Sunsetting (retiring) the forums

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Zarathon, Nov 15, 2021.

  1. Zarathon

    Zarathon Administrator Staff Member

    We have a lot of choices for information and each one takes time to manage. We don't see a ton of use on the forums, compared to Discord, FB, Twitch, etc. The forums have a great deal of information on them, so while we don't have a drop-dead date, please archive off anything you value.

    The website has links to much of it (including, for now, forums):
    TTE Site (for current con):
    FB Group (where all the convos are):
    FB Page (which is pretty static, but has some info):
    YT Channel (watch stuff that's already happened):
    Twitch (watch new live content):

    Going into GC12, before the pandemic closed us down, there were some fun threads on FB and in Discord about places to eat and ridesharing. Please continue to use those.

    During the con, the discord will be monitored until about 8 or 9 pm central and start up around 8 am central each day. If you're having any issues either virtual or otherwise, you can talk about them there.

    You can also email [email protected] if you would like to communicate to the GC Staff about the retirement of the forums. Please mark that in your subject.
  2. mordrin

    mordrin Spellbinder Staff Member

    Is there an efficient way to archive threads of a message board?

    There's an awful lot of interesting early Con history on here.
    Jarlaxle and Mitch the Bard like this.
  3. sir jon

    sir jon Spellbinder

    FB should have never been a go-to for the con. Discord is... discordant to me. I'll witness from a distance. Cheers, forums!
  4. francisca

    francisca Troubadour

    very true.

    even more was lost when the original set of forums got trashed.
    sir jon and Kubo like this.
  5. mordrin

    mordrin Spellbinder Staff Member

  6. Kubo

    Kubo Level 0 Character

    Farewell GC Forums site. I hope we can replicate the organization of this site and bring interesting participation to the new interactive site(s).
  7. gizmomathboy

    gizmomathboy Spellbinder

    This was just sitting as a draft in a file to blow off steam about this decision, but after reading this today I decided why not vent my spleen.

    "i know its been said a lot but a discord becoming the primary information hub for a niche community rather than a wiki or forum is literally the worst thing that community can do as far as information accessibility"


    This is just another instance of an incoherent media strategy for Gary Con.

    There are several media instances of Gary Con:

    2) Gary Con LLC FB page
    3) Gary Con FB Group
    4) Gary Con forums
    5) Gary Con discord server

    Anything not whole owned and controlled by Gary Con is built on sand
    and likely to be ephemeral.

    While Facebook is pervasive it is less than optimal platform to
    contain the group memory of Gary Con.

    How easy is it to find past posts and information in whatever

    Of the 5 listed above, a web page and forms offer the best way
    in this person's opinion of preserving group memory and information.

    The organizing entity can influence where folks gather to share
    stories and information. In the past that was predominantly FB with
    folks that would rather not be in that walled garden using the Forums.

    Recently the push has been to discord.

    Of all of the platforms to date I think discord is the worst. It is
    not easy to have "sticky" information about past announcements. It is
    possible but not in as convenient a way as even FB.

    Regardless of platform the media strategy for GC has been fragmented
    at best.

    Ideally information should flow from one source into all platforms.

    Which one is the authoritative instance? FB? If FB which one? Discord?

    Ideally it *should* be It is wholly owned and controlled
    by GC. Sure, it's a bit of effort to create the info on
    *and* then disseminate to the other platforms.

    The difficulty makes it easy to say "the web site is the source
    of truth".

    A web site is more egalitarian as well. One does not need a FB,
    discord, or forum account to find the information.

    I think it is a mistake to lean into Discord as the main source
    of information (that's what it seems to me). Admittedly I don't
    use discord as much as some but I do use it and find it lacking
    the archival nature compared to all of the other platforms currently
    in use.
    Rogue, Jarlaxle and OGRE MAGE like this.
  8. Zarathon

    Zarathon Administrator Staff Member

    We all agree with the sentiment that there's stuff on here we don't want to lose. We agree that forums and discord or facebook aren't the same things.

    The trouble is they're rarely used and there's still admin overhead. We're open to suggestion, but right now, I'm looking to set them as read-only and disable new user registration. This way, anyone can still find what they want for now and one of the admin issues (spammers/hackers creating accounts and posting garbage or clickbait that will take you to ransomeware) is removed.

    The website is the source of truth and hub for everything. It links out to TTE. It has links out to all our social media. It links here. Sometimes we double-post things on and TTE for convenience, but ideally, we'd link back to things on the website.
  9. mordrin

    mordrin Spellbinder Staff Member

    I'm glad to hear at least the retention as read-only. Even that is better than I'd hoped.

    I will point out, though - the reason the Forums fell into disuse was that a number of GC Staff decided that they liked Facebook better and started posting all the breaking news there. Attendees eventually realized and started abandoning the Forum for the places where they could get their information right away and talk directly with the staff.
    That is to say, I think the users are just following wherever the staff is.
  10. Zarathon

    Zarathon Administrator Staff Member

    Well, that chicken-or-egg scenario is an interesting thought. I believe we've now disabled new user creation. The forums will go read-only at some point. Further updates will occur here if anything else is going to change. Again, this comes down to resources. To wit, if you're interested in volunteering to help with the con (we sure do need help), then I'd suggest getting on discord and checking in at the help desk and then to watch the TTE site for volunteers. There will probably be an blog entry on the GCW (Gary Con Website) as well.

    And if you'd like to dialog with staff about forums (or the underlying function of them and what could be done in the future), social media, etc, talk to us at the con or come by discord and drop a note in the help desk. We can get on voice and talk about it. Staff is around (in staff channels) the discord quite a bit.
  11. mordrin

    mordrin Spellbinder Staff Member

    See this conversation about the subject:

    Whether the staffers in question (not sure who is being referred to, aside from Caroline) requested the Mod access and there was a long delay, requested the mod access and there was a short delay and they got impatient, never made an account here or never requested it, I can't say. (I don't have the level to grant Mod powers. I definitely never saw requests posted in the forum and never had any sent to me, although I obviously wouldn't have seen email or PMs to someone else.)

    But this is how/when/why the exodus happened.

    IF Staff wanted to use the Forum, and you or Thomas could give them Mod powers, I would bet there are plenty of anti-FB people who would be happy to go back to using a more readable and organized venue for information. But that's dependent on whether Staff actually wants to use a Forum.
  12. Zarathon

    Zarathon Administrator Staff Member

    I think you're looking at the effect of too many things to chase after and trying to solve the effect. The staff is stretched thin.

    The right thing to do is to email [email protected] and ask for them to add a question to the feedback form everyone gets at the end of Gary Con (emailed to your badge's email). The question should probably be, "What forms of social media and communication would you like to see Gary Con on? Check all that apply." and make sure that forums are on the list.

    Technically, WordPress has a forums of sorts, but I've not yet seen a good implementation there. Doesn't mean it's not possible.

    Metrics are meaningful.
  13. nesbit37

    nesbit37 Level 0 Character

    If anyone wants to archive individual threads you can do so easily using It won't look the same but the relative text content will be saved.

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