Login or register to post.
Login to reply  Page: « < 1 of 1 > »
21 Jan 2011 - 10:1348752
Improving the site
We were discussing some ideas on a Facebook thread for how to get the forums more active and make the site more interesting / get people checking back more often. Thought I'd post what I wrote up here:

"I'm sure CI staff are working hard on the construction of the site but the public don't see that. What would keep them coming back is if there is something interesting to read and the latest news. CI has very little content compared to other countries' cosplay websites - so why not take on more writers and reporters?

I totally agree that there is healthy discussion on CI on certain topics, but I think some of the rules are a little restrictive. I agree that you should shut down bullying on the site, but equally there have been lots of times I want to reply to a topic on CI because I have strong feelings about it, but I've ended up not replying or deleting my post because I think people will get offended if I say my real feelings.

Lastly, if the forum is getting stale, mods need to get involved and start up a debate or a fun game to get ppl involved. Once again, this could be solved by having more mods, since I know how time consuming monitoring a forum can be."


__________________
PR officer for the Grand International Cosplay Ball

http://www.grandcosplayball.com
21 Jan 2011 - 10:1548753
Also, I think CI should be the first place UK cosplayers come to to find out about the lastest events, competitions and news but usually Perrin takes quite a long time to post things up and there is no international cosplay news at all! (once again because staff are understandably busy, which As I said before, taking on more writers and reporters would solve this problem.)


__________________
PR officer for the Grand International Cosplay Ball

http://www.grandcosplayball.com
21 Jan 2011 - 12:5348758
One thing which may be good is encouraging more people to use the articles section. We have some good stuff on there, but people just don't seem to look at it!

It may be worth integrating that sort of thing with the forum. I know there's a really cool Article section, but the forum is just being used for the same thing anyway. Putting tutorials in threads encourages people to ask questions, talk about their experiences and give their own tips.


__________________
22 Jan 2011 - 04:1848802
Yeah, I agree with Tab, a tutorial section of the forums would be good. That way people who have a good tutorial can post it up without it getting lost in amongst all the other posts.

Also the Articles section that's currently on the site is a bit unfriendly and daunting. With basically an approvals process so most people wouldn't bother but if you just had a section of the forums it'd open the tutorial up to debate about methods and it's also easy to correct mistakes you make when you're actually writing it etc so its a low maintence task from a site admin point of view.

A forum update as well would be appreciated which I know is a mammoth task but an "email on reply" function is sorely missed. I for one would be happy for the old forum to be archived off and the new one started from scratch to save the need to migrate older posts because really, most people don't read the old posts anyway they just re-ask questions


22 Jan 2011 - 14:0548824
hmm, the articles really need to be on the current system. if it was opened up, it would be a matter of minutes before it was clogged with terrible spam, and tutorials showing how to make super-basic things a simple google search can deal with.

if i had more time (and money for materials), i'd do a weekly/monthly... something. right now though, i can't commit much time...

though i might go through some procedures i'm using on my current project and submit them for a tutorial. once it's finished and shown...


__________________
22 Jan 2011 - 14:2648826
I agree that a forum update so you know when your post has been replied to would be useful. This function would also be useful outside of forums however. I find it annoying that if someone leaves a comment on one of my cosplays, the only way I can reply to it and know they will get it is to send them a private message. It's a little clunky as a way of interacting on the site.


22 Jan 2011 - 16:0448828
Quote xaerael:
hmm, the articles really need to be on the current system. if it was opened up, it would be a matter of minutes before it was clogged with terrible spam, and tutorials showing how to make super-basic things a simple google search can deal with.


Is that not almost a good thing? (Obviously not the spam, but I'm not sure what you mean by spam) Could you maybe organise it into sub forums for difficulty level (e.g. beginner, intermediate etc) because for an experienced cosplayer most things are easy but for a beginner cosplayer its like "how the hell do I do that". You could have a system where amazing tutorials are stickied so the best of the best wouldn't fall back into obscurity.

Most things can be found with a google search but it's the quality of what you find that's the problem or even what to look for. This would bring that useful information to a central location. It's just looking at the articles section you get 2 articles a year for the past few years and then in the forums you get the same questions asked over and over again.


24 Jan 2011 - 02:0948976
I was part of the FB thread Emily mentioned and was encouraged to leave my thoughts here, so here goes:

Moderators and staff need to be easier to find.
Right now, there is no wording or icon to highlight moderator status in the forum, chances are people wouldn't know someone is a mod until something goes wrong and mod appears to shut down a thread.

The site staff can only be found by clicking on the "about" link in the front page or the "contact us" link at the bottom. On both pages, staff have confusing titles like "administrator" and "editor". A newbie wouldn't know who to talk to if they have a problem.

More content, and more up-to-date content
What Emily and Tab have already said. At the moment the "articles" page says ...or have some other cosplay related articles you're burning to write contact us and we'll be happy to consider your article for inclusion. To be frank that doesn't sound all that inviting. It sounds patronising, even... but that might just be me.

Even if you don't look for additional permanent writers, you can try actively encouraging people to contribute content. If there's an event coming up you could ask people who are attending to write a report - there are plenty of cosplayers with journals and blogs who do that already anyway. If the mods, while checking the photo uploads, see an interesting costume is being made, why not ask the cosplayer if they're happy to write a tutorial about it?

More mod participation
With 1000+ active users I don't think the mods have high enough visibility. Very occasionally they reply to something on the forum, but more often than not we don't see them unless something's gone wrong. Yes they might be on the site doing lots of background work but if they don't participate then we don't know they're here.

There's a strong drama-prevention culture here, to the point it feel like there is no way to have a proper discussion. When someone says "I do it this way" and someone else says "I do it the other way", there's always a third person speaking up saying "yeah well different people do it differently it's all okay", even though more often than not the two people who were talking already knew that. People are very paranoid. Personally at that point I get a "yeah, whatever" reaction and just don't feel like talking anymore. It feels like having an opinion or a detailed discussion is a bad thing.

If the mods are more active, though, I think it'd be different. If mods are seen being part of the discussion and having fun with everyone else, the atmosphere would be more relaxed.

Feedback response
Looking at the Site Feedback board, some suggestions and problems raised don't get answered. Work might have been to solve the problem but if the thread doesn't get an official reply it feels like nobody cares. It doesn't encourage people to point out problems.



Last edited by Pez (24 Jan 2011 - 10:59)
24 Jan 2011 - 02:5248979
Quote Kata-san:
Quote xaerael:
hmm, the articles really need to be on the current system. if it was opened up, it would be a matter of minutes before it was clogged with terrible spam, and tutorials showing how to make super-basic things a simple google search can deal with.


Is that not almost a good thing? (Obviously not the spam, but I'm not sure what you mean by spam) Could you maybe organise it into sub forums for difficulty level (e.g. beginner, intermediate etc) because for an experienced cosplayer most things are easy but for a beginner cosplayer its like "how the hell do I do that". You could have a system where amazing tutorials are stickied so the best of the best wouldn't fall back into obscurity.

Most things can be found with a google search but it's the quality of what you find that's the problem or even what to look for. This would bring that useful information to a central location. It's just looking at the articles section you get 2 articles a year for the past few years and then in the forums you get the same questions asked over and over again.


it really isn't a good thing. there is far too much misinformation in the help forum as it is. all it takes is a few people to post up dangerous/hazardous construction methods without the proper warnings, some newbie kid to follow them and get hurt, and it will all hit the fan. the current system is both sensible and responsible.


__________________
24 Jan 2011 - 10:5648987
Quote Kata-san:
...get the same questions asked over and over again.


I think if the search function is made nice and obvious, that might go part way towards solving this particular issue already.


24 Jan 2011 - 16:2549018
A lot of this is stuff that I cannot personally address as it's stuff for the higher ups (which, by the way, I've sent a PM to to draw their attention to this thread asap) but there are two things I can say.

1. I agree with the how to know who's staff thing. It's been mentioned on the forums before but when it was brought up, it was pointed out how to get to the Staff page and people seemed to find that adequate. So if this needs looked at again, I actually happily endorse it.

Heck, even having "Admin" or "Moderator" under staff members' usernames would help as I've stepped in in the past only to have people get snippy for me "acting like a mod" which I chuckled at LOL

2. As for mods having higher visibility...well I guess so. But at the same time like any user I post in threads that have something to do with me. I've posted in threads where people were looking for cosplay groups, I try to say hello in most introduction threads and I try to address site feedback. If there are issues I can't deal with in site feedback, I usually point it out to someone else.

Perhaps, in future, when I do the latter, I will post in the thread and let the person know that it is at least being looked at. I actually used to do this, but people didn't find it useful so I stopped bothering.

Saying that, I've posted in a lot of threads just for fun and I think that it goes unnoticed as there are so many people posting in them LOL

3. I am also going to post about the restrictive nature that people are mentioning. Generally, I won't step in unless personal attacks start happening. There have been some fantastic debates about ongoing things in cosplay such as weight, height, amount of skin on show etc. that have been debates in the cosplay community since I started cosplaying but there have also been very interesting debates about other things, such as the banning fireworks thread.

I think a lot of people are cautious. I've actually had a member get angry with me through PMs because they contacted me about a thread that was "getting out of hand" but when I looked, no-one had been attacked. People were making snappy comments, but they were full of opinion and not directed at any one member so I let it go and told the member that it was fine for now.

It's hard striking a balance sometimes. I love healthy debate and am happy to step back a bit, but flaming is never going to be tolerated really and I'm sure that's recognised ^_^

4. I'm glad that people are bringing these things up. CI is definitely a place where you can voice your opinions and there are some good things coming out here that I genuinely believe will help to improve CI ^_^


__________________
CosplayIsland Staff Member


24 Jan 2011 - 19:4449023
Hmmm, this is a very interesting thread.

I myself have thought for a while that, although CI is a pretty decent site, and serves perfectly as an online hub for UK cosplay, it could be so much better than it is.

however, i do understand the fact that this site is run for free. Perrin in the other opperators get nothing for running this site, in return for the time taken to keep it up. with anything we ask for, this fact still has to be taken into account. we really dont want to get into a place where it becomes a pay-to-use website, becase that would chase a lot of people away.

however, that in mind, here are a few ideas for improving the website...

News: we need more! i mean, its nearly february, and the "latest news" is from back in November! I think the site should be updating this far more regularly. some ideas include reminders of conventions upcoming, reports on conventions just gone, news on international events such as cosplay world summit, other minor features such as cosplay winners from Neo magazine. maybe even sales with some of the more popular international sellers/wig websites etc.... I honestly think more news is better

forum: I think this is one of the strangest parts of CI. the website itself is pretty ok, but the forum seems far too basic. it has your basic information, and is a good place to ask stuff and chat. but to me, it still feels a little.... flat? i rarely have to ask anything, so i rarely visit the forums, as there really isnt anything to draw me in. although it would probably need to be thought out before hand, maybe adding subforums for general artwork, a forum for forum word games (ive tried to start these in the past, but not knowing where they would best belong, it was confusing for me, and they didnt go very far). and a roleplaying forum anyway? maybe even just adding a bit of a graphical facelift?

special articles/items: Now this is an odd one, and i know this has been discussed before, but maybe something that more involves the general users and community, and gives people something to work towards. i know other cosplay websites (even cosplay.com) do things like this, but how about a cosplay spotlight feature? highlight individuals, or even specific cosplays, and giving them a few days in the limelight on the front page. just something that gves the site just that little bit more pazzaz and interest. i know what people are gonna say, that it will breed the dreaded elitism into our community, and i agree, there are kinks that would need to be worked out, but i feel things like this would be of so much aid in drawing people to our site!

we want this site to be the place people first come to in the UK for cosplay, and i feel its well on its way, and has the pottential to be like that, but it aint there yet. i know its a question of time, manpower, and money, all of which are in short supply, but there must be a way of doing it! even just hiring more reporters/people to do the work would probably work, as suggested above. im not a technician, ive never owned a website, nor have i ever worked on one, but i am aware of these limitations, but still, we can suggest, and hope eh


__________________
Disasters road has been walked by better men

24 Jan 2011 - 23:0649053
Right, rolling up my sleeves and trying to delve into this! I spotted it this morning before work but wanted to wait until after work where I could give a proper reply, hope you guys understand. Wall of text incoming, you asked for this

Firstly - many apologies for being slack, generally it falls to me to read & reply to Site Feedback threads but for various reason I've failed epically over the last few months. We're leading up to a new release which is why we can sometimes leave threads for a little bit (because we don't want to commit/leave expectations etc.) I always feel the "We'll look into it" reply can seem so insincere, but I can understand from the other point of view that no reply is probably worse! Once the new release is out (we hope very soon) I'll go through and clear up all the outstanding issues. (Spoilers - but some of them will be solved in the release!)

Mods/editors
We've coped with a small team for a while, but yes the site has grown a lot more than we thought - we're obviously going to have to try and up and to do that we'll need to expand. I think Amy-Lou, Sjbonnar and Nert do a stunning job of keeping the site running day to day, but obviously they have their own personal limits! I know a lot of people are very willing to help out so we'll work out what we need and start taking on more people.

As the site has changed over the years I'll agree pages such as the staff page have become hidden - we'll do something to make it more clear about who to go to.

User content - Tutorials, etc
The user added content (shops, tutorials, events) was something we added right at the very start of Cosplay Island as an ideal thing to have on the site. Events aside, they are hardly used by the members and as such we need to work out what to do with them. I don't agree in just having a forum for tutorials because the search function isn't that good, and you couldn't do anything like browse categories. I think this needs to be discussed in a separate thread soon (please give a bit of time) to thoroughly work out why people find the submission process off-putting, or what would encourage people to post.

News
I agree this is something, along with the user content/mods that we do need to review. There are quite a few people who have expressed interest in writing for us alongside Animation, so we can expand on the content we report on. Because we need to have control on important messages (like site news and such) perhaps we can split it into 'site announcements' and 'community news' and change the amount of articles that are displayed. Either way I think this is something that does warrant attention, but requires a bit of planning rather than recruiting a barrage of reporters!

Forum
Okay a lot of this isn't just 'the forum' but little parts of it. The base line is yes, the forum is limited and we aren't able to make that many intelligent changes to it. I've been listing all the 'wishlists' people have made concerning the forum, so when we do upgrade we can pick something that hopefully suits all. One thing we don't want to do is lose the connection between the site and the forum, which is why it's a problem.

After this next feature release though, we'll dedicate time to working out a solution for it. Things like an improved search, email alerts, mod status - lots of things that people mention are linked to the limited forum.

Forum Activity
One thing I don't agree with is the idea that the mods need to start discussions - there is no reason why interesting topics can't be made by anyone! The one issues with moderators is that while having an opinion, you also need to remain neutral on the site. I'm all up for a good debate, but I rarely join in because I'm afraid of it seeming like "Admin has replied, that is law!" rather than just my opinion as a (somewhat lazy) cosplayer. This is just my feel on it, obviously not speaking for everyone!

I think people are getting braver with discussions over time, but I do get the sense that some people hold back. Please note that unless you are directly attacking someone, or being completely racist or something we aren't going to lock a thread! I don't know if its British politeness or what, but everyone is generally quite reserved here...

Site Feedback

Lastly - just wanted to say thumbs up to Emily for posting this and to everyone who's replied. We *do* really appreciate feedback and it's how we slowly shape the site. Okay, maybe too slowly for some of you guys but the main point is that we need to hear what you want, and why, in order to make the changes.

One thing that does help though is for people to join in on the suggestions. You don't have to add a massive paragraph, but just a post saying 'I agree/I'd really like that' helps us decide what is important to the masses. Obviously as we can't make every change we focus on the ones that will make a difference to the most amount of people, so if we have lots of people yelling for something it's more likely to be thoroughly looked into than something that only one person has mentioned in an off-hand comment


There are lots of different issues that people have with the site, it'll obviously take a while to go through them all so we appreciate your patience. We love the fact that people are active on here a lot, but obviously we want to improve things where we can


25 Jan 2011 - 13:2149089
Quote Delusional:
...The one issues with moderators is that while having an opinion, you also need to remain neutral on the site. I'm all up for a good debate, but I rarely join in because I'm afraid of it seeming like "Admin has replied, that is law!" rather than just my opinion as a (somewhat lazy) cosplayer. This is just my feel on it, obviously not speaking for everyone!


Ah, I get what you mean. That can be a problem. x.x

Quote Delusional:
I think people are getting braver with discussions over time, but I do get the sense that some people hold back. Please note that unless you are directly attacking someone, or being completely racist or something we aren't going to lock a thread! I don't know if its British politeness or what, but everyone is generally quite reserved here...


I think I didn't explain myself very well back there. XD It's not that I don't want to participate because the thread might get locked, but that sometimes people get sensitive and start saying drama-llama when the discussion is perfectly healthy, and that puts me off and stops the discussion dead because nobody likes to be called a drama queen. Maybe atm they're thinking that the mods aren't around much, so they better do something before drama erupts, or something. I think if mods are more visible (they don't have to be talking in that particular thread, but generally chatting in forums), then people might be less worried.

Britishness does have a lot to do with some of the issues here, I think! We don't like drawing attention to ourselves, so even if we've made something we're proud of, we don't want to talk about it because that's attention-seeking and gloating. =/ Everyone should be proud of their hard work and there's nothing wrong with wanting to be praised, I'm pretty sure that's human nature. And I think good work should be congratulated! But on here if you so much as ask for comments, you're sneered upon for wanting to look popular/up your comment count/attention-seeking. With reactions like that, very few people would want to admit they're good enough at something to write a tutorial on it.


26 Jan 2011 - 16:3149192
There are some great points raised and rather than comment on everything I'm just going to focus on the points that interest me the most. There may be spelling errors haven't been to sleep in nearly 20hrs XD

Quote Delusional:

Mods/editors
We've coped with a small team for a while, but yes the site has grown a lot more than we thought - we're obviously going to have to try and up and to do that we'll need to expand. I think Amy-Lou, Sjbonnar and Nert do a stunning job of keeping the site running day to day, but obviously they have their own personal limits! I know a lot of people are very willing to help out so we'll work out what we need and start taking on more people.


I agree that it might be worth considering getting more people involved. I think you guys have done an amazing job but the site has grown a lot, Especially with interest over seas and I think its worth conpansating that growth.

Quote:

News
I agree this is something, along with the user content/mods that we do need to review. There are quite a few people who have expressed interest in writing for us alongside Animation, so we can expand on the content we report on. Because we need to have control on important messages (like site news and such) perhaps we can split it into 'site announcements' and 'community news' and change the amount of articles that are displayed. Either way I think this is something that does warrant attention, but requires a bit of planning rather than recruiting a barrage of reporters!


This I agree with but I also agree that there still has to be some element of control as there is a danger of very similar news items being posted by different people.

Quote:

Forum Activity
One thing I don't agree with is the idea that the mods need to start discussions - there is no reason why interesting topics can't be made by anyone! The one issues with moderators is that while having an opinion, you also need to remain neutral on the site. I'm all up for a good debate, but I rarely join in because I'm afraid of it seeming like "Admin has replied, that is law!" rather than just my opinion as a (somewhat lazy) cosplayer. This is just my feel on it, obviously not speaking for everyone!


I agree with this. I think mods starting discussions although sounds great in theory they don't always work in practise. I was a mod on a Final Fantasy cosplay site. As a way to encourage members a couple of the other mods and myself did start up conversations. However, it became very quickly just conversation with only the mods as quite a few of the members where too afraid to join in. I think its partly why the site did die (other reasons as well).

I don't think the forums need to be changed that much. I can imagine that it would be difficult to make them too much better without completely changing them and thus adding to the work load. Yes, I do think they can be basic but I think they work for the site.


__________________

Last edited by Sephirayne (26 Jan 2011 - 16:33)
02 Feb 2011 - 20:3149743
Quote Pez:

I think I didn't explain myself very well back there. XD It's not that I don't want to participate because the thread might get locked, but that sometimes people get sensitive and start saying drama-llama when the discussion is perfectly healthy, and that puts me off and stops the discussion dead because nobody likes to be called a drama queen. Maybe atm they're thinking that the mods aren't around much, so they better do something before drama erupts, or something. I think if mods are more visible (they don't have to be talking in that particular thread, but generally chatting in forums), then people might be less worried.


Aaaaah I get ya, (sorry trying to reply to many posts in one thread I may have misread some bits!) and I have seen that happen a few times. I agree, I think people are far too paranoid of 'drama' happening that they feel the need to point it out before it even does make anything. And true, it may be because they feel like they are trying to keep peace in place of mods. Hopefully we'll see a decline then when we do take aboard some new people on the team! (I know a lot of people have expressed interest in helping out here - I'll aim to address this over the next few weeks)

Quote Sephirayne:

I don't think the forums need to be changed that much. I can imagine that it would be difficult to make them too much better without completely changing them and thus adding to the work load.


I don't think many people would agree with you there hun Honestly when we first launched they were enough, the forum was deathly quiet and I think we only had 2-3 sections. I think now with people used to so many features on con forums, that this lack a lot of little perks that you just assume to be there. I know it drives me up the wall sometimes! But yes unfortunately it's not a case of adding to them, but replacing completely, which is why it hasn't been tackled yet.

But thank you for all your comments above though!


02 Feb 2011 - 21:0449746
Quote Delusional:

I don't think many people would agree with you there hun Honestly when we first launched they were enough, the forum was deathly quiet and I think we only had 2-3 sections. I think now with people used to so many features on con forums, that this lack a lot of little perks that you just assume to be there. I know it drives me up the wall sometimes! But yes unfortunately it's not a case of adding to them, but replacing completely, which is why it hasn't been tackled yet.

But thank you for all your comments above though!


Fair enough . I have to admit I'm used to forums like this that don't have many features (yeap, totally old skool and showing my age XD).

I agree that if it does need changing then tackling it as a whole is the better option.

Thanks for reading the suggestions and considering them


__________________
Login to reply  Page: « < 1 of 1 > »