This will be my last blog post about how Associated Content screwed their forum boards beyond all usable functionality. When they first made the massive blunder of redesigning a perfectly good layout, I asked on of the AC employees to please consider getting rid of all the new, useless AC Connect forums. I was told their was method to the madness and the new forums were here to stay. I then asked the AC person to at least keep up with the metrics and reconsider in a month or two.
I don’t have access to the AC metrics, but I can offer a more-than-gut feeling based on watching the frequency of postings and general forum use. We can tell a lot by looking at the “Last Post” and number of threads in each forum. Here is a snapshot from around 9 A.M. MT on 7 Oct 2008.
|Forum Name||Last Post||Comments|
|General Discussions||10/07/2008 8:32 AM||The common denominator|
|Welcome to AC||10/07/2008 8:10 AM||Everyone wants to wave|
|C4Cs||10/07/2008 12:14 AM||It looks like it’s being used correctly|
|Performance Bonus||10/07/2008 8:30 AM||The newest thing here is the perennial question, “When will I get paid?” which is answered in the FAQ. I don’t have time for you not to read.|
|Town Hall Meetings||10/03/2008 12:55 PM||Nothing really new here.|
|Announcements||10/06/2008 10:15 AM||No big announcements here. Those tend to go in the General forum anyway|
|Award Nominations||10/06/2008 11:43 PM||The only thing new here is people nominating content for prize consideration|
|Feedback & Suggestions||10/07/2008 7:48 AM||The biggest complaint is still the queue lag time|
Guides and Tutorials
|Forum Name||Last Post||Comments|
|How to Promote Your Content||10/06/2008 8:15 PM||Gathering more spam.|
|Making Money with Associated Content||10/06/2008 3:18 PM||Lame noobie questions that have been answered 1000 times.|
|The Writer’s Workshop||10/07/2008 8:03 AM||This used to be growing. Now nothing is new.|
|A-V Lab||09/02/2008 10:07 AM||Dead and tired. Videos on AC suck.|
|Forum Name||# of Posts||Last Post||Comments|
|Just For Fun||1618||10/07/2008 8:38 AM||Still hopping.|
|Non-AC Discussions||1136||10/07/2008 8:22 AM||One of the best forums on AC|
|Other Online Writing Gigs||692||10/07/2008 7:55 AM||Always popular especially as more ACers look for other opportunities|
|Local Meetups||111||10/06/2008 9:14 AM||Lamest forum at AC|
|Arts & Entertainment||10||09/28/2008 5:36 PM||Dead|
|Parents & Teachers||2||10/07/2008 6:27 AM||One joke thread and one spam thread|
|Student Writers||3||09/30/2008 3:43 PM||Three threads all started by AC; combined responses, 14. Lame.|
|Technology||5||10/07/2008 7:43 AM||Easily a Non-AC topic|
|Citizen Journalism||1||09/30/2008 8:56 AM||One thread of no value|
|DIY & Crafts||1||09/04/2008 6:03 PM||This lonely thread was started as a joke|
|Health & Wellness||9||10/07/2008 6:32 AM||2 jokes, 3 AC-started threads, and a bunch of spam.|
|Creative Writing & Poetry||10||10/06/2008 2:40 PM||Some interest here, but AC doesn’t even pay for this type of writing|
|Pet Lovers||7||10/07/2008 2:09 AM||Look, I love my dogs, but this is a writing site|
|Sports||4||09/10/2008 8:10 AM||The joke thread here has more replies than the serious ones.|
|Politics||9||10/07/2008 7:50 AM||You would think that in an election year this forum would be more popular|
|Travel||3||09/27/2008 10:05 PM||No new posts in a week? I’m shocked…not!|
It’s pretty obvious that most of the AC Connect forums are useless. The entire layout would be much more simple if these were left to the Non-AC or Just For Fun forums. Unfortunately, AC will not take an honest look at how lame these forums are. These were the brainchild of someone at AC and therefore that person has a vested interest in making them work. Politics and image win over logic and practicality.
AC can’t even use their own Announcements forum. They know that due to the difficulty using the new layout, most people use the General forum for just about everything. Even AC has resorted to posting announcements in the General forum. Again, practicality without thoughtful action. The Feedback & Suggestions forum (formally complaints/problems/bugs) remains un-manned by AC. If it weren’t for a few knowledgeable content producers, the noobie questions would remain unanswered. I, for one, don’t care to do AC’s job anymore since they can’t be bothered to listen to the community they rely on for content and forum moderation.
The redesign of the AC forums has killed any meaningful participation. Contact with an AC employee remains as elusive as the Jabberwock. The CPs who provided knowledgeable answers, have all but participating. Threads that used to gather new replies at the rate of 3 to 10 per hour have slowed to less than one per day. It used to take 60 or more replies to get a thread on the “Active Threads” sidebar. Now, because of the downturn in usage, 12 replies will get the thread listed as “Active.” That’s pretty dramatic, but will be lost on the powers-that-be.
AC simply refuses to see the evidence on the monitor. Their forums are difficult to navigate, usable information is impossible to find, and their CPs are abandoning the AC forums. If they took an honest look at the numbers, they’d see this is true. However, the head-in-the-sand philosophy of management is winning out.
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