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What should we do with the Voyageurs forum?

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Some time ago, we were in a pickle with some outside pressure and I deleted Lord Bob’s joke, benign as it was, and all hell broke loose.  I simply asked you trust me, and no one accepted that. Given the utter free for all this place has been, I was quite taken aback by such a vitriolic response for an action whose frequency you could count on one hand over a decade. 

Now people want me to ban people and delete threads (I agree some of these topics need to be axed. I was away camping in Bon Echo in case anyone is wondering)

Bear with me here,  some context is required wrt to what we do next.

So what do we do?  Everything has changed, the forum has high traffic, low participation.  The worst combination you could ask for. It minimizes our engagement and costs the most amount of money. The reasons for this are both social media and the content/mood of the forum. 

We have very high spikes in traffic that are rare, around games and announcements. Our previous hosting and then dedicated servers always went down around games. With the advent of cloud based SAS services we switched from a dedicated server to the system we have now.  When the World Cup was announced, we did go down, for like 30 seconds, but the system scaled up and no one even noticed. That is why we use it. 

With the advent of LON, expanded Voyageurs Cup, possible expanded continental championship and 2026, everything looks different. We can now really do many of the things I have been wanting to do for years.  It’s now possible because we will have consistent home games rather than those games at times being years apart. We now have something to offer and build on.

Our traffic is up, and if we take the steps to build this, here is what is likely to happen. Just going back to 2012 ticket sales levels (when everything was done by hand with physical tickets) would knock us up one or two service levels in hosting.  This means internalizing the ticket sales so people must log in and have an account to buy a ticket to our section. Before it was done publicly by a PayPal button, so no log in was required.

Let’s plant a flag in 2026, or rather think of the next 8 years as a single project. If all the things we want to happen do, membership, building an online community, increase the supporters section size ect ect…  the projected hosting alone for doing that would be almost fifty thousand dollars. If we were really successful, which can and will happen if we try, it will be much more than that. 

Social media is not the answer. I won’t go into the reasons here.

People complain about the forum, but it has no pop ups, no auto play videos, no ads, doesn’t track anything you do, data is not sold to anyone ect…..

So in the context of this as an 8 year project costing 75K, it clearly can’t continue to be nazi posts and trolling.  We have to answer some serious questions.

How does the forum help us?
How does the forum hurt us?
How to moderate the forum without a first amendment backlash?

Two immediate forum options. 

  1. Moderate the forum more heavily with an updated and strict set of rules and guidelines for being a community on and off line. 
     
  2. Move the forum to a generic Canadian soccer community, still owned by the V’s to give it an arms length break perception wise.  *keep a small forum on the site for introductions, organizing games, travel & tifo.

 

 

 

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I do not post frequently but I visit the forum every day in case there is a piece of news, opinions on controversial events or on going happenings in older news.  I like the forum as it is.  Over the years I have blocked a couple of individuals who were insulting. 

Socceronly you do a great job friend!

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Moderation:
I don't mind bad jokes and banter, in fact that is why I love the soccer community. IMO part of the reason we have low participation is that we allow too much off-topic talk and bullshit. Suspensions and bans for individuals who refuse to stay on topic or continually make unfounded and irrational personal attacks, etc  would go long way to making this the kind of place that all those new fans looking for CanPL chat need.

As for a "first amendment backlash" do I really have to point out that this is a CANADIAN forum in CANADA where we don't have a "first amendment".  This is a private message board and if people want to participate they have to play by our rules. A basic level of civility and restrictions on offensive and hateful speech are reasonable. 

This is especially true if we wish to keep representing fans to the CSA for the purchase of group sections at National team games. We also seem to be the unofficial network for CanPL fans as well and that relationship should be fostered as we need a collective voice for all fans.

 

Funding/Ads: I actually think we are missing the boat here. Some limited advertising would help pay for this forum and in 2018 the idea of a no-charge AND ad-free internet forum seems bizarre and quaint.


Immediate Options:
To answer your question, option one is much preferable to option two which frankly would destroy whatever it is we have built here.


Future:
We may want to have a two-tier, but still "free" forum based on membership. We should have the general forums with more moderation as above, AND a "members-only" section for arranging ticketing for events and travel, for discussing supporters/CSA/CanPL issues, etc. That "membership" could be based on being a "member" of a local supporters group/Vee's chapter that is affiliated to the Voyageurs or simply based on "nomination" by an existing member.

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The forums are actually public again.  That experiment was interesting, it drove up registrations significantly.   I opened it back up again after the 2026 announcement.   Registration dropped again.

Funding / Ads / Sponsorship.  These don't really amount to very much.  Or rather such things are valued often directly proportional to what you are willing to give up.  We could fund this site easily, and I mean more than fund it with gambling ads, fake gambling related posts and fake articles overnight.   The answer to that is and always will be no. 

We can't simultaneously have sections in the stadium and be sponsored by, pretty much anything.  We can have partners say like the American Outlaws do but they play regular games.  We can't be a guerilla marketing in road into the stadium ala shirts / scarves or anything like that.

Ad Blockers handle most ad platforms now, and I don't want to block access to the site to anyone that uses them.  You can by pass the adblockers by serving them directly from the platform with just image / links.  But that means no metrics and you have to find them and I don't have the time for that and it wouldn't be worth the work involved. 

Patreon makes the most sense, just waiting for it to be integrated into the platform. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am not convinced the second immediate option is as bad as you make it out to be. 

There are several reasons for this.  

Arms length is important now.  People change their minds on things but the current zeitgeist does not allow for this.   For example, I can think of people that posted disparagingly about women's soccer a decade ago that today attend all the games they can get to home & away.   That is a temporal problem in the current mood of the public that does not allow for any context in things people may have said in the past.  They are just guilty no matter what. 

The second issue is that today people offer no space between say what that poster said years ago and the group as a whole today.  Distance and time are not things that temper opinions or ideas, they merely offer a broader scope to cherry pick from.

It would make the V's less cliquey looking. 

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, ted said:

 


We also seem to be the unofficial network for CanPL fans as well and that relationship should be fostered as we need a collective voice for all fans.

 

No, in fact it's the opposite. 

I am in touch with most of the CanPL SG's.  Most, because of this very forum will have nothing to with us.   They won't even post here.

This forum murdered our relationship with the CanPL supporters groups.    In total they will number in the thousands of completely new people and they are mostly lost to us 100% because of this forum.

 

 

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, ted said:

 


Future:
We may want to have a two-tier, but still "free" forum based on membership. We should have the general forums with more moderation as above, AND a "members-only" section for arranging ticketing for events and travel, for discussing supporters/CSA/CanPL issues, etc. That "membership" could be based on being a "member" of a local supporters group/Vee's chapter that is affiliated to the Voyageurs or simply based on "nomination" by an existing member. 

Chapters are the way to go.  More like the AO model. 

It's not that we need a two tier forum, it's that the forum itself can't be the premiere thing we do. 

What can we offer when we don't play at home for two years?   This....  but that is about to change. 

The forum needs to be pushed to the back burner because better things are happening. 

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I’m not convinced those reasons are strong enough to have us move.  To hide from things we’ve said in the past is silly, no offence but own it.. that’s life.  And I think we all recognize things said a decade ago aren’t necessarily ones same opinion today.

Secondly, being viewed as cliquey is a good thing.  It means we don’t turn into big soccer and it attracts intelligent posters and will dissuade more shitposters than the alternative.  People also want to be a part of the clique.. meaning at games the voyageurs is sort of a “club” feel to it where you are accepted - we’re not gonna be turning people away. 

I think stricter moderation is just needed.. a new poster shouldn’t be able to make 200+ posts a day or even 50+.  There’s just no way a new member is going to have that much productive conversation to add unless they’ve recently escaped from the CSA after being locked in the basement for 15 years.  I don’t think limiting posts is an infringement on free speech but rather a safe guard against abuse.  And let’s just enforce basic rules.. if you want to call someone an idiot/moron that’s rude but a choice you have but we draw the line at political, racial, sexual attacks.  

As far as I’m concerned someone coming on the men’s national team forum and calling Donald Trump a nazi should be enough for a ban - it’s unfounded, irrelevant, offensive and lastly .. what does it have to do with our men’s national team?  We don’t need that here.

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Posted (edited)

Honest feedback, when people think of this forum they think of the crazy posters, not the quality ones. I think significant moderation is needed to get those of us who are heavily involved at our local level back engaged on here. There are a few posters here who are universally detested amongst fellow Voyageurs I talk to (which to be fair is not a large percent of who is out there); they are simply a joke over a pint.

I will gladly offer myself as an example of someone who wants to post on here, reads some of the crap being posted, and thinks twice. And the odd time I do post, there is little engagement from any others.

There are a lot of great local soccer supporters in this country. They need to have their voices heard, rather than drowned out. 

Edited by shermanator

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, socceronly said:

Two immediate forum options. 

  1. Moderate the forum more heavily with an updated and strict set of rules and guidelines for being a community on and off line. 

You need to appoint more mods. Cut the BS and the trolls and those who are just passing by looking for information might not be turn of by the BS happening here. How many "paying" contributors this site lost due to trolls and BS posts going back and forth being allowed here? 

If banning some people and deleting posts is for the good of the website, so be it. Hell, you can give me warnings too if I get out of line. I understand that you'd give me an explanation as to why I'm being sanctioned and that this community is bigger than myself or people looking for a mic because they're bored. You need to keep that in mind.

There can't be true freedom without rules

Edited by Ansem

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3 minutes ago, Keegan said:

I’m not convinced those reasons are strong enough to have us move.  To hide from things we’ve said in the past is silly, no offence but own it.. that’s life.  And I think we all recognize things said a decade ago aren’t necessarily ones same opinion today.

Secondly, being viewed as cliquey is a good thing.  It means we don’t turn into big soccer and it attracts intelligent posters and will dissuade more shitposters than the alternative.  People also want to be a part of the clique.. meaning at games the voyageurs is sort of a “club” feel to it where you are accepted - we’re not gonna be turning people away. 

I think stricter moderation is just needed.. a new poster shouldn’t be able to make 200+ posts a day or even 50+.  There’s just no way a new member is going to have that much productive conversation to add unless they’ve recently escaped from the CSA after being locked in the basement for 15 years.  I don’t think limiting posts is an infringement on free speech but rather a safe guard against abuse.  And let’s just enforce basic rules.. if you want to call someone an idiot/moron that’s rude but a choice you have but we draw the line at political, racial, sexual attacks.  

As far as I’m concerned someone coming on the men’s national team forum and calling Donald Trump a nazi should be enough for a ban - it’s unfounded, irrelevant, offensive and lastly .. what does it have to do with our men’s national team?  We don’t need that here.

 

I  agree with you.  I'm not really suggesting we make a big move based on those reasons.  

There are limits on posting, they are just set way too low.  They are set to stop spammers, not prolific posters.   Have to re jig that somehow.  Though to be fair, this is the first time this has happened with someone who is not rude, not spamming... just repetitive and prolific. 

Trust me, anyone who puts our name in a sentence with nazis is gone from this point forward.  Period.   I'm not taking that shit anymore. 

 

 

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I think we can agree, even with these limited amount of responses that much more heavy handed moderation is needed. 

It isn't just moderation though. We need an attitude change. 

Along with this there must be a new sense of belonging to something. Membership and community and an active declaration that we are working towards something as a basis from which to moderate from.

To that end, and I am not pushing this just exploring ideas, for Option 2, perhaps we do both.

Restrict the V's to Canadian Soccer, also create the generic Canadian soccer community for club soccer ect...    It would have a shared log in so one account would work on both.     But this would separate the club bullshit from the national teams and possibly make things more congenial.  We are about to go from a few pro teams to 12 or more, then more after that.   Maybe this split makes sense?

 

 

 

 

 

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i think moderation is needed. like there is a thread were the rwandan genocide is denied and that user still actively posts and another who was trying to dox someone and he's also still here. that's pretty fucking weird.

i think things like circle jerks and minor trolls are fine but the spamming, excessive number of troll activities, political conspiracy theories (outside of the off topic forum) and straight up hate speech should get either a short term suspension to full banning (for hate speech and doxing). doing that would make these forums more welcoming to newcomers.

deleting and locking thread is also fine. you have no commitment to anyone here for free speech.

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What I will add to my point about moderation, is that it needs to be retroactive, not just on a go forward basis. The posters who have driven people away need to be banned or else nothing will be perceived to have changed.

And if that means I am banned, then so be it! 😉

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3 minutes ago, matty said:

 

I don't think Identifying someone is the same as doxing.

That ass hat has done real social damage and driven many people away from TFC groups and us.  I know people have even moved their TFC seats because of him in the past.   You might see him occasionally trolling but if you are even half way connected to a nexus soccer stuff as I am it's a relentless heaping shit pile of misery that hasn't ended for a decade.

It is important to know who is on the other end of consistent really crazy shit.  It is not trolling in this case, it is mental illness. 

I would be against fully doxing the guy with details, but identifying someone being consistently abusive for years on end and is constantly hiding behind new anon accounts is a public service. 

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5 minutes ago, shermanator said:

What I will add to my point about moderation, is that it needs to be retroactive, not just on a go forward basis. The posters who have driven people away need to be banned or else nothing will be perceived to have changed.

And if that means I am banned, then so be it! 😉

That could be kind of dangerous and not fair.   

Draw a line in the sand and all... cleaning up stuff yes... but even with people who clearly have borderline personality disorders  or may even add a new chapter in the current DSM V  should get the same rules applied going forward. They just need to be enforced. 

 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, socceronly said:

I don't think Identifying someone is the same as doxing.

That ass hat has done real social damage and driven many people away from TFC groups and us.  I know people have even moved their TFC seats because of him in the past.   You might see him occasionally trolling but if you are even half way connected to a nexus soccer stuff as I am it's a relentless heaping shit pile of misery that hasn't ended for a decade.

It is important to know who is on the other end of consistent really crazy shit.  It is not trolling in this case, it is mental illness. 

I would be against fully doxing the guy with details, but identifying someone being consistently abusive for years on end and is constantly hiding behind new anon accounts is a public service. 

it is considered light form of it. i don't think pat meant to dox or was aware of what it is but it was a dox.

Edited by matty

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Everyone is bringing up a lot of good points.

Moderating for sure will be important going forward. Even using the ignore button is only so effective when you still have a bunch of people quoting and discussing the person that you're trying to ignore

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5 minutes ago, matty said:

it is considered light form of it. 

It almost certainly isn't where harassment is concerned.  I also don't use that word lightly. 

You are seeing a few CanPL shit posts, which in this guy's play book is like jaywalking online. 

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Long-time lurker and CanMNT fan, infrequent poster.  When I discovered this forum, I was thrilled to have a place to hear inside gossip and news from some folks in the know and to "watch" MNT games with others who cared.  It was like discovering an amazing out-of-the-way coffee-shop that had everything you needed and wanted.  Sure there were a couple of local characters, but it was infrequent enough and was generally policed by the other patrons.  Now, most days it feels as though I've come back to the coffee-shop and it's been bought by hoarders.  You have to squeeze past towers of newspapers, buckets of vegetable peelings and boxes of knickknacks just to get a table.  The local characters are still around, but everyone else is cranky and fed-up with the change in atmosphere so rather than keeping them in check, we grumble and complain.

I want my coffee-shop back.  I am strongly in favour of moderating the forum to enforce not just the offensive posts, spamming, and flame-wars, but the knee-jerk, thoughtless, filling up of space for the sake of hearing one's own voice.  

I appreciate all your work.

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