I think the sheer number of forums/subforums can scare people off. I just did a quick count and there's 81-82 of them! When I peek on here, I do notice a number of "guests" and it very well could be that a few of those guests are scared off by they see...or don't see. They don't see what they're looking for and don't register and move on.
I was completely taken aback by the number of sub forums when I came back here this summer (I try to take some time off of football, because I'm tired of getting yelled at by my wife and my friends get tired of me trash talking "last season's" Fantasy Football.
I think it really is a problem. From a usability standpoint, it makes the site harder to navigate via the drop down boxes... and iphone? Forget about it. As a new member, I would be a little concerned about how to properly put my posts in the right place, and how to manage my searches if I don't want to be "that guy" asking the same questions everyone else asks.
I understand why the thing got stretched out. But I do personally think it's stretched too thin. Leftovers HAS to be a thriving forum. And the biggest concern, IMO is that even the injury page is slow. It used to be that people would race to be the first to post about a certain injury. I am NEVER the first guy to post those things, because I'm up odd hours, and yet I was the first to post a couple FF significant occurrences from at least a day before I posted. That never used to happen.
The veteran member wakeup call is: try to help as much as you can... I guess. I will put my money where my mouth is, as soon as I hit submit. The mod wakeup call is: your forum is slowing down, and it's too good to let that happen!
Both because: (1) it ensures that no-one who actually uses the site will ever read the thread again; and (2) if the people who are in the places to change things don't bother to check out the main-line forum of the #1 fantasy sport for this week, they have some serious problems which goes a ways to explain the useability issues.
This is an example in motion of why the Cafe is dying.
Matthias wrote:FWIW, though, I do think that the only info you should see next to someone's post is their name, their home Cafe, and what year they joined (I do think that info is kind of neat).
I highly doubt there is many, if any forums over the internet that won't show you a post count under their name, I don't see what the problem is with that, it's all over the place on every other forum anyway.
Also as far as the icons, I think it's neat and makes new owners want to strive to achieve some of those things. For instance some of the icons you can get from just answering questions in start/sit and being responsive to other members, or editing articles. I think you should be rewarded or at least recognized for those things and I think if anything they help contribute to the site, not take away from it. When I was first a noob here I was interested in that stuff and was curious about how to earn some of them. Sometimes a little incentive goes a long way into getting people active and making the site better.
Also for all the talk of how invisible this forum is, and unactive, I just posted about a week ago that Yahoo had stumbled across the 5 page LT thread that was here and posted a link to it in one of their articles on the side of all yahoo leagues. I'd say were pretty visible for that type of exposure to even occur.
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I know MANY forums that take away the titles and the "rewards" and some even hide post counts because some people can be elitists, etc. I don't think I've seen that be a problem much in the last few years. The folks who I used to see basing their arguments on their history here don't seem to be around anymore.
But it would be wrong to say that all forums keep all of that information visible.
I agree with Matthias on the 5 problems he mentioned, though I do think the icons and post counts are kind of cool. Dunno what to do about all the subforums; I do think some need to be assimilated though. Injuries + Predictions + sleepers could all be put into leftovers, for instance.
I'll add a bunch of other problems:
1) Cafe doesn't offer fantasy football. It's way easier to just go to Yahoo or ESPN to get all your info, and then do all your league stuff right away.
2) As far as Leftovers is concerned, every year we rehash a lot of the same arguments. The only thing that really changes are the player names. It gets kind of boring to read a thread that contains a debate that was essentially rehashed last year...
3 [a HUGE one IMO]) We have articles, and they are a lot better now than say, a year ago. But there still aren't many. And honestly, they suck. The content of the articles is awesome, therefore I love them. However, the writing itself isn't very entertaining; in fact, I'd call it pretty dry and like reading a "fantasy football textbooK". The Yahoo and ESPN guys might not have great sports knowledge, but at least they can write. I'm not saying I could write a good article; my FF knowledge is decent but not exceptional to start with, and I'm certainly a coherent but not professional writer.... it's tough though when you have to use volunteers for everything...
I was a newb here, I'm not sure I'd really love this place all that much. It's a place that requires 2 things to really enjoy it [at least this forum]: 1) a decent understanding of fantasy football (or at least the want to beome pretty good at it), and 2) the want to actually think about things and decide on issues from the many opinions given. I'd think your "casual viewers" just want the answer to a really simple question. When that answer becomes 5 people arguing one thing with a complicated set of stats, and a set of different reasons, and 3 people arguing the other with a complicated set of their own stats, and other in-depth reasons, then it becomes really really difficult to make a decision. The thing is, this is actually what makes the Cafe so great. But at the same time, it doesn't really appeal to the "casual fan", and that's part of why we have a hard time bringing people in and keeping them.
LS2throwed wrote:Also for all the talk of how invisible this forum is, and unactive, I just posted about a week ago that Yahoo had stumbled across the 5 page LT thread that was here and posted a link to it in one of their articles on the side of all yahoo leagues. I'd say were pretty visible for that type of exposure to even occur.
Well, the Cafe does have the attention of a couple of the guys at Yahoo sports, and that's great. But at this point, they're basically like any other vet who comes in and checks. And the vets aren't the issue (or at least not all of it). The issue is keeping new users to come in to keep the Cafe fresh, interesting, useful, and dare I say it, alive. And from a new user's perspective, this place has to be a maze to try to figure out.
Re: the other things: We can agree to disagree. I realize you see things like post counts on other boards and what not but I still think, especially at a place like the Cafe, it breeds this air of giving a hard time to someone b/c they're a n00b or being overly deferential to others because they're not. And the less embedded superiority there is, I think the more appealing the Cafe would be to new users.
But what we really can't disagree about is that the Cafe needs a revitalization because the course it's on is not a positive trajectory, no matter how many Yahoo mentions it gets.