Personal computing discussed

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Yan
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Re: Something's different...

Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:23 pm

sweatshopking wrote:
Yan wrote:
Are the "traditional" writers now being paid? Or expecting to be paid?

Yes, that's the plan.

I think this should be mentioned clearly. It certainly makes me much more willing to accept the current nonsense.
 
Meadows
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Re: Something's different...

Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:55 pm

Yan wrote:
I think this should be mentioned clearly. It certainly makes me much more willing to accept the current nonsense.

Sure, it's nice, but it's also bordering on "none of our business" territory.
 
drfish
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Re: Something's different...

Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:27 pm

Yan wrote:
sweatshopking wrote:
Yan wrote:
Are the "traditional" writers now being paid? Or expecting to be paid?

Yes, that's the plan.

I think this should be mentioned clearly. It certainly makes me much more willing to accept the current nonsense.


That's up to each writer. Previously, volunteering for TR was like letting your brother stay at your place while he's between jobs. Now, it's more of an Airbnb thing. Or maybe it's more like an electrician who spends a Saturday helping a friend in exchange for pizza and beer but wouldn't accept them as currency from his employer.
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FireGryphon
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Re: Something's different...

Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:47 pm

tanker27 wrote:
sweatshopking wrote:
Yeah, fish is right.
There is a good reason for why things are on hold, but they'll be moving early next week again. Depending on how things go I may even write more frequently, SO YOU CAN START GETTING EXCITED!


I LOVED YOUR GOG ARTICLE AND CANNOT WAIT FOR MORE!


Am I the only person who doesn't know what real names are associated with forum names? First Gyromancer and then SSK... Sheesh...

tanker27 wrote:
SecretSquirrel wrote:
tanker27 wrote:

Have they really? 5 Calendar days have passed and they still haven't made an introduction. And they certainly haven't laid out their plan and/or vision!


But it has't been five calendar days. It's been months. There has been plenty of time to develop the plan and vision and to prep introductions and explain changes. That's a valid reason for keeping things quiet for a while. It takes time to learn the environment, and even if you have something of a plan when such an acquisition happens, it's not till after the acquisition that you start getting a real understanding and can flesh out (or change) your plan.

--SS



You're right I glossed over that, unconsciously assuming the new site launch coincided with the sale/take over. That makes it even worse!


The new owners of TR are professionals. They bought the site and had months to plan a strategy. This is what they did, and I assume it's intentional. That's what makes this whole thing so bad. Maybe some things can be worked out, and yes, the community is here for now, but I don't want to spend time in a place where the owners don't respect my presence.

A scenario where the higher-ups are guided by their own self interest and don't care about those lesser than themselves plays out most places in this world. That wasn't the case here at TR and I liked spending a lot of my free time here. It seems like that old environment is gone now.

That said, I still hold out hope. The floating Recent bar on the right is a quick fix, but it's redundant on the front page and takes up a lot of screen real estate. The ad scheme makes ads more prominent, but not too offensive. It’s nice to see things moving forward. Is there an ETA on when more changes will come?
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Meadows
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:56 am

FireGryphon wrote:
Am I the only person who doesn't know what real names are associated with forum names? First Gyromancer and then SSK... Sheesh...

I mean it was never that hard to connect the dots, but under the recent GOG article in question you could even guess it from the comments right away.
 
The Egg
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:53 am

FireGryphon wrote:
Am I the only person who doesn't know what real names are associated with forum names? First Gyromancer and then SSK... Sheesh...

No.....I had/have a hard time following as well.

FireGryphon wrote:
The new owners of TR are professionals. They bought the site and had months to plan a strategy. This is what they did, and I assume it's intentional. That's what makes this whole thing so bad. Maybe some things can be worked out, and yes, the community is here for now, but I don't want to spend time in a place where the owners don't respect my presence.

A scenario where the higher-ups are guided by their own self interest and don't care about those lesser than themselves plays out most places in this world. That wasn't the case here at TR and I liked spending a lot of my free time here. It seems like that old environment is gone now.

That said, I still hold out hope. The floating Recent bar on the right is a quick fix, but it's redundant on the front page and takes up a lot of screen real estate. The ad scheme makes ads more prominent, but not too offensive. It’s nice to see things moving forward. Is there an ETA on when more changes will come?

You assume too much. That they are professionals doesn't necessarily mean there was any forethought put into anything; likely quite the opposite. It's very possible that someone with no knowledge of TR was "assigned" the job, and told to do some generic set of tasks. If said person was/is handling 20+ other websites, they may not have given TR much more than a token glance before beginning to make the changes. When everything blew up, TR was moved somewhat higher up the priority list. This is all just conjecture, but probably not far off from reality.

Better communication would go a long way, but what's important is they seem to be at least making an effort to address concerns.
 
FireGryphon
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 4:47 am

The Egg wrote:
You assume too much. That they are professionals doesn't necessarily mean there was any forethought put into anything; likely quite the opposite. It's very possible that someone with no knowledge of TR was "assigned" the job, and told to do some generic set of tasks. If said person was/is handling 20+ other websites, they may not have given TR much more than a token glance before beginning to make the changes. When everything blew up, TR was moved somewhat higher up the priority list. This is all just conjecture, but probably not far off from reality.

Better communication would go a long way, but what's important is they seem to be at least making an effort to address concerns.


That theory hinges upon the new owners not knowing anything about TR’s community (past or present) and editorial history. It assumes that Adam sold to the highest bidder and didn’t mention anything to them besides ‘it’s a computer tech site’. It also assumes that in the last few months they didn’t have any contact with any of the current staff members who told them about the place.

While some version of this may be true, I doubt it.

The only version of this I can imagine is that they paid such a lowly sum for TR that they didn’t take anything too seriously that they heard about the community or editorial history, instead discounting the lot based on the trivial price they paid for it.

We’ll probably never know for sure, but you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. First impressions count, and they’re long lasting. The new owners sure made their presence known and made a deeply negative first impression on us. This one-way meeting made it impersonal, where we get treated a certain way without getting to talk to them in person, or give them an impression of us. All they know about us, if they’re reading this, is how shocked and devastated we all were, and how we were left to guess as to the motivations behind the drastic changes that took place.

I suspect we may get some lip service, but if TR really is just a commodity in a larger portfolio and the important thing about this site is its attractiveness to and profitability from search engine traffic like has been stated, then the existing community and concept aren’t really important and can exist only inasmuch as we don’t get in the way of the site’s new editorial/financial priorities.

This new set of rules may be fine for some; clearly not for all. I’m heartened by the vote of confidence the current staff is giving. It’s just hard to read people writing, ‘aww, it’s not so bad’ when the above is going through your head and there is
No evidence to the contrary.
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rechicero
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:27 am

The Egg wrote:

Better communication would go a long way, but what's important is they seem to be at least making an effort to address concerns.


It's in their best interest. If they paid something for the site I imagine the last thing they want is to destroy its value (and in this case the main value it has is de community that keeps coming).
 
The Egg
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:35 am

FireGryphon wrote:
I suspect we may get some lip service, but if TR really is just a commodity in a larger portfolio and the important thing about this site is its attractiveness to and profitability from search engine traffic like has been stated, then the existing community and concept aren’t really important and can exist only inasmuch as we don’t get in the way of the site’s new editorial/financial priorities.

This new set of rules may be fine for some; clearly not for all. I’m heartened by the vote of confidence the current staff is giving. It’s just hard to read people writing, ‘aww, it’s not so bad’ when the above is going through your head and there is no evidence to the contrary.

Your first paragraph is spot-on, last one is a load of bull. Nobody is saying "aww it's not so bad", nor will you find a single person who's happy about the situation. If you look at things from the standpoint of a negotiation (which you should, because the new owners are complete outsiders), you'd realize that our position is extremely weak. We have a few members who are still contributing articles, but other than that, the only card we hold is whether or not we're going to turn the comments section into a s***show. If we do that anyway, then we've already played our hand. We have to walk a thin line between keeping them aware of how unhappy we are, and bludgeoning them to the point where they just stop listening or taking any direction. Once the latter happens, it's over.
 
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:23 am

I don’t understand how you get all of that from my last paragraph, but I don’t disagree with anything you said. Like I said, I’m hopeful, but you do sound a bit more hopeful than I.
Last edited by FireGryphon on Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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meerkt
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:32 am

Captain Ned wrote:
Sidetracks are fundamental to the zeitgeist of this place.

The side-discussion will be difficult to find in here, but so be it.

FireGryphon wrote:
Your attributions are incorrect in large part

The list was id-ordered, with the names inserted where someone joins the fray.

JohnC wrote:
considering another fact that Ads becoming more intrusive ... and, therefore, more hated by general users. And more and more Ad purchasing companies are becoming aware of those facts and willing to pay less

If that's the problem, you'd think they'd tone down the intrusiveness, so I'm not sure.

I've never used ad blocking per se, and I do prefer to allow ads through, but only as long as they don't animate or take up CPU. If they do, I'd generally blacklist semi-specific JS URL parts, but that's more difficult to do in modern browsers (NoScript, for example, is geared more to whole-domain blocking). It's a bit surprising that ads don't always have a <noscript> version.
 
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:56 am

meerkt wrote:
I've never used ad blocking per se, and I do prefer to allow ads through, but only as long as they don't animate or take up CPU. If they do, I'd generally blacklist semi-specific JS URL parts, but that's more difficult to do in modern browsers (NoScript, for example, is geared more to whole-domain blocking). It's a bit surprising that ads don't always have a <noscript> version.


I specifically whitelist ads on TR, for a couple of reasons. First, any little bit of support I can give helps. Second, I actually, on occasion get an ad that interests me. In fact, a pet peeve is that the back button doesn't get you the same ad on the previous page that was originally there. I fully understand why and that this behavior would be detrimental to ad impressions, but on more than one occasion, I've clicked something that takes me to a new page only to notice something in the banner ad that actually piques my curiosity. By the time I've realized this, the new page is starting to load and its too late. Go figure.

Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled bitching about the new state of things.

--SS
 
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:28 am

If anyone here using an ad blocker doesn't white list TR, then, well you can just peace out. The ads here are incredibly innocuous. I think there was once or twice over the past decade a video ad got pushed to the site, and it was on accident, and it was removed ASAP. Most, if not all, of the analytics on the site is generic GA that most likely doesn't hurt you too much. TR has done a fine job over the years of keeping ad and analytics on the low side. That might change in the coming months, but until then just give TR your ad money.
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 4:04 pm

A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. Steven Wright
 
Hance
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 4:09 pm

I have never blocked adds on TR, that said if auto playing video adds show up add blocker will get turned on for TR instantly.
 
derFunkenstein
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:51 pm

I think the ads around here are fine. They were fine before and they're less obtrusive now. That could change I suppose but let's save the ire for that day.
Last edited by derFunkenstein on Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:38 pm

Yeah, in general the ads are pretty unobtrusive here. There's plenty of annoying things out there which unfortunately have become common, but I don't remember anything like that here. There's no popups, and no inset videos that reposition themselves to follow you around as you scroll. That's the kind of thing that annoys me, because that was a conscious decision by those involved in maintaining the site to place ads before content. When you buy ad space on the web you're really just buying access to the advertisers network, so not really the same thing.

Often the annoying stuff isn't even for the purposes of advertising it's just annoying. Some people seem to think the visitors to their site are a captive audience, but there's very few places which happen to be the only source of information that can't be found anywhere else.
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Hance
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Re: Something's different...

Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:14 pm

I was bored this afternoon and read this entire post. The roll out of the new design was a poorly timed mess other than that I see no real reason to complain. Yeah the new owners didn't introduce themselves, but does it really matter ? If they are going to provide funding to improve the site , expand content and keep TR around does it really matter if you are on a first name basis with them ? Sure doesn't to me.
 
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Re: Something's different...

Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:34 am

Hot forum discussion link is missing. Please do something about it.
Image
 
Srsly_Bro
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Re: Something's different...

Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:30 am

Comments are
still trash.
The right align
has 2-3 words
per line. Who
reads two to
three words per
line? An actual
paragraph would
extend through
many scrolls
on my screen.
I'll post here
until the
comments are
fixed. If never
Then I'll just
post randomly
and have a
much lesser
presence. A
Site without
a proper way
to communicate
on the front
page it's
of no value
to me and
Likely many,
as well.

I hope this was painful to read. A comment on the front page with a reply end up like that or just completely cut off.

The dork who created the comments on the front page should be ashamed.
 
Chrispy_
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Re: Something's different...

Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:39 am

What's worse than the minimalist lack of functionality of the frontpage is that the hardware drop down menu is still completely fubar.

Honestly, I knocked up my first Wordpress intranet site about two years ago in a morning and it's better than TR is right now. I had no experience with wordpress and so just winged it. In hindsight, I wouldn't use Wordpress again for anything.
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Meadows
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Re: Something's different...

Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:55 am

Srsly_Bro wrote:
The right align has 2-3 words per line.

It actually depends on your screen size and/or zoom level as well. https://imgur.com/TCVL2dW

Basically the site as a whole is not "responsive". The articles kind of are, but the comment system was designed squarely for desktop computers with fullscreen 1080p usage. Even then it's bad, since the default font size is idiotically huge, and the element margins and line heights are oversized as well. Especially the margins.
 
Meadows
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Re: Something's different...

Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:01 am

On second thought, the font size isn't an issue for the content itself, it only becomes an issue when you have 100 comments and infinite scrolling.

Did a quick comparison with Ars, and it seems like their comments have the text size set to 14pt, while TR has it at 17pt(!). Regardless, they also have this scrolly mess, but they got around it by implementing pages for comments, so at any one time you only see a limited slice of them. Whether that's preferable is another matter, and it's not a solution until the comments and replies themselves get a redesign, but it would definitely help with the infinite scrolling.
 
JustAnEngineer
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Re: Something's different...

Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:42 am

Meadows wrote:
Srsly_Bro wrote:
The right align has 2-3 words per line.
It actually depends on your screen size and/or zoom level as well. https://imgur.com/TCVL2dW
The next reply level after that one is completely invisible. :cry:
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FireGryphon
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Re: Something's different...

Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:42 am

Hance wrote:
I was bored this afternoon and read this entire post. The roll out of the new design was a poorly timed mess other than that I see no real reason to complain. Yeah the new owners didn't introduce themselves, but does it really matter ? If they are going to provide funding to improve the site , expand content and keep TR around does it really matter if you are on a first name basis with them ? Sure doesn't to me.


Well, I suppose it depends what you are looking for here. TR’s draw to many of us was how much of an improvement it was over other sites in terms of interface, journalistic style and integrity, and community (including the relationship between staff and users.

With the recent site changes, many of these things also changed. The interface is no longer better, the journalistic style is different, and the community has changed in that the site now caters to a different clientele. It remains to be seen how much this will change the core user base, but as of right now the community has less presence (bad comment system, no hot threads on homepage to keep discussions at the fore). And that’s not to mention that all these major changes happened without any communication from the new owners (they don’t have to communicate with us, but TR owners always have, so that’s a major change as well).

The site is still around, and hopefully now will be profitable, but it looks different and feels different in some major ways, so it’s predictable that it will Appeal to a different class of user.

The TR community has stuck around through a lot over the last 20 years but he ownership always let us know what was going on. We’re just that kind of group. So yes, no introductions from the new guys is a big deal. It left us blindsided from the changes and in the dark about what’s going to happen next. We don’t pay the bills, so no one has to tell us anything, but one of the reasons we are here is because previous ownership cultivated a place where people like us want to hang out in our free time. If that changes, we might no hang out here. I suppose time will tell how that pans out.
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tanker27
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Re: Something's different...

Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:41 am

FireGryphon wrote:
The TR community has stuck around through a lot over the last 20 years but he ownership always let us know what was going on. We’re just that kind of group. So yes, no introductions from the new guys is a big deal. It left us blindsided from the changes and in the dark about what’s going to happen next. We don’t pay the bills, so no one has to tell us anything, but one of the reasons we are here is because previous ownership cultivated a place where people like us want to hang out in our free time. If that changes, we might no hang out here. I suppose time will tell how that pans out.


Yup, QFT!

I still have my OG TR T-shirt and the OG TR newsletter! While I didnt know the previous owners (and never went to the TR BBQ because I live in the deep south) I always felt they were accessible and approachable if need be. And it was always cool when they took part in the community/forums.

Thinking about it, this thread is going to be a SEO goldmine in itself. Since the new owners are named in it and all the negativity surrounding it I am sure someone in the future will Google them and find this thread. 8)
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Something's different...

Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:39 am

This might sound kind of harsh, but it's reality: that kind of thinking implies that the TR regular community can keep the site afloat. It can't; TR has been a money-losing proposition for quite a while now, and the writing has been on the wall for a long time now. The new ownership seems more concerned with long-term success than placating everyone in the short term. He flat-out told us that if a few people get mad early on (which I know I was one of them, and felt that is totally justified in my opinion) he wasn't concerned as long as the site could be made healthier financially.

And that's just business, guys. Nobody's going to do this as a money-losing charitable venture without the hope of getting something back out of it for the long haul. The reality is there were two choicess: do this or fold the site entirely. I'm not ready to give up on the idea that our geeky in-depth stuff be self-sustaining yet. If you're also not ready to give up, it's time to grin and bear it.
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Srsly_Bro
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Re: Something's different...

Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:53 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Meadows wrote:
Srsly_Bro wrote:
The right align has 2-3 words per line.
It actually depends on your screen size and/or zoom level as well. https://imgur.com/TCVL2dW
The next reply level after that one is completely invisible. :cry:



Maximum of two replies per comment, bro! It's a feature.
 
FireGryphon
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Re: Something's different...

Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:57 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
This might sound kind of harsh, but it's reality: that kind of thinking implies that the TR regular community can keep the site afloat. It can't; TR has been a money-losing proposition for quite a while now, and the writing has been on the wall for a long time now. The new ownership seems more concerned with long-term success than placating everyone in the short term. He flat-out told us that if a few people get mad early on (which I know I was one of them, and felt that is totally justified in my opinion) he wasn't concerned as long as the site could be made healthier financially.

And that's just business, guys. Nobody's going to do this as a money-losing charitable venture without the hope of getting something back out of it for the long haul. The reality is there were two choicess: do this or fold the site entirely. I'm not ready to give up on the idea that our geeky in-depth stuff be self-sustaining yet. If you're also not ready to give up, it's time to grin and bear it.


Look back up and you’ll see that I recognize this several times. I know that the current TR community is not worth any money, and that’s why we didn’t have a part in the revamp of the site (not just a warning, but even thread exposure on the main page, or accessible comment structure).

But grin and bear it? Yes, I could, but I stuck around TR for the whole product, the things I mentioned above. If the majority of the things I like are gone, and it is less pleasant to land on the home page, I won’t. There are a number of great forums out there that I visit a couple times a month to read up on things that are pertinent. TR’s special mix brought me here more often. A different aesthetic and journalistic style will attract a new breed of community, perhaps one that’s more profitable.

It’s possible he community will stay intact, that he forums will endure simply because our group is so strong. Like I said, we’ll see, but make no mistake, I am not under the impression that the community is worth money. We don’t have to be kicked to be ignored and sidelined like we were (that is, not told about the changes and be excluded from the front page), but in the end, making money can be done without being human.
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Re: Something's different...

Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:58 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
This might sound kind of harsh, but it's reality: that kind of thinking implies that the TR regular community can keep the site afloat. It can't; TR has been a money-losing proposition for quite a while now, and the writing has been on the wall for a long time now. The new ownership seems more concerned with long-term success than placating everyone in the short term. He flat-out told us that if a few people get mad early on (which I know I was one of them, and felt that is totally justified in my opinion) he wasn't concerned as long as the site could be made healthier financially.

And that's just business, guys. Nobody's going to do this as a money-losing charitable venture without the hope of getting something back out of it for the long haul. The reality is there were two choicess: do this or fold the site entirely. I'm not ready to give up on the idea that our geeky in-depth stuff be self-sustaining yet. If you're also not ready to give up, it's time to grin and bear it.
Agreed. I haven't complained about the redesign (implementation, though, sucked) because it is needed to attract newer readers. That said, if that is their attitude I'll take my reading elsewhere. The regulars, like you and us forum/comment contributors, are what produced content for this site. You don't have to make them happy, but a more respectful, less tone-def approach would be appreciated. Showing callous indifference to your core while in financial peril is not a good business strategy. If no one is contributing to your site then you will have no visitors.

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