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Site Revitalization

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Site Revitalization

Tips: 4.50 INK Postby ColeMaibara on Wed Sep 13, 2023 9:11 am


For those unaware reading this, I left RPG Jan 07, 2020 - I had problems with the site that I didn't believe could be remedied, among other disagreements. That's since passed, and I'm back now.

This came from a combination of things, but mostly...I had been itching to get back into roleplaying. Even if it's "on the side", the websites I had tried joining never quite stuck like Gateway did. Something about the site is special, for sure, but as of the time of writing this, it seems like things are running on fumes (in terms of the users engaging on the site).

What I want to look into, and maybe get some thoughts and suggestions on is ways to do some Revitalization for the site in the way of ferrying new users as well as helping those who have left rejoin (if they're interested / willing).

The MV is where a majority of content and activity has been centered in Gateway, and I believe it's a good place to direct new users and have them branch out from there. (The MV could use some new blood to begin with anyways)

I'm scratching my head on how to get new people in. Namely;
- Where to advertise
- How to incentivize
- Who should advertise in this manner

Is there any other recommendations people may have? Issues which exist which, upon fixing, may result in a more thriving userbase? I think we just need to get the ball rolling on something like this to help keep things active.

Right now, we're competing with Discord servers dedicated to roleplaying...I feel this platform would be better for such people, if they took the opportunity to give Gateway a shot.

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Re: Site Revitalization

Tips: 0.50 INK Postby VindicatedPurpose on Thu Sep 14, 2023 6:57 pm

Hey Cole,

long time no see.

What you said about the site's health, I've brought up before, but the consensus at the time was that people were busy and the site was just in a temporary lull.

So, I feel a little vindicated now that someone else is also perceiving things similarly. That said though, I do have a small idea.

I feel there's an issue in retention and maybe presence? Maybe I don't really have a good finger on the pulse because I look at the "users online" marker located in main forums page, and thus my observations are a little skewed based on that.

I've seen an uptick in new users posting in the Welcome Threads, so that's evidence that people are joining the site. Whether they're staying, I don't really know.

I've also seen a number of these go unanswered, but, even when they are answered by the few exemplary users who take the time to welcome them, there's rarely follow up from the new user, which could be due to any number of reasons like--they just didn't see a notification pop up? Or they perceived a lack of activity, assumed the site was dead, and quit?

That said, the users Joseph_Bennett, MartinVole, and lostamongtrees, have been very diligent with stepping into the Welcome Forums these past few months (from what I could see) to greet new users and help them get situated, regardless of the results.

I wonder if it would help to have a concerted effort to welcome people and then to situate them in the site.

A good place to herd new users is maybe the discord for communications? I offer the discord because we can tell people's presence and activity pretty quickly through the discord. And it's easier to navigate compared to RPG's layout if you're new.

From there, established users can guide the new users around the RPG site, help them 1. start off in the Multiverse, 2. find an active roleplay to join, and/or 3. launch their own roleplay.

I sequenced these in that particular order because I felt this was probably the way to slowly get a feel for the site's layout and many tools (even though I skipped number 1 in my personal experience).

And when I say "concerted", I'm referring to a group of users who will also stay in communication with one another and check in with one another on their own progress with helping new users. I imagine it can be a little demoralizing to feel like the only one welcoming users in a particular week.

This doesn't have to be, I think, super organized. Keeping it low stakes is the way to go, which is to say, don't ever feel like you have to put the site entirely on your shoulders. I think it goes a long way to just be in touch with one another and say, "I'm gonna say hi to some new users today" or "I'll take care of welcoming users this week" or "This [username] didn't respond to my greeting, so I might PM them with a link to the discord and hope they receive it".

I would also say it might help to get in touch with the users I mentioned above and try to organize the revitalization effort with them onboard.

Just some thoughts.
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Re: Site Revitalization

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Remæus on Fri Sep 15, 2023 6:37 pm

Discord is a cancer; controlled by the Chinese (they are using Private Messages to train their "enforcement AI" for the Communist Party) and completely closed-source to conceal their cooperation with the mass-murderers in charge there. Nevertheless, we have a Discord Bot capable of "bridging" any roleplay (writing) there into our own database, enabling users who are unaware of those transgressions to utilize RPG's specially-designed platform without enduring our Web 1.0 philosophyand they can be confident their writing will never be deleted (our very own creed).

There are a few things which impact growth on RPG:

  1. Response Times — most folks are easily distracted, readily migrating to Facebook, TikTok, etc. if their "first message into the void" (OOC or IC!) isn't immediately responded to. In reality, none of us can be here 24/7, so the best we can do is prioritize Welcome Desk replies and rapid responses to first forays into the IC world. Respond fast, respond often.

  2. Search Traffic — search for terms like "roleplay" and "roleplay chat" have been in decline for some time, certainly since 2013 (the peak of RPG's activity). While RPG has a robust network of links from external sites (perhaps the most important quality of a high-traffic site) we could certainly modernize our inbound link profile, effectively informing search engines of our importance in the larger link network. Easily, we could reclaim the #1 position for "roleplay" which would likely capture the majority of the remaining audience. Link to us wherever you can.

  3. Compelling Storylines — perhaps the most difficult of the factors which impact RPG's growth, writing compelling storylines is an art which may yet be lost. Players typically return more frequently when they are invested, which requires a steady commitment to regular responses and meaningful outcomes (their contributions matter). My suggestion here is to start consequential stories, and be sure to maintain a sustainable cadence of contribution. Extend the story by posting often.

If we can get better at these three things, we will return to our position as the premier platform for text-based roleplay.
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Re: Site Revitalization

Tips: 0.50 INK Postby Joseph_Bennett on Mon Sep 18, 2023 9:02 am

I'll be honest, I'm not 100% great at forum discussions, because the primary thing I do is quick (although long) multi-paragraphs with little to no formatting in response to Welcome Desk posts. I hope that can be forgiven, though, because I feel like I have a piece to say here, however mild it may be.
I can easily work constantly to answer Welcome Desk posts, but I feel as though the system is set up so that I rarely answer posts as soon as they're made. I feel like if I had either a system where I was immediately notified (perhaps all ambassadors are, or at least those who are willing to be), or if there was a sort of statement that tells newbs that they can wait for a response, as the site is sort of slower-paced than other things like chat RPs and stuff, given that it's a forum format kind of deal.
I do enjoy writing forum posts, but the time it takes me to compose a complete singular message going over all of the things I feel are the basics (The Multiverse and other RP universes, the site, and the basics of INK and in-site property like items, places, vehicles, and characters) it does take some time to compose these, and I often set it down so I can do the work I'm supposed to be doing, especially at school, as that's the time where I post from most often.
I feel like the majority of things I do on-site to encourage new users doesn't usually get any results, although every once in a while we get a new user who translates very well to the site and takes initiative, instead of just meandering around the site looking for something to read and eventually disappearing into some immediate-stimulus location. 
I don't really have many solutions, but I do feel like it would be a good idea to find any way to make it even slightly easier to know and keep track of Welcome Desk posts. I can respond any time I need to, at least for the most part. It has been kind of a problem that I've been neglecting schoolwork to complete posts in the Welcome Desk (although it's almost entirely due to my rampant ADD and lack of focus) and I would appreciate it if more people were willing to help out so we can build a larger playerbase that we can then get more ambassadors out of.
Just some thoughts, I apologize if it seems rushed or jumbled, as I have to do some work as I'm writing this, but I hope that I at least brought my piece into it. Thanks.

As always,
Yours Truly,
Joseph Bennett

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
-Frank Herbert, Dune.

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Re: Site Revitalization

Tips: 0.25 INK Postby VindicatedPurpose on Tue Sep 19, 2023 9:47 am

I only offered Discord as a place, but, honestly, any sort of place where we can bring users and be within their reach should they have any questions or concerns--I guess like the MV chat--should suffice.

Because the point, really, is to make sure they have their feet planted before they can go out exploring. Some sort of a community place.

The other thing is, I think we're assuming that we have a lot of agency and power over user retention and site revitalization. Because as

Joseph_Bennett wrote:"I feel like the majority of things I do on-site to encourage new users doesn't usually get any results, although every once in a while we get a new user who translates very well to the site and takes initiative, instead of just meandering around the site looking for something to read and eventually disappearing into some immediate-stimulus location."

And it might not have anything to do with what they are or aren't doing. Sometimes the new users just don't bite and move on.

Also, is it possible to do something about the bots bombarding this site with fake accounts and posting ads? Like human verification? Does that even help?

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Re: Site Revitalization

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby lostamongtrees on Wed Sep 27, 2023 4:38 pm

DWI and I brainstormed up a new intro for the site, that directly addresses it's slow nature. i need to get that in a document and get it over to DWI so we can work on it further and run it by the greater everyone as a "yes" or "no" (thank you for reminder!)

Some other ideas we came up withz
  • Achievement + Ink for signing in for 7 consecutive days
  • and maybe for those days, staying on the site for 10 minutes a day (or so)
  • Better highlighting of recent activity - especially for "public" universes
  • character / place of the day - with stipulation that it had to be active within the past 3 or so days
  • better use of official RPG social media assets to highlight what's going on here -throw back thursdays and posting of "roleplayers wanted"

I've also ramped a bit up on social media as much as I can - if you're on twitter, please give the pages a follow and share their stuff <3 the goal is to celebrate in character activity and bring it to the world more

More writers for the INN to summarize the in character activity / stories of other players I think might help make the history of places like The Multiverse more accessible, while drawing in new players who want to get involved.

Anyone who comes into the chat i've noticed is embraced- it's that lack of instant gratification that people are being deterred by i've noticed, so if we can make it kinda more upfront clear that we ARE here, and we ARE here every day - but maybe not at the moment you're here, please come back, and please do leave a message ... maybe we can grow that part where people hang out here moreso again

love the input everyone

also i've realized to just post is a big part of it. even if the post is by your own standards crappy, it's better to keep the stories going and give people something to look forward to than become an object of disappointment

tag me in the chat!

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