If I Were King of Sports Card Forum…
By Kevin Ransom aka Spoodini
I believe that many people are often afraid to answer these tough questions on what they would do if they were in charge of www.sportscardforum.com and would shy away from them. I, on the other hand, am not afraid because I know first-hand how the staff members on Sports Card Forum work and believe that my opinions may speak for others on the website. I would like to start by saying that if you agree or disagree with these opinions, please let that be known by posting in the comments section of this blog or on the thread that SCF will create for this article. The more feedback the site receives, the better it will become.
First, I want to say that I mean no disrespect towards anyone on the website, its owner, nor its staff members. I’ve been a member and staff member myself and understand a lot of things go on behind the scenes that regular members like myself do not see. But from a member’s perspective who wants to see things better, I’m going to criticize what I do see and offer suggestions for improvement. I know people will take things personally so I will avoid naming names. This article choice was chosen for a reason, and that is to help SCF grow and improve upon itself. With that comes the opportunity for SCF to self-reflect and look towards a brighter future.
Let’s start with some little things that can be quickly and easily improved. The first thing I notice when coming onto the website is the tabs for SCF News and product schedules. While the news has been updated frequently as of late, I would like to see the product schedules updated accordingly. Currently, as of April 10, 2011, these schedules have not been updated since November 2010. There have been countless products released since then. It would be beneficial to SCF to keep the members looking at the website for this information instead of browsing the web and other websites to find this information. The longer people stay on the website, the more ads they see, the more revenue that comes in that can improve the website. Moving on, there is a forum for charity auctions right at the top of the page and there hasn’t been an auction since July of 2010. With the flurry of natural disasters recently, this forum just hasn’t been used. If shown near the top it’s going to be viewed quite a bit. If you want to show that you care for charities and have a specialized forum set up, use it. If I were to come to the site and see this forum and then see it hasn’t been used, I would wonder why. I haven’t seen a thread to take donations to be auctioned off for the floods in Australia, earthquake and tsunami in Japan, or the member emergency fund (if that is still active). Also at the top is our Twitter feed, it just doesn’t get used as much as it should. The SCF Facebook is solid, but the Twitter feed is just as important as Twitter has grown. I think everything posted on the Facebook should be posted on the Twitter and even more considering Twitter is just an “update status” site. The use of hashtags and retweets could help grow the site. Lastly, on simple things, I miss seeing and knowing who is online at any given time. I understand the strain on the server but if there is any way that this can return I know it would make a lot of people happy. Finally, I believe SCF needs to make their official reviews more visible. Add them to the tabs at the front of the page or make it its own forum near the top by the Announcements page. I’m sure the sponsors would absolutely love that and might send SCF some more stuff with more responses to their product!
Now I would like to discuss something that may cause people to hate me or try and get me banned from the website. I want to discuss the different sports areas and what I see that needs to be improved. First, I will start with the Football area. From a member perspective, I believe the football area to be the best run of all the areas. The activity in all the areas is great and the staff members keep things entertaining with constant group breaks and contests. I know having the most popular sport on the website may be tough for these staffers, but I believe they handle their workload well as well as keeping members engaged. The only suggestion I have is to keep doing whatever you are doing and keep the members entertained during the lockout. I think more college football chat will keep things active until the NFL sorts out its issues.
I’d like to move down to what I believe to be a close second, the hockey forums. Despite being the forgotten sport in America and on the website, this area is booming with activity with members from around the world. Their numbers are small, but their activity is top notch as these collectors are some of the most die-hard on the site. I would put them in the same league as the racing collectors. I don’t frequent the racing forum frequently but I know they are obsessed with racing even though the number of collectors there is low as well. The only recommendation I would make for each of these areas is just to do their best to find more collectors. Find ways to promote the site and your areas specifically through contests, promotions, anything to get more people to join and check the site out. Maybe even crossover our current members to start collecting your sport. Your numbers will grow and make SCF as a whole a better place.
Moving on to basketball I would like to see more discussions in the card chat and sports chat area. The idea of posting the nationally televised games was a good one, but what about other NBA news? What’s the injury status of Tim Duncan as reported by ESPN? Who is jockeying for playoff positioning? What product is coming out soon and opinions? The number of collectors and activity is there, I just get bored while browsing the basketball forums. Try starting some group breaks and get some more interest in the cards coming out.
Which leads me to the area that bores me the most and is what I primarily collect, baseball. I feel like baseball should be up there with football. The activity is there, there is no doubt about that. There are a ton of collectors, but it’s lacking excitement. It’s the same contests, never any group breaks, it seems like the same things day after day. I have seen some good discussion posts from members though but I’d like to see baseball use some of my same suggestions for basketball. Baseball used to be number one on SCF in terms of threads and posts. I know football is booming in popularity but with all the hot rookies in baseball and all the hot topics over the past couple seasons I don’t see how it has fallen that far behind. They use the term potential when discussing rookies. Baseball has the potential of someone like Mike Stanton of the Florida Marlins. But right now it’s pitching like an under performing Red Sox rotation.
The one thing I recommend to every one of the areas and I would implement again in a heartbeat is official sport trading nights. We have a chat room and a chat system that never gets used. Start doing your group breaks live on those chat nights on camera, you don’t have to give out prizes if you can keep everyone entertained just for hanging out in the chat room. Hold live contests on nationally televised events for low end cards. There is so much you can do with the chat rooms that it is probably the coolest and most under-utilized part of the website.
I hate to call other areas “secondary” but I think they are doing a good job for what they do. The Other Sports area is getting huge with the increasing popularity of MMA and it seems Wrestling is gaining steam again. I think they would benefit from adding another mod or two that knows the sports and the cards. Maybe even move them to the front page or make their links clickable in the description of the other sports forum. These forums have more posts and threads then Vintage Trading and the site layout should reflect that.
Finally, I would like to end with how I would improve new members and reading the rules. There are a ton of rules, some people like that and some people don’t. It’s needed when people start complaining that there is nothing against doing something in the rules or someone who thinks they can do anything or say anything they want if it’s not in the rules. However, new members who are polite and want to get started trading right away are probably put off by reading everything and I would estimate 90% don’t read the rules before joining or after joining. I mean, who reads a Terms of Service agreement in full when they join a website? With that I recommend the New Member Test. Pass the test and something is gained. Card cash, a free pass when breaking a small rule, something to urge the members to read the rules and that they understand them. This could be given by someone on the New Member Team to those who were interested in winning something for passing the test. It would make reading the rules less of a chore and increase the number of members who read the rules when they join the website. If more members read the rules and understood them, the less work the moderators would have enforcing them. I know you can’t keep track of all new members or get them all to message you so if it’s possible I’d also make someone joining scroll through the rules and click “accept”. If this can be added, I also believe that it will be beneficial as people will not have an excuse that they “didn’t know”.
In all, I love SCF, I really do. However, with that love comes my desire for the site to improve on the things I find to be flawed but easily fixed with some work by both the members and the staff. The members can learn to play and trade together while following the laws of the land so the staff can keep everyone entertained and having fun. The staff can work together to make it more exciting and fun for the members. If everyone worked together things could only go up from here and the sky is the limit for the best sports card site on the web. I just hope this opinion article helps open up some eyes on both sides as to what they would do to improve the site and I challenge everyone to voice their opinion on what they would do to make SCF a better place online to trade.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Pheebs888 on May 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm, and is filed under Articles Contest, Contest Articles, Contest Entries, Sports Card Forum. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.|