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If TeamPS was completely overhauled tomorrow...

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Aug 9th 2005#169479 Report
Member since: Oct 6th 2002
Posts: 1003
This thread is aimed at garnering the opinions of some of Teamphotoshop's more senior members. For those who are new, but are interested in maybe suggesting some changes, all I ask is that you read the entire post, and offer only serious, and constructive replies.

Now, on with it...

Lately, as those who still visit have seen, TeamPS has been pretty stagnant. I do not assume that there is a quick fix to this problem, and I'm sure that it is a concern of both Pank's, Rich's and all of the other mods and admins that this forum's user-base is dwindling in numbers, and resultantly dwindling in quality. Those more experienced individuals who once posted here regularly now post elsewhere, finding a greater number of critiques, and likewise critiques which are of greater constructive quality to those which have recently become the norm on this site.

The deaths of some other art and design forums appear to happen something like this:

-1. The working-professional members of the site post less and less frequently, as work, non-disclosure agreements, deadlines, copyrights, etc. They reduce the frequency of their art posts, but hopefully not the frequency of their critiques, and various other posts.

-2. Student-Grade artists, seeking both the notice of professionals, and their advice in critiques help to point new members in the right direction, as they were once there themselves. Unfortunately, finding a lack of posts by the working-professionals who's work originally attracted them to join the forum, they are likely to go elsewhere. Art posts by these individuals dwindle, the community infrastructure remains intact, but the primary drive of the forum is the discussion of Art and Design. This discussion is replaced by other topics, as it is no longer qorthwhile to post artwork.

-3. The standard issue forum newbie begins to flood the boards with terrible images that don't seem to get better. The interesting factor, however is this: there is not a greater ratio of "new" users to "old" users, but there is instead far fewer posts overall, and almost no new art posts. As a result, remaining users see a "flood" of newbie-grade posts, see no new professional-grade posts, and now, obviously being unable to recieve constructive criticism, or really even intelligent discussion, as most like-minded users have also left, an exodus of "senior" members occur.

Before long, the forum is just sort of a shell of that it once was. New posts are rare. The original purpose of the forum is forgotten, and it's just a matter of time before someone deletes the thing in order to free up their server's space and bandwidth.

I think the solution to this problem is with frequent, collaborative activities, and focused critiques by as many members as possible.


The main reason for this thread is that I feel one of the problems that disuades new users from using all of the resources that this forum has to offer is that it has become somewhat bloated, and resultantly, somewhat difficult to navigate. I feel that were certain boards to be removed, and others combined, then users might be more free to make posts in boards which are more broadly focused, instead of hesitating for fear that they're making a post in a wrong section. Further, admins will have less territory to patrol, and users would post topics in one board, rather than one of three. Bear in mind, my suggested changes only regard the content and subjects of the boards, and not the physical design of the site. Functions like the navbar would obviously remain as is.

So, if I were to overhaul TeamPS, it would look like this:




Rules and FAQ and First time here? links on the top of the page, in big, clear letters.


    Showrooms
    • Gallery: Work posted here would be of professional, or approaching professional caliber. Ideally, work that new users can peruse through, and know to be the caliber of work that is necessary to aspire to. Ideally, a uniform titling scheme, in which Users could name the program used in the making of the image, and the genre of image or work (graphic design, webdesign, illustration, animation, 3D) rather than subdividing boards, and adding additional steps before their work can be viewed. Were there a greater number of posts, then it would become necessary to subdivide the forums by program, or by type of design or artwork, but that is not presently the case.

    • Work In Progress: Any unfinished work would go here. Ideally, work would appear here before appearing in the finished section, but not necessarily. It would be at the discretion of the user to post here before posting in the finished section, but were a standard of quality established, it would be evident what is expected of each board.
      • Critique Center: This would be a place where those new to photoshop, and/or art and design in general would be able to recieve constructive critiques of their artwork, with the ultimate goal of improving through focused discussion of what the strong points of their work presently are, and the areas in which they are lacking.
    • Photography: Digital or traditional photography would be shown here. No Change from the current board. The only reason I wouldn't batch this in with the Finished work section is because photography is more subjective than the very literal fields of graphic/web design, and illustration.
    • Pixel Wars: Pretty much the same as it is now, just more of it.



    Tips Tricks and Techniques
    • Photoshop Help: Rather than a separate board existing for advanced and novice help, I propose that each thread instead be marked with "Advanced Technique/Tutorial - [subject]" or "Intermediate Technique/Tutorial - [subject]"

    • Other Program Help: This could be subdivided into separate boards in the "tips tricks and techniques section", but as the primary focus is photoshop, it may be worthwhile to have the other program topics in a subforum. Example:
      • Adobe Illustrator Help
      • Macromedia Flash Help
      • Corel Painter Help
      • Etc...
      • Etc...
      • (new sections would be added in accordance with demand for help and tutorial topics related to that program)

    • Code Resource Area
      • Server Side Code
      • Client Side Code

    • General Resources: Pretty much just the very same resources section that's in the General Stuff Section right now.

    • Art and Design Discussion Area: This would be a place for Discussion of techniques, Fine Art, Learning Tips, Photography, Architecture, anything related to the field of Art and Design, from history to modern day.


    General Stuff
    • Misc Section: I wouldn't change a thing
      • Forum Suggestions
      • Computer / OS Help
      Design Career / Technical / Education Discussion: Here, users could ask questions or discuss opinions about education, career, and employment
    • Marketplace: A place to request / buy / sell / advertise services or work.



So, as you can see, more or less everything is accounted for, just in a somewhat truncated manner. There were things on the frontpage, and even their own sections that got little to no action, and I just thought that it might be time to condense the forum, and make the everything a little more straightforward and easy to use. As you can see, I suggest boiling it down] to three distinct sections, with subforums dealing with mostly everything else that isn't quite frontpage material, or is something that is ill-represented on the frontpage, because of the size it would take up, so now clicking on that link will bring you to an expanded section discussing solely that subject.

Also, You'll note that I've suggested adding a career section and a Design Discussion thread. I've seen them on some other forums, and I just think they're really helpful, and a good place to have questions asked and opinions discussed, even if it's not every day.

I think, for all members if possible, it would also be helpful to have a running thread of images, so that you can have an online diary of work, for you and others to gauge your progress, or even just so others can see what you do when you're not producing finished sites or images.

Anyway, this is just something I've been thinking about lately when I'm online visiting other forums, and I think that TeamPS could be that active as well.

Let me know what you think everyone, especially you Admins. If nothing else, we can bounce some ideas off of each other about how to get some more life in this place.

::edited out color formatting for those using other skins ~malibu
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Aug 9th 2005#169480 Report
Member since: Feb 17th 2003
Posts: 2450
I agree.
However I think the timing may be a bit off. Summer is notorious for toning down forum activities.
I don't have anything against changing the structure of the forum... but I think the area where effort would be best spent is getting good users back - and maybe new good users too.

Maybe an "email an old TPS'er you knew" campaign would work. I was talking to Minse the other day and reminiscing of the "good ol' days" There's people I still have in MSN lists but don't talk with anymore because the "link" was TPS - and it turned somewhat sour.
Maybe going full pro / limited accounts based on real portfolio would be the answer. At least for a while.. until it starts roling again.

But then again - this is Rich's baby now.. so - he's the one who's ultimately responsible for possible changes. It may well be that he's got a different idea about how to go on capitalizing on the TPS name and fame... such as it still remains.
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Aug 9th 2005#169482 Report
Member since: Apr 5th 2001
Posts: 2544
You both are right, I think.
Summer always makes teamps look like a ghost town, that certainly is true.

I do feel that it isn't just that though, it feels like there is this other problem going on... it was there before summer too. It might be that the old group of really active people is just falling apart, because of other obligations. I can't really lay my finger on what the actual problem is.

Teamps once was a place for advice and just for joking around, it feels as this is ages ago though. Most of the members that we now call 'seniors' learned most of their tricks here.
All the new people that we get lately, don't stay long. We need more unexperienced people that are dying to be taught photoshop. When they learn their stuff here, they will definitely spread the word about how good the quality of education over here is.


The problem is, you can't just force people to start posting more, right?
The forum just has to have something to offer, that's one way to get people more active.
Maybe we need weekly lessons or something?

Combining sections is something I've thought about too...
It brings a lot of problems with it though. The reason there are a lot of sections now, is just to make it easier on the moderators. We had to move or delete lots of threads before, that really changed when we got more sections (even when people were active )

What if we organise a teamps reunion? ;)
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Aug 9th 2005#169483 Report
Member since: Apr 24th 2003
Posts: 1977
I agree with NL that there's a deeper problem, which I don't think can be masked by re-organizing the site because at the root of it all, there's still nothing to organize (ie no posts/no users)

Summer has always been the excuse but if you look at the numbers of members we've lost, say over the last 6-8 months, it aint summer. Summer could be adding to the problem, but i dont think summer IS the problem. To quote mattboy I believe " this place has been dead since the us election in november".

As to timing, summer is very slow, but in fall ppl are their busiest (school etc)....there's really no good time.
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Aug 9th 2005#169486 Report
Member since: May 1st 2002
Posts: 3034
[quote]


Rules and FAQ and First time here? links on the top of the page, in big, clear letters.


Showrooms
Gallery: Work posted here would be of professional, or approaching professional caliber. Ideally, work that new users can peruse through, and know to be the caliber of work that is necessary to aspire to. Ideally, a uniform titling scheme, in which Users could name the program used in the making of the image, and the genre of image or work (graphic design, webdesign, illustration, animation, 3D) rather than subdividing boards, and adding additional steps before their work can be viewed. Were there a greater number of posts, then it would become necessary to subdivide the forums by program, or by type of design or artwork, but that is not presently the case.

Work In Progress: Any unfinished work would go here. Ideally, work would appear here before appearing in the finished section, but not necessarily. It would be at the discretion of the user to post here before posting in the finished section, but were a standard of quality established, it would be evident what is expected of each board.
Critique Center: This would be a place where those new to photoshop, and/or art and design in general would be able to recieve constructive critiques of their artwork, with the ultimate goal of improving through focused discussion of what the strong points of their work presently are, and the areas in which they are lacking.
Photography: Digital or traditional photography would be shown here. No Change from the current board. The only reason I wouldn't batch this in with the Finished work section is because photography is more subjective than the very literal fields of graphic/web design, and illustration.
Pixel Wars: Pretty much the same as it is now, just more of it.



Tips Tricks and Techniques
Photoshop Help: Rather than a separate board existing for advanced and novice help, I propose that each thread instead be marked with "Advanced Technique/Tutorial - [subject]" or "Intermediate Technique/Tutorial - [subject]"

Other Program Help: This could be subdivided into separate boards in the "tips tricks and techniques section", but as the primary focus is photoshop, it may be worthwhile to have the other program topics in a subforum. Example:
Adobe Illustrator Help
Macromedia Flash Help
Corel Painter Help
Etc...
Etc...
(new sections would be added in accordance with demand for help and tutorial topics related to that program)

Code Resource Area
Server Side Code
Client Side Code

General Resources: Pretty much just the very same resources section that's in the General Stuff Section right now.

Art and Design Discussion Area: This would be a place for Discussion of techniques, Fine Art, Learning Tips, Photography, Architecture, anything related to the field of Art and Design, from history to modern day.


General Stuff
Misc Section: I wouldn't change a thing
Forum Suggestions
Computer / OS Help
Design Career / Technical / Education Discussion: Here, users could ask questions or discuss opinions about education, career, and employment
Marketplace: A place to request / buy / sell / advertise services or work.
[/quote]

Maybe going full pro / limited accounts based on real portfolio would be the answer. At least for a while.. until it starts roling again.


now there's the answer! but then that ruin's what tps is all about, helping newbs to grow.. where were we before tps ?

But then again - this is Rich's baby now.. so - he's the one who's ultimately responsible for possible changes.


and thats what it boils down to, thats what bob wanted tps to be all about, which clearly isn't working anymore because no one has time to teach the newbs and they end up leaving anyway.
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Aug 9th 2005#169489 Report
Member since: Feb 17th 2003
Posts: 2450
ok.. now that we've complained... what do we do?

the main issue seems to be response... or rather lack of it. I for one am feeling properly ashamed... It's been a while since I answered anything in the help sections. I made those tuts but .. yeah - not the same thing. Rodder's been most helpful there - I kept seeing his stuff in. I'll try and do better. Scout's honor!

what else?

EDIT= ยต baby where you at? howcome you didn't pounce?
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Aug 9th 2005#169490 Report
Member since: May 1st 2002
Posts: 3034
keggers ! they always bring people from the depest corners..
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Aug 9th 2005#169491 Report
Member since: Feb 17th 2003
Posts: 2450
haha yeah.. uhh ... no:P
I'm poor - those are expensive when I'm not the one drinking !!
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Aug 9th 2005#169492 Report
Member since: May 1st 2002
Posts: 3034
we could get minse to dance around naked with his crazy hat on ?
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Aug 9th 2005#169497 Report
Member since: Mar 18th 2001
Posts: 6632
Pro/Limited accounts would absolutely kill what little remains of this site.

There has to be more new people to ask the questions and do the learning. And there has to be enough pros to help them, and help each other. All of the pros and "senior" members are still doing work, we just don't see a point in posting it on the forum anymore. Maybe we are comfortable enough with our skills now that we don't really need critiques from strangers anymore, and instead just IM the people that we respect the most from the days of old, since we don't really care what a "n00b" thinks.

The major problem is that this site isn't just a forum. Most people come to the root site first, the one with the tutorials. And the problem there is that it hasn't been updated or added to in like 3 freakin' years or so. Pretty much all of the tutorials that are there are old and outdated, and made for version 6 or 7 of Photoshop. We have nothing even covering the new features of the new Photoshop editions.

If there is no interesting content pulling people to the root site, there is no way they are going to find or care about the forum.

That being said, who is going to write the tutorials and new content to pull people in? Beats me. Pank cashed out and isn't going to do it, and the new guy is apparently satisfied to take the money from ads with the few remaining users and admittedly doesn't even know photoshop or graphics himself. So unless he's going to start paying people to generate content, I'd say it's pretty much a lost cause.
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