I’ve been thinking about this website. I’m not gonna spill all my thoughts right now; but as I consider what I want Skirmish Frogs to be, and to be known for, and reflect in its experience for members, I was compelled to make a couple changes. Although I would welcome feedback on these ideas, they certainly reflect my vision for this place.
Honestly, too, they’re not a huge deal. I don’t want to take anything here too seriously, but I figure there’s a handful of frogs who would appreciate the heads-up.
Before, anyone visiting this website could leave a comment. Now, only SkirmishFrogs members can leave comments.
I understand the appeal of comments. I’m not one of those people who thinks “no webpage should have comments, they’re awful.” However… I really like the idea of the pond being a tight-knit community. I like the idea of the same people participating long-term here.
This may seem like an odd shift for a site that was already getting very few comments, but I also feel good about it because we weren’t getting a ton of “strangers” commenting here anyway. The fact is, I’d rather just fold in new members (even if they just want to join so they can comment on stuff) and have a broader base there than try to maintain a select few contributors speaking to an anonymous audience out there.
This is an area where my thinking has shifted, over the years in my various experiences. I am simply no longer trying to create The Next Big Gaming Website. I just… want to create One Cool Website That Seems To Appeal To Some People.
Skirmish Frogs has always kinda had an identity as a neat little hangout for a select group of retro gamer writers. I like that. I like the simple sense of community this place has, at its best. I think this change will enhance that direction.
Besides: On the modern web, articles get shared on social media platforms and discussion often happens there anyway. It’s not like people can’t still discuss features on Twitter and Facebook and Instasnapachatagram if they still want to. Go for it.
No More FrogPoints
So, uh, when SkirmishFrogs.com launched, I had a WordPress add-on with custom “ranks” assigned to people depending on how many “FrogPoints” they had, along with assigned amounts of FrogPoints you could earn for posting new posts and leaving comments.
It was silly. And I like silly! I’m often a fan of silly. But I think it emphasized competition more than community, which isn’t really what I want. At best, perhaps it served its purpose and helped motivate the initial surge of content that caught enough attention to gather enough of a member drive to keep this place worthwhile.
On the other hand, it was kinda awkward to see the occasional new frog quickly shoot up the rankings only to leave the site entirely, and I’m pretty sure by now everyone forgot about the leaderboard anyway (and that, of all things, would not be what I want to start promoting or re-promoting around here, we’ll talk about the Calendar someday).
Maybe a couple people will be bummed to see it go, but nobody is going to truly to miss it. So, it’s gone! One less thing.
While I don’t have any major changes planned for this place, it’s definitely on my mind. And while I still really like the basic idea of a self-sufficient retro gaming website that keeps itself going without any work from me whatsoever, I do plan on participating here and tweaking a couple more things and laboring behind the scenes to solidify the niche that Skirmish Frogs serves.
I like the ol’ pond. It’ll stick around, no worries. I look forward to more people discovering what a cool spot this can be.