I remember those merger talks. Have some of my messages saved, in fact:
Hercanic wrote:Dear DT_Battlekruser:
Naturally, the General/Play/Create layout is only an idea I am putting forth. I welcome any challenges to its integrity, because the end result is often far superior. However, the first question to ask is whether what you say is an actual flaw, or a perceived one. You use the keyword 'separate'. Would you be able to define precisely what you mean by its usage? After all, I could argue that this forum is separate from CC's main site in a variety of ways--it has a different address, different people visit the two (some may only come to CC to read the front page news, while others may only attend the forum), and different staff tends to them (staff might make front page announcements, while moderators maintain the forum). So by all accounts, this forum is 'separate' from the main page. Yet, we don’t think of the two as being separate, rather each serves a specific function.
Hercanic wrote:Dear everyone:
Of all ironies, no sooner do I convince WarBringer not to pull out that SME and SA put in their resignations. Orlphar, I sense there are some unspoken reservations that are not present in your above message. I wish to understand your position, but if you’d feel more comfortable discussing this privately, we can do so over PM. I urge you not to give up on this venture just yet. There are reasons you came here in the first place, and I do not see those reasons changing in the last few weeks.
PC Master, much talk has been of hosting content because of its relevance to the merger itself. For instance, SEN’s database is predominately comprised of submitted content, so it is only natural that content is a top concern for SEN’s staff. Please understand there is no intention of marginalizing your desire to create an educational site. I for one deeply support the initiative, and have made efforts to include such in my own layout proposals (Create section).
As for incorporating the systems or functionality of one of the sites into the new site unbalancing the merger and resulting in an unequal distribution of power, I’m not quite sure I follow the logic behind that. From what I understand, many here liked the idea of a download database, and Isolatedpurity is currently working on v5 of his database system. While we could build one from scratch, or expand off of a free script, it would be inefficient and a spit in the face to Iso’s hard work. To assume that SEN-only staff will dominate the new site because it is Iso’s database system is a slippery slope logic fallacy. Each site is bringing more to this than mere content. SA offers its divisions, and SME has systems such as the bug tracker.
What I really see happening in this merger is each site adopting its own unique focus under a united banner. This focus is what already distinguishes our respective sites from one another. For instance, if we used the General/Play/Create layout, I can see SME’s staff heading the “Starcraft Create” section, while SEN’s staff might head the “Starcraft Play” section, and CC and SA might head the Warcraft Play and Create sections. With this approach, our common content intermingles and helps draw in a larger fanbase for each other, while our respective staff focuses on their areas of expertise.
Now, back to the qualms over the merger discussions, it is to be expected that each of us would not fully understand or agree with one another, which is our very purpose in being here. The reason you are seeing people post ideas that are largely synonymous with their existing administration, PC Master, is that people tend to stick with what they know works. However, simply putting the idea forth does not cast it into stone. Our very objective in being here is to put forth ideas, and then discuss them, weigh them against other ideas, modify them, and come to a compromise. We all knew this undertaking would not be easy. We are all here because we recognize the advantages a merger offers. I for one am not ready to quit so early. We haven’t even drawn blood yet. =oP
If you are willing to give me the indulgence, I would like to request some time to work on a full merger proposal. It is something that has been lacking during these discussions, and having one would give us something tangible to debate over or agree on. With school and work, I am currently pressed for time, so I can make no guarantees on the proposal’s completion date, but I will do my best to deliver within a timely manner. Would everyone here be willing to consider my proposal should I present it? I do think we can accomplish something truly grand with this merger, but it certainly will not be without its challenges. Or occasional tempers. It’s human nature, after all. =o) What say you?
I really don’t think it is so much a matter of egos as it is a misunderstanding. It was only a matter of time before something like this occurred, but it can be resolved, if people are willing.
I was also working on a grand proposal that I never did finish before the meltdown. Here's my rough draft:
Hercanic wrote:Dear everyone:
A site merger represents a net benefit toward everyone involved. It will all fall apart if it lacks organization and cohesion. I cannot stress this enough. In this post, I will outline the advantages of a merger, the challenges, and then provide a list of recommendations and ideas on how to make this work.
Diversified Site (Advantage) – A one-stop shop represents a pinnacle of convenience to our visitors. As was said by another, people don’t often like keeping up with too many sites, especially similar sites. The three main websites we are discussing for the merger each offer something unique as well as share many things in common. SME’s focus on modding and tools, CC’s campaign and mod library, and SA’s services and projects.
Clutter (Challenge) – More content means more information for visitors to process. It will be very important that things are effectively organized. Be careful of packing too much on the screen at once; remember the value of negative space to give places for the eyes to rest, and help draw them back in with color and lines. The best idea I can think of is to create a modular site that can present itself in a way most relevant to the particular visitor.
Public Relations (Advantage) – One site means one banner on someone else’s site. We will no longer be competing against one another for this; instead our efforts act with synergy.
Concentrated Fanbase (Advantage) – This has several positive outcomes. Each project brings in its own visitors, who are then exposed to other projects and vice versa. The net result is more publicity for a project then would otherwise be possible on its own. However, this is where my point on Clutter could work against a project, so an excellent site layout will be imperative. Another result is a much more vibrant community, the lifeblood of any website. Most people do not have time to maintain an active role on multiple forums, so if they only have to concentrate on one community, they can put a lot more into it and feel a greater connection to it. An active community is also what will attract those who create content, or nurture members’ to be capable of producing content.
Spammers, Trolls, and Hackers, Oh My! (Challenge) – With any large community comes a negative element of human nature. Anyone whose run a community has dealt with this issue. In my own experience, my goal has been to promote a positive atmosphere. Nothing exacerbates a situation worse than a hostile approach to a solution. I refrain from ever talking down to those I need to discipline, and treat them with the respect and courtesy that I would like to receive (discipline by example, rather than dictation) as I explain how their actions have gone against the policy of the site and my goals for a positive atmosphere (understanding is vital to progress). I start with a private warning, followed by a public warning if things do not improved, then harsher actions are taken if they are unwilling to cooperate. I only bypass this process when an unforgivable act is committed. Through this method, I’ve managed to turn many people around, be they new posters making an honest mistake or others going through tough times and making poor judgments. Maintaining a calm and mature attitude is paramount. If anger is felt creeping up at all, the moderator needs to walk away from the situation until they have a clear head. Lavarinth can attest to my policies on the STF Bootcamp forum. I once had to reprimand another moderator on my forum for talking down to other users (referring to them as children). I reminded him that he was a poster just the same as everyone else, charged with a single responsibility of promoting a positive atmosphere. It was not a position from which to look down on others. Just as posters need to be kept in line, moderators sometimes do, too. They’re people too, after all. With such a large conglomerate community that will result from a merger, a strong team of moderators will need to be in place to handle the population. I recommend giving the role only to those with the utmost maturity and diplomatic personality, who have proven themselves dedicated to the community.
Content Creators versus Web Masters (Advantage) – As Razorclaw X said, he loves making maps, but hates running a website. Creating content takes work, as does running a site. We all have personal lives and duties outside of our hobby. Often times, it’s simply not feasible to do both. With the state Campaign Creations fell into, RCX for a time took on the responsibility of running the site. This was not conducive toward his ability to produce content. With a merger, we gain a much larger staff. Some adore content creation, while others are skilled at building and maintaining a website. If all goes well, no one will ever have to pull double-duty again, instead focusing on what they’re good at and love doing. Content creators will have a hub in which to distribute their products, and web creators will have content to fill their site.
Structure (Challenge) – We are not a one-man operation any longer. Just as a game development team needs structure to ensure smooth operation and prevent wasted effort, so do we. We are a team, and every member brings something different to the table. This must be harnessed and directed. This is not a matter of politics.
What’s in a Name?
Networked Servers, Shared Bandwidth
Why don't I bounce it off of you: I've always found boards that have a forum for every imaginable subject, including The Kitchen Sink forum, to be very overwhelming, especially to first-time visitors. Here's what I suggest: when a visitor goes to the forum, they only initially see the category of forums relevant to where they came from. For instance, if they were at the Warcraft site, in the Create section, and they go to the forum, they will see the forums that relate to modding and mapping of Warcraft. There would also be two 'buttons', one for displaying all categories, and the other would be a jump box to move to other categories. Inside a user's profile, they can set it to show all by default, or only specific categories when they log in.
STF Hercanic: This helps create the illusion of a small community and prevents new visitors from being overwhelmed, but the choice is in the hands of the visitor if they want to be exposed to everything at once.