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Improving the AG community - your thoughts on Kickstarter idea

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rtrooney - 23 September 2014 09:36 PM

“Frankly, our current forums suck.”

While I am all for making things better, I would disagree with the above statement. The forums only “suck” if you want to do something different with them. I think they are just fine the way they are.

Even if everybody agreed that they are fine as they are, which they don’t (just remember your own problems with uploading images to imgur before posting them), then the simple truth is that you have to continue to improve things in order to continue to attract members and advertisers. Even a non-profit site can’t afford to just stand still and claim everything is fine as it is, and if the only way to improve the site is through a kickstarter, then I do see any problems with it.

TimovieMan - 24 September 2014 06:33 AM

That “free advertising” idea that I pitched earlier might not be such a bad idea. I just found this Kickstarter campaign that used free advertisement promises to great effect.

subbi - 24 September 2014 06:48 AM

Wouldn’t that cut into the regular advertising revenue?

I have absolutely no idea what the finances of this site is like, how much it costs to advertise etc, but worst case scenario it would move some of the revenue forward, ie. give them the money needed here and now to make the changes, at the expense of a slightly less revenue for a short period after.

Ideally it should of course be 100% extra money, so a lot of consideration of how to do this would be needed, but I think that the idea is worth examining further.

     

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For me, getting rid of this forum software is enough reward. Everyone might not think it sucks (although if they had any experience with the previous forums, which AT LEAST remembered unread posts for you, I don’t see how they couldn’t), but a quick look at that IP.board site shows just how much better things could be.

I would definitely back a crowd-funding campaign, it would be great if this community could become convenient to browse again. Might even motivate me to post more. Tongue

The above aside, I would really dig an AG t-shirt. Tongue But I understand if that would be more trouble than it’s worth.

     
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harald - 24 September 2014 09:04 AM

For me, getting rid of this forum software is enough reward.

Seconded. I look forward to the day I don’t have to scroll down anymore to go to another page.

I’d back a Kickstarter. But I can’t help wondering if the current traffic at AG justifies a major change…? Not just the forums either.

     

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With a crowdfunding campaign like this, Marek, do you expect a lot of random people browsing Kickstarter to perhaps back or is it mostly for the established crowd of site visitors? If the latter, wouldn’t an Indiegogo campaign be better, as they take a smaller percentage of the profits (Kickstarter is 5%, Indiegogo is 4%)?

Here’s a small comparison between the two in general, if you have yet to think much about the benefits of either platform: http://crowdfundingdojo.com/articles/kickstarter-vs-indiegogo-choosing-your-crowdfunding-platform

     

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Well, I am not sure if doing KickStarter is a great idea. KS rules states that the result must be a finished product and that’s something which I am not sure this upgrade fulfills. I believe that you are asking more for a donation to make support your work and that’s where IGG is more suitable. However with IGG you have to understand that it’s at least 9% off (don’t forget PayPal fees) and as soon as some of your rewards are free advertisment, it can be taken as a regular pre-order (order) by tax office and you MUST pay a tax from it (in EU case it would be also VAT, because providing services into any EU state makes you automatically a VAT paying entity regardless of the sum).

The main question though is - who are you targetting with this campaign? If it’s AG regulars, wouldn’t it be better to put some donate button out here? If there are rewards to be given for that, it can be written somewhere but the point is that you will save money which would be taken by IGG. Or do you expect an influx of unknown people from the outside to fix a forum?

Maybe the WIKI might be a good bait but then you will have to differentiate it from all the other wikis out there.

Just my 2 cents. Wink

     

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wilco - 23 September 2014 08:41 PM

Is that a recent policy? Didn’t kickstarters like Broken Sword and Tesla Effect have the old games as rewards in some tiers?

Yeah, I asked KS and they said it was a newer policy.

You guys raise a good point regarding where we’d expect funding to come from: honestly I think it’d be 95% AG visitors and forum users, rather than anyone coming in from the funding platform. A donation drive does seem like a simpler solution, and something I hadn’t looked into (crowdfunding is just so pervasive that other options hadn’t even occured to me). There must be donation widgets that also let you aim for a target.

Great to talk about this in this thread btw, thanks for your replies so far

     

Retired AG founder

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The Silent Age collected donation through the game’s app (just saying)

     
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Sounds exciting, I would back it for sure, and the upgraded forum would be a good enough reward in itself. There is - without a doubt - room for improvement Tongue While an AG T-shirt would be sweet, I think adding physical rewards is a big risk that could end up hurting the project, we’ve all seen how other kickstarters have struggled because of it. I’d rather that money and time goes to improving the site than designing physical thingies and shipping packages across the globe. I believe most users who appreciates this site and would back this project, would back it as a “thank you” for all the great work you do, and have been doing for so many years, and would do so without expecting material goods in return.

However, based on my impression of how many regular users there are, I’m a little worried how realistic is it to actually raise as much as $8000 through Kickstarter for something like this, however modest that amount may be. I don’t know how many active lurkers there are that would support it, but I predict it’s gonna be a tough struggle. If every regular poster pledges, say, $25 (which would probably be the amount of my initial pledge), you’d still need 320 pledges, and there’s a whole lot less than 320 regular posters on here. Some may pledge at higher tiers, but it seems rare that people pledge much higher than $25, even for games.

I don’t know, I don’t mean to be a party pooper, just thinking loudly.. As I said, I’d back it in a heartbeat Smile

     

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It may be more realistic (and more focused) to make this about the forums first of all, as the costs for this are lower. Should it go exceptionally well, then a wiki could be the stretch goal.

     

Retired AG founder

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You could treat it as a sort of share issue and those that contribute get a PDF “share” certificate thanking them and noting their contribution to the site.

     

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I agree with the majority here that the current forums are not up to the quality of the older ones. I will gladly back to get rid of them and bring something better. However, I do not believe that a project of thousands of dollars can be achieved by regulars only. The numbers just don’t add up. Only by bringing companies in the game this project can be successfully funded.
Also, the grand majority of regulars have no need for physical rewards and I believe they will support nevertheless. But the option of a physical reward in a strech goal WILL encourage them to support with a bigger sum. At least in my case.

     
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Iznogood - 24 September 2014 08:20 AM
rtrooney - 23 September 2014 09:36 PM

“Frankly, our current forums suck.”

While I am all for making things better, I would disagree with the above statement. The forums only “suck” if you want to do something different with them. I think they are just fine the way they are.

(just remember your own problems with uploading images to imgur before posting them),

I attribute that “minor” problem to user incompetence rather than to forum problems. I’ve been around since 2004, so I’ve seen a few overhauls. There are only two “major” sites catering to this market. AG and GB. I much prefer what I see here.

     

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Marek - 24 September 2014 11:47 AM

You guys raise a good point regarding where we’d expect funding to come from: honestly I think it’d be 95% AG visitors and forum users, rather than anyone coming in from the funding platform. A donation drive does seem like a simpler solution, and something I hadn’t looked into (crowdfunding is just so pervasive that other options hadn’t even occurred to me). There must be donation widgets that also let you aim for a target.

I don’t know, so I’ll just ask: Is there an existing AG t-shirt already, something you folks who run this site wear around your sprawling AG offices? (Here comes the rambling run-on sentence… Crazy): If so, I kind of like the idea of a donation drive (as PART of the solution) using a Donate Now button, or some such, with a certain level of “AG Buckazoids” given per donation (say 20% or…?) that donors could use to purchase a shirt of their own using those AG Buckazoids, through the site, paying the difference in the cost of said shirt over how many AG Buckazoids they redeem, plus their own shipping, or whatever.

As for me, I’d certainly donate with or without the buckazoids. But if a shirt already exists, I’d love to buy one and wear it proudly at a MMP (shooters) convention! Just a thought….

     

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Marek - 24 September 2014 06:06 AM

Sorry, but this really rubs me the wrong way. You can argue these improvements are not necessary from your point of view but the last thing I expected was to be accused of cynical exploitation.

Sorry it rubs you the wrong way. “Cynical Exploitation” is not a phrase I would have used. If you want to increase advertising revenue, and a forum/format change is required to do it. So-be-it!

But there are five steps in an objective statement

1) What am I going to do?
2) How much am I going to do it?
3) How much will it cost me?
4) How long will it take me?
5) How will I know when I’m done?

So far, I’ve only seen #1 answered. And that’s more of a “this is what I would like to do than anything concrete.

How about

1) Purchase new forum software supplied by xxx
2) Reformat current forum layout to include/eliminate xxx
3) At a cost not to exceed $xxxxxx.xx
4) Complete the forum changeover, including a one-week shutdown, by xx/xx/2015
5) Self evident…when you are up and running again with no software glitches

And, if this allows for increased advertising income, again, so much the better.

Your current plan doesn’t meet Kickstarter standards.

If you want to define “Regulars” as participants who have more than 100 posts to their credit, and want to ask them for a $xx.xx donation, that’s fair. What are the numbers? How many people fit that definition? What is the total anticipated cost? Do the math!

I think you will find a far more receptive audience if you just lay it all out. With the emphasis on all.

 

 

     

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I’m with rtrooney here. I won’t back this, smells like a cash grab.

     

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