|Posted by Ember on December 23, 2017 at 1:40 AM|
Hello everyone, thank you so much for filling out the survey! I would be hard-pressed to overstate how valuable the surveys are for helping me understand how to improve members’ experiences of the site. If you haven’t filled it out yet, don’t worry, it’ll continue to check it over the next few weeks. As well, the “Contact Us” box on The Help Page is always open for anonymous messages. The survey can be found here.
Based on the responses I’ve received so far, I have a handful of ideas for how to improve the website. I’m going to update the History Page more frequently and write a guide about the clans’ environment (non-medicinal plants, geography, weather, etc). The the moderators and I will be placing more attention on enforcing rules regarding spelling and grammar, chatbox spamming, and realism and I will be keeping a closer eye on the ceremonies and making sure they get done on time. As well, I’m going to run through the pages looking for typos, grammatical errors, and simply places that need reworking. If you want to help with this effort, please message me.
The most commonly criticized aspect of the website was plot planning, with the specific complaints ranging from too few members taking initiative to the difficulty of building strong personal relationships between characters. I think the best way to address these problems, as originally suggested by one of the survey respondents, is to move plot planning from the News Page into a new section of the Forums designated for out of character discussions. Here, we could have a small handful of threads running at once: one for large event planning, one for side plot planning, a third for members to post when they’re looking to build relationships for their characters (mates, friends, kits, etc.). This could encourage more members to get involved in plot planning and has the minor bonus of being easier to organize and not bumping down actual News entries, however, it also opens up a new can of worms by breaking some boundaries between in-character and out-of-character spaces. As this is such a large change, I’d like to get your thoughts on how it should be handled. Do you think this is a good idea? Do you have any other ideas to improve how we plan the roleplay’s plot?
Another common criticism I received regarded how members accused of bullying or other rule infractions are treated, with members feeling that the moderators and I aren’t putting enough effort into getting both sides of the story. Thank you for making me aware of this issue, I’ll be certain to step back and look at both sides of what happened in the future rather than potentially jumping the gun with penalties.
I also received a few requests for new events, but no concrete suggestions for what these events should be. Currently, we only have two big events (Halloween StarClan and Dark Forest roleplaying and the New Years’ Gift Exchange) alongside a few other traditions, like my thanking-the-members site anniversary blog entry. If you guys have any suggestions, please speak up. The events shouldn’t rest on any particular skill- such as drawing- so we can include more members, and be related to the website or roleplay in some way.
A handful of survey respondents complained about Webs’ issues and while I wish I could fix all the glitches that have been afflicting the site lately, there’s only so much I’m able to do. When issues come up I always report them to Webs and do what I can to make things run smoothly, but unfortunately the glitches go far beyond what I can edit on the website I only hold the sway of one website owner among thousands. I have begun looking toward other websites where we could host this roleplay, but so far this search has been unsuccessful, since we need a host that allows a variety of page types. If any of you have host suggestions, please message me. I am currently working on a guide about Webs glitches, which I expect to publish at some point in mid January.
As well, there were a few suggestions sent in that I won’t go ahead with but want to acknowledge. Firstly, someone asked for a members-only Discord server. We had something similar to this on Skype a while back and while it encouraged more chatting, it also created a clique of members participating in the skype chat that left the others feeling left out and made enforcing appropriateness and bullying rules a challenge. Someone also suggested that I post the current clan alliances to the home page, which is a good idea in that it might help clarify things from the get-go, but alliances are already explained on the History Page and I expect that I just wouldn’t remember to update the Home Page. I think it’s better to have that sort of thing in one place where it will be up to date, than in several places where the information might be conflicting. A handful of survey respondents also mentioned the possibility of creating an age or literacy requirement. I understand that it can be frustrating when we get a wave of young or inexperienced roleplayers who join the website and take a bit to get used to how the roleplay is run, but this website has always been open to anyone who wants to join and who follows the rules. Everyone starts roleplaying somewhere and I think there’s value in creating a place where roleplayers of all skill and experience levels are welcome. Lastly, someone requested that there be a seperate rules page. As well, someone requested that there be a Questions and Answers page where moderators could answer members’ questions. I can see how this would be helpful, but we already have a handful of other ways members can ask questions (chatbox, private messages, their profile pages, etc.) and I’m not sure where we could put the Questions and Answers Page such that it fit into the rest of the website. The rules are already clearly listed on the Home Page and putting them somewhere else might make them less central or harder to find, which I don’t think is a good move.
There were also a few requests for new features or pages that were impossible to create for one reason or another. For instance, someone asked that different forum pages be created for each clan. I’m not seeing the utility in doing this, as it would make the forums more difficult to navigate, and Webs doesn’t actually allow us to have more than one forum. Someone else requested that there be more ways for members to be notified when others post, which I can’t do because notifications are entirely handled by Webs. You can edit your notification preferences (Members Area>Edit Profile>Notification preferences), but I don’t have the ability to change how notifications are handled. One of the survey respondents requested photographic maps, which would be almost impossible seeing as the camps and other locations were imagined, rather than being based on real-life locations that I could go out and take a picture of.
Lastly, there were a few requests for features that already exist or are very similar to something that already exist. The member character lists are checked roughly every other week by the moderators, the Planned Events Section is updated every few weeks with the decided-upon plot, and I usually start Plot Planning Blog entries with questions about what members want to do and usually prompt with questions throughout those entries.
What do you guys think of these changes? Did I misunderstand what you guys want or have I overlooked an easy way that something could be implemented? Do you have any criticisms or suggestions that didn’t fit into the survey? Please comment below or, if you want to stay anonymous, submit another survey response or use the "Contact Us" box on the Help Page.