Ellen Million (ellenmillion) wrote,
Ellen Million

Today, on the chopping block: EMG forums

At one point, the EMG forums were hopping. They've never been the kind of zooming social platform that some forums achieve, with dozens of posts a minute, and I've always been honestly happy with that, because I'm not the kind of person who has time to hang out moderating a forum all day every day. We had a good, solid community where we could exchange lots of heartfelt market and business advice, get a reliable artistic critique by several people within a few hours, rant about a bad client, or share something silly. There were always a handful of interesting posts to read each day, and projects to discuss and brainstorm on. EMG-Zine took most of its form there, as did Fantastic Portfolios. Most of the sites got their feedback and took their final form through user discussion on those forums, with lively and thoughtful input from our users - almost exclusively member artists.

We've always been blessedly, blessedly free of drama. I blame this on the fact that I have always been the most active participant (or close to it), and I have always been a fan of common courtesy. I've been clear that I wouldn't tolerate meanness, and set a general example of friendly but firm, trying to offer thoughtful counterpoint to opinions, act encouragingly and fairly to all the members. (Also, I wrote the paychecks. That might have played a role...) I've had to have private words with... maybe one artist, ever. The only threads I've censored have been spam.

Ah... spam.

Spam joins were a big bother for a while there. At one point, there were hundreds joining every day. I kept 'em out, and Tiziano helped me kill them, before the forums were upgraded to the point where we could keep them from joining effectively. Even if they don't make it through to leave their spammy little links on the boards, it was still a bit of a buzzkill. We got hacked once, too.

Largely, those problems are behind us, I hope.

But wow, has it slowed down. It used to be that a new member was greeted by between four and a dozen people. Now? I say hello when I think to check the boards, three days later. Or a week.

There is a TON of great material on the boards, but it's largely static, now. I keep it updated - I updated it just tonight, actually - because I have learned my spam and hacker lessons quite thoroughly (don't leave out of date software on the web, boys and girls!), but rarely remember to post anything there anymore.

Does anyone USE forums anymore? Is this worth trying to blow the dust off of? I would love to see the critique boards active again, and if other folks were to meet me in the effort, I'd love to post WIPs for review again, and chat about businessy topics and see how you are. Has Facebook and Twitter and Livejournal replaced this role too thoroughly, or would you stop in if it was active again?

I'm... not sure what to do here yet. You, gentle readers, may act as jury in this matter, because it's not something I COULD single-handedly revive.
Tags: chopping block, emg
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