Public Forum Experiment
Since it’s founding in 2006, the forums on Toysoldiersunite.com have always been set as ‘private’, meaning one would have to register and log in before seeing anything. This has kept the Digital Bunker as a safe haven for Toy Soldiers from the ugliness that can happen in the world and the rest of cyberspace.
But it has also acted a slight deterrent for new recruits, not knowing whether or not there’s an online community beyond the posts one would see on the front page. It’s also probably why there seems to be the general belief that the Army of Toy Soldiers died off 3 years ago.
We’d like to run a little experiment (Yes, I heard it in my head too).
For one month, we’ll make the forums public to the world. This means you wont have to log in or register to read posts and threads, but you WILL need to register if you want to start a topic or reply to one.
More private and personal threads, such as What Didn’t Make Your Day and the Venting Thread, will be moved to the Toy Soldier Self Improvement forum, which will remain hidden until one logs in. This is because we know that there are some personal topics, and sensitive and heartfelt posts within that you might not want the entire world to see.
At the end of the month, we’ll have the robots tot up the numbers and see how traffic and enlistments have gone. More importantly we’d like to hear from you what you think on the matter. And of course, if you wish to talk to us but want to do so privately, you can use the Contact Us page to send us an email.
In the end, it’s the decision of you, the community that matters. Let us know what you think, and we’ll start the experiment this coming Monday.
I am willing to try this…however, if recruitment doesn’t spike within the month, I suggest we re-evaluate the open site idea.
Orbital Sciences Director Gonzo, YJParticipant
Sounds good, as people can see there is still a bunch of activity.
I would limit it to the Announcements, Newbies, General, Missions, Art and Where Children play forums. So there’s still enough to explore once someone enlists.
Be weary of more spambots and trollers though…
Ok Comrades, the experiment has begun.
For now until the 15th of October, the forums are public.
‘Guests’ can view forums, read threads, and see a list of members.
They CANNOT read your profile.
And until they enlist and log in, ‘Toy Soldier Self Improvement’, ‘Army Repository of Wisdom’, and ‘Website News’ will remain hidden to them.
What Didn’t Make Your Day 3.0, The Venting Thread and Toy Soldier Confession Booth 3.0 have been moved to the Toy Soldier Self Improvement forum to remain hidden from prying eyes.Now please bare in mind, this is still a public website and so long as they abide to the rules of the site, they can sign up and browse till their eyes bleed and the scroll wheel on their mouse is embedded in their finger. As has always been the case, TSU-HQ will keep a close eye on forums and threads, and if you think we missed something just hit the ‘REPORT’ button to the top right of a post. This sends an email straight to us at TSU-HQ and we can give the appropriate response.
How is this going? Has recruitment spiked? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW!
I wanted to wait till the exact deadline had passed so I could have a good idea of how things went.
Overall, there hasn’t been much difference really. Traffic is roughly the same as the month previous, maybe a tad more random.
As for new signups, the previous month we had 47, and this month we’ve had 51. So again, not a huge difference.
When it comes to web traffic, you have to bare in mind numerous other factors (trends, work, holidays, events, even the weather) all of which can have a huge impact on a sites performance. Another factor that I completely forgot to do (bad Dutch. Bad bad bad) is updating the sitemap to send to Google.
The sitemap gives google a quick reference for a website, indexing pages and content. Of course with the forums being public that would include them, so if people searched something (like ‘Voltor’s awesome inventions’ or ‘How easily can you get blinded by Gonzo’s LED’s?’) google would also show results from the forum.
Having said all of that, since the more private and sensitive post are still locked away in non-public forums, and we haven’t heard any opinions to the contrary, we’re quite happy with keeping the majority of the forums public if that’s alright with the rest of you.
What do you guys think?
“How easily can you get blinded by Gonzo’s LED’s”
Tried that one on Google, was disappointed…
The first result was about the muppet (not our Gonzo, but the other one) as well as the second and third item…
And it ended the first result page with an oldschool mmorpg called “The seed of Gonzo”
We need to find a way to get better search result from the forum if we want to go all out to the public…
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