State of the Pugi 2020

Hey guys. :wave:

March 1st marks this community’s 12th anniversary. Isn’t that crazy? Bush was still President!

It’s crazy.

I intend to focus on improving the parts of the site I can in the lead-up to this date (and beyond, but it’s good to have a dart on the board.) Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking of that would be good to discuss:

Activity

Mostly, I’m wondering how everyone here feels about our little corner of the internet now that we’ve crossed over into a new decade.

My sense is that activity has slowed over 2018-2019 compared to the prior years, which were mostly consistent and stable. Lower activity doesn’t necessarily bother me, but it’s hard not to notice that fewer posters means fewer posts, which means fewer replies to those posts. I’m not too fearful of a “forum death spiral” but it’s not something I can ignore, either.

Not saying we’re there yet! But at this point, I believe some new blood might be a good thing. Really curious what you guys think, though.

Podcast

One of my ideas involves launching a new podcast, completely separated from the lineage of the GCast/Pugi.tv Podcast. I view that more as a community effort, while the new one would be more focused and spotlight niche topics. This wouldn’t necessarily mean the end of our first podcast (I’m somewhat ambivalent), but I feel I’ve come a long way as a producer of online media since the GCast launched (in 2009.)

I’d like this new podcast to release consistently, but to achieve that the episodes may be monthly or even quarterly. The topics, as I said, would be niche and focus on specific aspects of the tech and gaming industries. The overall format would be more educational and point-driven than freeform, and the hosts would be fixed (barring an occasional guest or two.)

I currently have no idea what I would name this thing for the record, so help here could be good too.

Forum Design and Software

I don’t intend to switch forum software anytime soon, but that could change if enough people here feel differently. How has Discourse been working out? IMO it’s a good balance between traditional forums and newer designs. It’s also open source, which is one of my main considerations (especially after our experience as digital serfs on Slack.)

I’d like to ideally create a custom theme for us, but that may involve switching to a more expensive web host to get that functionality. That means more manual backend site management, which I’ve been trying to turn away from. (IMO, this site should be as frictionless to maintain as possible, to ensure its longevity.)

Depending on our plans for Twitch, I’d still like to get some kind of “site Twitch notifier,” but have to admit I haven’t looked into it.

Site Branding

In anticipation of the 12th anniversary, I’m preparing a refreshed logo featuring Bits the Pig. Don’t worry, our gamepad-nosed piggy isn’t going anywhere. :slight_smile: But it’s possible there may be some more color on the site.

But because it’s me, I’ve also been wondering about a potential domain “refresh.” Depending on what we decide to do with Twitch and YouTube (see below), I’m not sure the .tv designation would make sense. I’m honestly not even sure it made sense at the time, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t make much sense right now.

https://pugi.chat is available, and if we were to choose that:

  1. Existing links would still work; the .tv address would just forward to same page at the new address.
  2. The site name would become simply “Pugi,” dropping the .tv suffix. (Maaaybe the site becomes “Pugi Chat.” :thinking:)

Twitch and YouTube

I’ve been extremely happy with our Twitch efforts in prior years, and have been personally disappointed that I haven’t been able to keep things going. The main issue I’m trying to solve is I’m unsure whether an official site Twitch account that posters need to use is the best, or if letting members post to their own channels is better. Twitch allows rebroadcasts but I haven’t looked into the site in over a year, so I’m not sure what the capabilities are.

As a creative type, I’m personally in favor of members using their own accounts and building their own viewer base, etc., as well as “owning” that “data.” On the other hand, I would like our Twitch program to bolster the official YouTube account, as I’ve seen some evidence we can generate new members through there.

On the other hand, if everyone here is “over” streaming, I wouldn’t have a problem closing the official Twitch and people using their personal accounts for one-offs and whatnot.

Closing Comments

My overall drive for all this is “focus.” I want Pugi to be focused on a smaller number of things, and I want to do them better. I’m not sure if our Twitter or Merch Shop will live on, for instance, and I’ve stated above I’m ok with shutting down our Twitch and the original podcast too. And even my idea for a new podcast could launch as something totally unrelated to this site. But it really depends on you guys.

So yeah, lots to get through but I’m really dying to know everyone’s thoughts on all this.

Viva la Pugi~

Maybe we should look into a way that any of us can upload streams to the YouTube account.

Musings on a few of your topics:

Activity - I think a few new (or even returning faces) would probably do us some good. Certainly couldn’t hurt. The more people you have, the more ideas can be thrown around, and with more people generating discussions, there’s more to reply to, especially for people like me that aren’t necessarily the most talkative. As always, the trick is who you’re getting, and I think any level of reaching out is going to be gamble, but it may be a necessary one.

Podcast - I think focus would do the show good. It can certainly survive with a single consistent host (TWiT has been doing it for ages), but it would certainly help the workload if you had a small primary host team prepping for multiple topics instead of just one person being ready to guide a discussion on every topic. And I think that would be the important part, both for listeners and participants - having some manner of actual discussion. Obviously, there are a lot of options, depending on exactly your specific desired format. Not a name person, but I imagine you’d want to consider a general mood and topic spread.

Forum Design and Software - I’m largely fine with the forum software. It’s functional and visually inoffensive. I think the struggle with Slack was more a problem that many of us (I assume) are accustomed to more traditional forum software over the years, and so our way of managing topics and discussions didn’t translate well to what is basically a fancy chat room rather than Slack being more enterprise-focused.

Twitch and YouTube - I was just glancing around on the Twitch site (Links are fun), and it looks like there are options to have a channel automatically host other channels when offline. The hosting channel doesn’t get the numbers for the viewers, but it would centralize viewing while acknowledging the streamer’s primary account. YouTube seems to have favorable options with a “brand account,” but i’m not sure how you have the current site account managed for now.

Given that I have a slightly more capable computer, I wouldn’t mind trying to dabble in some streaming, even if it’s just hanging out playing classic DOOM or whatever. Can’t say I’d want to be the face of site streaming, but I’m not entirely disinterested. A bit of step-out unless I confirm I can actually do it, though. Probably ought to check on that.

I think the Twitter problem is that there’s nothing to do with it right now. What is there to announce? It’s great if you have streams or YouTube uploads or podcast dates, but all the interaction you could get from it is already being done here, and there’s not much here at the moment to shout to potential members. Not calling for it execution, but maybe evaluate its usefulness when it could be so.

.

How about keeping one semi-consistent community going for twelve years is quite an accomplishment. I can probably think of a dozen sets of forums I’ve passed by or participated in over the years that struggled to make it a fraction of that time. If nothing else, that warrants an 'attaboy.

https://help.twitch.tv/s/article/twitch-content-sharing-guidelines?language=en_US#savinguploading

Saving past broadcasts, highlights, and/or uploads of Co-streamed content is not permitted. Please refer to the Twitch Community Guidelines section on Unauthorized Content Sharing & Other Copyright Violations for more information.

Yeah this is what killed the idea last time… Host Mode is a nice idea but none of the “co-streamed” stuff gets saved by the host or is exportable in any way.

The workaround would be to give individual Twitch accounts access to our YouTube, but that would only work if Twitch lets you connect more than one YouTube account. It would also raise security concerns; any compromised Twitch account would have access to publish to our YouTube.

Seems like the only way to move forward is to keep the official channel, and not sure I want to maintain that anymore. Hmm…

Yup agreed. I’ve sent some emails to lapsed members a couple times in the past, though probably not as often as I should have. I’ll try to send an email blast for our 12th anniversary and podcast launch.

Great points. If anyone here is a fan of Last Podcast on the Left, that’s sorta what I have in mind. Basically, there’s 2-3 consistent hosts per episode, and one of them chooses a real life story to basically walk the listener through with points of discussion and humor along the way. Some preliminary topics I have in mind:

  • The Cancellation of Mother 3 for the Nintendo 64
  • Dobutsu no Mori’s Journey to the West and Back
  • The History of the Dolphin Emulator
  • Little Sound Dj and Chiptune Creation
  • Satoru Iwata, Programmer

But these are just the things I like. I would want my co-host(s) to have different but equally niche interests (for instance, my background is almost all Nintendo, so a Sony or Sega fan might be a good counterpart, etc.)

Agreed. I also realized that especially with the lack of archived messages, we were basically losing our permanence while also ignoring our legacy. The fact I can link to threads here with creation dates in 2009 is damn amazing to me and that was the biggest loss with Slack.

Like if we were still on Slack, I could still say we’re turning 12, but it really wouldn’t feel like it at all.

OK. If nothing else, I can still see about getting a “Twitch is live” banner or something, it would just have to work with multiple accounts (and gracefully handle the case where two or more people are live at the same time.) There would be a manual “sign up” process to get on this list but it’d basically just be posting your Twitch in a specific thread. Down the road with newer users I’d personally vet their existing content before approval.

Thanks Mallys! I haven’t made 100% correct decisions with this place and I know it, but I am happy and proud of this place still lasting as long as it has. The thing is, it’s also because of you guys. If I had spent all my time on Gamefaqs instead of the X-Play boards, and made the same site, would this place still exist? I’m doubtful.

Something about the specific group of people I interacted with from 2006-2008 is what gave this place a core to build an amazing community around, and I’ll always be thankful for that. :heart:

That Kablamfan somehow found us. How would we promote for more members?

I don’t know when I’ll get back to streaming, but seeing that November is going to be my 10 year anniversary, I want to make a special video about it when I can.

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Hmmm… Maybe?

  • Let’s Play exports to our YouTube.
  • Fun, possibly themed Twitch streams?
  • A high quality podcast that refers back to here.
  • Paid advertising.
  • Contests with referral incentives.
  • Perhaps other original content I create can be run through here.

I’ve decided that I want to start making this place more and more my central hub online. I’m 50/50 on suspending my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook activities at some point this year, possibly not indefinitely but just to focus on my own things. I’ve already left some places I’ve spent a lot of time on, and I’ve been able to spend more time here (and gaming! which is important with Animal Crossing approaching…) I’d also like to resume blogging both at my site and at gameboy.blog, since I can’t just let that domain sit there.

I love this place, and the transition to Pugi.tv has honestly helped me a bit in spreading the word online through t-shirts worn around PAX and discussions with former coworkers. I intend to ramp that up so much more once March 1st hits.

Any thoughts on branding? I’m really quite open to anything, including other TLDs.

http://pugi.tv
pugi.chat
pugi.jp
pugi.app

I could even be going back to some kind of PG-based thing…

pg.zone
pg.wtf
pg.fan

:man_shrugging:

MP4 and WebM video uploads of up to 6 MB have been enabled.

WebP uploading/posting has also been enabled, since I’ve seen them pop up from time to time when attempting to save memes and GIFs.

The board software will now be less opinionated about caps lock, lack of/excessive punctuation, short posts, and thread title formatting. If it’s still yelling at you about something, hit me up and I’ll try to fix it. I’m all about dat creative freedom baby. :sunglasses:

I don’t post much here anymore for all sorts of reasons. I don’t play current games, even though I have 2 of 3 of the current gen consoles. I just have no desire anymore. And in the past when I brought up older games, either no one cared or I’d get heckled (or both), so why bother? I’d also been in a relationship for a while, so much of my time was devoted to that. And my tastes are constantly changing, so I don’t like to stick to stuff. And, frankly, I just don’t care about a lot of stuff I once did. The passion is gone.

I used to write long posts that went on for a while and people would complain there was too much text, they aren’t reading or would never respond. I’d post stuff that was a few sentences long and people would complain there was no substance. After several years, it became why bother?

I know pugi isn’t necessarily a haven for politics or anything, but it’s the same thing on every other social media platform I’m associated with. Since the last election, around 90% of the people I know online suddenly lost their goddamn minds and became completely in-fucking-sane about anything and everything and make everything a political war or tirade. Who wants to deal with that shit all day, every day, everywhere?

If there is one thing Pugi still has going for it, it’s that it has yet to become the clusterfuck that everywhere else has become. So cheers to that.

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The insanity that has consumed politics in recent years is the reason why I filter out every news and politics subreddit from my r/all feed.

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It sounds like you’ve found a healthier online/IRL balance. :+1:

I don’t talk much politics here or anywhere, including Facebook and Reddit. Thankfully on the web you’re able to tailor sites like these to your own preferences. The world’s always been on fire, nothing new. “Every time the dust settles, God throws a stone,” etc.

I barely played any video games in 2019 and my tastes have changed a lot too, so I totally get where you’re coming from.

I will say for long posts, even I know when writing up some tirade or long explanatory thing, it’s probably just for me. I’m not owed an audience; the content has to be able to stand on its own for a reader to engage with it. Yeah, it sucks when I write eight paragraphs about something Game Boy-related that doesn’t get any responses, but it is what it is. If you’re getting more engagement for your writings elsewhere, congrats though. Just my two cents.

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You even use r/all??

My front page is made up of 8-9 niche subreddits that are too small to have “mod/subreddit drama,” and 1-2 bigger subreddits I never, ever read the comments on.

The bigger the pool the higher the urine content, so to speak…

I was posting in facebook gaming groups for a while and for the most part it was good, but I lost interest. I got back into comics a few years back and found some decent comic groups to post in, but I guess the last 2 or 3 years in comics something happened, because those too have become political and it’s one side or the other side. I just want to read good comics. I don’t care who you are or what you believe in, just don’t be a dick. But that’s not how things roll anymore. So I mostly avoid it. These days, I will check out the 3D groups on Facebook if anything, but that in itself is super rare.