Armchair Arcade 3.0: Your Thoughts Appreciated

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Chris Kennedy
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Avsforum

For the record, I do NOT approve of their primary webpage graphic layout. It is WAY too cluttered. They do have a decent way of publishing forum content via that center column.

I think it gives a decent idea of what I had in mind, but the frontpage itself is way too loud.

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Bill Loguidice
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I don't know, Chris, I look

I don't know, Chris, I look at the avsforum, and it looks like a mess to me. I guess I'm just used to forums being subsets of sites, not primary focuses. I'm not sure how well I'd take to such a shift for Armchair Arcade.

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Chris Kennedy
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Hmm
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Again, I've always maintained phpBB is the premiere forum software, but it can't be the foundation of AA 3.0.

Hmm. I strongly disagree.

But then - I suppose it depends on what you are looking to do. A news site such as Engadget goes with the blog format and people can comment on it. A community-based site is based on a forum. While we occasionally report news, we are certainly not a source for news by any means. So then the blog format is essentially a set of editorials - no matter how we classify it (news item, editorial, feature article, etc)

If we truly want to be a community, we HAVE to base Armchair Arcade on a message board. Otherwise, we end up fragmented like we are now.

We can still have a webpage-based frontend for the site - It would be like a portal to the message forum. You can create a subforum called "feature articles," etc inside of the message board. The AA staff could add items in there, the first topic would serve also serve as a "blog post" as it would be pushed to the armchairarcade.com front page. If a user clicks on it to comment, it would push them into the topic inside the forum. They could leave feedback there.

Check out http://avsforum.com/ - The best way for me to illustrate what I am thinking is to provide an example. If you go to the root homepage, it has a primary page that isn't the forum, however clicking on a staff article redirects you to the forum topic.

So it is a message forum underneath it all, but it still has a webpage and "article-based" facade when you go to their website. THAT is the sort of thing I am thinking about - Not simply converting AA to only be a message forum. We can still do something beyond that. We can still create a homepage that illustrates most everything it does now.

My point about where people go (website vs forum) wasn't meant to serve as a versus (which is, unfortunately, exactly how I wrote it in the e-mail) - It was more a pointer that some people are going to bookmark the website while others are going to bookmark the forum.

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Bill Loguidice
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I have to strongly disagree

I have to strongly disagree with that assessment, Chris (and part of this is in response to your email). I have no problem with doing a separate forum as long as it's tightly integrated into the main site (meaning a universal login is a must), but the main site can't be a forum. Our main output still needs to be blog posts. If we're mainly forum-based, it's amateur hour. In any case, I honestly have little interest in going to two separate Armchair Arcades, one that's a blog and one that's a forum. Certainly no one else will do that either. It's has to be a cohesive 3.0. We want to make our lives and by extension the lives of our readership/members easier, not harder, otherwise what's the point of a change, and two different sites simply won't get us there. That's my opinion.

Again, I've always maintained phpBB is the premiere forum software, but it can't be the foundation of AA 3.0.

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Chris Kennedy
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Forum
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Since we're doing this in public, I guess I'll bring it up here... Why exactly are we monkeying around with phpBB at this point? I mean, I clearly favor it as the superior forum software among everything out there, but it's not doing us any good with a separate login and we don't even know if it can be integrated into whatever 3.0 solution we'll come up with it. So I ask exactly what the point of this is at this point?

I just wrote a long e-mail with some ideas about starting to customize the phpBB forum. I think it is a great idea to run with it because it is a really good piece of software.

It might be worth considering building Armchair Arcade as a forum first (with popular software that has good support) and then expand to a website rather than the other way around. If you are attempting to build a community, the best way to do it is via a forum. We certainly go beyond that - but honestly if people had to pick between visiting the main website and a forum, they would probably pick the forum.

The blog AND forum format we have right now is too fragmented. There are two places to go for discussion and community. I think we need to consolidate, and I think it needs to start with phpBB.

Those are my thoughts.

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Bill Loguidice
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Since we're doing this in

Since we're doing this in public, I guess I'll bring it up here... Why exactly are we monkeying around with phpBB at this point? I mean, I clearly favor it as the superior forum software among everything out there, but it's not doing us any good with a separate login and we don't even know if it can be integrated into whatever 3.0 solution we'll come up with it. So I ask exactly what the point of this is at this point?

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Chris Kennedy
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phpBB
Matt Barton wrote:

Somebody register for that forum already before I feel like a total idiot.

Done. Prefer phpBB. It is simple, easy, and familiar to use. IP.Board is also good.

The main point here is that the software is just fun to use - from a forum-rat's perspective. It has been a long time since I have really dove into a forum. We'll see what we can do with this thing.

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Matt Barton
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Somebody register for that

Somebody register for that forum already before I feel like a total idiot.

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davyK
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yeah - phpBB is very slick.

yeah - phpBB is very slick. Many forums use it for good reasons. I know I don't post as much as I used to - I didn't really get over the last change - but it would be a shame to not have a forum....

Bill Loguidice
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BaseKit
Rowdy Rob wrote:

Anyhow, check out the tal.ki link. It appears that this Basekit/tal.ki combo might be a very acceptable alternative to your Drupal system, if you're willing to shell out the monthly fees. One concern, though, it that the ".ki" domain is based out of "Kiribati," a small island country that I've never heard of!

It's my understanding that our host, Hostgator, is going to handle all the administration and upkeep, and it will all be included in what we already pay. Naturally, if there are additional costs above and beyond what we already pay, we'll just do the Wordpress thing. Supposedly Hostgator will be rolling this out as an option within the next 30 days or so.

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