Author Topic: What should HLP 2021 be?  (Read 14375 times)

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Offline karajorma

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What should HLP 2021 be?
So the last time the admins, moderators and project heads had any serious conversation about HLP's future appears to have been nearly four years ago. It seems like we're more than overdue for a conversation about it. And this time, in light of the changes that have happened since then and the drama of the last month, I'd rather we made it public.


In the last couple of years we've seen more of HLP's action move from the boards to the discord. That does partly raise the question of what is this board for, and how can we make it better? As we move towards 2021 and away from this horrible year, I want to know what people expect HLP to become and how willing they are to help achieve it. I have some ideas and I'll be looking over the previous threads for ideas on what can be done and we'll see how much can feasibly be implemented.

Some things that are planned include

  • Reevaluating the way HLP is run. We already have a split between community and technical admins. I'd like to see this boundary increased so that those admins who are there to deal with the technical running of the site do that, while the rest of us concentrate on working with the community to make this place better
  • Hiring more people to deal with the technical issues and community outreach that we require
  • Updating the rules of the forum so that they are clearer and less prone to being gamed
  • Talking to the individual projects heads to find out what they need from us
  • Working on HLP's presence away from the boards. We have a Twitter, Facebook and Youtube channel. How are they used? How can we use them better?
  • Looking at the main website. How can we change that into something that will attract new people?

Any ideas will be gratefully accepted but can people please make an effort not to bog the thread down in discussion over a single point. That has often been a problem in the past. And the whole point of this thread is to avoid making the same mistakes.
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Offline Strygon

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
I'd like to offer a few suggestions based on the list you wrote about looking at HLP as a whole.

- Social Media Aspect: I've been almost completely unaware of the existence of the HLP Twitter/Facebook/Youtube, and despite being one of the more active members here, I was actually very surprised to find all three actually existed.
The core problem is that neither of the three accounts really try to make people aware that it exists. They just post news and that's it. Social Media is a ruthless desert where everyone fights for attention, so it'd help to make their presence a bit more "aggressive". Perhaps by generously using appropriate space related hashtags on Twitter can already help improve its presence (lord knows it helped me with my art account, for how little I used it).

- Main Website: The question "What are the boards even good for?" is one I see occasionally tossed around. So far their main point is to act as a bulletin board for mods, how to install them, etc. But it doesn't have to be that. Something to engage the forum population, get them interested, organise friendly modding competition to inspire fresh modders, bring back the monthly HLP Newsletter. Stuff like that.

I'd write more but I also need to work towards my studies a bit. Expect more later.
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Offline MatthTheGeek

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
- Delete PolDisc. Won't expand here, see relevant thread.


- On the point of the forums' usage: I agree that most of the daily activity has moved away from the boards and towards discord. The forums' main role, as far as I can tell, is as a place for announcements, releases and status updates. There are a lot of people that are very active on discord (and on modding-related stuff, not just general discussion) and haven't posted on the forums in years.
I don't think this is necessarily a problem, but more of a natural movement (forums in general are a very 2001 internet phenomenon), so the way I see it, any evolution of the forums should try to accompany this trend rather than desperately try to fight against it.


- On a similar subject, I think it would be wise to add links to the forums and the discord (and possibly social media as well) directly on Knossos. Announcement feeds on a Knossos "main page" would also be nice to have.
The reason is that, last time people checked the download numbers for FSNebula, turns out that there's a LOT more downloads than forum or even discord activity would suggest. More than ever, knossos seems to be the forefront of player activity, and this should be leveraged.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2020, 04:11:21 am by MatthTheGeek »
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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
Everything I wanted to say was said better by Math

The rules as they are right now are pretty solid. I think the main issue with people trying to game them is that those people were admins and had an eagerness to game them in their favour.

I like how we looked at the frontpage and it was changed into something that was less attracitve then we had before :P
I'll try to make a mock up later.

With Twitter and Facebook it's probably a decent idea to get into contact with games journalists and make them retweet your stuff. I remember when Dominic Tarason made a FS2 post on Rock Paper Shotgun and I'm quite sure that did a lot of work. There's various people out there who are interested in mods.

Also, I will have to point out that if you google "Freespace Open" you end up on the FSOInstaller website, and that's just bad.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2020, 04:07:59 am by -Joshua- »

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
I'd really like to see that. The goal with the mainpage was to make it into something that attracted people to the game. I don't think this one does that even if it tries harder than the last one (which honestly was a mess).

I used the Team Fortress website as an example of what I'd like to see. Feel free to start a new thread about the mainpage and what it should look like if you want to discuss it. 
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Offline Mobius

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
Modding, and FreeSpace modding in particular, relies very heavily on forums. Forums have declined in the past few years but we cannot pretend we can move HLP to a Facebook group or Twitter account, and get it to work the same way; the basic structures of release threads, stickied guidelines and so on are all a key factor for community projects.

However, we have to be cautious when people think the lack of activity on a board is a "bad thing". If discussions with fast Q&A lean towards Discord channels and/or other external platforms, said channels must be advertised more in order to prove that there's a lot of activity, except it's elsewhere.

My proposal is to add logos to the tiny boxes seen on the left column of the boards' list, and provide direct links to external sites. Mods with a Discord channel will get their boards to display the Discord logo, as well as a direct link. If a particular topic is discussed on Twitter, the Twitter logo leading to a specific hashtag and all related tweets ("freespace", "freespaceport", etc.) can be added, too. Does the mod or board have its own YouTube channel? Fine, add the logo and a direct link to the channel itself. And so on: visitors will have access to multiple platforms and choose the one they're willing to use in order to interact with the developers and/or the community, depending on the purpose of their request (a fast bug Q&A is better off discussed on Discord, a review is better off posted on the HLP forums, a promo message should go to Twitter, etc.).


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Offline Androgeos Exeunt

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
I've always viewed the HLP forums as a sort of "info dump" - good for getting lots of information in one place. It's somewhat clunky for actual, active conversation, however - it used to be the norm for us to edit our posts instead of double-posting, but the latter seems more prevalent these days, especially in really active discussions.

This view has a flaw: what's the Wiki for then? Does it share the same purpose as the forums? Is the sort of information there different from the information you can find on the forums? And given this community, it's definitely not the ideal place for any serious discussion.

For active conversations, we have the Discord. Between Matth, Nyc, and I, we've sorted out two double-edit embarrassments I've made on the Wiki over the past year, and it is they, not me, who took the initiative to contact me on Discord, rather than on the Wiki itself, about it. Granted, this may be because we use Discord heavily, but if two people from two different countries, cultures, etc. with two different issues chose the same option to settle their issues, it may be a rough indication that the Discord is a better place for more active conversation.
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Offline Sandwich

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
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Offline Colonol Dekker

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
I think a huge point of focus should be in publicity on social media.   Pimping knossos a d the standalone games would bring a lot of potential talent.   Just working out where to pimp stuff is the key.


Obvs 3d modeling pages / Sci fi pages etc.

 
Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
  • Hiring more people to deal with the technical issues and community outreach that we require
  • Talking to the individual projects heads to find out what they need from us
  • Working on HLP's presence away from the boards. We have a Twitter, Facebook and Youtube channel. How are they used? How can we use them better?
  • Looking at the main website. How can we change that into something that will attract new people?

I think that all sounds good, there's just 1 problem: I've suggested all of that before, but for a number of reasons nothing became out of it. Even though there has been much talking recently I'm wondering whether anybody will take action.

 

Offline Fineus

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
I think the idea of social media / attraction is good but if my own experiences are anything to go by, the big problem as Nightmare illustrates is - getting someone to do it and maintain it such that it doesn't appear dead.

I'd be hesitant to suggest anyone commit to starting or maintaining channels that they can't find time to push the content out regularly on. THAT SAID it can certainly be done. Perhaps variety is the key - not trying to get a new video out every day but instead doing a blog piece one day, update the next, screenshot the next and so on.

Switch it up a bit so that content doesn't always have to be the same and suddenly there'll be a lot more to choose from.

That's just my thoughts on the social media side of things. In terms of what I believe HLP should be... I decline to speak too loudly. You guys should decide.

 
Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
Notable point: Social media accounts can totally be run by multiple people.

 

Offline Fineus

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
Good point worth taking on - the more people to contribute, the better and greater the content generated!

 
Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
Notable point: Social media accounts can totally be run by multiple people.

Yes. The problem however was to find just *1* person to do that.

 
Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
The thing is that we did find a person, but that person seemed to have done it to boost their career in games journalism.

But okay:  I volunteer. I am perpetually lurking here anyway.

 
Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
I know Strygon also volunteered so there's that.

 

Offline BlackDove

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
None of this would have actually happened if the admins simply had an established process for dealing with issues internally. Everyone cannot be always right, and validated in their opinion, because they have the "administrator" tag next to their name, in perpetuity.

You need an adjudication program or person. Either a democratic one, or concentrated to one person. When there is discord between the admins, and a path forward is not clear, let Zacam decide, or something like that. And that person's word is final then, and everyone understands that the contract for doing things that way has been pre-established. Or, since there seem to be many of you, make the binding vote democratic, so that what the majority says goes. There are problems with that, but at least the outcome is definitive, and people aren't just wrangling back and forth.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2020, 07:41:20 am by BlackDove »

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
The most important thing imo is a ruthless commitment to not moderating in a conflict of interest. That means if you posted in the same thread, if you have strong feelings about the subject matter, or have strong feelings (positive or negative) about the individual involved.

And Blackdove comes a very close second. There needs to be rules in place for the next time staff member X abuses their powers, rules that take personal feelings about staff member X out of the equation, and we need to see these rules as well.

 

Offline Fineus

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
None of this would have actually happened if the admins simply had an established process for dealing with issues internally.

I can't speak for everyone but some of us (and I don't think it's just me) aren't always around where some of the Mods have been. We don't know. So there's been some 'going in half cocked' going on.

That's not intended as an excuse, more of in the vein of 'to improve, we need to understand what happened'. That's being discussed internally too - it isn't something anyone will forget (or try to forget).

I agree a code of conduct or something to outline a process is a good idea moving forward.


 

Offline RazorsKiss

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Re: What should HLP 2021 be?
There are (generally) two ways to use social media: "content curating" and "content generating". For a site like this, your content is not going to be daily, for the most part. So, if you're generating, you will have to find something to do, content-wise, that isn't the mod news. Playthroughs, reviews, interviews, etc. Otoh, if it is curation, then you can still do all of the above - just don't try to generate it on a schedule. Report it as it happens. Pick a longer schedule tail, with fewer updates.

I'm not going to concentrate on our forum as a daily update. It is one channel of many to communicate on, with a particular set of uses. Forums are a midway point between article and comment - long form conversation with a much more interactive basis than articles, but not as chaotic as live chat. Use your various channels of communication with a purpose for each of them designed into your overall media plan.
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