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RPG is now getting a little love from CHAOS! Awesome! What does that mean? It means we're going to do our darnedest to promote this site and expand its content, so the entire world can see what an awesome resource RPG.SE is. We aren't stopping until we've taken over the world!

Exaggeration. Anyway, there are a number of things we can do, but there's a smaller number of things we can do without a site design (don't worry, a site design is slowly but surely on its way). A site design means we can get swag made (t-shirts, stickers, d20s, flyers, etc.), and swag means that you all can go to events and your shops and spread the word of RPG.SE with free stuff. But we don't have that...yet.

So what can we do now? Here are some ideas, and I'd love your input, especially pertaining to how these ideas (which have been implemented on other Stack sites) translate to RPG.SE. I'm a newbie to this neck of the woods, you guys are the experts. Let's brainstorm! We can...

  • Start an ongoing Topic of the Week Contest. This has been implemented on SciFi. The purpose of Topic of the Week contests are to increase the amount of questions and content on the site, focus on lesser used tags to vary the content on the site and, sometimes, create content based around new releases to hopefully lure Google traffic. Each week a topic (and tag) is selected, and every question asked in that tag over the course of the week enters the asker into a lottery drawing. At the end of the weeks, a user is drawn at random and they win a prize.

  • Provide new releases or underrepresented releases to high-rep users in the form of a promotional grant (again, see SciFi), in the hopes of increasing the content on the site and capitalize on potential Google traffic.

  • Start a blog, the content of which everyone can share across the vast expanse of the internet. WARNING: Blogs are work and there needs to be a group of people dedicated to make it not suck.

  • Start an RPG Ambassador Program (implemented on some of our academic sites), where Stack Exchange will sponsor your RPG events and gatherings. Granted, these will be a lot cooler when we have swag to hand out, but we can provide generic Stack Exchange stuff for now.

There are much bigger opportunities we can undertake once we get a design in place, but no reason to sit on our laurels until then. Tell me what you think, and answer with what ideas you think we should implement and how you think they could run on RPG. Let's do this!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yay! I'm excited for this! :D I've added tags to this post. Let me know if you need anything else. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Aarthi Feb 3 '12 at 18:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think there's some pretty good content on How can we use gaming conventions to advertise RPG.SE? and really the whole site-promotion tag ... \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Feb 6 '12 at 0:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ As a side offer to @Aarthi and Brett I'd love to run a RPG for you X to give you an idea of what this site is about and why the questions we have are the questions we have. Ping me in chat if you're interested and know you'll have a few hours free. We need as few as two of you to get a feeling for this. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 7 '12 at 18:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ So CHAOS - are you really here to help? We had an initial frenzy of response to your questions but we haven't heard anything out of you for a month now. What's up? \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Mar 23 '12 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I'm in the very slow process of doing a promotion with Obsidian Portal, but that's about it. As I mentioned above, it's pretty much impossible to promote a site that doesn't have a design, and therefore can't have swag or promotion items. So far only one person has taken up my offer for the RPG Ambassador Program (meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/1322/…). If there are other things that can be done for the site that don't include having a brand/logo/swag, let's do it. \$\endgroup\$ – Brett White Mar 23 '12 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Question Contest maybe? \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Mar 23 '12 at 16:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BrettWhite Ah, there's some questions on that Ambassador Program question you might consider answering, I guess I figured of no one was answering the questions the program wasn't on. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Mar 23 '12 at 23:21
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welcome and thank you and CHAOS for your help and cooperation!

There have been a few discussions on meta about flyer content and design, some PAX attention and how to make this site more approachable and popular - They're all easy enough to find, most are in the front page.

My personal view is that our No. 1 priority should be to attract new people. In my mind, that will bring more posts and activity which in turn will allow for more specialised content.

I think the promotional Grants are a great idea! Also, the blog and Ambassador program sound like the sources of the most solid income of new blood on the site.

So, as flyers in gaming shops and conventions have been suggested the most so far, what do you think? Should we have some unofficial, community ones prepped, or wait for the design?

Also, an idea I had a while ago was forum signatures with the most popular questions of the site for people to "wear" in forums everywhere. (either specific questions, so a JPG, or an algorithm choosing from a selection, randomly, a different one on each page refresh, which would have to be flash I guess? or something along those lines, depending on what most forums allow as signatures)

Once again, thank you for your cooperation and welcome to RPG S.E., the "coolest, non-cool" place to be in the Exchange!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You should change that to "the most epic place to be" \$\endgroup\$ – DForck42 Feb 14 '12 at 16:16
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Topic of the Week would be neat, and Grants would be awesome. Wizards is constantly coming up with new product for DND and new rpg's are released, at least ot my knowledge, on a fairly regular interval

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    \$\begingroup\$ It would be awesome if promotional grants focused on indie games that might be underserved in the online space...rather than the highly competitive spaces like wizards or paizo products...but that is just a though.... \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Feb 3 '12 at 17:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle the independent stuff, and the one-off games would be pretty awesome \$\endgroup\$ – DForck42 Feb 3 '12 at 17:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ A parternership with RPGNow or Drivethrough (same company? I can't remember) would be a perfect way to get this up and running. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Feb 3 '12 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @wax eagle (Yep, Same company.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 14 '12 at 16:43
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Personally I think a large opportunity for growth exists in reaching out to the smaller gatherings, in the form of the Ambassador program. Iif active users have flyers, stickers, or whatever else to hand out that provides a really good profile for the site, I think a lot of their gaming buddies will get involved.

So some sort of handouts (ideally highlighting excellent questions and answers, or something similar) for distribution at smaller events (things like a weekly gaming group, student organizations at Universities, etc.) seem appropriate. Of course, the same media is likely usable at large events (conventions, etc.), so it's really just finding a way to target those smaller gatherings as well as the big ones.

Honestly I think a blog wouldn't be very hard; a lot of RPGers I know already do some sort of ongoing description of the game via email or personal blogs and such. Adding in some additional info about the system in question, how it was helpful/harmful, in-house rules for a setting, neat modules...it's obviously work (as mentioned), but I see value in it.

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Hi all and thanks for coming to help out!

I think we've been doing a pretty good job with curation and all, we just need more eyes on the site.

One of our challenges is that there is a very wide variety of RPGs, and it's hard for people to consume all of them. With sci-fi books, great, read a new one a day. RPGs require a lot more investment, an entire group of people has to buy, then read, then play, usually over months of realtime. With the fragmentation of the D&D market into Pathfinder, 4e, and OSR there are certainly "bigger" RPGs but there are very few releases, possibly excepting the new D&D 5e whenever it comes, that is of interest to a large percentage of site users. So just something to keep in mind as context.

Perhaps this will require a design, but then I think the very first promotion steps are:

  1. Well designed flyers that people can put up in local gaming stores, post at conventions and local game days. RPG conventions aren't as big as the PC gaming cons or ComicCon and our calls for "who's going to one" have largely been somewhat silent
  2. "Banner ads" - there are many RPG forums that sell ads cheap (ENWorld, RPG.net) and I think that would be huge in terms of bringing the site to people's notice. Here is an interesting map of the RPG forum world with size=membership for guidance. Or even putting ads in RPG convention programs, like Gen Con's. Again, the $ for these is probably very, very small compared to PAX or whatever. And those of us with blogs and stuff could put them there, I link from my blogroll but that's not exactly premium placement.

Ambassador Program - probably very good. We could reach out to game designers and prominent bloggers (RPGs are so low-money that even famous RPG authors are usually not well of at all, or even full time). They all have vanity forums and blogs and stuff. There are some major "network" kind of events like D&D Encounters and Paizo Organized Play - offering to supply a couple pizzas for one of those and hand out some RPG.SE swag would go over well if we could find the people on the ground to do it. Maybe work through RPG retailers, it's not like there are that many any more (seriously, there's maybe 2 places in Austin that qualify...)

Topic of the Week - probably OK, the real question is how do we do that? If it's leveraging existing membership it needs to be a topic that cuts across systems, like perhaps the kinds the monthly RPG Blog Carnival uses. Tying to new releases is probably less useful just because there are few releases that more than a cursory number of people truly care about.

Grants - I like the idea but am not sure if it's a good fit for RPG. You have to get the book, read it, and ideally play it to know anything about it, and that requires not just one person but a group of people. It will certainly take longer than the usual release-hype/Google SEO cycle especially given that most releases are of interest to ~10% of the user base max.

Blog - I blog a lot and would contribute, but would want more people to commit to updating regularly. We put out that call on meta before and got no takers. The blogs don't really have a lot of premium placement on the site pages so I guess I'm concerned about how much worth they are - it'd be easy to come to RPG.SE and never see the blog, seems like.

Leverage some of the other networks - So for example the RPG Bloggers Network and RPG Blog Alliance would be good places to seed our blog but also they are usually things run out of some guy's house who has trouble coming up with the couple hundred dollars a year to keep it going - may be advertising/sponsorship opportunities there. RPG groups use meetup.com a lot and there's a "sponsor" option there - might be a way to communicate with those meetups to offer to buy the pizzas or whatever.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Having just seen your link to the RPG map, it's be great to get onto there, with RPG.se. \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Feb 4 '12 at 11:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah I guess we'd be up to 2 hexes now... But he says at the bottom "Finally, I probably won't be adding many sites which would only be 1-2 hexes (1000-2500 members), as there are hundreds and hundreds of them. " We'll need to get bigger first. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Feb 4 '12 at 14:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ All great ideas and really, really helpful. This is great. And your point about blogs is very much on our minds over here on CHAOS. We are hoping to get the blogs featured prominently, as they should be, so they don't feel like a weird unnecessary add-on, and more integral to making a site awesome. \$\endgroup\$ – Brett White Feb 6 '12 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BrettWhite let us know how to help with next steps; me and the mod team are ready to help and I'm sure the community is too. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Feb 7 '12 at 1:52

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