28
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Wizards of the Coast recently announced that they will be releasing D&D Next. While not everyone plays D&D, it is one of the biggest names in our space, and a great opportunity for RPG.SE to gain some traction.

So what do we do to make this event a huge success?


For reference, see what Skyrim did for Gaming. As a lead-in to the game launch, they had a huge contest, promoted SE-wide, with prizes and whatnot. See the SE podcast and the record of their promo. There is actually a community promotion archive that can show you what's possible.

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  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Well, what did they actually do for Skyrim, over on Arqade? \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Apr 25 '14 at 22:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ A huge contest, promoted SE-wide, with prizes and whatnot. See blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/11/se-podcast-26 and stackexchange.com/promos/1/skyrim-vs-mw3. There is actually a community promotion archive that can show you what's possible, stackexchange.com/promos \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Apr 28 '14 at 15:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Apparently, D&D doesn't get enough attention on RPG.SE... ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Flamma Apr 28 '14 at 16:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Flamma it's more important that RPG.SE gets lots of attention on D&D. :-D \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Apr 28 '14 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @C.Ross Because we don't get enough D&D questions? ... Well, that was only a joke. Actually I think it's cool to do something just to celebrate, even if it's not my favourite game. \$\endgroup\$ – Flamma Apr 28 '14 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Flamma It's not going to be everyone's favourite game. But if people have questions about the next D&D edition, we'd like them to come here with them, not go to some other community. ;) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 28 '14 at 17:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Undoubtedly. Please don't take my comment seriously. \$\endgroup\$ – Flamma Apr 28 '14 at 18:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Flamma I understand: the site is top-heavy with D&D questions for various editions. As someone who doesn't play the popular editions anymore, I really can see how trying to get more D&D questions would feel ironic. And it does feel ironic to me, too. It's still good for the site's profile despite the irony. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 28 '14 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ It shouldn't even be a problem as long as people know about rpg.stackexchange - the site has got a very good quality so it shouldn't be an issue. \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri May 4 '14 at 7:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kviiri The point is that it's a good opportunity to introduce people to our site. \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross May 4 '14 at 11:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie It is top heavy with D&D questions. Much like how the BCG site is topheavy with MTG questions. And I only really go there for MTG questions, but everyone once in a while... I see a game I've never seen, and I check it out. I mean, I haven't ever bought one of the ones I've seen, but it's only a matter of time before I find one that I do want to buy and play. And even if I never do, I enjoy reading and learning about those new games. So if we use a big name RPG like D&D to bring in fresh faces and show them dozens of other cool RPGs to play too, that's a big success, imo. \$\endgroup\$ – corsiKa May 6 '14 at 14:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yep, that is pretty much what I think. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 6 '14 at 15:01

13 Answers 13

17
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I think what we need to do is find a way to sell the utility of the SE format to people. Wizards forums and the like are always junk, full of trash and net-bullies and are just wearying. If we can especially expose questions that on a normal forum just go round and round but here have a concise answer... "Don't waste valuable rounds, get the answer on RPG.SE!" I think buying banner ads on ENWorld, RPG.net, etc. have to be about the cheapest things in the known world given their subject.

Also, I wonder how RPG.SE could become part of the RPG ecosystem - either via being a "publisher" and therefore included in that world or via being a "news outlet". I suspect the only way to do the latter is for a single highly motivated person to take on the RPG.SE blog and blog DAILY.

We also need to be careful to not become too 5e centric - it's fine to attract the folks but if for example we have a blog and it's all 5e content, that's not very happy.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "RPG.Stackexchange.com - Less discussion. More answers." \$\endgroup\$ – Maximillian Jan 10 '12 at 16:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm with this, but the 'wasting rounds' thing is super grognard. 'Less Discussion. More answers." seems vastly more appropriate. \$\endgroup\$ – user2754 Apr 26 '14 at 12:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ They did away with rounds in some later edition of D&D? News to me. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Apr 26 '14 at 16:18
16
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Over on Arqade, they sometimes have "release events" for new, high-profile videogames such as Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim. Most often these are contests, to motivate asking and answering questions about the game. The StackExchange Community Promotion Archive has overviews of past promotions, to get an idea of what they're like. The releases of Skyrim and Diablo III brought major and lasting traffic increases to Arqade. The network likes this, and can provide material and logistical support for such promo events.

We might consider doing something similar ourselves. In the world of videogames, high-profile game releases happen more often than in the world of RPGs, but if the first new edition of D&D since the birth of RPG.SE isn't a high-profile release, I don't know what is. Not only would it help prepare us to be as helpful as possible for the likely influx of new D&D questions, a promo event could also generally raise RPG.SE's profile in the RPG community.

To do it in a way similar to Arqade has done, we would want some or all of:

  • a temporary site redesign / art changes
  • a competition/prize structure for askers and answerers, keyed off site activity
  • social network exposure
  • a few network-provided copies of 5e (however they usually do that selection process) to boost our expert base

Etc., which take time and the support/collaboration of higher-ups. If we want to do something like that, we need to float the idea with the community manager team now (because our lead time is only four months now, based on the likely GenCon 2014 release). If the network has the resources and the community team thinks it's a good idea, we can start working with them to develop the promotion's detail right away.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Definitely. Though they haven't done a major promo on Arqade in quite a while, and I'm not 100% sure why. Would hope they'd see the opportunity here though. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Apr 28 '14 at 1:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle That post mentions that they may have hit their community's natural upper size limit. With the lack of impact from the AnswerSwarm promo event, they are probably going to avoid doing promos for any game releases that are less than frenzy-inspiring. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 28 '14 at 17:48
14
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Get it in the hands of our users, early. If we are leading the wave of questions, and can quickly get answers to questions after release, we could see some big gains...

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How can we go about that? \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Jan 9 '12 at 18:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pureferret perhaps the owners could buy some books, preorder of course. Also a coordinated effort to get into play tests ... \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Jan 9 '12 at 19:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe SE would spring for some copies for dedicated users? \$\endgroup\$ – Standback Jan 10 '12 at 10:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ You might also be able to talk Wizards into giving a few advanced copies. \$\endgroup\$ – Cthos Jan 10 '12 at 16:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Advanced copies could be pretty awesome for the community to have the rules expertise right as it releases \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Apr 28 '14 at 15:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ The network does spring for such things on occasion. When I was active on Arqade, as one of the top-two-pages users I was contacted to see if I was interested in getting review/resource copies of games. Obviously Arqade is a bigger site and thus gets more resources thrown at it, but the point is that resource-throwing does happen. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 29 '14 at 17:32
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First, we must make sure all of our answers are updated for the latest edition. We don't want any playtest stuff getting dragged in.

Query for the easy checking of updates: http://data.stackexchange.com/rpg/query/186581/dd-next-playtest-queries

Second, at the very least, we may want to have a hangouts-on-air mass reading of the books when they're released. (Maybe to the point of buying them for people). The joint reading should be enough to seed obvious questions. It'll also help make very good Next questions so that we can close incoming ones as dupes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is it worth revisiting the suggestion to have a [dnd-next-playtest] tag? Retag all [dnd-next] questions with [dnd-next-playtest] so that we can clearly see what's outdated, then update, and retag the updated-to-release-version ones with [dnd-next]. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 26 '14 at 4:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's not a bad suggestion, actually. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Apr 26 '14 at 4:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ The original meta on that idea is here, for reference: meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/1514/… \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 26 '14 at 4:53
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We're going to need a few volunteers to closely track 5e. If we get a public beta/rules test at some point we need to start going over it and encourage site activity related to it. There isn't much we can do without some source material to question in the first place.

If we knew someone with ties to people involved with 5th edition, it would be neat if we make an ask-about-5e tag and get someone from inside WOTC to respond, but that is highly unlikely to happen.

In the meanwhile, we will have to keep tabs on press releases and other sources that give insight into what 5e will contain and use them as an anchor to base good answers on.

Last, we will need to sanitize any attempt at provoking edition war arguments. In most cases I don't see any useful information coming from such arguments and this really isn't a discussion site anyway (aside from meta).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Most of the major 5e developers are on Twitter. I definitely think that once the playtest rules are released and we have a few questions up here regarding it we might get some attention. However; the problem I see is that WotC people will want people to ask questions of the playtest docs on the playtest forums of their site. That being said, if we get enough of a movement here this site could be more useful than their forums. \$\endgroup\$ – Raddu Jan 13 '12 at 15:12
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I think we should also be encouraging people to join us in a special '5E release chat room'. That will bond people together and get questions flowing.

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4
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Combining C. Ross's answer of "get it in the hands of our users, early" and Pureferret's idea of involving the chat feature, and depending on how the play test ends up working, if possible, we should create a chat room or two for running our own play testing sessions online. This should give WotC some nice public feedback, but should also provide us with some questions to ask and answer on the site. If we could also publicise these games, we might be able to get new users to sign up and contribute in order to play (thinking of the rep requirement for chat - 20 rep).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ most users of other sites on the network would get the rep just by associating \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Jan 10 '12 at 16:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @C.Ross I'm pretty new here, what does that mean? How would one get "rep just by associating"? \$\endgroup\$ – Raddu Jan 13 '12 at 15:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Raddu If you have more than 200 rep on any site, when you associate with another site (basically join) you get 100 rep automatically. \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Jan 13 '12 at 15:19
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Cross-post.

I'm sure most gamers have no idea this place exists. Large online DnD communities exist, answering questions in threads there by linking here will vastly increase user uptake.

Since the stated goal of this site is to create linkable answers to questions, it's not even a shoddy means of poaching users.

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2
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We can make rpg.se the 'Go-to' place for 5E news. Yes in a blog, but also in questions like "When will the first open playtest of 5E be?" and "Are Mike Mearls and Monte Cook working on 5E?"

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  • \$\begingroup\$ -1: Competing with other focused news sources when you are not a focused news source is generally a terrible game plan. \$\endgroup\$ – user2754 Apr 26 '14 at 12:04
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We already have a dnd-5e tag!

https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/dnd-5e

Therefore asking questions, giving answers, and tagging accordingly makes it easy to find D&D 5e material at RPG.SE.

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    \$\begingroup\$ One thing we may want to do to provide continuity is to call the tag "D&D Next" the twitter hashtag preffered by WotC is #DnDNext They're definitely not calling it 5e at this point, nor do I believe they will. \$\endgroup\$ – Raddu Jan 13 '12 at 15:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Raddu Because of the continuity with dnd-4e, dnd-3e,... I would suggest to make dnd-5e and dnd-Next synonymous tags (which would need to be changed when there is a dnd-6e, of course). \$\endgroup\$ – Stephen Jan 13 '12 at 18:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed (and I wish I saw this answer before my comment on the question. :)) dnd-5e should be a synonym of dnd-next, imo. \$\endgroup\$ – adamjford Jan 23 '12 at 18:18
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It'd be useful if we invited some well-respected members of other communities to join the site. I think people would be interested in the possibility of having their questions answered by a well-known expert.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this one very much. Let's not limit ourselves to D&D though.... \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Jan 20 '12 at 10:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Quite often when someone like Fred Hicks gets specifically linked to a question, they make an account and answer it. But they don't stick around and contribute regularly; they've got other communities and other things for their time. We could get them to participate more by bringing specific questions to them on a case-by-case basis, but then we risk spamming and creating ill will for the site. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Apr 28 '14 at 2:48
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Run an online game with the new set of rules. This way we can answer the questions that people would ask.

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0
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I don't think 5E is going to matter much. The format is at best only moderately good for RPG questions, since many cases lack detailed coverage in rules for a number of issues, and this format seriously discourages discussion.

Banking on a new system where there literally are fewer correct answers to be had, coupled to the "no discussion" approach taken by the mods for RPG.SE, even if that system is D&D-whatever, is a poor plan.

It's most important to not preclude the discussions-in-comments which lead to better answers, especially for 5E.

But 5E may not even do well at launch.

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