Announcement So, What Do You Really Want?

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
Original poster
SFF Workshop
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Jun 19, 2015
3,290
5,574
sff.network
So, it's that time, where I ask the community what they want in regards to content! I do this on a semi-regular basis, and now that we are closing in on 6,000 users and 100,000 posts (!) I thought it'd be time to do this again.

What I want to know is, what format do you want our reviews and news in?

We have a few options (keeping in mind that this is an after hours thing for me, I can't spend 40 hours a week on content (I wish!).

The options are;

  • A move entirely to video
  • Shorter written articles and a short (around 5 minute) TL;DR format video overviewing the product
  • No video (except at events) and a continuation of the article format we have been championing for the past 3 years.
  • Shut the news/reviews site down and return to a forum only format
Vote here, at Strawpoll: https://strawpoll.com/krgh1pe3


I'll run this poll for a week or so :)
 

Mortis Angelus

Airflow Optimizer
Bronze Supporter
Jun 22, 2017
268
264
I am not sure about the question about having videos or not, or the length of the articles. I will discuss that further below.

However, this I can say immediately: DO NOT REMOVE THE NEWS SIDE. This site contains one of the best and well written reviews out there. Yes, sometimes it feels like there is too much text, but the fact that you guys provide in-house measured measurements and dimensions of items, it makes it much, much easier as a reader to later on plan for different builds. To my knowledge, no one else, except perhaps Gamers Nexus, goes into such details about a product.

Now, the videos. My first question is: Do you have the staff for filming and editing video? I have worked with video editing and production, and it is rather time consuming if you want it to be good. As far as I have understood it, most of you admins and main content creators here are also having full time jobs outside of SFF Forum. 5 minutes might be a "short" video, but it takes hours, if not days to complete.

On events (like Computex) it would be more desirable with a video, as it is more interesting to see the actual product in action and from different angles, and when you as reporters seldom have the freedom to just start shooting images from various angles and perspectives.

So I guess what I am saying: Prioritize the well-written articles. Complement with video whenever you feel you have time and resources for it. But making videos is a whole new ball-game that is difficult to get right, and very time consuming. I do not request/desire videos. But I welcome videos if you have the resources for it.
 

ignsvn

King of Cable Management
Apr 4, 2016
684
584
I like it the way it is.

And no, video is not a silver bullet for everything. For events, perhaps. But for product reviews, especially when every mm counts, a well taken picture & well written description is the best.
 

SashaLag

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jun 10, 2018
121
104
agree with others... Unless you're able to do a well scripted, well edited, good looking video as those of Hardware Canucks (to me, one of the best in this regards) I see no point in add videos to your workflow. Make videos is time consuming and difficult to do fast and good... But they're a great medium to cover events...

But what I said for the making is true also for the viewer... They're a slower medium compared to picture and text and frequently I watch them at 1.5x on youtube. So unless your production sticks out in quality compared to others (added value), I see no point in adding this to what I daily check and see/read.

I saw an added value for me to read your news and reviews... It's to be seen if there's also an added value compared to "competitors" who do that since a longer time :)
 

BirdofPrey

Standards Guru
Sep 3, 2015
764
481
I'd like to request further information on what each option entails.

As others have mentioned, doing videos takes a fair bit of resources, so before I can vote for that option, I need to know you can actually do a good job. A poorly scripted, poorly filmed and edited video would be WORSE than none at all. Now, certainly it's possible to handle the camera work by yourself and share scripts and video files between the staff, but even JayzTwoCents has staff nowadays, so I question the efficacy of trying to do video with everyone geographically separated.

That said, if you CAN work out the logistics, and have the time and equipment (or the money to buy the equipment and hire specialists), then I do think the SFF space is a good niche in need of attention in the youtube space. One of my favorite tech channel is Level1 since they aren't just another techtube channel, and instead tend to dive a bit deeper into the nuts and bolts and also talk about Linux and Enterprise which no one else does, and I think SFFN could bring a similar fresh angle to things.
 

loader963

Master of Cramming
Bronze Supporter
Jan 21, 2017
566
501
If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it lol. I’d go along with whatever the plan is but I enjoy written reviews more.

Edit: yay I got my new banner :)
 
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Windfall

SFF Guru
Nov 14, 2017
1,440
1,132
"The most dangerous phrase in any language is 'We've always done it that way.'"

Not dangerous here, @jtd871. What we do WORKS. It provides information in a clear and concise manner, without the need of distracting others (as in audio from a video) and what we have works. There are no complaints. Yeah, videos would be cool. And I like videography. I'd Contribute, if I could, to SFFn video creation. But the regular reviews and news? Keep it that way- because that's how it's been done. It's tried, tested, and proven. (Does SFFn need a premire pro cs6 product key?)
 
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jtd871

SFF Guru
Jun 22, 2015
1,167
843
@Windfall, I actually did vote for the status quo - because it still works for me.

My (long-standing, BTW) tagline is meant as a warning against blindly doing things the way they always have without knowing *why* you're doing it that way. Too many people simply keep on keeping on without knowing why the procedure started. If you know why, then you are better able to make an informed decision about changing things.

For (a contrived) example, a young guy newly out on his own wants to impress a girl and decides to make her his family recipe roast chicken. The recipe calls for cutting off the legs before cooking and putting them in a separate roasting pan with the vegetables. Since that is the way it's always been prepared in his parent's household, that's what he does. Afterward, he calls his mom and asks "Why does the recipe have the legs cut off the chicken before roasting it?" She replies, "Oh, our oven here at home is smaller than most and a bigger roasting pan that could hold the chicken and the veggies at the same time won't fit inside."

I've run into examples of design codes (these are actually getting much better), plan notes or even textbooks that specify how you are to do something without explaining the rationale behind it. (The one that really got me was why rock anchor tendons get prestressed. It's so the tendons always remain in tension, even when the structure they anchor is bearing in compression. I had to call a couple of "experts" before I found one that could tell me.) Once you know the rationale, maybe you can find a flaw in the previous reasoning, or determine that the restriction is no longer applicable (like the too-small oven).
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
Original poster
SFF Workshop
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Jun 19, 2015
3,290
5,574
sff.network
Thanks for the input thus far guys (although I do wonder who's been voting to shut the news site down... Why are you even here?)

To those requesting further information - the plans weren't fleshed out as yet, I was wanting to see what the community wanted before spending what limited time I have on figuring out directions!
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
4,431
3,963
I'd love to see the news aspect being combined with audio/video, like it was in the day of "ye olde podcast". It was an entertaining part, wouldn't require much video/audio editing once everything is setup correctly, and it wouldn't require as much work beforehand as video articles. But ideally it would be discussed by two or three people at once to have that engaged feeling.
 

owliwar

Master of Cramming
Lazer3D
Apr 7, 2017
518
1,008
So I guess what I am saying: Prioritize the well-written articles. Complement with video whenever you feel you have time and resources for it. But making videos is a whole new ball-game that is difficult to get right, and very time consuming. I do not request/desire videos. But I welcome videos if you have the resources for it.
this /\

edit for more meaningfull opinion:
one thing that video does very well for me is scale. Pictures doesn't really show how big or small something is, especially since we tend to showcase detail and beauty, angles lens have too much impact here as well.
I'd love to have a 30 second video to showcase scale and relation to other objects. a simple turnaround and a few 'rolls' should be more than enough for me, as I prefer reading the specs and long details rather than watch someone describing it for me. Its more informative and I have less issues understanding the topics. (its a bit more accessible as well, in my opinion)
for example, I'd rather have a 30 second GIF and the written review the way we have now than a 'ok' 5 min video.
 
Last edited:

el01

King of Cable Management
Jun 4, 2018
774
588
So, it's that time, where I ask the community what they want in regards to content! I do this on a semi-regular basis, and now that we are closing in on 6,000 users and 100,000 posts (!) I thought it'd be time to do this again.

What I want to know is, what format do you want our reviews and news in?

We have a few options (keeping in mind that this is an after hours thing for me, I can't spend 40 hours a week on content (I wish!).

The options are;

  • A move entirely to video
  • Shorter written articles and a short (around 5 minute) TL;DR format video overviewing the product
  • No video (except at events) and a continuation of the article format we have been championing for the past 3 years.
  • Shut the news/reviews site down and return to a forum only format
Vote here, at Strawpoll: https://strawpoll.com/krgh1pe3


I'll run this poll for a week or so :)
I would personally like to see the same format, but with smaller videos or GIFs showing product features in action, such as opening of panels on a case. These would hypothetically take less time than a larger video, but would be more useful to the overall content (in my eyes) than a 3-minute video.
 

Windfall

SFF Guru
Nov 14, 2017
1,440
1,132
@Windfall, I actually did vote for the status quo - because it still works for me.

My (long-standing, BTW) tagline is meant as a warning against blindly doing things the way they always have without knowing *why* you're doing it that way. Too many people simply keep on keeping on without knowing why the procedure started. If you know why, then you are better able to make an informed decision about changing things.

For (a contrived) example, a young guy newly out on his own wants to impress a girl and decides to make her his family recipe roast chicken. The recipe calls for cutting off the legs before cooking and putting them in a separate roasting pan with the vegetables. Since that is the way it's always been prepared in his parent's household, that's what he does. Afterward, he calls his mom and asks "Why does the recipe have the legs cut off the chicken before roasting it?" She replies, "Oh, our oven here at home is smaller than most and a bigger roasting pan that could hold the chicken and the veggies at the same time won't fit inside."

I've run into examples of design codes (these are actually getting much better), plan notes or even textbooks that specify how you are to do something without explaining the rationale behind it. (The one that really got me was why rock anchor tendons get prestressed. It's so the tendons always remain in tension, even when the structure they anchor is bearing in compression. I had to call a couple of "experts" before I found one that could tell me.) Once you know the rationale, maybe you can find a flaw in the previous reasoning, or determine that the restriction is no longer applicable (like the too-small oven).
I wasn't trying to diss your quote. If I came across that way, I'm truly sorry- but not really, because I got and interesting essay out of it. :) But, as a guy's bumper sticker on the highway said, "I'll keep my money, gun, and freedom. You keep the 'change'" I'm not against videos (we'd see @confusis's face more often) but replacing the current format? Yeah, keep the "change". Sorry if you are offended by that. I'm conservative. XD
 
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Windfall

SFF Guru
Nov 14, 2017
1,440
1,132
You can't pay me enough to write shorter articles.
I'll hit you all with a fire-hose and you no choice but to take it.
What if i'm allergic to your firehose? What if being sprayed with water offends me? XD

If you want shorter articles, go ahead. But that would make me sad.....
 

Gutzy

Caliper Novice
Mar 11, 2018
31
14
I think short news articles, and maybe one weekly video recapping said articles of the week would be nice.
 

LocoMoto

DEVOURER OF BAKED POTATOES
Jul 19, 2015
287
334
I voted on keeping the articles as you've been championing so far, but I'd like to add this...

Videos as said previously work great to demonstrate size, proportions and positioning of various components. Being able to add on a short video overview of the product, be it with or without voice over would be a great step forward.

Text articles with complimentary images I find easier to get an in depth look through, you can quickly reference various points of interest, use text to speech and of course it is lightweight and more accessible than a full on video.

Lastly, just waiting to have that podcast up and running, whispering sweet nothings in my ear once again.
 

loader963

Master of Cramming
Bronze Supporter
Jan 21, 2017
566
501
^ change my reply to this. I find it much easier to find information in text but wouldn’t mind an short video to help see any points of interest.