View Full Version : What's happened to Thrillnetwork?

Chris L
11-02-2007, 12:16 AM
This site has fallen so far behind on news stories and keeping up database updates. There are easily over 7 recent news stories that haven't been put up yet here -- so many database entries that are not updated or added -- and as a result of inactivity and lack of fresh content, I've seen member activity here decline rapidly.

I know everyone here has lives outside of Thrillnetwork, but boy since my absence everything here, I have noticed that the morale and the focus to improve and maintain a great site and community has deteriorated. Is the staff just "over it"?

It's kind of disheartening to see. This site used to be so on top of things, what's happened? I'm not being disrespectful, I'm just wondering if it's only me that's noticed these changes for the worse.

11-02-2007, 12:19 AM
Dunno, but I've noticed it too. Seems like General Console talk and NFL are the most active threads.

11-02-2007, 01:53 AM
A lot of people don't love coasters as much as they used to on here. Check out this thread: http://www.thrillnetwork.com/boards/showthread.php?t=42750

I personally still love riding coasters when I get the chance.

Brian F
11-02-2007, 02:09 AM
Chris: You'd have to talk to Steven , but I think we may have room for another editor. If you have somewhat early access to news stories, maybe you could help fix the issues you mention.

Please don't take that as a snippy retort, because it is not. I'm seriously asking if you'd like to help solve the problem.

Chris L
11-02-2007, 02:20 AM
^ I didn't take that as a snippy retort at all. :)

I have vaguely discussed this with Steven, but he feels it's just not the right time for me to be reinstated as a staff member. When he feels the time is appropriate, I assume he'll let me know.

11-02-2007, 07:35 AM
Most of that blame could actually fall on your former fellow staffers that are no longer with us. Many were brought on, did little or nothing, and we cut them because they didn't even respond to requests in a timely fashion.

We need active people on this site helping out, and when people can't do it, they shouldn't be part of staff. Right now, we're simply out of people to pick out.

So, if you are someone who can write, can adhere to the standards we have set forth, and is at least 18, the by all means, drop your name. Of course Chris, you'll still have to wait a bit before I can even re-consider you re-joining.

Brian F
11-02-2007, 09:40 AM
Now I feel silly for forgetting that Chris has already been on staff. Is 39 too young for alzheimers to be setting in?

11-02-2007, 10:54 AM
^ I have spats of it at 35. ;)

Like Steve said, most of the editors were booted because they didn't do a darn thing.

Basically it's just myself and Bryan Wood posting stories these days and frankly, the stories out on the net are pretty few and far between as well.

For some reason, they just aren't as previlent as they used to be. Also consider, it's off season now. That has a lot to do with it too.

Also, I try to post news worthy things, not just "Two Face got stuck again" type things. Stuff like that is not really news to me and I try to only post stuff that would actually be interesting to read.

TN also comes and goes (the boards) in waves. Sometimes it's really busy, sometimes its slow. That doesn't mean things have "fallen off".

11-02-2007, 11:56 AM
I too have recently noticed a decline in activity. I think there are a few factors that play into this. As mentioned above, it is now the off season for much of the country. By nature, this will lead to slower boards and less activity. There is also usually a decline in activity when the summer ends. People get back in the swing of things at college or highschool, and have much less time to post online.

I still see Thrillnetwork as the best coaster forum on the internet. While the news updates may be sparse, it is still an incredible website. TN has so much to offer. Memeber participation here will flow from high to low continually. That's just the way it is.

11-02-2007, 03:50 PM
I have sort of been noticing this too, and it somewhat sad, but I do think the main reason is because of people going back to school or fulltime jobs. I know I am in my 1st year at highschool and I have had less time to post on the boards, but I still try to get in as much time as I can. I'd would love to be a staff member but I lack the requirement of being 18 year old.

Jimmy B
11-02-2007, 07:17 PM
As far as "offseason" goes, if most of the active members lived this far south, there would be no offseason blues. ;)
Just thought I'd point that out.

I think the Speedzone department might use a few more aboard.

Leo C
11-02-2007, 09:48 PM
I agree with Wes that some stories I see on other sites are just ridiculous like: Two Face stuck again. This one takes the cake: Two guys banned from BGE for taping a staged stuck in the restraint incident. Guy really had a screwdriver to mess with Griffon's restraint. This trashy story was on a site that sounds like a bee. I'm glad we don't link stuff like that.

I think morale is just down with the changes in the industry being implemented. The parks are changing due to guest patterns, park financial health. I'm worried. There is also not news at times. I'm not an ACEr. I don't have special connections but I read now and then off other sites and bring back here like our California Great America/new 2009 woodie story.

11-03-2007, 01:40 PM
I've noticed there is not as many good threads to post compared to what it was like 2 years ago.

11-03-2007, 01:48 PM
If there was a way to track board activity, it would be interestig to see a graph charting the nmber of posts per month over the last few years. I think we just need to wait it out though. Things will pick up again. Honestly, I'm happy that this isn't an overly active board. Some sites get so many posts every day, that it is annoying to follow different threads.

11-05-2007, 02:19 PM
I think a big problem is after a while now, a lot of longtime members seemed to either have lost interest in posting about the same stuff over and over again or coasters in general. For the most part, people only seem to be interested in talking about Cedar Point, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Great Adventure, Carowinds, Holiday World and a couple other parksnow and then. I see threads about fairly big parks with interesting topics that go nowhere because a lack of interest.

So now, it's mostly topics regarding other issues such as mentioned above like video games and football that are popular. There just isn't much to talk about coasters after older members have said and seen it all.

Kyle L
11-05-2007, 09:43 PM
Is the staff just "over it"?

I'm over coasters to be honest, but not posting and discussing various things on here.

11-07-2007, 01:58 AM
This site used to be so on top of things, what's happened? I'm not being disrespectful, I'm just wondering if it's only me that's noticed these changes for the worse.
I dunno... maybe they got caught up in censorship?

11-07-2007, 08:08 AM
Maybe it's just that your comments weren't adding to the discussion, Joseph. The last one that was deleted was very pointless and almost considered spam. So, yeah, we're going to censor that.

And if you feel it's unjust, you can quit coming. You do have the power to do that. Anyone who doesn't like a site, yet continues to come to it and complain really has no life.

11-07-2007, 11:21 AM
To be honest with all of you... I've been noticing this going on for well over a year or two now.

The problem lies largely with the fact that we just don't have the man power to keep things as up to date anymore. There are a variety of reasons why we are down in numbers now. Many staffers have lives outside the site, or lost interest in coasters, or (in my case) no longer find the work fulfilling. This isn't to say that staffers past and present don't still care about ThrillNetwork. This just indicates that staffers aren't able to give as much as they used to.

In addition, I think part of it is largely that the community base that ThrillNetwork was built on grew up, they moved on... and no one ever took their place. If you notice a large majority of the 'big posters' all signed up within the first year or so that the site started. I think part of this has to do with the simple fact that it was difficult for new members to join and prosper on the site because of the attitudes and click-ish nature of some of the 'big posters'. Ive always felt as if it was hard for 'newbies' to break into the site and because of that... they leave and never become that next generation of regulars that ThrillNetwork needed. In all honestly I think the seeds for the current slump were planted a few years ago. Because of that it is going to be hard to re-energize an old member base as well as stimulate and cultivate a new one. A large reason this is going to be hard to do however is that our content has also stagnated.

ThrillNetwork is your (the members) site just as much as it is the staffs site. If you want to see Thrillnetwork grow once again you have to help us. We don't know what direction you want us to take the site to. It would also be a huge help if members submitted content such as news, database entries/changes, photos, videos, game files (NL, RCT, etc).

I know that I have TONS of things that i think could be improved or changed on ThrillNetwork to make the site great again. However, I don't work on such things because... well... I have other things to do, and I don't feel as if my work would be appreciated if I even did it. I mean, I don't think people realize the amount of work it is to develop the code that runs a large dynamic site like ThrillNetwork. I don't expect people to care about how the systems that TN run work... however, I don't feel that if I were to release something new for TN that people would even notice or care. That is largely why I personally have stopped working on ThrillNetwork. We were supposed to release a new version of the site nearly two years ago... however, as usual... it never materialized. There are soooooooo many things that need to be done but... no one to do them.

If anyone is interested in helping, then, I would be more then willing to discuss what could be done for new development of TN. But until then... nothing will probably get done.

Anyway, thats really just my little rant... It probably makes no sense (since I didn't proofread it).

Brian F
11-07-2007, 11:48 AM
Alright, I'm throwing this out as a challenge to everyone (staff, newbie, been here too long) that thinks TN can and/or should be better.

Give us your ideas.

I'm not asking you to do serious work (but if you want, that might be arranged also) just your IDEAS. What would you do different if YOU were in charge?

Any ideas- technical, database, news, moderation, whatever- tell us how you would do it different. There's no promise that your ideas will be put into practice, only a promise that they will be read.

To take what Graham said a step further, this is much more the site of the members than of the staff.

So, if you have an idea you think would help, post it. Now if you're going to post something like the suggestion of copyright infringement, then whine about censorship when the post gets deleted, maybe you should consider whether you're part of the solution or part of the problem.

Chris L
11-07-2007, 01:04 PM
Not sure if there are the resources to do this, but I think TN has good potential to expand into areas where other coaster sites aren't doing.

Our database right now is pretty extensive and large and easily one of the highlighting points of this site. It features all kinds of rides, not just limited to roller coasters, which is something no other community offers. Part of what made TN so fun is that it is member customizable with profiles, "friends lists," personal ride count, etc...

With YouTube and other video upload sites doing so well, I figured TN could probably get in on video uploads as well -- somehow implemented with the database. Not sure how much intricate programming it may take on Graham's behalf or if there is enough bandwith space that allows for such a thing but for example:

Each ride in the database has its own specifications box, user comment section, photo gallery --- why not add a member-upload video gallery for rides? It would be something unique to the site and allow for more member contribution and participation in helping the site grow. The more content and the more variety of content could only help. I have visited so many enthusiast community sites and even major video sharing sites where you can find hundreds of ride and park footage shot by amateurs. TN could be a place to share these kinds of files.

I also think expanding on member profiles -- to almost be like a "personal homepage user profile" on TN would increase member activity and interest (kind of like a TN version of MySpace or Facebook.)

And if it's possible, try to bring back staff incentives. The more a staff member contributes and helps with site maintenance and updates, they could earn rewards based on an accumulated point scale. I'm sure part of the reason why the staff gets so "half-assed" with tasks is because they don't get anything in return. Nobody will take a "job" seriously if they aren't compensated in some way (I'm not saying they should be paid, just some sort of compensation) --- I mean, even recognition for a task well done isn't really given here.

Same said about members. The more a member contributes to the site (whether it be via upload to the media database, news/features submissions) they could be given a type of higher member ranking in the community. And also we could do like a bi-monthly member awards -- in which an icon can be displayed in a section of an award winner's profile section.

As for the new version of TN...I think it's come close to that time to going through with it! Many other sites have at least changed up the appearance with at least new banners or colors, but TN has really gotten stale. Though a layout overhaul would be nice, it wouldn't be a total necessity. A few minor aesthetic tweaks and mods could give the site a fresher appearance.

I'm just a bit relieved this issue hasn't been just kept behind doors. Otherwise nobody would have taken charge to at least explore some ideas as to how to keep TN somewhat afloat. Another year with the site as it is, it'll just become another Thrillride.com

Those are just a few ideas. My $0.02.

11-07-2007, 01:48 PM
Thank you Chris! I agree, videos would really help add to the database.

I also feel that the database is really one of the best assets of this site. The content we have in it is for the most part something you can not find on any other web site (or at least... not all in one place... and not without having to do a LOT of searching for some of it). I have a list of well over 20 additions/modifications that I would LOVE to see happen for the database. However, one of the problems is that the backend for the version of ThrillNetwork we are running on is OLD and would be unable to support most of the modifications. Which is why the updates are probably never going to happen. Because to do so... we would have to update the code for the entire site in order to build a framework that could support all the new features.

I also feel that making the site more community based would be nice. I think adding a blog type feature to user profiles would help with this as well integrating ride and park counts into user profiles more closely.

Actually, with that... Our ride and park count system is very unique and is a very good system. However there are also MANY updates I would like to see happen with it. In fact there are a few updates that would NEED to be done before ANYTHING could be updated on that system.

As far as motivation of staff and users, I agree a rewards system would be nice. We have tried to implement such a system in the past for news editors. But I always felt such a system was a bit unfair considering database and speed zone editors also do a lot of work but never were recognized for it. Also, the idea of user rewards is interesting... maybe we can figure something out.

And yes, I agree, it is nice to have such discussions in the open this time... as I have made these exact same points time and time again in the staff forums... and no one pays any attention. So, its your site... you should really have a say in the direction we take the site.

Also... I really hope to see more suggestions for the site. Anything. be it a big or small suggestion. As long as its constructive I am more then willing to hear you out about it. :)

11-07-2007, 02:32 PM
I too am glad that this discussion is out in the open. Chris' suggestions were great. I love the video idea. The incentives are anote good idea to keep people interested.

I think that Speedzone is wonderful section of TN. Unfortunately, there seems to be nearly no interest in it. I feel that if the site could spike interest in this section, the whole site would benefit. I know it was done in the past, but I think SZ shoul try to bring back some official contests. An official NL contest or challenge would be great for the site. It would need to be advertised elsewhere on the site though, in order to catch people attention. Just something to bring people into Speedzone would be good.

TN could also look into pairing up with another coaster site. If another site were to link to TN, and if TN were to do the same, that would be good. Get the name out there. Themeparkreview is one of the most active sites around. If you could get them to promote TN, and inturn have TN promote TPR, site interest may rise. I'm sure I will have more ideas in the future, but that's all for now. Thanks for allowing us to speak our minds.

11-07-2007, 03:04 PM
Just a quick comment about the blog option.

We actually did try that about a year ago and noone seemed to use it.

Not saying it would fail a second time, but I just wonder if it would be worth messing with again.

Frankly I don't read many blogs myself personally, I don't know if others are different.

On staff rewards...

We did just get a great update for the editors, but I agree that there should be something for the other staffers as well.

Maybe instead of points, there would be like...for each month of active service on the site, you get $X. Which means if you slack off, you get nada.

11-07-2007, 03:37 PM
I am glad this stuff is getting out and I agree with every idea you guys have had and I would love to see this stuff happen. On idea that was brought up in another thread and I think would help thi problem out a lot is have some kind of site get together or trip. It could help to have people really get to know each other. As much as I love this site now, I would love it if some changes went into place to make it even better. One way to incorparate the reward system is go along the lines of Xbox 360. fot hose of you that have one, I'm sure you know that you get Achievments for accomplishing tasks in games and each acheivment contibutes to an overall Gamerscore. What if we had our own acheivments that instead of Giving Gamerscore, Give our own version such as Riderscore, or TN points. I have an endless list of stuff that can be awarded for going through my head at this moment.

Kyle L
11-07-2007, 03:38 PM
These threads always come up every off-season when a old member returns to find TN in the same state as they left it.

What's happened to ThrillNetwork? It's pretty much the same as you left it. I don't get why TN is supposed to change overnight and incorporate tons of new features, there is a explosion of new members, and everyone is supposed to love coasters.

As I've mentioned before in a thread, my love for coasters has faded; I just don't find the need to urge to go out and ride them all the time. I still find them fascinating pieces of technology, but I've moved on.

Either way, not sure what the future will bring for TN, but we always move on.

Chris L
11-07-2007, 04:49 PM
What's happened to ThrillNetwork? It's pretty much the same as you left it. I don't get why TN is supposed to change overnight and incorporate tons of new features, there is a explosion of new members, and everyone is supposed to love coasters.

That's a shame that you can't see it. It's not the same "as I left it." When you are apart of a community since 2001, leave for six months, you can really get a feel for how things are different -- and in the case of TN as of now, it's for the worse. You personally can't say the same, having been using TN on a regular basis (I presume) so you wouldn't really be able to see it from my point of view.

It's like when your distant relatives come visit and they see you for the first time in over six months to a year. They grab and pinch at you and say you've changed so much and in your head you think you're the same person and haven't changed a bit. But in reality, you have changed but don't realize it because you're so used to being around yourself or in this case, TN. A weird analogy, but you get the idea.

As I've mentioned before in a thread, my love for coasters has faded; I just don't find the need to urge to go out and ride them all the time. I still find them fascinating pieces of technology, but I've moved on.

That's fine, but Thrillnetwork was built and operates mainly around the amusement park industry and roller coasters. I'm not saying that this site doesn't also cover a lot of other ground and interests, but fact is, it is primarily a roller coaster/theme park enthusiast community and website with content targeted mainly to this interest point.

I don't think TN should alter its focal point and founding basis just because a few members decided they got bored with roller coasters.

Kyle L
11-07-2007, 06:08 PM
When you are apart of a community since 2001...

I joined in 2001 too buddy. Technically I've been here longer than you have...

I might seem sour cause I'm tired of people that have gotten banned from TN to talk bad about it nonstop on AIM, oh wait, thats just one person...I'll let you guys guess who it is.

Hint: It's not you.

Chris L
11-07-2007, 08:06 PM
^ I wasn't aware they changed it so that the month of June came before May. ;)

So technically, you haven't been here as long as I have. :)

And how is my bringing to attention the decline of TN content and activity to push for future site improvement anything like some other member that got banned and talked trash? How is that similar in any kind of way? Maybe you misinterpreted the intention of this thread.

11-07-2007, 11:09 PM
I would help but I have no way of knowing what is going on without sites like this and others. I have no connections with the amusement industry.

Kyle L
11-08-2007, 01:44 AM
And how is my bringing to attention the decline of TN content and activity to push for future site improvement anything like some other member that got banned and talked trash? How is that similar in any kind of way? Maybe you misinterpreted the intention of this thread.

Maybe I did...

I don't know, you gave us some good ideas and things we can work on, and that's great and all. I'm just enjoying TN for what it is. Could it be better? Sure. Just enjoy what TN has to offer now is all I'm saying.

11-15-2007, 06:47 PM
Another idea that just came to mind is that we could use newer items in the sites store.

Sir Willow
11-16-2007, 01:13 PM
Well, as one of those former staffers who just got to busy with his outside life to even have time to look over here for a while, and thus was part of the "problem"...

And as someone that has been here for as long as anyone else (got ya beat Kyle and Chris and I both joined on day 1, ha!)

Welcome to the cycle of life guys! In case you hadn't noticed, almost every other coaster site out there as seen a decrease in activity, with only one real exception that I'm aware of because of the rabid fan base that follows a certain person. What I'm seeing is that in many ways it's almost a hobby wide thing.

Many have "matured" and are not as obsessive as they were at one time. I still love coasters but I just don't have the time (or money) to seek after them like I did in the past. I think that's true for many. Those who helped really start the site in 2001 were predominantly young high school or college age. 6 years later most of them are out of school, into careers, families, and don't have the free time that they used to. And not as many young ones have come on board, though i don't think that's due to the people here so much as it is for other things competing for their attention (e.g. youtube, facebook, myspace, etc.) Even those with free time only have so much of it.

That said, I would love to see the improvements in the database that others have mentioned- especially having helped at one point to input parks and rides myself. It's to bad it would take so much work to rebuild it. Personally, I'd love to see it rebuilt more as a Wiki, where more people could update and interact with it Maybe find a way to limit it so that only people with so many posts on the forums could update it, but so that it didn't rest on just a couple of people as in the past.

the news articles are nice, but frankly not the highlight. I use a Google search that automatically sends me updates on the industry anyways, and I'm sure that's true of many who are really interested. For me at least the database and the forums were always the highlights of the site.

11-16-2007, 11:35 PM
Well, my personal take is, every site I've been visiting recently, amusement and non related, has been declining. General interest (As earlier said in the thread) in sites like Facebook, MySpace and others, has risen. People would rather (especially in the US) divulge us with nothing we care about.

My suggestions- bring the site out of 2004- it needs a nifty new clean, but colorful scheme, (think Talon or Hydra) but not over image-i-fied (one of the things I love about the current site). It's possible to make a drop-dead gorgeous site with very few images, making shorter load times.

Increased COMMUNITY interest would help too. The thing with the other coaster community sites is, despite universal disinterest, the communities are moderately strong going.

Encouraging more use of the database would be excellent- it's a wonderful tool that I see used rarely to never.

Speedzone could benefit from a "Web 2.0" makeover- post featured rides and have an Apple-esque scroller for images and ride videos, etc.

I have a number of ideas I'm sitting on for [I]many sites right now, so this is my 2, but I can double it to 4 if you're interested. :)

11-17-2007, 05:46 AM
We are all slaves/suckups to Bill Gates and Microsoft, so we despise anything that reminds us of Apple now LOL.

Seriously though, the rise of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook and the decline of other sites in general have been a huge factor. There are other bits, including mistakes on the staff part (current and former, myself included), plus there are external factors, such as changing tastes, disinterest, and shifts in ability to commit. When I started, I was still in college, with all the time to spare. Fast forward five years later, I'm working full time (and then some) as a network engineer and including God in my life again (and as a result, doing more stuff with my church that I joined since moving to Tennessee). Add to the fact that working for two amusement parks changed how I am as an enthusiast (I went from being one of one of the almost stereotypical enthusiasts to one who tends to despise them because of how they act in parks). My fellow techie on this site went from having all the time in the world to being in college full time plus having a social life, and along with that a decline in enthusiasm for coasters. Can I blame him? No, I can't.

Do I despise you as members as a result? No, I don't. Without you guys, we don't have a site. Also, most of you aren't that stereotypical enthusiast, unlike people on other sites. Yeah, you get your bad apples here and there, but we try to do our best to get them out before they spoil the bunch. Of course, as I'm writing this, I have an episode of CSI playing that I recorded on my DVR, "Turn of the Screws (http://www.thrillnetwork.com/stories_view.php/258/csi_takes_rollercoasteresque_plot.html)." In the end, Gil Grissom (William Petersen) has a discussion with a coaster mechanic that reminds me of some of the ones I've seen on this site, and I an't help but laugh.

Also, in the 6 years, my tolerance for idiots have decreased severely, while my contempt for them has increased dramatically. You may notice that in some of my posts. I'm not going to hide that here. But, the fact of the matter is, you can't please everyone, and those that feel they must be a direct adversary with some apparent ulterior motive against certain staffers (myself included) has no place on this site. People who can constructively criticize as most of you are doing do belong on here, and as long as people can continue to be that way, we'll continue to listen to those people.

Silence solves nothing, neither does being a complete ass. Cooperation and respect takes care of everything. As long as these continue the way they have, we'll continue to listen and respect you. and we'll find some way to implement the best ideas.

I'll just take complete credit for it (LOL, j/k).

Kyle L
11-17-2007, 04:30 PM
Speedzone could benefit from a "Web 2.0" makeover- post featured rides and have an Apple-esque scroller for images and ride videos, etc.

Cover Flow for Speedzone? Good idea, but I don't think it would really be effective should you ask me.

See, I want to create a Facebook/MySpace Profile for your RIDE for Speedzone, so you can show it off, get suggestions and ideas and such, instead of uploading it and having it be just a simple nlride.zip thing.

I do like where you're going though, I think we should simplify the home page.

12-15-2007, 02:06 PM
Can I help in anyway? I'd be willing...I'm back from my internship and I have a bunch of spare time on my hands.