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Rebooting GHZ


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#1 E. Randy Dupre

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 09:55 PM

A few days back, I started a thread in Staff, suggesting that we start GHZ over again. It's been discussed a little since then - there are only four members of the Staff group active here any longer, as far as I can tell, and not all of us have been on the board that much in the meantime - and there are some tentative ideas floating around.

What I wanted to do was get the remaining active members of the board - qazi, plop, uiruki, Fuddle, bowser and shadowman - Staff access so that you could be involved in the discussion too. Unfortunately, the Admin side of the board is apparently fucked and we can't change member groups any longer. Hence this thread here.

What I'm proposing is that we not only give the place a fresh lick of paint, but we also make it look and feel properly new again, in the hope that it might inspire existing members to post more regularly and also encourage new people to join up. The number of board sections could be pruned significantly - all of the guff down at the bottom could be rolled into one OT area (or potentially binned off entirely), Computer Discussion would go (all PC gaming discussion would take place in exactly the same places as the console gaming discussion) and we'd go with just Gaming Discussion, Impressions, Classic Gaming and some kind of replacement for Online (which I think potentially has its place, but needs renaming due to the complete lack of challenge-related threads since Jake gave up on them).

Existing threads would get punted into an area called 'GHZ Archive' or 'GHZ v1.0'. Personally, I'd be tempted to include the Impressions threads in there, bar those that have been created over the last month or so, but I understand why that may not be something that others would be okay with.

The front page would go, too. Complete waste of time, that thing.

At the moment, davejm and Ad are looking at the options wrt new (free) board software. I'll let them explain this stuff, because it's not something I'm up to scratch with at all.

So, it's all open for discussion. I think something needs to happen soon, because if the place stays as it is it's going to die off within the next twelve months. All it needs is for one of the six or so active posters to get fed up with shouting into the wind and it's then no longer sustainable as a message board. However, if there's no real interest in changing stuff around, we might as well call it a day (or at least accept that GHZ is going to stay like this until everybody leaves).

There are other people I'd like to see involved in this discussion - Mood, Siri, Will, Dave, everybody else who was still here during 2012 (which I guess is mainly the Forza crew) - but I've no idea if you guys are bothered any longer. If you are, please let us know.

The thing I'd grown to love about GHZ was the feeling of genuine community, which was far stronger and more real than on any other board I've been a member of. It totally felt like talking about stuff with your mates. Mates who all had a great knowledge of videogames, who had the ability to express themselves in intelligent and characterful posts, and who actually enjoyed playing the things. To let that drift away for no good reason would be a huge shame.

#2 E. Randy Dupre

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 10:14 PM

Note that I'm not proposing that we expand or anything. In fact, just the opposite: I think we need to contract slightly. There have been lots of proposals about articles, front pages, competitions and so on over the years, and all of them failed to take into account that the strength of the place was the message board itself. I want to focus on that alone.

#3 plopboy

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 10:21 PM

Sounds good to me

#4 uiruki

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 11:39 PM

A spruce-up would be nice, especially with the new consoles coming around. I agree that reducing the number of categories would make everything look a bit more active, too. The strength of the board for me is that people take time to write longer posts and explain their thoughts more thoroughly. As for archiving Impressions, I have no problem with it but it would be nice if there was an option to retroactively bring back an older thread if it becomes relevant again.

What with the sharing abilities of the new machines, I'm looking forward to being able to put a bit more stuff in, even if it's just for my own reference. A new generation also brings those games that people play because there's not much else on that system (how else did anyone play PD0 multi?) so I wouldn't be surprised to see a bit more activity once Forza 5 and Drive Club hit. I know I'm interested in the latter.

#5 delb2k

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 08:05 AM

Sounds good to me smile.gif

#6 davejm

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 12:33 PM

QUOTE
At the moment, davejm and Ad are looking at the options wrt new (free) board software. I'll let them explain this stuff, because it's not something I'm up to scratch with at all.


At this stage I think it'd be a good idea for us to choose a free forum platform that we all like (or where there's a consensus). We've talked about SWF and Vanilla forums...

http://vanillaforums.com/showcase

http://www.simplemachines.org/

But we can look at others.

If we decide, we can then install a test version of the site and have a look at it with the forum categories that we want to go with.

There's been some talk of whether to start fresh, or to migrate over existing content. How do we all feel about that? Would you rather us spend the time trying to migrate over all the content into the new forum, or shall we start again? I think Randy would prefer to start again and then have the old content archived (although I'm not sure where it would 'sit').

One middle ground would be to look at moving over the impressions threads? Or some of the content?

I've got no opinion on that to be honest, I don't mind either way. All I know it would take effort to migrate data, but it is possible. Lets discuss what we want to do, and I'll work with Ad to do the technical stuff to make that happen.

#7 Siri

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 02:13 PM

A lot of the stuff mentioned sounds good to me - Especially the technical side of things, as I've noticed a few things have gone awry on the Front Page (Not that it's needed any more, really). I was always of the opinion that we had to pare down the amount of subforums we had as the activity declined, it's about time we got to it.

Heck, Classic Gaming is more than welcome to be rolled into Discussion, so it can be three core forums (Discussion/News, Impressions, Online). Literally punt all the dead weight into a 1.0 Archive.

Either of the Forum Software solutions look swish, so I'm fine with either. is there any showcase of what SimpleMachines looks like?

Anyway, I'm off to work. Bye!

#8 qazimod

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 02:13 PM

I'm all for a new lick of paint; certainly someone with forum software smarts could look at new features and updates that might be worth implementing. I definitely agree with the changes in board sections too. I don't actually mind the front page; for me it's a quick way of checking out the news/games that are currently being talked about... but we could live without it too.

I also agree that expansion isn't necessarily the way to go. At the moment I visit two gaming forums, GHZ and rllmuk, and rllmuk is a beast of a forum with loads of active members and an active tech team tweaking and implementing features, but consequently the members are encouraged to donate now and then to help the upkeep of the forum. Meanwhile, GHZ is a much smaller community but it's remained free, so a nip and tuck would be more sensible than a massive overhaul. smile.gif

#9 Moodmon

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 02:49 PM

I am absolutely okay with all of this. I personally would like the impressions part moved over if possible, as for me that tends to have the best discussions.

The thing for me isn't the actual forum, it is the games I play and the time I have on them. When I play new games I post about it on here (at some point I will make a Pokemon thread when I can actually stop playing the thing) but I play precious few games now. I will play League of Legends, I'm playing F1 and very little else.

I mean I want Disgaea D2 and so many other games. Chances are I'll only actually play BF4, Phoenix Wright, Pokemon and LoL between now and Christmas in any decent amounts though.

#10 davejm

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 03:11 PM

One thing I am sure about, is that the front page does need to go. The reason it is broken at the moment is because it was coded with functions that are now deprecated with the latest version of PHP. I don't really have the time to fix it.

I think we need to get a new forum with a simple/clean skin that is going to easy to upgrade. Rather than being stuck on old forum software that we're tied to because of a complicated skin or bespoke changes that we don't have the ability to migrate over from forum version to another.

#11 Adrock

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 04:24 PM

Another suggestion, phpBB. That seems quite popular, well supported and is free.

#12 bowser123

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 02:09 PM

Massive shame that the impressions index tool no longer works and that it is looking so tricky to fix. Like everybody else my favourite part was the in depth discussions on games being played and that tool (along with to a lesser extent the one where every thread was manually linked) was a great feature. Sure there's search but that's not quite the same especially as I was often made aware of games simply by clicking on them from the index.

Are archived threads read only and you can't post to any more? Again, if this is the case, it'd be a massive shame for the impressions threads. Not really bothered about all the others but losing the ability to contribute to that content would be a kicker.

Then again all of what I've said is from a personal stance and you guys are trying to look at it in the wider context. I've joined next gen late and only really play current Nintendo games so I'm out of synch with the majority of the board. There's also the thing that I haven't posted properly for probably years now (though I still read regularly) and right now don't know when I will. That's not a fault of the board, more a thing that right now I don't really feel like posting anywhere, be it here, RLLMUK or wherever. I go through phases where I'll watch film/TV, play games, read, post on forums in my leisure time but I never do all that at the same. Funnily enough I'm probably gaming more now than I have for years but even then I don't really feel in the mood or able to actually write anything outside of the very generic.

#13 plopboy

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 02:55 PM

I'm sure a page could be created as an impression index for which ever forum is chosen, but obviously that would take time and somebody with that time.

If and when the new forum is chosen I can take a look but it hard to tell until then.



#14 plopboy

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 03:03 PM

QUOTE(Siri @ Oct 14 2013, 03:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Either of the Forum Software solutions look swish, so I'm fine with either. is there any showcase of what SimpleMachines looks like?

Anyway, I'm off to work. Bye!


There is a themes site here http://custom.simple...nes.org/themes/

but I suppose their actual forum gives a fairly good idea

http://www.simplemac...unity/index.php

but then again you have probably been there.

#15 Adrock

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:15 PM

So, any opinions either way? Would like to get the forum installed and can start converting it. Because we're so close to launching next gen it'd be nice to be ready, there or about, to launch the new site when it comes along.

Having had a quick look at smf admin, its not brilliant, so need to investigate what vanilla is like.




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