ARTICLE: Why Unions and User Created Boards should be fixed

“…the unfortunate reality is that we don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to making these sorts of changes happen.

This is especially true when you take into consideration Union usage statistics–on a website that gets well north of 100 million pageviews a month, Unions contribute just over one quarter of one percent of that.”

That is an interesting way of looking at it, Lark. It’s true that in the big picture, the traffic and hits generated from unions must be microscopic compared to the rest of the site.

But you see, that’s the point.

Unions were never going to get a ton of hits; because to get hits you’d need a huge community, which is the exact opposite of why people found unions and UCB’s appealing.

Unions and UCB’s were brilliant because it allowed people in the community to set up smaller and close-knit communities, not huge ones that would generate a lot of hits.

Lark Anderson’s quote makes it sound like unions were a failure. I believe it was quite the opposite.

Here are three examples:

GUFU

GUFUyourself forums

It used to be a Gamespot union, but since the unions system never got updated alongside the rest of the site; the union decided to make their own forum where they had full control.

PUSH

push logopush forums

The same thing happened with PUSH, their members decided to create their own board outside of Gamespot because unions weren’t updated.

Headcrab Union

Taken from the Wayback Machine, as it now redirects to Gamespot union itself.

Taken from the Wayback Machine, as it now redirects to Gamespot union itself.

Real Headcrab Union

The most notable example is the HCU, which Gamespot itself tried to keep the union from leaving the site. They were a big promoter of updating the unions; and eventually left when GS didn’t deliver.

So you see, unions were not a failure. They were such a big success that Gamespot’s dated system couldn’t contain them.

When these unions left the site, Gamespot lost hits.

Unions and UCB’s were the birthplace of various strong communities, and albeit they were held back by the poor system in place, removing unions altogether will do a lot to keep new communities from being born.

As the HCU union explained, they would have gladly stayed on Gamespot if unions had grown alongside the communities they created; but by outright erasing them from existence, it’s a full blow to the face of the community.

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