Another year has passed at TC, and this birthday post comes directly above last year's post. The forum has been the center of this site's activity for years, but our problem has always been that without a more active main site, attracting new members is a slow process.
For the last couple of weeks I've been trying to come up with a new project for the site to mark this anniversary, but didn't come up with much. So here at the last minute I sat down to write a brief blurb to mark the day, along with the SM64 image from Narudog and a simple birthday banner I pieced together.
Then, as I struggled with what to say, I had what may turn out to be an interesting idea. I'm a huge fan of the Stack Exchange network of sites. For anyone unfamiliar, the general format is that one person asks a question, and then others compete to provide the best answer. The best questions get many good answers from different perspectives. From a promotional perspective, the question format means that these sites do very well in search results. Anyone who searches on programming problems knows how dominant StackOverflow has become in that area, for good reason.
My idea is to do something similar on a much smaller scale:
* On the first of every month we'd create a new topic to determine the question of the month.
* After three suggestions that meet the criteria are posted, they would be added to a poll attached to the topic. Voting continues until the 10th of the month. If there is only one suggestion by the 10th, it is the winner. If there is only two by the 10th, the first wins. If there is none, we take the month off and try again at the start of the next month.
* On or about the 10th the question is published on the homepage, and a new topic is created to collect answers and discussion surrounding the answers. Each reply to the topic should either be an answer or a comment on an answer. Users will be encouraged to edit their original answers in response to comments in addition to directly responding to those comments.
* On or about the last day of the month, the author of the question determines to #1 answer, and the topic as a whole is compiled into a nicely formatted page and added to a new section of the main site.
* The process repeats.
Let me be the first to admit that in recent years we haven't have a very good track record on new projects. It's much easier to start than to follow through with a large project. I know most of us don't have the kind of free time we used to.
I've thought through this idea with that in mind. It's not overly ambitious. It doesn't depend on user submissions. It only aims to discuss one topic a month. No particular person needs to be overly dedicated to getting it done each month. It has a built in mechanism for restarting again after a complete collapse of effort.
If successful this project would give some life to the main site, attract new visitors, and give new visitors a non-gimmicky incentive to join the forum. It will grow slowly, but just think about the content we'll eventually build up if we manage to keep it going. Thoughts?