Hopefully My Last Rant About Associated Content’s Forums

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.

AC Central

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.

AC Connect

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.

I’ve found myself spending more time at a very easy-to-use writing forum that addresses AC and many other venues. Check out Accentuate Services dot com for a great source of writer’s support.


5 thoughts on “Hopefully My Last Rant About Associated Content’s Forums

  1. If I do happen to venture into the AC Forum these days, I only go to General and Non-AC. Even then, I don’t stay long and rarely participate.

    One thing I really like about Accentuate’s forum is that Michy, the administrator and moderator, actively participates there. Huh…what an interesting concept.

  2. I used to spend quite a bit of time in the AC forums. Now, it’s more frustration than it’s worth.

    I’m also a member of the Accentuate Writers forum. Like Susan mentioned, our administrator (a fellow writer on AC for anyone who doesn’t already know) is very active in the forum and always willing to offer advice, insight or playful banter. It’s a much more efficiently operated forum and a fun and supportive environment.

  3. Good stuff here. I still go through the places on the forum where I think newbies might have questions that I can answer ’cause I just want to be helpful. The forum takes way too much time to scan and there is so little friendly banter the newbies can’t break in and learn who they can ask when they have real problems. I miss all of the old gang: you (Randy), E, Crut, and there are others I wish would drop in a deep dark hole somewhere and live out their perversions in secret (who do ya think?) We didn’t need the AC CM crew all coming into the forum and commandeering their own little kingdoms. We needed a liaison (sp?) which was what I thought perhaps Sam was and functional report buttons if something or someone got out of hand. I agree with you about the usefulness of the forum post-update, about like what my parents said about certain female parts on a tomcat!

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