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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:12 am 
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There seems to be some changes being made to the Ulthuan forum at the moment and I have recently had some thoughts of my own as to how we can improve our community/forum here. I didn't really know where to post these to get the mods to see them so I thought the ideas forum might be a good place... Along with the other changes being made to Ulthuan to make it more organised and to update the tactics library I thought these suggestions might go along well with these alterations.

In the main I have been thinking that some sort of reward system could be implemented on Ulthuan. Many other forums I am on have systems of rewards or 'reputation' increases for forum members and posters. Carpe Noctem is a good example of this as is DakkaDakka to some extent. I am talking here about the options to 'exalt' or '+1' posts if people think they agree with them or to give 'reputation' to a poster who has made some good comments on a topic or has made significant contributions to Ulthuan in some way.

I see these ideas being great for a couple of reasons:

1. It incentivises people to make comments on topics and to think their comments through a little more. We all like to get feedback on our posts no matter what they are about and any way we can incentivise this is in my mind a win for the forum. I am not only talking about army or painting blogs here either. I am also thinking of all of those army lists that don't get any replies in the 'unanswered posts' section. I try and cover these when I can but any help from others would be great and this is a way to get to them as I see it.

2. We reward members for taking the time to post and for the quality of their posts. All too often I see a post that says something like 'well done' or 'looks great' and whilst getting a pat on the back is always nice, I tend to think a lot of posters would appreciate something a little more than this i.e. advice on how to improve the look of their painting or similar.

3. Newcomers to the site will see who has higher reputation and who they can 'trust'. I don't mean here that we have any untrustworthy members by any stretch but in some ways it would be great to be able to see who has made comments in the past that have been well received by the community. For instance, lets say as a newcomer to Ulthuan I ask for an army list to be reviewed (a pretty common occurrence) or a rules question to be answered (again pretty common). It would be really nice I think to be able to see if a person has a high rep or not and thus have a little more credibility in answering said rules question for example i.e. a person with a higher rep would be one who has answered rules questions to the satisfaction of the poster (and also correctly I hope) in the past.

Onto how to do these things: obviously this is going to have to be one of the mods who implements these changes but I think they could work and improve the quality of some of the posts we get here on Ulthuan. As I mentioned this type of thing could be done in several ways be it by having options to 'exalt' posts or users as we see in Dakka/Carpe Noctem or in other ways too. For instance if we don't have the behind the scenes software to do something like this (which I haven't got a clue if we do TBH) we could implement some awesome banners for people to have in their signatures with some suitable Elf-ish titles. Let's say someone has made a significant contribution to the rules forum then they could be given something like a 'Loremaster' signature banner with a funky pic of a Loremaster and the title in it or something. Another option could be to arrange a system of rewards based on number of posts, etc that could be title based or badge based, again we see this on both Dakka and Carpe Noctem as well as otehr forums.

Hopefully everyone else here has some thoughts about this as I feel this is one of the areas we are lacking in as a forum that the majority of other successful forums have. Don't mistake me here, I think Ulthuan is currently one of the best WFB (and otherwise) forums on the net and we have a lot of traffic here which is great. That isn't too say we shouldn't or couldn't improve and keep ahead of the game. I'd be realy interested to hear the thoughts of any others on this, in particular if any of the mods have ideas or thoughts about this then great!

JR


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:40 am 
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JR - Intriguing idea. It's something I've noticed now that I've begun perusing the Ogre Stronghold. I think the idea of having a banner or something would be pretty awesome. Like the equivalent of being granted a knighthood or something similar. Perhaps banners could be made for each province and upon awarding by the Lores or Heralds you chose what province you'd like to represent. Example - I'd probably choose Caledor and if I were granted a banner it'd be a Caledorian themed banner and title or what have you.

A few practical matters is how reputation or points would be determined and meted out. Would the standards be objective, subjective or a combo. A combo would likely be best since some objective measures would provide a bit more incentive I think for greater contributions. For subjective standards maybe some concrete examples would provide guidance.

One concern I did have is that if it's based on people agreeing or liking their comments, then that could potentially lead to some groupthink which I think Ulthuan has avoided. Opinions abound currently, but if some people have higher "reputations" might that lead more people to gravitate towards those views. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it could stifle innovation or new people with great ideas from being heard right away. Obviously these would be unintended consequences and I am being rather paranoid to suggest them - but it could happen. So any system of reward and praise should be well thought out and carefully considered.

Some anecdotal evidence - I remember first joining and gravitating towards Battle Reports and Army Blogs. Seredain's at the time stood out because he had some 20-25 pages at that point so I figured his might be the most thought out - being the newb I was. I was correct, but it also narrowed my view for quite some time on my play style.

So what's my point - new people really should be encouraged to read a wide variety and not necessarily only the best. So a reputation idea to guide people to the "best" blogs or trusted commentators may not be the best for their development. Sometimes learning through mistakes l, what not to do, and trial and error is the best.

Anyways TL;DR version - Like the idea. Definitely has potential and application. Just need to be careful in rolling out such a system and have a few clear goalposts for people to aim for.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:42 am 
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John Rainbow wrote:
There seems to be some changes being made to the Ulthuan forum at the moment and I have recently had some thoughts of my own as to how we can improve our community/forum here. I didn't really know where to post these to get the mods to see them so I thought the ideas forum might be a good place.

We see everything. Everything...

I've moved it to the correct forum (website topics). I'll also nudge the other admins this way.

One issue might be that we currently don't realy have anyone familiar with coding and the back-end of our site to implement this sort of thing. Shuffeling forums around isn't that hard. I can imagine this will take a bit more knowledge of the actual CMS.

Of course, if someone actually has that knowledge, feel free to let us know :)

As for the idea, don't realy have an opinion either way at the moment. I'll see how the discussion turns out.

Rod

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:10 am 
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I agree with Teledor that there is a danger in people believing things because of reputations. Guys like Seredain have a reputation not because the system has approved them but because they have posted a body of work which stands up to scrutiny by anyone. Any advice people get on Ulthuan should be tested and thought through by the guy who takes it, else it's not worth a damn.

For example John, we know you to be a good player and that it is worth reading what you post. New members need to take the time to reach their own conclusions. I've read things on other forums posted by guys with all sorts of accolades who don't know what they are talking about. It may seem a bit unfriendly for new members but I feel encouraging people to be critical, use their own judgement and not be afraid to take on established posters is more than worth it.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:35 pm 
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SpellArcher wrote:
I agree with Teledor that there is a danger in people believing things because of reputations. Guys like Seredain have a reputation not because the system has approved them but because they have posted a body of work which stands up to scrutiny by anyone. Any advice people get on Ulthuan should be tested and thought through by the guy who takes it, else it's not worth a damn.

For example John, we know you to be a good player and that it is worth reading what you post. New members need to take the time to reach their own conclusions. I've read things on other forums posted by guys with all sorts of accolades who don't know what they are talking about. It may seem a bit unfriendly for new members but I feel encouraging people to be critical, use their own judgement and not be afraid to take on established posters is more than worth it.

In some ways, I agree with this and I can see the potential problems that you and the others have brought up. Once people get established on the site they do also tend to pick up on who gives good advice or not. I do however think it might be nice to recognize some of those who have had significant contributions to our forum (and FYI I do not consider myself one of these people - maybe in the future but certainly not yet anyway). For instance, as you brought up Seredain I will use him as an example although there are many others who deserve some credit too. In fact (short aside) it was Seredain's blog that drew me to Ulthuan. When I started playing WFB around 3yrs ago I played against a guy running an Empire list and he told me he read Seredain's blog even though he had never owned or played HE - it was that good. I was told to check it out which obviously I did and that was my start on Ulthuan and in WFB. Embarrassingly I did try and use Seredain's list for a few games back then and got some spectacularly poor results with it :oops: !

I think it would be really nice for us as a forum to reward some of these people who have contributed so much to the site and to the hobby in general in some ways. Something like an 'Ulthuan's Finest' banner or similar in a signature could be a great way to do this and would allow us to recognise some of these people. As stated, there could be a few of these maybe depending on how and what people have posted. Maybe Seredain could get something like a generalship banner whereas someone like Tinman might get a painting related one for example. This could then be at the discretion of the heralds/loremasters to give out these awards to those they feel have made some nice additions or contributions to the site.

rdghuizing wrote:
One issue might be that we currently don't realy have anyone familiar with coding and the back-end of our site to implement this sort of thing. Shuffeling forums around isn't that hard. I can imagine this will take a bit more knowledge of the actual CMS.

Unfortunately I don't have any help to offer in this regard. In this case, maybe something like a signature item or something might be a better way to go?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:16 am 
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Well funnily enough John, you were one of the guys we considered asking when we created new mods recently. We had several strong candidates but settled on Jimmy and Aicanor for various reasons, partly which forums in Ulthuan they frequented etc.. We considered asking Swordmaster but decided he had a very strong presence already (both here and on other sites). Same issue with Seredain, though he would be too busy anyway. These guys are well known beyond Ulthuan, any title we might award them seems a bit superfluous.

The other thing is that as mods, we are perhaps well placed to appoint other moderators. I don't think it qualifies us to decide who 'Ulthuan's Finest' are. That is for each member to do IMHO. Titles are already given out on an ad hoc basis. Perhaps it would be fairer to make a system for this, I don't know how best though.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:23 am 
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@ SpellArcher

Funny to know that activity on other forums might be a "disadvantage" for mod job :) And now I see what Rod meant when he said "we see everything" :D On a more serious note, it is an honour to know that my person was even considered and wanted to thank those who thought I might be worthy. Having said that I know Aicanor and Jimmy are far better candidates so the choice was perfect!

@ JohnRainbow

I think your award idea is a good one in principle. I didn't know that it requires some extra skills to implement that on forum so I guess it is more of a technical difficulty rather than the problem with awards themselves.

I would be a little worried about rankings though as it may create a situation where a forum member may get a reputation by the sheer volume of posts (if you are active in many topics people can see you and be more familiar with you, nothing against it, just a fact) and that also may generate some inequality. No need to discourage people, especially new ones, from expressing their opinions. You may find some new approaches thanks to the fact they have a fresh view on similar matters. You can always ask a person who gives you advice to specify what she/he is basing that on.

Cheers!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:51 am 
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@ Swordmaster, not so sure for myself, but trying to do my best. ;)

There are some good suggestions here. I am also not convinced by outright application of 'rankings' and such, but there may be ways to do something close to it without the side effects.

O would love to hear more suggestions how to make the forum better in other fields as well.

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