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Thread: Something has to change

  1. #1
    Administrator J.Baker's Avatar
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    Something has to change

    Hey guys,

    This is a post that's been coming for a while now, but the last couple months have really made it a necessity. Simply put, this site is slowly dying and if things don't change this could very likely be the last year I will be operating this site.

    The first issue is that over the past three years we have seen a noticeable decline in traffic on the site. This was to be expected as the market continued to reset itself after the booming Obama years as it's only natural for things to revert to normal levels after a spike. Overall traffic on the site (unique visitors, returning visitors, new user registrations, etc) have returned to where I would expect them to be, mimicking the numbers we saw pre- Sandy Hook back in 2012.

    However, what's different now is that our daily new post and new reply numbers are way down compared to in the past. In other words, we have far more lurkers than we do active posters. This might come as a shock to some, but this site is a discussion forum and it can't work if everybody just sits on their hands and watches from the sidelines.

    Every day I get anywhere from 15 to 30 email notifications for new users registering on the site, yet the vast majority of them never make a first post to ask a question or introduce themselves. This has to change if this site is to endure. I'm not sure if it's a generational thing or what, but there has to be engagement - even if you don't think you have anything useful to offer. Everybody starts somewhere, and even the most knowledgeable person on here didn't know diddly when they first started so don't let your lack of knowledge or inexperience keep you from joining in.


    The second issue has to do with the fact that I need some people to take the initiative and step up to play a bigger role in the site than just a regular member who posts on the forum. In the first 8-10 years of this site we had nearly a dozen volunteers who served as moderators and/or would write a couple articles a year. Unfortunately, as is natural, those people's interests have changed and/or their daily lives took them in different directions resulting in their no longer being able or willing to serve in that way here. Over the years we sometimes were able to find a few people to fill those roles, and those replacements did an excellent job in said roles, but over time their interests and lives took them in a different directions as well.

    As a result I have essentially been running this site by myself for the past 4-5 years. The only other members of the "Old Guard" that are still around are Charles (aka Charleslv) who pops in maybe once every 6 months, and Joe (aka Mad Dog) who can only be here during the winter months due to the nature of his job. Despite my efforts I have been unable to find anyone who displays the interest and passion for Savage firearms that's willing to step up and play a more significant role on the site. To be completely honest it has me wondering why I continue to bother doing this when nobody else seems to care enough about it to chip in.

    It's not a money or workload thing either, but rather a perspective or point-of-view issue. When I'm the only one writing articles or doing reviews the only view or opinion you get is mine and you're only going to get content that's interesting or pertinent to me. That alienates a lot of people whose interests don't align with mine. For example, clearly long-range shooting is the "in thing" right now and has been for several years, but I don't have access to anywhere I can do long-range shooting so I can't exactly put together articles and such that caters to that interest. Ditto with various types of competitive shooting, whether it's F-Class, Benchrest, PRS or whatever. Hunting is another area that's wide open for someone to create some articles around. Simply put, we need people who are active and experienced in those areas to step up and submit articles so that we have content here that will pertain to those looking for such content - otherwise people will go elsewhere to find it.

    Different opinions and views also play a big role in how the forum is managed and run. How many times in the last 4-5 years have I created a post asking for input from you members on changes I was considering making only to hear crickets in return? When we had those volunteers helping out in the earlier years they were critical in helping me make such decisions and at times helped me see things from a perspective I hadn't considered. The choices and changes made were a group effort and were better for it, but that's something that's been missing here in recent years and I feel has hurt the site in some ways.

    I know we have some very experienced people here on this site who posses a wealth of knowledge that's just waiting to be shared - you prove that day in and day out with your posts here on the forum. All I'm asking is that you share that knowledge and experience in a more organized and thorough form than a forum post that will be stored in a way that it's much easier for people to find in the future.

    In closing, I just want to remind everyone that this site has always revolved around the community of its members, and it needs the member base to play an active role to ensure its future. I never imagined 17+ years ago that this site would have ever become what it has or that it would have endured this long, and I'm proud to have had the privilege to run it all these years and to meet all the great Savage owners across the country and around the Globe who have found their way here at one time or another. I hope this site manages to endure another 17+ years going forward, but for that to happen I will need help from all of you.
    "Life' is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid." ~ John Wayne
    “Under certain circumstances, 
urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” —Mark Twain

  2. #2
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    I only recently became a Savage rifle owner, been shooting rifles and shotguns since I was 7 and that was a long time ago.
    anyway, I completely understand your post and will try and do what I can to provide some useful content.

    I have already found much useful information with a couple of questions and hopefully I can return the favor.

    If there is anything I can do to assist, please let me know.

    Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do.

    R.

  3. #3
    Team Savage
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    Thanks for your honest feelings Jim. I can imagine how hard it is to keep a labor of love going. I bought my first Savage in 2016 and I honestly didn't know shit about them, other than they seemed like a great deal for the money. I have learned SO much from this site and appreciate the wealth of knowledge that has been accumulated. It's obvious there are certain people in these forums that know 100X the rest of us, but I try to pitch in the little amount I have learned.

    I don't know if you will ever have the revival of years past that you are looking for. But I hope these forums can keep going in some capacity for years to come.

    Take care and let me know if I can help out...

    Steve

  4. #4
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    Facebook has been slowly killing all forums. Everyone of them that I frequent (4) are down on post count, considerably.

  5. #5
    Administrator J.Baker's Avatar
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    Here's the traffic stats for the last 5 years. I think they speak for themselves...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	AnnualStats.jpg 
Views:	75 
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ID:	5744

    What's clear is that the number of both unique and returning visitors (blue and orange bars) have remained pretty consistent until this last year, but those visitors aren't viewing as many pages or threads (green bar) when they visit. That in large part - as noted above - has a lot to do with the fact that there's just not as much new stuff to read as people just want to be lurkers rather than engage and be an active participant.

    Facebook groups have played a role in the decline, but I don't think it's as big as you might think. There's one FB group that has a decent number of members that's Savage specific, but that's it. There used to be another one specifically for Axis owners, but it must have gotten shut down/pulled because it's no longer there and there's a new similar group with only 200 members. Facebook also can't/won't ever be able to offer a lot of what we have to offer here due to their left-leaning politics. You can't buy/sell guns on Facebook, which is ultimately what gets most gun related FB groups shut down because some moron posts something for sale and FB catches it. You also can't really build any kind of knowledge base of articles and the like on FB because anything posted just gets buried by newer posts after just a few days. And we all know that at some point Facebook is going to take the next step and ban/disallow any and all gun groups on their platform because "guns are evil." *rolling eyes*

    When it comes to any website, frequent new and useful content is the key to drawing in traffic and keeping them coming back. As they say, "Content is King" and that's where we've been lacking these past 4-5 years since I've been having to do the "one man band" thing.
    "Life' is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid." ~ John Wayne
    “Under certain circumstances, 
urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” —Mark Twain

  6. #6
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    Could this be a algorithm issue? IE Google is not directing people to this site?

    Do you allow political discussions?

  7. #7
    Basic Member DesertDug's Avatar
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    Proud new member here. I visit and read as much of the content on this forum as I can. I post on some treads, as my knowledge is not as advanced as many posters, but I do enjoy starting a few treads and look forward to the replies/ comments. It is noticeable, what you say. There are days I visit and click the new posts button only to find a few new posts. It would be a shame for this site to go away, because, when I was looking to learn as much as I could regarding savage riffles, I was always led to this site. Keep up the good work and I will try to do my part as an active member.

  8. #8
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    Do you have a list of things you might want to see?


    Some of the things I think keep people coming and posting on firearm related web sites.

    Content and interesting topics in the forum. There are people that need help, and there are people that need to help. Historically this site has been known to be the go to site for people needing savage help. I have noticed the effort Jim has put into starting new discussions, more people presenting topics that interest people is vital to the sites success. At one time it was common on other forums for someone to post "check out SavageShooters.com and they can answer your question." Now Savage smiths are everywhere on every forum. Many are the guys that used to frequent this forum.

    Classifieds are pivotal in bringing in a steady flow of viewers and returning viewers. It seems people are always having issues with there guns, modifying or are wanting to try something new and different. Classifieds are a place to try something for cheaper than new. If they have a problem they go to the forums to get advice. A vicious (desirable) cycle. What can we do to make this the place to get used savage parts like it once was?

    Letting some issues resolve themselves rather than stifling or berating posters. Some people are whiners and they abuse suggestive powers to get less experienced moderators riled up. The less negative press from extreme actions by mods the better. Some drama isn't bad, bad actors will be rooted out after the viewers/members have had enough.

    Technical. Savage rifles need a lot of help to get "right". A sub forum dedicated technical ideas or smith sub forum where more advanced users can help address improvements and discuss issues that arise without the input from dopes like me. Different than the regular stuff. Maybe something you invite "experts" to be part of the brain trust. Jim and Fred, you guys could really make this happen, especially as Fred winds down his career. No insult intended Fred.

    Thanks for all of your efforts Jim. I am grateful for your efforts to keep this thing going.
    Standard rings are like a fat girl sitting on a sandwich.

  9. #9
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    I guess I could throw in my $0.02 worth, what little it is worth.

    I would love to help, be a mod or write articles. However my issues are several. I am not a professional shooter or writer. I can put down some pretty good groups when I take my time. I would love to do reviews on rifle or accessories, but one problem is, I do not have much exposure to the competition of said products, so having a base to compare them to will be hard. I could end up giving a good review to a bad product, just because I have never used the better ones. Money is another issue. I can not afford to buy every new rifle or product that comes out to review.
    Time is my biggest issue. Between work and home life, I really have very little time to be able to commit to the site. If you notice, most all my post are made between 11:00-11:30 am (my lunch break at work), as that is the only chance get to get on here. I just bought some vacant property and have been working the past few months trying to get it ready to move out there. So that has been taking up a lot of my time and money as well. But it is my dream I am working on, as the property has a perfect area to make my own personal 100 yard shooting range.

    One thing I think that is cutting down on the traffic here is just the market and public interest. Right now the current big thing is AR's and AR pistols, as well as other "MSR" type rifles/carbines/pistols. So bolt action hunting rifles are not as popular. While long range target shooting/rifles interest seem to be picking up, it still is not quite as popular as semi auto rifles currently.
    I could be wrong, but it is just what it feels like to me.

  10. #10
    Team Savage
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    I own and administer a niche boat forum and see the same thing. I do attribute a lot of the decline to be related to social media formats, some just feel forums are "outdated" because it isn't instant. I've had members ask permission to repost site info via Facebook which I flatly refused to allow - site content is copyrighted.

    I am a moderator/contributor on several car forums, one for over 20yrs, but they all seem to be going down the same path.

    Have a core group of forums I read every day, 6 to be exact, this being one. A few others I read weekly. I don't have the time to be as active as others since I'm running my own thing elsewhere but I'm still here every day sometimes twice a day.

    I'd offer to help but don't know what I can contribute, many here know so much more than I do.

    I will continue to support Savage Shooters and continue to be a Team Savage member.

    Thanks for all you do Jim, I know first hand what it takes to run a forum and mine is much smaller.

  11. #11
    Basic Member ktmracer358's Avatar
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    If there is anything I can do to help I will I know I'm not a huge member but i am on my phone reading stuff multiple times a day and honestly this is one of the few forums that I still have interest in.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Administrator J.Baker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robinhood View Post
    Do you have a list of things you might want to see?


    Some of the things I think keep people coming and posting on firearm related web sites.

    Content and interesting topics in the forum. There are people that need help, and there are people that need to help. Historically this site has been known to be the go to site for people needing savage help. I have noticed the effort Jim has put into starting new discussions, more people presenting topics that interest people is vital to the sites success. At one time it was common on other forums for someone to post "check out SavageShooters.com and they can answer your question." Now Savage smiths are everywhere on every forum. Many are the guys that used to frequent this forum.

    Classifieds are pivotal in bringing in a steady flow of viewers and returning viewers. It seems people are always having issues with there guns, modifying or are wanting to try something new and different. Classifieds are a place to try something for cheaper than new. If they have a problem they go to the forums to get advice. A vicious (desirable) cycle. What can we do to make this the place to get used savage parts like it once was?

    Letting some issues resolve themselves rather than stifling or berating posters. Some people are whiners and they abuse suggestive powers to get less experienced moderators riled up. The less negative press from extreme actions by mods the better. Some drama isn't bad, bad actors will be rooted out after the viewers/members have had enough.

    Technical. Savage rifles need a lot of help to get "right". A sub forum dedicated technical ideas or smith sub forum where more advanced users can help address improvements and discuss issues that arise without the input from dopes like me. Different than the regular stuff. Maybe something you invite "experts" to be part of the brain trust. Jim and Fred, you guys could really make this happen, especially as Fred winds down his career. No insult intended Fred.

    Thanks for all of your efforts Jim. I am grateful for your efforts to keep this thing going.

    I'm in complete agreement with the vast majority of this.

    As noted, this site's standing as being the source for Savage info has diminished in recent years, mostly due to the fact that as Savage rifles have become more popular over the last 10-12 years more and more people who were once adamantly anti-Savage are now very friendly to Savage - including many gunsmiths. As a result there's more and more information being put out there by various sources - some good informed sources, some not so informed sources, and some flat-out terrible sources. YouTube is probably the biggest culprit in that regard, but as noted there are a lot of former members of this forum who have taken the knowledge gained here to other forums that are now more accommodating to Savage related discussion than they used to be.

    The Classifieds have always been a struggle for me as we all witnessed last fall. It's really a no-win situation from where I sit because when we restrict them to paid members it pushes people to other sites, but if we don't restrict them there's no incentive for anyone to purchase a paid membership and then the site closes up because there's no money coming in to run it. Some will argue "But you make money off advertising - that should more than pay for the site." Well - yes I do, and that money is my pay for doing everything I do so that all of you can continue to enjoy this site. The compensation I get from advertising for the 30 or so hours I typically put into this site every week doesn't even come close to being minimum wage at this point which is part of why we're having this discussion.

    There's also the fact of what we've been seeing in the classifieds as of late. Even if they were open for all to post something for sale, would that really be incentive enough to bring people back or attract more new people given the current state of the market? Considering I've seen 110 actions sell for as little as $175 and an Axis action sell for $125 in recent months leads me to believe opening them up wouldn't really help much because the demand just isn't there right now. And it's not just Savage stuff, it's everything on all the various sites.

    As for letting issues resolve themselves, that's also a tricky business. I've always tried to do that as best I could, and I've always tried to calm the waters when a conflict arises, but some folks just refuse to let things go and insist on continuing to make it an issue week after week, month after month, and sometimes even year after year. Whether that person is right, wrong or indifferent doesn't even matter at that point because their bullheaded stubbornness has taken over and no matter what they aren't going to let it go. When those situations arise and get to that point one has to weigh the options and determine which is going to be the least disruptive to the rest of the site as a whole - letting it continue or putting a swift and permanent end to it once and for all. I won't sit here and profess that I've always gotten it right when making that call, but over the course of 17 years of running this circus I would say I made the right call 85-90% of the time in such situations.

    I've considered and we've discussed adding some kind of advanced board or area in the past, but the problem has always been how to determine who the so-called "experts" are? What would we use to differentiate a casual tinkerer from a true authority? And to that end, if everyone else is much like me they tend to forget the nitty gritty details of things if they're not utilizing that knowledge on a regular basis.

    You mentioned myself and Fred, but I can tell you right now I don't and wouldn't consider myself an expert on Savage's - at least not in a technical sense. I'm not tearing Savage's apart and putting them back together on a regular enough basis to know what parts are needed for this conversion or what parts are compatible with what other parts - especially when it comes to anything magnum related. I used to be a little more technical savy, but since Savage started making all these changes on bolt parts and such I've stopped trying to keep track of it all and just leave that to those who are more hands-on than I am.
    "Life' is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid." ~ John Wayne
    “Under certain circumstances, 
urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” —Mark Twain

  13. #13
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    Definitely appreciate the time and patience it takes to run this site. I visit 3 gun sites every day, and BY FAR this is the most friendly site. The other two are very In Your Face at times and one is very anti-Savage. I really appreciate the people and information available here.

  14. #14
    Administrator J.Baker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeepsAndGuns View Post
    I guess I could throw in my $0.02 worth, what little it is worth.

    I would love to help, be a mod or write articles. However my issues are several. I am not a professional shooter or writer. I can put down some pretty good groups when I take my time. I would love to do reviews on rifle or accessories, but one problem is, I do not have much exposure to the competition of said products, so having a base to compare them to will be hard. I could end up giving a good review to a bad product, just because I have never used the better ones. Money is another issue. I can not afford to buy every new rifle or product that comes out to review.
    Time is my biggest issue. Between work and home life, I really have very little time to be able to commit to the site. If you notice, most all my post are made between 11:00-11:30 am (my lunch break at work), as that is the only chance get to get on here. I just bought some vacant property and have been working the past few months trying to get it ready to move out there. So that has been taking up a lot of my time and money as well. But it is my dream I am working on, as the property has a perfect area to make my own personal 100 yard shooting range.

    One thing I think that is cutting down on the traffic here is just the market and public interest. Right now the current big thing is AR's and AR pistols, as well as other "MSR" type rifles/carbines/pistols. So bolt action hunting rifles are not as popular. While long range target shooting/rifles interest seem to be picking up, it still is not quite as popular as semi auto rifles currently.
    I could be wrong, but it is just what it feels like to me.
    Let's look at those issues...

    1. I'm not a professional shooter or writer either, so don't let that stop you. If you can put your thoughts to keyboard in a semi-organized and intelligible manner that's all that's required.

    2. Product exposure/comparison: Product reviews and comparisons are two different things. A review is evaluating a product for what it is and how well it does whatever it was designed to do. You can use the experience you have from other similar products to help evaluate and form your views on the product being reviewed, but you don't grade or score them against each other. A comparison is looking at two or more similar products side-by-side and determining which is best at doing whatever it is they were designed to do. Very rarely do I ever do comparisons because I to have limited exposure to comparable products. In either case objectivity is the key.

    3. Money. Most all of us are limited in this regard, and I wouldn't ever expect anyone to just go out and buy something for the sake of reviewing it for this or any other site. But, you do buy things from time to time because you want or need them, and it's those very products you could do a review on so long as you're able to be objective and when needed swallow your pride and admit maybe you didn't make the best choice for your own purchase.

    4. Time. I get that one as well, and it's the biggest reason that keeps anyone from volunteering to help out.


    You're spot on with the market and public interest being down. If it's not AR/AK related or long-range precision (PRS) related it's pretty much dead in the water right now. What little rifle talk there is outside of that tends to revolve around ultra-lite hunting rifles and the discussions primarily revolve around other brands (Bergara, Howa & Tikka) or high dollar customs (NULA, Nosler, Proof, etc).
    "Life' is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid." ~ John Wayne
    “Under certain circumstances, 
urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” —Mark Twain

  15. #15
    Team Savage
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    So, I guess a wet T shirt contest is out of the question?
    "As long as there's lead in the air....there's still hope.."

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