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One month on...

Discussion in 'Feedback & Suggestions' started by brumgrunt, 8 Feb 2012.

  1. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt What's a Dremel?

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    Hello!

    It's been a month now since the behind the scenes changes on Bit-Tech, and in the spirit of the original questions thread that I posted when I first started, I wanted to get an idea of how we're doing, and how we can improve.

    The main pieces of feedback I got originally were:

    * More news stories wanted
    * More modding content on the front page
    * Less annoying adverts
    * More of a community feel

    In response to that:

    * We now have a lot more news stories, thanks to Gareth
    * We've had more modding content on the front page
    * Antony has introduced the Case Mod Index
    * Working on the adverts
    * The community angle I'm the wrong person to judge - that's where your feedback comes in.

    On the to do list:

    * More dedicated Bit Gamer material, both PC and console (although without losing or diluting Joe's excellent PC material)
    * Deeper guides (see what you make on the cooling guide at the end of the week)
    * One or two projects aimed at people with very minimal budgets
    * A PC build index, similar to the Case Mod index.

    As I said from the start, I'm interested in continual changes and trying things rather than radical overhauls. But your feedback has been priceless in shaping some of the things we want to do. And I'm after more of it.

    I've got to say a massive thank you to you all, then. And also, if you're happy with anything that we've done over the past month, can you aim your applause at Harry, Antony, Joe, Paul and Gareth in particular, as well as the terrific moderating team in the forums.

    If you're not happy? You can aim that at me.

    Many thanks

    Simon
     
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  2. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    With regards to the site itself, things have definitely improved in the last month. The content has been much better than in recent times and Gareth's return to the newsreel has been really healthy for the front page, I think.
    Your changes-so-far and to-do lists suggest to me that you've actually grasped pretty damn well what the major complaints have been; And so far the attempts to address those complaints have been working out nicely.

    I can't comment too much on the advertising, as I only see the static/animated ad banners and the like. I keep Bit-Tech in my adblock whitelist so that I'm not denying the site revenue, but NoScript keeps most of the stupid stuff off my screen like Intellitxt and the AoL ads that people have mentioned; And I'm not going to compromise my browser security to allow cross-site advertising to work, sorry!

    On that note, I'd suggest that the site should focus more on simple, 'traditional' advertising such as banners and images and less stupid flash/cross-site stuff. That would mean the site can get more ad revenue from people like me who whitelist bit-tech in adblock but who (quite justifiably) refuse to give script permissions to a bunch of advertising companies doing cross-site scripting or horrendous flash ads on the frontpage.
    This would probably reduce the number of complaints about cpu-intensive flash ads and intrusive intellitxt/AOL 'news' ads as well, making it a win-win for both the consumers and the site itself.

    As for the community side of things, well.. Personally I haven't seen any positive changes in the overall community 'feel'. The place took a nosedive in terms of tone and atmosphere when the CPC merger happened, but I think a lot of pre-CPC bit-techers are afraid to say that for fear of sounding elitist/exclusivist.
    I also think the original demote thread contributed negatively to the tone of the forums but that's a whole other bucket of worms.
    Plenty of people who migrated here from CPC have become active, positive contributors to the site; but frankly the forums also became infested with a huge number of absolute morons too; And that's not going to cure itself overnight no matter how well the moderators do their (unpaid) jobs - I don't think there's much more they can or should do about it.

    The addition of spec to the mod team definitely helps though; and Brett's (Yodasarmpit) spate of activity lately has also been great for the forum.

    To sum up my opinions:
    ----
    + Recent changes are taking the site in a better direction.
    + Articles and content improved significantly in a short space of time.
    + Smarter, simpler, no-fuss/no-******** ads will do everybody a favour.
    + The community will probably only improve if we (those of us who want it to improve) try to be the change we want to see. Too many people complain about the state of the community, then act like knobs to each other in threads or drag the tone of the place down by acting like the very idiots they complain about.
    + More please! :D
     
  3. dogknees

    dogknees Minimodder

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    Simon,

    I joined bit-tech mainly because of articles like this: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpu...tecture-dive/1 that I found here. There are others from the same period on graphics accelerator architectures, and other topics.

    Over the last 4 years, articles with this sort of technical depth have slowly disappeared. Similarly, there has been a drop in the number of detailed photos in reviews of motherboards and other components over the same period.

    I used to be able to look forward to reading new hardware reviews and interesting, in depth articles on an almost daily basis. Now it's a couple a week at best with no depth and therefore little interest to those of us who are into the technical details.

    Can we look forward to things returning to this quality and quantity under the new management?

    Thanks
     
  4. Jaybles

    Jaybles Minimodder

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    * More news stories wanted - This has been resolved awesomely.
    * More modding content on the front page - Yes the index is nice.
    * Less annoying adverts - Dunno, still using Adblock come back to me if you've finally got rid of the flash ones.
    * More of a community feel - I think it is still about the same but mods do seem to be more active which is nice.

    The PC Hardware Buyers Guide hasn't been refreshed since last September. Any reason?
    I think asking the community for articles could also push up the amount of content on the front page too. Things like Goodbytes monitor guide.
     
  5. chiper136

    chiper136 What's a Dremel?

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    My favourite part was the Podcasts...BRING BACK THE PODCASTS.
     
  6. dogknees

    dogknees Minimodder

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    Simon,

    No more responses?

    What gives?
     
  7. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt What's a Dremel?

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    My sister's wedding - still playing catch up! Responses coming...
     
  8. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt What's a Dremel?

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    The last part you're the best judge of!

    This first month, I've been trying to get more modding and cooling material to the front of the site, and the depth of the cooling piece, for example, is something I want to get to. I'd argue that the reviews, too, retain real depth to them - I've seen the effort that goes into the testing alone - and that's obviously a cornerstone of what we're trying to do.

    My ethos, though, is this: if there's demand, we'll try something. I like in-depth articles, that aren't shy when it comes to technical details. So while I appreciate this is a bit of a woolly answer at the moment, see how we do over the coming months?

    Simon

    PS Apologies for the delay in replying!
     
  9. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt What's a Dremel?

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    A question in response, then: does 'traditional' advertising really work for you? What does it tempt you to click on? The reason, I'm guessing, is that ad formats have evolved (not just here) is that older formats aren't getting noticed as much.

    S
     
  10. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt What's a Dremel?

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    * The hardware guide is getting a full refresh for Easter. The reason we've held back is the amount of new stuff just around the corner.

    * Less annoying adverts: that message is definitely being heard.

    * Asking community for articles? Working on that...!

    S
     
  11. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt What's a Dremel?

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    Again, this is a bit tricky at the moment. We're getting a few requests for them (although not a deluge!), but will look into the logistics.

    S
     
  12. longweight

    longweight Possibly Longbeard.

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    After the forum the podcasts were the best thing about bit.
     
  13. Lankuzo

    Lankuzo CPC Refugee

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    I also would like to see the podcast return. I've heard some podcasts using Skype which seemed to work ok
     
  14. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    To be completely honest, I don't recall ever having clicked on an ad on the internet on purpose. Not once.
    I detest advertising and honestly, aside from mindshare or subliminal messaging it just doesn't work on me, but I put up with it on the sites that I frequent as a necessary evil to allow them to remain free for the reader/user.

    There's no kind of advertising that could be put on bit-tech that I would click on - Only advertising that I would tolerate (ie; simple stuff that doesn't hog bandwidth or processing power, doesn't have audio or flash video built-in - So: banner images).
    Sorry I can't be of more constructive help than that! :(
     
  15. dogknees

    dogknees Minimodder

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    Thanks Simon.

    Appreciate the answers and agree that the reviews are OK. I'll keep looking for the in depth technical reviews of the new generations of CPUs and GPUs.

    Regards:thumb:
     
  16. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt What's a Dremel?

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    Therein lies the problem. Nobody seems to like advertising much, and nobody, realistically, is going to pay to read a website in a hurry. The trick, then, is for us to balance giving you everything for free, whilst coming up with advertising that doesn't get on your nerves, but that also works for the advertiser.

    Magic wands are useful, until they become real, we'll keep trying to get that balance right. What I would ask, though, is that if you like what we do here, then please support our advertisers, and just click on an ad from time to time if you don't already. It's always appreciated.

    Simon
     
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  17. javaman

    javaman May irritate Eyes

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    Tell those wanting to advertise to subscribe and give away free goodies ie. go to our site to find out more, and people will be more welcoming to the idea of frequenting their website. Even have the question for the prize be about the advert so people have to look at it.

    Everyone loves free goodies even ones with hidden costs except logging onto facebook. Its forbidden.
     
  18. javaman

    javaman May irritate Eyes

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    double post
     
  19. Technobod

    Technobod Minimodder

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    I share a very similar viewpoint to Zurechial, and indeed participated in the last advertising thread.

    The ads I find the most annoying are the flash ones, now this is not because I hate advertising, I tolerate it as a necessary evil, but because of what it does to my laptop battery. I find that if I wish to browse Bit-tech and not have my processor cooking away and my battery life evaporating it is necessary to run with flashblock or adblock or similar enabled.
    I occasionally click on some of the ads when I'm on my desktop to help out my little bit, but obviously never on my laptop which is 90% of my browsing. :(

    Now for a ad to adfree comparison- I chose the first thing I read today- the 3rd section of the How to Illuminate your PC article.
    Now without the ads Chrome shows the page loads in 2.2 seconds.
    Now with ads enabled a load of the first page of the takes my PC a full 11.3 seconds. :jawdrop:

    For my amusement I looked into this in more detail and the extra time (9.1s) was taken up with 6 seconds of communications with the advertising servers and 3 seconds of rendering. I'll eliminate the rendering time from any comparison as that will vary from machine to machine but even so that is a barmy amount of time- increasing my load time by 4x! :eeek:

    It is clear that even if I only read 10 pages on Bit-tech (a short browse) the advertising has stolen a full 60 seconds of my life.
    In reality it is so much slower that I actually move into another tab while it loads and possibly not return so the advertising is negated anyway because i'm not there to read it as it was too slow appearing.

    Now the problem could be negated slightly by organising when in the load the ads appear- the very end would be perfect :thumb:. Where they currently are (about 1/3 of the way through and before the main article load as best I can tell) means I am sat with a large black patch on the screen for a long time not enjoying the content I have clicked for :sigh:. If the ads were at the end then I would be able to start enjoying your articles whilst the ads finished to load- a far less intrusive option, one that keeps me on the page, and one that makes me more likely to check them out too.

    I shall finish there whilst I'm ahead and before I start to ramble.

    Interested in your side of things Simon.
     
  20. Material

    Material Soco Amaretto Lime

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    Nobody likes ads, but the site needs them to survive.

    The problem is that if people only ever tolerate them, and never actually interact with any of them, their value goes down in the eyes of our advertisers.

    This forces our sales team, and the site, to adopt either a) more advertising, to make up for the shortfall or b) ads from less relevant companies, to fill the gaps left by departing companies.

    Neither of these are ideal, for obvious reasons. As a result I don't think its too much to ask to click on an ad now and then to help show that advertising on bit-tech has value and generates interest from you - the guys that these companies are trying to reach.

    Display advertising is something that just about every site out there uses though, so which sites do you think do it well?
     
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