You all miss the Escapist's glory days, what are your ideas for how could they come back?

Guffe

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crimson5pheonix said:
Guffe said:
Well there were a lot more shows, and they came out once a week, I think back in 2010/11 (when unforgotten realms was here) I had 1 or 2 shows every weekday to watch.

And as for what the users can do, derailing threads! We had some masters of that craft here back in the day, and following their masterfully crafted derails were some of the most fun to search for :D
A few of my posts even started a few derails...
What are you talking about, thread derails are against the rules and this site takes a firm stance against such tomfoolery!
>.>
<.<
Yeah....
But the masters of this forgotten art were so good at it, not even the longest serving and all wise moderators could notice their derails!
*goes back into the shadows*
 

crimson5pheonix

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Guffe said:
crimson5pheonix said:
Guffe said:
Well there were a lot more shows, and they came out once a week, I think back in 2010/11 (when unforgotten realms was here) I had 1 or 2 shows every weekday to watch.

And as for what the users can do, derailing threads! We had some masters of that craft here back in the day, and following their masterfully crafted derails were some of the most fun to search for :D
A few of my posts even started a few derails...
What are you talking about, thread derails are against the rules and this site takes a firm stance against such tomfoolery!
>.>
<.<
Yeah....
But the masters of this forgotten art were so good at it, not even the longest serving and all wise moderators could notice their derails!
*goes back into the shadows*
I've no idea what you're on about, there are no thread derails on this website.

.>
 

Signa

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For me, the glory days were back when you could make a topic without it turning into a shit-show on some level. I didn't really care much about the content the site offered. The forums WAS the content. Unfortunately, a can of worms was opened that ruined all that. I wouldn't take any of it back, but looking to the future is so much more bleak.

What would I do? I don't know anything specific, but making the forums a place that people WANT to post on, especially lurkers (that's how you rope them in, see?) would be a great start. I don't feel this place is easy to have a conversation at.
 

Josh123914

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Wareve said:
There are actually a LOT of good ideas here! It'd be fantastic if there was a way to bring them to the attention of someone at the company.

And honestly, I don't buy the "It's dead, move on" narrative. It once was nothing, and now it is not. It could be great once again, all it requires is faith, built up by people willing to do the hard work to get people to come back. That means content creators, active forums, and an openness to new ideas.
I don't get the people trumeting the site's destruction who decide to still frequent the site, but I don't think the Escapist is going back to the 5-6 heavy hitters of video content format is was known for.
How does it transition into something viable? I dunno. But not every gaming forum has died off like one would expect, and the Escapist has got to have some sort of niche.
 

bartholen_v1legacy

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Signa said:
For me, the glory days were back when you could make a topic without it turning into a shit-show on some level.

...making the forums a place that people WANT to post on, especially lurkers (that's how you rope them in, see?) would be a great start. I don't feel this place is easy to have a conversation at.
Says the man with the Milo Yiannopoulos avatar, heh heh.

Seriously though, I don't think the old days were as good as you might remember. I didn't really start frequenting the forums until roughly 2010, so maybe the time before that was all rainbows and chocolate blowjobs. But what I remember from the forums before Gamergate and the following exodus are endless threads about "MovieBob sux!", "[Insert popular game] is overrated y do ppl like it??", straight up batshit insane posters like EternalNothingness, threads derailing far more frequently into shouting matches, threads full of 1-sentence replies with nothing worthwhile to respond to, old topics being regurgitated every week in new threads because the old ones had already gone off the first page, the first 10-15 comments on a new ZP being "first" and so on. And this was even without going into R&P!

After the forums quieted down I found that I much prefer the smaller, quieter forums. It's not good for business, sure, but I'll take 10 coherent threads with sensible discussion over 1000 incoherent ones any day.
 

Stewie Plisken

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joshuaayt said:
Well, remember when http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/17097-Free-Speech-Politically-Correct-Safe-Space-Trigger happened

and also http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/17074-Pundits-Are-Not-Journalists-and-Notch-is-Not-a-Villain happened.

and also http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/17057-A-Word-On-Cultural-Appropriation happened?

These were not high points in the site's life. They all also have a common factor.
They don't pander to your politics? These articles are from this year. The site's troubles started way before that. Defy didn't drop Tito and a boatload of its other staff, because they didn't like them. They couldn't sustain them. That was two years ago.

Fox12 said:
Stewie Plisken said:
Nuke Youtube.

That's about the only thing that'll work. This is a dying business. The Escapist got big, primarily because of its video content; the type of which no competitor provided. It can no longer keep up with Youtube and crowd-funded seris and no matter how many news articles and editorials it puts out, it can at best survive on ad revenue from its loyal audience. Which is to say, the glory days won't come back, but it won't necessarily die. It probably should look to becoming an alternative to the likes of IGN, without going full moron like Polygon. Good luck finding the silver lining there, though.
Maybe the escapist should start a patreon to keep it on life support. I imagine that wouldn't impress the money overlords though.

I don't know what the deal with this place is. Everyone gets fired, and we don't get any updates for months. Then there's an article about how the site is going to be about the hobby instead of politics. Then nothing changes, and we we don't hear anything for months. Then everyone gets fired. Then we get an article by the same dude about how the site is going to about politics instead of the hobby. After he gets off his soap box, nothing changes and we don't hear anything for months.

Now we only have two content creators. Honestly, I think the site is following the same path as Spill.com
That points to a higher management issue. Money isn't coming in and the site is essentially on life-support, until something changes in one direction or another.

bartholen said:
If Spoony's current state is any kind of precedent, this might be coming sooner than we think. After leaving TGWTG and setting off on his own he seems to have stagnated completely. All he seems to do these days is livestream, with the occasional video about wrestling on the side. Not everyone is cut out for running a solo operation for years and years on end, and that's where websites with resources and management can come in handy.
Eh, Spoony isn't really representative of anything. I think the man is talented, but he's the poster-boy for procrastination. He always has been, the market's just different now. Even the Nostalgia Critic, a show that puts material out regularly, is dealing with financial woes because of said difference.

bartholen said:
Signa said:
For me, the glory days were back when you could make a topic without it turning into a shit-show on some level.

...making the forums a place that people WANT to post on, especially lurkers (that's how you rope them in, see?) would be a great start. I don't feel this place is easy to have a conversation at.
Says the man with the Milo Yiannopoulos avatar, heh heh.

Seriously though, I don't think the old days were as good as you might remember. I didn't really start frequenting the forums until roughly 2010, so maybe the time before that was all rainbows and chocolate blowjobs. But what I remember from the forums before Gamergate and the following exodus are endless threads about "MovieBob sux!", "[Insert popular game] is overrated y do ppl like it??", straight up batshit insane posters like EternalNothingness, threads derailing far more frequently into shouting matches, threads full of 1-sentence replies with nothing worthwhile to respond to, old topics being regurgitated every week in new threads because the old ones had already gone off the first page, the first 10-15 comments on a new ZP being "first" and so on. And this was even without going into R&P!

After the forums quieted down I found that I much prefer the smaller, quieter forums. It's not good for business, sure, but I'll take 10 coherent threads with sensible discussion over 1000 incoherent ones any day.
The old days weren't great indeed, the site was just bigger. I was rarely using my account (registered in 2009, went unused for years), because the forums were a cesspool of bullying of differing opinions and shouting matches over the most inane things. The only difference was that it was a far bigger circle-jerk than it is now.

And in regards to the quality of the content-- the Escapist, under Arendt (or maybe Tito? Not sure) hinged on the Sarkeesian/Tomb Raider Rape-Scene-Rumour shitstorms to publish the personal story of former rape victim. Exploitative, irrelevant to the content, without a shred of journalistic integrity. It remains the site's lowest point as far as I'm concerned and that was back in 2012. The difference was that video content from sites that weren't Youtube was still big in 2012. So it didn't matter then.
 

Wrex Brogan

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Fox12 said:
Stewie Plisken said:
Nuke Youtube.

That's about the only thing that'll work. This is a dying business. The Escapist got big, primarily because of its video content; the type of which no competitor provided. It can no longer keep up with Youtube and crowd-funded seris and no matter how many news articles and editorials it puts out, it can at best survive on ad revenue from its loyal audience. Which is to say, the glory days won't come back, but it won't necessarily die. It probably should look to becoming an alternative to the likes of IGN, without going full moron like Polygon. Good luck finding the silver lining there, though.
Maybe the escapist should start a patreon to keep it on life support. I imagine that wouldn't impress the money overlords though.

I don't know what the deal with this place is. Everyone gets fired, and we don't get any updates for months. Then there's an article about how the site is going to be about the hobby instead of politics. Then nothing changes, and we we don't hear anything for months. Then everyone gets fired. Then we get an article by the same dude about how the site is going to about politics instead of the hobby. After he gets off his soap box, nothing changes and we don't hear anything for months.

Now we only have two content creators. Honestly, I think the site is following the same path as Spill.com
Don't we have 3? Marter's still doing movie reviews, though whether he's being paid for them is another question entirely given I recall he was part of the whole 'hey let's fire literally everyone, including the Tech Team who've been holding this place together for the better part of 12 years' cull that went down a while ago.

bartholen said:
Let's be honest: the "glory days" are never coming back. Not that I ever watched much else here than ZP and the webcomics, so I don't have such a strong feeling of melancholy over it. With the firestorm of Gamergate burning entire sites to the ground and the rise of Youtube/Patreon creators, the landscape of the internet has shifted, and in that new era the old school website no longer sits at the throne.
...I mean, dumpster fire that Gamergate was (and still is), is it really to blame for the death of the site? From everything I heard a lot of the problems this place had (including the forums) have been around long before people started banging that drum, they just weren't so... out in the open. Probably scared a few new-comers away from the forums while everyone took the 'passive' out of 'passive-aggressive', but by and large the biggest problem is the Escapist bleeding money and not having any content for people to come check out anyway.
 

Wareve

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The lack of content feeds into a lack of views which feeds into a lack of funds which feeds into a lack of content. To break this cycle something must be done to prop up some part of the site, and that is probably going to be the content part.

What I would recommend is The Escapist turning to a hybrid model. They would serve as a sort of Forum where selected content creators could publish their articles, videos, comics, ect. and allow those creators to advertise their own Patrions. The Escapist would pay the content creators a relatively small amount while taking most of the add revenue themselves and splitting the funds made by any sales through the Escapist Store. That way The Escapist could focus on the business side of things while the creators get an audience that can help support them.

I think this could even be expanded in various ways. Perhaps have some bonus content behind a pay wall (like, say, an extra episode of a given show every month or two), or bring back the magazine format and have the writers all focus on one editorial so they can publish five at the start of the week, and set the tone.
 

Zen Bard

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A lot of what helped make the Escapist great was timing. In its heyday, the gaming industry was at a creative and commercial peak and there was a burgeoning wave of "Geek Culture".

Now, the push for profits over content has led the industry to become stale and stagnant with countless cookie cutter sequels. And the co-option of Nerd Culture by mainstream Hollywood has saturated it to the point of overkill.

So with the topics that helped prop up the Escapist's content on the decline, it would be hard to bring the site back to its former glory days.

That's not to say there's nothing to talk about. But the site might have to expand its focus outside the core areas. And in the past, that hasn't been too successful.
 

Wareve

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Zen Bard said:
Now, the push for profits over content has led the industry to become stale and stagnant with countless cookie cutter sequels. And the co-option of Nerd Culture by mainstream Hollywood has saturated it to the point of overkill.
I'm not sure I agree with this. Yes, the era I grew up in was sure full of games, and did give rise to The Escapist, but it wasn't because of the quality of the work or the culture at that time. Most of those games were derivative crap. I've got entire shelves of Xbox and GameCube games that are hardly worth playing, and that goes double for handhelds.

One would think that, with the increasing openness of the Indy scene, and it's various dramas, as well as the vastness of so many AAA products, there would be more than enough news to cover and opinions to express. Its this kind of time that demands reviews! Critics to really come in and bash games that present themselves as new and fascinating when they are often little more than a graphics upgrade.

I would argue that what hurt them most was a lack of FOCUS on game news and journalism, not the lack of it being there. Now this wasn't always to bad effect, I enjoyed Movie Bob's movie reviews and nerd culture think pieces in The Big Picture, but in general the news became more broad, interviews became non-existent, and first party content that would otherwise make The Escapist a destination petered off to a trickle almost entirely provided by Yahtzee. It's that lack of focused content that must be addressed first if The Escapist is ever to pull out of it's death spiral.
 

WolfThomas

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It's not just money. I remember time when the forum traffic was so high that if a post wasn't popular it would disappear in under an hour from the front page. Just because other posts would have been commented on. Now some boring posts linger for days.
 

Fieldy409_v1legacy

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Erin Dies Alone and Critical Miss keep me clicking. It cant cost much to get some more webcomics involved. Focus on some more webcomics. And bring some old archived content to the front page, theres a lot of stuff there just gathering they could use to get some more traffic.
 

Zen Bard

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Wareve said:
Zen Bard said:
Now, the push for profits over content has led the industry to become stale and stagnant with countless cookie cutter sequels. And the co-option of Nerd Culture by mainstream Hollywood has saturated it to the point of overkill.
I'm not sure I agree with this. Yes, the era I grew up in was sure full of games, and did give rise to The Escapist, but it wasn't because of the quality of the work or the culture at that time. Most of those games were derivative crap. I've got entire shelves of Xbox and GameCube games that are hardly worth playing, and that goes double for handhelds.

One would think that, with the increasing openness of the Indy scene, and it's various dramas, as well as the vastness of so many AAA products, there would be more than enough news to cover and opinions to express. Its this kind of time that demands reviews! Critics to really come in and bash games that present themselves as new and fascinating when they are often little more than a graphics upgrade.

I would argue that what hurt them most was a lack of FOCUS on game news and journalism, not the lack of it being there. Now this wasn't always to bad effect, I enjoyed Movie Bob's movie reviews and nerd culture think pieces in The Big Picture, but in general the news became more broad, interviews became non-existent, and first party content that would otherwise make The Escapist a destination petered off to a trickle almost entirely provided by Yahtzee. It's that lack of focused content that must be addressed first if The Escapist is ever to pull out of it's death spiral.
Thanks for a well written, well articulated response! That's a rare thing on the Interwebs these days.

A lot of what you say makes sense. But I feel I need to clarify something: I'm not saying there's a lack of content for the Escapist to cover, but rather, a lack of interest.

The stagnation of the gaming industry (which, in my opinion is due to it becoming more market driven than creatively driven) along with the complete oversaturation of "Geek Culture" has led to a decline in the popularity of the topics that were the hallmark of Escapist content. In addition, several other sites have popped up that more-or-less cover the same market as the Escapist did (IGN, Gamestop, etc). As such, I'm not sure focusing purely on gaming would help

For me it was some of the additional "Geek Culture" stuff that differentiated this site from its competition. And since its erosion, I find myself visiting IO9/Gizmodo and Kotaku more and more.

I mean, that says something when I've been driven to Gawker! ;-)
 

bluegate

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Hero of Lime said:
And honestly, no one seems to make the effort to really communicate here. Most people just post what they want to say in a thread, and move on. This post right now is on the second page, I doubt many people will even see it, or read it for that matter. I'm guilty of the same thing, I admit that.
You raise an interesting point. A lot of times threads seem to indeed be just people shouting their opinion into the void, rather than striking up conversation with other people in the thread. Or there are a lot of posts that aren't actually about the topic, but a minor aspect of the opening post.

I feel that the set up of forums such as these are a bit outdated in terms of means of communication. Say what you like about sites such as Reddit, Up Vote and Down Vote systems and sub-threading of comments can be used to great effect to keep conversations concentrated, efficient and more importantly keep people engaged with eachother.

See a person who's opinion you share? Give their comment an Up Vote, letting them and other visitors know that you feel the same, this, of course, doesn't stop people from then also creating a comment with their opinion in it.

See something within a comment that you want to comment on? Directly comment on the post, creating a comment sub-thread, keeping sub-conversations bundled, easy to read for those interested and easy to skip for people that aren't interested.

When I first came here, I thought that the Escapist was ahead of the times with its Quote notification system, making it easier to have conversations and thus creating a community, but as time passed, no new functions or anything were added to keep up with other modern developments.
 

Wareve

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bluegate said:
I feel that the set up of forums such as these are a bit outdated in terms of means of communication. Say what you like about sites such as Reddit, Up Vote and Down Vote systems and sub-threading of comments can be used to great effect to keep conversations concentrated, efficient and more importantly keep people engaged with eachother.
So we can add "Updated Forum Functionality" to the list of upgrades that would make the site more appealing.

On that note, what do you guys think about the importance of Content vs. Community?

Like, if you were to go to The Escapist's owners and pitch to them, would you say they should first focus on creating Content so people will come in the first place, or that they should focus first on updating the profiles/forums/accounts in order to facilitate the growth and sustaining of the community?
 

Souplex

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It can't.
I organized the closest thing to a successful attempt and it only lasted like a month.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.389042-Poll-Fellow-Oldscapists
 

Hero of Lime

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bluegate said:
Hero of Lime said:
And honestly, no one seems to make the effort to really communicate here. Most people just post what they want to say in a thread, and move on. This post right now is on the second page, I doubt many people will even see it, or read it for that matter. I'm guilty of the same thing, I admit that.
You raise an interesting point. A lot of times threads seem to indeed be just people shouting their opinion into the void, rather than striking up conversation with other people in the thread. Or there are a lot of posts that aren't actually about the topic, but a minor aspect of the opening post.

I feel that the set up of forums such as these are a bit outdated in terms of means of communication. Say what you like about sites such as Reddit, Up Vote and Down Vote systems and sub-threading of comments can be used to great effect to keep conversations concentrated, efficient and more importantly keep people engaged with eachother.

See a person who's opinion you share? Give their comment an Up Vote, letting them and other visitors know that you feel the same, this, of course, doesn't stop people from then also creating a comment with their opinion in it.

See something within a comment that you want to comment on? Directly comment on the post, creating a comment sub-thread, keeping sub-conversations bundled, easy to read for those interested and easy to skip for people that aren't interested.

When I first came here, I thought that the Escapist was ahead of the times with its Quote notification system, making it easier to have conversations and thus creating a community, but as time passed, no new functions or anything were added to keep up with other modern developments.
I definitely agree, there needed to be a way to up vote comments you like at least. That way, you could communicate that you are reading people's posts. I see lots of posts I could respond to, but it would likely be more trouble than it's worth. Say if I agree with a post, being able to upvote it would be better than just saying "I agree with you." like you mentioned.

Adding such a system for better feedback would make the forums here so much more fun to peruse.
 

Wareve

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Souplex said:
It can't.
I organized the closest thing to a successful attempt and it only lasted like a month.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.389042-Poll-Fellow-Oldscapists
Well, what you tried to do there is rather substantially different then what i'm proposing here.

That was an active attempt to bring back old people to what was at the time a diminished product, one that only got worse as time progressed.

This is an attempt to get people to put forth good ideas as to how things could be made better.

You know, "If you build it, they will come.", rather than "If they come, they'll be pretty disappointed in this corn field."
 

Strazdas

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Do something that youtube and reddit cannot do better. Like, seriuosly, when youtube and reddit came along it basically did all of this, but better. This site is still stuck at 480p (720p for premium members) videos when youtube has been 1080p and above for years for gaming related things. And reddit is way more active when it comes to talking about videogames. It also has an echocamber for everyone so everyone feels welcome. Traditional media is dieing as it gets pushed out by other alternatives, so the only way for its glory days is to find something that those alternatives dont have.

Of course having barely any content creators doesnt help. Escapist has basically two good content makers now - Yatzee and Cecil. Neither of whom are exclusive to this site. And the "news section" seems to have more advertisement than actual news.

So yeah, there is A LOT of work to be done if escapist is to return to the glory days.