Author Topic: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?  (Read 14409 times)

mgriffin

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Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« on: September 27, 2011, 04:40:45 PM »
I've posted similar inquiries here in previous years, and I'm trying again.

The Hypnos Forum has been around for more than a decade, in various incarnations and versions, and it's gone through periods of thriving, buzzing activity, as well as slower doldrums. This latest slower period is probably less to do with the normal ebb and flow, and more to do with the fact that all over the internet, forums of this type seem to be less busy and active, as many people spend more time and energy on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

While I enjoy those sites myself, I think many of us would agree there's something to be said for a somewhat specifically focused, member-based site like this one. When you visit the Hypnos Forum you can assume a certain common ground with other members. It's nice to be able to post "I think Future Sound of London hasn't aged very well," and know that most people will have heard the albums you're talking about, and many people will have opinions, whether in agreement or disagreement.

I'd love to find a way to enhance this community with some additional features that would make people feel like visiting and posting here more often, without losing the narrow focus that is the whole point of this place. The moderators (APK and JKN) and I have been talking about this a bit, and thought it would be useful to take suggestions from Hypnos Forum members.

Also I've started to feel the Hypnos News page http://www.hypnos.com/news.php is sort of redundant since most news gets posted here. I've considered that maybe an enhanced community might have a series of blogs, not just by myself, and that the Hypnos blog would also be the main news outlet, replacing the above-linked news page.

Many of you are also members of JKN's Relaxed Machinery community on the Ning platform, so you'll understand what I mean when I say Ning comes close to being the sort of thing I envision for a new version of this place -- it's more than just a forum, but also a place where community members can share news, sounds, images and possibly blogs. I'd love for the Hypnos Forum to be more than just a traditional message board, and to allow people to share more than just little time-sequenced bits of text like this.

Let us know what kinds of features you'd like to see, and we'll try to take the wishes of our membership into account.

Is it important to you to see social network integration? Even if you already have a Hypnos Forum membership, do you think it would increase activity here if people could log in using their Facebook or Twitter or Google or Wordpress account?

Do you want to a central area for member blogs?

A shared member image gallery?  A shared member listening area?

We'd love to hear suggestions, preferences, complaints or whatever you have to offer.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

El culto

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2011, 02:12:33 AM »
IMO you should leave it as it is.

No offense to John but look to the result over there. Meanwhile itīs just a place of "listen to this and that", mainly amateurish stuff and/or free downloads + simply TOOOOO much informations. Maybe thatīs what people like in today and iīm just ages behind (lol) but for me it leaves a impression of "quantity support" instead of "quality". I very rarely saw something like this on Hypnos forum, no matter of the section. Also, if John sometimes would not come with new ideas, it would very likely turn into something like Myspace where people just say short phrases.......Also something like RM is VERY difficult to look at and i find myself very often lost on this site, since the new blogs are never jump to the top when somebody posts....its like a jungle at the end. Iīm also prefer a forum like this because i donīt like websites loaded with photos and flash animation - this takes my attention away, slows a website radically and makes a website weaker IMO.

"Less is more"

Cheers,
Tomas

 

mgriffin

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2011, 05:08:36 AM »
Thanks for the input, Tomas.

I agree an interface like Ning (which is what RM uses) is too cluttered.

Still I would ask for input about what features if any people would like to see here. There are all kinds of possibilities for forum enhancements in between this and a fully-loaded interface like Ning.

Of course, it's perfectly OK to say "leave it as it is," as well.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2011, 06:25:03 AM »
I would agree the Ning format is confusing and prevents me from posting, and that is any facebook style community.  However that confusion can be visually stimulating which the rM community is.  One of my favorite topics here is "recent purchases" because it really is a celebration of cd cover art.  It is visually exciting to see, and of course shows that the cd format still has some life left in it.

The Hypnos forum is streamlined and its easy to see whats going on within a click or two.... definitely worth holding on to that. 

Blogs....if they lead to what Richard Gurtler has done over at rM with his reviews then yes. Same goes for James Johnson's Studio Build.  If its a more personal blog then its not something I would read.  I do like that moving banner over at rM that highlihts key topics and release....not sure if something like that is specific to the ning format

Youtube direct integration would be great....lots of ambient/electronic music video out there.

Ultimately, whatever creates more traffic through here is a good thing. There are a lot more voices out there that should be heard and it seems they need encouragement.

This forum is a fantastic resource for the ambient music community!  My it continue to grow.

jkn

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2011, 07:00:01 AM »
Well - we've hit on both the reasons I love ning and the reasons I hate ning. 

I've been working with Ning since early 2008 with the AtmoWorks community.   When AtmoWorks and I parted ways - I started getting Relaxed Machinery (rM) going - and launched the community around March 17, 2010 - and opened it up to everyone and not "just rM". 

So I've been around the block with Ning for several years, have seen some ups and downs - the mass exodus - etc... 

here's what's right about Ning...   images, blogs, videos - easy to upload, easy to feature, and easy to share to facebook, google+, twitter, etc..  It's very flexible - and I turned off a lot of functions that are rarely used.   I've worked like crazy to get that front page less cluttered and easy to find things.

what's wrong...    it's almost impossible to not look cluttered!   the Forum totally sucks - it's not a good forum.   This is why I buried the forum in the background and encouraged everyone to use the blogs. 

There's an element of basic design here at play ... 

1)  you can have everything you want - and then be lost trying to figure it out
2)  you can focus on one thing and do it really well

Hypnos is a forum - and it does that really well.   There's no beating good forum software. 

Ning is a platform to build a social network using a ton of different tools (music as well if you shell out the stupid bucks for a yearly account (it's like $550 a year now... sheesh).   

Mr. El Culto brought up many really good points...  yes - Ning is a pain to look at, easy to get lost, and I've put it up for a community vote last year "should we move" and have multiple community votes/discussions on what should be on the front page - what matters most to people - etc...    My old "feature of a member" every day was a highilight - I did finally stop doing that.    I added the slide show - which allowed me to feature a number of things all at once - and I really like that.    I started featuring new releases - realized I couldn't keep up - and Joel / Crystal Dreams volunteered to take that over.   (Yeaaah!)

I've hit a point in life where I don't have as much time for doing what I was doing with both rM the label and rM the community  -  so my activity has been and will be slowing down more.    I like doing birthday robots - that will continue.

As we've done here at Hypnos in the past - I've tried to goose some conversation - my latest attempt and it's been somewhat successful - is the community interviews... where I'm picking someone kind of at random and trying to get people to ask questions.   It's been going well.   I like it- I think the interviewees like it - and I think the people getting onboard like it.

John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

jkn

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2011, 07:06:30 AM »
Julio asked about the slideshow... it's not ning exclusive - it's a javascript thing that's been tweaked to work within Ning's sometimes weird system.

Big ning downside is it doesn't allow "iFrames" - (then again - neiher does most forum software, Facebook, Myspace, Google+, etc...      Why do iframes matter?   Bandcamp, CD Baby, and Youtube widgets are all iframe.   (note youtube allows you to use the old "object" code as well as an option - so it's ok).

The Hypnos forum will allow bbcode - and thankfully flickr gives you an option of embedding an image in bbcode.

...................................


Ning alternatives...  When Ning announced the move from freemium (free or pay for extra features) to totally a paid system and the mass exodus and cries of people who demanded their free cake...  a ton of Ning competitors popped up.   Every one I researched and looked at was either deep in early beta - or had a "bait and switch" model already in plan.   In otherwords... they already planned to be like Ning with a paid system.   or had "freemium" plans - but the free features were so paltry in the long run that once latched onto new system you'd almost have to pay.

So I stayed with Ning for last year and we reupped again for this year - so we're there until next summer.

..................................

I'm loving Google+ - but as an alternative to Hypnos?   Not yet.    I know some communities left Ning and went to Facebook - ... but to me that really fractured those communities. 

..................................

John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

jkn

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2011, 07:10:50 AM »
Great blogs and great writers... if you can attract someone brilliant like Richard Gurtler's reviews - http://relaxedmachinery.ning.com/profiles/blog/list?user=0oovds8s96edt

or Saul Stokes series on tearing apart his analog travel synth and rebuilding it:  http://relaxedmachinery.ning.com/profiles/blog/list?tag=Stokes

or James Johnson's highly detailed step by step blog on building his new studio:   http://relaxedmachinery.ning.com/profiles/blog/list?tag=jjstudio

Then - having the ability to blog is awesome.   But getting those people, and keeping those people - and having new ones join in...  wow - so difficult to do.   

Richard could post here if it were easier for him to upload an image.   I think that's the main thing that brought him to rM - and then later when I linked all of his reviews together...  that was very cool.   I don't want to speak for him (he's here!) - but I'm thrilled he posts at rM.
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

jkn

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2011, 07:14:42 AM »
Tired of me rambling yet?

...........................................................

I've been here at Hypnos since the beginning of the forum (week 1 or 2)...  I very seriously thought about just making Hypnos "home" and encouraging everyone to post here and seeing if Mike would let there be a Relaxed Machinery section (i don't remember if I ever actually told Mike this...)  - but I was so used to the AtmoWorks community and the Ning platform and the very easy ability to do photos and embed youtube and embed music from soundcloud or elsewhere - that I decided a forum wasn't the way to go.

So I launched the Ning and then encouraged any label or community that didn't have a home already to join in and officially be there... 

..............................................................

I'm certainly not opposed to a "joint" project going forward.   Many of us are already in both places (heck, I'm a moderator here!)...  So - I guess my point is I was never trying to take away from Hypnos if anyone ever had that thought.   That's why I feature Hypnos every so often on rM.ning  0- and of course their logo is on relaxedmachinery.com because we partner with them for the label's cdr's!

Ok I'm done rambling now.
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

jkn

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2011, 07:19:28 AM »
ok - one last thought...

The problem of one line posts and promotional posts isn't just a problem at rM... it's everywhere.   It's what myspace bacame - I see it on twitter on facebook and on the new google+

I will say that for photography specifically - google+ is a massive awesome superpower.   And I've been watching their rollouts of new features and I thing in a couple years time - g+ will be the "it" place.   Now if we could all figure out what's coming after g+ we'd be filthy rich.
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Scott M2

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2011, 07:43:06 AM »
I enjoy the Hypnos forum as it is - refined, elegant, easy to read and easy to see what's new.

I enjoy the colourful, fun nature of RM but do find it cluttered and confusing.
The contrast with Hypnos is enjoyable. I think the RM site is highly animated by John's
tireless efforts and reflects his personality as, I imagine, that this forum reflects Mike's.

BTW - I mainly follow the RM blogs for Saul Stokes, James Johnson and Richard Gurtler.
Here, I drop into almost all the threads, though my contributions still tend to be limited to
injections of questionable humour and sporadic promotion.

My opinions must be filtered as "old school".

Seren

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2011, 07:51:12 AM »
I too like both Hypnos and Rm for their differences. I neither go the same restaurant whenever I eat out - nor do I always choose the same meal when I do repeat a visit to the same restaurant.

I also find Rm confusing - I know things are going on and people are communicating - but i don't seem to have enough time to work out how to find out where and how....

I suppose I am saying it might be good to develop things at Hypnos to deepen connection/understanding (a bit like how I feel about album liner notes) without losing the 'feel' of the forum as it is....

I know, I know  - this is actually saying make it different - but keep it the same!! ;D

ffcal

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2011, 08:26:19 AM »
I also like the current Hypnos forum site the way it is, without the potential distracting bells and whistles of a social network site.  I like the fact that this site doesn't attempt to tether you to your screen 24/7.  About the only feature I'd like to see (though it's probably something I should just add to my own site) is the ability to easily stream a file of a work-in-progress through an embedded player.  I'm not as familiar with John's site as I should be, but I can tell he's put a lot of effort into it and that seems to be quite a bit of interesting info there.

Forrest

jkn

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2011, 08:32:49 AM »
quick summary of a few people's thoughts:

HYPNOS:    current forum format is really nice, uncluttered and easy to keep up with.    would be nice if images and ability to embed a music player here were easy.

RELAXED MACHINERY NING:   a cluttered mess and difficult to read and post at.  But has most of the features people are requesting.

So...  Mike needs to beef up Hypnos and I need to tame down rM.  ;-)
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2011, 08:50:56 AM »
I guess some people might have thought I meant that I wanted to make the Hypnos community like a Ning community, and this isn't quite true. I just meant that I'd consider making it more multi-function in the way Ning is.

John, I don't think anybody's saying the RM community is cluttery because of your setup -- I think it's inherent to what Ning is.

Very simply, I'd love to be able to integrate some extra features to give people a bit more to do, hear, see when they visit. I don't want to take away the good aspects of the Hypnos Forum.

The problem is, very few of us post anything here. If we go through a period of weeks where the few of us who sometimes create new topics are busy with other things, then the forum becomes nothing but a small number of folks posting "now playing" updates.

Now, having said that... whenever this comes up, I think a lot of people think to themselves, "Oh shit, I'd better post more or else this place will die off," and then the forum becomes busy, active and vibrant for a while. And that's great -- I hope we have a great October here! -- but I'm hoping for more long term enhancements to the site that will draw more people to participate, more often, more consistently.
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petekelly

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2011, 08:51:36 AM »
For me, the ability to embed music players - I'm thinking Soundcloud primarily, would be a great boon for the Hypnos forum. I like the forum for it's content (mostly) and the ease in which threads / info can be followed.

I don't have a problem with the look of rM, but there is a lot going on and interesting things can get lost when a new member posts a few things. I was the 3rd person to sign up (from memory) and I knew who most of the people were for quite some time then.

John is right, if someone really wants to go into self-promotion mode and not enter into any debate or discussions, then there's not much that can be done about that. Naturally, thats not confined to this here forum or rM.

jkn

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2011, 09:19:34 AM »
Sorry if my comments sounded like "Hypnos shold be ning-like"...  I'm certainly not saying that. 

If forum software could be what it is now - and add the ability to easily embed "stuff"... like youtube and soundcloud - you've just pretty much solved the "media" thing right there.   

I think SMF had some add on's or tweaks to enable those when I was tinkering with it a while back.

 
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El culto

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2011, 09:26:07 AM »

The problem is, very few of us post anything here. If we go through a period of weeks where the few of us who sometimes create new topics are busy with other things, then the forum becomes nothing but a small number of folks posting "now playing" updates.

Now, having said that... whenever this comes up, I think a lot of people think to themselves, "Oh shit, I'd better post more or else this place will die off," and then the forum becomes busy, active and vibrant for a while. And that's great -- I hope we have a great October here! -- but I'm hoping for more long term enhancements to the site that will draw more people to participate, more often, more consistently.

Actually i disagree with this. Silence is not such a bad sign and it doesnīt give an impression that a forum is death. I prefer this much more then to have things like the new "activity stream" on FB where you can see any nonsense what people have to say, like or cook at the moment.

Actually 3 things i would like to see here:

1. Option to add videos and music players
2. A special section/room for possible collaborations (means, where people can ask for something or can offer something)
3. More direct integration of other portals/radio stations/info sites which are into the ambient world (at the end the people donīt care about competitions between labels, musicians or whatever - they simply want to explore this kind of music to find out what suites them most).

Greetings,
Tomas

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2011, 09:42:44 AM »
I don't really have a problem with the forum being "quieter." Some people do, though, and if they don't see much activity for a while, they won't come back.

Some people don't show up to post, but to read things others have posted. So if enough people approach the forum that way, we end up with more and more of the posts being self-promotional and those visitors who mostly lurk can start to become disenchanted.

I don't want to re-invent the wheel, but I'd like to find some new ways to encourage contribution from people who have something to offer. There have been some good suggestions already.
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El culto

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2011, 10:20:13 AM »
I don't really have a problem with the forum being "quieter." Some people do, though, and if they don't see much activity for a while, they won't come back.

Some people don't show up to post, but to read things others have posted. So if enough people approach the forum that way, we end up with more and more of the posts being self-promotional and those visitors who mostly lurk can start to become disenchanted

I really have a problem to follow your thoughts. I mean, lets face it, itīs not possible to please anyone who visit this site - if some doesnīt come back because there is less activity, itīs not the end of the world. These are very likely the people which needs "info drones" all the time and obviously for them FB is a better place.

Also, its not a secret that Hypnos Forum is connected to your label so itīs also kinda seen as a promo tool for you. The same goes for the Non-Hypnos section - but what you would expect to have for post there if not mainly promo post from others outside of the Hypnos circle? Isnīt it the nature of this section to post things like that there?

I totally agree on the point to improve the forum to make it for the members more attractive (which very likely will increase activity).

Cheers,
Tomas

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Re: Any ideas what we could do to improve this place?
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2011, 10:44:58 AM »
Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing a little less self-promotional posting.  Topics and interaction are the main reasons I like to visit, not because I am afraid of missing out on a 'great' two-fer deal or the latest review of a previously posted release.

Forrest