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Thread: Forum Updates and Realignment

  1. #1
    NotASenator NotASenator's Avatar
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    Forum Updates and Realignment

    Many Years Ago,

    just after the dawn of time, the Gangbunch Fora was established by a group of friends from the Artist's Corner on the Penny Arcade Forums. What started off as a small chat forum began to grow and grow, with more and more people trekking across the frozen wastes of the Internet to register, until finally it had become a slightly larger chat forum.

    When I joined in December of 2008, there were just over 300 registered users. Only five months later, when Problem Sleuth ended, the forum had doubled in size. By the time Homestuck reached its first anniversary, 6,800 had joined the ranks. The forums were now the MSPA Forums, and no longer a simple little chat between friends.

    We have tried hard to maintain some of the traditions and ways of the old Gangbunch Fora, but the truth of the matter is that the purpose of this place has changed. The re-purposing into the MSPA Forums, the server software upgrade and a pair of server moves have all been part of an effort to build a better community hub as the official forum for the MSPA fandom.

    With that in mind, we have put together a number of changes and upgrades that will better serve the core function of this forum. This the MSPA Forum, and it's here for the discussion of MS Paint Adventures and related things. When you look at the other forums that we've seen larger MSPA contingents at - Penny Arcade, 4Chan, Something Awful - the difference between this site and those is that they are community sites without a directed discussion topic, whereas the current comic and the works of the fandom have always been at the center of the MSPA Forums. Off-topic discussion has always been secondary to things surrounding the comic, such as new updates and theories, fan adventures and fan art.

    Recently, the forum opened its arms to Ryan North and fans of Dinosaur Comics. While the main focus of the forum is whatever Andrew is putting up on MSPaintAdventures.com, there are some old friends and Gangbunch members who also have comics and Andrew is opening his forum to them as well. This doesn't detract from the main message here, we're just sharing the love.

    Also, to prevent spam, the Wiggler group was created, which keeps new users from starting threads (outside of the Cradle) until they have 12 posts. While there was a thread about it, the delivery of that message (along with many other rules and guidelines) has been very poor on our part.

    SO, WHAT'S CHANGING?

    First off, the new forum structure will look like this:

    Administrative Forums
    Forum Questions and Answers
    Admin Notes
    Forum Events
    MSPA
    MSPA Comic Discussion
    Webcomics
    Dinosaur Comics
    Webcomics General
    Community Forums
    Can Town
    -- The Advice Column
    Fan Projects/Meetups
    Artbound
    -- Group Art Projects
    Forum Games and Adventures
    Forum Adventures
    -- The Cradle
    -- Completed Forum Adventures
    Forum Games
    Collab/Roleplay
    -- SBURB/TrollSlum Roleplaying
    Discussion Forums
    Nerdcrap (Movies / Music / Books / Games)
    The Grand Forum Archives
    The ForaFiles
    Forapocalypse
    Artchives
    Suggestion Boxes



    Some of you might notice right away that some things are missing, some parts are new, and some are in different places. General Chat, as a concept, is outdated on the forum. It had a long and vibrant run of continuing the old ways of the Gangbunch Fora, but the exclusivity of the community and the nature of the threads there brought us to believe that the same purpose can be achieved in a better way.

    The new forum in its place is Can Town. The description we are using right now is
    The forum's social lounge! Hang out with your fellow citizens. (not an RP board)
    It's a place for members of the forum to mingle and interact and talk about themselves. Many of the current, thriving threads from General Chat will move there, but the focus will transition from a general off-topic chat to a more directed conversation about the members. Threads such as the current pictograph exchange thread, the introduction thread, and the achievements thread are all good examples of what Can Town is meant for. Off-topic forum adventures, random threads or things that would exist better in the discussion forums will not make the transition over.

    Another change is the removal of Serious Business. By its very nature, the way that area operated was not fitting with the goals for the forum and the community. We initially created the subforum to keep those sorts of debates out of the normal discussion areas, but that was only a halfway solution. The real fix is to remove those sorts of threads altogether, as they don't fall under the design of what the forum is.

    The new Webcomics General forum will have stickied threads for a few selected webcomics by friends of the forum or former Gangbunch members, and will allow new threads to be created for constructive discussion of other webcomics.

    Since Fan Projects is specifically about things that the community is doing together, it's been moved to the Community Forums category, and the defunct Suggestion Boxes will be moved to the archives until such a time (if ever) that Andrew decides to use them again.


    Another change is going to be the Revamped Registration Process. To better inform new users of rules and processes, there will be a multi-step registration that ensures that a member is aware of features and policies before they start posting. Currently, after verifying your age, you fill out a simple form and accept a boilerplate rules agreement that mostly just expunges the staff of liability and then after an email activation is sent, you are ready to go. Now the process will consist of an introduction to the forum with age verification at the bottom of the page. After that, the rules and some information about Wigglers, The Cradle and the staff will be presented. After that will be a question or two that you have to answer in order to show that you have read the information presented.

    Once you have reached that point, you fill in the information on the form to sign up. One of the new fields will be a text box for you to verify that you are not a robot or spammer. After that is done, you get the email activation (which should be working for everyone very shortly) and you are welcomed to the forum where you are invited to stop by the introduction thread and make a post about yourself to get started towards graduating from Wiggler status.

    We believe that these steps will help further reduce spam, give us a more accurate indication of real users on the forum and help new members get acclimated to the community in the easiest and quickest way possible. All-in-all, it's a bunch of good outcomes from just a few minutes more during registration.


    In closing,

    these changes won't be happening right away. I'm posting about it here so everyone has a few days to get used to things and give feedback before anything is done. The realignment will happen first, followed by a process of moving threads and archiving. The registration process requires some code and other updates, so that will take some time and hopefully correspond with the next vBulletin update.

    Thanks for your time and for your comments and thoughts!
    No longer official staff around here.

    Any opinions I state are mine alone and more than likely do not represent current thinking or decisions of the staff.

  2. #2
    BAERS Loreweaver's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Humble MSPA newbie speaking, here, but one who's spent almost a decade forumhopping. A piece of advice--long, drawn-out registration tends to drive away new members. Obviously, this site is a little bit of a bigger deal than most I've been to (and by that I mean WHOALY CRAP) but I'd like to toss my two cents in there.
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  3. #3

    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    As a denizen of the nerdforum I think it could be split up. Also, the overarching name for it shouldn't be nerd(stuck/forum/fora) but media.

  4. #4
    Ashmin Admin ashdenej's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Excellent. My only regret is that I never checked out Serious Business, and now will never be able to. Anyway:

    Quote Originally Posted by NotASenator View Post
    ...from General Chat will move there, but the focus will transitioned from a general off-topic chat...
    That should really be "will transition".

  5. #5
    NotASenator NotASenator's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Loreweaver View Post
    Humble MSPA newbie speaking, here, but one who's spent almost a decade forumhopping. A piece of advice--long, drawn-out registration tends to drive away new members. Obviously, this site is a little bit of a bigger deal than most I've been to (and by that I mean WHOALY CRAP) but I'd like to toss my two cents in there.
    To some extent, that is the point of the new process. First off, a non-standard registration process will reduce the number of spammers and bots that register. Looking at the number of registered users who don't have any posts is a bit depressing.

    But on top of that, if someone is not willing to read the rules during registration, what makes you think they will read them after they register? I've been very surprised by the number of people who have told me that they have never read the announcement at the top of every forum that says "RULES - READ ME FIRST".
    No longer official staff around here.

    Any opinions I state are mine alone and more than likely do not represent current thinking or decisions of the staff.

  6. #6
    NotASenator NotASenator's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by ashdenej View Post
    Excellent. My only regret is that I never checked out Serious Business, and now will never be able to. Anyway:

    Quote Originally Posted by NotASenator View Post
    ...from General Chat will move there, but the focus will transitioned from a general off-topic chat...
    That should really be "will transition".
    Thanks. My proofreading skills apparently only stretch so far.
    No longer official staff around here.

    Any opinions I state are mine alone and more than likely do not represent current thinking or decisions of the staff.

  7. #7
    Singing a Canticle GenetiXientist's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Sounds good!

    I'd suggest possibly adding a "completed" sub-subforum to the fan projects subforum, or just a stickied list of all completed projects.

    (if this exists already, sorry for wasting your time reading this)

  8. #8
    Another Year Older Nocturne's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    i refuse to recognize the legitimacy of this change

    NaS has simply gone power-mad

    VIVA LA REVOLUCION


  9. #9
    Confusion gingerale's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Eh, the forum adventures, the art fora and group projects aren't moving anywhere so I'm good.
    Yes.

  10. #10
    The Fluffiest Moderator Wesley Foxx's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Alec Trevelyan View Post
    As a denizen of the nerdforum I think it could be split up. Also, the overarching name for it shouldn't be nerd(stuck/forum/fora) but media.
    I suggested this myself when we were originally discussing this, and I still support it.

  11. #11
    Heap of Feels Holly's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Uh wow. changes waah. I'll be ok

    My biggest concern is losing threads in the Advice Column because that subforum is truly amazing and a big part of the community, I think. It somehow makes me feel safe and cared for even if I don't use it much.
    And maybe perhaps we could keep the "Compliment Topic!" from the General Chat, because it is so nice. ^__^
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  12. #12
    Unsertain Signboard... Triangle Man's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Question - How would threads like the Bee Thread be handled in this re-alignment?

    Also, I agree with the idea that we should split up the nerdcrap into different components based on medium (TV, Movies, Games, Books, etc). I've seen it done this way on a few others forums and I feel that such a system would make the most sense.

  13. #13
    Pretty girls and owl-like gods Superfrequency's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    I don't feel like there are nearly enough threads in the media subforum to split it up. The music and game threads only get a handful of posts a day, and books, movies and TV even less.

    If every game or band gets its own thread there's going to be a bunch of threads with six posts and it's going to be very difficult to navigate.

  14. #14
    Human of Alfandra simon.clarkstone's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Holly View Post
    My biggest concern is losing threads in the Advice Column because that subforum is truly amazing and a big part of the community, I think. It somehow makes me feel safe and cared for even if I don't use it much.
    And maybe perhaps we could keep the "Compliment Topic!" from the General Chat, because it is so nice. ^__^
    There is at least one board that is spawned off here, in the same way here spawned off PA. If someone got in quick they could unite all the existing core GCers into a move to another MSPA-derived board. If this were the 2030s and not the 2010s, you could tie the two's auth systems together so that everyone on the new board had the same username on MSPA, but alas it is not.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Holly View Post
    Uh wow. changes waah. I'll be ok

    My biggest concern is losing threads in the Advice Column because that subforum is truly amazing and a big part of the community, I think. It somehow makes me feel safe and cared for even if I don't use it much.
    And maybe perhaps we could keep the "Compliment Topic!" from the General Chat, because it is so nice. ^__^
    The advice forum will still be there - in the list above you can see it's a subforum of Can Town. Probably all the threads will just migrate over, although it's possible we may consolidate one or two that serve similar purposes. We need to kind of check this stuff on a case-by-case basis but the idea isn't really to get rid of threads, especially not ones that people find useful - just to make the whole place more logically laid out.

  16. #16
    qzxxzqqxqxqxzzxq-dood Dertdood's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Will you be changing the 100 pages thing?

  17. #17
    BAERS Loreweaver's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by NotASenator View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loreweaver View Post
    Humble MSPA newbie speaking, here, but one who's spent almost a decade forumhopping. A piece of advice--long, drawn-out registration tends to drive away new members. Obviously, this site is a little bit of a bigger deal than most I've been to (and by that I mean WHOALY CRAP) but I'd like to toss my two cents in there.
    To some extent, that is the point of the new process. First off, a non-standard registration process will reduce the number of spammers and bots that register. Looking at the number of registered users who don't have any posts is a bit depressing.

    But on top of that, if someone is not willing to read the rules during registration, what makes you think they will read them after they register? I've been very surprised by the number of people who have told me that they have never read the announcement at the top of every forum that says "RULES - READ ME FIRST".
    This is true. However, only about half of those skip the rules because they're idiots--the other half skip the rules because this is their thirtieth forum and every ruleset is pretty much the same.



    not that i did what are you talking about
    INTERCESSION: A FAN ADVENTURE on the forum, on the Mirror, and on Tumblr
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  18. #18
    Human of Alfandra simon.clarkstone's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by NotASenator View Post
    First off, the new forum structure will look like this:
    Since there isn't an easy way to see the existing structure, what is that as a delta from the existing structure?

    Quote Originally Posted by NotASenator View Post
    Another change is going to be the Revamped Registration Process. To better inform new users of rules and processes, there will be a multi-step registration that ensures that a member is aware of features and policies before they start posting.
    In the spirit of the Forapocalypse rule change, but really trivial smaller: can there be an official spoilers-for-current-adventure policy? Some people seem to think that events of e.g. early A5A2 need to go in spoilers.
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  19. #19
    Heap of Feels Holly's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    @tynic: Thanks, I somehow forgot the Advice Column was included in Can Town. I am looking forward to the changes now!
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  20. #20
    Galaxyrise Demonsul's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Oh my, looks serious.

    Aside from sharing the concerns voiced above about the name 'Nerdcrap', I'm looking forward to these changes. Onwards to the future!

  21. #21
    Deceptive tits. Art Team
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Nerdcrap was what we used to call that area of the forums when it was still Gangbunch, and it was understood to be an affectionate designation. Given the current community is somewhat broader, it might be a polarizing nomenclature, but believe me, it's not pejorative. That said, we'll certainly discuss alternatives.

  22. #22
    NotASenator NotASenator's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Loreweaver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NotASenator View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loreweaver View Post
    Humble MSPA newbie speaking, here, but one who's spent almost a decade forumhopping. A piece of advice--long, drawn-out registration tends to drive away new members. Obviously, this site is a little bit of a bigger deal than most I've been to (and by that I mean WHOALY CRAP) but I'd like to toss my two cents in there.
    To some extent, that is the point of the new process. First off, a non-standard registration process will reduce the number of spammers and bots that register. Looking at the number of registered users who don't have any posts is a bit depressing.

    But on top of that, if someone is not willing to read the rules during registration, what makes you think they will read them after they register? I've been very surprised by the number of people who have told me that they have never read the announcement at the top of every forum that says "RULES - READ ME FIRST".
    This is true. However, only about half of those skip the rules because they're idiots--the other half skip the rules because this is their thirtieth forum and every ruleset is pretty much the same.



    not that i did what are you talking about
    We have found (and it was even pointed out to me today by someone from another forum) that our rules are of a somewhat different flavor than other similar communities online and people have gotten tripped up by assuming that things that go over someplace else is okay here (like using certain derogatory terms or being casually insulting to other people). This process is partially to protect new users from getting themselves in trouble by assuming that certain things are okay.


    Quote Originally Posted by simon.clarkstone View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NotASenator View Post
    First off, the new forum structure will look like this:
    Since there isn't an easy way to see the existing structure, what is that as a delta from the existing structure?

    Quote Originally Posted by NotASenator View Post
    Another change is going to be the Revamped Registration Process. To better inform new users of rules and processes, there will be a multi-step registration that ensures that a member is aware of features and policies before they start posting.
    In the spirit of the Forapocalypse rule change, but really trivial smaller: can there be an official spoilers-for-current-adventure policy? Some people seem to think that events of e.g. early A5A2 need to go in spoilers.
    You can look at the forum index page. It doesn't show subforums, but it should be pretty easy to figure out.

    We don't have an official spoiler policy as far as I know, but if there is a demand for it, it is certainly worth talking about.
    No longer official staff around here.

    Any opinions I state are mine alone and more than likely do not represent current thinking or decisions of the staff.

  23. #23
    The Page of Dunes Snowmanne's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    When will these changes take place?

  24. #24
    NotASenator NotASenator's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by simon.clarkstone View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Holly View Post
    My biggest concern is losing threads in the Advice Column because that subforum is truly amazing and a big part of the community, I think. It somehow makes me feel safe and cared for even if I don't use it much.
    And maybe perhaps we could keep the "Compliment Topic!" from the General Chat, because it is so nice. ^__^
    There is at least one board that is spawned off here, in the same way here spawned off PA. If someone got in quick they could unite all the existing core GCers into a move to another MSPA-derived board. If this were the 2030s and not the 2010s, you could tie the two's auth systems together so that everyone on the new board had the same username on MSPA, but alas it is not.
    An interesting point about this -

    We've realized over time that we aren't capable of being everything to everybody. For example, we don't have the ability (right now) to provide the sort of forum adventure hosting service that other sites can. We can't be a catch-all community site for everyone, and so instead of trying, we want to concentrate on the one thing we really want to be.

    I think the Hidden Level guys had a good idea and did well. When they realized that the forum wasn't going to be able to provide them with everything they wanted out of it, they started a forum that could, and as far as I've heard, it's been going well for them. That would be the preferred method. There are many places out there that provide very specific services that we can't here, and I'm glad that they are there, because that will let us do what we want to do and hopefully do it well.
    No longer official staff around here.

    Any opinions I state are mine alone and more than likely do not represent current thinking or decisions of the staff.

  25. #25
    NotASenator NotASenator's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Updates and Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowmanne View Post
    When will these changes take place?
    In closing,

    these changes won't be happening right away. I'm posting about it here so everyone has a few days to get used to things and give feedback before anything is done. The realignment will happen first, followed by a process of moving threads and archiving. The registration process requires some code and other updates, so that will take some time and hopefully correspond with the next vBulletin update.

    Thanks for your time and for your comments and thoughts!
    No longer official staff around here.

    Any opinions I state are mine alone and more than likely do not represent current thinking or decisions of the staff.

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