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Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 3:56 pm 
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Hi! :keke:

As I'm sure many of you are aware, forum activity has not been great in the last few months. Whilst we often experience a decline in posts through this period, many established members (you know who you are! :argh: :P) have left and activity is very worrying. I'm sure many of us, when we reflect, received something from signing up to this site, and we do not want it to be a pit of inactivity. Right now, we still have a strong community - and we're going to use that community to better this. After a lengthy discussion with the Moderators & Admins, we've already made some changes. More about them further down.

But first, we want your ideas and feedback. What do we need to change? What would you like to see? Is there any particular reason, besides being busy, you no longer come on to the site as often? Why do you come on here? Is there anything bugging you? It's important we know what direction we want to go in and remind ourselves what GTF is to you guys. Tell us!

Second, we are concerned about the level of aggressive discourse ingrained in the site right now. The chat-room, primarily, should be a place where users can get to know each other, have a bit of fun, and be comfortable. It should also be relatively-easy for new members to get involved. For too long it has been an angry arena for debating politics - starting with the UK Election in 2015. I won't pretend I haven't been involved in this; plenty of people from all sides have been. But it has gone on for too long. For that reason, we are introducing a new room in chat: The Arena. If you want to debate an issue with someone for longer than five minutes, or if a conversation is becoming divisive or bitter - it goes in there. I would encourage you all to make it common practice to simply join both rooms when you originally join chat, that way the conversation can simply carry on authentically. This rule comes into effect immediately, but will be clarified further with an update to the Rules page.

Next up, we are introducing a Member of the Month award. You will receive a banner under your name, and maybe something else. The winner will be decided by Moderators, and Moderators are excluded from winning.



Community Ambassador Role


It's fair to say that Chat Moderators haven't always had... that much to do :P So we're replacing them with a role that is going to be a lot more important and helpful to us. We are introducing Community Ambassadors. It will work like this:

• You will have Chat Moderator powers.
• You will be expected to be offering new members advice and welcoming them, as well as being a consistent presence on the forum.
• You will be encouraged to lead or help out our social-media activity.
• You will join a chat with Moderators & Admins on Facebook Messenger, and most of our ideas and conversations over activity and the revival will include you.
• Similarly, a new sub-forum will be created for Moderators & you, and you can suggest ideas and give us feedback over what is/isn't working.
• You will be removed and replaced if you go inactive for a long period. Of course, we all get busy and things like holidays and whatnot will be excluded; just let us know.
• When a Moderator position becomes available, Community Leaders will have first consideration.


We're keen to establish an enthusiastic team that can all add something different, and that can work together, with both us and whoever else is picked. Preferably, they will be across different time-zones. This is a chance for you to get involved and to help us bring the site back to where it belongs. It's also a chance to be part of our lil' team..., we do actually talk to each other and get to know each other when we're obsessing over making the site Great Again, y'know :P

If you would like to apply to be a Community Ambassador, click here: Clicky. - you have until 9th Feb 20:00 GMT.

In terms of other changes, the site will soon be re-named Gay Teen Forum & Chat - this is because a lot more people search 'chat', over 'forum'. I know many of you have asked about the forum theme, and the forum theme and decision over the logo will be up soon. Additionally, I have received Administrator abilities, but will remain as a Moderator so I have no additional status over the other guys. I will make changes when Moderators, including myself, (and I expect we'll have feedback from the community team, as well) agree on a change. This will speed minor changes up. And finally, we will be starting a donation drive for advertisement soon.

I firmly believe that with these changes, including the new theme and social-media activity, we will get activity back. I know some of you contemplate LGBT teens becoming more accepted as a reason for the decline in activity, but I look at the amount of teens here, wanting someone to talk to or a friend, and I look at gay Twitter, and it's clear LGBT teens still want a community among themselves - and those places are not as personal and do not offer the experiences we can. We will get activity back on the site, but we want your feedback, suggestions, and your help.

10 from Scherzy, Corrdorr, Ebsy, scottnesss, Stark, Calcifer, muddylegs, -Brandon-, Gibbs and JonathanT88


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 4:11 pm 
hotty
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Awesome! I'm excited to apply.

Question: Will the new site be mobile optimized?


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 4:20 pm 
Horny Jonathan, Member (of the homosexual intifada)
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Pity wrote:
Awesome! I'm excited to apply.

Question: Will the new site be mobile optimized?


Yes, and we hope this will boost out SEO-thingy/googleability. It's one of the main reasons we've been wanting a new theme.

1 from Jacketh


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 4:24 pm 
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Looks awesome, hopefully the arena will reduce the amount of rabid spewing at the mention of politics


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 4:27 pm 
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Jacketh wrote:
Hi! :keke:
But first, we want your ideas and feedback. What do we need to change? What would you like to see? Is there any particular reason, besides being busy, you no longer come on to the site as often? Why do you come on here? Is there anything bugging you? It's important we know what direction we want to go in and remind ourselves what GTF is to you guys. Tell us!

Second, we are concerned about the level of aggressive discourse ingrained in the site right now. The chat-room, primarily, should be a place where users can get to know each other, have a bit of fun, and be comfortable. It should also be relatively-easy for new members to get involved. For too long it has been an angry arena for debating politics - starting with the UK Election in 2015. I won't pretend I haven't been involved in this; plenty of people from all sides have been. But it has gone on for too long. For that reason, we are introducing a new room in chat: The Arena. If you want to debate an issue with someone for longer than five minutes, or if a conversation is becoming divisive or bitter - it goes in there. I would encourage you all to make it common practice to simply join both rooms when you originally join chat, that way the conversation can simply carry on authentically. This rule comes into effect immediately, but will be clarified further with an update to the Rules page.

I firmly believe that with these changes, including the new theme and social-media activity, we will get activity back. I know some of you contemplate LGBT teens becoming more accepted as a reason for the decline in activity, but I look at the amount of teens here, wanting someone to talk to or a friend, and I look at gay Twitter, and it's clear LGBT teens still want a community among themselves - and those places are not as personal and do not offer the experiences we can. We will get activity back on the site, but we want your feedback, suggestions, and your help.


We shoudl get one of the Aussies who have fucked Troye to help us promote GTF. I'm sure there are a few oldfags lurking who have. :P

On a more serious note, I like the arena thing, frankly one of the reasons I stopped coming around is how bitchy people have gotten with politics and name calling, take for example the amount of times y'all call Pity a white supremacist or a nazi it doesn't ,make for a positive environment and I think it drives people, even non republicans ect, away. And yes GTF blah blah blah used to be so salty/bitchy and it was fine, well that obviously isn't working now to keep people around.

I think some forms of advertising on places could work, (twitter, fb, reddit,) but tbh I have no idea how that would happen or who would do it and I believe we're already kinda doing it?

I don't care much for the member of the month idea, but it's whatever.

1 from scottnesss


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 4:30 pm 
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Sig wrote:
...frankly one of the reasons I stopped coming around is how bitchy people have gotten with politics and name calling


I've a feeling you're not alone there, and one of the purposes of this thread is to try and acknowledge just how much of a problem that has been.

1 from muddylegs


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 4:36 pm 
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In short summary, agree with the Member of the Month and Community Ambassadors, disagree somewhat with them taking priority for moderator picks but I guess it's a good way of vetting people, the name change I'm ofc nostalgic and upset about but then I'm old and grumpy and your reason makes perfect sense. Would be interested to hear why you have admin abilities but not the title (something something sit on the Jedi council something something not the rank of Master), as well as the justification for the rule against heated debate which, for the moment, I thoroughly disagree with but would gladly like to hear more reasoning about.

1 from muddylegs


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 4:39 pm 
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This has probably said many times before but I feel like the site is mostly gay/male oriented. I don't think that is the intention and probably has been tried to be improved before but I think that is what the site really needs to improve on. In my opinion I think renaming the site maybe LGBT Teen Forum & Chat would be a little more welcoming to people that aren't just gay or male. I also think that a separate chat for political debates is a great idea :keke:

2 from Liam and muddylegs


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 4:51 pm 
Horny Jonathan, Member (of the homosexual intifada)
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Angel wrote:
In short summary, agree with the Member of the Month and Community Ambassadors, disagree somewhat with them taking priority for moderator picks but I guess it's a good way of vetting people.


The community ambassadors are selected by us because we want to ensure those chosen are the most able and enthusiastic rather than the most popular, which may have been the case if it were popularly selected. Of course, as we remove and add members to the team we'll be sure to take members' opinions into account, and you're free to petition us at any time.

MOTM is mod-chosen because, again, we'd like to reward genuine contribution rather than popularity. It may be the case that a new user who hasn't built enough friendship bonds is contributing the most, but wouldn't win a popular vote; we want to recognise those sorts of people.

Quote:
the name change I'm ofc nostalgic and upset about but then I'm old and grumpy and your reason makes perfect sense.


It's still basically GTF, with a little 'chat' tagged on the end. We're not being TOO radical here. :P I suppose it is a little sad, but progress n' all that (we can't be dinosaurs forever).

Quote:
Would be interested to hear why you have admin abilities but not the title (something something sit on the Jedi council something something not the rank of Master)


We need someone who's an active member of the moderation team to execute administrative abilities but we don't need someone else of a higher rank, essentially. While Jack has the power to press the buttons, we all get to decide what he does and when. Jack is not being made an administrator all but in name; rather, the mods are simply seizing the means of administration, like the good little communists we all are. It's going to make it a lot easier for us to enact minor changes, without having to consult our wonderful (but very busy) admins.

Quote:
...as well as the justification for the rule against heated debate which, for the moment, I thoroughly disagree with but would gladly like to hear more reasoning about.


Essentially, political discourse has been poisoning the forum recently. We're in favour of free discussion and freedom of speech, but not if this makes the atmosphere toxic (as several members have told us it has been doing). We decided, therefore, that instead of banning political discussion (we're free lovin' communists, not Stalinists) we would simply accommodate for it such that it doesn't disturb users who aren't interested. I'm not sure if you've been in chat recently, but it keeps on descending into discussions about white nationalism, racism, Trump, etc. and we do not believe this is conductive to a good atmosphere.

People stop coming into chat if they know that every time they do it will become bitchy and hostile, so we're trying to change this.

2 from scottnesss and Jacketh


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 5:01 pm 
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Angel wrote:
In short summary, agree with the Member of the Month and Community Ambassadors, disagree somewhat with them taking priority for moderator picks but I guess it's a good way of vetting people, the name change I'm ofc nostalgic and upset about but then I'm old and grumpy and your reason makes perfect sense. Would be interested to hear why you have admin abilities but not the title (something something sit on the Jedi council something something not the rank of Master), as well as the justification for the rule against heated debate which, for the moment, I thoroughly disagree with but would gladly like to hear more reasoning about.


Pretty much what Jon says, but think of me as lil' Anakin whilst the Jedi Council (made up of Moderators & the future Community team) tell me what buttons to press and what we should do.

Image


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 5:11 pm 
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I think a lot of this here is good ideas. Thanks Jack. A lot of the reason I don't come on as much anymore is probably related to the reason I even joined GTF back in 2012 (christ, it'll be 5 years in a month?). I joined as a 15 year old boy scared of my sexuality and constantly depressed and feeling lonely due to the lack of friends at school and constant bullying by homophobic & racist kids. GTF helped me find a community where I could feel like I am able to be myself. GTF helped me grow out of my shell a lot. It helped me become more comfortable with my sexuality. It helped me become confident enough to come out of the closet. GTF even helped motivate me to do something with my life - and now here I am moved across the country working for an awesome company.

Sadly, for me, it's just seemed like GTF doesn't have much to offer me anymore. It's not the fault of the forum - GTF is doing great things to try to bring in new members, including the new theme. It's just that I don't necessarily gain as much from being here anymore. For the past year or two I've only posted on the forums a handful of times (not including the deeply impactful debates in the 2016 thread). I've mainly stuck to chat because it fills a void of that I like to be talking to people. I've met people here I hope to be e-friends with for a long time, and that's awesome.

My biggest issue with GTF is that, in my opinion, it has gotten a little stale to me, to be honest. Sure, there are tons of new features, but none of them have been dynamite to convince me to use the site as religiously as I used to. And as I grow older and get busier, my availability to use the site lessens.

I will definitely continue to use the site, and will absolutely offer suggestions and feedback on new ideas. I love GTF. It's just that I might be in the process of "moving on" from it.

3 from Mati, muddylegs and Jacketh


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 5:49 pm 
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Sig wrote:
We shoudl get one of the Aussies who have fucked Troye to help us promote GTF.

What the fuck are you asserting? :P

These new changes sound like just the revamp we need. The Community Ambassador idea is wonderful, as it will hopefully retain some new members and encourage the new ones who are active on chat to also become forum active. A new logo and theme will also do wonders I think, because - as much as I love AeroBlue - the current theme feels like it hasn't changed since 2007. A modern refresh should be nice. On that though, I've seen some of the leading proposals for a new logo, and many of them include the Pride Rainbow in some description. Like AeroBlue, I think there should be a closet version that doesn't include the Pride Rainbow - and more easily let people know how to change it when they sign up somehow.

And I think stepping up our social media game is something to think about. Twitter in particular is a great place to start. Finding someone who will keep the Twitter account active and engaged in order to send people our way. Love Griff as I do, I think we need a more active user and someone who doesn't use it as a personal account sometimes (sorry Griff :hug: )

1 from -Brandon-


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 6:13 pm 
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Interesting ideas. It will be nice to see if this can spur activity.


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 6:16 pm 
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I think that one of the main problems is Jack that GTF means something different for each person and that meaning evolves... You mentioned yourself that everyone receives something from the forum, but people come here, look for something without knowing what they are looking for, and when they find it, move on along with that special thing.
As an example, to me coming to GTF is something that I instinctively did but I really wanted somebody to get to know, to talk to, somebody I could identify with and connect to. After some time spent on the forum I found that as much through Ba Sing Se/skype conversations as with Tim.
As much as you can say that I owe back to the forum for giving me that, and I do, the mere fact that what I received from GTF applied externally to GTF makes it hard to actually reestablish an emotional connection with the forum. I could post and participate as much as I feel I should because I want the forum to keep going, as soon as something gets in the way GTF gets cast aside because the relationship that I am trying to establish is emotionally superfluous.
That doesn't mean that the 'something' that people are looking for is necessarily external to the forum, and I think to many people either posting, either chatting, or even participating in the games here and continuously meeting a new set of people is what matters. At the same time, those people are what become leading figures of GTF in a way, like you are, like Matty is, and I think the fact that they must leave is discrepant with their own emotional connection to the site sometimes (sorry to speak on other people's behalf but it serves the general line of thought here); it also breaks the communal atmosphere. Obviously the age limit is important, because this is a 'gay teen' forum, and we don't need middle aged men rampaging throughout the posts. At the same time I think most people are lucid enough to post when and where appropriate, and there moderator engagement with such individuals to bend the rules in that respect could be an idea.
As to the proposition of changing 'gay' to 'LGBT', I understand the idea but think it is a danger personally.... Obviously we shouldn't reject anybody who isn't strictly gay (a concept which I find mathematically absurd anyway), but I don't think the forum does that or has ever aimed to either. A lot of people when they look out for GTF are also looking out for people who are like them, whom they can identify with, who have roughly gone through the same experiences as them. It is stereotypical and wrong to say that all gay people live the same thing and it is different to lesbians or pansexuals or whatever, but at the same time people identify themselves and their sexuality according to their own experiences and I think even to a lesbian it is harder to think "that guy can conceptualise my feelings". The exceptions to that generalisation come here anyway and they are not refused (I mean I don't think so). On the other hand if the scope of the forum becomes much larger, then it may be harder for people who come here to find their own 'home' or what they are looking for specifically. Then again it could work and I am not entirely against the idea, it just needs a lot of consideration in my opinion.

Love,

Nick :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:

3 from muddylegs, JonathanT88 and Jacketh


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 6:35 pm 
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Also one idea might be, if it is possible, try advertising GTF in other languages... I don't quite know how all the technical stuff works what with the internet and google and search motors and whatever, but if you can make tags for the website in other languages it may be useful. This forum has the great advantage of inter-nationality enhanced by the language used, English, in which a lot of people in a lot of non English speaking countries are fluent enough to at least basically communicate, even if most won't admit it. The problem resides in the fact that many people won't necessarily search for such a forum in a language which isn't their own: we may have many non-English speakers here who bypassed that, but we might have so many more if it was made more accessible.


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 6:36 pm 
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Thanks Nick! :keke:

SimplyNick wrote:
Also one idea might be, if it is possible, try advertising GTF in other languages... I don't quite know how all the technical stuff works what with the internet and google and search motors and whatever, but if you can make tags for the website in other languages it may be useful. This forum has the great advantage of inter-nationality enhanced by the language used, English, in which a lot of people in a lot of non English speaking countries are fluent enough to at least basically communicate, even if most won't admit it. The problem resides in the fact that many people won't necessarily search for such a forum in a language which isn't their own: we may have many non-English speakers here who bypassed that, but we might have so many more if it was made more accessible.


How did you find us? Did you search 'gay teen forum' in English, presumably? What comes up if you search it in French?


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 6:42 pm 
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Congrats to the last applicant who made his case by failing to put his username down :tea:

We figured who it is from the timezone(s).

1 from Scherzy


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 6:55 pm 
hotty
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I'm hopeful for GTF. I think we should do competitions and activities more often.


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 8:39 pm 
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Pity wrote:
I'm hopeful for GTF. I think we should do competitions and activities more often.


This is certainly something I'd like to see more.


  
 
Unread postPosted: 2nd February, 2017, 8:46 pm 
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I think there's a limit though - if we appear to be trying *too* hard to do things (I.e threads for the sake of threads, naming no names) then it might have a negative impact, and take value away from some of the input.

Just my thoughts.

1 from Dmitzi


  
 
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