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What is the elevator pitch, given the big elephant in the room that is boardgamegeek? I am happy to be convinced that I should pay attention to things here, this has at least the following things going against it.

  • The focus is a bit broader here than at BGG, and this actually works against the site. I don't care for things like Risk, Monopoly, or Trivial Pursuit. I believe BGG does a better job at hitting the sweet spot of topic focus vs potential community size. Sure, there might be a page about the classics on BGG, but no one actually really talks about them.

  • There is a pretty helpful established base of users at BGG already.

  • The domain specific integration at BGG provides a lot of value. At BGG, I can ask a rules question, or I can simply find a link to the rules. I like to have discussions about boardgames that are a bit less guided than the simple Q&A feel that StackExchange gives.

  • I can argue with the game designers at BGG, and that is pretty awesome.

What does this have going for it? Perhaps a better culture (imported from top level StackExchange) of cultivating and condensing one really good answer to a question?

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    Board Game Geek's design hurts my eyes :P – Jon Hadley Nov 2 '10 at 19:52
  • We're still writing the Elevator Pitch. – Powerlord Nov 4 '10 at 14:08
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    This question is my biggest issue with BCG.SE. Establishing in what ways it offers something that BGG can't is the single most important thing for BCG.SE's survival as an independent site, to my mind. – AlexC Nov 5 '10 at 10:31
  • Might be a joke, but I actually agree with @Jon: BGG design is only a few steps above "hideous". – o0'. Jan 13 '11 at 13:49
  • I like the basic design of the 'geek. It's gotten much better than it used to be, save for the loss of the down-thumb vote. – aramis Mar 12 '11 at 19:06
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I tried to address this question a bit when announcing this site on BoardGameGeek. My conclusion was that we're more complimentary to BGG, rather than competing with it, though obviously there's a certain amount of competing for people's attention and time. To quote myself:

StackExchange is a question and answer system which has grown out of the very popular https://stackoverflow.com/, a Q&A site for professional programmers. It has several advantages over other forums or Q&A systems. Unlike forums, you don't have to wade through pages of responses to find the actual answer to a question; answers voted up will move to the top, and the questioner can accept an answer which will become the top one. Unlike other generic Q&A sites, StackExchange sites have specific communities devoted to the topic in question, not just a lot of people answering questions on everything. And unlike most sites of the sort, it also involves wiki-style community editing, in which users with enough reputation can edit questions and answers to provide clarification, fix small errors, or clean up formatting or tagging.

...

BoardGameGeek is a great resource, and the Board and Card Games StackExchange is complementary to it, I think. BoardGameGeek has a lot of information on it, and sometimes people might not be able to find the needle they're looking for in the haystack of BGG.

First of all, yes, BoardGameGeek has some definite advantages in the size of the existing community, and the integration of its game database. The first is one that can hopefully be improved as this community grows; likewise, the issue you mention about designers already being on BGG could be addressed by getting designers to answer questions here as well.

The integration issue might be able to be addressed here; some other sites have added JavaScript to make domain-specific features work (such as rendering TeX on the math oriented sites, or a shortcut for adding card images on a Magic: The Gathering SE 1.0 site); it might be possible for us to do the same here, adding a feature that could easily embed BGG game links and/or images.

But that still leave the fact that in the meantime, as we grow our community, we need to be able to say what differentiates us. I think there are few things:

  • The biggest benefit is the actual StackExchange system with questions, answers, voting, and editing. On BoardGameGeek, if you want to ask a rules or strategy question, you have to do it in a forum format. This means that you ask a question, and then there may be several replies of varying quality that are hard to sort through. In some cases, you may get several pages of replies, at which point finding anything is quite hard, and the SEO will be totally broken because the question and answer will be on different pages. On StackExchange, the best replies will be voted to the top; the one that actually answers the question will be at the top and prominently marked. Small errors, or typographical or formatting issues, can be fixed by anyone with enough rep to edit other people's answers (or left as a comment that will be displayed immediately below the question or answer), instead of having to keep reading through the thread to find the one bit of errata that someone else posted.
  • The simplicity and focus of the site. BoardGameGeek is very complex and busy, with lots of stuff going on. It can be hard to figure out how to ask a question, or where to look (a few of my more poplar answers here have simply been instructions for how to use BoardGameGeek effectively). StackExchange, in contrast, is relatively simple and focused on question and answers. I've pointed out BoardGameGeek to people and heard "ow, I can't even figure out where to start looking."
  • Better SEO. This is related to the above; the simplicity and focus on SE sites, as well as the emphasis on quality content through voting, helps it achieve better Google rankings. There have been questions that are answered on BoardGameGeek, but a simple search didn't answer it; I had to try adding "site:boardgamegeek.com" to my search in order to find the answer, and filter through a lot of irrelevant results.
  • The Creative Commons license on all of the content is another reason that I prefer to use SE to BGG. I used to contribute fairly heavily to BGG, but BGG and the authors of any content retain sole rights to any of the content posted there. Thus, BGG is allowed to use and profit off of my content as they see fit, while I'm not allowed to use the database or anyone else's content for any other purposes. This makes it hard to, say, create a read-only fork of BGG with a better interface, which could be quite useful and by competing with BGG inspire them to clean their interface up a bit. BGG is a collaboratively edited resource, but pretty much wholly owned by a few individuals, while all of the content in SE is available for anyone to use as they see fit (within the bounds of the license).

Finally, I disagree with your point about the focus being broader here than at BGG. I think that what's on topic at each is pretty much equivalent. BGG has Risk, Monopoly, and Trivial Pursuit pages, with forums that people discuss them, which can show up on your front page. There may be a slightly different proportion of questions on certain games here vs at BGG, but that's going to be the case anywhere; I don't think that in the long run, there will be much more discussion of Trivial Pursuit here than on BGG, especially if we succeed in getting more serious gamers involved here. And if there are games you're particularly interested in or don't want to hear about, add them to your "interesting tags" or "ignored tags" lists.

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    Just realized that this is a bit more of an essay than an elevator pitch... hopefully, someone can sum it up into something a bit shorter and sweeter that can be used to convince people to try out SE. – Brian Campbell Nov 2 '10 at 21:14
  • Cool, thanks. I mostly buy it on the basis of SE being a lot better for Q&A (I've certainly answered many basically identical questions on the BGG RftG forums, and I can't just link and collapse the dup into the original, which has been an annoyance for me) and at the worst case, this will force BGG to compete. I am happy to see BGG flourish, even if it means a small set of people profit from my contributions, so the license doesn't matter much to me. – rrenaud Nov 2 '10 at 21:47
  • @Rob I don't mind the creators of BGG profiting from it; more power to them, they've created a great resource an shepherded a community into producing a lot of really good content. But I like it when I can reuse the work from any collaboratively edited content that I produce; I would like to be able to build on and modify it (such as, producing game recommendation tools, or the like), but the licensing terms of BGG forbid that. It's not a huge problem, I still use BGG sometimes, but it does reduce my enthusiasm to contribute. – Brian Campbell Nov 4 '10 at 2:51
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Good question to get the brain cells firing on the elevator pitch, but I'm not completely sure we're competing against or should be used instead of Board Game Geek, we're a complement to it.

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Brian's answer is awesome. I just wanted to add one thing.

At BoardGameGeek each game has it's own forum (many forums actually). If you put a rules question in one low traffic forum, it may be quite a while before you get a good answer. Here, we effectively have ONE forum. Everyone is able to easily look at all new questions as well as search out old questions for particular games (tags).

This site already has a good number of folks with a knowledge of many different games. Are those folks trolling thru dozens or hundreds of games forums on BGG? I doubt it. I think over time this will lead to better, quicker answers here for more games. We do need a bit more traffic first though!

Note - BGG may have this functionality available (to see all new questions). I'm not aware of it though. I wouldn't be surprised if anything I thought was lacking at BGG was actually there!

  • If you look way down on the front page, in the left column under the forums, you'll see a "Game Forums+" section. Depending on your settings, it may not be expanded, or may be elsewhere; or missing entirely, in which case you can add it at boardgamegeek.com/geekcentral/edit. It shows new questions in all of the game-specific forums. There's so much going on on the BoardGameGeek front page that it's easy to miss, but there is a place where you can see questions about all of the games going by (note that this demonstrates my point about how much cleaner and simpler BCG.SE is). – Brian Campbell Nov 5 '10 at 21:35
  • @Brian - I figured there was a way! but I find B&CGSE much more usable for my needs in this instance – Pat Ludwig Nov 5 '10 at 21:39
  • @pat you've just summed up as benefit the big PROBLEM with SE. One Big Forum. – aramis Mar 12 '11 at 19:04
  • @aramis - so you'd rather visit 50 different forums to check out every game you are interested in? Not me! I vastly prefer the method used on this site. – Pat Ludwig Mar 12 '11 at 20:01
  • @pat you obviously haven't learned how to use BGG, then. I don't have to. I set my subscriptions on the games I want to follow, and the board collates the new threads and active threads into a single list for me every time I hit the site. (And does so across the three domains, even.) Folderization is a stregth... otherwise, CP/M would still be dominant in business computing... – aramis Mar 12 '11 at 20:11
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    @aramis - forum or SE, being told that my strong opinion is wrong and that I'm ignorant is no fun so you can "win" this one. My opinion stands unchanged. – Pat Ludwig Mar 12 '11 at 21:54
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Here's my 2¢ as a BGG user who is just starting to use BCG.SE:

• I go to BoardGameGeek to push out info about games I'm working on/have worked on, look up stats on specific games, and download supplemental materials about boardgames.

• I come to BCG.SE for little "hit and run" boardgame-related snippets. I come here when I have a moment or two to spare to read or write a little blurb or two.

As several people before me have stated, the two sites are complements. I strongly agree, since that's how I'm coming to use them.

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    I am not sure. I did a little experiment. I posted the same question to BGG and here. The results did not look good for here. At least right now, there isn't really critical mass for getting good responses. I had more responses on BGG than I had views on BCG.SE. boardgamegeek.com/thread/599990/… boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/1954/… – rrenaud Jan 13 '11 at 19:02
  • A year on, and I suspect that Rob's comment still holds true... the user base here just isn't big enough, and far too many users want an all-in-one site. Which, due to the nature of StackExchange, it can never be. – aramis Feb 12 '12 at 12:16

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