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TNG 3.0 (aka why did I blow up the blogs?)

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It's all kinda complicated, so I apologize for the really long post.

TNG 1.0

When I first started TNG, it ran on phpNuke/phpBB software on a host I'd been using for years as mostly a personal website/php and html programming practice place. It had a "front" page where I could post news and there was an easily found calendar. When my host got bought out by a larger company, they became unresponsive a-holes, and even though I was told I'd have a week to change the amount of resources the site was using, they turned the site off after 4 days. Icia worked for a hosting company, and after checking it out, and buying a vBulletin license, TNG was moved to its current host/software.

Now, TNG 1.0 had problems aside from the technical difficulties, some of which were what I'll call "newbie admin" mistakes on my part. I'd seen "flame" sections on other forums and thought that'd be a good thing to have on a pvp server. I imagined people could get their anger about getting camped out of their system there, and life would be good. What I wasn't prepared for was the fact that most TNG RPers had a much different view of what a PVP server was about. People took things that happen in the game personally. It also didn't work well when a much larger percentage of the population of TNG was Horde. For a while there, much of the new registrations were of guildmates who felt the need to defend/support someone in Inferno.

TNG 2.x

vBulletin had awesome forum software, but no built-in front end. There were "addons" that did this, but the only ones that looked half-way decent charged for them, and I'd already shelled out quite a bit of my own money for the vBulletin license. The front page of TNG 1.0 was pretty much just a place where I announced the winner of the latest contest. There wasn't any "war reports" like I had originally anticipated, so I canned it. vBulletin was worth the money, and every 6 months or so they'd put out a patch that fix bugs and add new things. Social groups/user walls was "free" addition to the forums. The blogs I had to pay an additional fee for, but it wasn't too bad.

After making a no-PVP rule, the problems with 2.x TNG has been a continuous struggle between the stated purpose of the site (RP) and the social networking aspects. When I moved all of the personal stuff to the blogs section, the war part was somewhat won. The "spam" was no longer on the forums, and any newcomer would have to click around a bit to find it. While there have been flare-up here and there, and it's certainly not perfect, it's been adequate.

However, there's been a much larger problem outside of TNG. TNGers rarely visit the official forums anymore, at least not the Twisting Nether or the RP sections. I still visit them about once a day to find any "Is the RP any good here?" type posts on TN forums, and "what's a good RP-PVP server?" on the RP forums. Obviously the official forums are a cesspit, and I know I shouldn't let it get me down when TNG gets attacked by trolls, but when I break down and actually ask for help dealing with them, only three or four people responded, and most of those were "eh, the drama's stupid, but I still like TNG". Not really the response I'd hoped for.

The Venture Company server has a spammer who keeps a thread about VeCo on the first page of the RP forums. Everyone hates commercials, but they work. It's not even that thread keeps getting bumped, it's the fact that because it keeps getting bumped, when people post "what's a good RP-PVP server?" other people, not from VeCo, reply with "I heard VeCo was good". I even saw someone respond with a TN once, and someone else replied with a "No. Just no."

I'm tired of being the lone crusader for Twisting Nether recruitment. I know most of you like the guilds and the people you hang out with, and WoW in general is in a lull till Cataclysm. But now is the time to start getting the word out so that we GET those re-rollers to do it on TN. RPers need fresh blood, or else we tend to get complacent, running through the same RP cycles with the same RP friends. In order to recruit, I need to be able to point them to this website without getting "lol, TNG" responses, or at least getting some support from the people here.

TNG 3.0

vBulletin was bought out by another company and they changed the way vBulletin was being updated/released. One of the things they did was completely rewrite most of the code. Back in February I went ahead and bought the newer license since I had the money then (tax return) and I wasn't sure if I'd have the money in July or whenever it was that my current license expired. With the new software came a built in front end, and some other cool perks that would give me more possibilities for providing cool stuff for you guys. I'm pretty excited about these new things. I haven't upgraded TNG yet because the software is still buggy, the styling options are insanely obfuscated, and I wanted to make everything new and shiny a bit closer to Cataclysm. New expansion, new forums.

New software and new look means this is a natural time to re-evaluate what -> I <- want for TNG. I've been going back and forth in my head whether I want to crack down on the social side of things, or embrace it, and promote the site FOR it's social networking aspects. My personality is such that I hate hate hate making decisions, and I tend to see most sides of arguments. So there's been this continuous chase scene in my head with one day "fuck all the spammers, I want to be the best RP site ever" and the next "yeah, but it's because people interact socially and get to know each other that they RP together."

The "easy" solution, as so many people have pointed out, is to moderate the people who do things that aren't in the best interest of the site. However, people get defensive about the smallest things.

All of the stupid picspam and youtube/gif things, people using the site to post their angsty "fuck you world" blogs, and just general lack of treating others on the site with respect is insane. Yesterday I changed the rules of the blogs so I could go in and remove such things. If there's going to be social networking, then we have to be able to remove the uglier side of such things from the site.

This is all I was trying to do yesterday. Immediate I start getting "why'd you remove my blog?" PM's, and people purposely posting the crap I was trying to get rid of in, what? protest? Sticking it to "the man"? I just don't understand the reasoning. People started saying "blogs are supposed to be unmoderated", or "we HAVE to have a OOC place to talk". Even though I try to accommodate as many people as possible here, in the end this isn't a democracy, and if I'm not getting paid to do this, I don't "HAVE" to do anything. Someone posted a goodbye to TNG blog "the blogs is the only reason I came here". What? If that's the only reason you came here, then sorry, you missed the point. Which means something's wrong with TNG, and it needs to be fixed.

I NEED to be able to advertise TNG and be proud of it. TN NEEDS more RPers. TNG is something that is easily identifiable as something we have that other servers don't have. The changes coming when I upgrade the server are going to be awesome for promoting RP and getting us new members. But I need the racetrack in my head to stop pounding, and to do that, I NEED to be able to open up the blog page without it looking like some High School smoking area graffiti lounge.

I'm going to put the blogs back up probably tomorrow, or whenever I have time to write out more explicit rules about what is and what isn't allowed.

edit: here's what the front page will look like, sorta, minus all the arrows of course ;)http://wow-tng.org/images/mortica/tng3.jpg

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All of the stupid picspam and youtube/gif things, people using the site to post their angsty "fuck you world" blogs, and just general lack of treating others on the site with respect is insane. Yesterday I changed the rules of the blogs so I could go in and remove such things. If there's going to be social networking, then we have to be able to remove the uglier side of such things from the site.

This is all I was trying to do yesterday. Immediate I start getting "why'd you remove my blog?" PM's, and people purposely posting the crap I was trying to get rid of in, what? protest? Sticking it to "the man"? I just don't understand the reasoning. People started saying "blogs are supposed to be unmoderated", or "we HAVE to have a OOC place to talk". Even though I try to accommodate as many people as possible here, in the end this isn't a democracy, and if I'm not getting paid to do this, I don't "HAVE" to do anything. Someone posted a goodbye to TNG blog "the blogs is the only reason I came here". What? If that's the only reason you came here, then sorry, you missed the point. Which means something's wrong with TNG, and it needs to be fixed.

Firstly: Good on you. You did exactly what I was saying.

Secondly: You're exactly right. If people are coming here for the blogs and not the RP, then this has become a social networking site and not an RP networking site, and the site itself has failed.

I don't think removing the blogs will change that - but I think you know that as well. I think the best thing you can do is start really emphasizing what the TNG is - an RP networking site first, everything else is secondary. In that respect, I believe the blogs are still a very useful and good thing to have around - but perhaps what needs to be done is advertise on the page just how RP oriented this place is. Maybe like a news or event bar at the top of the page with the latest most viewed thread in the Nether Legends this week, or the next big upcoming in-game events. Something that says "We're the TNG and we're here for RP".

It also gives people something to aspire to. A reason to make events.

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In addition to Dio's suggestion it might be useful to have an area that's specifically for newcomers to introduce themselves and maybe get started on some light RP. I know when I come to a new forum I generally feel rather shy, so the first thing I look for is a "Newbie" section which is usually less intimidating to jump into than the other sections.

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perhaps what needs to be done is advertise on the page just how RP oriented this place is. Maybe like a news or event bar at the top of the page with the latest most viewed thread in the Nether Legends this week, or the next big upcoming in-game events. Something that says "We're the TNG and we're here for RP".

It also gives people something to aspire to. A reason to make events.

This is why I'm so excited about the new site. With like 2 clicks, I can take a post with awesome RP in it and promote it to the front page. We'll have a calendar that people can see without needing to click on a link first. The calendar here is actually pretty awesome, but people don't use it because they don't "see" it.

In addition to Dio's suggestion it might be useful to have an area that's specifically for newcomers to introduce themselves and maybe get started on some light RP. I know when I come to a new forum I generally feel rather shy, so the first thing I look for is a "Newbie" section which is usually less intimidating to jump into than the other sections.

Probably a good idea :)

The new site has a chatbox now (same as tankspots). While I still tend to find the need to chatter about "the weather" curious, if that's what the blogs are being used for now, using an ajax solution that doesn't involve people continously refreshing the blog page may actually help with the server resources.

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In addition to Dio's suggestion it might be useful to have an area that's specifically for newcomers to introduce themselves and maybe get started on some light RP. I know when I come to a new forum I generally feel rather shy, so the first thing I look for is a "Newbie" section which is usually less intimidating to jump into than the other sections.

I think TNG is the only community I've been a long time member of that didn't have an 'introduce yourself' section, come to think of it.

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That new layout looks awesome, and it immediately exposes new people to the art and writing on the forums, and the chatbox will make it appear like a friendly sort of place -- somewhere warm and inviting, I'd hope!

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Oh wow, I just peeked at your sample page. Love the idea of having featured art and stories and a visible "recent forum posts" area. I'm really excited about this! :)

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I've been keeping a close eye on this, and feel like weighing in a bit.

Firstly, I would have to agree with Dio/Szordrin. Make consequences, make blogs self moderated but make that mandatory. Will there be blacklash? Most likely, yes there will. The idea, however is that those who lash out will be easy to identify and reprimand and will justly be punished, do it enough and they will stop (ideally). If someone posts a 'dick pic' the OP will have to let it through. If they do, they get punished, as well as the poster of said pic.

Now then, onto my main point.

We all find different mediums to express and network ourselves. I don't know if this is true of anyone else, but it is true of me at least that I did this through the blog section. I went to a school based around learning styles. Written and spoken communication are by far my weakest forms of self expression, pair this with a perfectionist outlook and throw in a heavily introverted personality and you have someone who feels very insecure about posting RP stories or talking much with other people. What I liked about the blog section was that I could introduce myself to other people and get to know other people via just talking about our real selves. From frustrations to passions, IC to OOC I was able to get to know people and feel more comfortable around them. I know and have opened up to quite a few people in game because I was able to get to know about them first by reading about them and getting to understand them as a person.

This is how I networked myself, in a sort of indirect but nonetheless effective way. People got to know me, and I got to know about them. They got to see my overly introspective side that I otherwise have never shown to the world, I got to see sides of them that made me comfortable enough to open up and start talking to them. TNG is an RP site, but an important part of the RP dynamic with other people, what truly enriches RP is knowing people and making friends OOCly. I met my three best friends in the world from OOC networking, and they are the people I consequently RP with the most.

Am I saying that blogs should be around solely for networking? No. There is a myraid of reasons to keep and ditch them, but I nonetheless believe that they have a wonderfully unintentional and indirect side effect: Networking. A kind that better suits people like myself more than others.

When you start moderating blogs however, people will get frustrated and angry. You've given them an outlet for free speach, and then drastically changed the rules very suddenly, then a matter of hours later taken away that privilege altogether. I'm not pointing fingers here, or saying what Vil did should be condemned, it shouldn't be, as this is ultimately her country to run. However, it's people that make the site. Without an active population it doesn't matter what the intention of a site is, how shiny it is or how many well designed sub forums it has. To that extent, our feelings on the matter should be worth something, and not brushed aside as some have subtly hinted at, that because we have no monetary investment that our opinions don't matter.

Without us, this site doesn't matter.

Vil, I feel for you, I really do. I was the founder and leader of the worlds largest wc3 clan for two years, (At its peak we had 500+ active members). Because of game mechanics you were only allowed 5 officers, and having 6 people try to enjoy the game while policing that many people is tiring. It's a time drain, you put up with a lot of senseless drama, and you're investing your time and energy into something because you want to make something great that you have built up in your head. You want to make for other people. Sometimes there comes a time to let things play out on their own and let the drama unfold until it can be resolved, sometimes you need to go intercept something and pull the plug on it before things have that chance to develop.

That latter option is what you went for this time, and I'm glad you're opting to open the blogs back up, I'll be interested to see how you implement the changes. Just don't be surprised if daily frequenters like myself taper off to once every few week lurkers because this site doesn't offer the kind of thing we are looking for anymore.

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Demitri- You missed the point entirely.

Raziel- You also missed the point entirely. But I like that poster.

I'm just bringing my own concerns to light and offering another view on it.

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Demitri- You missed the point entirely.

Raziel- You also missed the point entirely. But I like that poster.

And now by extension you've missed the point! That is, posting something constructive.

Here's what the front page will look like, sorta, minus all the arrows of course ;)http://wow-tng.org/images/mortica/tng3.jpg

Love it. I'm guessing you intend on giving it much the same look graphically as TNG 2.0?

It'll be nice to have something of a front-page. That way if you make announcements about important stuff going on, they have no excuse for missing it on the front page.

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It'll be nice to have something of a front-page. That way if you make announcements about important stuff going on, they have no excuse for missing it on the front page.

On the contrary, if there's a subdomain for the forums, I always bookmark those, thereby ignoring the front page of pretty much any site that has one. Of course, usually those sites' front pages are redundant information to what is contained in the forums themselves.

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And now by extension you've missed the point! That is, posting something constructive.

That's more your personal opinion....or an...extension...of your opinion.

Ew.

Anyways.

I want to see TNG get back to its origins. RP and Art (and those topics networking). I like the blogs, they can be personal, they can be about the development of ideas and art (like myself, Vilmah, Carmen, Aleria, and Diomades), they can be fun, but in reality, they aren't really needed. Its not what the site is for. So I don't mind them being gone either, so I'm on the fence. I'm okay with either, but, like Abric said: We're all guests here, in the end, it's Villy's call. If people were here just for the social networking, then, again, they missed the point. Does that mean they should just pack and leave? If they want, but thats a very selfish thing to do, why not contribute? Write stories, post art, discuss lore, its already beign done, and has been done, long before the blogs ever appeared.

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On the contrary, if there's a subdomain for the forums, I always bookmark those, thereby ignoring the front page of pretty much any site that has one. Of course, usually those sites' front pages are redundant information to what is contained in the forums themselves.

I said you'd have no excuse for missing it, not that you wouldn't. If you're bookmarking the TNG forum and then get in trouble because you missed some announcement on the front page, that's YOUR fault. XP

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That's more your personal opinion....or an...extension...of your opinion.

Ew.

Anyways.

I want to see TNG get back to its origins. RP and Art (and those topics networking). I like the blogs, they can be personal, they can be about the development of ideas and art (like myself, Vilmah, Carmen, Aleria, and Diomades), they can be fun, but in reality, they aren't really needed. Its not what the site is for. So I don't mind them being gone either, so I'm on the fence. I'm okay with either, but, like Abric said: We're all guests here, in the end, it's Villy's call. If people were here just for the social networking, then, again, they missed the point. Does that mean they should just pack and leave? If they want, but thats a very selfish thing to do, why not contribute? Write stories, post art, discuss lore, its already beign done, and has been done, long before the blogs ever appeared.

My point was that networking enhances RP, so by extent the blogs help to, in some cases enhance RP as well, which is my argument to keep them, that's all.

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My point was that networking enhances RP, so by extent the blogs help to, in some cases enhance RP as well, which is my argument to keep them, that's all.

You're referring to SOCIAL Networking, not the networking that is the main point of Villy's mission for this forum, for Role-Playing on Twisting Nether, which has been doing fine since before the blogs came on. Yes, while the blogs are a social outlet for people, as is the discussions forum, they still, aren't really 'needed'. Because the blogs may not be around (for instance, if they don't come back, sounds atleast until 3.0 launches, they will return), doesn't mean there are not social networking options. Social groups, visitor messages, private messages. They all work fine. People here just for the blogs, or just the social networking side of the side, again, are not the focus of the site. I'm just saying that, not making accusations or trying to be negative.

I -personally- do not agree that the social aspects enchance RP, thats just me. But I both like, and don't like the blogs. I know confusing, but in the end, if I REALLY want a blog, a serious one, or even a silly one, I wouldn't come to TNG for it.

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You're referring to SOCIAL Networking, not the networking that is the main point of Villy's mission for this forum, for Role-Playing on Twisting Nether, which has been doing fine since before the blogs came on. Yes, while the blogs are a social outlet for people, as is the discussions forum, they still, aren't really 'needed'. Because the blogs may not be around (for instance, if they don't come back, sounds atleast until 3.0 launches, they will return), doesn't mean there are not social networking options. Social groups, visitor messages, private messages. They all work fine. People here just for the blogs, or just the social networking side of the side, again, are not the focus of the site. I'm just saying that, not making accusations or trying to be negative.

I -personally- do not agree that the social aspects enchance RP, thats just me. But I both like, and don't like the blogs. I know confusing, but in the end, if I REALLY want a blog, a serious one, or even a silly one, I wouldn't come to TNG for it.

That is all well and good, but for the sake of friendly debate, can you offer reasons as to why the blogs and by extent, social networking doesn't enhance rp to counter my tidbits as to how they have helped?

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That is all well and good, but for the sake of friendly debate, can you offer reasons as to why the blogs and by extent, social networking doesn't enhance rp to counter my tidbits as to how they have helped?

I would love to, but give me abit, working on multiple things right now, and want to give the response my full attention, so I just ask you be patient.

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I would love to, but give me abit, working on multiple things right now, and want to give the response my full attention, so I just ask you be patient.

Sure, keep in mind I have to do this from my blackberry though so I'm going to be slow as well.

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The reason I support the absolute nuking of blogs (or if you must have them, moderate them to the point of actual meaningful content - sort of like columns or articles at any other website - something worth reading) as amusing as they can be:

Pros of blogs:

- It helps social networking because people can talk about themselves.

- They can offer thought-provoking content that might not otherwise make it to the forum (I.E. the blogs that Jeedup mentioned)

Cons of blogs:

- Drama.

- People talkingwhining about themselves. Seriously. I'm not gonna go out on a limb and say nobody cares, cause some people might, but most people don't, and it just makes the site bogged down.

- Meaningful content is exceedingly rare.

- Drama.

Now, here's the main reason blogs should be absolutely destroyed:

All the pros of blogs can be and are fulfilled by World of Warcraft itself, the forum itself, social groups, private messages (they DO go to multiple people), and failing that, instant messaging services. If that just isn't enough for you, make a blog on a blog-devoted website and link it in your sig.

If you must have blogs, I would almost run it like columns - to ensure the content is generally applicable to the majority of forum-goers so when they read this blog/article, they can respond if they have an interest in the subject that engages them, though it may contain some information about the writer. (I.E. - all the blogs Jeedup mentioned!) This solves all the pros without any of the cons.

As for it enhancing RP, the only blogs I've seen that possibly deal with Roleplay are either:

- Documentary screenshot blogs saying "THIS HAPPENED" - pointless. A Nether Legend would get both better publicity, be more appropriate, and force in-character roleplay - all good things.

- Whining and drama.

The good parts of RP and Blogs meshing are already fulfilled by the site itself (were it used properly) and World of Warcraft itself, including the argument that "OOC interaction makes RP better" - do it through WoW, the forum, PMs, instant messages, facebook, whatever... Blogs cause far more trouble than they are worth.

That's mah argument.

EDIT: Like your layout, Vils!

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