Campaign forum thoughts

Micah
Micah
edited July 2013 in General Archive
We're considering some fundamental changes to the campaign forum in order to bring it closer in-line with the original vision: a centralized communication center for your campaign. To use a taboo word: A place to have meta-game discussions and keep everyone in the campaign in the loop.

I call it a forum because that's a word everyone knows, but it's not really what I'm going for. In a traditional forum, you have 1000s (sometimes millions) of people all talking simultaneously, and the software's job is to filter out the 99.9% that's not important to you and get you to what you want to see.

By contrast, in an Obsidian Portal campaign forum, if someone is writing something, *everyone* should be reading it. Examples: "Can we switch game night this week?", "What food should I bring?", "Here are my thoughts on the current plan to attack the underground bunker...", "Hey! The Steam sale is going on and you can get games X, Y, Z for super cheap!" (Yes, that's a real thread from my campaign, and yes, I'm glad he posted it!)

With the exception of gm-only and/or player secrets (which we haven't tackled yet and won't be this time around), there's not a lot that you would write in your campaign forum that you wouldn't expect everyone else to at least glance at. That's a big difference in purpose from a traditional forum.

Put another way, our forums are meant to replace the _reply all_ button in an email thread. With reply all, inevitably someone forgets to reply all, or they reply to some but not all, and the thread gets fragmented and information is lost. By routing all communication through your campaign forum, nobody gets left out and everyone is up to speed.

In the reforging we're trying to examine the forum from this angle and make it easier to immediately see any new posts or messages. Rather than digging around in subforums, new posts should be visible immediately when you come to your campaign (we're putting the latest posts on the dashboard) as well as surfaced intelligently on the forums page itself. Likewise, information like who originally authored a topic or how many total posts are in it are less important. In the end, the forums page may not look much like a traditional forum as we've come to expect it, but I think that will be a good thing.

We're working on some designs right now that I hope to show soon, but I just wanted to toss out the overall idea.

Comments

  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,957
    Being able to go to the last post you read, or only the ones that you have not read, would be huge! New posts in the dashboard is a great idea!

    Just trying to help out.

  • kenurion
    kenurion
    Posts: 80
    I like the thoughts. We use the Forums intensively since we're PbP and that's where we post. The changes you propose will help. If it's at all practical, it would be better for the posts to be ordered newest - oldest. Right now, to get to the newest posts within a topic, you have to click a few extra buttons (a lot of extra buttons on a long thread on a mobile device). Not a big deal for light forum users, but it is a minor nuisance that adds up for us. I agree it's not very important to track # of posts or topic author.

    Kenurion

    "Saga of Jaraah":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/saga-of-jaraah/forum
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    We're actually planning on keeping the oldest-to-newest ordering (since that's a big convention for discussion threads), but automatically taking you to the newest post, with some controls for easily moving back in time. It's not as smooth as I'd like yet, so we're working on it, but I'm glad to hear that we're on the right path for someone at least. :)
  • kenurion
    kenurion
    Posts: 80
    Auto-go to the newest post is just as good! Actually, that's what I really want. Don't really care how they're numbered.
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,957
    I am really excited about this one- and I only have a plot sharing campaign as pbp- this will make all of the pbp folks really happy!

    Just trying to help out.

  • weasel0
    weasel0
    Posts: 433
    A lot of sites do: auto go-to the oldest, of the newest posts, you haven't read yet.

    So i've read a thread. There are 10 posts. I go away. 10 more posts. Instead of me jumping straight to the 20th post the next time i log in, it'll take me to the 11th post and I can read from there.
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    @weasel0 - We may implement that kind of "jump to the last you've read" point, but we don't have that yet. I've worked with the "jump to oldest" and it's actually good enough in most cases. Most OP threads just don't move so fast that you don't keep up. It's nice having discussion threads that have 3-5 voices instead of 1000s.
  • Viehmagnat
    Viehmagnat
    Posts: 24 edited August 2013
    For campaign forums, the "jump to oldest" works just fine for my campaigns due to the limited number of posters.

    While I appreciate the forums replacing e-mails for game chatter (and that is exactly what we use them for), I hope the "reply to all" doesn't become the only option, in so far as who receives e-mail updates on the forum post. The current set-up with the default being those players who have chosen to receive updates being checked is perfect. It allows me to check additional boxes if specific players need to pay special attention to a thread or post.

    Also, because the party tends to get split up from time to time on their own mini-adventures, it would be very helpful to have a way to tag a forum post as visible by only selected players to help keep everyone honest. Currently I have to try do those adventures vie PMs or e-mail (which is one of the things I wanted to get away from when I started using Obsidian Portal). For example, the wizard in the party is currently being held captive in a city that is under siege. He has been held captive for a month and has had many encounters and experiences in that time. As a result, he knows a lot about what is going on in the city. The rest of the party has just returned after nearly two months from a dragon-slaying to find the city besieged by two different armies. If the wizard and I used the forums for his story, it is very difficult for the rest of the party to avoid the information their players do not have, such as where the wizard is being held. I would like to be able to tag a forum for specific members for such adventures. If the wizard is reunited with the party, I would then like to be able to 'open' the forum to the rest of the party, either by tagging them all, or removing a restriction. I'm not sure if this is something you are looking at doing, or if that is what you mean by gm-only and player-only forums. I would put that sort of forum functionality nearer the need category. My players try to play honest, but I would like to be able to help them out.

    *edit* Just saw your reply on a previous post I made about permissions where you mentioned it was probably not something that would happen just yet. Having only an the smallest of grasps on the scale of what you all are doing with the reforging and still being more than impressed at the ambition and effort, I can easily accept that. I think perhaps natural editing will be the change that really opens the site up to more users with the added simplicity and familiarity. I can wait on the forum permissions for that and many of the other reforging goals. I will keep asking for it from time to time though ;)
    Post edited by Viehmagnat on
  • Maesenko
    Maesenko
    Posts: 325
    I know it probably won't happen for some time, but I do agree with Viehmagnat about players having select visibility. As the forums don't get used much in my game at the moment, due to conflicting schedules we may be moving into more virtual meet-ups in the coming months, so we may take to the forums more.

    ~Mae

    CotM Selection Committee

Sign In or Register to comment.

July 2022
Signs and Portends

Read the feature post on the blog
Return to Obsidian Portal

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Discussions