Suggestion Disccussion on making the RPF a private site

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
Having the forum be private doesn't deter scam artists, recasters, sock-puppets from signing up. Doesn't create more new users and doesn't make people more involved with the forum, trying to be part of the community. It brings absolutely nothing. I can understand keeping the Junkyard hidden, but that's pretty much it.

Sure... I don't understand the need to make search engines be able to easier catalog threads, so you can search them out from google, for instance or publishing on and linking to RPF threads on facebook and other such sites. Makes no sense to me.

We are an underground hobby of thieves... shining too much light and attention on ourselves just seems mighty foolish to me.
 

Qui-Gonzalez

Master Member
I think there are two seperate issues here and would prefer to make sure I know which we are talking about. As I see them we have:

1) Old time members not liking open registration / the influx of newbies

2) Builders not liking that the site is now indexable by search engines

When any of you talk about making the site "private", what is it you are hoping to achieve? Are you hoping not to have new members? Are you hoping to hide? Help me understand what "private" means to you.
Art, these issues are the same. In our discussions, I have NEVER said I hated the influx of newbies. Some of them do bring fresh blood to the place, which we need. What I hate are the ones who cannot even be bothered to bring enthusiasm. They want to join to buy the newest doo-dad and this attitude, coupled with you wanting google to find threads here, are driving crafters to silence.

What some of our artisans seem to be forgetting is the studios already have people in place in regards to watching this place. Nothing you have done has been a secret from them. As far as sockpuppeting goes, there is nothing to be done about it, save for diligence on the part of members and staff. The thing is, sockpuppets wage a war of attrition. They want to wear the staff down, and your open registration will lead to that very thing. "What's the point? They keep coming in every week" will be the response.

This place should NEVER EVER be private, semi or otherwise. It wasn't when we old folks joined, it should not be now. The spotlight should be turned off though.
 

ItsThatGuy

Sr Member
I understand why people want The RPF to become private, but are we saying invite only or what?

I run a local forum and when we had the forum set to private we had a ton of people signing up just to see what we were about and they never came back. We then made changes so unregistered guests could see certain threads to get a taste of we were about first.

Also why not set groups up? People that meet the 90 days + 25 post will be members and then and only then will they have PM rights. Or is there a way to make it some members can block PMs from people who don't meet those requirements?
 

CessnaDriver

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Put it under the posters control of whether they want a thread private or not.

If someone has something they would rather not want the entire world to see they could have that option.

Otherwise, cutting off the entire forum to the public is a big mistake.

How many of us were lurkers first?

Ya gotta have that visibility and you need to encourage the hobby with new enthusiasts. That is good for everyone. That is too important a function to give up for extreme privacy.
 

Art Andrews

Community Owner
Community Staff
Sure... I don't understand the need to make search engines be able to easier catalog threads, so you can search them out from google, for instance or publishing on and linking to RPF threads on facebook and other such sites. Makes no sense to me.
Carsten,

You answered this yourself in the same post. The whole point of indexing the site, as controversial as it seems to be to some, is to "create more new users" and "make people more involved with the forum, trying to be part of the community." It can't be denied that being more open has brought a LOT of new blood and a lot more attention to the site, which is a good thing, but as you and Qui have pointed out, does have some drawbacks.

The good:

New life, fresh blood, new talent (and hopefully a few old timers who worked in the industry) being brought to a board whose previous policy of mostly closed registration, in my opinion (and I know everyone doesn't share this assessment) was turning away a lot of good people who would never return and slowly killing the site.

The bad:

As Qui very aptly stated, anytime you have newbies, you are bound to have some bad ones and there are going to be some growing pains. Furthermore, this site has a membership, the bulk of whom are males above 30. However, we have a lot of younger members coming in, probably more than we have ever seen, and with this comes a generally less mature audience and what appears to be an audience that would seem to have a bit more of an entitlement mentality (won't even get into the politics of that) as well as an expectation of instant gratification which obviously grates the nerves of the old timers.

However, I think most of these individuals will either adapt or move on, and if they don't adapt and don't move on, that is why the staff is here... to help them move on.

The other "bad" thing is the potential overexposure of the site that might bring some type of retaliation from the studios/licensees. It makes me sad to know that there are those out there who are just waiting and hoping for the next C&D to be issues so they can crow from the rooftops about how we are bringing an end to the hobby and how they told everyone this would happen. Mark my words here, it will happen.... but I believe it would have happened either way. There were C&Ds issued years and years ago before the site went private. There were C&Ds issued WHILE the site was private. And there is little doubt in my mind that it is only a matter of time before someone who frequents this site will get one at some point in the future. When that happens, all the naysayers will say it is because of the indexing, but unless we see a slew of C&Ds or unless a studio tries to come after the site itself, I will be hard pressed to believe indexing was the cause. While some, who want to make us appear to be the bad guys either way like to characterize our recent efforts to reach out to the licensees as "getting in bed with them", we ARE making an effort to get to know them better, to help them understand the purpose of this site more and to make sure they know if they have an issue here that they know who we are and can feel comfortable coming to us first instead of bringing down the lightning. Does this assure anyone's safety and security or obligate a licensee to come to us first? Absolutely not, but we are making every effort we can to build bridges that will lessen the likelihood of licensees seeing us as a threat.

While I am not blind to the issues brought on by indexing, I believe the good and the long term sustainability it brings to the site far outweighs any bad. I know everyone doesn't agree with that view, but hopefully this does help you at least understand why I feel the way I do a bit better.
 

Qui-Gonzalez

Master Member
Art, I don't even think the "naysayers" are waiting on C&Ds. Some have stopped work already. I think back to the guy who posted his tutorial on paracord whip crafting. After a while, he pulled it down because someone who may or may not have been a member here filched his work and was cutting into his money. This was done before the openness we have now. So, in an instance like that, I would like those who want privacy to tell me how it was different then as to now? The only thing that comes to mind IS the indexing.

What some of the pros here are forgetting is you ALL got your start was the same way the newbies are getting their start...asking questions, or crafting poorly. Every new generation is paving the way for the next.
 

Art Andrews

Community Owner
Community Staff
Art, I don't even think the "naysayers" are waiting on C&Ds.
I wish that were true and I am not by any stretch saying that will be the case of everyone who is against the site being indexed, but if you don't think there will be some crowing when (and again, it IS "when" not "if") the next C&D comes down the pipe, well... lets just wait and see (personally, I hope we are waiting a long time).

Going back to the indexing thing for a minute... here are some more of my personal feelings on why I believe it (tied in closely with open registration) is important.

I believe the RPF is the greatest replica prop community on the internet. It certainly isn't the ONLY great replica prop community as there are dozens of others that are also great but most of them are niche sites like Aliens Legacy, the MEPD, etc. I also believe (as we set out in the purpose statement for the site) that the RPF is the hub of the replica prop community. Is this patting myself on the back? No, because it was that way long BEFORE I got here.

I think I have mentioned this before, but it is worth saying again. I have talked with the staff member who initially blocked indexing and the reason for doing so had little or NOTHING to do with hiding from the studios or having a small footprint. It was a logistical and financial decision because the influx of new members was so great the cost of running the site was increasing beyond the donations that were being taken in and there was a danger of the site being shut down. Over the years, some members, all of who were members BEFORE indexing was blocked, have come to believe the blocking had something to do with hiding from studios and felt somehow protected by this. This belief has been bolstered by detractors of this site whose primary tool is manipulation by fear.

Getting back to the RPF being a great site... While it is certainly debatable, I believe there is more talent on this site than any other replica prop site and a person with a love for movies and the props costumes and models found in them have a better chance of getting questions answered here and finding information here than they do on any other site on the net (again, there are certainly niche sites that delve more deeply into specific subjects).

What I don't believe in is the thought that because you came here a long time ago you have a right to be here but someone who is new to the hobby or just discovering the hobby does not. While I certainly don't want to get into a political issue, this reminds me of people (whose lineage are immigrants) who want the US to close all its borders and stop allowing people to immigrate. All I can say is, aren't you glad someone before you didn't feel that way about your great grandparents... and isn't it a bit hypocritical for you to take that approach? I think back to my own story of how I found this site... I stumbled on it QUITE by accident, looking for something that had nothing to do with Star Wars, which was the predominate topic of the day, and yet that ONE search result that led me here has shaped the last 10 years of my life. Why would I deny that to anyone else? If the RPF hadn't been indexed by then I never would have found it, and if registration had been closed, the chance of me being willing to wait 6 months to come back and hope I caught the right small window of open registration would have been about a million to one.

Again, getting back to the RPF being a great site... as I mentioned in an earlier post, the world is very "instant gratification" now, and if you don't think you are affected by that, really pay attention to your next Google search and notice how petty your reasons are for not going to a search result or not staying on the site of a search result. We all are affected by "if you don't give me what I want when and how I want it, someone else will." Seriously, really pay attention to the next time you search for something and analyze your actions on the sites you click on and then click right back off of.

My point is, if we aren't available and serving those who are interested in what this site has to offer, then someone else will. It is as simple as that. If we do that, there are two losses that take place. First the potential new member loses because this site is an amazing resource and virtually any other place they land will not serve them the way we can. Second, WE as a community lose because that person might be the next Rylo, or the next Cyberman, or the next Adam Savage and might be an amazing resource for us! Why do we allow indexing and why do we have open registration? Because I am not willing to endure those losses or to not serve those people. I believe by being closed off for so long, we have given rise to a number of other sites, thereby segmenting the prop community and watering down the powerful resource we have here. The longer we remained closed, the more new talent and resources flowed to a plethora of other places, meaning the only talent here is the old talent which we naturally slowly lose to attrition, meaning this site slowly becomes less and less of a resource and less and less relevant... and eventually ceases to serve anyone.

Some will read this and think I want the RPF to be the only site on the net. That is ridiculous and unreasonable. It will never happen and the other replica prop sites on the net, especially the niche sites, serve a vital role. However, I absolutely DO want to see this site be all it can be and be a true gateway into this hobby where new talent and new people come, become a part of the community and when they find niches they love (gbfans comes to mind) they go to the site where their niche love is.

Now, I am sure I am going to catch a lot of flack for all of this and our detractors will microanalyze this and tear it apart, but that is more or less how I feel and what I am trying to achieve, a better, long lasting gateway for the lovers of props, costumes, and models to enter into the greater prop community.
 

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
I believe by being closed off for so long, we have given rise to a number of other sites, thereby segmenting the prop community and watering down the powerful resource we have here. The longer we remained closed, the more new talent and resources flowed to a plethora of other places, meaning the only talent here is the old talent which we naturally slowly lose to attrition, meaning this site slowly becomes less and less of a resource and less and less relevant... and eventually ceases to serve anyone.
Personally I think that's a bit overgeneralized. Several of the niche forums I know of and frequent arose from the fact that there was a need for a specific place to discuss one thing, whereas the RPF was for about everything. The Prop Den turned out that way, though, was never created with the intention of becoming what it became, but that's another story. There was just a need to be able to speak freely about Vader that was simply not possible here at the time.

That's only one example. The other forums are for specialization with a narrow subject matter. If all those forums, TDH, MEPD, TPD, etc., where to be disbanded and all their discussions being move to the RPF... sure... the activity would probably increase, but so would the demand for niche specific sections... thus... again... dividing things.

I think the RPF is good for some things... and the niche forums are good for others. If all the niche forums came to the RPF... it would become too big and oversaturated and even more difficult to find what you were looking for, as you'd get prop discussion overload.
 

Art Andrews

Community Owner
Community Staff
Carsten, clearly I didn't articulate my feelings properly, because if I made it sound like I am against niche sites, I am not at all... heck, I still own one of the bigger niche sites!

I absolutely do NOT want to see niche sites absorbed into the RPF. They are an absolutely necessary part of the larger prop community network.

If I did feel that way, you know TDH would have been the first to be "absorbed" but that is never going to happen on any level.
 

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
No, I just took it as you saying the niche sites were a direct result of the RPF. I was just saying that isn't always the case. ;)
 

Art Andrews

Community Owner
Community Staff
I do think many niche sites and even many other general replica prop forums ARE a result of the RPF, but obviously that doesn't apply to every single site and there are plenty of exceptions.
 

cicicross

New Member
I haven't been a member long enough to offer input as to whether it should be made private or not. I did however find the site through a google search for Sith cheerleader uniforms. I scan the board when I can looking for threads to add to so I can get to the point where I can see everything, but since I am not just going to throw meaningless posts out there, I am still far short. I think this is a great place!
 

micdavis

Master Member
People that want (God knows why) to buck the system will find a way.

Even a personal recommendation from confirmed people would let people in.

There are still people here that were smart enough not to get themselves banned during past wars who already feed info to the banned. They would have no problem lying for them.
 

Art Andrews

Community Owner
Community Staff
I haven't been a member long enough to offer input as to whether it should be made private or not. I did however find the site through a google search for Sith cheerleader uniforms. I scan the board when I can looking for threads to add to so I can get to the point where I can see everything, but since I am not just going to throw meaningless posts out there, I am still far short. I think this is a great place!

cicicross, members like you are EXACTLY the reason we opened up the site to Google indexing and the reason we don't want the site to be private. Glad to have you here!
 

Art Andrews

Community Owner
Community Staff
I think charging a buck to a credit card, would help authenticate accounts.
And would also create a ton of cost, work and time that we just don't want to get into, not to mention it would dissuade many from participating at all. If we aren't open, friendly, welcoming, and easy to access, people will just move on to something else. Your heart is in the right place but I can't ever imagine us resorting to something like this. While we do make an effort to protect our members, you also have to realize this is the internet and undesirables are going to get under the fence now and again.
 
Top