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Thread: Just suppose.

  1. #21
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    As for why I ended up on here in the first place, I am not quite sure. I started out on the MH site. My recollection is that I saw this site as a more knowledgeable version of that one, fitness wise. And I liked the current events section quite a bit.

  2. #22
    Administrator Jean-Paul's Avatar
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    The FB thing is only an option, not a requirement. SOmething obviously went wrong in the process with asg. What was your previous username asg? I'll go see if I can fix it.

  3. #23
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    Ha! I figured it out under my Connection settings...Disconnected my FB account from the JPfitness account. Seems like our lives are now just a spiderweb of linked accounts.

  4. #24
    Administrator Roland Denzel's Avatar
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    JP, I think you're right. I think the people left behind often feel like it's pointless to post or comment, because they feel that no one is reading.

  5. #25
    I'm actually posting this mainly to procrastinate on a workout I'm not sure what the answer is here. I can only give my perspective as a site member and as the moderator of a couple other online communities. TL;DR at the bottom.

    I came to JPF during the days when folks were jumping ship from MH to follow people like Lou Schuler, Mike Mejia, and a couple others. I think I might be considered an "elder" around these parts in some fashion Anyway, there seemed to be a good energy in the MH gym that was put off by the changes and watering-down of MH, not to mention some questionable forum moderating. I also think that a lot of the momentum that drove JPF was the coincidence of the Internet boom itself (I say this since this was a big part of my collegiate studies): the early 2000s was really when Internet access became truly widespread, broadband was blowing up, and fitness was opening up to a larger audience rather than being sequestered by old-school gym rats and fitness professionals who really only had influence among their clients and industry peers. The occasional book would come out, but no one really took notice. A few pros had websites, but again, these were rudimentary and only just becoming known to a wider audience.

    I think what JPF benefitted most from during the early days was a unique mix of folks coming from different backgrounds. We had MHers--mostly dudes young and old who knew and genuinely supported each other--a couple pros like JP, Schuler, Mejia, etc, who spent a LOT of time on here interacting with folks; and recruits from Lou's books that (I think?) piggybacked on some MH marketing but appealed to women as well as men. We had the occasional "one true god" type among the users, but the community policed itself well because we went to a lot of lengths to make sure people knew that this was a welcoming, inclusive, no-stupid-questions type of place.

    Part of the fall-off, IMHO, was something a lot of successful companies and websites experience: dilution. The user base grew a lot (which isn't a bad thing by itself), which semi sorta led to some clique-like perceptions (regardless of veracity), especially among newcomers who saw this established core of users who had met in person, shared history, had inside jokes, and so on, which can be intimidating for folks who look forward to the community that (though no fault of his own) Lou et al promoted in the NROL books. The folks that didn't turn away immediately may have latched on to and become a part of the family, but perhaps only on the periphery (I had those experiences myself at times--not complaining, just saying). Others may have heeding the calling of some of the more dogmatic figures that started to show up and split off into wherever they went, and as the new blood coagulated into stasis, gradually there weren't many people left to ask questions, meaning those with answers probably didn't feel as compelled to stick around and help out. All of this preceded the platform debacle (again IMO), so when that happened, it really was the last straw for a lot of folks, myself included to a large extent--I was already finding myself spending far less time here than before, lured away by one particular offshoot that is now experiencing the same stagnation in its user base and, consequently, somewhat regular wonders just what in the hell is happening to that place. Finally for this point, I really think the explosion in subforums here further divided attention and discouraged that one-big-happy-family melting pot of conversation we once had.

    I mod a city-based community on Reddit. I've only been doing it for a year now, but when I joined the mod team, the interactions on the forum were terse at best, hostile at worst. The forum was fresh off a major high-school-drama blow-up that involved real-life interactions (nothing dangerous or illegal, just... drama...), which left the forum to the scavengers and the drive-bys. The mod team was burned out and fairly inactive, watching only for the most egregious of personal attacks or illegal interactions. You could count on two hands the number of regularly active posters out of a subscription base of over 5,000. It was, in all respects, a cesspool. By happenstance, a post went up simply titled "This Sub Sucks," and off it went for nearly a week of griping and venting. It was the best thing that happened to that forum in a long time because it kind of cleared the air. Participation rules were created or resurrected and most importantly enforced to the letter, regular weekly topic threads were created and promoted, in-person meetups were (and are) struggling to gain a foothold but making progress, and abusive accounts were banned without pretense as they popped up. It was an ugly sledgehammer job, but here we are, a year later, and the attitude change is significant. People are supportive, they know what to expect when, they know that their suggestions and concerns will be taken seriously, and citing ignorance of policies doesn't absolve anyone of consequences (though they can be reversed after a conversation). People are starting to get together. The weekly swap meet is booming. I keep thinking that it's an uneasy peace, but I've stayed out of a lot of the day-to-day, so I ask some of the folks I talk to the most, and they say everything is good. I'm not taking credit, but I'm saying that it can be done.

    How does it get done here? There's no magic pill (*AHEM*) However, I do like the idea of sort of a "reunion" via email letter, at least as best as can be done, given the amount of time some folks have been away. Currently active members might reach out individually to people they knew on here but have walked away, just saying hey, we're getting the band back together, and people would like to hear from you, and you're always welcome back. Even if it's a one-time post or PM, at least it's something to give some closure to that particular user's activity, and it lets them know that we're still thinking about them. Let them know we care and miss them. That's an easy way to get some return participation with an already-established history that helps grow a community. As that goes, people can start making inquiries among real-life acquaintances about this place and bring them in one at a time--that worked for awhile at the other forum I mentioned earlier--but maybe this place has a quota or something that limits new users to a certain timeframe (10/week, 50/month, who knows) so that the growth is manageable and remains a personal experience rather than just a webform sign-up. The number of subforums has to be reduced, period--that alone can account for a lot of the fracturing. No one goes to the "New Users: Start Here!" posts or forums, so keeping the posting options limited forces that activity to show up where other people can see it. The annual summit was a great experience and really solidified my connection to the folks on this forum at that time, but though I've promised time and again, I just can't get out to another one (is the Mahlership still a thing? I don't remember the last one I contributed to), so perhaps smaller, regional, half-day events might be an option--I know these have been floated before, but folks will really need to take charge of these much like Nick did with the KC event. He may have some notes to share, and I've done enough event planning in my time that I'm happy to offer suggestions on logistics, reservations, and such. It just has to be affordable yet incentivized enough to get people to drive a few hours each way (or even take a quick flight). Tough road to sled, but doable.

    TL;DR There's no one right answer, but there has to be a plan, and it'll probably literally take some work from every regular poster still here. It might be worth exploring a committee approach rather than relying on the couple of people who are most active like JP and LD--er, Roland. This place doesn't have to be the only thing in a person's online lifestyle, but it does have to be a big part of it and needs to be sold as such to get folks back onboard, let alone newbies.

    I got nothing else. Guess I need to go get that workout in now.

    QUICK EDIT: Just for grins, I looked at the post counts for registered users. As little as I've posted here in recent years (I don't really count my training log posts, which I've suspended for now), I still have the 13th-most posts on this forum and am a couple thousand posts ahead of the next somewhat-active user. That's pretty telling.
    Last edited by Phaedrus49er; 04-07-2015 at 06:22 PM.

  6. #26
    Administrator Roland Denzel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus49er View Post
    TL;DR There's no one right answer, but there has to be a plan, and it'll probably literally take some work from every regular poster still here. It might be worth exploring a committee approach rather than relying on the couple of people who are most active like JP and LD--er, Roland. This place doesn't have to be the only thing in a person's online lifestyle, but it does have to be a big part of it and needs to be sold as such to get folks back onboard, let alone newbies.
    I've been wondering about the success and popularity of forums. CAN a forum succeed these days? Can this one be revitalized if we really try? Are there any fitness forums that are still big and active?

    I'm part of several forums, but most are pretty small and have a very specific niche.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Denzel View Post
    Are there any fitness forums that are still big and active?
    If Reddit is any indication, then yes. There are huge boards for general fitness, kettlebells, bodyweight fitness, running, powerlifting, and so on. I think the difference is that Reddit's population skews younger and more tech-savvy than a demographic that would buy a printed book and THEN go to a website. I'd be curious about the demographics here. Maybe this place just needs to cater to a specific age range and income bracket rather than trying to be all things fitness.

  8. #28
    I am thinking probably the best way to get people over here is to get some pros posting again. Thing is, most already have their own online presence elsewhere (their own blogs/websites, or other established fitness venues). But if we could get people like Bret Contreras, Alan Aragon et al to come back, the rest would follow suit.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Lou Schuler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stingo View Post
    I am thinking probably the best way to get people over here is to get some pros posting again. Thing is, most already have their own online presence elsewhere (their own blogs/websites, or other established fitness venues). But if we could get people like Bret Contreras, Alan Aragon et al to come back, the rest would follow suit.
    Much as I hate to go negative, there's no chance guys like Alan and Bret will hang out here. They have way too much going on. I think that's true of all the brand-name trainers and educators. When Alan wants to kick back and play around online, he'll go to Facebook, where he has 5k "friends" and is followed by another 20,000 people.

    My thought: If the community here is going to rise from its persistent vegetative state, it's going to have to be on its strength as a community. I don't think size should be the key metric. The goal should be a level of engagement that doesn't happen elsewhere.

    I still come here because there's a type of engagement I don't get anywhere else. For a while I was posting book reviews on Goodreads, but it felt like the literary equivalent of pissing into the ocean. I'd rather share my thoughts about a book or movie or TV show with 5 or 10 people here than with hundreds over there.

    Does that kind of interaction scale? I don't know. I doubt it. In my mind, FB is like a convention where I get a chance to check in with a lot of people, but not really engage with many on a more personal level. JPF is more like a dinner party, where I can have fewer but deeper conversations.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Schuler View Post
    In my mind, FB is like a convention where I get a chance to check in with a lot of people, but not really engage with many on a more personal level. JPF is more like a dinner party, where I can have fewer but deeper conversations.
    THIS.

    I think, sadly, you're right about most of the big name people. Alan doesn't even post a lot at BB.com anymore, and he had/has a huge audience there. They just get too busy... Bret has his own blog and articles, as do most of the other big names. I love that you (Lou) still hang out here a bit - in fact I name-dropped you as my friend this morning when encouraging a woman to lift heavy and start by reading NROLW

  11. #31
    Senior Member Lou Schuler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bytsi View Post
    I name-dropped you as my friend this morning when encouraging a woman to lift heavy and start by reading NROLW
    And she didn't drop the weight on your foot? I'm moving up in the world!

  12. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Schuler View Post
    And she didn't drop the weight on your foot? I'm moving up in the world!
    Well, to be fair, we weren't at a gym, so no weights for foot-maiming were handy

  13. #33
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    Hellllooooooo out thhheeeerrrrrrreeee.....

    Happy (year and a half) late birthday, Mahler.

    I had more than 10 posts. And, it's been more than 7 years, I think. But,I'll come back if it'll help. 😀

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