delicious_scent

Super Member
Thanks for that feedback.

I 100% agree with you on this, and it has been an enormous undertaking to try and re-work everything on the article section of the site.

Truth is that 95%+ of our traffic has historically come here to the community section of the site, and the balance visited the articles. Because of that, we put the lion-share of our focus/energy here first, then started to work on the article section.

We still have a lot of work to do, but we are & have been doing the following to make the visiting & reading experience better in that area:
  • Simplifying the navigation and category structure
  • Re-writing old articles to bring them current
  • Making sure all articles are easy to read on mobile, by reformatting them entirely. For example, multi-column tables are hard to read on mobile, so we're simplifying them to 2-3 columns at most
  • Removing old articles that are no longer relevant
  • Putting in redirects (forwarders) so that old links to content would go to the current updated version of the article
  • Updated the navigation so that it mostly mirrored the navigation here, to make the transition between the article section and community more seamless. We use two different platforms, so achieving this is a little tricky
  • Embedded the main community sections on the home page
  • Changed the home page layout
  • Writing a bunch of new articles covering popular topics people are searching for on the internet -- some of which summarize and go deeper into topics discussed here by our members
We're planning on updating the theme too in the coming months, which will make everything even easier to read and find.

Of course, we love to get feedback about the visiting experience here, so if there's anything we can do to continue to improve it, please be sure to contact me via PM or our Contact page.
No problem mikel, and thank you for accepting the feedback as well.

The approach in the past makes sense, especially if most of the traffic came here to the forums.

Reading all of the details going forward I basically agree with everything you plan on fixing. It did feel like the website was going downhill, but I feel like all these upcoming changes are in the right direction.

This could be off base, but I do think AAAC lost some users to Styleforum too (I post on both websites now). Perhaps contacting the moderators over there to make a thread and ask why some members may find AAAC offputting?
 
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mikel

Partner / Administrator
Staff member
Moving this part of the discussion to the Interchange so we don't hijack the other thread :)

Original thread is here.

I do think AAAC lost some users to Styleforum too (I post on both websites now)
Yes, I'm sure that's true. In large part, I think members started leaving because of the lack of respect and civility that used to exist here.

I've seen many new members come here (moreso in the past) asking legitimate newbie-type questions, seeking help, and veteran members simply dismiss them & their question. Or even worse, respond even more mockingly, with a tone of 'your question isn't good enough to be asked here' or 'that's a stupid question, go somewhere else to ask it'.

Honestly, I wish we had a downvote option that could be used on such replies that would automatically delete them after a certain amount of downvotes.

I'm sure there are other reasons too, including when our website and community weren't as feature-rich & better organized as they are now, and will be moving forward.

Perhaps contacting the moderators over there to make a thread and ask why some members may find AAAC offputting?
I think it might be more well received and less promotional if a SF member started the discussion.

That said, asking people a question about why they dislike something may not yield the most helpful answers.

I'm sure most who only use SF now may not have seen a lot of the changes we have made, or know that some of the bad actors are no longer posting here. They may have a view of how we were in the past, vs how we are as a community today.

It would be great to hear from members, like you, who are currently using both SF and Ask Andy.

I definitely want to know how we can improve our platform and community so that we can continually build a better Ask Andy.
 

mikel

Partner / Administrator
Staff member
Here's some additional information I posted in another thread from Trad Style.

I don't check in much, but this has changed a LOT since I was last here!
Welcome back!

Andy & I have indeed made many changes to the site, including:
  • Implemented a Civility & Kindness directive
  • Moved the Trad Exchange to its own dedicated section
  • Introduced Official Threads for our advertising partners
  • Try and run contests regularly to give back to the community
  • Engage with our community on Facebook
  • Made many site usability and user experience (UX/UI) improvements
  • Upgraded to the latest forum platform technology, which provides push notifications, a great mobile experience, and tons of other features
  • Building out helpful content in the article section of our site
  • & Even more to come!
Google has indeed been angry with us. As such, we've lost visitors over the last couple of years, with some updates being a bit more devastating than others. We're trying to get back in Google's good graces, and I believe it's starting to work.

While I can't promise to change the ad experience (that's how we make money to support the site), I'm always open to hear suggestions on ways we can improve the community experience.

Again, welcome back! We hope to see you back here often :)

Operating this site isn't free, so who pays for it? Andy and his team have to pay for it, hence ads to bring in revenue.
Many thanks for your support!
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Some other members, who haven't been around recently, who posted great pics and engaging comments were

Orange Fury

The Popinjay

@oxford cloth button down

Gamma (some number)

And a young gentleman who seemed to be very excited to learn about Trad and was posting some great photos of his outfits was (I think I have the name right) Clark Kent.
 

delicious_scent

Super Member
Moving this part of the discussion to the Interchange so we don't hijack the other thread :)

Original thread is here.



Yes, I'm sure that's true. In large part, I think members started leaving because of the lack of respect and civility that used to exist here.

I've seen many new members come here (moreso in the past) asking legitimate newbie-type questions, seeking help, and veteran members simply dismiss them & their question. Or even worse, respond even more mockingly, with a tone of 'your question isn't good enough to be asked here' or 'that's a stupid question, go somewhere else to ask it'.

Honestly, I wish we had a downvote option that could be used on such replies that would automatically delete them after a certain amount of downvotes.

I'm sure there are other reasons too, including when our website and community weren't as feature-rich & better organized as they are now, and will be moving forward.



I think it might be more well received and less promotional if a SF member started the discussion.

That said, asking people a question about why they dislike something may not yield the most helpful answers.

I'm sure most who only use SF now may not have seen a lot of the changes we have made, or know that some of the bad actors are no longer posting here. They may have a view of how we were in the past, vs how we are as a community today.

It would be great to hear from members, like you, who are currently using both SF and Ask Andy.

I definitely want to know how we can improve our platform and community so that we can continually build a better Ask Andy.
A major reason why I started on SF after AAAC was the presence of a lot of affiliate vendors on the other website.

It also has the presence of a lot of prominent #menswear personalities that are in a lot of style blogs as well that offer useful advice.

The bespoke projects and cloth thread in Classic Menswear is very useful for finding the right cloth and commissioning custom/MTM and bespoke as well.
 

Adventure Wolf

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
One reason I sort of check in to Ask Andy, but never really stay, is the lack of technical information on the forums. No one really knows the answer to questions about fabrics, what's going on in the men's fashion world or the history of specific style to a point where they can hold a decent conversation on those subjects.

Most of the topics end up being "look how good I look" and those okay, but when those kinds of topics are the only topics, people that are actually interested in knowledge move on.
 

TKI67

Super Member
One reason I sort of check in to Ask Andy, but never really stay, is the lack of technical information on the forums. No one really knows the answer to questions about fabrics, what's going on in the men's fashion world or the history of specific style to a point where they can hold a decent conversation on those subjects.

Most of the topics end up being "look how good I look" and those okay, but when those kinds of topics are the only topics, people that are actually interested in knowledge move on.
Were you checking on the Timeless Style Forum or Trad? It may be a niche, but I have found several of the regular posters on Trad to be extremely knowledgeable about fabrics, cuts, etc. for style that is both always and rarely in style.
 

mikel

Partner / Administrator
Staff member
One reason I sort of check in to Ask Andy, but never really stay, is the lack of technical information on the forums.
Thanks for that feedback.

I do agree with @TKI67 that we have many well-informed & knowledgeable members participating in Trad. They definitely exist in Timeless Style too, but maybe people aren't posting advanced questions to be answered.

Do you have any ideas on how we could attract more knowledgeable users from other sites to have them participate here?
 

mikel

Partner / Administrator
Staff member
It also has the presence of a lot of prominent #menswear personalities that are in a lot of style blogs as well that offer useful advice.
Same question to you that I posted to Adventure Wolf -- any idea how we attract those prominent personalities to come participate here? Maybe some folks like you could drop a subtle hint now and then?

The bespoke projects and cloth thread in Classic Menswear is very useful for finding the right cloth and commissioning custom/MTM and bespoke as well.
For a while, we had a bunch of different sub-forums in the community. If I recall correctly, we did have one dedicated to bespoke. However, many of those smaller sections had very little activity, so we started consolidating sections to give threads more visibility.

The next version of our software platform will have something called "Search Forums", which allow us to create dynamic sub-sections using keywords, tags, or other data elements of a thread. Maybe we can create one for "bespoke" which will show all bespoke-related threads together (from across the community), and allow people to also post new questions to that Bespoke Community section.

We'll probably need more moderation help from @Oldsarge @Andy @eagle2250 (and possibly others) to tag threads accordingly so they show up in those dynamic search sections.

Won't be able to tell how effective it is until we try it, but it seems like a reasonable thing to try.
 

delicious_scent

Super Member
Same question to you that I posted to Adventure Wolf -- any idea how we attract those prominent personalities to come participate here? Maybe some folks like you could drop a subtle hint now and then?



For a while, we had a bunch of different sub-forums in the community. If I recall correctly, we did have one dedicated to bespoke. However, many of those smaller sections had very little activity, so we started consolidating sections to give threads more visibility.

The next version of our software platform will have something called "Search Forums", which allow us to create dynamic sub-sections using keywords, tags, or other data elements of a thread. Maybe we can create one for "bespoke" which will show all bespoke-related threads together (from across the community), and allow people to also post new questions to that Bespoke Community section.

We'll probably need more moderation help from @Oldsarge @Andy @eagle2250 (and possibly others) to tag threads accordingly so they show up in those dynamic search sections.

Won't be able to tell how effective it is until we try it, but it seems like a reasonable thing to try.
Sorry, no ideas yet on how to attract those prominent personalities.

I think because the community is so small, a dedicated Bespoke thread would probably work best. Sort of like the ongoing Tweed thread.

Dynamic sections would work, but we don't exactly have the userbase for it IMO.
 

delicious_scent

Super Member
Not much feedback unfortunately from the other forum, but a member from SF did offer this:

Title:
ANY SUGGESTIONS ON IMPROVING ASK ANDY ABOUT CLOTHES?


"I used to [post on AAAC]. A couple of observations:

1) there are a couple of members that are real dickheads and just plain nasty who are always sure to express that when interacting in a thread

2) too heavily moderated. I mean, they shame you for incorrect punctuation! Forget about dropping a random “f” bomb. They don’t know how to have fun.
"

I agree on #1, which you've already weeded out.

I also agree on #2. I feel like I can't really swear or use slang on here. It feels like when dad when scold you as a child for swearing. I do think AAAC is a lot more stiff and proper compared to SF.
 

mikel

Partner / Administrator
Staff member
I feel like I can't really swear or use slang on here. It feels like when dad when scold you as a child for swearing. I do think AAAC is a lot more stiff and proper compared to SF.
Thanks for that feedback, and for posting the question on SF. I really do appreciate it.

I don't know why anyone would equate not being able to drop the "f" bomb to us not knowing how to have fun. What's fun about using that word?

I personally use it here and there in actual conversation, when I'm trying to be more expressive :)

But, I don't know why it would be so important to use that term (especially in Trad Style or Timeless Style), when there are more tamed alternatives like WTF or WTH that have essentially the same sentiment.

In fact, if you do a search of the community, you will see the word hell used a lot, the more occasional use of the word shit, and some WTF, with a few WTH sprinkled in :)

We're probably most liberal with posts in The Interchange, but I think that person from SF is referring to how it used to be here, and not how it is now, as it pertains to heavy-moderation.

I can tell you that we haven't seen a reported post since August, and even that complaint was minor. I don't know off-hand any recent circumstance where someone was moderated due to foul language. But then again, I don't really do much community moderation.

With that said, things have been more more tame here since some of the more controversial characters have either left or been banned.

As for the occasional grammar and punctuation shaming -- I agree, that really is quite unnecessary. If the poster is really bad with the grammar/punctuation (like being careless, not because of a language issue), they probably deserve a little hazing though ;)

I did get this alternate opinion/pov from a member here about SF:

In regards to styleforum, I don’t participate there and only check it out once in awhile. There appears to be great information but a lot of personal insulting and downright meanness that is allowed. Perhaps it’s because there seems to be a lot of young kids there. Honestly, I think it goes too far and the administrators seem to encourage it quite frankly. In fact I recently saw a member there say, “This is why so many visit SF and never come back.” My point is, askandy may have an opportunity here.

There seems to be a more mature audience, such as myself, that has expendable income for nicer clothing that is “looking for a sartorial internet forum home” so to speak. One where we can enjoy our hobby without the unnecessary fireworks.

I come here to escape the stress of daily life not add to it!
Regardless, thanks for the feedback -- all of it helps.
 

mikel

Partner / Administrator
Staff member
I think because the community is so small, a dedicated Bespoke thread would probably work best. Sort of like the ongoing Tweed thread.
This sounds like a very fine idea. If you'd like to start it -- calling it something like The Official Bespoke Clothing thread, that would be wonderful!
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
I haven't been on SF other than to look once or twice (so can't compare), but at AAAC, I have no issue with a robust conversation telling me my facts are wrong (happened recently re Tweed - turns out, Donegal is not a legally protected name like Harris) or why someone has a different opinion - all good stuff. And a fun barb or even sharp elbow can make the place feel more like a water-cooler conversation, which I think is good.

What I find exhausting are the few posters who clearly look for something to pick on or to spark controversy or animus just for the sake of it. Really? Is someone's life so small that picking on the occasional typo or grammar error or a duped picture post or silly question is important to them / makes them feel good?

I want AAAC to thrive and greatly appreciate the efforts Mike, Andy and others have been making, but turning it into another anger-filled social media place - I'm exaggerating, as no one suggested that, just trying to make a point - is, IMO, not an answer.

I don't care one way or the other about the "F"word or the use of "hell," but I do care about the tone as I'll drop out if AAAC becomes another anger-filled, Twitter-like platform. And I get it, if that's what people want, then go for, I'll just pass.

What I find most enjoyable about AAAC is that it is likable. Newcomers are welcome. Silly questions are sometimes pointed out as silly, but usually in a lighthearted way and answered anyway. I come here, yes, to talk clothes, but also to get away from the anger in the rest of the world. Several members have become, at minimum, my cyber friends.

As to the question of well-informed and knowledgeable members, I was stunned that was a complaint as I've learned an incredible amount of detail about fabrics, patterns, clothing history, tailoring, etc. at AAAC and still do. There's been some really good stuff recently.

I've been into clothes my entire life and despite having read books on clothes and talked with many tailors and salesmen, nothing has come close to the detailed knowledge I've gained at AAAC.
 
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mikel

Partner / Administrator
Staff member
What I find exhausting are the few posters who clearly look for something to pick on or to spark controversy or animus just for the sake of it.
I 100% agree with this. There have been some members that have a negative-first attitude, which I personally dislike. But, for the sake of diversity and differing opinions, I'm ok (business-wise) with seeing alternate povs.

...but turning it into another anger-filled social media place...
...as I'll drop out if AAAC becomes another anger-filled, Twitter-like platform....
That's not going to happen here. I guarantee it :)
 

Big T

Senior Member
I frequent about a half dozen forums, with AAAC the only one of its kind. Compared to the other sites (woodworking, a local forum, watches), AAAC is by far the most civil and welcoming. I for one, have not identified the tight cliques that seem to permeate other forums.

I would not change AAAC, but you might want to give it a bit of a subtitle!
 

Howard

Connoisseur
I frequent about a half dozen forums, with AAAC the only one of its kind. Compared to the other sites (woodworking, a local forum, watches), AAAC is by far the most civil and welcoming. I for one, have not identified the tight cliques that seem to permeate other forums.

I would not change AAAC, but you might want to give it a bit of a subtitle!

I agree Big T this board is wonderful and I have been on here for 16 years.
 

delicious_scent

Super Member
Thanks for that feedback, and for posting the question on SF. I really do appreciate it.

I don't know why anyone would equate not being able to drop the "f" bomb to us not knowing how to have fun. What's fun about using that word?

I personally use it here and there in actual conversation, when I'm trying to be more expressive :)

But, I don't know why it would be so important to use that term (especially in Trad Style or Timeless Style), when there are more tamed alternatives like WTF or WTH that have essentially the same sentiment.

In fact, if you do a search of the community, you will see the word hell used a lot, the more occasional use of the word shit, and some WTF, with a few WTH sprinkled in :)

We're probably most liberal with posts in The Interchange, but I think that person from SF is referring to how it used to be here, and not how it is now, as it pertains to heavy-moderation.

I can tell you that we haven't seen a reported post since August, and even that complaint was minor. I don't know off-hand any recent circumstance where someone was moderated due to foul language. But then again, I don't really do much community moderation.

With that said, things have been more more tame here since some of the more controversial characters have either left or been banned.

As for the occasional grammar and punctuation shaming -- I agree, that really is quite unnecessary. If the poster is really bad with the grammar/punctuation (like being careless, not because of a language issue), they probably deserve a little hazing though ;)

I did get this alternate opinion/pov from a member here about SF:



Regardless, thanks for the feedback -- all of it helps.
Personally I've never liked being tame, but I get it.

I actually sort of agree with the other person commenting on the lack of moderation on SF. I did manage to find a shit flinging thread full of trolls, but it was quite tucked away outside of the clothing forums. The only time I've seen someone banned or have a post deleted is if they're selling dick pills or keto pills, so spam.

There's lots of micro-communities on SF I find that are in silos. I've found the classic menswear community over there to shame any jerks and they've stopped posting.
 
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