M.A. Site Progress

First Post May 21, 2020 10:15 AM

Ben & Daniel,

I've been a member of the site for almost a year now and I have been wondering how you feel the site is progressing, particularly how it is measuring up to the expectations you had for it when you began. Are you pleased with where it is now and how would you like to see it develop going forward?

I understand these are quite heavy questions and I have no wish to put you on the spot, so don't feel obliged to respond, I was just curious.

May 21, 2020 12:25 PM

I absolutely love it to be honest. It's everything we envisaged it would be & more & it's proven to be the perfect thing to fill the gap that was left when we realized that we couldn't continue with the podcast. I absolutely love talking about metal music with other passionate metalheads & it's been the perfect platform for that but it would be great if we could find a way to build the numbers a bit faster. I don't think I ever realized the sheer amount of effort that would have to go into marketing the site in order to keep the membership numbers trickling over & it took me a while to discover that most of our audience aren't necessarily the types to associate with large social groups of metal fans who they would progressively bring into the fold.That's not something that's going to discourage us from continuing but it's certainly a frustration & I'd be a happy man if anyone could suggest a better marketing plan than I'm currently employing. 

As for the future, I'm hoping that we can continue to develop the clan culture & add a little bit of competition at some point. I'd like to see the clans becoming mini-communities in themselves with their own leaders/moderators who share the marketing, population & maintenance load with us. I'm also looking forward to the charts becoming more & more relevant as our database grows. I'm actually planning to encourage more up-&-coming band members & labels to join the site as regular contributors as I'd like to be able to give our members band's an avenue for reaching a new market through our monthly feature releases & I'd also like to see more & more regular recommendations happening between the regulars as we find ourselves becoming more accustomed to each others unique tastes so as to make Metal Academy the very best resource to find new metal music.

How are you guys feeling about the site? Do you have any requests or suggestions that you feel would improve it?

May 21, 2020 12:56 PM

Other things I'm digging about the site:

1. The Hall Of Judgement concept. I think it gives the site a real edge & I really enjoy contributing to it. I can't wait to see what it looks like with a few more active members.

2. The Clan Challenges aren't something that appeals to me personally as I don't think I need to be a part of another clan & committing to a long list of reviews seems a little beyond me right now but I've been so pleasantly surprised by the response to Ben's concept. I wonder if we can expand on it in the future?

3. The monthly feature releases are a real passion of mine because they're a fantastic conversation starter & an avenue for people to learn about new bands & subgenres. I'm hoping that more & more people get involved with those so that we get to a stage where dozens of reviews & posts are coming in for each release. I really enjoy the process of selecting them too. I look forward to it each month & try to give us an even blend of classics & lesser known releases.

4. I want to continue to expand on the Metal Academy Lists section so that metal fans have a great resource for learning about specific subgenres or selected periods in the metal story.

5. I'm so grateful & flattered that our regular contributors see enough value in this concept to continue to return despite it only being early days. I'm convinced that your faith will pay off in time but until then I'm hoping that you're all enjoying it as much as I am.

6. Ben has put a huge amount of effort into the population & maintenance of the database & ensuring that the site looks amazing & functions correctly. He's really done an amazing job at building this site for our enjoyment.

May 21, 2020 02:21 PM

Thanks for the reply Daniel.

I'm sure I speak for all the "regulars" when I say we really appreciate the time, effort and obvious passion both yourself and Ben put into the site in order to give all visitors a positive and rewarding experience.

May 21, 2020 07:58 PM

I am a moderator on another site and seen all aspects of marketing deployed by the site owner ranging from a merch store with a prize for the top poster each week through to offering advertising space to labels/distros and bands but the place has never really taken off despite a FB page.  The promotion section on there is the busiest thread (it is just a forum) and myself and the other mod just put things in the correct thread or ban people who spam deliberately.  There’s not a lot of activity anywhere outside of social media from my experience and places never expand beyond a community really which isn’t always a bad thing but if you want traction is not the place you want to end up.

The amount of work that has gone into the site by Ben and Daniel merits that this place deserves more members to truly appreciate the informative, concise and friendly nature of this place.  There’s an openness here that is rarely found in metal circles which often become entrenched in elitist attitude and this open mindedness is a thing worth celebrating also.  The site has attracted a solid cross section of metal fans and the regulars here seems to genuinely be decent folks here to want to talk about favourites and recent discoveries and I hope that no matter how slow or fast the uptake of new members gets that this ethos isn’t lost.

I genuinely expected the forums to pick up during lockdown but aside from the occasional new member at the other site I visit who just seem to want to shit words all over the Internet it hasn’t really picked up any if I am honest.  I guess in answer to your question Daniel, I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong or there’s much more that can be done to boost activity.  The problem seems to be with the Internet audience generally not the site itself which in so many ways is already a massive success.

If everyone who joined had the enthusiasm of Shadowdoom then we’d be flooded with activity 😊 My grumpy old ass will probably always be around in some way shape or form as long as there’s albums to review and wrongs to be righted.


May 21, 2020 09:01 PM

I'm relieved to read that actually Vinny. I figured I've been approaching it in the wrong way but perhaps I haven't & we'll simply have to rely on a slow build. Neither of us mind if that's the case but I'll continue to put in the effort as I genuinely want to give more people the opportunity to enjoy the site.

Ben
Ben
The Fallen The Horde The North The Pit
May 21, 2020 10:14 PM

Personally, I'm very proud of what we already have here. I kind of gave up on having an enormous community a long time ago, and have instead focused on making the site as good and as complete as it can be. I really enjoy adding bands, releases and lists, and I figure if I still find value in the site (which I do), then there are bound to be others that also do.

There are still a few things that I'd like to do to make Metal Academy even better, but they are incredibly time consuming tasks, so I'd need help. These include adding tracklists, subgenres and perhaps even lyrics. I'm sure there are more unique things we could do with the clans, so I'm thinking that might be the place to focus to further differentiate the site.

I've considered encouraging a points system for activity, but haven't really seen that lead to anything interesting on other sites. If anything, members that have grand titles tend to treat newcomers like peasants, and I always want to encourage respect and equality. I agree that the community here is very friendly and accepting so far, and that's something I will always want to have. If it has to remain relatively small for that to be the case, then that's fine.

I'm considering working with my developer in the next few months, so if anyone has anything they think could improve Metal Academy, please speak up. I'm not sure that there has been anything that anyone has requested so far that I haven't implemented or at least considered very carefully.

Oh, one other thing...while it's not visible yet, I've been adding release dates to every release on the site for the past year or so, and have slowly been going back to all the early releases and adding them. As with album covers, I've been scouring many sources to find the most accurate dates, and will bring them into play in some fashion at some point. To give you some insight into the backend of the site, the following releases have an anniversary today...



May 21, 2020 10:50 PM

Fuck! I totally forgot!

*rushes out to buy 37 birthday presents*

May 21, 2020 11:04 PM
Happy 28th and 25th birthdays to the first and third children of the My Dying Bride family!
May 22, 2020 03:01 AM

Thanks for the insight guys. Personally speaking, I enjoy the site immensely and one of the main reasons is that it fosters a respect for each other that is sorely lacking on most other sites (music related or otherwise) and is something of which you are right to be enormously proud. 

I agree with you Ben that points-based systems only seem to breed an atmosphere of contempt and over-inflated egos, as they seem to inevitably lead to a hierarchical membership. MA's greatest strength is that, no matter your musical preferences, it's members consider everyone else's points of view as valid and feel no need to belittle or sneer at their opinions.

The other obvious unique aspect of the site is the clan-based membership, a brilliant concept that I suspect has a huge amount of potential going forward. 

Again I would just like to express my appreciation to both of you and all the other members who make the site what it is and as for the membership increasing, as someone once said "if you build it, they will come!"

May 22, 2020 02:26 PM

Like Sonny said, this thread has been a treat, and I think one important thing to remember about an extensive site like this is that being as active and passionate about music like the regulars in here are is hard work! Having informed discussions in a forum format and interacting with people the way that we do right now isn't for everyone. Obviously we don't expect everyone or anyone to come in and write novels, but it can be difficult to constantly engage in discussions that require a lot of thought/critiquing/opinions. Obviously Daniel and Ben would love to get more members like us in here, but I think it's also important to think about features that require less commitment, while still maintaining the atmosphere the people above me have commented on. I don't have any ideas at this moment, but I think it's an important perspective to keep in mind in order to make the site more accessible to more people. There's an endless amount of possibilities thanks to the Clan system though!

May 22, 2020 07:43 PM
I'd really like everyone to have a good hard think about what an expansion of the clan concept might look like. We're very much open to your ideas.
May 22, 2020 11:50 PM

I'm considering working with my developer in the next few months, so if anyone has anything they think could improve Metal Academy, please speak up. I'm not sure that there has been anything that anyone has requested so far that I haven't implemented or at least considered very carefully.


Quoted Ben


Ben, can you see if there's a way that we can better inform people that they have the option to select three clans when registering on the site? It's obviously not intuitive as we get so many people selecting just the one.

May 23, 2020 12:21 AM


I'm considering working with my developer in the next few months, so if anyone has anything they think could improve Metal Academy, please speak up. I'm not sure that there has been anything that anyone has requested so far that I haven't implemented or at least considered very carefully.


Quoted Ben


Ben, can you see if there's a way that we can better inform people that they have the option to select three clans when registering on the site? It's obviously not intuitive as we get so many people selecting just the one.

Quoted Daniel

I agree with you, Daniel. Exhibit A:

Eh, unless the single-clan members explain a valid reason, like if death metal, progressive metal, or black metal is their sole favorite and that may be why they only chose The Horde, Infinite, or North as their one clan.

Ben
Ben
The Fallen The Horde The North The Pit
May 23, 2020 04:00 AM

I've attempted previously to make it so you have to select three clans to be able to proceed, but wasn't able to do it. It pretty clearly states to select 3 clans when registering, but obviously it's not clear enough for a lot of people. Either that or they're intentionally only selecting one.

I should also point out that I attempt to contact every single member that joins the site with less than three clans. I think about two of them have ever responded with additional clans. Of the ones in the image shadowdoom posted above, literally none of them have responded.

It's also worth noting that it could be people registering just to see what happens, and that don't actually have any intention of being active. vandalize is a bit of an anomaly, in that he/she have posted reviews, yet never responded to my questions around adding two more clans.

Anyway, I guess I can put a message below the clan selection saying something like "REMEMBER THAT YOU CAN SELECT 3 CLANS!" Anyone got a better idea?