I’ve been noticing an ongoing trend when it comes to creating new ideas, and trying to make them work. I couldn’t really put my finger on what was going wrong before, but now I think I know what’s going on.
WHERE I THINK THE PROBLEM LIES:
Coming up with ideas
- I think it’s really good that people are trying to come up with new ideas to help benefit the forum, but if no one actually runs them, they’re never going to go anywhere. For my own personal experience, I’ve learned that if you come up with an idea for a contest, a game, or anything like that, strongly consider running it yourself, and let everyone else who is willing to help serve as support
. Unless you find someone that is very genuinely interested and very eager to run it for you and seriously promises to commit to running it and is willing to set their face on fire and put it out with an ice pick if they don’t fulfill their promise (kidding, you know what I mean), people are going to look to you, the idea creator, to make it work since no one knows your own ideas better than you. Otherwise, if you just throw it out there and expect some random anonymous person to get excited and volunteer to do it for you, your idea pretty much just rolls out the window and ends up as last month’s roadkill.
We’re not preparing it right
- I also think when people come up with something that could benefit the forum, organize it first and make it presentable. Get a banner for it, make it look interesting and snazzy to read, and show you actually want to see success from this idea and you actually really like it yourself. Too many times, I’ve seen an idea that just came out of the brainstorming phase get posted on the forum, half-baked, and nowhere near ready to go, and like a doughy, gooey cranberry muffin that wasn’t cooked enough, no one really wants it. I’ve also seen a lot of “hey, here’s my idea, what do people think of it?” threads that don’t actually help the creation of it, and when the idea thread no longer gets responses, it just dies.
Who will work VS who can work
– I think we’ve seen plenty of these threads before, and I had a personal experience with this when I made the Forum Skin Workshop (which unfortunately is now resting in peace). What ultimately happened was I found myself with a lot of people not doing anything, and eventually, I ended up shrugging and completely doing my own skins by myself. Other people that submitted their own skins, like Sarah, ended up doing it completely by themselves as well.
I’ve seen a lot of threads that ask people what can they do to help with someone else’s idea, and usually what people do is they simply put their name down, write what they’re good at, and then just run off and never show up again to see how things are going. Not good.
HOW I THINK WE CAN FIX THIS:
Delegating the workload
- I know this idea won't be too much fun, but I think it’s about time we start delegating who does what, and making sure they commit to it. If you have an idea thread, and you have a kind of “sign up” form that the person uses to tell everyone what they can do, turn it into what they WILL do, and give them very specific directions. If someone signs up for it, then you have the RIGHT to essentially employ them and give them a very specific role
when it comes to implementing your idea and getting it organized. You’re the manager now, and like a real business, you have the ability to direct them, watch what they’re doing, ask how things are going, and yes, even fire them when they don’t do their job or don’t do a good one. This business of everyone just showing up and waiting for someone to start something has really, really got to end.
– “I want to see this thing up and running on MM/DD/YYYY.” We need to get real about this. If you don’t put down a deadline and commit to it, people will blow it off for months and it will never, ever get done unless you take command yourself, which is ultimately where most successful ideas have had to do in order to work.
Also, make the deadline realistic and let it be an actually obtainable goal, and not be so short that it’s impossible to reach. However, an excessive amount of time means people aren’t going to be pushed into working right away and any motivation they started off with will be draining quickly. PM/VM people and keep asking them how things are going, and get them to show you their progress on it so far. Also, if you find the deadline date has arrived and people aren’t doing anything or they're ignoring your PMs and VMs, yes, Virginia, fire them and get new people going on it, and put in a new deadline.
NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE BIG
Since raising activity around here seems to be a priority, I found there are a few things just about anyone can do.
Make New Threads:
That’s it. We’re not talking rocket science here, anyone can do this and it would boost activity. Get a new conversation going, maybe instead of talking in the Daily Chit Chat thread, you bring up a topic of discussion in its own thread. Go to other forums and see what they’re talking about. Looks like a good conversation? Hey, bring it over here! I’ve done this plenty of times and it works. Remember this thread, which got a whopping 14 pages on it?
I won’t lie, I got that thread from another forum, and holy cow did it work. Also, imagine what happens if everyone does this, and everyone creates at least two threads a week in this fashion (which is pretty easy when you think about it). Not everything on this forum needs to be a big contest, or a big RP, or something like that. All you need are places for new conversations to start up. Don’t keep recycling the same thread for multiple conversations, get some new ones out there.
Small ideas are STILL cool
– I think we’ve gotten into a crazy pattern where people keep raising the bar higher, and higher, and higher and… holy crap, how are we supposed to beat this now? Stop trying to create the world’s longest fan fiction, or the galaxy’s hugest and most detailed role play sign up. It’s bad, and I’ve seen it completely keep someone out of participating as they’re locked in perfectionism and then never actually get into the activity itself because of it. Sure, make it good and not cruddy, but don’t try to make it perfect
, it’s impossible and you’re only doing yourself a major disservice if you try to do it.
I know I often come up with pretty detailed plots, but it doesn’t always need to be like this. Pure originality is really the key here, it’s not always about detail. Sometimes, I find the best way to do that is to grab a whole slew of ideas from various sources. But yeah, this isn’t everyone’s method of doing things. I know with that RP guide I made a few months back, I made sure I put “How Neo Pikachu does it” because I know this isn’t how everyone does it, it’s just the approach I usually take.
– No one is going to chew you out for trying to do something different and new (and they really shouldn’t). Sometimes, it could be something that’s been already done, but with a new parameter. You could forge a whole new idea just on the basis of going in a completely new direction. Hey, how about the one-month fan fiction contest, where people only have a month to write up and complete their fan fiction? Or how about the One Hour Art Contest, where contestants only have one hour to do and finish their work according to a theme that’s only presented when the clock starts ticking?
Anyway, I hope I’m making sense here. I think it’s good that people are trying to help activity around here, but we need to change our approaches, directions, leadership, and how we try to get things to work around here.
And yes, if anyone wants my advice with their idea, please, don't hesitate to ask. Really, don't, that's what I'm here for. I may or may not be able to directly help with you the idea itself, but I can at least tell you how I think the best way to approach handling it would be.