Disconnect Between Forum and Site


#1

Hello, I have made a thread about my feelings on the site once before, but I feel it bears addressing again, a year later (misread Jan 17 as Jan '17).

As a daily active member of the Waypoint community, I increasingly feel that the forum and the podcast are the only parts of Waypoint that I feel directly connected to. I use the forum as the primary means by which I am informed of Waypoint content, with my automatically updating podcast subscription filling in the blanks. I have no desire to visit the website proper, and otherwise don’t unless I am clicking through to an article from a forum thread crosspost. The reason for this is primarily the fact that the website doesn’t feel “alive”. Live streams are almost completely segregated from archive/written content, which I think is a huge strike against the site itself.

A Schedule was added a while back per popular request, but besides the podcast plugin which seems to accurately reflect one of the more recent podcasts published, the videos on it are all, at least, months old. I actually don’t even know if Hot Mic Mornings still happens. I would really, really, really like to see live content and scheduling reflected (featured, like the current Save Point banner) on the homepage itself. I would feel more engaged, and I would have an easier time keeping tabs on what the crew is up to.

As it stands, the only way that I know how to do that now is to keep an eye on the Waypoint twitter account for announcements of live streams as they happen. I…don’t like doing that. I’m also not an avid Twitch user, so I haven’t subscribed on Twitch, nor have I subscribed on YouTube, another site I don’t directly visit unless otherwise linked to. I understand that I am probably in the minority in this way, but, as I said in my previous thread, I think it is a failure of web design/curation to expect users to go to other platforms to find half of your stuff. Crossposting/embedding streams of that content would be so fuckin fantastic.

Ideally, what I’d like to see is a prominently featured upcoming schedule on the homepage, and a “Happening Now!” featurette somewhere up top, or in the nav. At the very least, this would link to the external streaming platform, and at most it would link to a post which has an embed of that stream going, or is a content block on the homepage which streams it directly, without having to navigate to a post.

It pains me to dislike the site so much. So far, almost all of the requests from my OP in January last year are unaddressed. I don’t mean to sound like the developers need to bend to my will or whatever, but I’m talkin like at the bottom of any brand-new article is an “UP NEXT: WAYPOINT 72” or “MIGHTY MOUSE” video. Like dude, that shit is two years old and is totally unrelated to the article I just read. Also I just clicked on “Read” in the nav, and it’s not articles, it’s just the latest posts of any kind, podcasts included, which is what the homepage already does.

Anyway I hope this is of some help and gets to the people it needs to get to. You all clearly care about formatting the site in a favorable way and someone or something is in your way, and I want them to know that the site needs to improve in really basic ways. It’s a very frustrating user experience that in a variety of ways, feels unfinished, or like an afterthought. Thank you for listening!


#2

considering this is site feedback, this is the only post I’m legit gonna ‘bump’


#3

I agree with much of what you’re saying, kcin. I hardly ever visit the actual Waypoint page anymore because I feel like it’s rare that something happens there that I need to see. It’s a shame, really, because as I’ve said elsewhere, I think this site is doing super-important things, so it’s disappointing not to have a reason to engage with the front end of it.


#4

Sry to bump this, didn’t want to make another thread.

I was wondering, is there a way to get to the main Waypoint page from the forum page? When I click on Waypoint at the top, it just directs me to the forum page, which is where I already am. Like if I have the forum bookmarked and I’m coming straight to here, is the only way to get to the actual site by typing/searching the site directly?

I feel like I’m missing something super obvious cause that seems like a strange design choice.


#5

I also rarely - if ever - visit the main site these days. It’s not that I don’t read any articles, but that I know any interesting thoughts other readers will have will be in the forum along with all the other great discussion.


#6

this symbol when you’re scrolled up to the top


#7

Weird, not seeing it. Where is that located at the top?

There is a Waypoint link on the drop down menu so that’s one way to get to the site.


#8

all the way at the top when you’re scrolled to the very top of the website. if you are scrolled down at all the thread title is there instead


#9

Oh wow, weird. I don’t have any of that. It’s a light gray bar with just Waypoint on the left, and my profile icon, drop down menu, and search on the right. No diamond, no fb, Twitter, or twitch.

Thank anyway.


#10

That’s a feature of the new interface. I thought it defaulted to the change, but you can switch manually by going to your Preferences, and then hitting Interface.


#11

Ooo

Thank you. Had no idea.


#12

I also just discovered that there was a new forum skin :stuck_out_tongue:


#13

I also had no idea there was a a new skin.

I also agree that an actual schedule would be nice. I’m not current on my podcasts so I currently don’t hear the current episodes as they come out, so I never know about, say, the voting day streams, until I log into twitch. The current schedule, as far as I know, isn’t reflected even in what streams have been happening lately. Or if they have been happening they haven’t been in the VOD on twitch. There’s no ‘newsfeed’ about the site itself on the main page either, for people to know when things have been cancelled or delayed. When features are put on the backburner, or even when staff leave.

I’m sure some of these things are just not priority with the limitations of current staff, or some very understandable reason, like Vice not having the functionality in the web templates they require Waypoint to use, and haven’t approved customization.

But stuff like that is basically why for a good while I’ve treated Waypoint as a podcast first, streamer second, news site third, because the former are where more information about everybody and what everyone is doing are actually included.


#14

@Hyetal Thanks I had no idea about the new skin.

As to the main topic, I agree with most of kcin’s points. A reliable streaming schedule in particular would be nice. (Are they even doing Mecha Mondays anymore?)

I assume that at least part of the issue is the web framework that Vice mandates they use, because some things look like technical constraints as opposed to design choices. For instance, the Watch link in the sidebar takes you to Waypoint’s youtube channel, but the Watch link in the header takes you to Vice Video.

I like a lot of what Waypoint puts out, but other than the podcast it is difficult to track.


#15

When I first posted (most of) these complaints earlier this year, a Vice web dev responded that they were working on most of them already, so we already know that resolutions are not outside the realm of possibility. I don’t think any of this is anyone’s ‘fault’, but, regardless of reasons, the website is not good yet. These are just definite, real problems with the site that need to be fixed, and whoever needs to hear this feedback should hear it and, hopefully, act on it eventually.


#16

So, I’ve also been noticing this a lot lately, and I feel like it has to do a lot with the kind of things Waypoint has been producing in recent months. A lot of the Waypoint front page has started to feel like a list of the podcasts they’ve put out recently. (I just can’t keep up with all those episodes; I skip the Waypoints. As much as I enjoy the crew’s conversations, it’s kind of an overload for me.) If you’re already subscribed on a podcast app, there’s not much of a reason to check out the front page. My reason for checking out the front page in the past had been the incredible freelance work that was coming out frequently through Waypoint. Unfortunately, that’s seemed to have died down pretty substantially. Waypoint’s output had changed pretty substantially over the past year, both in their publishing and in their streaming/podcasting schedule. (I honestly need to start expanding my reading list tho)

I’m not going to theorize or pretend to understand what’s going on behind the scenes or anything (that’d be both a violation of Site Rules and just kind of lame) but it seems that these pretty substantial changes haven’t changed along with site structure, so the site seems kind of weird because of it and the forums often seem more like an offshoot rather than a way to interface with the site itself.


#17

I asked Austin on Twitter if Waypoint was moving away from streaming and he replied:

edit: Im sad they wont be streaming much anymore, the twitch streams are what brought me to Waypoint and were the content I enjoyed the most.


Where them vids at
#18

Sad to hear, streams were one of my favorite things Waypoint does/did.


#19

I’m also really sad to see the move away from streaming, since watching the PUBG streams last year, and the XCOM and Bloodborne streams this year was what got me on board with Waypoint. Up until then, I’d amired the site, but not loved it like I grew to, watching the crew play games together.

To keep more on topic, though, I definitely agree about the (lack of) utility for the main page. Given that there’s barely a handful of new articles each week now (less if you don’t count the new-podcast-“articles”), I feel like visiting it has been disincentivised. Even though I only visit once a week (compared to daily in the past), most of the stuff I see when I first land is stuff I’ve already read. I don’t want to fault Waypoint for having to do the kind of content that generates the type of response that’ll keep the lights on, but like the OP says here, it’d be great to see the main page more tailored towards that content. If the podcast is the focus of Waypoint now, wouldn’t it better if the main page reflected that?


#20

Hey folks,

Just wanted to hop in here to talk about big picture site direction stuff, as I’ve been open about it on Twitter, and referenced stuff on the occasional pod or stream, but haven’t laid it out in any one big place. Partially, that’s because any time you say anything in a forum post or on-site article it feels like a Big Thing. But also, partially, it’s because it’s hard to “lay out” anything as such because so many things in the world of media writ large are still in flux!

SO, long story short: 2018 was a year of experimenting for Waypoint.

We came into the year knowing that we needed to shift away from the super heavy editorial output we had in 2017 and 2016 for a LOT of reasons. Here are just three:

  1. The amount of work necessary to keep that 30-50/week editorial output was through the roof. The editorial team was burning out, and we were being hypocritical about the very same labor issues we reproted on with passion.

  2. That high output actually meant that individual editors weren’t getting the editorial oversight and input they deserved, and often their work would be buried anyway, because there was SO MUCH of it to look through.

  3. Importantly, budgets change, both in short term and long term ways, and editorial teams need to adjust (also both in short and long term ways).

For all of those reasons, during a big meeting at the start of the year, we totally re-organized our output structure. That’s why the year opened with with some new video strategies (like Danielle’s great video reviews for games like God of War and Battletech) and a new, more focused editorial direction that allowed us to write more as staff members. Danielle also took over the Friday podcast around then, and Rob started hosting Waypoint Article Reads and 101s. Finally, we jumped headfirst into streaming more often, both as a great release valve and as a continuation of the Breakfast and Battlegrounds experiment.

A little later in the year, we started seriously investigating something we hear a LOT about from y’all: Doing a subscription service! Obviously this is something that had been on our minds since before we even launched the site–and it’s something that’s sincerely more complicated than it looks from the outside. But because we were looking into it and considering various timelines and strategies around it, we decided to really double down on the streaming to see what it would be like to go that route. That was the period during which we were literally streaming 5 days a week, sometimes multiple times a day.

It was really fun, and we did a LOT of stuff I’m proud of during this period, but it also had issues. A big one is that despite the shift away from publishing as many articles, we were all still working more than 40 hours a week pretty much every week. This was especially true when someone needed some time off: To meet the weekly requirements we’d set for article, podcast, and stream output when someone was out, meant that someone else added had to pick up the slack, and with a staff as small as ours (we’re half the size of GB, a 1/5th or 1/6th the size of Polygon or Kotaku) that really stings. With streaming, that was felt even harder than with a quick article or two, or a missing person on a podcast. So a week where someone was out sick suddenly ballooned everyone’s workload in a major way, which was unfair to everyone involved.

This also made us really confront the fact that success on a platform like twitch in a serious way means more than just doing a daily stream. It means doing 6-8 hours of streaming a day, 5-6 days a week. All to reach an audience that (devoted and lovely though it was) was much smaller than our podcast audience, even on a good day.

Which doesn’t even speak to maybe the most important thing: There are lots of amazing things happening on live streaming platforms, but a lot of what Wayppoint is can’t live there, especailly not with our current setup and staff size. Something like our week about guns and games can’t happen via livestream without a lot of prep and resources. And we weren’t (and aren’t) ready to drop that part of the site.

And it was while considering all of this (and looking at the very busy fall release schedule) that we decided to try one more experiment this year, and it’s the one we’re currently dead in the middle of: One all about podcasts. We’ve tried out new shows, new formats, and new cast pairings, and we’re going to keep experimenting throughout the rest of the year and into 2019! Unfortunately, that has meant a serious reduction in streaming, and that will (likely) continue for now.

The good news about this is that it’s incredibly rewarding as a creative team to be able to try new things and to have a ton of flexibility in our coverage style. For a quick peek behind the curtain: Since the bulk of our focus is on podcasts right now, that means that’s also where the bulk of our growth goals are. Which means that so long as we’re continuing to grow and thrive there, then it’s easy for me as EIC to do things like tell Patrick that, yes, it’s okay to spend a week figuring out how shotguns let Spelunky players re-write reality itself or to commission something like Jack de Quidt’s wonderful interview with Swedish sci-fi artist Simon Stalenhag instead of chasing hits with a bunch of little news articles. (And it means that, when we know we have a little extra time in any given week, we can also sneak in a stream here or there.)

Obviously the downside to all this experimentation is that (for both you and use) things have been unpredictable. And frankly, media in 2018, 2019, 20…forever is going to continue to be unpredictable. We live in a world where Facebook and Google control more than the majority of all advertising revenue, and where either can tinker with an algorithm and flat out destroy a site’s reach overnight. I wish I could say
“in 2019, we’re committing to one stream a week for sure!” But that would be a really, really optimistic lie.

What is an optimistic truth, though, is that communities like this are much more sustainable and solid than any media enterprise. Communities like this one are built by affinity, not profit margin. By shared interests and ethics, not by trending topics. So what I can promise in 2019 is that we’ll continue to do our best to foster this place, to work with the incredible mod team that makes this place possible, and to find ways like Savepoint to keep working with y’all to channel the power of this community to do good in the world.


Where them vids at
We Talk Old Games and New Recording Studios in Today's Waypoint Radio