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ChurchSkiz

I'm Leaving Gamedev.Net Because Of The New Site Design

46 posts in this topic

Really? I guess I shouldn't be surprised but hearing that a handful of times already is still uncomfortable. GD has never been "pretty", it's a technical content site. I would visit if it were on raw text files, because when I am developing games and I ask a question, I get a competent answer usually in minutes.

So you like the old site better, great. Complain about it. But if you're leaving over it then you're here for the wrong reasons.

On that note, thank you staff for working hard on the new site, I'm sure it was a hell of a lot of work.
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I came to this site years ago and stayed due to the helpful and friendly community found on the forums. I'm not sure how things like site layout and color themes are the most important features of a website.
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[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1294677452' post='4756697']
[...]So you like the old site better, great. Complain about it. But if you're leaving over it then you're here for the wrong reasons.[...]
[/quote]The reason I'd guess people are leaving is exactly because they are here to enjoy technical discussions with competent developers. The new design looks largely targeted to draw in younger, less experienced people that will contribute more questions than answers and (based on my experience with other social networking sites) more soliloquies, snark, and sass with a significant shortage of serious science and other interesting-to-me topics. If the community makeup switches so such demographics match that description, it will not have the same kinds of content that such people are interested in.
Also, it makes my eyes hurt in a way that feels very similar to a migraine. I'm not sure how GDNet has always managed that, considering that most sites on the internet used black-on-white, but somehow onl this site has ever continually caused pain. I could easily see why this alone would cause people to leave at least until a less painful theme is available.
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Dunno why I should leave a community because there is a new site layout...
Its the helpful and competend community what binds me and not the design :rolleyes:
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This is a developer's forum. Anyone who knows about programming/development knows that software grows and gets fixed along the way. Staff and Moderators have already said this from the beginning, especially the "More Changes Are Coming" part. I feel that if anyone is going to leave over the design, then don't let the doorknob get lodged in your ass on the way out.

Thanks. :)
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I don't think anyone is going to be leaving specifically from the changed site, at least not while there's still hope that the glaring problems and design choices will be rectified. I think it more like that people are worried about the direction one of their favorite sites is taking and hope that exercising the only power they have in the process (their patronage) will give them a bit of leverage to turn it back toward something with which they will be happier.
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[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1294677452' post='4756697']
Really? I guess I shouldn't be surprised but hearing that a handful of times already is still uncomfortable. GD has never been "pretty", it's a technical content site. I would visit if it were on raw text files, because when I am developing games and I ask a question, I get a competent answer usually in minutes.

So you like the old site better, great. Complain about it. But if you're leaving over it then you're here for the wrong reasons.

On that note, thank you staff for working hard on the new site, I'm sure it was a hell of a lot of work.
[/quote]
The site has never been pretty, but it has been simple and easy to read. For me, a lot of the new layout detracts from that simplicity -- it's not the color scheme, which I don't mind. It's the things like the massive amounts of spacing between everything, the clutter of all the social networking buttons, the weird font inconsistencies and the huge boxes devoted to pointless user e-penis measurements like post count. These annoy me a fair bit and I don't see how you could think that's invalid. It may be a bit extreme to huff off in a fit because of the changes, I agree, but I don't think that means the issues should be ignored.

Fortunately most of those issues are things that could be easily remedied with some simple tweaks to the new software, it's just a matter of time. The staff need to prioritize fixing real functionality bugs.

I bet half the people who "leave" in the next week come back eventually anyhow.
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[quote name='jpetrie' timestamp='1294679450' post='4756712']
I bet half the people who "leave" in the next week come back eventually anyhow.
[/quote]
Relevant: [url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/592426-game-devs-should-avoid-forums-whaaaa/"]"... devs should avoid forums." WHAAAA?[/url]
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I think we should all vote on the colour scheme, from 12 candidates. Everybody who voted for the one which wins can stay. Everybody else has to go be emo about too much lightness somewhere else.
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I hope you all will take the time to read the massive blog post I am working on right this moment that will address a crapton of stuff and hopefully give people a better idea of what's going on. I've just finished going through every single (300+) bug/feature submission - responding, categorizing and prioritizing - and will be keeping atop new ones as they come in so there will be a lot of ground I will be covering! Will try to structure it all as best as possible for people to find what they are looking for in terms of answers and explanations.

It will be up sometime early Tuesday morning unless I fall asleep at my keyboard. Mike pulled mad hours getting this site functional over launch and now it's my turn to help make sure it stays that way. I already passed 24hrs a while ago :)
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[quote name='Extrarius' timestamp='1294678656' post='4756705']The new design looks largely targeted to draw in younger, less experienced people that will contribute more questions than answers and (based on my experience with other social networking sites) more soliloquies, snark, and sass with a significant shortage of serious science and other interesting-to-me topics. If the community makeup switches so such demographics match that description, it will not have the same kinds of content that such people are interested in.
[/quote]

Its not about targeting a younger crowd, its about keeping our software current and with the times. I know new changes are hard to embrace but its all part of the maintenance.
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[quote name='Gaiiden' timestamp='1294680917' post='4756733']
I hope you all will take the time to read the massive blog post I am working on right this moment that will address a crapton of stuff and hopefully give people a better idea of what's going on. I've just finished going through every single (300+) bug/feature submission - responding, categorizing and prioritizing - and will be keeping atop new ones as they come in so there will be a lot of ground I will be covering! Will try to structure it all as best as possible for people to find what they are looking for in terms of answers and explanations.

It will be up sometime early Tuesday morning unless I fall asleep at my keyboard. Mike pulled mad hours getting this site functional over launch and now it's my turn to help make sure it stays that way. I already passed 24hrs a while ago :)
[/quote]

I put down a list of things I consider to be the deeper design problems of the site [url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/592469-what-does-everyone-think-about-the-new-site-layout/page__view__findpost__p__4756238"]here[/url], and a lot of people seem to agree with it (25 up votes already). I think what you have now has a lot of potential, and I look forward to seeing how you guys are going to address the issues we have that aren't simple bug fixes.

It's too bad we never got to see Superpig's ideas come to life though. Is there any word on some of the features he had planned? Some of his ideas such as making tagging a core part of the experience sounded like they would have been genius.
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[quote name='speciesUnknown' timestamp='1294680317' post='4756726']
I think we should all vote on the colour scheme, from 12 candidates. Everybody who voted for the one which wins can stay. Everybody else has to go be emo about too much lightness somewhere else.
[/quote]Bah, most people here are programmers. They should figure out how to modify the theme themselves using greasemonkey, and post their work for others to use.
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[quote name='Mike.Popoloski' timestamp='1294682175' post='4756746']
I put down a list of things I consider to be the deeper design problems of the site [url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/592469-what-does-everyone-think-about-the-new-site-layout/page__view__findpost__p__4756238"]here[/url], and a lot of people seem to agree with it (25 up votes already). I think what you have now has a lot of potential, and I look forward to seeing how you guys are going to address the issues we have that aren't simple bug fixes.

It's too bad we never got to see Superpig's ideas come to life though. Is there any word on some of the features he had planned? Some of his ideas such as making tagging a core part of the experience sounded like they would have been genius.
[/quote]

Reading feedback over the last 24 hours I've come to recognize that we could have done better communicating the approach we've taken with the new version of the site. Definitely read Drew's update as he starts to better explain some of this. [size="3"]I do think your list brings up things that mostly could have been addressed through a better communications strategy. Most of the feedback along the lines you listed are due more to us not explaining what we're trying to do with the site than they are issues with what we did, so we'll have to rectify that. We're actually offering the games industry more ability to network, communicate, collaborate, and find content than we were ever able to provide, but somehow that aspect of the new site is being missed by most people.[/size]

If what you're referring to as "Superpig's ideas" are the "V5 features" that we've been discussing for most of the site's existence, then yes those features will be rolled out eventually, including things like tagging. Like any good product launch, the short-term plan is to address immediate needs and once the dust settles we'll re-evaluate our long-term plan based on everyone's feedback.
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[quote name='Mike.Popoloski' timestamp='1294682175' post='4756746']
I put down a list of things I consider to be the deeper design problems of the site [url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/592469-what-does-everyone-think-about-the-new-site-layout/page__view__findpost__p__4756238"]here[/url], and a lot of people seem to agree with it (25 up votes already). I think what you have now has a lot of potential, and I look forward to seeing how you guys are going to address the issues we have that aren't simple bug fixes.

It's too bad we never got to see Superpig's ideas come to life though. Is there any word on some of the features he had planned? Some of his ideas such as making tagging a core part of the experience sounded like they would have been genius.
[/quote]

I think our biggest fear this time around was in publishing information about the new site and not being able to come through with it. Our software was aging and we couldn't maintain it. Because of the monumental effort it was taking to produce the new software we reconsidered whether producing our own custom software was really a good idea at all.. because what is our focus? Not writing forum software.. but on game development.

This site is a reflect of our intent to give us time on improving just the game development part of things while modernizing our aging infrustructure.. now we are 100% LAMP and can run on much cheaper servers.

Our site was running on classic ASP for god sakes.. ;)
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[quote name='Extrarius' timestamp='1294678656' post='4756705']
The reason I'd guess people are leaving is exactly because they are here to enjoy technical discussions with competent developers. The new design looks largely targeted to draw in younger, less experienced people that will contribute more questions than answers and (based on my experience with other social networking sites) more soliloquies, snark, and sass with a significant shortage of serious science and other interesting-to-me topics. If the community makeup switches so such demographics match that description, it will not have the same kinds of content that such people are interested in.[/quote]

If all the competent developers leave because they're afraid of the possibility that all the competent developers leave or be drowned out, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As for snark: I wonder how many of those leaving would nod to the wisdom that gameplay is more important than graphics. :)

[quote]Also, it makes my eyes hurt in a way that feels very similar to a migraine. I'm not sure how GDNet has always managed that, considering that most sites on the internet used black-on-white, but somehow onl this site has ever continually caused pain. I could easily see why this alone would cause people to leave at least until a less painful theme is available.


[/quote]

For me it's about the wrapping my brain around the layout so I don't have to think about the layout. For the moment, I can't just scan the page, I have to think about the layout before I can start thinking about the content. However, it's a well-organized layout, so it won't be too hard. Also related, my eyes still jump try to jump where the information used to be even though I know it's somewhere else which is causing a strain similar to trying to bring the foreground into focus in a 3D movie.

It'll just take a little time. (For me, at least.)
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[quote name='Kevin Hawkins' timestamp='1294686035' post='4756790']
Reading feedback over the last 24 hours I've come to recognize that we could have done better communicating the approach we've taken with the new version of the site. Definitely read Drew's update as he starts to better explain some of this. [size="3"]I do think your list brings up things that mostly could have been addressed through a better communications strategy. Most of the feedback along the lines you listed are due more to us not explaining what we're trying to do with the site than they are issues with what we did, so we'll have to rectify that. We're actually offering the games industry more ability to network, communicate, collaborate, and find content than we were ever able to provide, but somehow that aspect of the new site is being missed by most people.[/size]
[/quote]

I agree with this. Maybe a thread about what to expect or a 30 day beta feature upstream could have prevented *some* of the grouchiness. TBH I didn't even know there was going to be a switch until after log-ins were disabled and I noticed the stickied thread.
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[quote name='Mike.Popoloski' timestamp='1294687975' post='4756811']
I get that you're trying to expand/shift the target market for GDNet services, but I think the reason people aren't recognizing these changes is that they see the core service offered by GDNet as being the forums with everything else being supplementary to that role. Looking at it from that perspective, it's easy to see why regressions in the usability of the forums are the major problem points for people migrating to the new software.

The problem, I think, with trying to move away from the forums as the primary focus, and the reason why people are slow to accept the changes, is that there are plenty of other well-established sites that take care of the other aspects you're trying to get into. LinkedIn handles networking, Facebook and Twitter handle communication, and there are plenty of sites out there that handle collaboration between developers. GDNet is the king of technical forums and discussions, with a high concentration of intelligent individuals willing to help and excellent control of the signal-to-noise ratio, both through active moderators as well as community policing via the rating system.

In the same vein, the emphasis so much on content when GDNet hasn't been a significant source of technical content for many years seems a bit silly and premature. Most new articles these days are either product reviews, interviews, or blatant advertising. There's nothing wrong with putting the architecture into place to support a higher volume of quality content, but until you actually start getting that content, it seems pointless to structure your business around it.

Essentially, I want GDNet to focus on developing the services where it excels, orienting the site around them, and then working on the additional features on the side when you get time and they become necessary. Doing it otherwise risks alienating your user base without any guarantees that you'll be able to deliver on the content necessary to make the new site work.
[/quote]
Ah.. I see our definition of content is at odds. [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif[/img]

Content is more than articles. It's everything generated by an author, user, and visitor of the site - your forum posts, your blog posts, your comments on news, the articles themselves, product reviews, job postings, and so on - all of it is relevant information for game development and related technologies. We don't believe we're shifting focus away from the forums - if anything we're going to strengthen them and augment them with stronger references to other content areas of the site (news, comments, blogs, status updates, external sites, etc.) This software is geared towards tightening the community and giving people access to the information they are most interested in while having the ability to cross-reference all related content across the site - granted, it's not quite setup the way we want yet, but [i]that [/i]is the intent and direction.

The service we excel at is providing an environment for the games industry community to flourish, and that is a key goal of this site upgrade. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised as more of our capabilities start to emerge and you start to see that we have a much wider view of what's possible in building a strong community of game developers. Jeromy Walsh reminds me every year at GDC of the loads of rich content in the forums that we need to better utilize. I agree with him, and this site upgrade is a step in the right direction to allow us to better utilize and organize the content generated by the community.

And I think you're onto something regarding the forums look and feel. Good point.
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I think the point Mike was trying to make about is that where as on the old site the forums where 'front and centre' with a quick link from the front page (in fact 3 quick ways; active topics, left hand link and the link from the [i]drop down[/i] menu) now I either have to navigate a slightly flakey drop down menu system (which is annoying to use on IE9) or if I want to check if there are any active threads I'm intrested in I have to scroll a massive distance down the front page past an advert, jobs, events, featured book and recent articles (half of which is mirroring information already above the news section) before I get to it.

This alone feels like the forums are being placed a very distance 2nd in the 'way things are going' on the site.
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[quote name='Kevin Hawkins' timestamp='1294689766' post='4756837']
Ah.. I see our definition of content is at odds. :)

Content is more than articles. It's everything generated by an author, user, and visitor of the site - your forum posts, your blog posts, your comments on news, the articles themselves, product reviews, job postings, and so on - all of it is relevant information for game development and related technologies. We don't believe we're shifting focus away from the forums - if anything we're going to strengthen them and augment them with stronger references to other content areas of the site (news, comments, blogs, status updates, external sites, etc.) This software is geared towards tightening the community and giving people access to the information they are most interested in while having the ability to cross-reference all related content across the site - granted, it's not quite setup the way we want yet, but [i]that [/i]is the intent and direction.

The service we excel at is providing an environment for the games industry community to flourish, and that is a key goal of this site upgrade. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised as more of our capabilities start to emerge and you start to see that we have a much wider view of what's possible in building a strong community of game developers. Jeromy Walsh reminds me every year at GDC of the loads of rich content in the forums that we need to better utilize. I agree with him, and this site upgrade is a step in the right direction to allow us to better utilize and organize the content generated by the community.

And I think you're onto something regarding the forums look and feel. Good point.
[/quote]

Good to know. Like I said before I see potential in the overhaul, and I just wanted to get my 2 cents in before things get irrevocably taken down a path with which I wasn't comfortable.

For now though I'll wait for Drew's blog post to enlighten us all :)
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[quote name='phantom' timestamp='1294690734' post='4756849']
I think the point Mike was trying to make about is that where as on the old site the forums where 'front and centre' with a quick link from the front page (in fact 3 quick ways; active topics, left hand link and the link from the [i]drop down[/i] menu) now I either have to navigate a slightly flakey drop down menu system (which is annoying to use on IE9) or if I want to check if there are any active threads I'm intrested in I have to scroll a massive distance down the front page past an advert, jobs, events, featured book and recent articles (half of which is mirroring information already above the news section) before I get to it.

This alone feels like the forums are being placed a very distance 2nd in the 'way things are going' on the site.
[/quote]


There's one other option from the front page - click View Latest Content, then click the Forums tab. Perhaps we ought to have the front page default to the Forums tab when View Latest Content is clicked (different pages default to different tabs), then it would be as easy as it was before.

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Ah, I missed that one probably because its somewhat hidden.. and defaulting to the forums is probably a good idea... any way to indicate that other tabs even HAVE extra content?

edit: ugh... just noticed the text advert after, what seems like, the first post on every page.. :|

edit 2: oh, and if I do start spending more and more time away from the site its because the menus are STILL broken in IE9 despite my reporting of that problem back in Oct 2010...
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Other than the bugs, I see nothing wrong with the new layout. Personally, I think the fonts are too big the way it is now, and I'd rather have more text displayed but I can either change my browser setting or forum display style. As for the main page, I'll have to tolerate it, but I really do hope it goes down about 2pts.

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