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Slowest its been during a week 1

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Re: Slowest its been during a week 1

Postby JrcWy » Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:31 am

Carnac wrote:Mods are very open minded at the Cafe. Good to see.

After 6 years here, exclusively, I now use 2 other forums and enjoy their setup and activity much more.

Too bad for me and too bad for the cafe. I will still check in to see how things are going and wish everyone here the best.


Can you PM me with these forums?

A thread like this only exists an entire season because the users aren't happy. Yet, the Cafe has responded with the "too bad, we like it" line for an entire season.

To suggest everyone should stay despite the declining management because "the Cafe has the brightest minds in fantasy football" highlights the problem. Mods here believe that they have elevated to some elite, untouchable level of wisdom.
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Re: Slowest its been during a week 1

Postby urbanbreez » Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:43 am

If this were a business, it would be reporting a quarterly loss.

You've got your consumers, in some cases your most loyal ones, telling you that all these sub-forums aren't very user friendly. It's feels clumsy to navigate through the forums. That hurts traffic. It's a pretty simple concept.

Less sub-forums, more centralized information -- better traffic. That's what we want.
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Re: Slowest its been during a week 1

Postby biju » Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:01 pm

First off, let me state this plainly: I love the Cafe and have been extremely loyal for many years now. I would really be at a loss if it weren't here. In my line of work pointing out that things don't work right isn't good enough; it's more important to have idea of how to improve, whether or not they are actually implemented, because it increases the level of participation with everybody, including the ones who set everything up and are likely taking some offense to everyone telling them "it sucks".

So with that, here are the improvements I would make if I were running things:

1. Add a "How to use the Cafe" page, or if there is one make it easier to find. I often go to the individual team message boards of every NFL team because I figure nobody knows better how to hype their own team, and in some cases understand the flaws of the current regime. It gives me greater insight and at one point we had representation for all 32 teams which made the Cafe great. What I'm noticed however is that some boards have extremely simple navigation which basically tells you exactly where to go. Most of the conversation is in a forum called "Football Talk". If we want to keep our main page in "Leftovers" you need to make sure people *know* that is the place to go. (This leads me to point #2). I'm sure the Cafe has the ability to give you a "Light Box" style pop-up if it doesn't recognize you simply asking if you want a tutorial on how to use the website, to log in, or to continue anonymously. That will solve problems of new users being confused on where to start.

2. Ease of use requires real study. I think there have been pages and pages of "complaints" in how the forums are arranged and named. There are some folks who believe this makes it easier to find what you're looking for. There are others that believe it makes it harder. The problem with both arguments is that there is no way of knowing that for sure until you take people who are both familiar with the Cafe and unfamiliar with it and actually experiment in a "lab" type setting. All of the major websites do this (and before people ask, yes I work for one of the "big" ones) and it's why websites (especially retail websites) seem to be intuitive in their design. Maybe people completely understand what "Pimp My Team" means; maybe "Leftovers" has some bad connotation in people's minds. Either way, you learn a lot about your website. I'm not sure on the financials of the Cafe but my assumption is that it runs on a lot of effort and donation of time and sees little in the way of profit which means you can't pay people to take the survey. But that doesn't mean you can't strike a deal somewhere. Icons are still a good way to promote this. We can partner up with another website that offers "paid" content which gives a discount if you take the survey (and in return we do some amount of advertising for them). We ourselves could offer some amount of paid content and the survey offers free access for a year, which is a good tie in to #3.

3. If we want traffic we need to create demand. I doubt it is coincidence that the Cafe was at its peak when the Weekly Defense Start/Sit Threads were here. We need more of this. I've found myself in deep need of more statistical analysis at times and in others I kind of want a simple answer. That thread definitely had a simple answer. We could probably do the same with a little bit of time and devotion to backward engineering those old numbers (I've started down that path a number of times but never got too far). That said, there are other "ideas" I've had for a while now too which would require more work than I have time for, but the larger community could easily help out with. And if I have ideas, that means many others do as well. I've thought recently that some of these posts that come up just need a little refinement in order to turn them into a good weekly column, or at least allow them to stand out. Maybe a special forum for these where they simply are "shadowed" at so if people want to see the most interesting debates at the Cafe they can go there. It might spark interest in joining the debate. The hardest part of being a new person on any forum is making that first post and deciding they want to post more. How many places have you signed up for simply to post a few things and be done with it? For me it is at least 20 of the past few years (ranging all across the board from electronics to fantasy football to my local newspaper).

Anyway, I wanted to try to come up with some solutions. We don't need to use them. Heck, you can straight up call them stupid if you'd like. But the idea is to try to come together for a solution instead of being divisive. I think some of the concerns of organization are legitimate, but those are only guesses of mine. Ultimately, as long as the content here remains strong I'm sure there will be some following regardless of the other detriments. I would just love for the Cafe to be recognized by outsiders the way us insiders do.

;-D
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Re: Slowest its been during a week 1

Postby Matthias » Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:29 pm

mattb47 wrote:I think one thing that has changed, however, is simply the amount of the guys who we might consider the "top fantasy minds" at this place who post on a consistent basis. I think more and more here people are seemingly finding their "niches" and sticking there without even looking around at the other parts. It is inevitable that this could happen but the result is that it's harder to get more quality posts site-wide unless you know some of these guys directly and PM them or something.

I think we need to find a way to get at least some of the more knowledgeable people to start posting in some of the "help" forums such as the start/sit and draft/trade type forums because, to be honest, the quality of responses there is at the very best mediocre for the most part. I don't know how that is going to happen and/or what can be done but it is something that I think is an issue that should be looked at if we can find a way to fix it.

I think that's missing here, and maybe in the overall mindset, is what's in it for them? If you really love sports, and you really love football, and you really love fantasy football, and you know a lot about it, why should they choose to hang out and help at the Cafe versus other places? I feel like the only answer that's forthcoming lately is this, "God Cafe Country" mindset where someone should help the Cafe just to help the Cafe. And certainly that's a valid reason to a certain extent; many people (including many posting in here) love this place and have been here for a long time and have friendships and wants to see it thrive. But at the end of the day, there has to be more. It has to be a place where you can see discussions that you haven't thought of or an angle that you haven't considered. Because nobody here gets paid.

If any Mod or Cafe Vet thinks that I'm totally off base and that the Cafe is perfect and at the cutting edge of what it could be, please PM me. I'll send you a link to a place that's like the Cafe but has a much more thriving user base which, in the world of message boards, makes it better. And the expertise of the posters is the equal of the Cafe. If you're looking for just another place to live, please don't PM me. I'm not trying to pimp anywhere else. I don't want the Cafe to lose you. I want the Cafe to recognize that it is falling and if it wants to become again the place it was and draw the users that really make for a great community, that the current path is untenable.

And I think that's a pretty common sentiment among many Cafe Vets. We don't want to leave the Cafe. We want the Cafe to be as good as it can be. But it takes more than 20 or 50 or 100 or whatever regular posters to make that happen. And I'm not advocating for any particular fix (although I suggested a few this fall) but rather just the simple recognition that a problem exists and then the launching of a collaborative effort to try to fix it.

As always, best of luck.
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Re: Slowest its been during a week 1

Postby mattb47 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:06 pm

I do agree with Mathias in that we NEED to look into some alternatives...I think there are enough people who are not satisfied with the current state of things that we could get some good ideas on how to improve things this off season. Maybe it involves changing the site layout again...maybe it involves finding ways to encourage current cafe members to post more broadly or just more consistently, or maybe it involves figuring out ways to bring new people in again. Somehow, some way, we need to make some sort of changes though...

Like I said before, I love the cafe and I think we do have some of the best minds you can find anywhere, just look at how well we normally perform in inter-site fantasy leagues as an example of that, but we're not using all of that to its potential and we could have far more people benefiting from some of the knowledge here and even bringing in other people who can help contribute to the cafe's already stellar reputation as far as "expert" knowledge goes.
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Re: Slowest its been during a week 1

Postby shawngee03 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:12 pm

i hate to bring this up...as i know you hate each other for some reason. but is the baseball side experiencing the same downturn?

i just went back over there today as my football season is now over and baseball is creeping up...and there seems to be good traffic

i noticed they didnt change their site when football changed...so maybe give them a ring and see how they are doing
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Re: Slowest its been during a week 1

Postby Munboy » Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:59 pm

mattb47 wrote:I do agree with Mathias in that we NEED to look into some alternatives...I think there are enough people who are not satisfied with the current state of things that we could get some good ideas on how to improve things this off season. Maybe it involves changing the site layout again...maybe it involves finding ways to encourage current cafe members to post more broadly or just more consistently, or maybe it involves figuring out ways to bring new people in again. Somehow, some way, we need to make some sort of changes though...

Like I said before, I love the cafe and I think we do have some of the best minds you can find anywhere, just look at how well we normally perform in inter-site fantasy leagues as an example of that, but we're not using all of that to its potential and we could have far more people benefiting from some of the knowledge here and even bringing in other people who can help contribute to the cafe's already stellar reputation as far as "expert" knowledge goes.


We all want to see the cafe grow and thrive and get back to what it was 2 years ago. All the people who are posting on this thread want that....But there doesn't seem to be any budging from the Mods. It's attitudes like this .....

The Lung wrote:Looks like nothing else has changed with Matthias: he still doesn't get or is unwilling to accept why we have separate Who to Start/Bench, Draft, Trade, Keeper & Waiver Questions, Roster Ratings, Injuries & Player Updates, IDP, Commissioner's Corner, College Football, Game Commentary, Cheering & Venting, 2010 NFL Draft, General Talk, and other subforums besides the Football Leftovers subforum.

We like the organization of the Cafe. If this fantasy football message board doesn't meet the needs of some, they are free to use others - there are literally hundreds if not thousands of others which may better meet their needs. Best of luck. ;-D


...that get people bristling and looking elsewhere for their FF and football discussions. A personal attack on Matthias who is a regular contributor to the Cafe, and a broad sweeping "we".....Obviously "we" don't all like the organization. I just hope that during the offseason, the Mods take all of these suggestions into consideration and either a) make changes or b) defend their decision to keep things the way they are and figure out other ways to bolster traffic. That way the Cafe and get back to its fun-filled self! ;-D
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Re: Slowest its been during a week 1

Postby bigh0rt » Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:14 pm

shawngee03 wrote:i hate to bring this up...as i know you hate each other for some reason. but is the baseball side experiencing the same downturn?

i just went back over there today as my football season is now over and baseball is creeping up...and there seems to be good traffic

i noticed they didnt change their site when football changed...so maybe give them a ring and see how they are doing

I don't have numbers or figures, but the traffic has steadily declined since 2005, if you ask me. Like here, I don't think it's entirely accidental, either. There's still considerably more traffic and discussion over there, compared to here (again, I believe), but many of the concerns and suggestions that were brought up here in September are also true on the Dark Side, such as entire forums that have 35 threads in them that have had 1 total post in the last 18 months, so on and so forth.
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Re: Slowest its been during a week 1

Postby Carnac » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:51 pm

Agree with bigh0rt. The dark side seems to have more traffic and definitely more "discussion". Maybe baseball and it's love of stats lends itself to more discussion. I enjoy the cafe and the drop in good quality discussion has moved me to seek out other sites. The sites with more discussion have the main forum ("leftovers" in the cafe) prominently featured at the top of the forums list. I'm sure that isn't the ONLY reason for more discussion and debate, but I'm equally sure it has SOMETHING to do with it.

Longtime Cafe members don't want to see our site diminished. We want a thriving Cafe full of ideas and discourse. It is very unsettling to see any mod say "don't let the door hit you on the way out". It would seem that there are some very thin skinned people helping run the operation of the cafe. Maybe that is at the root of the problem?

Yes, some cafe members can be a thorn and become too strident in their opinions at times. I have been that person on one or two occassions. That simply means we are passionate about the subject at hand. Those are the members you need to listen to with a deft ear and sort out the misplaced anger.

Again, we are trying to help the cafe flourish.
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Re: Slowest its been during a week 1

Postby The Lung » Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:22 pm

  • 1) Here's one thing that everyone should take notice to:

    Go to the Who to Start/Bench subforum and check it out. On Sunday morning Dec. 27th, which is week 16 and after many many people have already been eliminated from playoff contention and aren't even bothering with fantasy football anymore, there are FOUR ENTIRE PAGES of Who to Start / Bench questions. FOUR PAGES in about six hours! Now go back to September or October to see just how busy that forum (and others) were.

    Now imagine (as some have suggested) that all the various forums at the Cafe are consolidated, and every other thread and legitimate fantasy football discussion on injuries & player updates, IDP, commissioner's issues, game commentary, college football, NFL Draft, general talk, and typical Football Leftovers talk is pushed off the front page in a matter of hours.

    Is that progress? Is that a better Cafe? There are many who beg to differ that it most certainly is not.

  • 2) Moderators are not some public figures like a judge, police officer, politician, etc. who should be held to some impossibly higher standards. We are simply people who have been around the Cafe, love it, and have extra time to keep the Cafe organized by moving posts around. 99% of what a moderator does is move posts into their correct forums. On other message boards, I don't judge the moderators as the "face of the website" who should be model citizens, and I don't understand why anyone would do that with the moderation staff here.

    As for that other 1% of the time, it's dealing with arguments and complaints about users. And fyi, a few of you are defending someone who got into trouble first with nearly the entire Baseball Cafe moderation staff, followed then by most of the Football Cafe moderation staff, after which he proceeded to state that he was leaving the Cafe, but then decided to come back and revive a 3-month old thread with a "See, I told you so" post. If there's some bias, emotion, and possibly even negativity being displayed in a recent post, well maybe now you can understand why.

  • 3) Back to the usage of the Cafe and the organization issue, I don't speak for the entire moderation staff or Cafe brass. No one moderator does. I was simply presenting my personal opinion as a long time Cafe member and someone who was attracted to the Cafe because it was organized. I was simply sick of other fantasy football message boards where all fantasy football discussion was condensed into 2 or 3 mega-bloated sub-forums and topics were always pushed off the main page. And if there's one thing that seems to be evident in the previous 23 pages of this thread, it's that many others who run the Cafe feel this same way. And again, without speaking for anyone but myself, I feel that while the rest of the Cafe brass and moderation staff are committed to receiving constructive criticism because they truly believe that these threads encourage positive discussion and ways to improve the Cafe, I get the feeling that the subforum organization of the Cafe is not going to radically change.

My $.02
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