C77 Board Traffic

Hey everyone.

The moderators have been chatting recently about the amount of traffic on the boards. The general thought is that overall posting seems down, as is the level of critical discussion.

We were trying to figure out if this is actually happening, or if it is just our perception as moderators who have been on here for a long time, having seen a lot of topics! I’ve personally been on the boards since about 200, and a moderator since 2004 or 5.

Our busiest day yet was Oct 12 2009 with 1762 users online simultaneously. so this leads me to believe we are at least mor read than ever.

Are most of you just reading, or are you posting as well? Do you feel that boards have stagnated, or that they are fulfilling your need to communicate with other designers and students? Do you have any suggestions for improvement? Any topics you haven’t seen that you would like to see discussion on?

Thanks

Michael

I’ve noticed a bit of a taper lately, too. I’m not sure what it could be really. I’ve been nosing around this site since 2004ish and have always enjoyed the board conversations, however deep design discussion or light hearted they may be. I think the site (I’ll use that term because I don’t know who updates the site’s content) does a nice job of promoting the discussion section. The feed on the front page, a highlighted daily discussion, menu tab, etc. I’m not sure what else can be done to participate.

Perhaps some people are a bit timid when it comes to posting, or are afraid to speak up on a topic because they may be ridiculed (which I’ve seen happening lately, and I may have been at the dishing out end of it :blush: ). Never the less, a sudden drop in posts doesn’t really make any sense if only 30 days ago was the largest ever site traffic count.

One topic I see coming up (or point of order, if you will) is keeping a certain level of professionalism to the discussions. I understand this desire, but I’m not sure how you can enforce it. There’s no real “Terms of Use” on the site because anyone can join in, they can be booted off, but anyone can join. I know that keeping on topic is sort of an unwritten code to browsing forums, but you certainly can’t expect everyone to understand that. Am I out of line thinking that way?

One theory:

I know there are a lot of people out there who, while lucky to still have jobs, find themselves insanely busy at work (in large part due to covering for folks that have been laid off). I know that I am swamped beyond all reason and most days I can afford a quick moment to jump onto C77 to browse, but I won’t spen the extra time to post / reply / comment.

As far as quality of discussions go, I’ve always been rather pleased with how members of these boards maintain a certain level of maturity and civility that is woefully lacking in so many other online forums. That being said, there are a lot of postings for “Which is better, MAC or PC?”, “What school should I go to?”, “What software is best?”, “Why can’t I get a job?”, etc. Those topics reappear constantly, and I don’t see any way of stopping it. It just comes with the territory.

But there is usually some very good, active discussions going on here and I wouldn’t have said that I’ve noticed any decline in the quality of this forum.

I’ve been getting stupid busy with things in life. But then again I have always been more of a lurker than one to actually participate. I would say activity has been down over the past few years from what I’ve noticed.

I’ve noticed many corporations are blocking sites that can distract you from work. Facebook, Myspace, linked-in and G-mail are just a few that I am blocked from entering. It seems the worst the economy gets, the more sites are blocked. With fewer people at work, due to layoffs, management wants people to be more productive… thus, a possible reason for less traffic on the boards. Core77 might be blocked from people at their work.

It seems like these forums always have an ebb and flow… especially with holidays coming up. For how long do you feel the difference has been showing up - weeks or months? longer? Plus Yo, I can’t even imagine how you must look at these boards with the time you’ve spent here. You might need a Jedi-designer forum to satisfy your thirst for fresh conversations :wink:

as far as posting quality & volume, I think it is hard to get posts rolling when people visit but are hesitant to comment. This could be for a couple of reasons…

There might be hesitation to starting topics because a vet will slap a "it’s been posted before, why don’t you look it up… ". I know it’s tedious to see the same topics, like Mac vs. PC, but I cringe when I see that. It’s just not as enjoyable to sift search results vs. being in a conversation, and you inevitably miss a lot when you start here. *Maybe there can be a “Recycled Postings” section to keep these never-ending discussions going for the newbies?

Edit - the economy someone mentioned seems like a good reason too, bosses seem to monitor everything. Another good reason for an iPhone!

I’m new to the discussion-board thing. My wife has been on them for years (wedding-forums that have turned into baby-forums that have turned into groups-of-friends-having-a-good-laugh-and-bitch-forums) and from her experience they are a great resource so I thought I’d give them a go.

She advised me to treat them like real life conversations- you can’t just butt in and expect everyone to listen or answer, but be polite, listen and get into them gradually.

Looking at the 50 topics under the “General Design Discussion”, 8 haven’t been answered- no replies. 16% of all conversations aren’t answered, lets round it up to 20%. Worse still there are 39072 views of the posts, but only 699 replies- a 56:1 view to reply ratio.

Imagine at being at a dinner party with lots of interesting conversations but you don’t really know anyone, and 1 in 5 of your attempts to say hello are ignored…

…tumbleweeds…

…crickets…

…[silence] then a quiet cough…

Maybe those who know other people at the party and feel comfortable should offer the smile, the handshake and the welcoming reply to the orphan posts.

@ sanjy009, that is a good point, I think the moderators and I used to be a lot better about getting to those “orphan” posts and at least pointing someone in the right direction if we didn’t have the answer ourselves. I’ve slacked on that and I will try to return to a bit more diligence there.

Thanks for the thoughts everyone, some really insightful possibilities I hadn’t thought of, especially from GURU. I’m in the camp with Travisimo, that we might me in a slight ebb, but it is a normal part of the cycle, having been on here for this many years, I think I’ve seen it swing up and down and back again, but I want to continue to see what you all think and make sure it isn’t just my biased point of view.

@ Skyarrow, I’m also very pleased with overall professionalism of the boards. When we started moderation, it was the wild west with people cursing students out and just a lot of hostility. Richard, IP_Wirlesslesly, Mr 914, CG, and I really tried to bring in a level of polite discourse where we could disagree, but avoid the personal flame wars. I think overall we have succeeded. Looking at the archived threads is almost shocking at this point.

As always, we are super open to your feedback. Keep it coming, I’d love to read more.

I’ve tried to keep my posts to 3 a day, just so I don’t aver-run the conversations, but maybe that is not wise right now?

I’ve been following the discussions since 2006 and I would say that thing that I’ve noticed lately is the drop in the number of “Project” discussions, especially in the footwear section. There was a 3 month period where Flight was posting every week or so, and a lot of people from kicks guide would post up their stuff. I feel like a lot of the momentum of the footwear forum was feeding off of Flight and the Padilla brothers. Same with a lot of Zippy’s discussions, as controversial as they could be, they seemed to usually generate a lot of discussion.

I like 1HDC, but it might be cool to also do something less formal and have an informal weekly sketch/render topic. I can imagine how much time and energy it takes to put together a 1HDC so this could be a way to fill in the downtime?

I had been lurking on the site for many years and have a relatively low post count since I finally broke the ice several years ago.

Three things:

  1. I think you’ll agree that a majority of creatives are quite introspective, if not antisocial. This may explain the inverse ratio of views to posts. I certainly over-scrutinize everything I write here, there are some tender egos to navigate. Most of the time I type my comments, reread, and delete it. You’ll all survive without my pearls.
  2. When the site was redesigned last year, the discussion board highlights disappeared from the front page. I found it more tedious to go looking for it, as that isn’t really my primary interest on the site. So I stopped looking at the boards altogether for a long time. I actually felt a bit of a relief at having one less thing calling to me. Well, now its back on the front page and here I am compelled to say something!
  3. Design was hot for a minute there, possibly overinflating the traffic. I’m not crapping on ID, but it went way outside of industrial and became fashionable. After the initial infatuation, I think most people realize that there is work, skill, and talent involved and they just want to be (as much as I despise the term) “cool hunters”. This site is probably too inside for the majority of trendy folks looking for eye candy.

My thoughts:

1 - The ‘latest topic’ bar at the right was gone during the site construction and that had become a habitual part of my experience. Since I was used to the convenience of that, I only visited the forums about 30% as often as I did before. Now that it’s back, I’m slowly getting back in action.

2 - Probably what others have said, people are getting squeezed at work and just don’t have the extra time they used to.

Agree with Cameron and others as both of those points:

  • lack of featured discussion on front page for awhile
  • more squeeze at work

are true for me as well.

\

  • side note, I used to always right click the featured discussion topics on the front page to open them in a new tab and that option is no longer there…can we add that back in?

There were some flame-war conversations a few years ago that really had me glued to my computer just laughing my ass off. Overall not the best thing for the discussions, but definitely entertaining. I also kind of miss Deez popping in and flattening someone with some solid experience, and in general I also used to enjoy other experienced guys like one-word-plastics who’s not around as much now

one of the first posts I ever left on Core was back in the 90’s and I remember being so ruthlessly smashed for no reason, I stayed away for a while… It was a good question too, something about who are people’s favorite designers. Glad it’s not like that now, but I could still see some designer w/ baggage giving a newbie a hard time in the real world.

does it slack off around this time the past few years also (yearly trend)? Wonder if school have anything to do with it if there’s a large amount of students that are active here?

MOAR 1HDC’s

More “we could have done it better” competitions, where we do a bit of product analysis, generate a brief, chuck some concepts out and embrace new technologies to create something fun, yet something serious as we could generate a lot of feedback from “Bad Design, redone so its less bad”

Also some tits would help.

Thanks for all the great advice and fresh perspectives. It helps!

The thing that I would like to see is more topics like the ones I start. Just post something interesting and ask people to comment. Sometimes they get ignored, but sometimes they turn into giant multi-year threads (GM Deathwatch, baby products, the evil Tropicana redesign).

Some of the orphan topics deserve to be ignored. I wish students would post more topics in the middle of a project asking, “this is what I’ve done, how can I turn this into a home run” in lieu of, “I don’t know how to start”. I don’t know how to encourage that any more than just ignoring those first tentative posts.

The other common orphans are the countless, “I’m doing research, fill out my questionnaire.” and the beat-to-death threads like, “Mac v. PC” or “SW v. Alias”.

We’ve talked about making stickies of some forum rules, FAQs, etc. Maybe it’s time to revisit that.

Regarding forum rules and faq’s, I dont think they would do much of a difference. From my MB-moderator experience, people who have a certain level of forum-etiquette do not need to read it, and the rest dont care/do not understand and are prone repeat every mistake. However, it’s atleast its a simple task to direct people instead flaming them, a diplomatic solution?


‘posting vs readers’…
I think a overwhelming majority of the readers in here are students. I for one, (not having a huge amount of post counts my self) felt and still do feel a bit of intimidation before pressing submit. Just like robin i re-read/edit/delete a big portion of my posts. It’s not that I think I ask stupid question, because I usually don’t, but I always try to make it something that contributes to the forum, rather than leech of its experience. Well, maybe I am actually a bit afraid to be perceived as an idiot, it’s pretty hard to get rid of a label like that from a MB…

The search function is great, but it has pro’s and cons. If its not there, a lot of post gets repeated to death and the usual users get fed up, on the other hand, when a forum holds so much valuable information, the boards tend to fall in to more of a wikipedia function.

There are many sharp minds and posters in here, which you can learn a lot about by just reading their posts, and thats atleast what ive been doing since I created an account here and im sure a lot of others are too.


Hope some of it makes sense.

forums are down across the globe. Blame it on unemployment and cable television for sure.

Collective cultural dissonance and negative social mood. People are hunkered down riding out the roller coaster. Things might be better this year, maybe 2013.

The reads to posts ratio widening is because more difference makers are now visiting to gauge the prosopopoeic climate. Traditional business models have failed so they are now seeking cultural beacons or lodestars. They’re also analyzing pop culture but prefer it around here because there are fewer philistines.

I thought the world was to end in 2012?