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      Please help us for July   06/30/2017

      This month we're hoping for a little bit of a boost this month or next, in addition to covering the regular bills, we could benefit from some hardware upgrades. STEX Collector's Set gifts can now be sent to you via digital download as well as regular mail if you wish! Every donation dollar goes toward keeping Simtropolis online and humming along. Your contribution counts! Hardware Upgrades As our website community software improves with more and more features, and as we bolt on additional features such as chat, the increased load to handle all these new toys is taking the server a bit to task. You may have noticed that we'd been forced to temporarily disable the chat as we worked out allocating resources for more optimal performance. Following this, we've applied a number of 'soft' changes such as caching options and experimented with server configurations (nginx as proxy, for example), so the hardware aspect is also an area we'd like to focus on. The last time we upgraded hardware was back in 2012, prior to the release of SC13. Your contribution means a lot! Your donation will go toward helping us to 1.) migrate to a newer server or 2.) at least get some ram/cpu/storage updates and any other infrastructure hardware or services. Donate and Get a Gift or Donate Any Amount Thanks so much! - Dirktator & The Admins
Dirktator

The future of "Chat"...

The future of Chat...   97 members have voted

This poll is closed for new votes
  1. 1. Should we continue to have a "Chat" feature?

    • Yes
      45
    • No
      15
    • Indifferent
      29

Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

58 posts in this topic

Effective May 1, 2017, our Chat feature, currently powered by IP.Board (InvisionPower), will end.

IPB have decided that they will no longer provide Chat as part of the community software.

So, my question to the community is: Do you want to keep some type of Chat system on the site?

There are chat systems out there that do support IP.Board, and these will be the systems that we will consider closely. Naturally, these also come with a cost, so if we do want to have a chat system, the caveat is that we will need your help to raise some additional funds to purchase a new chat system (usually one-time cost). 

Please feel free to weigh in, share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions or recommendations!

Please note that this poll is for us to get a sense of the community's sentiment on the issue, and is not a "referendum", the Admins will have a final decision on the matter, taking into consideration your feedback. Thanks!

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I think absolutely not, the notification system allows near instant replies via forums if people are browsing the site at the time they are conversing. If people are keen on live chat then there are no shortage of ways to do this off site.

Whilst i admit i am by no means a regular 'chat' user, i have rarely seen more than a handful of people using the feature, surely a tiny fraction of those using the site in total?

huzman and Silur like this

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I'd say set up a Simtropolis Discord server to replace the chat. It costs absolutely nothing, and is ridiculously easy to do. It's also possible to have a widget on the site showing online users.

MissVanleider, IDS2, huzman and 1 other like this

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Simtropolis is a very modern website, but that does not mean that we should all take everything and everywhere ... If some tools are for 5 persons and it is not necessary 99% to the members - we have to think about it !

How many people use CHAT, who needs it, how much you have to pay. Should pay for it Simtropolis?

Reputation Community.Simtropolis.com for Search Engines looks very fine and the lack of a Chat she was not hurt in the future.

huzman and MissVanleider like this

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I never used the chat, so maybe I shouldn't have an opinion on it. But I agree with @Silur- why spent money and volunteer work on something 'nice to have' today if you may need both tomorrow to keep up running something essential for the site?

On the other hand - most members seem to be only interested in downloading from the STEX and in no social activities (no matter on which part of the site), so one could suspend all social activities and just offer download content. But without social offers like the forums and the cj you won't have a community and a community can do things - and have a political force - a single user can't do or have. So you have to nurse a community if you want to have it strong.

So maybe the question is: suspending the chat would this harm the possibilities to form 'community' or public opinion?

I don't think so. But I can't judge.

Silur, huzman and MissVanleider like this

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I agree 100% with @Fantozzi that 'community' is important. 'Community' is  obviously more than just owning a simtropolis account for gaining access to the STEX.

If there is data that the chat promotes community engagement then that might change my opinion, but my gut reaction is to agree that surely an alternative such as @Jolteon suggestion could be a better use of resource.

huzman likes this

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I'm interested in Simtropolis all the news about SC4, BATs, Lot''s, CJ's, ideas, works and everything else ... but not the negotiations between respectable people ... Sorry...

Please take into consideration that I never paid for Simtropolis from 2006. I can't do that from the country called Russia ! I want do it, but I can't do it!

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Thanks for the feedback again, everyone.  Some interesting suggestions!

I think it's worth mentioning that, since we will be retiring the old Chat before May, a new Chat has the potential to offer more features and engagement than the old Chat ever did, so it's also a new opportunity and there may very well be new ways the chat could be used, so it's worth keeping an open mind.

I realize, I should have added an "Indifferent" option...

Again, just a reminder this is not a referendum, the Admins will settle on a final decision.

Silur, huzman, CorinaMarie and 2 others like this

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Well - I'm in "Indifferent" option now ...  Now there is nothing stopping me ... 

Thank You ...

huzman likes this

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I don't know if this can be answered definitively, but for me, two questions (or sets of questions) arise from this discussion.

  • how many (or what percentage) of ST members actually use the chat feature in a given day/week/month/year?  And how much time do they spend there?
  • what is being discussed in chat?  Is it mostly about the game itself, the site itself, or is it a merely social function?  Or if it's a mix, what rough percentages could be along those delineations?

Is it a feature that is used by a handful of (active) members for a fraction of their time on this site, and/or is it a feature that is mostly a chit-chat along the lines of "how's the weather in Fayetteville this time of year?" or "what are you doing this holiday weekend?" But if it's something that a good number of members regularly use, for a decent amount of their time, and with a measurable end, then I guess it leads to the question of whether or not it is something that can justify the resources, time, implementation, and maintenance.

Personally, I think I've only ever been in chat once or twice, and probably because I might have accidentally clicked on it. 

Cyclone Boom, nos.17 and Silur like this

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The sun's been setting on chat for a long time now. I think this is a great time / reason to retire it. As said, there are many alternatives nowadays. Heck, Simtrop could even set up a facebook chat, other fan sites do this too.

MissVanleider, Silur and huzman like this

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16 minutes ago, madhatter106 said:

I don't know if this can be answered definitively, but for me, two questions (or sets of questions) arise from this discussion.

  • how many (or what percentage) of ST members actually use the chat feature in a given day/week/month/year?  And how much time do they spend there?
  • what is being discussed in chat?  Is it mostly about the game itself, the site itself, or is it a merely social function?  Or if it's a mix, what rough percentages could be along those delineations?

Is it a feature that is used by a handful of (active) members for a fraction of their time on this site, and/or is it a feature that is mostly a chit-chat along the lines of "how's the weather in Fayetteville this time of year?" or "what are you doing this holiday weekend?" But if it's something that a good number of members regularly use, for a decent amount of their time, and with a measurable end, then I guess it leads to the question of whether or not it is something that can justify the resources, time, implementation, and maintenance.

Personally, I think I've only ever been in chat once or twice, and probably because I might have accidentally clicked on it. 

I think it is a very interesting thought ...

Very sorry if this is a simple social network for simple conversations...

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I will recommend Discord, as it has all features of our existing chat and more and is COMPLETELY free. While it requires download/an additional site to have your password on (comes as an app or you can just use your browser) I think it's well worth it.

huzman and IDS2 like this

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3 minutes ago, BugeyedDragon said:

I will recommend Discord, as it has all features of our existing chat and more and is COMPLETELY free. While it requires download/an additional site to have your password on (comes as an app or you can just use your browser) I think it's well worth it.

Registration technically isn't required on Discord, though it is highly recommended to do so.

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I still recommend Discord.

You can have up to like a billion channels, so we could have a channel for everything, and there's even voice chat for those who are interested in that.

Bipin, huzman and IDS2 like this

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2 hours ago, Dirktator said:

Again, just a reminder this is not a referendum, the Admins will settle on a final decision.

Totally correct. That word still makes me shudder, whatever 52% of my nation thinks

_Michael, Hamish and matias93 like this

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@Bipin i for one would never seek to lose you! That for one could change my mind!

My view is merely; i have given money to the site before but i cannot afford to do so time and again.

You are correct that i have tried to turn this into an impersonal cost v benefit, but this is only because i can imagine the strain keeping the site running must do on those who have taken it upon themselves to do so. If a limb can be amputated so the body continues, or even if it improves the chances of the body continuing, it has to be the right course of action.

Apologies if this is rather macabre, i have had a glass of wine.

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Chat is dying. Get rid of it. Save some money. The vast majority of activity happens in the forums- like 99.9% of it.

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@MissVanleider Haha, why thank you :)

I certainly get what you are saying, which is why I propose a one-time-cost, if not outright free alternative, such as Discord. I wouldn't want to pay too much either, but if we can keep chat alive, and financial cost is not an issue (or an insignificant one) - then the benefits of the few inherently outweigh the costs. I say that with such certitude because I cannot imagine anything but finances being of detriment. Moderator resources - the only other cost I can surmise - has already been fulfilled. Many of the "regulars" in chat are moderators and other staff members.

Now, I won't say names, but I think it goes without saying that some of the responses here have been made in haste. Agree or disagree, some of the positions are very poorly thought out - and if there is anything to be wary of, this is it. Of course no one is perfect. Every response has its flaws, but some arguments have a hostile mix of agenda and salience. What I'm saying is, problems arise when we try and make utilitarian calculations (which seem to be the bulk of analyses here) but do them incorrectly without including all factors, or evidently engaging in pseudocertainty/blind-spot bias.

But I digress. There are valid arguments on both sides, but to restate what I said, there is little cost to opening a chatroom with a low or no cost host; for even marginal benefits inherently outweigh it (and I should add, there's a lot more than "just a few" benefits, as I and others have pointed out earlier). Just let the people who want chat do their thing. Ultimately, it is of no detriment to anyone, but a boon to those who use it, even if you aren't a regular. Besides, sooner or later you might be. We all have had questions at one point or another that require immediate answers (or it would've helped had we the opportunity to receive them).

Edvarz, RandyE and MissVanleider like this

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Good thing we have a FREE MARKET ECONOMY in the FREE WORLD.   There are likely several other chat services that will provide equal or better service at less cost and more value for the dollar.  I say, cancel the contract and close the account with Invision Power immediately and then do what we enjoy doing in the FREE WORLD...  GO SHOPPING!   :ohyes:

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1 hour ago, DavidDHetzel said:

What about a Simtropolis Discord?

Yeah, I feel that would be the best option (or one of them, at least). I could even volunteer to run it, if Dirk would rather invest his time elsewhere, I do have a lot of experience with Discord after all. Of course, this is all his (and probably the admins') choice.

Compdude787, Bipin and huzman like this

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The problem with discord is that some users would find themselves having to create a new account for a new service, which might discourage them.

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