Author Topic: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?  (Read 101316 times)

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Offline King of Twitch

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #75 on: December 17, 2016, 05:03:32 PM »
I heard he was busy brainwashing and extorting people out of their money.
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Offline pokepal148

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #76 on: December 17, 2016, 07:56:48 PM »
A lack of explanation on the funhouse in general has been a point of contention around here. Oblivion mentioned at some point that he felt the Funhouse wasn't very beginner friendly and even SUPER suggested using custom backgrounds for the funhouse which would help establish a different tone for the funhousem

This thread was created by TY when the funhouse was created in an attempt to explain it's purpose. I suggest it be brought back as a sticky thread. i have the OP posted below with a few suggested edits in bold.

Rules: We're not holding anyone to high quality posting like the rest of the forum. In fact, if you're looking for serious discussion, this forum is not for you. OR IS IT???

WHAT'S OKAY: Dumb posts, non-sequitor posts, making fun of things, being obnoxious
WHAT'S NOT OKAY: Gross pictures, posting of personal information, computer-breaking links, bandwidth leeching, serious discussion, serious racism, political discussion, or personal attacks, taking the forum seriously, serious anything

If you have any questions about the funhouse or it's purpose please bring it up via PM to our community manager or post it in the thread below.

I also agree with making the Mafia Subforum into a general Forum Games area, a dedicated subforum for TV and Movie discussion, and probably merging the console and handheld discussion area and removing the hardware and matchmaking areas. And for god sakes get rid of the March Madness subforum.
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Offline oohhboy

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #77 on: December 17, 2016, 10:26:01 PM »

I also agree with making the Mafia Subforum into a general Forum Games area, a dedicated subforum for TV and Movie discussion, and probably merging the console and handheld discussion area and removing the hardware and matchmaking areas. And for god sakes get rid of the March Madness subforum.
TV and movie discussion threads doesn't have enough traffic to warrant their own sub-forum. Even with huge movies it doesn't exactly explode.

This is a Nintendo site, we should have a sub-forum for consoles and hand helds. It would be really weird for a Nintendo site to have only one forum to talk about Nintendo games. If the Switch really is it, maybe then we should revisit the question at that time.

Making Mafia into a catch all Forum based game thread would be good. Continue to have it moderator controlled to keep it tidy. Having a sign up thread each time for each new game would work quite well in there as you can set the forum to notify you of new threads without flooding your activity/inbox. It might save some people the trouble of PM spamming for people which is for me anyway, the number #1 method for me when it comes to finding out if there is a game or not.

Hardware/matchmaking/**** talking sub-forums should merge into General Tech support/misc forum.

  • Of course none of this will actually change how many new memberships we have. That is a function of how much the traffic the site gets not how the forum is laid out.

Changing the structure of the forums is changing where the existing traffic goes through each sub-forum and the structure of those threads. If we had 10x the traffic we have now then yes, having more sub-forums would be good to manage it.

Example, having a dedicated forum for Movies/TVs means people will start making individual threads for individual shows. The problem is that each show doesn't have enough traffic to keep going so it burns out too quick because it was too specialised. It is why the current mega threads work as it concentrates that traffic.

Look how little even the biggest show gets talked about in the TV thread, have a look at how little traffic each individual reader review gets and how quickly it burns out compared to the "What is your last gaming purchase" "What was the game you last beat". They became de-facto reviews which has more traffic than reader reviews could ever hope to have.

The key thing about this discussion isn't about how to get new members into the forums, it is about how we want the traffic to flow, not how much. Changing the structure doesn't change how many new members we get who stay on.
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Offline lolmonade

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #78 on: December 20, 2016, 10:17:05 AM »
If I were granted Mod God powers for a day, i'd suggest the following:


Obliterate the following subforums:
Gameplay Strategy
Hardware & Wifi Support
Matchmaking & Smack Talk


Consolidate the Announcements & NWR Feedback subforums


Close the Podcast Feedback subforum and just move the posts in the Talkback subforum.  They appear as articles on the front page of the website, anyway.  It doesn't appear there's enough article volume to hide podcast discussion as it is, anyway.


In regards to boosting forum membership and retention?  That's a harder nut to crack.  This is a specialized community, and while the podcasts brought me here in the first place, it was deciding I enjoyed the community of people here that kept me involved, even though it's been less so lately than it used to. 


There used to be things like game nights and community organized events that would happen every so often, and those were fun when my scheduled aligned with them.  I think it starts with the website generating content that compels people to view the site or listen to the podcasts. 


Beyond that, I think the follow-up questions are "how much evangelizing does the NWR staff do for the forums?" and "Do NWR staff consider the forum community an important pillar of the website in general?".  I know several contributors pop-up in the forums to comment occasionally, but in the current vaccum of Nintendo news and activity, it seems to me it's a little bit on NWR to keep the devoted engaged in a way that gives the impression to newcomers that this isn't a forum ghost town.


We can talk about how changing forum structure, clarifying the intent of the funhouse can help clear up confusion, whether or not karma is value-add, or how make the website more efficient to navigate, but that doesn't solve what I think is the core problem of the forums, which is the impression to newcomers that there is barely a community to engage with in the first place.  This wont change unless NWR staff make it a priority, and supermario2k hit the problem on the nose when mentioning that social media (facebook/twitter) should be used to drive conversation back here, not to be the home for conversation.



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Offline Triforce Hermit

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #79 on: December 21, 2016, 07:19:23 AM »
I agree with getting rid of Gameplay Strategy, Hardware, and Matchmaking. Most of that is discussed in the mega threads for a particular title anyways (think Xenoblade and Mario Kart). Hardware isn't used very often that one or two threads every once in a while won't destroy the forum.

Also the Nintendo Gaming idea, just fuse Handheld and Console. Ditch the child boards for friend codes. Wii and DS friend codes are phased out.

As for forum traffic, I just say go ahead and try to keep the forum more up to date. As of now it appears dead, old, and poorly managed. It gives off a bad first impression. Work on that and it might be better.
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Offline KnowsNothing

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #80 on: December 28, 2016, 08:40:22 PM »

Okay, I've skimmed the thread, and determined this really isn't the place for this post.  But I typed it up anyway.  I doubt I'll post much more here so I might as well leave in, like, the worst way possible  :P: .  And this is definitely coming from the wrong person, I know that.  Feel free to skip it.

I don't really know what the overall goals for this site are.  It seems to be in a sort of weird limbo between a blog shared between friends and an actual serious enterprise.  The founders of this site certainly used it as a stepping stone to other careers in the industry, but maybe you guys don't have those same aspirations.  That's perfectly fine if that's the case.  Without knowing that, I can safely say that most of this post will be nonsense.  It certainly won't be productive, in any case.

Reorganizing the forums is an entirely separate issue from why this site doesn't attract new members, and why activity down.

I think there are some hard truths you guys need to face about how much the internet has changed in the past few years.  I’ve been here since 2003 (I think?) and while the site has undergone some cosmetic changes it ultimately functions the same way it always has.  While that might make the old-timers feel more comfortable, the reality is that people these days use the internet very differently than they did over a decade ago.  The industry is also exponentially larger, so competing sites have a lot more resources to throw around in designing their website and producing content.  Small forums ARE dying.  It sucks, but it’s true.  My guess is that larger communities like NeoGAF attract the few remaining people looking for that type of online interaction.  (I have no idea if that site even exists any more, just a guess!)

I wish we could go back to the old Planet GameCube days, but I don’t think that type of fan site can even exist anymore.  (For what it’s worth, GiantBomb does the best job of straddling the line between big content producer with a fan-site feel.  They do a hell of a job of somehow being a profitable enterprise without showing it.)

Maybe I’m just out of touch, but that’s what I see.  And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to keep the site functioning the way it does now, just don’t expect your membership to suddenly start growing.  I’ll admit it’s nice to come back after all these years to see this place close to how I left it.  It’s also a little concerning.

The other elephant in the room is reddit, which is overall just a much better source of news and community interaction for ANY topic, not just limited to video games.  Social media is an issue as well, but in my mind you are really competing with reddit. 

(I will admit, however, that you out-lived Digg, and reddit is ultimately bound for the same fate. So you have that going for you  :P: : )

And I know some of you are thinking I’m even crazy to suggest NWR compete with GiantBomb and reddit, but if that’s where people are going to talk about games, then that’s who you’re competing with for users.  I know you guys don’t want to be THAT big, but at the end of the day you need traffic, and revenue, and a reason for people to volunteer their time making this place run.  Good old Billy Hamburger spun his time here into what I imagine was a few good years at Game Informer, G4, and EGM.  Sure, he bounced from dying-medium to dying-medium, but you get the point.  It’s not just the forums that need to be strong, it’s the entire site.  It’s the motivation of the staff.  It’s a reason for people to spend time HERE, not THERE.

I also saw some people saying that social media (and reddit) can be used as a tool to draw traffic to these forums, and while I agree I think there’s a VERY important step in between those two things: content.  The whole point of social media is that it’s a place to have conversations with people, so it’s a really tough sell to go there and say “yeah, but there REAL conversation is happening over HERE.”  There needs to be another reason for people to come to this site.  Why would anyone from reddit ever come over here to start talking about games when they can just to to /r/games, or /r/Nintendo, or /r/3DS, etc.?

My point is that the forums aren’t going to draw in users, content is, and that’s going to be a really tough nut to crack.  The forums on its own just isn’t going sustain itself independent of the rest of the site.  The main page is honestly a disaster, and it has been ever since the NWR re-branding.  It looks like an ad-spam link aggregator designed in Frontpage.  The forums aren’t much better.  Articles are short.  Podcasts are long.  Editorials are infrequent and not compelling.

And I get it, this is a site run by volunteers.  You use templates for site design.  You don’t have professional podcasting equipment.  You’re not familiar with producing video content.  You have other careers to focus on.  I’m certainly not going to spend my free time producing content for this site for almost nothing in return.  The real issue is that in 2003 you didn’t have to have a good looking site, or a podcast, or any video content at all.  You just needed a place for people to read and talk about video games, because there weren’t too many places on the internet for people to do that.  And the people that did want to do that were really dedicated members, because it took five minutes to load a page and you couldn’t use your home phone while you waited.  Things are so, so different now.  There’s so much more money in this industry.

The one positive is that with so many people interesting in gaming it's easier than ever to carve out a niche, and it's even possible for that niche to sustain your website.  What's NWR's niche?  Nintendo?  That's not enough.  You're stuck between being too focused to attract a general audience, and too broad to attract people away from other sites. 

I don’t know what the solution is.  I’m not sure there is one.  Maybe you just need the bare minimum amount of traffic to keep the forums up and hope a few people stick around.  But major changes in the health of this site, and by extension these forums?  I really don’t know.

Edit: I would also like to add that I'm frankly shocked the site has survived as long as it has, and I don't mean that in a derogatory way.  It's a testament to the dedication of the staff that this site is still generating original content and has ventured into podcasts/videos.  It's certainly a lot of work that often goes unappreciated.


« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 11:58:48 PM by KnowsNothing »
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Offline oohhboy

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #81 on: December 28, 2016, 10:28:11 PM »
It's pretty clear we know what the problem is: Main site traffic.

Forget about missing with the forums as that is really shuffling the deck chairs.

Ask yourself, how many man-hours does the site get from it's volunteers and how much can they be reassigned to more "Profitable*" content. You might look into expanding the amount of work done by more aggressively looking for new talent. I am sure a number of people in the forums would like to see some of what they wrote become fan/guest contributions.

One really quick and dirty thing you can do for the main site is to have a weekly article pointing out the best discussion in the forums each week/fortnight. The problem I see with this is the loss of editorial control.

Either way KnowsNothing is right, whatever needs to be done it has little to do with the forums.

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Offline Stratos

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #82 on: December 29, 2016, 01:28:33 AM »
The site did once have a running series highlighting some of the top posts of the week. Would have to ask a staffer how well they did though. Don't remember it generating much discussion.

Also, the one piece of site content that seemed to consistently generate forum users was the podcast media. A lot of people were drawn to the site through those. RetroActive was big with user participation. I have not listened to a game podcast in years though. How big are they now with users?
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 01:40:19 AM by Stratos »
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Offline oohhboy

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #83 on: December 29, 2016, 01:49:23 AM »
I am surprised the podcasts are still aren't uploaded to youtube.
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Offline rygar

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #84 on: December 29, 2016, 10:16:09 AM »
Also, the one piece of site content that seemed to consistently generate forum users was the podcast media. A lot of people were drawn to the site through those. RetroActive was big with user participation. I have not listened to a game podcast in years though. How big are they now with users?

RFN was how I found NWR. I've also found other sites that I actively read through Nintendo related podcasts, but this is the only community I've joined.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 11:39:51 AM by rygar »

Offline pokepal148

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #85 on: December 30, 2016, 12:02:11 AM »
RFN got me in as well.
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Offline Phil

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #86 on: January 02, 2017, 09:12:10 AM »
The forum cleanup idea is more interesting to me just to consolidate and make the forums look nicer, more streamlined.
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Offline BlackNMild2k1

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #87 on: January 02, 2017, 07:01:19 PM »
I have't read all the responses, nor do I remember if I've responded to this thread before, but to answer the topic question directly:

Q: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?

A: Because these forums are practically dead.
when someone can post something, and sometimes there isn't a response across the whole forums for several hours, to what may be days in some sections or topics, it's not going to draw a lot of attention from anyone looking for a place to hold a conversation on the topic, unless they are ok with fly-by responses and checking back next week to read the 4 replies from 4 of the same 7 people that always respond.

So the catch 22 is that you need more active people to draw more active people. and since the people here are not that active, the forums are not likely to attract any new people to be active with.

Offline Stratos

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #88 on: January 03, 2017, 02:39:05 PM »
And that brings us back to the discussion of social media's evolution. Forums are an antiquated setup for the most part. And the few that have endured for 10+ years have whittled down to a few die-hard members. I visited a few other forums I used to frequent and most seem to have fallen into similar places. Some of us are too old (forum age-wise) to move on and just sit here.


Who was the last new visitor that really worked his way into the "core" group? Lucario comes to mind, and he seems to have done it through sheer will and persistence.


I would also ask if we are an open group for new comers? If a new person joins and posts a commonly discussed topic, do we embrace that person and fill him in on our discussion in a positive way, or direct them to one of the other threads about said subject? Or do we bite of heads and behave in a hostile manner?


This is probably in part a responsibility for the mods, staff, and community manager, but we all as members need to play our part in showing newcomers patience, guidance, and understanding.
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Offline rygar

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #89 on: January 03, 2017, 07:15:24 PM »
OT but tangentially related: if you are a long term member, and support the site via patreon, but don't have a banner, maybe consider using one. New members become aware of the regulars and popular posters relatively quickly. If they don't know you are contributing, they may feel less inclined to do so themselves.

Offline Triforce Hermit

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #90 on: January 04, 2017, 07:10:01 AM »
Speaking of social media, it can work both ways. You can use social media to draw people to forums. It may not have as big a draw as social media, but it can bring people in. This year is going to be a big one for Nintendo. Update the site, promote the site and forums through social media, and give your best shot. Now would be the best time.

As for the forums feeling like a hang out for a group, yes it does feel that way. Especially when you are new here. I thought the forums was a group hangout before I ever made an account. I lurked for what, 2 years at least? It does heavily give that impression.
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Offline Phil

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #91 on: January 04, 2017, 03:42:38 PM »
I think it'd be cool if NWR posted about a topic on its Twitter channel, asked Twitter users to comment on it, and then have an article that shares the most interesting tweets about that, as a way to get the social media account and site to interact more with its users both usual and uncommon.
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Offline Mop it up

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #92 on: January 08, 2017, 03:26:50 PM »
I think a lot of us are calling for forum cleanup since it would at least help those of us who are here.

Offline Phil

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #93 on: January 17, 2017, 03:04:16 PM »
Will there be a forum cleanup, or was all this discussion for naught?
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Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #94 on: January 17, 2017, 04:35:44 PM »
It's in the works. I still have to nail down exactly what I want to do and then get approval for it.
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Offline Phil

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #95 on: January 18, 2017, 12:01:52 AM »
Okie dokie. Was wondering if anything was happening or would happen. Thanks!
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Offline Khushrenada

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #96 on: January 30, 2017, 07:56:44 PM »

I also agree with making the Mafia Subforum into a general Forum Games area, a dedicated subforum for TV and Movie discussion, and probably merging the console and handheld discussion area and removing the hardware and matchmaking areas. And for god sakes get rid of the March Madness subforum.
TV and movie discussion threads doesn't have enough traffic to warrant their own sub-forum. Even with huge movies it doesn't exactly explode.

Example, having a dedicated forum for Movies/TVs means people will start making individual threads for individual shows. The problem is that each show doesn't have enough traffic to keep going so it burns out too quick because it was too specialised. It is why the current mega threads work as it concentrates that traffic.

Look how little even the biggest show gets talked about in the TV thread, have a look at how little traffic each individual reader review gets and how quickly it burns out compared to the "What is your last gaming purchase" "What was the game you last beat". They became de-facto reviews which has more traffic than reader reviews could ever hope to have.

It isn't so much about potential activity for me as it is about better organization and reference. Take Mafia games. We have the Hall of Fame thread which lets us find and navigate through all the past games that are spread out through the Funhouse's forum as well as some of the early games in the Mafia forum. But at least as you scroll through the Mafia forum all the recent past games are grouped together because of having that separate forum making it easy to look up and review or find a certain game. The Mafia Forum may only get major use about one week per month (if even that these days) but by being separate it makes things very easy to sort, reference and to review.

It's the same with the Movie and or TV forum. Recently, I started watching Orphan Black and have gone through the first 2 seasons. I remember for years seeing either you or Plugabugz (can't recall exactly now who) always bring this show up and talk it up which always kept it on my radar. Now that I am watching it, I'd love to be able to find the comments that were posted about it but that would require searching through the Rate the Last TV Show Megathread and who knows how long that would take. If we had a Movie or TV forum where things were separated individually, it would be a lot easier to find previous posts by users on a show and get to join in the discussion. It's like if I want to read past reviews on a movie or show, I can search it up online for a site and easily find it that way. Sometimes there is a comment section below where one can read more thoughts on it. NWR doesn't have a movie and TV reviews for the obvious purpose that it isn't in the site's purpose to cover them. That said, at least if we had a forum where it would be easier to search via title then we could still look up other users opinions on that media. Truth be told, it sort of helps form a bond with other users if you like or dislike something they do which can help build up more forum connections and further the community. Even if a person were to watch something and not want to contribute further to a thread on that media, I'm sure they'd still probably like to read what others said on it and look it up.

That's why my earlier proposal involved a sort of expansion of sorts. It was more just about organizing the forums to better group and find information regardless of activity it might receive. That said, I'm not opposed to the forum reductions people want in eliminating GamePlay/Hardware Support/Matchmaking and just having those topics exist in Console/HandHeld/General and fighting for space there.

But I still think a creation of a Movie Forum and TV Forum would be worthwhile and the one change I most want to fight for. Truth is, while I sort of war over myself between wanting to spend some time playing games or watching movies or TV, I generally land on the movie/TV side of the argument since they can require less time and effort than a game. As time marches forward, I think a Movie and TV forum is where I'd probably spend more and more of my time posting as I get closer to a forum retirement.

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Making Mafia into a catch all Forum based game thread would be good. Continue to have it moderator controlled to keep it tidy. Having a sign up thread each time for each new game would work quite well in there as you can set the forum to notify you of new threads without flooding your activity/inbox. It might save some people the trouble of PM spamming for people which is for me anyway, the number #1 method for me when it comes to finding out if there is a game or not.

Anyone hosting a game is giving the moderator abilities to post their Sign-up thread in the Mafia Forum and that is where it usually is always posted now. It still seems that people miss that thread and a PM is actually the way most learn about it or know a new game is happening. I'm not sure people are aware that they can be notified of new threads in it or not or if anyone wants to take advantage of that feature. The forum is currently controlled so that only a person with moderator abilities can create a thread in it but if we were to turn it into a Forum Games catch-all forum then that probably needs to change in order to allow other users to post their ideas for a forum game like 20 Questions or Password or Safe Words or propose something totally new. It could probably work but I don't see an issue with the current set-up where Mafia games are separated and kept organized while the Funhouse handles other games like Safe Words and whatnot. The Mafia Forum and Funhouse forums aren't really a huge issue in the forum reorganization talks and not many people are suggesting much change there aside from possible relegating them to child boards instead of main boards.

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The key thing about this discussion isn't about how to get new members into the forums, it is about how we want the traffic to flow, not how much. Changing the structure doesn't change how many new members we get who stay on.

Yeah, the original point of this topic has sort of changed when it was brought up that tidying the forums could help with the appeal/look of the site to visitors but even before this forum reorganization discussion started, it was widely acknowledged that there are a lot of outside factors at play in keeping or increasing members here. Knowsnothing mentioned some of this, you've mentioned it, I've talked about different factors. I think what's led to this focus on the forums is that it is something most everyone acknowledges could use some refreshing and it is something that we can do and change unlike a lot of these other outside factors that are mentioned.

Offline King of Twitch

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #97 on: March 22, 2017, 02:01:32 AM »
The “like” button ruined the Internet
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/03/how-the-like-button-ruined-the-internet/519795/?utm_source=feed

Some good anecdotes, but depressing implications
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Offline Stratos

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #98 on: March 22, 2017, 12:44:40 PM »
I like that article.
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Offline BeautifulShy

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Re: Why do you think NWR's forums rarely get active new members?
« Reply #99 on: March 31, 2017, 01:58:36 AM »
To answer as best as I can the thread question I will say that I think a lot of it has to do with social media and how it has grown in the past 10 years or so. Social media I think can cover most if not all what a forum provides but in different segments.   Facebook is good for long form posts about something, Twitter is good for small updates and to bring people together or apart over a common idea. They also depending on who your friends are can be insular in that they can be their own islands. Sometimes that happens with forums where people get into their own cliques and it is hard for new people to get involved.
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