YEAR NEW MEMBERS 2002 - 636 2003 - 4124 2004 - 7863 2005 - 9294 2006 - 11875 2007 - 9505 2008 - 8386 2009 - 6518
The Cafe is declining because back in the day fantasy football was still relatively new to the general public and there weren't a lot of established communities out there for someone to go and get advice or discuss fantasy happenings. The Cafe is gaining fewer members year over year because there are more options out there today and the Cafe has not done enough to differentiate itself from other websites.
Honestly, the forums aren't enough anymore. The Cafe needs to do more to differentiate itself from competitors in the way of quality web design, efficiency of information delivery, and quality of writing and its availability. It isn't enough to just have a forum and a few articles every now and then.
"Maurice Jones-Drew, below the waist, is incredible." Mike Mayock
Lung...I don't know why you keep coming back to the whole arguing against "consolidation" thing...I don't see anyone in here who is posting right now making that argument that this is what we should do. The bottom line is simple, the cafe is simply not receiving the kind of traffic that it once did with as far as meaningful conversation is concerned.
I don't count the "heavy activity" in the start/sit forums and even draft/trade forums as being good evidence that things are going well at all. If you look at the average quality of responses in those threads, most of them are one word answers, or just slightly better, one sentence answers, that don't actually help the person asking the question. And most answers are done just so they can post a link to their own question to get it answered by similar responses. That is not the kind of place where ANY quality posting is done (generally speaking of course) or where you can even get good opinions on things as most Cafe Vets do not even wander that way anymore (myself included for the most part). I would not even consider posting a question in those forums if I wanted legitimate opinions on it because I have zero confidence in the responses I would be getting.
I think what MOST of the people here are desiring is more foot-traffic in what is essentially the "general fantasy football" or even just "general football" discussion forum. In the Cafe's setup, this forum is the Football Leftovers and this forum in particular is not what it used to be. I think people are saying, and I am in agreement with them, that the most prominent forum on this site should be the Football Leftovers where it is general discussion on all things football. Now, what that means in respect to how to make that happen here, I don't know off the top of my head but the first step is acknowledging that this is indeed something that NEEDS to be looked at and not only that, but the Cafe Regulars need to be heard on how some of those changes might look and how they will take place.
Now could it mean getting rid of some of the forums that aren't used as frequently to combine their purposes with this one? It could. Does that mean making this forum an overflowing-with-information-post-whatever-you-want-here forum? Not at all. Could be mean renaming the Leftovers forum to something else more inviting? It could. Does that mean changing what this forum is all about? Not at all.
I think another thing that people are desiring overall is just another adjustment in the layout of the site. I personally don't mind the new layout, but I can see how people can view it as over-complicating things and making it more difficult to navigate the site overall.
I'm not saying all this because I firmly believe everything in a die-hard way or because I'm trying to be critical and argumentative or anything like that. I simply see a problem with the current state of things (with the fault on NO ONE in particular) and I see a lot of misunderstanding with what most of the people here seem to be trying to say.
This is not about me. It never was. It's about the Cafe.
I left this thread, and the Cafe for the season, at page 7. It went on for 16 more pages. And at this point, it's not like it's me against the world. So whatever axe you feel you have to grind, stop it. Stop it and listen to the people who you value here at the Cafe.
The Cafe is hurting. You have people who have been here for 5+ years, who never thought they wanted another fantasy site, out looking for other alternatives. They don't want Sit/Start advice. They want to talk football. They want to talk fantasy football. They want to debate if Chris Johnson is better than Adrian Peterson or if the Colts made a mistake not going for the perfect season or if Jake Cutler is the real deal or if he was helped out by a strong receiving corp in Denver or who are going to be the top 10 receivers in 2010. Heck, you want to talk about this stuff, or at least I hope you do. And those kinds of conversations are not happening, at least not to the extent that they did. And that is what's missing from the Cafe.
It's not about blob forums. It's about traffic. It's about getting opinions and voices and feelings and debating them and pulling out the stats and normalizing them for team and teams opposed and all of the other stuff that makes talking sports great. And there's probably a number of ways to encourage that but that's not going to happen until the Cafe decides that something has gone wrong or that what used to work doesn't any more.
You think that 4 pages of Sit/Start advice is something that's fantastic? Heck, I remember the days (and I'm sure many here do as well) when I couldn't even connect to the Cafe on Sundays because the server was too busy. Meanwhile, I was frantically hitting F5 to try to get in to get some insight for the day's games. People want those days again. Or at least they want to feel like when they log on they're not the only soul in an empty room.
But you know what? The users can only do so much. And you can backpedal and say, "I'm just a guy who cleans up the trash" but if every Moderator looks around and says, "Yup. Looks fine to me. You guys need to quit whining or move out" people are going to move out. Heck, people have been moving out. And people aren't calling this to your attention to stick it to you or to be a problem or whatever... people do it because they care. People do it because they want their old place back. They're trying to fight to make the Cafe back into what attracted them to it in the first place. And if the people in charge don't get that... well, you're on a trajectory. And personally, I have to say it's a crying shame.
I don't mean to turn this into a gripe thread (too late for that anyways) or a suggestion thread....BUT...Here's a suggestion...
One thing that bothers me is the fact that the GC threads lock after 2 days, which stifles conversations about the game. I'd say keep them up until the day before the next game...So lock on saturday through the first half of the year and on Thursday morning after thanksgiving. There's been a couple times this year that there was some good discussion going on, just to have the thread lock.
I think that's a good idea Munboy...I know I personally am not generally going to be on here on Sunday posting in those threads and generally look to go in the days following to discuss what happened in the games. I think that definitely would be a positive and not really that hard to change...I can understand if some of the threads get out of control because of heated arguments or something, but otherwise...