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MC Community: Where is it going?

Discussion in 'Feedback' started by theprawncracker, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    A few respectful thoughts.

    I am a little reluctant to complain due to my great absence from Muppet Central 2004-2006. A lot more could be done with the articles but I kind of think that’s the deal with our apparent Muppet Newsflash association. That site does such a commendable job! I do think MC could do better with the inclusion of more articles and especially reviews! However, take into account that reviews still need to be spellchecked by staff members. We don’t get paid. This is a labor of love. Phillip is one busy guy that has managed to keep this site going for over a decade! I did just edit a few more graphics for Phillip's MC radio update and hope to someday have the time to add to the nearly 50 Muppet Central menu selections.

    I used to be a moderator and that fell away during my absence. It was always more of an honorary title after rebranding Muppet Central and becoming the resident graphics and Flash designer in 2002. I will admit that moderating is a tough gig. There are many disgruntled people in the world and most of them post on forums. I had a couple of horrifying episodes with such forum members in the past and am not looking to resume that position. I can be a little prickly at times myself, yet I still try to make it known how everybody’s input should be valued at Muppet Central (not just from the people with whom I agree). Our mods do a great job and don't get enough credit for it. I do feel they could use some help - and a well-deserved break!

    :search: My thoughts on improvements include the addition of another moderator, to loosen up some of the restrictions that have received complaints and issue a few friendly private warnings to current forum post offenders. We should get some of the more creative members to donate artwork for the empty cards section. We should also gather a small group of Muppet Central critics and authors that are skilled in writing and editing their own pieces and can juggle the amount of content (while still taking independent forum member article submissions). Open a Muppet Central products section at Café Press where members could purchase mugs, shirts and caps with the Muppet Central logo on it.

    All of these should be relatively easy to do, but Phillip and the Muppet Central staff is not going to take just anybody. These people have to show restraint, skill and commitment – not just Muppet love (we’ve all got that here). Muppet Central is a wonderful place that takes a lot more maintenance than most people realize. It takes all of us to make it really shine and I believe that has been the little something missing for a while. I think with some patience and a plan we can get that back! :attitude:

    Just my thoughts. I’m a mere frogboy. What do I know? :o
  2. Yva Minstrel

    Yva Minstrel New Member

    As a recent new member to this forum, but being someone who has a good general idea of how a forum is run, I'd like to toss my two cents into the mixture here.

    Perhaps anything I have to say may not mean too terribly much to the powers that be simply because of my relative newness here. I will say that even as a newer person to this forum, I have seriously tried to keep my grievances to myself or limit them to PMs. If you are reading this, then please understand that I cannot compare things to the way they were once, as I am only here since the end of August.

    My big grievance is the fact that while there are rules to this forum, people seem to have decided to disregard them entirely. I have actually read them and consulted them several times since my arrival here as I was concerned that I might have unintentionally broken them without actually realizing it.

    There is a rule here that clearly states: 'Don't hijack threads'. Now, I do not support banning anyone for excessive posting, I do think that things here have gone out of control with excessiveness. More than half of the threads I actively read here have turned into single sentence dialogues between Senior Members, thus making me feel rather small in the MC fray. Such dialogues are generally taken to PMs and not posted publicly. I'm not naming names here, and I will not do so, but when a small handful of people start taking over every last thread in the forum, then that takes away the fun of posting and it can actually deter new people from wanting to sign up and take part because it reads 'clique' all over it.

    The point is, if the Administrators have set up certain rules to this site about the taking over of threads, then I think out of respect to one's fellow board inhabitant that these rules should be heeded. One doesn't always need a moderator coming in behind a member and saying 'stop that'. We should have enough discipline to know when enough is enough. I don't mean moderate ourselves, as I do support the appointment of new moderators, but I think that we should all try and post within the confines of the rules that Phil set up when he started this forum. That means that we should respect each other.

    I have to say that I really liked what someone said about this being a community. That was what made me decide to join up last month. I read through a couple of the threads and liked the general niceness of this place and signed up. But, one thing is clear, if the Muppets taught us anything, it was about accepting each other and not pushing our lifestyles, religious affiliations, political agendas etcetera onto one other. Most of the arguments I have seen here have been centered on those particular subjects, and that's why a lot of places actually have rules against 'political discussions' or 'religious preaching'.

    I will now step down off my soapbox and go have some breakfast. Contrary to my griping, I do hope that everyone reading has a good day.

  3. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    While many different issues have been brought up here, rest assured that each is being read and considered.

    A few things I will comment on specifically. We always need people to help contribute to the site. We have encouraged this from day one and there are some plans being developed to make this process easier and more streamlined. Yes, there was a thread recently where someone asked for info on contributing to the site. The Count responded like I would have, encouraging them to send in an article for submission. In this case and others, if the moderators have responded to an issue in a similar fashion as I would then there is no need for me to repeat what they’ve already said. I trust them and they do a great job.

    The issue of selling merchandise with the “Muppet Central” name has been brought up before many times. Up until this point, we haven’t done it since we don’t own the rights to the name “Muppet”. Henson and now Disney have approved of the name on the site itself and support us, but on resale products it could become more of a gray area.

    All of these comments are good because it shows that you all care about the site as much as we do. We all are a part of Muppet Central and we all share in the responsibility to make it a great place to be.
  4. redBoobergurl

    redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    Boy, I didn't sign on last night and look what I missed!

    Thank you Prawnie for writing such an insightful post and for starting some great conversation. I am so excited to see so many postive responses and posts that are showing folks are taking the time to think about what they are writing and sharing in regards to some of these issues. It makes me happy to see that MC is still extremely important to so many people and hopefully if we all stay positive I think some good things can happen and the "spark" will come back to MC!
  5. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    Indeed. Just like the online stuff & current ideas for specials have brought The Muppets themselves back into public conciousness, quality care in terms of what's posted & in terms of control over certain aspects of the site could bring MC back to its former glory.
  6. Redsonga

    Redsonga Active Member

    Hmmm..my tiny two cents from being a part of many other forum online for many years is that for better or for worst there are always 'in' groups in forums that are hard for newcomers to get into by nature. This goes doubley for something like the dorms, which looks to me to be a classic case of an RPing game that has been going on for years, with some inactive players that will never be replaced, and the ones that are active having years and years of background to their characters. It is very very hard for a newcomer to get into something like that without months and months of research...
  7. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    The Dorms are a little tougher to get into, true. It has been going on for years... but it more-or-less starts over once a year. At the moment, Dorms are technically closed for that starting-over period... Ed (The Count) is in charge of them, so I can't really say when they'll officially re-open, but in the meantime dorm-like activity has been relocated to the "Sorry, We're Closed" thread. So... Yes, Dorms are kind of confusing and overwhelming for newbies... But they can typically get in with a simple PM or two to Ed, or (more commonly, really;)) a post in the thread saying "Can I join, too?" followed by a few PMs with Ed.

    But outside of Dorms, as far as I know, we're really a pretty open bunch. When we muffin a thread, start throwing around penguins and tying each other up and so on and so forth, it may start as two Senior Members having all the fun, but we love it when more people-- no matter how long they've been a member or how many posts they have-- start joining in. And yes, we are taking a thread off-topic, which is technically against the rules... (By the way, Yva, I must say I admire the fact that you've refered back to the rules multiple times... I don't think I've looked at them at all since the day I joined.) But it's also-- as far as I know-- part of the spirit of MC. Pure insanity. I realize it's not always appropriate, of course...

    But a lot of what's been happening lately is that, instead of the random insanity we hold so dear, threads have been taken off-topic for rather pointless conversation. I admit that I have recently contributed to that myself... and that just isn't nearly as fun for anyone. Earlier in the thread I tried to make a distinction between "pointless pointlessness" and "pointless fun." Part of the difference is that "pointless pointlessness" is redundant and "pointless fun" is an oxy-moron... but "pointless fun" is what I meant when I mentioned part of the spirit of MC.

    The best example of it-- or maybe, just my favorite-- happened before I joined. Someone started a thread asking where the real Muppet puppets were kept, and after some amount of discussion, the topic somehow shifted to a few members plotting to break into where the Muppets were kept... Which naturally led to (the cyber-space version of) the break-in, stealing a bunch of Muppets and the Electric Mayhem bus... kidnapping a few Muppeteers... It just sort of kept growing, it was completely random, and it was so much fun that it was half the reason I joined Muppet Central to begin with. I think that particular instance had pretty much died out by the time I joined, but you bet your biscuits the next time we hijacked the EM bus, I was on it... and spending a lot of time stuck underneath one of the seats for some reason I can't remember now.

    That sort of thing is "pointless fun." That's what muffining should really be. But unfortunately, a lot of the "muffining" I've seen lately isn't that at all, and is more frustrating than fun. A good muffin should be just as entertaining to the observers as it is to the participants. And the last thing we want to do is exclude people from it; the more the merrier, after all... Though in our case, perhaps "The more the crazier" would be more apt. :zany:
  8. Redsonga

    Redsonga Active Member

    I think that some things are called spamming when they are'nt really..I mean, it seems that if a lot of people join in and think that something is just for fun it is looked at as okay but if it is just a couple people saying something that is suppose to be serious but no one else 'gets' it is looked at as spamming ;.;. I really, IMHO, don't think that it is very fair in the long run, if serious posts that no one else gets are seen as spamming then surely spam about throwing random muppets should be seen in the same light, no matter how muppety it is, as not everyone thinks they are funny or add anything...At least, in normal topics I mean, not topics just made for fun :)...
  9. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    My my my, Well, well, well, now this is interesting...

    I think an issue that has been touched upon but not specifically mentioned is that often the "Off-topic" discussions happening at the moment are not what we term as "Muffining" but rather they are 'specialist subject' discussions. Without meaning to throw names about it's hard to explain what I mean, but for example, when a thread about an upcoming event or special then turns into a "specialist" discussion about some 80's cartoon series -- anyone who hasn't seen that cartoon series cannot join the conversation, and may feel they can't attempt to get back onto the original topic.

    Which I concider widely (wildly?) different to a conversation about the Fraggle Rock movie evolving into a Fraggle Rock Movie Takeover...in which members leap into the Electric Mayhem Bus and kidnap the director -- it's imagination and sillyness, anyone can join with. And when more news on the subject appears, the topic can be steered back to the discussion without interupting a 'specialist subject' discussion.

    I realise that as a community, we love puppetry and cartooning and the arts in general, and we will embrace the 80's and the classics...but when almost *all* the threads I try to contribute to, begin shifting into specialist discussons about Doug (for example) which many of us may not have seen, suddenly I find I have nothing to talk about anywhere.

    Am I alone in those thoughts?
  10. Yva Minstrel

    Yva Minstrel New Member

    I have never felt myself too terribly inclined to get involved with that aspect of the forum, so there's no problem for me there. I mean; I'm sure that the folks here are very nice about helping someone get into that if they wanted to be involed in it. Of that I have no doubts whatsoever.

    What really bothers me is that recently, about a week after I started posting here, I was reading this one thread where the author asked a question. I thought it was an interesting topic so I wrote a respose to it, and then two people came in and hijacked it. My comments were never even responded to and were basically ignored. In a day's time it had a ton of new responses, none of which were on topic.

    The thing that hurts is that I am left to feel as though what I had to say was not even important or held any significance. I'm a patient sort of person, I just stuck it out and didn't go into whine mode about it, but I was very hurt. The thread in question had evolved into the state of off topic-ness that it no longer was interesting or even remotely amusing to me. It was just boring, and there was no way I could have gotten involved in that thread at all, because I had tried, but to no avail.

    To me, that went way beyond the fact that it was just members being silly. Silly, I can handle, and I can act weird with the best of them, don't let my age fool you. But, after that incident happened, I started to notice that this was not a 'random' event that happened. It was happening in a lot of other threads as well, even threds started by the Administrators.

    Basically, I am under the distinct impression that my comments are not in 'style' with the hip and super groovy around here. If that sort of thing happens to newbies who are much younger and impressionable than I am, then I do not forsee this forum growing by leaps and bounds. There have been moments since my coming here when I myself felt inclined to pack up and leave.

    Yes, that is true. The problem is, and I don't want to come across as a fuddy duddy for having cited the rules, but they are there for a reason. Just because silliness and insanity are the norm doesn't mean that the rules should be cancelled out.

    That gives new people very mixed signals about the effectiveness of the moderators / administrators. As a newer member of this forum, I have found myself becoming increasingly confused by this grey area. When I came in here and started seeing Senior Members hijacking threads (thus breaking the rules), then I started asking myself what I'm supposed to think about this.

    Does this mean that this behavior is okay? Or is this merely a quirk for being a Senior Member? To me, the rules should apply to everyone not just to newbies who happen by this forum. If there's going to be harmony to go along with the lunacy here, then the rules should be adhered to by everyone, not just by certain members. But along those same lines, they should also be enforced.

    Just MHO. But thanks for your thoughts and comments.
  11. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I think what the main problem in this department is that MC is such a laid-back community, that people are kind of taking it with a grain-of-salt, or taking it for granted.

    I can only name FOUR incidents here in the past (since I've been here) that have resulted in consequences...

    1. Apparently Kimp the Shrimp and another member who never returned, HPDJ, got into a fight in a game thread that resulted in the two of them being suspended.

    2. Then, of course, EVERYBODY remember the gruesome twosome that was SuperMuppet and Baba, who did nothing more than post useless crap about nothing, and spam advertisements for their own muppet forum which they always claimed is "So much better than our competitor Muppet Central Forum".

    3. Another example is Kendra (furryredmonster) being suspended because of a disagreement she got into with Kevin; about what? I forget now, but I remember it seeming kind of harsh, but I think Kevin acted in the way he, as a moderator, felt was best to deal with the situation.

    4. Dude112. That guy was actually LOOKING to be banned from here. Again, all he did was just post thread upon thread upon thread upon thread of useless garbage that most of the time, contained fishy looking links.

    Other than that, most of them time, I believe it's expected of us that we're mature and civilized enough to not cause trouble around here, but again, because MC is such a laid back community, rules seem to go ignored around here. I've known other forums that literally have no rules whatsoever, but if you annoy people, you get the banhammer without question!
  12. rtgentry

    rtgentry Member

    dont forget about Bigbirdfan and bobhopesite. forgive me if the names are close but not exact
  13. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Keith (bobhopesite) learned his lesson, but bigbirdfan on the other had, yes, how could I forget about him? Or clubcarman, or any other aliases he went under around here just to spread his/her weirdo propaganda?
  14. Redsonga

    Redsonga Active Member

    It sounds like something I should be glad I missed :eek:
  15. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Let's not go about dragging up names from the past, please. They've all had their lessons learnt, and I totally get your point about us being laid-back...but let's not bring up all the people who have been banned just for the sake of it, 'k?
  16. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    Anyway...Moving right along this same wavelength, I agree with Yva to a certain excent. I mean, we have rules for a reason, and if they're ignored for either excessive muffining or pointless pointlessness, then the rules have no clout & the site keeps spiraling downward into the depths of our depraved states of mind. Granted, lunacy is the norm, it seems, but when it overtakes intelligent and sentient discussion, then it's time for Kermit to put his flipper down, so to speak.
  17. Katzi428

    Katzi428 Well-Known Member

    All right...jumping into this thread (but hoping I don't gain enemies with it.:eek:) I don't think the religious threads belong here.Yes there are people here that believe in God. But there are others who don't. We need to respect those people.So if the religious threads could be cut down,I for one,would appreciate it.
    Also,there are some people who post for the sake of posting. As Drew Carey on Whose Line Is It Anyway says,"The points don't matter." If you post a couple sentences just to get to Senior status or whatever,I don't call that fair!:mad:
    stepping off my soapbox
  18. WhiteRabbit

    WhiteRabbit Well-Known Member

    Kat, you took the words right of my mouth...or fingers, rather. A lot of the discussions about religion make me kind of uncomfortable and--I've never publicly brought this up before--I was a little reluctant to admit that I'm bisexual when I first came on here because I felt like I'd be well, bashed for it. I know it's silly looking back on it and I'm in no way trying to say we should get rid of them altogether but the topics should be limited.

    Btw, I hope you're not still upset about Cait and I hogging the dorms. Once they reopen (if they ever reopen), we'll try not to go overboard and act like twerps. ;)
  19. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I don't see why, we have a few openly gay members here who have been here longer than you have.

    Besides, I've mentioned to you before, bi girls are cool. Heck, in an RPG on another forum, my fictional girlfriend's bi, lol.
  20. WhiteRabbit

    WhiteRabbit Well-Known Member

    Yeah but being new at the time, you can't have expected me to know that.

    *facepalm* *gives Jeanette to Snowth*

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