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MC Community: Where is it going?

Discussion in 'Feedback' started by theprawncracker, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    I love this website. I love this forum. I love all of the people here. I'm not trying to start an argument. I'm not trying to be disrespectful. I just want to speak my mind.

    Lately I've noticed that the "fan community" aspect of MC has gone down the drain. We've gone from being a community to being a bunch of people who argue all the time. I don't really know what the cause of this is, but I think I might have an inkling...

    Not enough moderators work on the site, not enough people are allowed to contribute to the site, and the administrators hardly read or respond to people's questions or quandries.

    I have a few prime examples of this...
    A desperate cry for a lift on posting restrictions.
    A serious plea for that same lift.
    A member ASKING to contribute to the site.
    An innocent plea to not be censored.

    The only moderators that responded to these were The Count and Fozzie Bear. Phil, I understand that you're very busy, but when a thread is posted in the Feedback section of your forum, do you not think you should at least respond to the people's questions?

    ESPECIALLY when it's a question the other moderators can't answer?

    Again, I am NOT trying to cause trouble. You know me, Phil, I wouldn't do that on purpose. I just really want to see MC flourish. I'm merely a concerned citizen of this fan community and I want to help in whatever ways possible.

    My suggestions would be to first and foremost appoint more moderators to the site. May I be the first to recommend Jamie (aka frogboy4) for this position? He has a knowledgable grasp of all things Henson AND all things MC. But the appointments should not stop at Jamie, he's simply my suggestion. If WE can't handle the problems on the forum ourselves, shouldn't we have more esteemed individuals who can?

    Second would be to allow more people to contribute articles and reviews to the main site. MC STILL doesn't have a review of the Muppets' Grammy winning CD "A Green and Red Christmas" OR the "Fraggle Rockin'" set--two extremely awesome recent releases that didn't get a treatment. If more people were allowed to contribute to the site I think it would seem more approachable to casual fans wanting to help out. I, for one, would be thrilled to contribute an article or a review to MC, if ever given the opportunity.

    Third... give people a chance to support MC! Sure, buying some Muppet items from Amazon will send some funds back to the site... but honestly, why not give people a direct way to help fund their home away from home? I had this idea here and it was again ignored by most of the administrative staff. Why NOT have official MC merchandise for people to buy? What harm could it possibly do? I would buy everything the site offered--one, to display my fandom, and two to support my favorite website on the internet!

    I understand that to some I may just seem like a crazy teenager who's only goal on this site is to post fan-fiction and derail the topics of threads and send them on muffining rampages... but I'm a Muppet fan first, a Muppet Central fan second, and a crazy teenager who's goal on this site is to post fan-fiction and derail the topics of threads and send them on muffining rampages last (well... technically I'm a tuna fish last, but let's not get into math).

    Again, I just want to help. That's all I want to do, and I'm pretty sure that's all most of us here want to do too. So c'mon Phil, give us a chance. :smirk:
     
  2. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    *pounds heart and signs peace* Powerful words man.
     
  3. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    I SECOND THAT!

    MC is all about the FUN, right? Or at least, MOSTLY about the fun. I do believe that the things Prawnie's suggesting here-- and a little ACKNOWLEDGEMENT from the higher-ups-- (Kev, Ed, you know we love you... But I mean a little higher...) would ultimately help improve the fun-level. It just feels better to post in a place where we know we're heard... It makes us feel more important. Just imagine how many people's self-esteem you could raise!
     
  4. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    Excellent post, Prawnie.

    It's obvious that those of us who have stuck around really and truly care about the Muppet Central community. It may seem like complaining (to the two people who always have to handle these situations), but I think it's evidence that we want to be active, contributing members to something that we really care about.

    I'm a strong advocate of more mods... Having more that two people handle problem situations eliminates any bias, since they would be handled by different people. It would also be easier to consult other mods and come to a general consensus of what the best idea for the greater good of the forum would be. A stronger team of mods also shows a united front and that there is indeed a TEAM of people who care and want to give back to the forum!

    As for contributions, it's obvious that we have many talented writers on the forum, judging by the dozens of fanfictions. Who better to write reviews than our budding muppet writers? There are a number of people who would be fantastic at this (theprawncracker included, in my humble opinion) and I think it would be fair and good to give a few of them the opportunity to contribute.

    The donating idea... another site I was on gave the forum members incentives for donating money (ie. larger avatars). Maybe if we set up a donation system to help Phil out, we could give a small reward to each person who donates, like a custom member rank. ((Since the topic of custom member ranks has been professionally brought up by numerous people at least 4 times, I think this would be an appropriate reward))

    I hope that you don't think this is a personal thing towards you, Phil. It IS your site, you pay the bills and we're obviously grateful! But you shouldn't have to be relegated to just be the webmaster, and maybe if some of the load was shared, this place could really come alive again.
     
  5. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    Anytime, Prawnie... you're not the only one who cares, you know! And if we all band together and show how serious and earnest we are about this, I think it will make a difference.
     
  6. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    You know, I didn't want to say anything PUBLICALLY about this, a couple of people already know my feelings about this, but yeah, MC just doesn't have that same sparkle anymore.

    It seems to that most people... well not most people, a few in particular, never really post actual, meaningful posts anymore; but rather, they just reply to every thread they can for the sake of posting SOMETHING (which is usually a simple "Yeah" or "I agree" or "Same here", etc).

    Then there's all these cliques! You got cliques for people who write fanfics, you got cliques for people who do that whole Muppet Dorms thing; MC's too good to have cliques, this isn't middle or high school or anything, this is a COMMUNITY! There are no cliques in a community!

    Then of course, there's the muffin OVERLOAD lately! All of those "I Love" threads suddenly grew more menacing than the real "I Love" mini-series on VH1; then of course, there's the excessive muffining in my retrospective thread, that Count never closed after I had asked him to, and other people began asking him to as well, FINALLY I had to go with the whole "if you can't beat them, join them", so now, the thread's pretty much ruined.

    On the subject of appointing more moderators, if the floor is open for nominations, I nominate Beauregard! If you ask me, he certainly deserves to be a moderator around here, I do believe he would do an excellent job!
     
  7. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    You're welcome, and-- I second that! (Again. What can I say-- I'm Half Prawnie. I'm bound to agree with him at least half the time. :p) So many posts around here lately have felt so empty, with very little (if anything) to say. Now, sure, just about every member is bound to make a relatively pointless post once in a while... But most pointless posts should at least be fun, and I feel like I've seen more pointless... pointlessness, than pointless fun. Just a random observation.

    So Prawnie, if you're part tuna, and I'm half you... Does that make me half-part tuna? Or part-half tuna? Or-- a fish egg? ...Or, since you are also half me... Maybe I'm part fourna?
     
  8. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Ugh, I know what ya mean. It seems those posts have been going around like the plague lately.

    If you don't mind my saying so, Snowthy m'friend, I think that thread speaks to your five years here even MORE now that it's been muffined. After all, how many years in a row did you win Top Muffiner in the MC Awards? ;)

    Whatever you is, it's confusing.
     
  9. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    EXACTLY! Prawnmeister, you've hit the nail on the head! Those posts ARE "The Great MC Plague of '08"!
     
  10. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Too true, too true! Just like we had all of those locusts in '07... *shudders*

    Wait... wrong story. :crazy:

    But seriously... I really don't know what, if anything, can be done about those posts... but I wish something could be.
     
  11. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    Great point! The Rizzo in my signature started off as my little way of protesting our lack of him in our smilies. I've never removed it because I had it there for YEARS before we actually got the smilie, so my signature would feel bare without it. And everyone knows how grateful we are to Jamie for making all of our new smilies! But it's sort of sad how it took so many years to be noticed.
     
  12. Bill Bubble Guy

    Bill Bubble Guy Active Member

    I must agree with this threads concerns with all my heart. It's tragic to see the community spirit tarnished in so many ways and the bottom line is yes, we do need more active moderators to help control things.

    Let me give one example. I was very saddened and depressed a little while ago over what happened with a thread that a member whose name I won't mention made asking for our opinions as to whether she should stay or go. Now I am not criticizing anybody for what he or she said in that thread so please do not carry on any talk about this incident after my post. But I was heartbroken because I felt that this person really wanted to consider staying deep down but wanted kind words of assurance that she was appreciated and valued by the forum. Maybe she found it hard to relate to us for some reason and I tried for my part to be encouraging to her. But things got terribly out of hand and no moderator ever posted in it to try to calm us down and see if this member could be made to feel happy and welcome. :cry:
    For the record I e-mail her to chat with and she told me she requested to be banned because she didn't want to start any more friction with people here. So that makes me feel a little better.

    But I say we need mods most urgently in such conflicts like that. If another thread becomes argumentative or upsetting, how many other members will be driven away from our community? Please listen to what we say Phil. We must have more control and compassion on these boards. :concern:
     
  13. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    A few respectful thoughts.

    I am a little reluctant to complain due to my great absence from Muppet Central 2004-2006. A lot more could be done with the articles but I kind of think that’s the deal with our apparent Muppet Newsflash association. That site does such a commendable job! I do think MC could do better with the inclusion of more articles and especially reviews! However, take into account that reviews still need to be spellchecked by staff members. We don’t get paid. This is a labor of love. Phillip is one busy guy that has managed to keep this site going for over a decade! I did just edit a few more graphics for Phillip's MC radio update and hope to someday have the time to add to the nearly 50 Muppet Central menu selections.

    I used to be a moderator and that fell away during my absence. It was always more of an honorary title after rebranding Muppet Central and becoming the resident graphics and Flash designer in 2002. I will admit that moderating is a tough gig. There are many disgruntled people in the world and most of them post on forums. I had a couple of horrifying episodes with such forum members in the past and am not looking to resume that position. I can be a little prickly at times myself, yet I still try to make it known how everybody’s input should be valued at Muppet Central (not just from the people with whom I agree). Our mods do a great job and don't get enough credit for it. I do feel they could use some help - and a well-deserved break!

    :search: My thoughts on improvements include the addition of another moderator, to loosen up some of the restrictions that have received complaints and issue a few friendly private warnings to current forum post offenders. We should get some of the more creative members to donate artwork for the empty cards section. We should also gather a small group of Muppet Central critics and authors that are skilled in writing and editing their own pieces and can juggle the amount of content (while still taking independent forum member article submissions). Open a Muppet Central products section at Café Press where members could purchase mugs, shirts and caps with the Muppet Central logo on it.

    All of these should be relatively easy to do, but Phillip and the Muppet Central staff is not going to take just anybody. These people have to show restraint, skill and commitment – not just Muppet love (we’ve all got that here). Muppet Central is a wonderful place that takes a lot more maintenance than most people realize. It takes all of us to make it really shine and I believe that has been the little something missing for a while. I think with some patience and a plan we can get that back! :attitude:

    Just my thoughts. I’m a mere frogboy. What do I know? :o
     
  14. Yva Minstrel

    Yva Minstrel New Member

    As a recent new member to this forum, but being someone who has a good general idea of how a forum is run, I'd like to toss my two cents into the mixture here.

    Perhaps anything I have to say may not mean too terribly much to the powers that be simply because of my relative newness here. I will say that even as a newer person to this forum, I have seriously tried to keep my grievances to myself or limit them to PMs. If you are reading this, then please understand that I cannot compare things to the way they were once, as I am only here since the end of August.

    My big grievance is the fact that while there are rules to this forum, people seem to have decided to disregard them entirely. I have actually read them and consulted them several times since my arrival here as I was concerned that I might have unintentionally broken them without actually realizing it.

    There is a rule here that clearly states: 'Don't hijack threads'. Now, I do not support banning anyone for excessive posting, I do think that things here have gone out of control with excessiveness. More than half of the threads I actively read here have turned into single sentence dialogues between Senior Members, thus making me feel rather small in the MC fray. Such dialogues are generally taken to PMs and not posted publicly. I'm not naming names here, and I will not do so, but when a small handful of people start taking over every last thread in the forum, then that takes away the fun of posting and it can actually deter new people from wanting to sign up and take part because it reads 'clique' all over it.

    The point is, if the Administrators have set up certain rules to this site about the taking over of threads, then I think out of respect to one's fellow board inhabitant that these rules should be heeded. One doesn't always need a moderator coming in behind a member and saying 'stop that'. We should have enough discipline to know when enough is enough. I don't mean moderate ourselves, as I do support the appointment of new moderators, but I think that we should all try and post within the confines of the rules that Phil set up when he started this forum. That means that we should respect each other.

    I have to say that I really liked what someone said about this being a community. That was what made me decide to join up last month. I read through a couple of the threads and liked the general niceness of this place and signed up. But, one thing is clear, if the Muppets taught us anything, it was about accepting each other and not pushing our lifestyles, religious affiliations, political agendas etcetera onto one other. Most of the arguments I have seen here have been centered on those particular subjects, and that's why a lot of places actually have rules against 'political discussions' or 'religious preaching'.

    I will now step down off my soapbox and go have some breakfast. Contrary to my griping, I do hope that everyone reading has a good day.

    ~Yva
     
  15. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    While many different issues have been brought up here, rest assured that each is being read and considered.

    A few things I will comment on specifically. We always need people to help contribute to the site. We have encouraged this from day one and there are some plans being developed to make this process easier and more streamlined. Yes, there was a thread recently where someone asked for info on contributing to the site. The Count responded like I would have, encouraging them to send in an article for submission. In this case and others, if the moderators have responded to an issue in a similar fashion as I would then there is no need for me to repeat what they’ve already said. I trust them and they do a great job.

    The issue of selling merchandise with the “Muppet Central” name has been brought up before many times. Up until this point, we haven’t done it since we don’t own the rights to the name “Muppet”. Henson and now Disney have approved of the name on the site itself and support us, but on resale products it could become more of a gray area.

    All of these comments are good because it shows that you all care about the site as much as we do. We all are a part of Muppet Central and we all share in the responsibility to make it a great place to be.
     
  16. redBoobergurl

    redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    Boy, I didn't sign on last night and look what I missed!

    Thank you Prawnie for writing such an insightful post and for starting some great conversation. I am so excited to see so many postive responses and posts that are showing folks are taking the time to think about what they are writing and sharing in regards to some of these issues. It makes me happy to see that MC is still extremely important to so many people and hopefully if we all stay positive I think some good things can happen and the "spark" will come back to MC!
     
  17. Redsonga

    Redsonga Active Member

    Hmmm..my tiny two cents from being a part of many other forum online for many years is that for better or for worst there are always 'in' groups in forums that are hard for newcomers to get into by nature. This goes doubley for something like the dorms, which looks to me to be a classic case of an RPing game that has been going on for years, with some inactive players that will never be replaced, and the ones that are active having years and years of background to their characters. It is very very hard for a newcomer to get into something like that without months and months of research...
     
  18. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    The Dorms are a little tougher to get into, true. It has been going on for years... but it more-or-less starts over once a year. At the moment, Dorms are technically closed for that starting-over period... Ed (The Count) is in charge of them, so I can't really say when they'll officially re-open, but in the meantime dorm-like activity has been relocated to the "Sorry, We're Closed" thread. So... Yes, Dorms are kind of confusing and overwhelming for newbies... But they can typically get in with a simple PM or two to Ed, or (more commonly, really;)) a post in the thread saying "Can I join, too?" followed by a few PMs with Ed.

    But outside of Dorms, as far as I know, we're really a pretty open bunch. When we muffin a thread, start throwing around penguins and tying each other up and so on and so forth, it may start as two Senior Members having all the fun, but we love it when more people-- no matter how long they've been a member or how many posts they have-- start joining in. And yes, we are taking a thread off-topic, which is technically against the rules... (By the way, Yva, I must say I admire the fact that you've refered back to the rules multiple times... I don't think I've looked at them at all since the day I joined.) But it's also-- as far as I know-- part of the spirit of MC. Pure insanity. I realize it's not always appropriate, of course...

    But a lot of what's been happening lately is that, instead of the random insanity we hold so dear, threads have been taken off-topic for rather pointless conversation. I admit that I have recently contributed to that myself... and that just isn't nearly as fun for anyone. Earlier in the thread I tried to make a distinction between "pointless pointlessness" and "pointless fun." Part of the difference is that "pointless pointlessness" is redundant and "pointless fun" is an oxy-moron... but "pointless fun" is what I meant when I mentioned part of the spirit of MC.

    The best example of it-- or maybe, just my favorite-- happened before I joined. Someone started a thread asking where the real Muppet puppets were kept, and after some amount of discussion, the topic somehow shifted to a few members plotting to break into where the Muppets were kept... Which naturally led to (the cyber-space version of) the break-in, stealing a bunch of Muppets and the Electric Mayhem bus... kidnapping a few Muppeteers... It just sort of kept growing, it was completely random, and it was so much fun that it was half the reason I joined Muppet Central to begin with. I think that particular instance had pretty much died out by the time I joined, but you bet your biscuits the next time we hijacked the EM bus, I was on it... and spending a lot of time stuck underneath one of the seats for some reason I can't remember now.

    That sort of thing is "pointless fun." That's what muffining should really be. But unfortunately, a lot of the "muffining" I've seen lately isn't that at all, and is more frustrating than fun. A good muffin should be just as entertaining to the observers as it is to the participants. And the last thing we want to do is exclude people from it; the more the merrier, after all... Though in our case, perhaps "The more the crazier" would be more apt. :zany:
     
  19. Redsonga

    Redsonga Active Member

    I think that some things are called spamming when they are'nt really..I mean, it seems that if a lot of people join in and think that something is just for fun it is looked at as okay but if it is just a couple people saying something that is suppose to be serious but no one else 'gets' it is looked at as spamming ;.;. I really, IMHO, don't think that it is very fair in the long run, if serious posts that no one else gets are seen as spamming then surely spam about throwing random muppets should be seen in the same light, no matter how muppety it is, as not everyone thinks they are funny or add anything...At least, in normal topics I mean, not topics just made for fun :)...
     
  20. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    My my my, Well, well, well, now this is interesting...

    I think an issue that has been touched upon but not specifically mentioned is that often the "Off-topic" discussions happening at the moment are not what we term as "Muffining" but rather they are 'specialist subject' discussions. Without meaning to throw names about it's hard to explain what I mean, but for example, when a thread about an upcoming event or special then turns into a "specialist" discussion about some 80's cartoon series -- anyone who hasn't seen that cartoon series cannot join the conversation, and may feel they can't attempt to get back onto the original topic.

    Which I concider widely (wildly?) different to a conversation about the Fraggle Rock movie evolving into a Fraggle Rock Movie Takeover...in which members leap into the Electric Mayhem Bus and kidnap the director -- it's imagination and sillyness, anyone can join with. And when more news on the subject appears, the topic can be steered back to the discussion without interupting a 'specialist subject' discussion.

    I realise that as a community, we love puppetry and cartooning and the arts in general, and we will embrace the 80's and the classics...but when almost *all* the threads I try to contribute to, begin shifting into specialist discussons about Doug (for example) which many of us may not have seen, suddenly I find I have nothing to talk about anywhere.

    Am I alone in those thoughts?
     


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