March 1st marks this community’s 12th anniversary. Isn’t that crazy? Bush was still President!
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:
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.
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.
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. 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:
- Existing links would still work; the .tv address would just forward to same page at the new address.
- The site name would become simply “Pugi,” dropping the .tv suffix. (Maaaybe the site becomes “Pugi Chat.” )
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.
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~