Event system discussion

HaloJ

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Hi all, need to ask you for your opinions about the event system.

Our first iteration of event organising was a system of two parts. A calendar that was visible to the outside world and the event threads which were visible to Seniors and Allys only. Creating an event necessitated that a thread be created and announced for 7 days and also a visit to the calendar to link to the thread itself. Discussion was disjointed as it spanned multiple weeks threads and signup was sporadic.

The second iteration was to create repeated events on the calendar and have a fixed thread for each title within the event section. This kept discussion within one section but has led to signup posts practically vanishing from the site.

So the questions I need to ask before I actually do any more work on this are :-
  • Do we need to simplify/automate event attendance?
    Do we need a unified calendar/forum event system?
    Would a seven day preview calendar help as part of the main page? (e.g below the header)
    Is signup to a regular event needed?

To express an opinion on the final question I do feel that we should sign up to regular events but I don't feel that the current system works well in this respect as anyone signing up breaks the flow of discussion and it requires the event creator to be somewhat on the ball editing their first post. With the single thread system this has become even more difficult as there is now no easy "first post" for the event organiser to edit. This all led me to ask for your opinions as I can see works needs to be done but I'd like to get a picture of what your requirements are.

Help me Obiwan, you're my only hope.
 

ColSonders

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I don't feel it's particularly necessary to sign up to regular events. The whole purpose of them is that they are regular and you would expect to see generally the same people turn up at those events every time they're on (real life permitting).

If that's not happening then it's not really a regular event and there's little point in putting a thread up except to try to gain interest to make it a regular event.

Thursdays as an example...this is a night we play BF3 and I don't feel it necessary for people who are playing to sign up to this event unless they aren't a regular and specifically want a certain week to cater for something in particular, such as if they don't have the DLC.

edit* note that this is from a user perspective, obviously having events that are looking populated looks good from an outside perspective, but other than ad-hoc events I see no benefit for the end user other than a reference of what happens when so that the user can join in on something they are not a regular part of.
 

Slaine

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I agree with Col to a point. Thursdays has kind of become BF3 night, so you could argue why bother each and every Thursday with an event. I still like to have an event, if for no other reason to show that its still on and that there'll be people there. But even if only 3 people sign up, theres usually double or triple that actually turn up. Which kind of illustrates the point that may be the Event system isnt needed. Or may be, like me, they scan the events thread to see whats coming and make a mental note to turn up.

The events system is a bit cumbersome, and could be simpified somewhat. Only need to post the once, and it should be easy to modify and change too.
 

Jkrohn1

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I try and remember to put my name down but to be honest on set daytime bf3 Thursdays we do it every week so don't feel the need.
 

The_Carpet_Frog

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I think that the whole event system is a bit of overkill and not really needed. It works great etc and has been implemented into the forums really well but, is it really needed?

Keeping on re-editing the original post in a thread is ok but (to me anyway) it starts to look like there isnt much going on. Why not just keep it simple, a new thread for each new Event, it doesnt have to be anything complicated just a thread title like for example "GT5 Saturday ??th 9pm" Then all the event details in the post.

Also, why is it that visitors/lurkers cant see the Events forum? I cant see the point of attracting people to the site when they cant see whats going on when they get here?? Being a big part of online gaming in a community like SNR`s is the banter and general tomfoolery that goes on, visitors dont get a idea of what its like being a part of this great community as they dont get to see any of it until signing up.
 

ColSonders

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mick said:
Keeping on re-editing the original post in a thread is ok but (to me anyway) it starts to look like there isnt much going on. Why not just keep it simple, a new thread for each new Event, it doesnt have to be anything complicated just a thread title like for example "GT5 Saturday ??th 9pm" Then all the event details in the post.
That's basically what we've been doing. Recently we've tried setting up a single thread for recurring events such as Thursday night battlefield since a post was made every week only for no replies and sometimes barely any views of the thread yet the same people would turn up on Thursday night every week.
 

Martok

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We have currently switched to single threads for events in an attempt to make things easier for event organisers, so that rather than them have to create a thread every week and a linked calendar entry then there was just one.

Personally I think I prefer the original system of a new thread each week. I think it's easier to see what is going on in a particular evening that week. However, in the few weeks prior to the change to a single thread for each event, there were only a few people signing up to these. Not that I'd say it's any better now, if anything there are less posts from attendees and the event organiser sometimes doesn't even post.

I've been looking at alternatives to what we have already, as the two-system solution we have isn't the best. However, there isn't a perfect alternative. There is a calendar which integrates with the forums which we could use and allows for folks to sign up with attendance with a simple yes or no option. They can also make a comment with this if they wish. However, it isn't like a thread so it can't really be used for discussion, so a separate thread would be needed where necessary (for example when organising a BF3 match against another community and deciding on what maps to play on and what tactics to use). Another alternative was a mod to the forum poll system that allowed you to see who had voted for which option. This looked promising as you could set up the poll (which comes in a thread which can be used for discussion) to be a simple yes or no to attendance with folk voting for the appropriate option. Votes can be changed (as they currently can in a poll if that option is set) where necessary. This looked perfect, however as the mod currently stands it looks like it will either show all voters in all polls or none at all. Personally I'd only want it to show voters in the Event forum and have other votes as private.

The Events forum is currently only available to SNR and Allies. It is not even visible to anyone else. There are various reasons for that. Firstly if we're organising an event that requires a password (such as in BF3) and/or discussion of tactics then that would naturally go in the event thread, so we wouldn't want that broadcast to the whole world. Secondly our games are generally open to SNR and Allies plus potential new members. Would we really want some random turning up to an event, especially if space is limited? Events aren't completely hidden from the outside world - that's what our calendar is for. This shows everyone what we play each week, they just don't see the detail of what we do each week which goes in the event threads. They get to see that if they sign up and become an Ally (which isn't hard, just post an intro and make a few posts) or of course an SNR.
 

Acegadgets

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what about doing away with the calendar. just put a sub forum for each game in the events forum. organisers can put title, date time into that section of the forum and attendees can discuss that particular night on that thread, before and after the event.
 

Martok

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If we did away with the calendar there would be no indication to the outside world of the events we have. The events forum is only visible to SNR & Allies for reasons explained in my last post.

What's the benefit for creating sub-forums for games in the Events forum? We did use timed announced posts for events each week (and could revert to this if folk think it works better) which put them at the top of the forum so they stand out. I don't understand how sub-forums would improve things?
 

Acegadgets

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My idea wasnt fully explained, was in a hurry. i was thinking of having a sub forum for each game that we have events for. The creator of events would create a new event each week in that particular forum. the calander would be similar to what it is now, but links to a single thread as they are now are replaced with a link to the sub forum.
 

ColSonders

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Can the calendar pull data straight from the forums?

The way it's currently disjointed I feel doesn't help matters and I think that aspect could largely be addressed by a script that pulls the event data from the forums and automatically populates the calendar.

That would still leave the issue of how we use events, I've taken over the organising of Battlefield events to help take some of the workload off Martok and Halo who previously were creating all events. I'd take a bit of convincing that making a weekly forum event post is any better for the weekly event, though I do see that one off events for ad-hoc sessions and matches and such still have a place.

I just don't see what difference it makes, one big thread keeps the history of the weekly event in one place rather than spread out, it means there's always a calendar event in place and we don't exactly have many people using the event posts to "sign up" to events anyway. The only advantage I could see in having weekly event posts created is if we have an actual sign up feature where we can see who has properly signed up to an event, perhaps having limited numbers to reflect room limits on servers and such.

Even then though it's still gonna be the same where people who don't feel they can guarantee they'll be there will avoid signing up and taking up a place on the chance they may not make it....but then turn up anyway.
 

Slaine

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How about a compromise? Why not post each week a list of all upcoming events, that way newcomers and visitors can see, and theres always a visual reminder present of whats going on.
 

Martok

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Acegadgets said:
My idea wasnt fully explained, was in a hurry. i was thinking of having a sub forum for each game that we have events for. The creator of events would create a new event each week in that particular forum. the calander would be similar to what it is now, but links to a single thread as they are now are replaced with a link to the sub forum.
Ah, I see what you mean now. It could also tidy up the Events forum too with thread for certain games in their own sub-folders whereas one-off type events could just go in the main Events forum.

ColSonders said:
Can the calendar pull data straight from the forums?
Unfortunately no.

ColSonders said:
The way it's currently disjointed I feel doesn't help matters and I think that aspect could largely be addressed by a script that pulls the event data from the forums and automatically populates the calendar.
That's require a bit of coding to do this - creating the associated calendar event and populating it with the details in the first post. That'd take a bit of work to do that, I guess.

ColSonders said:
That would still leave the issue of how we use events, I've taken over the organising of Battlefield events to help take some of the workload off Martok and Halo who previously were creating all events. I'd take a bit of convincing that making a weekly forum event post is any better for the weekly event, though I do see that one off events for ad-hoc sessions and matches and such still have a place.

I just don't see what difference it makes, one big thread keeps the history of the weekly event in one place rather than spread out, it means there's always a calendar event in place and we don't exactly have many people using the event posts to "sign up" to events anyway. The only advantage I could see in having weekly event posts created is if we have an actual sign up feature where we can see who has properly signed up to an event, perhaps having limited numbers to reflect room limits on servers and such.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both ways. Single event threads are easy to set up and do keep things together but it can be a bit more difficult to see who has signed up for a particular week and to determine which conversation relates to which week, especially if you're not up-to-date with the forums when you visit and read the unread posts. Multiple event threads do keep things discreet and easy for folk to see which topic and discussion relates to which event/date, but there's a bit more work in setting these up and it looks busier in the Events forum (which can be a good or a bad thing).

ColSonders said:
Even then though it's still gonna be the same where people who don't feel they can guarantee they'll be there will avoid signing up and taking up a place on the chance they may not make it....but then turn up anyway.
That's fair enough, folk can't always guarantee that they will be able to attend and so won't want to sign up (though they could say 'might attend' I suppose). However I think it's useful for the event organiser (and others) to know where possible who is likely to turn up. In the case of BF3, if a non-Premium player wants to attend then we would make sure they could play by setting a non-Premium rotation. However, Premium players do want to play the DLC and so it's only fair that they can organise this for a night, which also lets non-Premium players know too. Also for clan matches, we need to know attendance for these so we can field an appropriate team or cancel the event if there's likely to be a low turnout. In these cases, an event thread of some sort is needed.
 
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