Lasraik

The Future of KitchenTableMTG.com

31 posts in this topic

I've been debating whether or not I should make this post or just let things fall into place as they will.  But I figure I've been pretty transparent up to this point, so why stop now?  After I decided to make this post, then I had to decide what kind of tone it would have.  Positive?  Negative?  Or just the facts?  I'll go with facts.  After all, I don't want to be this guy:

BaghdadBob.jpg

Last year I changed the hosting plan for the website due to activity and traffic.  To prevent any downtime, I had to get a bigger plan to support the demand.  Since that time, demand has dropped pretty significantly.  I'm lucky to have so many great people who support the site and the community, but to continue with the site we'll need to get more support.   I'm not naive, I knew going into starting a forum that there were so many other places to consume and have conversations about MTG and gaming; but I thought there was an empty spot for a place without drama or toxicity for people to talk without trolls.  

Let's go over some statistics for new topics, posts and bandwidth usage:

topics.PNGposts.PNGbandwidth.PNG

In other words, we have a hosting plan that is basically a private jet to transport people when we could be using a school bus.  

So, where does this leave us?  

A few months ago some very generous members donated to help cover some of the hosting costs.  With their help, I just renewed the plan until the middle of October.  If traffic and activity continue on the downward trend, some major changes will happen in October.  Because of the cost and lack of traffic, I'll downgrade to a much smaller hosting plan.  But to fit into a smaller plan, I'll eliminate anything extra the forum currently has to save space and bandwidth.  This means we'll just have a forum, not the extras like videos, RSS feeds, downloads, and so on.  The website will change domain names and will no longer have an MTG focus, but instead be a general gaming forum for whoever wants to stick around and keep in touch.  I've been friends with the folks in the TGA usergroup for almost 15 years, so I'm not going to leave them or any of you and disappear overnight.  We'll still have a forum, but drastically different.

No topics or posts would be deleted, but everything will be moved around and consolidated.  

You might be asking yourself what you can do to help, well I'm glad you asked!  Here's what we need:

  1. Be active on the forum!  Make posts, reply to topics, add a blog or submit your videos.
  2. Share the site on social media.  Even if it's just a quick mention, it really does help.  
  3. If you're a content creator, give the site a mention.  Even if it brings one person it's worth it!
  4. Tell your friends and your grandma about it.
  5. Submit some ideas you have to me about changes we could make, I'm always open to ideas.  Not everything can be done, but it still helps to make improvements I may not think about.

TLDR: The site doesn't have enough activity to justify costs, if activity doesn't improve the site will change drastically in less than 90 days.

I appreciate all of you for your support, I hope this is just a valley we're going through that we will come out of; but I wanted to let everyone know the current status of the site.  I didn't want it to be a surprise in October if everything changed overnight, and I can't do this alone - I need your help.

Thanks again.

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Yeah, @Aurian and I have noticed the lack of Magic-related content here

Personally, I’ve been consuming a bit less MTG content. Oh, I’m still playing and into the game, but also taking a bit of a mental break. I haven’t been doing as much building, tweaking, posting, and trading.

A few thoughts.

1.       I liked the Top 10 lists. That, or a question of the day, helps spur conversation.

2.       I think videos have actually HURT more than help. When I am at work, I can’t really watch videos, but it’s much easier to read on a break or on the train.

I see a lot of videos posted here, but don’t necessarily want to, or can, consume them. Any conversation that might take place would also do so on the YouTube channel. I get the feeling it’s a bit of a dumping ground for their content. When you watch TV, do you really interact? The old pump-and-dump

 

3.       Alternatives?

a.       Reddit/CasualMTG, but I find reddit very imporsal

b.       A Facebook Group, except it can be hard to find new members, unless you allow new applicants in from searches

c.       A discord server…again, this is kind of invite only.

d.       Prod some peeps to post/reply more :D

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The forums have seem to been slowing down (I'm not innocent I've definitely haven't been interacting enough). I'll try to post more about the site and maybe drop it in some videos. I don't have much reach but it may bring in a person or two.

I'll try to be more active too! You've created a great place @Lasraik, it'll be a shame if we, the community, let it slip away.

Thanks for being open and honest about this!

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49 minutes ago, JesGolbez said:

Yeah, @Aurian and I have noticed the lack of Magic-related content here

Personally, I’ve been consuming a bit less MTG content. Oh, I’m still playing and into the game, but also taking a bit of a mental break. I haven’t been doing as much building, tweaking, posting, and trading.

A few thoughts.

1.       I liked the Top 10 lists. That, or a question of the day, helps spur conversation.

2.       I think videos have actually HURT more than help. When I am at work, I can’t really watch videos, but it’s much easier to read on a break or on the train.

I see a lot of videos posted here, but don’t necessarily want to, or can, consume them. Any conversation that might take place would also do so on the YouTube channel. I get the feeling it’s a bit of a dumping ground for their content. When you watch TV, do you really interact? The old pump-and-dump

 

3.       Alternatives?

a.       Reddit/CasualMTG, but I find reddit very imporsal

b.       A Facebook Group, except it can be hard to find new members, unless you allow new applicants in from searches

c.       A discord server…again, this is kind of invite only.

d.       Prod some peeps to post/reply more :D

1.) I liked the Top 10 lists, too.  I just had problems keeping up.  Any volunteers to keep that going every Friday or whenever they choose?

2.) Interesting perspective on the videos.  We have noticed that it really helps get traffic to YouTube channels, and if the creators support the site I like to help them, as well.

3.) I've thought about a subreddit, it's a possibility.  Although the forum will still be around so not sure if it's worth having another place to go and start over.  I don't use Facebook.  The forum has a Discord integration.  I'm trying to prod!  ;) 

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20 hours ago, Lasraik said:

I've been debating whether or not I should make this post or just let things fall into place as they will.  But I figure I've been pretty transparent up to this point so why stop now.  After I decided to make this post, then I had to decide what kind of tone it would be.  Positive?  Negative?  Or just the facts?  I'll go with facts.  After all, I don't want to be this guy (who remembers this guy?):

BaghdadBob.jpg

Last year I changed the hosting plan for the website due to activity and traffic.  To prevent any downtime I had to get a bigger plan to support the demand.  Since that time, demand has dropped pretty significantly.  I'm lucky to have so many great people who support the site and the community we had prior and have grown here, but to continue with the site we'll need to get more support.  As most of you can tell, activity has dropped over the last several months.  I'm not naive, I knew going into starting a forum that there were so many other places to consume and have conversations about MTG and gaming; but I thought there was an empty spot for a place without drama or toxicity for people to talk without trolls and nonsense.  

Let's go over some statistics for new topics, posts and bandwidth usage:

topics.PNGposts.PNGbandwidth.PNG

So in other words, we have a hosting plan that is basically a private jet to transport people when we could be using a school bus for the demand we have.  

Where does this leave us?  

A few months ago some very generous members donated to help cover some of the hosting costs.  With their help, I just renewed the plan until the middle of October.  If traffic and activity continue on the trend that we've been on, some major changes will happen in October.  Because of the cost and lack of traffic, I'll downgrade to a much smaller hosting plan.  But to fit into a smaller plan I'll eliminate anything extra the forum currently has to save space and bandwidth.  This means we'll just have a forum, the extras like videos, RSS feeds, downloads, ect will go away.  The website will change domain names and will no longer have an MTG focus, but instead be a general gaming forum for whoever wants to stick around and keep in touch.  I've been friends with the TGA folks in the TGA usergroup for almost 15 years, so I'm not going to leave them or any of you and disappear overnight.  We'll still have a forum, but drastically different.

No topics or posts would be deleted, but everything will be moved around and consolidated.  

You might be asking yourself what you can do to help, well I'm glad you asked!  Here's what we need:

  1. Be active on the forum!  Make posts, reply to topics, add a blog or submit your videos.
  2. Share the site on social media.  Even if it's just a quick mention, it really does help.  
  3. If you're a content creator, give the site a mention.  Even if it brings one person it's worth it!
  4. Tell your friends and your grandma about it.
  5. Submit some ideas you have to me about changes we could make, I'm always open to ideas.  Not everything can be done, but it still helps to make improvements I may not think about.

TLDR: The site doesn't have enough activity to justify costs, if activity doesn't improve the site will change drastically in less than 90 days.

I appreciate all of you for your support, I hope this is just a valley we're going through that we will come out of but I wanted to let everyone know the current status of the site.  I didn't want it to be a surprise in October if everything changed overnight, and I can't do this alone - I need your help.

Thanks again.

I feel bad because i kinda have dipped out om the site. I could have just uploadef content and NOT been active on the site. But, i wanted to be fair and not just use this site as just a platform to just upload my stuff. Being a part of now a discord group, instagram, and trying to be heavily involved on twitter my time is extra slim outside of those things. Not to mention keeping up with my stream schedule now(3-4 days a week). I will retweet this as i do feel its an awesome platform. I just wish i had more time to be on it!

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5 hours ago, Affinity for MTG said:

I visit the forums daily, usually multiple times daily, but I admittedly have a bad habit of just glancing over the Recent Activity and then bailing without posting.

I've thought about getting rid of the Recent Activity widget for that reason

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10 hours ago, Affinity for MTG said:

I visit the forums daily, usually multiple times daily, but I admittedly have a bad habit of just glancing over the Recent Activity and then bailing without posting.

I have to agree with @Affinity for MTG on this one. I find myself doing the same thing and then seeing that the discussions in Recent Activity aren't MTG related or I just feel I can't contribute enough to them, so I end up not posting my video and not typing anything out.

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I like the recent activity widget; without it, it would be difficult to find new posts. I skip over posts with videos though- can’t watch at work and can’t hear them anyways. Those posts also just seem to be a link to a video and no invite for a conversation on these boards.

seems like all the new posts have a video lately though :(

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1 hour ago, Aurian said:

I like the recent activity widget; without it, it would be difficult to find new posts. I skip over posts with videos though- can’t watch at work and can’t hear them anyways. Those posts also just seem to be a link to a video and no invite for a conversation on these boards.

seems like all the new posts have a video lately though :(

Going to try moving the video feed to the bottom of the forum, maybe that will help.  Thanks for your input!

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have you thought bout inviting TCC or TMS to the board and if they like it maybe they could mention it on social media?  it would reach thousands of players.  or even someone that works at wizards just to RT that we need help, i would imagine they would help a forum that promotes their products

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On 7/29/2018 at 9:46 PM, Abaddon said:

have you thought bout inviting TCC or TMS to the board and if they like it maybe they could mention it on social media?  it would reach thousands of players.  or even someone that works at wizards just to RT that we need help, i would imagine they would help a forum that promotes their products

I've sent PM's before, but I'm sure they get a ton of messages and don't read them all.  Maybe I'll try it again.  I tagged Blake Rasmussen on Twitter so maybe he can re-tweet, even that would go a really long way.

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When I joined this site, I didn't know how it worked. I've never seen anything like this before. I also have a really hard time reading unless it's in a font I can easily read. I still have dyslexia. So I've been using this site to find videos to watch more than discussions to comment. If a discussion has a catchy title I'll definitely read, but a lot of times I don't think I have the experience to answer. Just like this one.

The only thing I can think of is maybe we need to have an event or some sort of contest to increase traffic. I can ask my dad, he's good at that stuff.

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On 28/07/2018 at 6:11 PM, Lasraik said:

I've thought about getting rid of the Recent Activity widget for that reason

I will counter that argument. I post, relatively, quite a lot, and i don't want to have to trawl through the forums to find where we're at with the various topics. The Recent Activity gives me that in one stop. I find it very useful.

I can live without it, but i'd rather not as it helps me.

If folk don't feel they want to contribute, i would suggest that making it more long-winded to find out what's been updated isn't going to change that. It feels like a counter-intuitive move.

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On 8/6/2018 at 2:47 AM, Pasanda said:

I will counter that argument. I post, relatively, quite a lot, and i don't want to have to trawl through the forums to find where we're at with the various topics. The Recent Activity gives me that in one stop. I find it very useful.

I can live without it, but i'd rather not as it helps me.

If folk don't feel they want to contribute, i would suggest that making it more long-winded to find out what's been updated isn't going to change that. It feels like a counter-intuitive move.

That's a very good point.

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11 hours ago, M4cr0Dutch said:

Sorry, I switched off everything for a while when my best mate died. I'm just getting back into gaming now, with the urge to discuss it following after :-) I already have a blog but I will try to start adding content here as well. 

Sorry to hear that fella.

Being a fairly mature bunch, we've probably experienced quite a bit of death between us. If you want to get shit off your chest, feel welcome to do so. Sometimes strangers have their plusses.

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Cheers, I have lost quite a few people who were close to me and you are right, talking to people helps. I was actually talking about the urge to discuss gaming though, in this case. After starting to play again I have been checking out the forums that I used to enjoy. All of my gaming group have had a hell of a time; there is always an empty seat at the kitchen table now.

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I just saw this thread as it didn't come up in my unread stuff.

Just a couple of thoughts that may or may not apply based off experience that is the joy of production support that may or may not apply here.

How sure are you that the reporting metrics are consistent over time?  I have seen servers double counted, others not counted, and sometimes the tool itself behave differently based on patching.  For instance, where I work, we have 3 different analytical tools.  Each tool admin swears on their data and counts.  Yet we get 3 completely different numbers from our tools.

For usage stats ... you able analyze if further?  We have seen our traffic dramatically altered because of scrape bots (there are good and bad ones), hackers, or other entities.  Your traffic patterns correlate to your post numbers, so you might be good.

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Update: I was able to downgrade our hosting plan to the lowest plan they have available.  Just to give you an idea, the yearly cost is now $143 when it used to be almost that much for 3 months.  I'll have to pay that in a few weeks.

That's the good news.  The bad news is with a lower hosting plan means we'll have less resources for some of the features we enjoy (or not).  I've already started deleting pictures in the Gallery (to clear space) and I'll be cutting others soon.  If there are features you'd like to not disappear, please let me know and I'll try to spare them if possible.  

Because the site is being downgraded, we may see a little bit of downtime when the changes take effect.  There will probably be a transition period where the site gets warnings for exceeding resources and I'll have to cut back on some to meet the new limits.  So please bear with me for the next month or so.  If the site has downtime I'll do my best to get it back up ASAP.

A domain change may be coming, I'm still considering moving it to something more general but let's get through this first ;) 

Any questions, comments, suggestions?

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4 hours ago, Lasraik said:

Update: I was able to downgrade our hosting plan to the lowest plan they have available.  Just to give you an idea, the yearly cost is now $143 when it used to be almost that much for 3 months.  I'll have to pay that in a few weeks.

That's the good news.  The bad news is with a lower hosting plan means we'll have less resources for some of the features we enjoy (or not).  I've already started deleting pictures in the Gallery (to clear space) and I'll be cutting others soon.  If there are features you'd like to not disappear, please let me know and I'll try to spare them if possible.  

Because the site is being downgraded, we may see a little bit of downtime when the changes take effect.  There will probably be a transition period where the site gets warnings for exceeding resources and I'll have to cut back on some to meet the new limits.  So please bear with me for the next month or so.  If the site has downtime I'll do my best to get it back up ASAP.

A domain change may be coming, I'm still considering moving it to something more general but let's get through this first ;) 

Any questions, comments, suggestions?

Glad to hear! Can we still post photos? I don't think we need a full gallery, but adding pics to posts is something we'd love to have. 

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I did have the site on my to-do list a couple times a week. I would try to find Magic related stuff to chat about. Then summer came and I got out of the habit.

I also don't really feel like I am part of the group here. I don't know why, I just felt like a little kid in a group of grownups talking above my head.

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2 minutes ago, JesGolbez said:

Glad to hear! Can we still post photos? I don't think we need a full gallery, but adding pics to posts is something we'd love to have. 

Can still post photos, and I did leave the member albums in the Gallery to upload pictures.  There aren't many, but it's nice to have.

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