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Times of Change
By Nick Saviskoff
Times of Change

Disclaimer: The views and points represented in this article are not meant to offend, insult, or flame anyone. While I realise some people may take what I have to say in this article personally I ask that you try not to.

Thanks,
Ura


Well, before I begin I would like to say that this article is going to ruffle alot of feathers and some people may find it angering, so if your easily offended by what is a somewhat controversial subject, leave now.

....
....
....

Ok, now that all the heavily offendable people are no longer reading or at least have read my warning I can begin.

About 4 or 5 months ago there was a very large discussion about the "direction" and "goals" of the CPA. I'm sure some of you remember it and are groaning now. At that time there were heated debates and alot of boarder line flaming. People became defensive about their views but eventually things cooled down and everyone made up and we went along our merry way.
Now warp ahead to our present time. Several great things have happened since that time, The Orgg's interviews with Maro and Peter Adkinson, the CPA itself has blossomed with membership and we are now standing over 700, (780 at last count), strong, and even the site itself got a face life that while brought up a fair amount of controversy itself got tuned up a bit and looks really sharp now, kudos to ed for his hard work and great effort. Some of us have made great friendships and others irritating adversaries. But above all else we are developing into a grand community of magic players.

Unfortunatly this is where troubles being.

I heard it once said that, "All good things, must come to an end."
I believe this to be untrue, however I do know that with expansion and size comes growing pains and a larger need for responsibility. This is something that to an extent the CPA is feeling, growing pains.
Recently I have spoken to several CPA members, over ICQ, AIM, or in person, and several of them are begining to feel or have felt for a long time that the CPA has drifted from being a magic community to more of a "bounce in the clouds" social club. What I mean by that is that many people are finding the cpa boring, or uncontrolled, or even as one person said, pointless. Because of these feelings several members don't come around at all anymore or they only stop in once a week at most, they feel there is nothing worth talking about on the boards. Among some of the complaints that I've been told:

The CPA mission statement: We aren't living up to it as a community.

This was made long before I became a member as well as long before almost all of us became members. But there are some people, both old and new who joined because of that statement, myself included. Some of us feel that the CPA hasn't been living up to its statement, some think it has, some don't care. We can argue it till we're blue in the face and falling over gasping for air. Should it be revised, I can't say. Maybe simplfied to rather then take such a direct target, to be broadened to encompass us all as a whole. But I don't think its something we should just ignore.
{Side note: Who is Anthony James Scott?}

The front page articles: Some of them have been really lacking in content and quality. Some are great mind you, but there are some that really just shouldn't be front page articles.

This is the first thing that people see when they come to the site. Humans have an average attention span of aproximately 3.4 seconds, proven fact. If we are going to bring in new members we have to catch their eye with something and good articles and headlines are our best option. We don't need to hear about a tournament report on the front page, a tourny report is almost contradictory to our title to people who haven't been here before and some get scared off or leave in dissapointment before ever really coming in. If the tournament is about a new revolutionary format or even an old non-DCI regulated format, then talk about the format itself and introduce it to us all, not about who won which round by playing healing salve at just the right time. Talk about why the format is good and why we should all give it try. Of course is someone like Gizmo goes off and wins the world championships or something, then heck yeah, thats a report and article I would love to read and see on the front page. But the little 5 man type 2 tournament that someone wins with an Armadillo Cloaked Sabertooth Nishoba isn't something I want to see on the front page. Not that the little tourny is bad, but it just isn't of high interest caliber and really isn't something thats worthy of the front page.
I know we have some fantastic writers amongst us, so to those of you out there who are, start writing.

In the general CPA forum: Somebody babbling about the new foil rare they got and not making any point other then to say they got a foil rare.

While I know its nice to get a foil rare and the need to tell everyone can be strong, but really, do we all need to here about it, is it a topic that requires disscussion? Not really, it just fills up the boards and gives the poster another post on their count. This is bascally an example of spamming without being obvious about it. Its entirely pointless but is hidden in the guise of a magic topic. This is where better responsibility amongst posters comes into play. Think before you post, is it something thats really worth posting to the world? I know people who completely avoid the entire forum and just look at rules questions because there is so much junk to filter through.

The Voting Forum: The new member, ( I don't mean to bash new members at all in this), asking what everyone's favorite card is, of fav color, or combo, or whatever along those lines.

I joined back in March and since then I have have seen at least 6 or 7 different threads all on these subjects, possibly more. I don't think a thread needs to be repeated 3 or 4 times, if anything just add to the old one. Personally I think the voting forum is used kinda baddly as there hasn't been anything really serious to be voted on, but still, just because its there doesn't mean you have to repeat the same thread over and over. Save the voting forum for things that really need to be voted on. It'll also help for those lurkers from WotC who have been reported reading the boards, then they'll really know what we seriously want to see in magic, and while it may not have heavy influence, it will have some. Remember that a single penny is a semi-useless lump of copper, but 100 pennies together is a dollar and far more eye catching if its laying on the sidewalk.

The battle arena: The only thing that ever really happens besides Istanbul's trivia contest is pointless little "battles" that consist of one or two people just pretending to nuke people or bash them with blunt objects or dropping billions or spells with their faster then a mana source infinate mana.

Ok, I know this area is needed for people to work out tempers and to flame each other to piles of charred goo. But this isn't what happens in there. It just as the complaint says, a couple people with nothing better to do then pretend to have huge catastrophic wars and invasions and whatever, could we be a little more childish please? The battle arena is meant for arguing, working out heated tempers or battling in a way other then trying to see how pretend violent you can be just to add to your post count or because your bored. Its like watching a pair of 4 years old going,

Kid 1 "My daddy can beat your daddy!"
Kid 2 "My uncle can beat up your daddy!"
Kid 1 "Can not!"
Kid 2 "Can too!"
Kid 1 "Well my mommy can beat up your daddy and your uncle."
Kid 2 "Shut-up!"
*kid 2 swings at kid 1 and much tumbling and arguing ensues till they get broken up crying or no one is bothing to care anymore to watch*

Can you say "baka"?
I knew you could.

There have been other gripes and complaints, such as just generally being bored here because nothing is happening or being written about thats worth reading, a lack of interest to produce. And yes, I as well as the people who make these complaints are also not really doing anything to "produce" as I put it, but I can't believe that 700+ people have nothing to really talk about other then the "hows the weather" style small talk.

Now I'm not about to pressume I'm right or that this is what the masses really want, but I like to think the cpa is capable of being something great to the magic community at large as well as to each other. Several members feel this way and really want to see change so that everyone has something to go for. I hate to see people leave because they don't feel welcome or because they feel its pointless to come anymore, and I think that just about everyone reading this can agree on that.

Some of the solutions that have been brought up to me by people have been things like members being willing to lead and bring ideas to the table to be talked about. TheOrgg is a great example of that with all his effort getting the interviews and his idea for the CPA buttons. But not everyone has to be on the front lines so to speak like that, but I think just about everyone has ideas for projects and things that the CPA can do. Things that go beyond the scope of the basic suggestions forum.
Another idea was getting moderators for each forum. A couple of people whos job is to make sure that new threads are on topic, that spamming and swearing are kept on a tight leash. So far the founders do a good job on this, but it could be better. We just can't expect so much from a small group of people, there is only so much a single person can do. The other thing with this idea is that it could bring on alot of work for Ed and give him a migrain or something. If it could be programed easily, then its a task of getting people who want to do it that are responsible, trustworthy, have good judgement, and most especially people who won't abuse the fact that they are given such a grand task and power.

At this time the CPA is a young juvinille. We have the body and the ego, but our minds are still much like a childs. For the CPA to grow we need somekind of direction or focus. Of course no one is required to do anything and I'm certainly not saying everyone should. But there are members who have ideas and goals and serious things that they would like to see happen. If we are to focus, then both eyes must be open. Lead by example by writing a good article and sharing your vision or by talking about an interesting topic in a thread somewhere. I'm not asking for crusaders or revolutionaries, I'm asking for people who care about and love the CPA as I do to step forward if they have a good idea and share it and to be responsible when your posting, These boards are a privilage, not a right, and they can be stripped of us just as easily as they are given. If we police ourselves and are supportive of each other and of the growth of the CPA, then there is nothing we can't accomplish. Till then, we're just a big kid wearing diapers.

Think about it.

Cheers,
Nick "Ura" Saviskoff
utpost@netidea.com">outpost@netidea.com

Read More Articles by Nick Saviskoff!

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