Discussion in 'Ask Me Anything' started by Dubbed Navigator, Aug 4, 2019.
Dubbed isn't particularly shy (except if you ask about that one time, at band camp....)
What was the earliest forum you opened or managed ?
Is is still online, and what would you have done differently in the past to make it more successful ?
The first forum I opened was called Digital Disarray. This was on the back of helping out on the admin side of a couple of others, which would ultimately in part lead to its demise.
A bunch of us were not happy with the way the forum we were involved in was managed (which I now own) so I came up with the idea of opening a new one that could encompass lots of different ideas. There were issues from the start;
- As mentioned above, the team was made up of people who were fed up with another style of management, and by association. There were around 8 or 10 in all, and few of them had experience needed to make such a large project work.
- The Niche was an extension of "General chat" and different niches were divided into categories with admins leading each - we all know how difficult general chat forums are to get off the ground, few of the guys had the stomach for what commitment was needed.
- With the majority of staff coming from the same niche, it was very difficult for them to come up with ideas and content for their areas.
- Money. A new forum with that genre needed advertising, and without constant spamming it needed more money than I could put in.
What would I do differently?
- Build the staff base with people that have the right drive.
- Build small, grow big. Not the other way round.
Oftentimes easier said than done. Any tips on how to find the right people?
Congratulations on your 5th anniversary of being a TAZ member!
The content of oblivionstate.com seems quite unique, are you aware of any major competition in your niche?
Do you personally get involved in visiting abandoned locations and if so what it is about them that draws you to them?
How do you feel about the dangers and legality of visiting restricted sites?
What made you choose XenForo for your site and is there any additional functionality you'd like that would enhance your site?
What actually did happen that one time at band camp?
Thankfully now I have a mix of people who are very much interested in the niche. Having the time is a bit tricky, but it swings in roundabouts. Our community is pretty entwined in similar, larger forum and my 2 admins very much have their ears on the ground. I find this very valuable. I do the strategy, they pick flaws in it based on whats going on at the moment.
5 years, blimey. Do I get a blue peter badge?
Oh boy yes. However, this is one of the rare cases where it does work for us quite well a lot of the time. Our niche is very hostile at times, and the biggest forum out there is one that we actually collaborate with (i mention it in Sandman's reply). As admins we share experiences of different members to assit each other in pruning out bad eggs and other quite valuable info. In a way I dont consider them competition as i'm not trying to beat them in anything. We have a dynamic that they do not and are personal friends with the admins. On the other side of the coin there is another "rival" out there which has a reputation for being far more accommodating, but less quality. I want to be firmly in the middle ground of that.
Absolutely. although admittedly in recent years I have fallen behind on actually getting out there due to life commitments. (which is why I turned to the management side of things) I think what draws me to these locations is walking through them and imagining how it was living and working in the environments. Many of the places have decades of history behind them. decay also makes them very photogenic and preserving them is a major point in posting them up.
I like this question.
As far as dangers go, its very much an element of experience and trust. After a while of doing it you know what to look out for, but I also have a rule of not going alone. You can never be too careful, and you need to be able to trust someone isnt just going to leave you stranded.
Legality wise, must stuff in the UK is covered under civil trespass, unless you go for government, military, power stations etc. Essentially if you get caught, dont be a dick, move on and you should be OK. Get caught with the properly restricted stuff, well, yea. Not something I have done.
Oblivion state has been through quite a few different software's in its time. Its previous owner and founder started off with MyBB, transferring over to VB. I came onboard about 7 years ago when it was in the VB form. I got on well with VB4 but he decided it needed a fresh start after 5 came along and went over to IPS.
Personally I like the way XF works, I have used it in a few other forums and am quite well familiar with it. It doesn't do some things as well as IPS, but on the whole I prefer its systems and expansive addon collections. I like being able to have a lighter core product and picking what you want.
Without a doubt I would like to use the gallery addon, but unfortunately in its current state I just cant use it. The member board wouldn't use it as a separate product like it currently is. If, one day it can be used as an integration into the board (Post a pic in a thread and it goes to the users album) it would make a great addition to the forum.
I'm currently looking into a portal / landing page - that would make us stand out from the crowd.
HE DIDNT GO THERE!!!
It involved a trombone, a red head, and a washing machine.....
Yup, you thought right. A fox played a trombone in the washing machine. Scarred.
Thanks for taking the time to post such a detailed reply, I really do appreciate it. Your forum definitely struck a cord with me the first time I went there. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I used to create environments for FPS games and the images on your site are very reminiscent of the kind of textures I was always looking for. There's also something quite ethereal about the images, they really do fire up the imagination.
I completely agree about a gallery add-on. One thing I liked about vB4 is that uploaded images could potential be found in the member's album when loaded via an asset management template. Unfortunately that ability was never fully realised but it had so much potential. I hope the next version of XenForo at the very least provides a framework better suited to images.
I'm inspired, I would love to be able to contribute to your forum but I don't think I have the necessary skills. On the other hand there's a beautiful deserted Edwardian (early 1900) house close to where I live that's about to be demolished and replaced with flats so you never know!
You would be surprised what abandoned buildings can inspire. FPS games absolutely, blog entries, school / college / uni essays, you tube idiots etc.
I find it very frustrating that a great product like the gallery is meant as a separate product to the forums. A decade ago when data and mobile device usage limitations were very real I can understand, but users expect to be able to use these features in tandem like they do on social media.
I'm intrigued, what skills do you think are necessary that you don't have? Something I have been trying to push for a while is general chat (free posting), and interaction with threads other than standard replies. Really trying to get away from the culture of people thinking they need to post exploration reports in order to contribute.
Look at those windows and arch!
Age is a factor. At sixty I've become a little more aware that I am not entirely invincible and common sense dictates that I won't be climbing to gain access. Also my photography skills generally leave something to be desired.
That's a very valid point, perhaps I need to rethink my reasons for wanting to contribute
Indeed, it makes you wonder if there are still original features inside.
Wait wait wait.... Oblivion State is your site Dubbed Navigator ????? You are responsible for me losing hours in procrastination (I call it research and inspiration-seeking) just reading through the threads and looking at the pictures there.
It is indeed!
It's actually really refreshing to hear a sentence like that from someone I don't know of in that community.
So I'll gladly take that responsibility, the countless hours that go into it have been worth it