The Campaign Builders' Guild

Announcements => News => Topic started by: sparkletwist on August 12, 2018, 03:50:26 PM



Title: The Future of the CBG
Post by: sparkletwist on August 12, 2018, 03:50:26 PM
As many of you have likely noticed, Nomadic has been very busy and not been around much, and he doesn't see that situation changing soon. So, he has decided to hand Hoers the reins (no pun intended... ok, I admit, pun intended) as admin of the CBG. I (sparkletwist) will retain my current role.

Bigger changes are also in the works. The CBG has been home on the internet to many of us over the past 12 years (feel old yet?) and while our recent one-day surge in activity proved we do still have an active community around here, it is also not exactly a controversial idea that the amount of activity here has declined quite a bit since its heyday.

Recently, us three admins met on IRC and discussed the future of the CBG. Unfortunately, the CBG's current forum and wiki software is quite old and it needs significant upgrades and overhauls, and none of the three of us are able to undertake such a project right now. Combined with the decline in users, and, to be honest, the decline of internet forums in general, it is unavoidable that the CBG's days in its current form are numbered.

Therefore, we have decided to move our community to an existing social media platform. That frees us from most of the maintenance tasks that are necessary when we run our own site, and also grants us access to a wider pool of users from which we can potentially grow our membership. As Thor once said, "[The CBG] is not a place, it's a people." The end of our current site need not be (and I hope it is not) the end of us. 

Currently, we are most strongly considering Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/) and Discord (https://discordapp.com/).

Reddit is more similar to a traditional forum, while Discord is more of a persistent chat room more like an extended version of our Shoutbox. Both are more suited to discussion rather than hosting content, so the current setting threads that exist on the CBG will probably have to be hosted on an external wiki, or on Google Docs, or something of that sort. The good news is that this is not necessarily a big problem, as there are far more options in this regard than were available in 2006 when the site started.

Both of the platforms we are considering are strong, established communities with a wealth of tools available. Neither one is exactly like what we have now, but both are much wider platforms and may prove to be a better long-term solution. Using both is also an option, of course, although not deciding on a definitive new home for our community is probably not the best thing if we're trying to keep a solid community together.

No matter what we do, the wealth of material on the existing CBG's forum and wiki is not going to totally disappear, of course. We're looking into some way to continue to make the CBG's current content available as some sort of archive. More information on this will be forthcoming as we figure out what we're going to do. While we can assure you that your content will not simply disappear into a black hole, the archive may not be quite as convenient to use as a live site, so you may also save your own copy of any content of yours that you want to keep.

We're also seeking feedback from the community on what you want going forward, such as what platform you'd be most comfortable with, or if there's some other option we hadn't yet considered. While we don't have as many active users as we once did, there is still a small but active community here, and we don't want to take any step that would alienate that community. Hopefully, we can instead take steps to keep our community healthy and even start to grow once again.

The CBG is dead. Long live the CBG!


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: LD on August 12, 2018, 09:15:23 PM
Sorry to hear; not surprised though. Also suspect that the costs are relatively high for hosting the remaining data.

Would the Domain stay? I think that is a valuable part of the site- being able to type that in and go direct rather than through some sort of "Reddit" seems valuable.

The most valuable part of the world-building kit that the CBG has that no other site has (that I know of) are the canned special formatting tools, the

In Character

In Character
and

Out of Character

Out of Character
and floating note box.

Note

Floating Note box

That formatting made creating worlds here like laying out a PDF. Obviously though, I have not posted many new settings in recent years.

I doubt I would use the site (other than to read an occasional post) if it was solely on Reddit- it lacks those world building tools and is frankly ugly, whereas this site is elegant.
I do not know much about Discord. Does it require you to link it with other social media? How does it work?

Quote

Using both is also an option, of course, although not deciding on a definitive new home for our community is probably not the best thing if we're trying to keep a solid community together.
Couldn't you use both and have this website be a "portal" into both- have the landing page, have the wiki, have a reddit, have a discord/IRC with the running chatbox as a supplement and lose the active forums, which I suspect are what costs the most... The reddit could be used as a written announcement for when things are happening on the discord, or when someone wants to announce that they've posted something on the Wiki, or to request access to the Wikis?

Another idea, if some people here run games on Roll20, or have an open lobby on Roll20, you could have a link to a CBG "Roll20" Lobby or get-together with posted times for gaming.
I would tentatively be interested in participating in games like Fiasco! and some of the avant garde one shot indie games. Timing obviously will be a problem though.

Quote

so the current setting threads that exist on the CBG will probably have to be hosted on an external wiki,
If that is done... maybe give some thought to the "rights" issues. On certain external wikis, the rights revert to the wiki host rather than the person who posted the settings. As I recall, back in the day that was an important point and it certainly would present some issues to be throwing some peoples' work into the public domain or other people's ownership without their permission

Toward the archive issue: Would you be hosting the data from certain boards in a static form- e.g. the data from the Campaign Creation subforums? Personally, I think everything else could probably go zap (with the possible exceptions of Contests and Fantaseum), but those subforums are special.

Thank you for your service sparkletwist and Nomadic for the hosting (and Ishmayl before you!)


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Steerpike on August 13, 2018, 02:26:08 AM
I think this is probably good news, in a sense. Personally I'd favour reddit, where I hang out somewhat regularly already, and which feels closest to the existing site.

I'm curious what steps, if any, I'll need to take to ensure my blog (http://bearded-devil.com/ (http://bearded-devil.com/)) stays up. It's currently on the same server, although Nomadic took care of all the back-end stuff. It may be best for me to reach out to Nomadic?


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Hoers on August 13, 2018, 05:57:54 AM

LD

Sorry to hear; not surprised though. Also suspect that the costs are relatively high for hosting the remaining data.

Would the Domain stay? I think that is a valuable part of the site- being able to type that in and go direct rather than through some sort of "Reddit" seems valuable.

The most valuable part of the world-building kit that the CBG has that no other site has (that I know of) are the canned special formatting tools, the

In Character

In Character
and

Out of Character

Out of Character
and floating note box.

Note

Floating Note box

That formatting made creating worlds here like laying out a PDF. Obviously though, I have not posted many new settings in recent years.

I doubt I would use the site (other than to read an occasional post) if it was solely on Reddit- it lacks those world building tools and is frankly ugly, whereas this site is elegant.
I do not know much about Discord. Does it require you to link it with other social media? How does it work?

Quote

Using both is also an option, of course, although not deciding on a definitive new home for our community is probably not the best thing if we're trying to keep a solid community together.
Couldn't you use both and have this website be a "portal" into both- have the landing page, have the wiki, have a reddit, have a discord/IRC with the running chatbox as a supplement and lose the active forums, which I suspect are what costs the most... The reddit could be used as a written announcement for when things are happening on the discord, or when someone wants to announce that they've posted something on the Wiki, or to request access to the Wikis?

Another idea, if some people here run games on Roll20, or have an open lobby on Roll20, you could have a link to a CBG "Roll20" Lobby or get-together with posted times for gaming.
I would tentatively be interested in participating in games like Fiasco! and some of the avant garde one shot indie games. Timing obviously will be a problem though.

Quote

so the current setting threads that exist on the CBG will probably have to be hosted on an external wiki,
If that is done... maybe give some thought to the "rights" issues. On certain external wikis, the rights revert to the wiki host rather than the person who posted the settings. As I recall, back in the day that was an important point and it certainly would present some issues to be throwing some peoples' work into the public domain or other people's ownership without their permission

Toward the archive issue: Would you be hosting the data from certain boards in a static form- e.g. the data from the Campaign Creation subforums? Personally, I think everything else could probably go zap (with the possible exceptions of Contests and Fantaseum), but those subforums are special.

Thank you for your service sparkletwist and Nomadic for the hosting (and Ishmayl before you!)

I'll be keeping the domain regardless of what we end up doing - this was initially so that we could return to a discrete website if we someday end up with a much larger userbase again, but you raise a good point about redirecting.

The unique formatting options will be missed, but I think there are options to get around that at least with Reddit (quotation blocks, etc.).

I am not terribly familiar with Discord either but I've used it - if we moved to it we'd start looking like several linked chatrooms (you'd be able to create one to discuss a topic or setting).

Things are definitely still up in the air as to what solution we're going to use, and we want to take our time with the transition so as many users as possible are aware, and so that we pick the right combo. I'll look into using the current webpage as a redirect for one or both services. The big issue right now is finding the best way to continue supporting people posting settings into what is currently a forum thread. I think this'll work on Reddit with a few growing pains, but we'll trade out ease of user control for a little more mod management in order to do it.

Nomadic is currently looking into archiving all of the data based on the current state of the database. Depending on what he finds and what he can pull it down in, we might take the entire site and strip out the unneeded stuff, or if it proves difficult, then what I might end up doing is writing a web scraper specifically for the site and notify everyone via email/private message to list everything you want saved. I know there are a lot of users who haven't been around in years, and even those of us who are still regulars have dead projects (just look at my history), so when we make that decision it could quickly end up that a lot of people don't have that much they want to save.

As for your blog Steerpike, Nomadic did mention that he had other stuff hosted, and I can't recall if it would be affected by this (EDIT: it might) but you should confirm with him anyway (I'll ping him too).

An additional note about all of this: when I floated the topic of a transition with sparkletwist and Nomadic, my vision for the near-future was a three-way split of the existing service into:

1) A subreddit (for the "Campaign Elements and Design" and "Dragons Den" type conversations)
2) Discord or Roll20 (for Q&A, active discussions among small groups, and games)
3) Possibly a Google Drive or other cloud service for storage of some stuff

Again though, we don't want to end up muddying the community by doing so. My goal through all of this is to find an alternative that is as simple to use as possible while also allowing people to create and post content in mostly the same way we do now. I have some ideas, but I won't broadcast them until they've actually been tested.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Kalos Mer on August 13, 2018, 08:54:37 AM
Dormant member that I am, I won't venture to vote on what the community does next.  I will say I'm sad, in general, about the decline of the traditional forum, as I believe its format had some unique charms and advantages that more modern modes lack.  My own heyday was in the 2004-2006 era on the old Wizards board and here, and I can't imagine doing the kind of stuff I did then (5,000 word posts on, I dunno, orc religious rituals) on Reddit.  That said, long content posts don't do a bit of good if there isn't an active community to read them - so if change is necessary to stabilize and grow that community, it's probably for the best.  I'll follow wherever you go, and try to be a little more active than I have been in the past decade.

What is the timeframe proposed for shuttering and archiving the old site and moving to a new one?  I ask because I want to personally archive my material that's on the site but I'll be travelling for a wedding (mine) for the next week.  Should I pencil in time to do my archiving tonight before I fly out, or will the board as it is still be here in a couple weeks?


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Hoers on August 13, 2018, 09:13:55 AM

Kalos Mer

Dormant member that I am, I won't venture to vote on what the community does next.  I will say I'm sad, in general, about the decline of the traditional forum, as I believe its format had some unique charms and advantages that more modern modes lack.  My own heyday was in the 2004-2006 era on the old Wizards board and here, and I can't imagine doing the kind of stuff I did then (5,000 word posts on, I dunno, orc religious rituals) on Reddit.  That said, long content posts don't do a bit of good if there isn't an active community to read them - so if change is necessary to stabilize and grow that community, it's probably for the best.  I'll follow wherever you go, and try to be a little more active than I have been in the past decade.

What is the timeframe proposed for shuttering and archiving the old site and moving to a new one?  I ask because I want to personally archive my material that's on the site but I'll be travelling for a wedding (mine) for the next week.  Should I pencil in time to do my archiving tonight before I fly out, or will the board as it is still be here in a couple weeks?


I don't see us making a move for 2-3 months, and there will be a transition period where both sites are up simultaneously. No worries there :)


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Steerpike on August 13, 2018, 12:09:25 PM
Thanks Hoers. I've emailed Nomadic.

I think the Roll20/Discord idea is good in addition to Reddit.

Was Google+ discussed at all? In many ways, as far as I can tell, it's become the social media platform of choice for roleplaying creator communities, and people regularly post content there in various forms. There are Communities that function a lot like forums for various development and fan groups, like Map-Making in Games (https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/105897774940532146183) or the group for Dolmenwood (https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/106047082723430348845). I've got a little page for Hex there (https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/UY1UGE).

EDIT: I know the first reaction to Google+ is "That still exists?! Isn't that Google's failed version of Facebook?" - just wanted to put it out there for consideration. It became popular because Google Hangouts are really useful for games.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: sparkletwist on August 13, 2018, 03:45:38 PM
Since some questions came up about Discord, I'll try to add some information there. Discord is more or less like a persistent version of IRC, or a deluxe version of our Shoutbox. There can be multiple different discussion channels, related to various topics or whatever division we want to have. As such, it would be excellent for hosting various games-- each game could go in its own channel and thus the logs would be saved and also be immediately available to anyone viewing the Discord. It'd be a very good venue for the sorts of conversations that happen here often, but a less good venue for hosting setting information.

That said, there are lots of options for hosting setting information. The amount of activity on our own wiki has slowed to a trickle, and there have not been too many setting threads posted or updated lately, either, so I thought that having a medium for RPG discussion and the general concepts around campaign building (rather than specific campaigns) was a better direction to aim. If that thinking turns out to be wrong, though, please let us know! We're still deciding what we're going to do, and more information about how the community actually uses the resources we offer is of course useful.

As for copyright issues, the CBG always has and always will allow people posting material to maintain copyright over that material. You have to irrevocably and perpetually grant certain basic usage rights (in order that nobody can turn around and sue the CBG or its users for copyright infringement) but you still maintain ownership over the material. Nobody is allowed to use your stuff without giving you credit, or create derivative works or gain any commercial benefit without your explicit permission.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: LoA on August 13, 2018, 05:52:02 PM
Eh I don't know how I feel about Reddit. I don't like the idea of being open to everyone like that. I know this site is on its legs and all, but I like how cozy it is. I like the smallness of this community. I never want to be on another format with thousands of subscribers.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Hoers on August 13, 2018, 06:09:40 PM

LoA

Eh I don't know how I feel about Reddit. I don't like the idea of being open to everyone like that. I know this site is on its legs and all, but I like how cozy it is. I like the smallness of this community. I never want to be on another format with thousands of subscribers.

That's essentially what it is now, though; you just don't see new registrations anymore. If you look at the Members list, there are about 660 registered accounts, hardly any of which actually posted a significant amount. We have the same administrator abilities at Reddit (or similar platforms) as we do here (there's actually arguably more because we can see users' post history and even implement an approved posters list if we had to).

Furthermore, a major part of the reason why we even want to move is because it's difficult to justify maintaining the website in its technologically-outdated form, for the monthly cost, given the low user base. Frankly I'd like to see it return to the 2010-2012 period, where there were 2-3 active campaigns at any one time, and I'm pretty confident that the best way to do that is to tie it into a more modern platform with better tools for users to get the word out. I don't think having to deal with thousands of users is a real issue.

sparkletwist and I are working on a demo subreddit that we may be able to show off soon, so that everyone can get a first look at how such a transition might function. I'll use some of my old Haveneast stuff to fill a post or something as a better example for a long thread.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Steerpike on August 13, 2018, 06:29:27 PM

LoA

Eh I don't know how I feel about Reddit. I don't like the idea of being open to everyone like that. I know this site is on its legs and all, but I like how cozy it is. I like the smallness of this community. I never want to be on another format with thousands of subscribers.

I doubt a CBG subreddit will ever get those numbers. There are already really big rpg/D&D/worldbuilding/mapmaking subreddits out there, so ours would probably fly way under the radar.

Hoers

Frankly I'd like to see it return to the 2010-2012 period, where there were 2-3 active campaigns at any one time.

Totally the golden age.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Xeviat on August 13, 2018, 07:10:00 PM
I haven't been very active recently, but as a founder who has been happy to see so many people step up to take the reigns in her absence, I fully support moving to a better (and cheaper) place.

The CBG has weathered moves before. I'm not a Redditer, so I can't speak to how it would turn out, but I do use Discord. It has the ability to make additional sub rooms very easily and could prove useful; but it is also a bit of a pain to scroll all the way to the top of a long thread, so a lot of content would likely need to be posted on a wiki and then linked to. Reddit may be the best way to go about it, though.

I do lament the loss of forums.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: LD on August 13, 2018, 11:14:39 PM
Thank you for the thoughtful explanation and exposition, Hoers!

Also, thank you for the explanation of Discord- had thought it was primarily a voice program; good to know it's more like IRC+sometimes voice.

As a related point- what is the way for the CBG to grow? Not much is happening now obviously. Things that have happened include the following:

1-Play by Post games (traditional RPG, and things like Republic Reborn and Underdeep)
2-Settings (on forums and on the wiki)
3-Collaborative World Building (on forums and on the wiki)
4-IRC games (and rules information and organization for same)
5-CBG Magazine
6-Contests
7-Advice/Questions about world building/settings
8-Everything Else (Off Topic, etc.)

So I guess there are at least two questions from that.

1. Why aren't we doing any of that? Time? the Creators/People running things stopped doing it? Or there weren't enough participants? Or People just have different interests in their lives? If the community is dead in some aspects of its interests, then is it worthwhile to preserve anything except that which interests the people who are putting the time into preservation (e.g. what interests Sparkletwist, Hoers, Nomadic...)

2. What of the above options would we continue to use in the future that could sustain the existing community (and maybe grow it)?

It's just my guess, but assuming no additional people join the site, I think "we" might still continue the following which are unique to this community, so whatever is chosen to go forward should focus on a format that promotes the following:
1. Off Topic Discussions Real time in IRC/etc. Chit Chat
2. Occasional Live games.
3. Occasional Play by Post Game (If there is a motivated organizer and a good topic).
4. Maybe a wiki/blog by someone or a collaborative worldbuilding blog (like Steerpike's Blog (individual) or collaborative projects (like on the wiki)).

As to fulfilling those goals... maybe:
1. Reddit (static) or Discord (live)
2. Discord or Roll20
3. Reddit??? Can Discord save multiple sessions like a forum to function for play by post?
4. Blogspot, other free Blog hosting software that is linked from the site (maybe the landing site could have a RSS feed from that blog)?
5. Archive for the older things.

Best case would be maybe the site act as a landing page with live "feeds" with events and other items that automatically update, e.g. "grab" metadata from one of the other free options- so no one has to manually update things? Not sure how feasible that would be, but it would certainly be financially better to outsource the hosting of most data to the free sites.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Steerpike on August 14, 2018, 12:57:36 AM

LD

Why aren't we doing any of that? Time? the Creators/People running things stopped doing it? Or there weren't enough participants? Or People just have different interests in their lives? If the community is dead in some aspects of its interests, then is it worthwhile to preserve anything except that which interests the people who are putting the time into preservation (e.g. what interests Sparkletwist, Hoers, Nomadic...)

I suspect that a lot of us got started on the site in our teens and early twenties and are now in our late twenties or thirties or older, and so free time has ebbed as careers and personal lives developed (I was 20 when I first joined, am 30 now).

Moving to Reddit might well provide at least a gentle bump in membership, and we could build some presence in the bigger D&D/RPG subreddits. A couple of my posts in those subreddits have garnered in the region of 15,000+ views, and those numbers aren't all that unusual, so there's definitely an active rpg community. D&D is going through something of a renaissance for a bunch of reasons.

I do feel like maybe as a community the CBG should do something to mark the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. If we get a Discord, it might be cool to have an inaugural voice chat. I have often been curious as to what everyone sounds like.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Hoers on August 14, 2018, 06:56:24 AM

LD

Thank you for the thoughtful explanation and exposition, Hoers!

Also, thank you for the explanation of Discord- had thought it was primarily a voice program; good to know it's more like IRC+sometimes voice.

As a related point- what is the way for the CBG to grow? Not much is happening now obviously. Things that have happened include the following:

1-Play by Post games (traditional RPG, and things like Republic Reborn and Underdeep)
2-Settings (on forums and on the wiki)
3-Collaborative World Building (on forums and on the wiki)
4-IRC games (and rules information and organization for same)
5-CBG Magazine
6-Contests
7-Advice/Questions about world building/settings
8-Everything Else (Off Topic, etc.)

So I guess there are at least two questions from that.

1. Why aren't we doing any of that? Time? the Creators/People running things stopped doing it? Or there weren't enough participants? Or People just have different interests in their lives? If the community is dead in some aspects of its interests, then is it worthwhile to preserve anything except that which interests the people who are putting the time into preservation (e.g. what interests Sparkletwist, Hoers, Nomadic...)

2. What of the above options would we continue to use in the future that could sustain the existing community (and maybe grow it)?

It's just my guess, but assuming no additional people join the site, I think "we" might still continue the following which are unique to this community, so whatever is chosen to go forward should focus on a format that promotes the following:
1. Off Topic Discussions Real time in IRC/etc. Chit Chat
2. Occasional Live games.
3. Occasional Play by Post Game (If there is a motivated organizer and a good topic).
4. Maybe a wiki/blog by someone or a collaborative worldbuilding blog (like Steerpike's Blog (individual) or collaborative projects (like on the wiki)).

As to fulfilling those goals... maybe:
1. Reddit (static) or Discord (live)
2. Discord or Roll20
3. Reddit??? Can Discord save multiple sessions like a forum to function for play by post?
4. Blogspot, other free Blog hosting software that is linked from the site (maybe the landing site could have a RSS feed from that blog)?
5. Archive for the older things.

Best case would be maybe the site act as a landing page with live "feeds" with events and other items that automatically update, e.g. "grab" metadata from one of the other free options- so no one has to manually update things? Not sure how feasible that would be, but it would certainly be financially better to outsource the hosting of most data to the free sites.

To answer your first question, I think it's chiefly time, but also the lack of an influx of new people to participate as others become busier. It's fair to ask if we need to do a bit of soul-searching as to what it is that we are supposed to be at this point; this is especially true if we move to Reddit for example and find ourselves bumping up against r/worldbuilding. I think we're a more focused community with a narrower goal of facilitating and building the campaign as a whole, whereas subreddits like that are more of a "critique my random thing" forum (which we have done to some degree as well). I think the equivalent of the "Campaign Elements and Design" subforum has been our strong suit for a long time, even if our Homebrew subforum is as busy or busier.

As for question two, I think your list is a great one. It'd be nice to have a place to openly host all of the major settings, and that's what we're looking into (sparkletwist and I were experimenting just last night with using "flair/tags" in the test subreddit we created to see how that'd sort, and we're considering retaining a wiki regardless). That being said, I wonder if we were to condense what the community is right now if we wouldn't be able to justify something else, like people hosting their content on free cloud services (Google Drive, the Microsoft equivalent, hell even GitHub - I've used it) and linking them in the sidebar or a sticky post. Such a system would be easy enough; what I'd do in theory is create a list of everyone's settings with links (if you were around when the CBG started on the WotC forums, this'll sound familiar). The only difference is that the content might be off-site - but again, whether that's at a wiki we host or individual accounts elsewhere remains to be seen.

I'm not sure yet what the extent of Discord's logging is. I know that Slack only stores the last 10,000 messages (or something like that) unless you buy a premium subscription, so if we moved there we'd do that. I think the Discord/Slack train of thought may end up being better suited to a replacement for the IRC chat and shoutbox. This is a key component either way though, because as we've collectively alluded to a few times already, having multiple games running is important to jumpstarting activity here.

Steerpike

LD

Why aren't we doing any of that? Time? the Creators/People running things stopped doing it? Or there weren't enough participants? Or People just have different interests in their lives? If the community is dead in some aspects of its interests, then is it worthwhile to preserve anything except that which interests the people who are putting the time into preservation (e.g. what interests Sparkletwist, Hoers, Nomadic...)

I suspect that a lot of us got started on the site in our teens and early twenties and are now in our late twenties or thirties or older, and so free time has ebbed as careers and personal lives developed (I was 20 when I first joined, am 30 now).

Moving to Reddit might well provide at least a gentle bump in membership, and we could build some presence in the bigger D&D/RPG subreddits. A couple of my posts in those subreddits have garnered in the region of 15,000+ views, and those numbers aren't all that unusual, so there's definitely an active rpg community. D&D is going through something of a renaissance for a bunch of reasons.

I do feel like maybe as a community the CBG should do something to mark the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. If we get a Discord, it might be cool to have an inaugural voice chat. I have often been curious as to what everyone sounds like.

More or less - as an anecdote, when I started posting here I was hammering out angsty content for the setting known as Vilydunn, then Haveneast, then a sci-fi one, and a bunch of offshoots and system concepts, but I'm 30 now, engaged, and pursuing a master's as well as working full-time, so if even a portion of us are taking similar paths then you're on the money as to what's happened. That's not a bad thing per se, but without the influx of new players who might have more time to inspire and encourage new posts and games, it's up to a dwindling number of people to keep things busy.

You're thinking what I'm thinking Steerpike. Reddit still isn't our choice of platform yet, but I think there we'd be in a good position as a quiet complement to r/worldbuilding and the related subs - the Saturn to its Jupiter, or something like that. There'd be a lot of opportunity to gain members via people who've found them and felt the subreddit was a bit too chaotic and unstructured (i.e. the reason I'd never suggest we actually migrate to their sub). Plus, we could always arrange cool Q&As and other activities with subreddits that could have a lot of useful information for our campaign builders, like r/AskHistorians and r/AskAnthropology.

I'm always down to chat. clomp comp whinny


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Steerpike on August 14, 2018, 12:07:07 PM

Hoers

To answer your first question, I think it's chiefly time, but also the lack of an influx of new people to participate as others become busier. It's fair to ask if we need to do a bit of soul-searching as to what it is that we are supposed to be at this point; this is especially true if we move to Reddit for example and find ourselves bumping up against r/worldbuilding.

Personally I see us as a kind of social club for a specific community of world-builders and roleplayers, rather than an organization with a unique purpose or mission. Sort of like the Bloomsbury Group (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloomsbury_Group) or the Fraternity of Sireniacal Gentlemen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mermaid_Tavern) but on the internet. So it's not like the kind of activity we do is really unique - lots of people make roleplaying content - but we make specific stuff that's often really cool, and which has some interesting commonalities (a focus on very detailed settings/mileus).


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: sparkletwist on August 14, 2018, 02:50:47 PM
Yeah, I think the short answer is "we got old."

That doesn't mean things necessarily have to be completely dead around here, of course. Scheduling may be a bit trickier but I hold out hope that games may still be possible. One kinda cool thing about Discord is the persistent, always-on nature of the chat means that you could run a game as a combined play-by-post and live game: play live when people can make it, or just drop posts for whenever when they can't.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Steerpike on August 14, 2018, 03:25:44 PM
The other complicating factor for me is that since 2012 I have had a big regular gaming group of offline friends - I got asked to DM for some librarians in training and we've had an ever-expanding league of players ever since, with me DMing all but 1 of the last 6 years. I've still run occasional games on the CBG but the regular group has taken up most of my time compared to the 2008-2012 period where almost all of my gaming was done here. So the double whammy of less free time and a regular group are a big component in my gradual decline in actually running games here.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Hoers on August 14, 2018, 05:45:50 PM

Steerpike

Hoers

To answer your first question, I think it's chiefly time, but also the lack of an influx of new people to participate as others become busier. It's fair to ask if we need to do a bit of soul-searching as to what it is that we are supposed to be at this point; this is especially true if we move to Reddit for example and find ourselves bumping up against r/worldbuilding.

Personally I see us as a kind of social club for a specific community of world-builders and roleplayers, rather than an organization with a unique purpose or mission. Sort of like the Bloomsbury Group (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloomsbury_Group) or the Fraternity of Sireniacal Gentlemen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mermaid_Tavern) but on the internet. So it's not like the kind of activity we do is really unique - lots of people make roleplaying content - but we make specific stuff that's often really cool, and which has some interesting commonalities (a focus on very detailed settings/mileus).

Yeah, that is an accurate comparison I think. We've spent enough time together that I think we've developed a nice collective approach to the questions that come up, and newer folk who join us generally fit in well. It might not be appropriate to use the term "aging out", but maybe "aging absent" is a good way  to describe what inevitably happens. Doing so is fine, too - one could argue that what we do here isn't entirely unlike the tradition of generational storytelling - but again that speaks to my desire to ensure we continue to grow (if slowly).


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: LD on August 14, 2018, 09:10:49 PM

Quote

like people hosting their content on free cloud services (Google Drive, the Microsoft equivalent, hell even GitHub - I've used it) and linking them in the sidebar or a sticky post. Such a system would be easy enough; what I'd do in theory is create a list of everyone's settings with links (if you were around when the CBG started on the WotC forums, this'll sound familiar). The only difference is that the content might be off-site - but again, whether that's at a wiki we host or individual accounts elsewhere remains to be seen.
Sounds good, like the old Directory mixed with the Wiki landing page: http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,4761.0.html ; http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/index.php?title=CBG_Wiki
What would really be great (though maybe not possible) would be to have some sort of feed indicating when things on the subpages are updated. People could auto-ping a blog or something similar. Another feature that is great here is the new post feed on the home page--I have solely used that these past few years to catch up with what is going on since I can see at a glance what is developing.

One idea- locate one of the free hosting blog providers that has free plugins and rss feeds, use that provider as the landing page and have the "links out" go to the discord and subreddits that are specifically directed to the games on the discord and settings (if any) and have the subreddits feed into the rss (if possible?). For what cannot be automated: 5 or 6 people would have posting rights to post up "blog post" news announcing games, etc. and arranging schedules (e.g. like on the "team scheduler" program (Doodle)) (obviously only the core 3 would have the superadmin rights) and people can always comment on blog posts.

It is probably important to have a feedback loop --some way to obviously comment on what is being seen. Otherwise, like with the wiki sometimes (despite the talk pages) people would o't really see/know what is happening... no way to motivate each other in a "drive-by" sense.

There are a lot of good ideas among what you wrote!


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Hoers on August 15, 2018, 06:46:58 PM
So sparkletwist has set up a preliminary Discord. The invite is here (https://discord.gg/XcvDafP). I encourage anyone who is interested to come join us, although if it's during the day when you first log on keep in mind we might not be around, and thus might not be able to give you chat permissions (sparkletwist made it relatively strict so that you can only talk in #general-chat if you haven't been whitelisted).

This is an opportunity to see where we're going with the chat moving forward. I think we're making progress on what we want to do, and this is likely it for live chat. Please come and tell us what you think!


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: LoA on August 16, 2018, 01:08:06 AM
Do you mind PMing me an instant invite?

Nevermind. Figured it out.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Weave on August 16, 2018, 09:40:44 PM
Aw beans. I'm gonna miss this site. However, I am tentatively excited to see where the CBG goes from here. I'm hoping that a new format might shake things up a bit. I'm a bit torn because while I do frequent reddit, I never saw it as a place to really lay down content and more as a site to surface-binge mildly interesting material (not that I've been "laying down content" in a long while; I also just peruse the top posts on the main page of reddit so, there ya go). I'm unfamiliar with discord but I'm entirely open to trying new venues. Ultimately, I'm in favor of whatever everyone decides on. I want to stay together as a people rather than just a site.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Steerpike on August 17, 2018, 12:15:44 AM

Weave

I'm a bit torn because while I do frequent reddit, I never saw it as a place to really lay down content and more as a site to surface-binge mildly interesting material

I know what you mean, although I think a lot of people would post links to things on blogs or Google drives or what-have-you.

Just as Google+ has found a weird, unlikely currency within roleplaying communities, blogs also seem to have disproportionate value within DIY D&D/rpg circles, because they work as online portfolios really well. I got a blog years ago, and honestly I'd strongly suggest it for anyone on this site who'd like to showcase their work. I now have a contract with a publisher to put out some of my work, and long-term plans for other stuff, and it's because my blog got noticed by someone with clout who posted it to reddit. So I can say with some anecdotal evidence that the blog + reddit combo is a smart way to go for pursuing rpg-related projects.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Hoers on August 17, 2018, 06:26:41 AM
I guess now is a good time to provide an unofficial update - sparkletwist and I have been talking almost every night since the original post, discussing pro's and con's of each option, and most importantly how to make the right transition without a frustrating failure (e.g. bad launch or trying to use too many services).

We've still got some decisions to make, but the possibility of a new site made with Wordpress and hooks for both the Discord, and for users to log in using credentials from other platforms such as Reddit (only if you want to) is becoming a bit of a frontrunner. The leading argument against Reddit is that our niche almost requires the ability to post the content and the discussion in the same place - which to be fair can be done on Reddit too, but maybe not as cleanly. Either platform will offer one of the other key features I'm concerned about, which is better mobile support.

Stay tuned, and hop into the Discord in the evenings if you want to talk live - we're usually around :).


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: LD on August 17, 2018, 06:34:20 AM
That sounds reasonable! Reddit obviously has failings as a true message board, but I cannot think of anything much better outside of actual forums with free hosting other than Proboards. https://www.proboards.com/  (single login for all proboard forums) AND https://www.createaforum.com/ ; have you already considered those options?


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Hoers on August 17, 2018, 04:27:14 PM

LD

That sounds reasonable! Reddit obviously has failings as a true message board, but I cannot think of anything much better outside of actual forums with free hosting other than Proboards. https://www.proboards.com/  (single login for all proboard forums) AND https://www.createaforum.com/ ; have you already considered those options?

Thanks for making me aware of these, I didn't know about them. That definitely widens our options :)


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Mason on August 18, 2018, 11:41:37 AM
Hi guys.
 Infrequent poster here. I've enjoyed reading all of your creations over the years and sharing a few of my own things. I will miss the cbg in its current form (something about the old-internet design is nostalgic) but also looking forward to what comes next. It's weird how this site has drawn me back again and again, like a coffee shop or bookstore that is amazing (but somehow nobody knows about?) just to browse, read and relax. Thank you all for the content you have shared over the years. You're all brilliant, hope to see you on discord or wherever the cbg ends up :)


EDIT: Thoughts on reddit. I shamelessly plunder the DND subreddit, some of the content there is invaluable coming from gamers with 30-40+ years of DM experience. While most of the content from reddit seems to prescribe to the 'consume-throwaway' endless feed syndrome, there are some really amazing posts to be found. However, I feel that there are already dozens of subreddits that do one aspect of the CBG already, mapmaking, worldbuilding, GMing etc. I'm not sure a CBG subreddit could sustain numbers without regular contests/content/quality posts, which so many other gaming related subreddits already do.

The CBG wants to encapsulate all of the moving gears of campaign construction in one place (which is wonderful) while pushing for discussion on each of these topics. I am not familiar with Discord, but it seems like most of the activity here has been through the shoutbox lately with links to new posts sprinkled through out. I think it is the discussion about gaming in general that is invaluable in this community as some of the insights to worldbuilding and campaign construction are some of the most thoughtful and genuine reactions to be found.

That's all I've got haha.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: LD on August 18, 2018, 05:04:20 PM
Good thoughts, Mason!


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Hoers on August 18, 2018, 06:41:13 PM

Mason

Hi guys.
 Infrequent poster here. I've enjoyed reading all of your creations over the years and sharing a few of my own things. I will miss the cbg in its current form (something about the old-internet design is nostalgic) but also looking forward to what comes next. It's weird how this site has drawn me back again and again, like a coffee shop or bookstore that is amazing (but somehow nobody knows about?) just to browse, read and relax. Thank you all for the content you have shared over the years. You're all brilliant, hope to see you on discord or wherever the cbg ends up :)


EDIT: Thoughts on reddit. I shamelessly plunder the DND subreddit, some of the content there is invaluable coming from gamers with 30-40+ years of DM experience. While most of the content from reddit seems to prescribe to the 'consume-throwaway' endless feed syndrome, there are some really amazing posts to be found. However, I feel that there are already dozens of subreddits that do one aspect of the CBG already, mapmaking, worldbuilding, GMing etc. I'm not sure a CBG subreddit could sustain numbers without regular contests/content/quality posts, which so many other gaming related subreddits already do.

The CBG wants to encapsulate all of the moving gears of campaign construction in one place (which is wonderful) while pushing for discussion on each of these topics. I am not familiar with Discord, but it seems like most of the activity here has been through the shoutbox lately with links to new posts sprinkled through out. I think it is the discussion about gaming in general that is invaluable in this community as some of the insights to worldbuilding and campaign construction are some of the most thoughtful and genuine reactions to be found.

That's all I've got haha.

Yeah, that is a fair point, and it was the counter-argument to the (semi-fallacious argument) that Reddit would make it easier for us to advertise.

At this point I think we've decided to avoid a transition to Reddit - we'll be doing some sort of new website - but let me iron out all of the details before I spout random details too much. The Discord is going pretty well so far!


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: LD on August 19, 2018, 10:12:20 AM
As an idea--> Not entirely sure how Discord works; however, if I am guessing properly--- if there is a sub-discussion about a campaign setting or specific issue that is separate from the main discord hosted "room", perhaps it could be copy/pasted into a thread into the new "reddit" or new forum, like Sparkletwist has done with the old chatbox conversations that sprawled a bit. That would ensure the conversation is preserved in a way it can reasonably accessed in the future.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Hoers on August 22, 2018, 06:16:01 PM
So we're moving to some Wordpress hosting. Building the new site will begin soon. Just a short update, wanted to let everyone know we're still chugging forward :)


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: LD on August 22, 2018, 09:15:03 PM
Best wishes!


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Hoers on August 28, 2018, 05:24:13 PM
Some updates:

Working on some core functionality for the Discord bot (dice for now; other stuff depending on what comes to mind and what people suggest).

Still evaluating our new hosting. Mixed feelings so far, but there is work left to do - especially on my part, as up until now sparkletwist has done most of the looking - before we decide if it's the right fit.

Some great conversations happening over the last couple of weeks, and some cool collections posted in the #inspirational-art and #inspirational-music chats.

If anyone hasn't had a chance to check out the new chat yet, make sure to join us using the link that sparkletwist provided in the Tavern.


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Mason on August 28, 2018, 06:11:23 PM
Thanks for the update Hoers. Unfortunately I only get an invite invalid screen when I click the link in the tavern.



Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: sparkletwist on August 28, 2018, 06:21:43 PM
Try this one: https://discord.gg/ReNFHEQ


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: LD on August 30, 2018, 08:38:02 PM
If you are interested in getting back old people (like Elemental Elf, Xathan, etc.) Is it possible for you to send a mass email to members of this board (through the board software to the registered email addresses) concerning the move/changes?
May be worth a try.

Also, once again not a Discord expert- can people start sub discord chat rooms? If an admin can, maybe one thing the CBG can do is give each very active member 1 sub-discord channel if they are actively working on a setting, for specific discussion/development. e.g. (#cadaverousearth) if it was still active. Since each person could only have 1 or (max. 2 in certain cases--maybe it could be further limited to only settings where players are running games), it may encourage people to focus development. And others could drop by from time to time like in a thread to comment on their setting (or games being run therein)?


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: sparkletwist on September 01, 2018, 12:56:42 PM
There are already sub chat rooms, but we have to specifically add you to the "Members" group to see them just in case we get spammers or trolls or something. So make an actual username and come join us :D


Title: Re: The Future of the CBG
Post by: Hoers on September 01, 2018, 03:23:55 PM

sparkletwist

There are already sub chat rooms, but we have to specifically add you to the "Members" group to see them just in case we get spammers or trolls or something. So make an actual username and come join us :D

Yeah, and to add to this, the plan I had in mind is that we'd control the creation of new chat rooms and do it on the basis of games being run, rather than actual settings.

Someone popped into the chat on Thursday or Friday evening and voiced some concerns to me, but I'm not sure who it was, so I'll post generic responses to them here:

  • You can freely change your nickname regardless of what your actual login account is, and it should remain persistent once you do - no worries about an account having a weird or random identifier in it.
  • I try to be available most of the time, but we've all got different schedules and conversations come and go. Much like the existing forum, people will respond to comments that they see when they log on or bring up new topics, and we have multiple chat rooms (with the option to create more) to span different kinds of conversations.
  • Discord was originally built for gaming chat use, so it has some built-in features that allow you to broadcast to your friends/fellow chat members what games you are playing. This is not enabled by default - you actually need to link any gaming service accounts to your Discord account for it to do this
  • We've had a pretty great turnout so far. Lots of interesting conversation on systems, setting concepts, and off-topic stuff. Hope to see more of our people join us soon.