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The future of the tennis forum

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The future of the tennis forum Empty The future of the tennis forum

Post by RDW Wed 30 Jan 2019, 8:44 am

Folks,

For those of you that have not already heard, Hero is stepping down as Founder of the site and I am taking over running the forum. I'm sure most of you probably haven't heard of me, mainly because I have almost exclusively posted in the rugby forum over the years! I am really keen to promote and better the entire forum however so I'm wanting to hear from you.

I'm keen to hear your opinions on the tennis forum - you can bring up anything but these are my key questions:

- How are the numbers looking on this section
- Do you need more mods?
- Do you have any ideas of things that can be done to improve the forum?

Thanks,

RDW (Ross)

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Post by Born Slippy Wed 30 Jan 2019, 12:33 pm

I’d say the tennis forum is struggling. At a guess, I think there are only 10 or so people who post in here and very few who create articles. It’s a shame as it was an excellent forum a few years ago.

Feels a few issues arose which drove people away and it’s very hard to get them back. It’s now left with a few very reasonable posters but no one who is going to regularly generate debate. That creates a bit of a cycle as, without articles to peak interest, non-members aren’t going to be inclined to join.

Given the above, I don’t see a need for any further mods at present. What I suspect would make a bit of a difference would be if someone had the time and inclination to create potentially interesting articles and somehow flag them offsite but I’m not savvy enough to know how that would be best done.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 30 Jan 2019, 5:42 pm

Agree that with fewer contributors these days there is little need for many mods.

Irony is that when there was some unpleasantness and nastiness on this site, it was a load busier. Quieter now but more considerate.

I, for one, am quite happy to post - and contribute to - straight-forward topics and would be a tad unhappy if there was a move to promote controversy merely to get more contributors.

But I would certainly be most unhappy if this forum was to disappear and I don't really want to see too many changes. Ideally, I'd like to see things remaining as they are - but with many more posters.

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Post by JuliusHMarx Wed 30 Jan 2019, 6:24 pm

One of the biggest problems in getting new members is the poor search engine results. Google 'Sports forum' or 'Sports forum UK' or 'tennis forum' etc and we're nowhere in the results.

Unless that changes, posters that drift away (or get banned - bwahahahahaha!) won't get replaced.

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Post by Calder106 Wed 30 Jan 2019, 8:31 pm

Given the number and nature of posts since the big bust up a couple of years ago there is no need more more moderators. The forum is running smoothly just a lot less posters and volume of posts.
Some of the other forums that I look at (Football and Motorsports) also seem to have dropped away significantly as well.
I think the biggest issue for the Tennis Forum is that at it's peak it was really only Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray that most of the topics centred around. Players like Wawrinka and Del Potro were well liked but mentioned to a much lesser extent. Once these players retire unless some new outstanding players and rivalries evolve it will be hard to attract more posters.

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Post by MrInvisible Thu 31 Jan 2019, 12:11 am

I think there seems to be a decline in tennis forums as a whole. Before coming here I used to post on another forum which was in terminal decline and eventually folded. Not entirely sure why - are people using twitter/other social media platforms instead? I still occasionally visit another tennis forum hosted on google groups (previously usenet) which is increasingly blighted by spam and a fair amount of off-topic drivel. Against this context, 606 is doing OK.

I also remember the days of the old original BBC 606 and whilst that was v good in its day I do recall how out of hand it used to get with a constant stream of multiple threads at busy times around Wimbledon - there was a fair amount of quantity but v low on quality at times. When arguments get personal on a forum it can get boring for everyone else too. I therefore agree with others that this forum runs along fine - its a nice civilized placed to discuss tennis with other well informed tennis fans and its possible to have a different opinion to someone else without it descending into a slanging match.

Agree that the search engine optimisation seriously needs looking at to attract new people. Also in an ideal world there'd be bit more discussion of womens' tennis too (I follow mens' tennis a lot more, like many, but feel the womens' game has really developed and has lot more strength in depth than previously) but on the whole this forum is ticking along OK for now.

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Post by No name Bertie Thu 31 Jan 2019, 8:35 am

RDW wrote:...
I'm keen to hear your opinions on the tennis forum - you can bring up anything but these are my key questions:
- How are the numbers looking on this section
- Do you need more mods?
- Do you have any ideas of things that can be done to improve the forum?
How are the numbers looking on this section: On the low side.  Could do with finding new members (needs to be higher priority on search engines)

Do you need more mods? No - the people we have don't require "moderating".  There are one or two 'visitors' from other sections of v2 that are perhaps provocative in their disaffection of certain players - but it no longer goes over the top - and it is just their way of getting excitable over matters. A few years back there was an overzealous moderator (well intended but overzealous) - our current moderator(s) is(are) laid back.

Do you have any ideas of things that can be done to improve the forum? The forum is great - it is just a question of getting new members as older members "retire".

It could be said that the v2 forum has served its purpose of finding a new location once the BBC closed down their 606 chat site.  Many people relocated here to continue their discussions.  In time many members have drifted away and the forum is slowly withering (at least in terms of the tennis).  To keep it going new members are needed - but it did serve its primary purpose (providing a relocation site for BBC 606 members).

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Post by Born Slippy Thu 31 Jan 2019, 8:46 am

sirfredperry wrote:Agree that with fewer contributors these days there is little need for many mods.

Irony is that when there was some unpleasantness and nastiness on this site, it was a load busier. Quieter now but more considerate.

I, for one, am quite happy to post - and contribute to - straight-forward topics and would be a tad unhappy if there was a move to promote controversy merely to get more contributors.

But I would certainly be most unhappy if this forum was to disappear and I don't really want to see too many changes. Ideally, I'd like to see things remaining as they are - but with many more posters.

It’s getting the balance right in my view. Obviously, we wouldn’t want wum articles but some well thought out articles, even if they encourage people to post because they disagree with them, should be fine.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 31 Jan 2019, 8:55 am

MrI - Good point about the need for more posts on the women's game. I know some have been put off by the shrieking of some women players but the top two at the moment are comparatively quiet.

There's also far more unpredictability in the women's game. Before Osaka's Melbourne victory, there had been eight different Slam winners in a row.

I've never regarded women's tennis as minority sport in the way some regard, say, women's football, cricket or rugby. If a non-league soccer team played women they would smash them. The England women's cricket team is no better than a reasonable men's club side.

Conversely, if a male tennis club member was to play a top professional woman tennis player he would be absolutely hammered.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Thu 31 Jan 2019, 10:03 am

It is a far more placid place to post now on the tennis forum whereas it was once like a war zone. Conflicting interests obviously bring more debate which in turn means more posts. It is a delicate line really - its a pleasanter place to post now but it is not busy.
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Post by Henman Bill Fri 01 Feb 2019, 11:41 pm

The short answer is that there is nothing obvious needed from the moderators.

Some years ago the owner or one of the moderators seemed to feel that the tennis forum was borderline more hassle than it was worth. The actual arguments on here weren't so bad (less than the football forum) but people were more likely to complain and get emotional about it. So from moderator point of view, the forum seems better now.

But if you take no action at this point, the forum could eventually die altogether in the coming 5 - 20 years. Maybe.

We just don't attract good new posters. Or very few.

For my part, the reason I post a lot less is mainly because I have changed my interests and tennis is less key to me now. I don't post on other tennis forums.

As well as getting quieter and less feisty, this forum is more balanced. By that I mainly mean it used to be more pro-Federer and anti-Nadal. Most of the ones who were very pro Federer, and not shy about it, have left. And, although the main most known pro-Nadal posters seem to have left, the forum is more balanced. In fact, most of the posters that were very obviously pro one player have left. Although many of the remaining posters do have their favourites, they are more capable of a balanced, fair, non-emotional analysis.

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Post by Henman Bill Fri 01 Feb 2019, 11:56 pm

In the discussion above about the reasons for this forum's decline, a major factor has been missed out.

One of the posters on this forum left (perhaps about 2012). I believe he was banned.

He set up his own forum. I had a look in the first year or two and it was just him and one other poster for quite a while (who also left from here), the two of them accounting for the majority of the posts. They were almost just having a private conversation online and for a while it was kind of silly that it was just the two of them talking to each other and they could have easily given up.

But they stuck it out and eventually at some point posters from here started to going to there. I looked last year and that site is now more active than this one, and the majority of the main posters are ones that left here to go there.

I don't know the reasons this happened but maybe about half of our most prolific posters (including both some troublesome ones and some good ones) went there.

That forum is pro Federer. The Nadal fans that left here I don't know where they went but most of the others seem to have gone to that one forum.

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Post by laverfan Sun 03 Feb 2019, 12:46 pm

RDW wrote:For those of you that have not already heard, Hero is stepping down as Founder of the site and I am taking over running the forum. I'm sure most of you probably haven't heard of me, mainly because I have almost exclusively posted in the rugby forum over the years! I am really keen to promote and better the entire forum however so I'm wanting to hear from you.

Congratulations!


RDW wrote:I'm keen to hear your opinions on the tennis forum - you can bring up anything but these are my key questions:

- How are the numbers looking on this section
- Do you need more mods?
- Do you have any ideas of things that can be done to improve the forum?

Thanks,

RDW (Ross)

I do not think a specific forum should use numbers and traffic as a metric for 'success'. As others have pointed out, numbers can also lead to more controversy, but more debate as well.

Apart from slams, JHM and I are happy to just cruise along. Wink

We should consider

  • Weekly tennis roundup
  • Q&A with Tennis Pros
  • Tennis development in younger generation
  • Tennis in communities


Which are potential areas of discussion.

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