blog.
Lack of Twitter Support I can see, but everything else I don't agree with
Eh, I see how some of your complaints are valid but most seem to me to be blown out of proportions. You're looking at this from only one angle because it's the only one you can see. I'm sure if you had inside information you'd see things differently. You seem to have a very negative view on every thing and just come off overly emotional.
When new things happen on websites shit usually hits the fan, this time it hit pretty hard. I think the new editions are HUGE pluses and can see why Craig wanted them before E3 BADLY. With the tech people telling him things would be OK he went with it. I can't blame the man really. You got to trust the people who are experts at their fields. Though I'm sure Craig also learned a lesson too. Don't risk new web features at the risk of the website being severely hampered during the biggest time of the year.
As far as the community goes, well just like life it will change over time. Old g1s will leave or die off slowly and new ones will come and take their place. To me it sounds like you got a case of the "things were SO much better back in the day" going on. I personally thing it's better. Not saying I'm right and you're wrong. Just saying there are people with different opinions than you. Try not to get your self in your own clique of people who all think like you. g1's come here from all different races, ages, genders, countries, and all have different levels of involvement. ScrewAttack doesn't solely revolve around blogs and bloggers. Craig and the team as a whole have the full spectrum of g1s to cater to. So don't through a hissy fit but still voice your opinion. Just realize YOUR needs may not be #1 on Craig's list of things to do. And realize that things take TIME. I know patience is of very little supply on the Internet but try to find some of it and be grateful of what you have at ScrewAttack.
Reddit mostly... It's a dark place.
While we're on the subject of the site, I'm just annoyed because ScrewAttack keeps shutting me out when I try to access my profile. It's been doing this for weeks now, even with my constant informing to designzillas, and now I can't even post a blog because the page is frozen.
I don't mean to side here, but this is the kind of frustration The Stickman brought up in his blog...
Well, first of all, thank you for taking time out of your day to respond to this blog, that's exactly what I was hoping for.
I think the main thing I'm getting from all this is that these are all things I feel you should have told us about, had you done so I wouldn't of felt the way I did and blogs like this wouldn't have to be made in order to get such things answered. I'd hope that in future situations like this, things could be a little more transparent, of course I understand some things can't be talked about but keeping silent isn't a viable option either.
I hope you understand that had this kind of information been openly available when the problems were occurring, I would feel a lot less inclined to make blogs like this. I've got nothing against you or ScrewAttack, in fact I've spent a good part of the last 3 years of my life here, I just feel that the last 8 or so months have not been handled very well.
I'm also a bit disappointed you've still yet to explain the lack of Twitter support.
Actually, gonna back out of this one. My reply wasn't really relevant to this.
Well - Allow me to chime in here:
1) "ScrewAttack aren't listening to their Community." When I read this my jaw hit the floor. I don't think you understand that every single update made to the site was made because of YOUR FEEDBACK. When we launched this new site we immediately heard feedback from g1s and we acted on it. The thing I don't think a lot of people realize is that it takes time to develop these things out - lots of time. I can't waive a magic wand and things are fixed or developed. They just take time.
In regards to the "Blog Erasing Glitch", in order for us to fix it we have to be able to replicate it by our dev team. If the guys in the office have it happen to them we do our best to send that information over the Designzillas but until they can consistently replicate the issue, we can't fix it. You have to have a diagnosis for the problem and not being able to replicate it doesn't allow us to diagnose the root of the issue.
One quick note, when speaking of the Town Hall Meetings you said "I come away from those Meetings feeling like something is being done about my issues." The key words there is "my issues". I ALWAYS act with the best interest of the entire community in mind not just one individual. Sometimes decisions won't work for you individually but in the long haul they are meant for the best of the community.
2) "We still don't have the things we need to thrive." There's a lot of things that go on behind the scenes at ScrewAttack that, to be honest, you don't need to know about. One of those things is server stuff. I do my best to relay bits and pieces your way but the nitty gritty stuff you really don't need to know about that. With that said, yes we launched the new features and as far as we knew they were ready. Upon launching the new features they became such a stress on our servers (even with beefed up servers) that we literally - in the course of 7 days prior to E3 - had to transfer ScrewAttack to an entirely new server company. That process usually takes between 3 weeks and a month and for us to accomplish that in such a short amount of time was incredible.
Going into E3 we had 100% intention of having all of those community features usable for the community. Unfortunately during the migration some coding was tampered with on accident which pretty much recreated the issues we saw on our previous servers. It was either a) have the site load with 1 minute plus load times or b) pull the new features and cover E3 as best as possible. If you'll notice in the Announcement area on the right column it clearly says notifications for videos and blogs are turned off. That Announcement was made before they were actually pulled. That information is available to anyone who goes on the site. All they have to do is look.
Now that E3 is over we're now slowly bring back those features - in fact, I have a call today at 2:30 to discuss optimization of the coding for it with our devs and server company. Do I wish we could have had the tools for E3? You bet your ass. Sorry, that's all I can say.
3) g1's need to stop forming "Cliques" There have been cliques since day one at ScrewAttack and if I recall especially during v3 and v4. Blogs vs Forums anyone? Grouping together with friends is a natural occurrence and even if you're not a part of a specific group on ScrewAttack, whether you like it or not, there are cliques - see your subscribers. Cliques are fine just as long as it doesn't turn into a turf war, which we won't let happen.
4) "ScrewAttack aren't talking to their Community." From here on out I'm no longer attaching dates to any new update we make to the site. Yes, the new features were originally supposed to launch in March, as that was the original timeline given to me by our devs. Unfortunately issues are run in to and sometimes things take more time than expected.
With the site being down, that was literally the hardest 6 days of my professional life. You have NO IDEA what was happening behind the scenes as we had literally 10 people, whos names you've never heard or will never hear because they work so behind the scenes, working on getting things squared away. I touched on this earlier but the site being down had to do with the incredible server issues.
One thing you failed to mention in your post is that after it became obvious to me that a solution would not be in place by the evening I updated the front page of ScrewAttack with a very detailed description as to what was happening and why it was happening. It was about as transparent as you can possibly be.
5) g1's need to help make the Community Thrive. Your post is very "doom and gloom" and while I've taken an hour out of my day to respond to your post, I do want to point out that ScrewAttack is about as far from "doom and gloom" as you can be right now. We just came off one of our biggest months in our history with more community content published and promoted than ever before. Now that E3 is complete we're ratcheting up the focus on the community as you'll see content hitting the main rotator on the front page as well as a "suggested shows" tab in the main navigation further putting emphasis on g1 created content.
Using the word "revive" to talk about our community is crazy. It's not on life support or anything. In fact, we have more g1s registering every day to join the site than literally ever before. We've been around nearly 6 1/2 years and we've seen the community shift and morph multiple times - it's a natural thing online. The big thing that must continue to done is welcome in new g1s to a great home like ScrewAttack so that those same new g1s can become "big ones".
I've ALWAYS put the community first in building ScrewAttack because you guys are the core of what we're doing. Like Sam said, without you guys supporting us we don't have much going on. We've created new shows (Screwin' Around), new website features and even modified roles here at the office based on your feedback. We're doing our best and hope that you guys can have continue to have patience as we continue to grow the site into something we all can enjoy.
To be honest..i kind of agree with him..Sure Screwattack has dons of good things going for it but it has huge problems (Like the ones Stickman is saying)..
So that's why I couldn't see anything on my feed. Huh, I had no idea.
But seriously, I think you're overreacting. It's more of a communication issue than anything. Craig rarely uses his Twitter which is also part of the problem but definitely communicating with all g1's, not just the ones on Facebook, is something that needs to be done. Having said that, not all the blame has to fall with Craig. The other members of the staff didn't give us heads up either. Just saying.
I don't think there is anything wrong with the community with the exception of a few members who I shall not name. I try to make a blog every week, just so my subscribers can see something. I tried in the past to do things like g1 Interviews and g1 Spotlight but it fell through which sucked because it was a great way to get the community involved which each other. I've never heard g1's joining any cliques. If they want to go and join other forums and form groups like g1 Features, that's their own business. Personally, I like to keep to myself.
Overall, good points which could mostly be solved by better communication.