Posted: 15 November 2007 at 12:56am
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I don't think it's that great an idea, to make IF a social networking site too.
Personally, with so many of them floating around(obviously Orkut, Facebook and Hi5 take the cake), another social networking site might put people off. Let me explain this.
How does one find IF? There are loads of ways. Through a friend, through a google search etc. Through my interaction with some members, I have noticed that a LOT of us reached here when we were trying to find videos of our favorite show. Ofcourse, I might be wrong, but it does look like the general trend. Not many people go looking for a 'forum' to discuss their favorite shows. But once you get here, and see what IF is all about, you get involved in the forum part as well.
So, I think the USP of IF is the indian tv shows part. If we lose that, we're like one of those hundreds of forums on the intrawebs. IF is already a social networking site, though not intentionally maybe. You meet people, you get to know people better, you make friends.
A lot of features that networking sites have can be incorporated, but I don't think that IF should be marketed as a social networking site. I am imagining a person reaching the home page and being put off by 'another of those orkut lookalikes'. I think we should incorporate the features, but in a way which is not very obvious. They are there to be discovered once you become a part of IF, not an offering to entice users into signing in. The TV shows part should always be the USP of IF. Well, it will always be that. But IF should always be marketed as that, IMO.
I mean, think about it. There are millions of things to be talked about. We have a Harry Potter forum. We can also have a LotR forum, or a LOST forum, or a HEROES forum, but that just isn't what IF is about. We might have something non TV show related because a lot of our members are interested in it, not because we want to 'expand'. That, in my opinion, doesn't make sense, at all.
That said, you guys are doing a wonderful job of running a forum THIS huge. Kudos to you for that.
One, honestly speaking, one thing which the IF forum lacks is quality. No offense meant, but I am talking about visuals here, pure eye candy.
For example, if I am a new member with the signatures option turned on, I'll get lost in a post trying to find the content with about 800px of signatures per member. I know that we can turn it off, but trust me, the human mind doesn't work like that. Today, a lot of other forums offer the same thing that IF does, on the surface atleast. If I see nothing but a big dump of graphics on a page, I might go to some other forum where I will find the content that I was looking for instead of going to my profile and changing the option. All it takes is two clicks. One to close this window, another to open a new one.
I know I have been raving about this for a LONG time, but can we not limit the size of signatures for every member? Say 300px in height maximum? We have a lot of mods for every forum within IF who can keep a check on this.
Also, better rule enforcement. For example, the no chatspeak rule is hardly followed. But here, it might be a decision between quality and quantity which lies in your hands ofcourse.
What I am trying to say is, IF definitely is a brilliant place, but it does not match up to international standards of quality. If that is not a goal, we are going fine. If it is, there are a lot of changes in queue before we think of expansion.