Hello @members, after the last poll we had some really good discussions and ideas thrown around. I quickly realized that my poll and proposed changes had too many variables that affected the outcome. I would like to give this another go!
The primary question is whether critiques should be viewable to the public or not. Currently they are not, you have to be a member or in the 30 day trial to see the critiques at all. The question is not should the site be free and open to the public for posting, it is simply whether the critique forums can be viewed by a non-registered user. A membership would still be required to post or reply.
One issue that came up in the last discussion was the barrier of having the 30 day trial require a credit card and set to auto-renew. I have changed this, and now people can sign up for the trial with no credit card, they just can’t access the new upcoming member discount section.
With that said, here is the big question with further explanations below:
- Keep the critiques section private and work on promoting what value the critique forums provide
- Keep the critiques private and make the trial longer while also promoting the value
- Make critiques public and combine critiques and galleries
- Make critiques public and leave critiques and galleries separate
- No opinion
Notes about each option:
Keep them private
There were a couple reasons this came up in the first place. One being that images cannot be shared with non-members, the other being that seeing the critiques could lead to more members signing up because they will see the value they provide.
The issue of sharing can only be fixed by making them public. The issue of seeing the value is largely taken care of by the free trial and could be taken further with critique examples, testimonials, a clear mission statement, etc. There was some discussion of having a longer trial period so I added that as an option as well.
Make critiques public
If we make critiques public everything will be visible, but non-members cannot post or reply. This has the benefit of non-members being able to read the awesome critiques on NPN and inspire them to join. It will also have the negative effect of having a bunch of lurkers who only read the critiques, learn from them and never sign up.
My original reasoning for making the critiques private when I took over NPN was that some members would be more willing to share their ‘unfinished’ works in a private area, and/or be willing to be critiqued in the first place.
Merging Critiques and Galleries
I mistakenly combined this option with the private/public option. I assumed everyone did not like the duplicate sections to post images, but I may be wrong about that. It seems many have become accustomed to looking at the critiques section and knowing for sure that everything there is open for critique. Below is a very simple mock-up of what it would look like if we combined the sections and used tags to delineate if an image should be critiqued or not. Over time you would get used to seeing the tag and knowing if it should be critiqued or not. You can also filter by these tags to only see images that should be critiqued. To merge the categories we would have to make critiques public as security is controlled by category, not by tags.
Along the same lines, the question came up of whether the discussions category should be public or private, currently it is public. There have been some great conversations going on in here and some feel this shouldn’t be open for everyone to read. I can see some validity in this as we have some pros sharing very valuable information, but I’m not sure if this is what makes NPN unique necessarily. There are a plethora of sites where similar discussions occur that are open to everyone. Another downfall of this is that it would hurt our SEO so less people would find us through google, etc.
- Keep discussions public
- Make discussions private
I want to be transparent and get feedback from members when making these big decisions, ultimately I have to decide what is right moving forward, but I love the ideas that have come out of this discussion. Please voice your opinions, but let’s keep it on topic.