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Ponderings on the g1 Community

6/15/12 11:59am
tl;dr

 With the recent blogs about ScrewAttack and the community, I would like to state my opinion on why ScrewAttack is failing and what the community can do to make this website better than it is today.

 First of all, before we get started please read the following:

www.screwattack.com/news/5-reasons-why-screwattack-failing-0

www.screwattack.com/news/rise-and-fall-g1-empire

www.screwattack.com/news/my-suggestion-help-g1-community

www.screwattack.com/news/great-screwattack-debate

Are you back? Good, I was hoping I lost you there for a second. Now, I know you've probably read these blogs a million times over by now and you probably don't want to sit down and read another one. Hear me out. These are my thoughts and opinons on what the problems are and how we, as a community, can fix them. WARNING: THIS IS VERY LONG, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Reading all of the blogs listed above got me to thinking: what's the problem with ScrewAttack today? Why are things seemingly going downhill for these members of the community?  I think I can pick out three problems that can be easily solved.

Problem #1: The Forums are being ignored

It was a concern brought up awhile ago that the staff were going to use Walls more often for questions on SideScrollers and use the forums less and less. The staff were barely posting in the forums as it was and this brought up a ton of questions by a lot of g1's. Craig intially eased our worries when he said:

Chill out guys. the main thing is that we want people to get used to all the new tools on the website. Will we accept questions from the forums again? Yes, of course we will but we want people to know what it's like to post on others walls and how to communicate using the tools we spent over 6 months (and tons of money) building at the communities request. Is that too much to ask?

Now the forums aren't exactly the most popular place (we do have new g1's coming in but it's usually little by little) and those who do have forum accounts spend most of their time either asking a question in the SideScrollers questions thread or suggesting a news story. This new wall feature is going to completely kill that. Nobody is going to have the incentive to use the forums anymore. That's a huge issue.There aren't many people that are actively on the forums as it is and the Wall feature has just made it worse. There's no reason to go to the forums to interact with other g1's. Something needs to be done about this. I understand that Walls, Feeds, and Subscriptions are awesome tools but don't neglect what you already have. There are g1's on the forums who are very vocal about the fourms getting "phased out" and as time goes by, the more I think that they are right. Here's another quote from Craig explaining the parrallels between the main site and the forums:

Not everyone is a forum goer. Actually, 98% of people who go on the site don't go to the forums but still like to interact. We've given them tools to do so without entering the forums - which can only allow for more communication which leads to a bigger and stronger community.  We're defintely NOT phasing out the forums. They have their place for sure. We're just providing more options for all of the community.

Now, I don't know about everyone else, but I have major problems with this statement and in hindsight, I should have brought them up to Craig when he posted this. That's certainly a staggering statistic, isn't it? 98% of people don't go to the forums but want to interact. It makes sense to have a Wall then, no? Well, here's the reason I don't agree with it: if you have a place where g1's can interact with each other, why not lead them there? Why seperate the forums from the main site if you want interaction? To me, it doesn't make sense. The forums were always the place to go to ask questions and interact even before I had an account on this site. I'll admit, I didn't use the forums a lot back in Version 4. That was a mistake because for the most part, the forums are a great place to interact with other people. Maybe you don't like games: there's a comic book and movie thread. Do you like to debate or talk politics? There's a formal thread where you can do exactly that. The forums aren't a huge, scary place. It's an area where we can interact as a community. Also, it's a lot better than the Wall, because the forums never crash or get taken down with a moments notice. The point I'm trying to make is that the forums are a great place to have conversations with other g1's. Stop pretending that they don't exist and promote them.

Problem #2: g1's aren't critical of the staff... at all

I know it might seem strange because I've linked you two blogs that were critical of ScrewAttack but I'm not talking about those, I'm talking about g1's in general. I know that this site is great and it produces a lot of awesome, original content but nobody ever criticises the staff for anything. Think about the two blogs that you just read: both of them held the staff responsible for one thing or another. I'm doing the exact same thing.

Most g1's, for some reason or another, are afraid to speak up and say that something wasn't good or that ScrewAttack's doing something wrong simply because they don't want start a fuss. I've been critical of the show Newsroom in the past and have gotten nothing but negativity because of it. Do I like Newsroom? Not really. Half of the time, it's not really all that funny. It's well acted. Jared and Lauren have chemistry together but does it make me laugh? Nope. The only episode I can recall that had me giggling throughout was the 8 Mile episode. It had solid writing, it was well-acted and the joke worked. The recent episode I found to be sloppy. It just didn't do it for me and when I said as much in the comments, I was told that I "didn't get the joke" or " sorry that you don't like your free entertainment". But the one that made me scratch my head was the one that said:

If you don't like it, just leave

I can tell you one thing: there are a lot of things wrong with that statement.It seems that people can't criticise the work of the staff: whether it be a video, blog, or even website updates. Most g1's are content with saying "Awesome" or "Best thing ever!" when they might not feel this way or that isn't the case. Here's a tidbit of information for everyone. Not everything ScrewAttack does is perfect. The recent Top 10's, and Newsroom have been pretty subpar lately and yet nobody says anything. When there are problems with the site, nobody thinks to say anything and it took a blog to bring attention to it. How depressing is that?  Nobody is overly critical about anything done by the staff and that's only hurting us. By heaping unnecessary praise on something, whether it's a show, a video, a partner, a webiste update, whatever, we're going to give the impression that nothing is wrong and that nothing needs to be fixed. So that's why I'm asking the rest of the g1 community to start being more critical of the product. If you don't like something or think that something could be done better, SAY SOMETHING! Trust me, it will make ScrewAttack better in the end. 

Problem #3: There is ZERO Communication between the staff and the majority of g1's

I, like many others, asked myself a question after E3 was wrapping up: where the heck was my feed? I could not see it or even access it. It turns out that ScrewAttack had told Facebook users about the problems and nobody else. Not their twitter followers, not their regular users, nobody except those who were on Facebook. Now, as somebody who deleted his Facebook about a month back (and is much better for it so maybe you should try it as well), I was left completely in the dark. I didn't even know until I read the blog by Stickman which is linked above.

That's probably the main issue between the staff and g1's today: there is little to no communication about anything and it seems that most of the problems that g1's have been experiencing could be solved by better communication. How difficult was it to put "Feed is inaccessable until after E3" in the announcement bar? You have a that for a reason: to let the community know something important. If you were too busy, then maybe I would understand but it couldn't be that hard, could it? You also have a Twitter, as well as many g1's. Was it too busy to send out a 140-character sentence saying "Feed is going to be done until further notice"? I don't think so. But these are just some of the problems.

ScrewAttack also holds Town Hall meetings every so often. The idea is to tell all the issues that we're currently having  to Craig so that he can tell his team of devs the problem. Some Town Hall meetings have been worthwhile but the last one was an utter joke. There was no point to it unless you wanted to know how ScrewAttack was covering E3. I'm not saying that it was bad of Craig to tell everybody that they were going to have a boatload of E3 coverage but Town Hall meetings happen because some of us are having issues with the site not because we want to hear that you're going to have all the press conferences. There were legitimate issues brought up at the last Town Hall meeting that were either completely ignored or glossed over. We can't have that. If the staff want to make the website better then they need to listen. It's a simple fact. There are issuses that g1's are having that the staff members are ignoring. And yes, that's everybody. Not just Craig and Bryan, but every member of the staff. Every member of the staff needs to listen. But also, if the g1's want to make the website better then we need to not only tell the staff our problems, but if they aren't listening, start harassing them about it. Don't take no for an answer. You have problems; get them fixed.

All in all, these seem to be the main problems that I see with ScrewAttack currently. Guys, I know we can fix things. I haven't completely given up hope yet. We've always boasted that we have the best community on the internet. I still believe that but we have to work to make sure that still holds true. So what can you do? Join the forums. Be critical of something if you don't like it. Communicate with the staff and tell them your issues.

But here's what else you can do to make ScrewAttack the best website ever: Create shows, invite g1's to collaborate with you on blogs or videos, create contests, create games, hold game nights, interact on sites like Twitter and Tinychat, anything that you can think of. I will personally be trying to revive an old feature that I started about a year ago that fell through. Everybody has to do their part. Let's pull up our socks and pick up the slack. We are the best community on the internet bar none; we just need to back to proving it. 

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