EJ – What could be done

As I detailed yesterday, I’m none too pleased with the current state of Elitist Jerks. It’s a suboptimal platform in which to share information with others, let alone attempt to actually carry on conversations about said information. Its harsh and often subjective rules stifle intelligent discussion as much as it promotes it. The format of the forums is simply awful. You can read the linked article for a more specific and complete list of my complaints.

I’m not arrogant nor ignorant: Of course it’s very easy to offer criticism without offering a solution, and hence this post. Let me first explain how I would change EJ if I could and,  since there’s actually nothing I can do about it as it’s not my site, what my other options are and how this could affect my role on EJ.

Were I in charge of EJ – or if, at the least, I had some say in it – how I would improve it?

  • Make the website an actual website. As it is now, you have forums, and that’s it – anything else there is a second thought which few people are even aware of. There’s a blogging section, but it’s hidden away, barely used, and the format of it is makes it little different than the actual forums themselves. There’s a wiki section, but it too is hidden away and barely used, on top of the information therein being incredibly outdated and largely misinformed, which makes it completely counterproductive to EJ’s goals.
    • Add to the front page. I certainly respect the fact that the EJ is an actual guild, and by all means plug the hell out of it, but it has obviously evolved past that as a site, and it wouldn’t hurt to also have perhaps the latest blue posts on the front page, or a link to new PTR notes or what have you. This alone would cut down on half the stupidity they spend their time moderating. They don’t have to go all out, just something to make people cognizant of the current state of the games. There wouldn’t be any more “Hey, [insert new change here], wow! Did anyone else see this?” posts and the like.
    • Either nurture the blogging and wiki sections of the site, or remove them.
      • For the blogging aspect, if you’re going to include it, at least advertise it – when you give someone an infraction for just personal ramblings and thoughts, direct them to that part of the site. Put featured blogs on the front page, or what have you. Put a link to the side/under a person’s post to their blog. Allow for some level of customization. So on. As it is, why would anyone want to bother using it when you can start a free one which is better in every way at wordpress or blogspot? If you’re not going to get rid of it, which is what I would personally do, then at least give it some thought.
      • For the wiki section of the site, clean it up. Get rid of the outdated articles, which is essentially all of them. Reach out to many of your current thread authors, inviting them to start new pieces there. Perhaps throw authors a little perk for contributing. Set some common standards and possibly a universal template for entries, so quality doesn’t vary so much from thread-to-thread/article-to-article. Integrate the section with the class threads by having the threads refer people to the articles. Put it in a more prominent spot on the website (not down at the bottom, right by the dung heap!). Unlike the blog aspect, the wiki part has a lot of potential, but they seem to not even care to try and use it.
  • Redo the organization of the forum. Add new sections (PTR/Expansion specific sub-board, for example) and move others around (everything is simply alphabetical at the moment, which isn’t the most logical progression).
  • Redo the organization of the class sub-boards.
    • Whatever else, scrap the absolutely ridiculous one-thread-per-spec rule. No good comes of it, but plenty of bad does.
  • Accept that not everything is numbers. You can have quality conversations and debate on issues where numbers aren’t possible.
  • Review the moderation process.
    • Primarily, consider adding a way to have an infraction reviewed by a moderator other than the one who gave it.

The fact is, EJ has hardly changed since its inception, and that’s a problem. Even if the creators were able to predict how widely popular the site would become, they apparantly were not able to foresee that along with that popularity would be the need for improvements. They quite obviously do not see anything wrong with the current state of the site, and don’t care to hear any feedback or explore the possibility of change.

For better or for worse – the latter, in my eyes – the site is how it is, and the current problems will just continue to fester and grow.

Tomorrow expect my thoughts on what I can do about the situation, and what I likely will do.

Until then.

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4 Responses to EJ – What could be done

  1. Rhaevos says:

    While I do agree that some change would be nice to EJ, it’s still currently the best place for talk about min/maxing that I can find. The moderation, though strict, is way better than what you would find on other sites such as the official forums, arenajunkies, and mmo-champion. For every bit of useful information on other sites with weak moderators, there are huge amounts of misinformation, flame wars, or just plain trolling. It’s so bad, that even if you find correct or useful information, that the average person cannot tell the difference between good and bad info.

    But there should be a balance.

    • Consider says:

      Oh, it is the best place of its kind, but that’s largely because it’s the only place. What alternatives are there? Aside from a couple class/role specific sites, there’s really none. Don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly nothing wrong with “niche” sites of those nature, but such sites don’t exist for every class/role, and even if they did, most people play multiple classes/roles and thus there’s a site which contains info on all will have a greater draw than others.

      That’s part of the reason why EJ is going south, if I were to guess. Having no real competition makes anyone a bit arrogant and rigid in their methods. Even if someone were to try and rival EJ, it would be a task of monumental difficulties, no matter how good the new competitor was. Just look at Microsoft and more specifically at IE. IE is probably the worst web browser by any metric, and yet it’s still the most popular by miles. Chrome/Firefox, despite being far superior, will take many more years – on top of the ones they’ve already had – until they can dethrone IE.

      Just because EJ doesn’t need to improve doesn’t mean that it couldn’t nor that it wouldn’t gain a ton by doing so.

  2. Valtiel says:

    The biggest problem is that I think the folks at EJ are probably oblivious at what is making the quality of the site go south.

    The DK forums are once again a good example: every 2 weeks you have someone to step in to tell us how horrible they are, and still they fail to realize that it’s because the class changes at every single patch and their redicolous forum format forbids anyone to keep updated information readable and accessible to players at all times.

    They should go and compare the Fury theorycraft thread and the DK theorycraft threads. The Fury thread has barely any work behind it (it’s fundamentally a freeform discussion) and is actually a lot more confusing than the DK one; it seems like the EJ website holders are simply concerned with moderating the website, more than pushing it in the original goal it was meant to pursue. What’s the point of an information website that makes information nigh impossible to access?

  3. Caeden says:

    Its ironic that the Death Knight threads get called out when the Fury thread is an absolute mess and I rarely see anything addressing that. Or the Prot Warrior thread? Its a rambling discussion of mechanics and wishes. The Prot Paladin thread hasn’t been updated since 3.0 and is woefully out of date to the point I’ve seen guildies copy the spec from there and look foolish (mostly on alts, but nonetheless). The three major death knight threads are some glowing examples of how you can run a thread. I imagine Suno’s will be even more in depth once the blood tree is full-time tanking.

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