Facebook or forum
I'm going to be launching an update to Dungeon Demon (my map editing software) in the next 8-10 weeks. I've got a forum up that I've never made public and I'm trying to decide whether to polish it or to use a Facebook page. I know zilch about Facebook other than I can show my friends pictures and vice versa and that sometimes people send me virtual hams. Here's the question.
I want my users to be able to share their maps and their own graphics and to communicate with me and each other. I believe my SMF based forum will allow me to do this - is there a compelling reason to move to Facebook? My goal is to allow a small but passionate group of users to communicate with each other and me and to also easily share their creations. Links to great versions of this running under Facebook already would be appreciated. Here is a link to my unpublished forum: rustyaxe.com/smf/index.php
I'm just speaking out of intuition without research, so take it for what it's worth:
I think it's best to stick with your own forum as the main base, and also establish a Facebook group as secondary and link to it on the forum. The reasons being:
1. While it's not the case for most people, there're still many who actually don't have Facebook (especially in the casual crowd, though the title of your game seems to imply it's not a casual game). So it's best to not seclude a portion of potential players.
2. Having your own forum means it can be integrated into your website. This allows for:
a) Closer to your new product releases (though you can still announce it on Facebook, there's a sense of "I'm already here".
b) More control with less of external factors that may change unexpectedly.
c) The opportunity to perhaps gain ad revenue and whatnot.
3. There is a sense of unique identity among the players and community (instead of the generic feel that comes with FB).
Again, the two aren't mutually exclusive. A notable advantage I can think of that comes with FB group is when a user doesn't check the forum that often and are missing big announcements. So you send out a news cast on the FB group, to direct them to the new announcement on the home forum.
We have a forum on our site, and it's worked really well for us. I'd say the big advantages over facebook are that you maintain full control, and can customize it for your needs. If people are really into your game, they will come to your forum specifically.
Yes, +1 for your forum here as well. Once you install a few antispam plugins even phpBB is an usable piece of software after all
I'm returning to this topic because I never got around to implementing a solution.
I want to reimplement my blog and news sections and both need some way for users to comment. I've used the DigitalMidget comments solution in the past but it doesn't allow multiple comment sections on a single page (I want to have long chronological lists of blog entries grouped by subject). I could fix this, given enough time, but I'm wondering if I'm missing the boat. Does anybody have any great examples of how others have implemented this kind of system?
I'm pondering some kind of solution where my site would be read only but with a link to some kind of Facebook page where the conversation would be occur and potentially be shared on the Facebook pages of my users.
And... I forgot to mention. That Simple Machines forum that I had never made public? 10K comments, all varieties of spam.
I find it strange to hear that people with SMF forums are getting spammed. The only spam we get is obviously human made, and we only use the basic capatcha on sign up. I think it may have something to do with us:
1. Heavily customizing the template
2. Not putting it in a directory named /forum/ or domain forum.
That's interesting - maybe I didn't hook up the captchas. I made modest changes to reskin the forum to look like my website (http://rustyaxe.com/smf/) and, as you can see, it's not in forum.
Not just because of the 10K spams, I've changed my mind in the interim about the value of a forum to me. What I currently have in mind is a tab on my blog and news pages that would let you post comments to the Rusty Axe Facebook page with the option to share with your friends.
Wolfire use http://disqus.com/
This touches on a topic I've been thinking about lately as well. It seems to me part of Notch's success with Minecraft was his use of tools that where part of online communities: Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook
I've just moved the blog part of my site to Wordpress.com with this "be part of a community" idea in mind. Sure, I had to let some features and customization go, but it seems like a good trade-off in terms of cost and visibility. (Next step is to move the rest of the site to a static html site that can be hosted using the new S3 features)
All that said, Facebook seems like a great idea. Monaco has built a big community using Facebook exclusively (as far as I can tell): https://www.facebook.com/MonacoIsMine
Any reason you are picking Posterous over Wordpress.com?
Originally Posted by Jack Norton
Oh! I forgot to mention earlier that you could create subreddit for community building, comments and discussions.
I use posterous these days. It is nice for writing your thoughts down, etc but try anything more than that and you'll simply have to type HTML by hand. Also i'm not sure i like the way the images are embedded in the text (using some sort of slideshow widget). On the other hand, its dead easy to put images, docs, etc and have your post published in a bunch of places (facebook, twitter, digg, etc) automatically and generally they provide a good interface in their site. Except for doing stuff like writing code... for example for the snippets in this post i wrote a couple of days ago i had to enter in the HTML mode and type "<blockquote><pre> ... </pre></blockquote>" manually each time i wanted to post code.
I don't know about their WordPress importer, but importing from Blogger failed (the articles were imported but there were many formatting issues). They fix their stuff fast though and they're responsive in their blog about issues.
The update isssue is a good point. I hadn't consider that and I also don't know how it works on the WordPress.com site.
Originally Posted by Jack Norton
Jack, I was inspired by your posterous and Facebook sites.
I've spent my spare time this past week pondering this issue and finally feel like I came to a good solution for me that will let me interact with folks interested in my products without me having to remember a lot of technical details, always important to me while I'm crunching away on a new product and just want to send out a quick message to the world. Now I can pull up Facebook, drop in a few images, type a quick note and get back to work.
If you go to my website now you will see a News heading in my LHS nav. bar which takes you to a simple Facebook page.
Rusty Axe Games website
Below that is a share button that shows up on all of my pages which lets people who might like a page of mine start a Facebook thread, pass an email to a friend or Digg a page.
Lastly I think I will revive my blog by starting another Facebook page. The only small issue is that I can't figure out how to put tags into the Facebook articles. The blog and news also are not on the Rusty Axe website but I can live with these two things because of all the potential viral goodness and the ease of maintenance and updating that I get out of being on Facebook. Feeling really good about all of this, thanks for the feedback all.
Last bit of marketing stuff I need to ramp up on, I bought a license for Camtasia and I need to get more comfortable with building videos for my software. Last time around took far too long. In particular, videos are really an ideal way to show off an editor so next build of Dungeon Demon (late March) needs to come with a video tutorial showing off all of the new features.
I noticed, at least with my slow connection, that posterous loading times are quite long ! It's not a problem though since I'm autoposting on my normal wordpress blog which will keep as "backup" just to be sure. That's a cool thing, if one day I am tired of it, at least I don't lose the posts I made