As I've been saying, especially recently, google hates forums, and we're not going to survive unless we do one of two things:

  1. Be a community of people regularly engaging in discussions with each other, and NOT a support site that relies on a constant stream of question askers. In other words, give new members who might not be able to answer questions a reason to revisit daily, become addicted to our community, and not just visit or post when they have a question to ask. In other words, be more like a portal to the interwebs like Reddit. In other words, no longer have a reason to rely on google sending us a constant stream of question askers.

  2. Come up with a different set of features that google likes. Google hates forum content because they see it as unreliable and uncurated. They love stack overflow because it's so well curated. But newbies hate stack and lots of other people do too for how anti-newbie they can be. And, imho, stack does q&a reallllly well. I don't want to compete head to head with that. We need a different way to get google to love us ... perhaps a different type of curated content. Our code snippet library. Tutorials. Articles. Or maybe there's something else we can do to create an entirely different type of curated content. Perhaps something new and never been done.

Either way, those are our two options. Suggestions? Feedback?

Basically we need to seed the forums with open ended discussions. The kinda stuff people can really get into and that don't require a certain expertise level to participate. The kinda stuff people will come to read and contribute to even if they don't have an immediate question to ask or are skilled enough to answer other people's questions. We have to make the most of every single new member. Find a way to get everyone to return. And not rely on google sending us a constant stream of question askers.

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diafol

I think we were here a couple of years ago. Maybe competitions, re-instating the Geeks Lounge as a standalone forum - easily accessible (not tag driven). Merchandise? More tutes and snippets obviously. What's happened to the editorial? The changes destroyed the "community" aspect and now we get fly-byers and a few stubborn old timers. Are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc being posted to regularly? How does anybody find out about DW? Chance encounter? I'm sure we'd all pitch in, like we've always done, if there were concrete paths to take.

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diafol

A "Let's build it" section. This could tie in with your "open coding" idea from another thread. A member suggests a topic for development and guys have a go at developing a solution, maybe a la GoogleDocs or forking a la Git. Just off the top of my head. Should draw in some really interesting discussions. But there needs to be traffic for that to catch on.

I'm wondering if combining a tech oriented news/discussion portal with Q&A forums would fit the bill?

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diafol

Maybe video tutorials - these have huge followings on YT. As long as the text / code accompanies the video of course. Currently I see no way of embedding a video. Platforms like YT can be set up to only allow play from a certain domain (I think). SHowing noobs how to install XAMPP would be great, he he. Installing Laravel and other frameworks. They've been done and done again, but they still pull the crowds.

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diafol

How about embedding codepens?

commented: +1 +0

Maybe competitions

I would absolutely loveeeeeeeeee to do a Dazah API competition that tapped into the DaniWeb audience segment accessible from Dazah. However, I don't have the funds right now to offer any really amazing prizes.

re-instating the Geeks Lounge as a standalone forum - easily accessible (not tag driven)

So I think what I'm going to do is put links to the top categories (including Community Center) in the top navigation menu without requiring the blue button dropdown. I want to encourage off-topic stuff across the entire Community Center, including a revival of those posting games, etc.

Merchandise?

I have a lot of leftover tshirts stored away in my mom's basement, but they're mostly obscure sizes that are left, and too expensive to ship. We could do like a Cafepress store I guess, or something that involves dropshipping?

What's happened to the editorial?

Everyone can still contribute news stories / tutorials / interviews / etc. I used to pay Davey to write regular news stories, but they unfortunately became too cost prohibitive. Because news stories are time sensitive, they only lasted in Google for a short time period, which wasn't enough time to recoup more than about 2% of the amount I was paying him. Then we got evicted from Google News, and stopped getting traffic to them. Pretty much the same reason why the New York Times online, etc. are all super struggling and requiring paid subscriptions. Advertising revenue just isn't enough to cover the cost of staff writers no matter your size. Editorial content that is evergreen (i.e. can continue to be relevant and receive traffic and generate revenue over the course of many years) is still valuable IMHO.

The changes destroyed the "community" aspect and now we get fly-byers and a few stubborn old timers.

What "changes" are you referring to? Do you mean switching over to Dazah or do you mean stuff such as switching to the tag system?

Are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc being posted to regularly?

Absolutely, because there is always content to find or contribute each time you go to Twitter/Facebook, so it makes for a good time waster. At DaniWeb, if you're not skilled enough to help other people, your only reason to come would be to ask a question yourself. Compound that with getting negative feedback if you ask a question without doing research yourself first, we don't make it very easy for newbies to have a reason to turn into regulars.

How does anybody find out about DW?

Only from Google. We don't get a lot, but we still do get a small amount of Google traffic. So anyone we do get asking a question nowadays came from Google. We need to find a way to turn those people into regulars and get them hooked even if they don't have another question to ask or the skills or immediate interst in helping others.

I'm sure we'd all pitch in, like we've always done, if there were concrete paths to take.

Because you guys are all absolutely awesome. That's why!

A "Let's build it" section. This could tie in with your "open coding" idea from another thread. A member suggests a topic for development and guys have a go at developing a solution, maybe a la GoogleDocs or forking a la Git.

I'm afraid we don't have enough devoted people to make this work. If I said, "Hey everyone! Go make something with Dazah!" then how many people would actually go ahead and do it? What if I said, "Hey guys! I'd like to suggest forking the Dazah Github project!" ... same question; how many?

I think it would be absolutely great if we could come up with a way to join forces in community spirit and come together and work on a project together. It just feels to me like the only people who would be making the suggestions are people like me who want people to write stuff for their own projects, or students who want people to do their assignments for them.

A "Let's build it" section. This could tie in with your "open coding" idea from another thread. A member suggests a topic for development and guys have a go at developing a solution, maybe a la GoogleDocs or forking a la Git.

I think if we found a way to be half-Stack Overflow and half-reddit, then that would kinda be the sweet spot. Reddit touts itself as the homepage for the interwebs, and I think that if we had a lot of discussions going along the lines of people linking to various interesting things they see and read about, and provoking discussion on them, then that could be really good. Just as long as it's not blatant spam like, "Buy my product ABC. Here's a link." But if we encouraged people sharing links to interesting things they came across, the way that reddit does. That's why reddit doesn't need to rely on Google traffic. Because when people want to waste time, they go straight there to find interesting stuff to read about and learn about. We need to be so addictive that we become a time suck ourselves. Give people a reason to come back regularly just to browse and read and discover interesting stuff. Right now, I think all of our content is way too niche. Either you have a very, very specific problem that needs to be solved, or you have the skills and interest in working to help others solve their problems. By being just a Q&A site, we're not a good time suck place :-P My goal is for Dazah to help solve that problem.

Maybe video tutorials - these have huge followings on YT.

There used to be a way to embed YouTube videos, but no one did it (except for Davey in a couple of news stories, I believe). If this is something people would have an interest in doing, I can make the embedded YouTube thing happen. I just personally don't really feel comfortable enough to do it, and I'm not sure if any of you guys have an interest in producing video content.

How about embedding codepens?

That was kind of my thought with my interactive code editor I suggested in a different thread. I was thinking something like Github Gists but taking it a step further by making it editable in realtime so it could be used for pair programming. The idea didn't seem to resonate with anyone though, so I dunno.

commented: Detailed response +0

Hey guys,

Thanks for helping out and entertaining the couple of discussiony threads I started yesterday. Just that extra bit of back and forth participation resulted in a 50% increase in traffic and more posts per day than we've had since June of last year!

Dani Google is not the bad guy here … someone else is. What is the really interesting content of any thread here the last months ? Its not interesting for you why should be for Google ? No your notion of arguing about general things will not do the job. The argument must be real with facts in both sides to be indexed as real in Google. Don't make your strategy towards Google , make your strategy towards visitors and then maybe … you will be Google favorite.

So whats next ? You destroyed Daniweb … (its yours you can destroy it any time you want). Its really hard to rebuilt it. Do you really want to make the effort to rebuilt Daniweb, or you think that it is a “free meal” for Dazah and your "Silicon Valley" success story illusion ?

Dani Google is not the bad guy here … someone else is.

I'm absolutely certainly not saying Google is the bad guy. That's not the message I'm trying to get across AT ALL.

No your notion of arguing about general things will not do the job.

Discussion about general things is not content that Google is going to want to index and send traffic to. However, it will result in members spending more time participating on DaniWeb, outside of Google. Which is the goal. Not only that, but Google keeps track of those sorts of things ... they keep track of how much time people spend on a site, and factor it into how much weight to give to a domain.

Do you really want to make the effort to rebuilt Daniweb

Of course.

or you think that it is a “free meal” for Dazah

Dazah exists to benefit DaniWeb. Not the other way around.

--I'm absolutely certainly not saying Google is the bad guy. That's not the message I'm trying to get across AT ALL.

// If so , then Google has a reason to index DaniWeb as low as it is … just try to understand that reason

No your notion of arguing about general things will not do the job.

--Discussion about general things is not content that Google is going to want to index and send traffic to. However, it will result in members spending more time participating on DaniWeb, outside of Google. Which is the goal. Not only that, but Google keeps track of those sorts of things ... they keep track of how much time people spend on a site, and factor it into how much weight to give to a domain.

// Finally an understanding of how word goes around. +1 Danni you make me hope again with that response. But Danni you had a PHP thread that had many visitors and opinions and you eliminated it. Its nice to see that you are changing opinions (changing opinions by the facts is the smart way) . Time to change the structure of DaniWeb back to what is worth visiting as well ..

or you think that it is a “free meal” for Dazah
--Dazah exists to benefit DaniWeb. Not the other way around.
//A great line and I hope its true. Dani if it is we can help. You know that dissolving the programming languages oriented structure was a disaster. We can bring it back. We can help with ideas and with code. Its not looking in the past only , but looking in the future as well . A community of programmers sharing some core beliefs as that sharing and together can lift us all up.

You know that dissolving the programming languages oriented structure was a disaster. We can bring it back.

I already did bring back the old-style navigation menu last night.

commented: I hope to double your efforts again in DaniWeb ... it can be a great community of programmers +0
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diafol

The extra nav has certainly made things easier. Good job. Still waiting on the Geeks' lounge though! :)

You brought in a number of things that piqued interest like the "endorsements" - however it was short-lived as once all the regulars ended patting each other on the back, it stopped. Something else to generate community (even at a distance like endorsements) would be beneficial. No community, no traffic (IMO).

Still waiting on the Geeks' lounge though! :)

Click on "Community Center" in the new navigation menu. The first item in the dropdown are popular tags. Click "geeks-lounge". Also check out the new site search functionality!!

You brought in a number of things that piqued interest like the "endorsements" - however it was short-lived

Endorsements are actually still done ... people regularly get emails recommending them to endorse people and alerting them when they've gotten an endorsement, so it's sorta a pay it forward kinda thing. It's obviously not happening as much lately because nothing is happening as much nowadays.

Thumbs Up for the new search! I would like to suggest a faster email system. Faster i get the email faster i open the site. Few days ago when i asked the question Open mobile camera through web browser i got an email that i got reply to my question after 6 days. This has not happened before, usualy it takes about 4 - 6 hours. So far this is my first suggestion, i would like to come up with something great and i think i will...

Ops here we go with something just poped up in my head :D
Since google "hates" forums but loves grammar why not make a grammar corrector in the ask question input field? Something like Grammarly but private that will belong to daniweb. Also i have a question why the input field in the question doesn't autocorrect the word?

i got an email that i got reply to my question after 6 days

We were having a problem with our email server. Sorry about that!!

I must say with total honesty that Dani gets what she deserves to get. When she switched over to tags system, I (from another - banned - account) said (and try to persaude Dani and some other team members) that this is not going to be long before decrease of traffic as people generally dont like tags system.

I was being laughted at, and eventually banned......

One thing is to make mistake and to admit to this - this is OK; the other thing is to make mistake and pretend it was not mistake - its totally BAD thing.
Dani chose the second option.....OK it was her decision.

I do not regret Dani at all in fact.

Firstly, I certainly to this day do not regret switching to the tags system. I felt it was the right move then, and I still feel it's the right move.

Secondly, it's against our rules to create a new account in order to circumvent a ban. Just sayin'.

Well there you go, I was 99% sure that 'Anna' was 'Woj' and now I am 100% sure. Both from Poland, both with the exact same attitude and rudeness. Now we know, and as creating new accounts to circumvent bans is against the rules Anna will soon be no more. So, until the next Woj account announces itself to the world, and let's face it he cannot help but be rude and arrogant so it won't be long, goodbye...

I was being laughted at

Oh, Woj. We are laughing at you for so many other reasons.

commented: Ever use more than one wingnut on a thread? Sometimes they deadlock. +0
commented: Wingnut of the highest order :D +0
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diafol

He he, the wojiciech that created 4programmers? That wojiciech? Oh ho ho ho. Take what he suggests and do the exact opposite. What a numbnuts.

//edit

BTW - For those not in the know - this idiot did not create 4programmers. 4programmers is a great site created by Adam Boduch. This wojiciech just claimed he'd created it.

commented: Wait, Al Gore didn't create this? +0

If you mean in the British slang sense, then yes.

OK, back to the root of this thread: I'm going to try an experiment and start posting some 'long-form' discussions and see how they go. By that I mean ones that are a cross between a straightforward question/answer post and a tutorial/editorial post. Designed to both inform and hopefully encourage further discussion. The first of which can be found here: How much anonymity does a VPN really provide? Please let me know what you think, and whether this kind of thing might be useful in drawing more contributions from members or not. No point me devoting time and effort into posting these things here (and I have plenty of other well paid gig outlets for them) if they are a non-starter in your respected opinions... If it does work to any degree, maybe DaniWeb veterans could be encouraged to write similar long-form seeding posts in their own areas of expertise?

Please let me know what you think, and whether this kind of thing might be useful in drawing more contributions from members or not.

This is the kind of thing that appeals to me moreso than newbie coding (not a dis on newbie coding, but there's not much stimulating about it to a non-newbie). I've been seeing less and less of articles like that here. In my view, that's the kind of content that is going to attrract mid-career professionals like myself. I think Daniweb has been catering too much to folks who aren't professionals, aren't willing to put in the effort, and aren't going to stick around even to say "Thanks for the help". Again, nothing against the newbies who ARE putting in the effort, but the welcome mat needs to be UN-rolled for the trolls and the folks who make it obvious that they don't give a damn about anyone else. They are driving away the folks who would read and participate in high quality threads like you mention, and your thread likely will be buried by by competely useless threads. I won't link a dumb one, but I don't really have to. We all know there are far too many of them. IMO they are dumbing down the site.

I WILL point out threads like this one.

https://www.daniweb.com/programming/software-development/threads/507150/why-do-i-need-1-1#post2214159

He's not banned and should be. Allowing him to stay around serves no purpose. Every legitimate thread I respond to has me wondering if it's going to get hijacked like this and my time responding to a legitimate newbie will be wasted by guys like that.

Ditto this woj guy. Yes, he's banned, but I looked him up and it clearly took way too long to ban him and he drove away lots of folks who you might have wanted to keep, while bringing nothing of value to the site. Yes, what should constitute a ban is subjective and opinions will vary about when to do it, but I imagine there is close to 100% agreement that this woj guy and folks like Richard_36's intention on Daniweb is to make it a failure, so boot them ASAP. If you were running a business (and you are), you'd fire them ASAP for being a bad influence on everyone else.

So, in summary, yes, I would love to read threads like the one you just wrote, and will comment if I have anything to add, so I say go for it if you are trying to attract high quality posters. But it's pointless if Daniweb continues to tolerate the people who do everything in their power to DRIVE AWAY high quality posters, whether malevolently or by just acting like drive-by "Gimme Teh Codez" types. They, not Google (well Google didn't help) are ruining this site.

My 2 cents.

Davey, that type of content is hugeeeee to us, as AssertNull pointed out. The views counter only registers logged in members, but tomorrow when I'm near my computer (currently on my iPhone in bed) I'll check Googl Analytics and be able to paint a more accurate picture for you of its value, quantitatively speaking. But at the end of the day we still need to come up with a way to attract more of this type of content from many different people.

128 visitors to your article so far, Davey. 40% exit compared to 83% sitewide exit according to Google Analytics.

Hmmm. Not exactly stellar views, but at least the exit rate is encouraging.