So, this was originally posted as an entry but the mighty Estella requested for me to post it here so she could read it and maybe get some more Bloopers to respond. There was a pre-entry to this, but you'll have to go see it for yourself. lol.
I typically try to avoid site politics, but I realized that I do have quite a bit to say and perhaps I should voice those thoughts. In the last entry I threw out a few hair brained ideas that could work but maybe not be fitted to this particular site. In this entry, I plan on just throwing out ideas to help the site.
Let me just get one thing out of the way before I continue: I would have absolutely no idea how to put a site like this together, nor keep it running for nearly a decade. I do however know a bit about presentation and I can recognize that the site isn’t so much moving forward but being dragged in chains step by step as those of us who do show up regardless trudge through soft ground.
All I want to achieve with this entry is following through on my own demands and brainstorming ideas (the good, bad, and ugly) that could help our Commander in Chief. If we come up with the ideas as a community, then Steve can focus his mental energy on all that background stuff that makes the site tick.
I would also like to apologize if the entry seems a bit scattered. I literally went to work yesterday, grabbed some paper, and wrote down things as they came to me. Hopefully I can read my own writing.
Firstly, what needs to be realized is that things such as not removing retired Mods from the main page and not removing NoJoMo after several months gives the impression to new members that the site is, in fact, dying. That’s not exactly how we need to be presenting ourselves. We don’t need things to be replaced immediately, just the invalid things removed.
I feel there should be a Mod for every thousand diaries. I also think there should be tiered Mods. This idea may have had something to do with my brainstorming at work, but two Mods could be like 1st assistant managers and the other two or 3 could be 2nd assistant managers. The difference? The 1st assistants moderate the forums.
I’m not sure what all the Mods are supposed to be doing. Judging by some comments made about the forums, it sounds like even they didn’t know exactly what they needed to do. Based on that Intel, I would say there needs to be some structure added to what the Mods do, what they are capable of, and the things they should pawn off to Steve as opposed to handling themselves.
Even better is the Mods could also function as event coordinators for the site. They can plan the interactive events from contests to challenges like NoJoMo. They could plan the timeline for such things and the incentives. Or they could “contract” out such ideas like NoJoMo to other diarists who may be able to stick to stricter schedules like posting every day and the Mods could simply oversee the project rather than run the project.
As for incentives, I think there should be more opportunities to get points, however, I also feel that it should require more points to get Plus. I mean, one cheap “welcome” comment to a newbie is one month of Plus. I think it should be revered to get Plus. Say, someone has to comment on a newbie’s first ten entries before getting any points… then they get one or two months of Plus. I realize that there is no simple way of getting that done but monitoring that could be more Mod work. Also, perhaps participation in challenges should get points and winners get a free month of Xtra?
I’m not sure if this is in place or not, but Mods should get Xtra free so long as they are Mods.
Mods should also be introducing themselves to newbies. At least one should, anyway. During surges, this could be difficult, but so long as at least one of them gives a “welcome, this is who I am and this is how I can help” would be decent.
So long as it can be helped, there should be staff meetings. Pick a messenger, chat for 30 or 45 minutes a month then write up an entry about it. Are the bills paid? How’s the server running? Are we looking at a new host? What month long challenge will we have this month? What are the incentives for the challenge? What’s the poll for the month? What will the themes of the week be for this month?
There is plenty that can be discussed and communicated to Bloopers.
I guess the moral of all of what I’ve said so far is that there should be more structure. The site itself is very well organized. I’ve said that in the previous entry already. There needs to be a bit more structure with expectations and staffing.
Why not have a diary that is just used for Mods while they are on official Bloop business? That could get a bit sticky but it may help with some stuff like a central place to communicate with the Mods as a whole without raising a ticket.
Back to the forums. Perhaps Members can view, but only Plus and Xtra can contribute? Pay or earn your right to open discussion. More revenue and participation will equal more opportunities to unlock on the site.
As for events/challenges themselves, we need a variety. We need to focus on what brings us all together. For November we have writing an entry every day for a month. For December, there is taking a photo every day for a month. Let’s have an “every day for a month” challenge for every month. There can be other challenges such as the “12 in Twelve” that I’ve seen around. The 12 in Twelve is to read 12 books in twelve months. There could be a challenge for poetry, either reading or writing. There can be the usual art stuff besides taking photos. There can be a challenge to finding photos or creating ones that fit certain themes (pulling from LIMS here). There can be word challenges such as writing an entire entry with alliteration (think the glorious speech in the movie V For Vendetta when V gives a speech with lots of v-words). Or other word challenges such as having a list of 10 words you have to write a paragraph of 100 words using every word from the list.
Have quizzes, surveys, polls, etc. Use the polls to gain feedback or use the Mod diary to get feedback or similar to the coding used for raising a ticket, make a similar feature for making suggestions like we do with the Theme of the Week.
Do a featured diary of the month. Have people be nominated by peers or even by staff.
Maybe do a gaming event where we go to a separate site to play in community gaming tables (like how you can with online poker or the Scrabble spin-off called Lexulous.)
There are superbly creative people on the site and many who are already doing extra things to make life a little less boring on the site. It’s always the same people who are handling the extras. Perhaps if we utilize their interest in the site and their natural talents with organizing and creativity, we could form Bloop into a social center where people can come to write about their lives and participate in activities where they can get to know other Bloopers and perhaps find a comfort spot or clique they fit into.
I sat down for one day and came up with all this stuff. What else can we come up with? Are there ideas here that totally suck? Can those ideas be improved or are they just screwed? Are there ideas that I didn’t think about? What can we do to help Steve improve the site and it’s alleged reputation elsewhere?