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New forums to be added? Suggestions and feedback encouraged!

Discussion in 'Technical' started by John Stone, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    I think it’s well past time to breathe a little life back into the JSF Forums. The JSF forums were once a thriving community (we have nearly 30,000 members and close to 1,000,000 posts), but over the past few years new posts have died down considerably. Most of the activity these days is found in the two journal sections (the public journals and private VIP journals), and I’d like to work on changing that.

    I think there are many reasons for the slowdown in posts. The popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have certainly had a large impact, and I’ve seen that on other forums as well. I also bear some responsibility here, as I rarely post or participate on my own forums these days. I suppose part of the reason for this is because I’m more active on social media now, but also because the existing JSF forums are so bodybuilding/transformation focused.

    So what I’d like to do is sort of broaden the scope of the forums a bit. A lot of forum members (obviously myself included) are into cycling, mountain biking, cyclocross, running, triathlons, ironmans and so on. Perhaps adding some new forums dedicated to those sports would help spark conversation?

    I’m willing to give it a try, but I could really use some feedback. I don’t want to get so specialized that I add 20 new forums, but I was thinking a few general forums: road cycling, mountain biking/CX and running. Perhaps equipment forums for each of those categories, and maybe even nutrition forums specific to those sports?

    I’m just spit-balling. What do YOU think? I’d love to hear your feedback, suggestions and ideas for the forums. Please feel free to post them here, on Facebook, PM me, email me… whatever. I’ll take all suggestions to heart.

    Thanks!
     
  2. M@

    M@ Monster Maker 2017
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    I think some broad-category forums might spark interest. Cycling, Running, MMA, and Bodyweight Fitness all seem to be strong overlapping interests with the existing Fitness/Strength Training foundation of the forums.

    I always thought that the core of this place - and its thriving community in the heyday - was personal transformations, yours leading the way. I think the strongest thing you have going for this site is that you're a guy in his mid-40's who has a physique and RHR that most in their mid-20's would wish (and be inspired to work) for. There are a ton of resources online for young/new trainees with loads of hormones. Less so for the older folks who might be letting fitness slip in favor of job and family responsibilities. Not sure how to market that or cause it to jump-start the community, but it's the asset I see most clearly right now.
     
  3. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Thanks Matt, excellent feedback, and more for me to ponder. With respect to perhaps carving out a niche for us older guys and gals, that's a very interesting thought, and something I'd not considered. :confused:
     
  4. Bluestreak

    Bluestreak Well-Known Member

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    I must be the opposite of the recent trend. I still check the forum. Facebook rarely registers a blip on my daily radar and I refuse to sign up for anything with "twit" in the name, lest I feel like what it implies. Nor will I bother to mention any of the other time-wasters that go by the misnomer of "social media".

    You moved your online presence to other forms of online communication and the forum went with you. Find a way to bring your online interaction back to this forum, and voila! Without your disciplined example of controlling the munchies while soldiering through workouts, this forum has lost most of the engine that powered the virtual short bus.

    Adding new sections to the existing forum will only add more categories - it won't increase useful, contributing forum traffic. Consider adding one or two more sections to focus the interests you're fulfilling outside the JSF forums and use them. Concentrate your online following at these forums again, and new users will sign up.
     
  5. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    I actually find Facebook to be very useful for organizing rides, keeping up with my friends and family (both local and far away) and finding all kinds of cool and relevant articles that are of interest to me (mostly from pages that I've "liked" and stuff that my friends post).

    I have a Twitter account, and I tried, but I really can't stand it. I only use it to post my morning blogs to those who enjoy it. Apart from that, I don't use it at all.

    It's true that I'm active on Facebook, but your order of operations is backwards: I actually followed everyone onto Facebook--kicking and screaming, in fact. Years ago I swore I'd never get a Facebook account. When I finally did create one, there was a massive debate in the Wasteland about whether or not the account was mine, or a fake.

    Perhaps, I'm not entirely sure about that. In any event, that's part of the reason I'd like to create the new forums--I would be more inclined to participate, and perhaps others will, too. There are a lot of people here who are well past their transformations and into various sports. Of those sports, running, cycling, mountain biking, triathlons and so forth seem to be extremely popular. I figure if we can get the existing members more engaged (and I include myself in that category), there will be bleed-over to the existing areas of the forum, which are still highly relevant to many.
     
  6. DFS

    DFS Well-Known Member

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    Twitter is the only social media account I have. I find it actually pretty awesome as my funnel of information. Previously on my smart phone I'd have to have everybody's app; Gawker, Deadspin, MMAJunkie, Chive, Barstool, TMZ, LiveLeak, my fav sports teams apps, and countless, countless others. Twitter basically made the need for all that nil. I simply now 'follow' all those accounts on Twitter now and bam, all their updates appear in my timeline. No need to waste space on my phone with tons of apps and juggle between them all. I also follow some people and fun accounts I find interesting as well, and that's cool too. I post on Twitter occasionally, I have ebbs and flows of activity level. The brilliance of Twitter to me is in it's simplicity and how you can choose to use it to suit your needs/wants. If you want you can simply use it for consumption, or you can be active in tweeting and networking, etc. It's entirely up to you. When I used the funnel analogy to explain to my Dad how he could benefit from a Twitter account, even HE was intrigued. It's completely up to you whether or not your timeline is filled with info you want or just updates of peoples boring lives and the meals they eat.

    I'd probably have my own FaceBook had it been around just 2-3 years earlier, but at this point there's no need. My wife handles all that for us. What am I going to do, post the same pictures of my kids to the same group of followers that she has anyway. I mean, my kids are cute and all, but that just seems wasteful. :)
     
    #6 DFS, Jul 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  7. macdiver

    macdiver Well-Known Member
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    I like the idea of some cardio focused forums. I think most of the currently active posters do both cardio and strength training.

    You may want to consider consolidating and are archiving some of the lesser used forums.

    The other question is how to get people that view the forums to participate. Whenever I look there are usually 10 to 20 members and 100 + guests online. I realize some of the guests are bots but some should be real people. Also the members who are online aren't posting.
     
  8. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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  9. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    My advices:

    1) Get your ass back in here, John Stone. Even if you just create a subsection or thread called "John Stone's Journal" and have it automatically repost your daily front-page blog in the actual forums, that would help (I, for one, rarely read your blog posts because I have to go outside the forums page to do so).

    2) Move the Transformation Spotlight up into the top section and RESTART THIS FEATURE... if you need people to write a few to get this going, I'm sure some of the regular posters (myself included) would be glad to document their "transformations" (on a wider scope, this could include transformations from one type of training to another i.e. from bodybuilding to cycling, in your example) if you provided a template of questions that we could answer.

    3) Move Wasteland into the VIP Lounge section. Move the Female Health & Fitness posts into the General Health & Fitness category. Move Recipes into Nutrition & Supplements. Add Health Conditions (diabetes, etc) to Injuries. Add Swimming to Triathlons. Add Fitness Programs (P90X, TRX, etc) to Crossfit. Add Other Sports category (skiing/snowboarding, rock climbing, golf, tennis, soccer, softball, etc).

    So to summarize:

    Body Transformation, Fat Loss, and Muscle Building
    - Introductions and Advice for Beginners
    - Transformation Spotlight
    - Weight Loss / Cutting
    - Strength Training / Bulking
    - General Health & Fitness / Women's Health & Fitness
    - Nutrition & Supplements / Recipes
    - Health Conditions / Injuries
    - Fitness Equipment Reviews & Recommendations

    Running, Cycling, and Other Sports
    - Running / Marathons
    - Road Cycling / Touring
    - Mountain Biking / Cyclocross
    - Swimming / Triathlons
    - Crossfit / Other Fitness Programs
    - Other Sports
    - Fitness Challenges
    - Sports Equipment Reviews and Recommendations

    Public Access Forums
    - Fitness Journals
    - Media Gallery
    - Off Topic Discussions

    Private Access Forums
    - Fitness Journals
    - Media Gallery
    - VIP Lounge

    Technical / Site Issues

    4) Make an effort to reach out to those who were once frequent posters (easily determined by reviewing post count records) and personally invite them back to JSF. Offer a free basic membership for three months so they have access to the VIP. Set a few dates and times (twice a month on a Thursday or Sunday night) for a "chat room" type gathering in the VIP Lounge. Remember when we'd have 20 people in the Wasteland on a Saturday night and the posts were rolling faster than you could refresh? That's the kind of community we need to rebuild here.

    5) Ask JSF Members to post something in their Facebook/Twitter pointing to the site. Leverage the power of the "new" social network to drive traffic from new users. M@ and I were saying the other day that when JSF was at it's peak, there weren't many places like it where like-minded individuals could exchange information, share triumphs and setbacks, and create friendships/communities. Now there are hundreds of options... but there's still no place like this.
     
    #9 phillydude, Jul 31, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  10. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
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    I really haven't been around much, but I'll agree that it's a good idea to provide some new topics to the forum other than fat loss and muscle growth.

    John, you may remember 2 years ago we messaged back and forth about why I drifted away from the forums. The problem for me was the constant weight fluctuations I've gone through for the past 5 years. I had the most success the 3-4 years after my initial transformation (10 years ago now). But the setbacks of recent years prevented me from participating here (my own doing, of course) especially after I was initially so successful. I don't need to go into it, as much of it is documented here: http://forums.johnstonefitness.com/showthread.php?t=52976

    I had proposed a subforum specifically for people who had already made a successful transformation but have since back slid. But it is hard to make a subforum for people who likely stay away because they regressed. So I like the focus on different endurance type sports. It fits a theme of how to maintain a healthy body over many years versus a single transformation of completing a 12 week challenge.

    Funny enough, my wife and I started at a crossfit gym a few months ago. We absolutely love it. I had only heard about it tangentially over the last few years, and usually bad things because most of my reading/learning would come from the body building community. But we went into it with an open mind and it's been great.

    I get to learn lots of different exercises from people trained in it. And even though I have not lifted in a few years, my Squat and deadlift are already higher than they were at my peak weightlifting 8 years ago. You definitely have to manage the intensity and learn to scale back to avoid injury. You learn your limits and when to push them. But this has been the most fun that I've had exercising. It definitely beats lifting alone in my basement.
     
  11. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
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    I agree :tucool: I'm just glad that it existed when it did. It was this safe haven to come for support and info. Bros were immediately banned. It was the pre-facebook wild west of the anonymous internet and John was the new sheriff bringing order.
     
  12. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Oh guys... this is great stuff. Thank you. I've read everything a couple times, and I'm going to let it all percolate overnight. I'll post a much more detailed reply sometime tomorrow. Lots to consider here.

    Really can't tell you how much I appreciate the input and ideas. :tucool:
     
  13. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
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    Is it sad, that I read this and then unconsciously looked toward the bottom for the like button? Damn you facebook. :lol:
     
  14. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    I'm working on getting back here. I figure the new forums should spark some fresh conversation that's more in line with my current interests.

    As for my blog, I'm not going to cross-post it to the forums every day. Come on, man--it's a mouse click away.

    I'd love to re-start this feature. The only reason I discontinued it was because it was becoming increasingly difficult to find dramatic transformations each month, and also to handle the administrative overhead. Perhaps I should seek external assistance? Let's see if we can breathe some life back into this place. I suspect one thing will lead to another...


    I don't like sub-forums. I've tried them, and people complain that they overlook them or can't find them. I think the Wasteland is fine as its own forum.


    I'd like to do this, but since many of those posts would not be correct for that forum, it could create confusion.


    See my sub-forum comment, above.

    Good idea.

    I like it.

    I like this, too.


    These are really good ideas. Let's focus on the forum changes, and then I'd like to continue along these lines. So, please hold these thoughts and in the near future (once the new forums are created and settled in), we'll get our collective brain working on this subject. Again, I really like your ideas here. Thanks Phil.
     
  15. M@

    M@ Monster Maker 2017
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    :nod:

    :kickrock:
     
  16. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    :dance:
     
  17. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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  18. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    "Swimming and Triathlons"... Ironman is just a "brand name" for one length of the triathlon discipline.

    I'm in favor of fewer categories rather than more... so if you can live with folding your Sports "Nutrition" and "Equipment" into the other categories, that's my vote.

    Do we still need Fitness Challenges?
     
  19. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    :tucool:

    I'm sort of divided about it, but I tend to agree.


    Well, I'm not deleting the existing posts, so I might as well leave it open to new posts. Maybe more people will start using it and, if not, it's not hurting anything.
     
  20. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
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    Here are a couple comments/questions:


    1) I would say that your two starred forums are definitely unneeded.

    Anyone that is into road cycling and has a question on bike repair or nutrition for cycling is likely to just post in the forum for road cycling. Seems better than having road cycling related threads be sprinkled throughout a nutrition or repair forum.

    I've been doing crossfit and would have some things to say about that, but it would get confusing to put nutrition or equipment for it in separate forums, where it gets mixed with other programs/sports.

    2) Can you say some more about the name "Participatory Sports"?
    Kind of a weird phrase. Was this taken from somewhere? Perhaps "Endurance & Strength Sports"? Also have you already said somewhere how you chose the categories? Just curious.

    3) With regards to Phil's comment on the need for Fitness Challenges. In general I would say with the number of forums, less is better. Can you merge two forums, without moving all of the threads individually? What if Fitness Journals and Fitness Challenges just become one Forum. Fitness Journals/Challenges. They are pretty similar, in that they are both threads chronicling someone's progress over a certain time, rather than individual questions/comments. But I'm guessing the answer to this is no, there is no easy way to combine two forums like that?

    4) Good luck in growing the community. I would like to see it thrive like it has in the past.
     

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