Pixar Post - T.J.
Hello all,

So, I have an interesting question for everyone. If you had the ability to add or change anything about the Pixar Post community to make it better, more interactive or more useful, what would it contain? Don't just think about the forum, think about the website as a whole...in your ideal world, what would you have in that community and what would make it more fun and interactive to talk about Pixar. Feel free to share ideas of what you love about our site, what you love about other sites and even the little things that you'd like to see potentially added. Make the ideas fun, out-of-this-world or really grounded...we're interested in letting you imaginations fly (not just standard stuff like adding the ability to upload photos...but think of things like how to have a really fun and interactive podcast listening party or something like that).

Of course, this doesn't mean we'd be able to put these ideas in place, but we've actually been approached about beta testing a community and I wanted to ask the people that use our site the most, what would make it better and more engaging. In all honesty, I'm not sure if anything will pan out, or if it will become anything big since we're in early talks, but if it does move forward, we'd be looking to determine what would make a great community and attempt to build it with developers...and heck, if it really moved forward, we'd be asking for a test group of 10 people or so to test it out and see what you thought.

Let us know - I'm interested to hear your thoughts on what you'd like to see to make talking about Pixar more engaging and fun.
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I think it would be really neat to see you and Julie do bit more of in depth reviews of products and merchandise from any Pixar movie. Another good idea that would be neat to see is to establish a monthly or yearly poll of any Pixar related topics.
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Hmm, interesting question! I had to really think a lot about this.

I think Pixar Post is already an amazing site as it is, and your request for feedback has prompted me to really take a closer look at parts of the site I don't really visit that much. I just realized that, unlike some other forums, there are no advertisements here and the community is free of trolls; the forum is easy to navigate and I love that there's a separate section for each film; you and Julie interact with the forum users which is amazing; and the Gallery section is pretty cool. I also started thinking about why I use this site, and for me, it's because it's the best place I've found so far to get Pixar news, whether that's in the main part of the site where you and Julie post news or in the forums where other people contribute tidbits as well. I'm not sure if that holds true for others who use this site as well, but that's why I come here. IMDb, the other site I use a lot, is also useful, but the message boards there are a complete nightmare (just utterly terrible) and inaccuracies are common.

Also, I absolutely love the fact that you and Julie regularly interact with forum users (and I think people who comment in the main part as well but I don't go to the comments a lot). I think this is really really important, because a community without leadership (or opaque moderating or "we'll only deal with things if someone reports it"-style management) descends into complete chaos (like with IMDb). I really appreciate the effort you two put into this (as well as everything else on here) and I think it definitely makes a difference when you compare it to less well managed message boards. If this site were to become too big for you two to manage singlehandedly, I suppose getting moderators could work, but the small size and personal attention is one thing I think makes Pixar Post special - it's not just a place to talk about Pixar, it's a community, and a really good community too. A larger community without the necessary moderation would only turn into a big mess.

Judging by some of the forum categories (and whatever you mean by "beta testing a community"?), it looks like you two may have had this larger community in mind, and if that's where you intend to take this site (correct me if I'm wrong), I think it'll be important that you try to keep the community together as a community. It is very, very easy to get lost when there's a ton of people - every time someone replies to you, it could be a different person you don't know (this is what happens to me on IMDb). And when you're lost, you tend to not be as engaged. Then the forum can easily descend into a cesspool of trolling instead of a welcoming place for discussion because of the anonymity offered by a lack of community and connections with other users. I think to manage this properly, it would be beneficial to somehow have subgroups within the community (like departments within a corporation, for example), so even if the forum becomes gigantic and has a ton of users, people will still find community in their subgroup and thus stay engaged. I don't actually have any solid suggestions for how to go about this yet unfortunately, but my main point is I think it'll be important to make sure the community still works as a community if you plan on expansion in the future - and this is more related to you and Julie retaining adequate control of the forum via good leadership and moderation, and not really related to the minor website features I will detail next:

Suggestions for improving the website (these are all random little things):

Have you fixed the mobile version yet? The desktop version is great, and I've now made that the default on my phone because zooming in and out to try to use the desktop version on the small screen is more convenient than the frustratingly unintuitive mobile version. I therefore haven't actually been on the mobile version for awhile now so ignore this if it's inapplicable, but an important thing I believe the mobile version should have is to go directly to the latest post from the main forum page, in addition to having all the other features of the desktop version.

The Gallery is great but I think it could be better if there was copyright & reproduction information for each picture. For example, each Wikipedia picture has its own page with info on whether it's copyrighted or not, and if it is, how to legally reuse the picture and who to credit and whatnot. I'm sure lots of people here would love to actually use the pictures in the Gallery (that's the point right?) but many may be hesitant due to the "Copyright Disney/Pixar" plastered everywhere (and the implied "Copyright Disney/Pixar" where it isn't, and implied copyright for the fan art and other stuff). If none of the pictures in the Gallery are actually meant to be reused and the Gallery is more of an art gallery type thing (look but don't touch!) then this suggestion isn't applicable, but I think it'd be awesome if it was a one-stop place for all of our Pixar multimedia needs, and having this information would make it better and let people reuse images properly.

Can there be a year view for the calendar? Especially since there's only 1-2 Pixar films a year and many of the months are empty, thus making the month and day view a bit unnecessary unless there was a special Pixar event happening (in which case I doubt people would be consulting the calendar, they'd probably be following the blog or forum post with all the details instead).

I'd love to have forum signatures because I have a special fondness for those but at the same time those can clutter things up, so this is a minor stylistic thing that's up to you two. If you've thought about it but aren't sure, maybe we can try it for a month and see what happens?

Also, thanks for taking the time to ask for our feedback! Again, I believe this kind of dedication and attention to the Pixar Post community is a huge factor in making it work and making it an enjoyable place to talk about Pixar, and moving forward I believe this will be more important than ever if expansion is on the to-do list. Though maybe Julie can talk more on the forum too, I feel like it's always TJ [smile]
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Pixar Post - T.J.
Wow, thank you so much for the detailed feedback, but what else would I expect from ReptilePatrol. Yeah, the site is always a work in progress and some things we can change and some we can't. To answer your over-arching question about us expanding. We're actually not actively trying to expand the forum and we prefer to let people come to it naturally (as you pointed out, it's better to have control over it)...but we do a lot of moderation in the background and definitely delete or hush trolls before they become an issue. We do work pretty hard at the site and keep it clean and easy to use for the most part - so thank you for the overall great feedback!

As far as expansion, we actually didn't seek out the company we're talking to because we were looking to expand, we were referred to the organization by another site and they wanted to talk more because they liked the structure of our community. Any changes that would happen would be in a test phase to see if it even made sense and then we'd potentially make a larger change 6 months or more if it made sense. We're having a meeting this evening to explore some more of their capabilities to see if it would align with our thoughts as well. We'll see, it could turn into nothing, but in the meantime, I'll still have your great feedback to be able to keep on the list for future changes and discussions.

The items that you're mostly talking about (i.e., Forum-related quirks) are bothersome to us as well but it's something that we're kind of restricted in a way due to the limitations of the forum platform that we utilize. It's something that I talk with them about from time to time...and improvements do come, but they're a smaller company and I understand the time constraints. I had thought of developing a phpBB style forum, but the cost, hosting and development of the forum are things I don't have time to invest in...so for now, I will say that I agree with you that there are things that need tweaking and some of your suggestions are definitely on my list too!

The gallery is something that's always a work in progress as well - in fact, I just switched it over to a new platform in December of 2015 so I appreciate the feedback. I know I have a lot to do on it still, but it's really time that's stopping me - nothing else! I kind of find groups of time to work through the areas of greatest need and recently it's been a ton of news posts with all the Good Dino, Inside Out and Dory news! Believe me, I'm not complaining at all - we love the site and hope to keep going and growing indefinitely. I do hope to free up the gallery moving forward and am actually properly tagging each item as I go...which is where the time commitment comes in! As far as free-use of the images, we are kind of locked down from that aspect in certain galleries - event photos, behind-the-scenes photos and some of the concept art is locked down because it was provided by Pixar and it's their rules (or even some rules extend from Getty Images). Mostly, the intent is a reference library of high-res images, posters, artwork and event photos...but there is some potential to free up certain areas and that's a great suggestion.

Oh, and as far as advertising - that's a conscious choice. I don't want to include it, so I don't. I feel like it makes for a cleaner experience and although we could make some money displaying it, we feel like with the community the size it is, the reward wouldn't outweigh the clutter. I kind of feel the same way about signatures which is why I don't have them on there. People get too crazy with GIFs, long text and other images which (I believe) take away from the streamlined look. I hear you and I actually did test it early on but I didn't like the feel of it - plus, it just added to the scroll length from response to response. 

Of course, that didn't address all of your comments...but, more to come. Thanks again for taking the time to really think through this and explore more. Like I said, I agree on almost all your points and will keep expanding. Again, if there's anything else you can think of that you've experienced on another community and loved it or thought it was interesting, please let us know at any point. Like I always say, I can't promise anything, but I can log it and see if I can do it!

The Polish Gent - agreed as well, more product posts to come!
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I love the forum. It flows very well and it is simple to use (to me). [smile]

Also, I gotta say that I actually like using the mobile version of the Forum, which (in my opinion) is neat and organized.

I also agree with RetilePatrol on the fact that you and Julie interacting with the users is fantastic!

And personally, I find Pixar Post to be the best Pixar-related website. With constant updates of new information, and a forum without trolls or anything like that, it is really awesome! [biggrin][biggrin][biggrin]
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I have a couple of ideas, you don't have to do them but these are just suggestions:

-Update the forums a bit more by adding new options users can do.
-Doing the podcast more often, maybe every other week or every month.
-Do more reviews whenever there hasn't been much Pixar news.
-Do more in-depth looks at the cpmmentaries, you haven't done those in a while.
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I think it would be helpful if the forum had a categories for franchises as a whole (for Toy Story, Cars, Monsters, Nemo and soon Incredibles). I'm thinking this because I put up a post a couple of hours about the Cars franchise as a whole, but I could only put in the category for one of the three Cars films.
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PixarsBiggestFan wrote:
I think it would be helpful if the forum had a categories for franchises as a whole (for Toy Story, Cars, Monsters, Nemo and soon Incredibles). I'm thinking this because I put up a post a couple of hours about the Cars franchise as a whole, but I could only put in the category for one of the three Cars films.

This sounds like a good idea. Since the forum, unfortunately, isn't hugely active, I'd suggest merging the already existing sub-forums, rather than adding new sub-forums (presuming that isn't what you already meant).
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