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What made BZP a great community?


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#1 Offline Etcetere

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 12:41 PM

I got on BZP soon after Bionicle first launched in 2001 when I was 11. I stayed on up till 2007 when my interest in Bionicle simply waned. But during those years the friendships I made and the community I was a part of actually very close to my heart. Fast forward to today, 11 years later, I'm a missionary in Mexico and I want to create an online community for youth in Latin America to work together for social justice. - I won't mention any more details, because if I remember correctly BZP rules forbid talking about other forums. What I do want to talk about is how the idea intimidates me because I see dozens of heavily-funded, big-name projects that failed to do the very same thing. But then I remembered BZP, and how it was an incredibly successful and thriving community, and how much it was a part of my life. Maybe I could learn a few lessons from how things worked here? Miraculously I remembered my old yahoo address and could recover my password, and here I am. So my question is: What made BZPower such a great community?What made it more successful and interactive than others? I personally think that it is mostly because BZP was community-invented. Nearly every BZ innovation was birthed out of the users, not out of the "designers" producing new "features". Contests, RPGs, entire categories and sections, were created because someone started an idea that others caught on to, so the administrators gave it a permanent place.
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#2 Offline Dual Cee

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 12:50 PM

The awesome staff and community.

 

Erebus and the GregF answers are a clear display of the awesomeness, Erebus and the others giving up their free time to talk about a kids story line two years after it ended to get some answers for a community as big as 500. And B6 offering most of his time to improving this site, even now, Meiko and Swert Creating some of the worlds awesomest wikis, Bonesii who after all those years can still offer detailed and working answers to question about a story aspect of a decade ago, Velox who makes the most awesome contests, and Gata Nui the most pro reporter who brings the awesomest news and all the other staff members who offer their time to keep this community alive.

 

And of course the friendly athmosfere around here and my friends.


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#3 Offline Etcetere

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 12:56 PM

Amazing that 7 years later I read all these names and memories flood back. People really got involved on a devoted level!


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#4 Offline Makaru

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 12:58 PM

It's definitely the members that make this site great.

 

Collectively you (we?) are a creative bunch.


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#5 Offline Project Nightfall

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 01:00 PM

The members. The ongoing discussions about BIONICLE and its universe. The theories about the future, past, present. Questions like, what was the purpose of the Red Star? Who are the Baterra? What's the nature of the Great Beings?

When Greg and Bink were here, it was wonderful. We've got teases, sneak peeks, answers, lots of stuff. They were fun to talk with. The creative ideas of the members that were published in here, the contests, they were all exciting.

 

Sure, the website has its up and downs but overall the website remains firm and steady.


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#6 Offline Grandmaster Lehvorak

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 01:02 PM

[color=#000080;]I believe what made us a great community is our determination and interest in Bionicle. Despite us separating in different categories in this society, we all still have something in common which is liking Bionicle at least. There has been a lot of sharing of new ideas and what is great about this place is it shaped our character and made us the very people of today. So yes, I agree it is the users that made this community great.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]It is all in the character of a person hehehe![/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Lehvorak[/color]


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#7 Offline Reznas

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 01:10 PM

[font="'comic sans ms', cursive;"][color=rgb(0,128,0);]What makes BZP a great community? Simply put, the community itself is what makes BZPower such a great place to be. The site dynamics make it much more enjoyable than other communities. We're a pretty awesome bunch if I may say so my self...:D[/color][/font]

 

[font="'comic sans ms', cursive;"][color=rgb(0,128,0);]-Rez[/color][/font]


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#8 Offline Etcetere

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 01:16 PM

Ok, a further question, because it's pretty unanimous that WE made it great ;)

 

How did we manage to get so many great people with quality creativity/dedication?

 

Is Bionicle an inherently creativity-inspiring storyline?

 

Did the tight forum moderation procure quality content?


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#9 Offline Reznas

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 01:24 PM

[font="'comic sans ms', cursive;"][color=rgb(0,128,0);]I think that most of us here are pretty thorough LEGO lovers. When you love something, you generally don't mess around when you're doing something related to it. BZPower is a group of serious LEGO lovers that don't mess around when it comes around to LEGO, so that's why it is such a great community. We also have a very committed community which kind of goes along with this as well.[/color][/font]

 

[font="'comic sans ms', cursive;"][color=rgb(0,128,0);]-Rez[/color][/font]


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#10 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 01:24 PM

DUDE. You have no idea how much I've missed you and your blog. I loved your stories, MOCs, and general ramblings. Here's hoping you stick around even after you get some help with your website.As for what made BZPower great... I don't know how this would help a general community as opposed to a fansite, but I feel BZPower's close ties to Lego (in the form of exclusive reviews, interviews, and of course the Ask Greg feature) really helped it stand out from the crowd. BZPower's rules against linking to other sites with forums have always been restrictive (albeit justified), and if it weren't for that thriving relationship with the source of its fandom, I doubt it ever would have taken off the way it did.

 

BZPower's clear and comprehensive rules were also of benefit to the site, in my opinion. A site without any sort of regulation can be more inviting at the start, but can quickly devolve into chaos if users abuse the site's leniency. And banning users for being troublesome alone can seem arbitrary, and will drive off users. BZPower's community was so great in part due to the staff fostering intelligent and engaging discussion, and discouraging antagonistic or unwelcoming behavior, and the site's rules played a big part in that. So set clear guidelines for what constitutes spam, what constitutes flaming, what content is inappropriate, and what penalties users risk if they ignore these guidelines.

 

The web has changed since BZP's heyday, though, and many rules like the prohibition against linking to other sites with commenting systems start to stand out as anachronistic. Commenting systems are everywhere these days: news sites, image hosting sites, and more. And while that means there's a lot more bad out there (just look at the typical comments on the web's most popular video site), there's a lot of good content that can be missed if there's a blanket ban on engagement with other communities. For a modern site to thrive, I would suggest integration rather than restriction: yes, it will necessitate even more moderation, but the end result should be worth it.

 

Finally, don't forget to give users some freedom to determine what they do with the site! BZPower's COT forum and blogs may not have always stayed on-mission, but the community they fostered played a huge role in establishing and maintaining social ties between users. And BZPower wouldn't have gotten those and other privileges if not for the staff being open to suggestions and feedback from the userbase. A community website should remain open to change, so that it can adapt to suit a changing community. Just recently, BZPower added a feature called the "tracker" that allowed users to propose improvements to the site, and it's already had amazing results.

 

Again, I hope you stick around even after you get the answers you need (even though I understand that starting a community website of your own will be no small task). BZPower is always welcome to more users, both new and returning!


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#11 Offline Etcetere

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 01:28 PM

DUDE. You have no idea how much I've missed you and your blog. I loved your stories, MOCs, and general ramblings. Here's hoping you stick around even after you get some help with your website.As for what made BZPower great... I don't know how this would help a general community as opposed to a fansite, but I feel BZPower's close ties to Lego (in the form of exclusive reviews, interviews, and of course the Ask Greg feature) really helped it stand out from the crowd. BZPower's rules against linking to other sites with forums have always been restrictive (albeit justified), and if it weren't for that thriving relationship with the source of its fandom, I doubt it ever would have taken off the way it did.

 

BZPower's clear and comprehensive rules were also of benefit to the site, in my opinion. A site without any sort of regulation can be more inviting at the start, but can quickly devolve into chaos if users abuse the site's leniency. And banning users for being troublesome alone can seem arbitrary, and will drive off users. BZPower's community was so great in part due to the staff fostering intelligent and engaging discussion, and discouraging antagonistic or unwelcoming behavior, and the site's rules played a big part in that. So set clear guidelines for what constitutes spam, what constitutes flaming, what content is inappropriate, and what penalties users risk if they ignore these guidelines.

 

The web has changed since BZP's heyday, though, and many rules like the prohibition against linking to other sites with commenting systems start to stand out as anachronistic. Commenting systems are everywhere these days: news sites, image hosting sites, and more. And while that means there's a lot more bad out there (just look at the typical comments on the web's most popular video site), there's a lot of good content that can be missed if there's a blanket ban on engagement with other communities. For a modern site to thrive, I would suggest integration rather than restriction: yes, it will necessitate even more moderation, but the end result should be worth it.

 

Finally, don't forget to give users some freedom to determine what they do with the site! BZPower's COT forum and blogs may not have always stayed on-mission, but the community they fostered played a huge role in establishing and maintaining social ties between users. And BZPower wouldn't have gotten those and other privileges if not for the staff being open to suggestions and feedback from the userbase. A community website should remain open to change, so that it can adapt to suit a changing community. Just recently, BZPower added a feature called the "tracker" that allowed users to propose improvements to the site, and it's already had amazing results.

 

Again, I hope you stick around even after you get the answers you need (even though I understand that starting a community website of your own will be no small task). BZPower is always welcome to more users, both new and returning!

 

A post loaded with helpfulness Lyichir, I appreciate it!


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#12 Offline Makaru

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 01:39 PM

If I could comment on the creative side, it really helped that we had a plethora of AMAZING MOCers that routinely put out amazing work. Shannara, Kex, Cajun, D.Viddy, Amalga just to name but a SMALL fraction of the people who inspired the rest of us to be even better. More so, not only did these people contribute such a wealth of inspiration, but they also sought out other builders and helped them reach their potential by giving honest and open (and even sometimes necessarily harsh) critique. They not only told us we could do better, but HOW we could be better. And that cycled a new generation of skilled MOCers to repeat the process. Lego recognized this, and some of those names, Shannara in particular, had their creations become official canon characters. We had contests, for a good run MONTHLY to pit the best against the best. Some of those battles got particularly heated both on and off the forums. It stopped being an obscure hobby and became something of a matter of PRIDE. And oh man the banners. Do you remember the banners? Having to advertise your creation within the ~450x60 pixel box was a challenge. And sometimes other memebrs would chart who they were supporting in the contest, like THIS IS MY CANDIDATE FOR BBC WHATEVER. It was just such an ENERGY. I can't comment specifically for the Artwork and Creative Writing forums, but I know those too also had a similar energy and mindset amongst those who inhabited there.   Sorry, I think I just had a nostalgia trip there.


Edited by Makaru, Jan 25 2013 - 01:46 PM.

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#13 Offline Etcetere

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 02:12 PM

Sorry, I think I just had a nostalgia trip there.

 

Tell me about it.


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#14 Offline TheSkeletonMan939

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 02:41 PM

[How did we manage to get so many great people with quality creativity/dedication?

 

Probably because if people are passionate about something, then they'll make sure whatever fan work they do looks superb.


Edited by TheSkeletonMan939, Jan 25 2013 - 02:42 PM.

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#15 Offline King of Dust

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 08:14 PM

The people. Thats what drew me into the site.Sure, I love bionicle, but if so many people here weren't awesome, I wouldnt care to stay


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#16 Offline Sumiki

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 11:14 PM

[font="Palatino;"]I think whenever you pull together a bunch of people who are fans of the same thing, and these people can interact and create, you end up with a dynamic community. This is not just limited to BZP, or BIONICLE fans, or fans of LEGO as a whole, but indeed any other group that is united by a common interest. People interact and collaborate from there; you can't just make a community, but if you create the right atmosphere, then a great community can emerge.[/font]

 

[font="Palatino;"]As far as it becoming the biggest BIONICLE site and one of the largest LEGO sites, I can only really attribute most of it to luck. Some policies were set up to prevent the spread of the user base to other sites, but that era of internet competition has long since ended, and more modern internet communities make use of various sites. Just take a look at the brony phenomenon. There are a few major sites, but the community is still spread out, and it collaborates in rather awesome ways. People have various opinions of bronies, but there's no denying the impact that the brony community has had on the internet and its culture.[/font]


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#17 Offline Flux: The Explorer

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Posted Jan 25 2013 - 11:29 PM

What made this place such a great community? It's either the members or the fact that there's still some Bionicle discussion here. I'm saying the awesome members are the cause.
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you'll always be one of us..."

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#18 Offline Neelh

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Posted Jan 26 2013 - 05:42 AM

Nostalgia is a rather driving force. When I just came back after so long, and people are still doing the same thing, it just feels like home.


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I have girlfriend.

 

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the clouds above opened up

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#19 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 26 2013 - 04:37 PM

[font="Palatino;"]I think whenever you pull together a bunch of people who are fans of the same thing, and these people can interact and create, you end up with a dynamic community. This is not just limited to BZP, or BIONICLE fans, or fans of LEGO as a whole, but indeed any other group that is united by a common interest. People interact and collaborate from there; you can't just make a community, but if you create the right atmosphere, then a great community can emerge.[/font] [font="Palatino;"]As far as it becoming the biggest BIONICLE site and one of the largest LEGO sites, I can only really attribute most of it to luck. Some policies were set up to prevent the spread of the user base to other sites, but that era of internet competition has long since ended, and more modern internet communities make use of various sites. Just take a look at the brony phenomenon. There are a few major sites, but the community is still spread out, and it collaborates in rather awesome ways. People have various opinions of bronies, but there's no denying the impact that the brony community has had on the internet and its culture.[/font]
Yeah, but while in this day and age a more widespread community can be good, BZPower's insularity was definitely working to its advantage back in the day. If you wanted to be a part of the English-speaking BIONICLE community, this was the place to be, and other BIONICLE sites occasionally even garnered a reputation as "the places banned BZPower members went" because typically people at least gave this place a shot before migrating elsewhere for whatever reason.It definitely helped that the site's subject-- BIONICLE-- fostered community engagement. The early days of the theme were designed so you wouldn't get the whole story from any one source, and a side effect of this was that people turned to the community to "put the pieces together"-- no pun intended. Of course, it could be argued that this fostering of the community eventually became a dependence on the community when the story became too vast and complex for TLG to continue promoting anything but the newest story chapters. But regardless, community engagement remained a big part of BIONICLE from beginning to endGreg Farshtey's involvement on BZPower was definitely another factor in the site's success. While he was present on other sites, the size of the BZPower community meant that the "Ask Greg" on BZPower became a library of knowledge you might not find stated so directly in the BIONICLE story itself. And this also meant there was a constant influx of new information that the community as a whole could feed on. Looking at other LEGO sites, one of the biggest activities on most of them is speculating about and discussing future products. And while this was present on BZPower as well, one could argue that Greg's involvement kept us from needing as many spoilers as other sites do, because we weren't just waiting around between major product releases-- there was constant news on the story front, even in between the release of books and comics.So overall, I think BZPower had a lot of factors working to its advantage, but more importantly it had a staff team and a community that knew how to take advantage of all these factors.

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#20 Offline Meiko

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Posted Jan 26 2013 - 04:56 PM

I think everybody has made it clear most of what made BZPower a great community was the community itself—the active members and the great administration. The one other thing—a word used frequently in LEGO—would be the passion. Passion is how the LEGO Group describes the LEGO community, and what makes it so strong compared to other fandoms. Passion keeps LEGO fans being LEGO fans. Passion is what keeps the LEGO community actively engaged. Passion drives LEGO fans young and old, to all come together, on online and in-person LEGO communities like BZPower.


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#21 Offline Fairy Paladin

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Posted Jan 27 2013 - 03:58 PM

I think everybody has made it clear most of what made BZPower a great community was the community itself—the active members and the great administration. [...]

 

I suppose I can only second this, as it sums things up nicely.

 

For me, BZPower has always been a place where I could come to and share creative works, receive constructive feedback, and hey, I could even say that in a way it was what "got me into drawing". Also, the general helpfulness of others was overwhelming. You could pm some of the 'popular' members and yet receive nice replies. (if only things would work like that IRL too *sigh*)

 

These days... the community's still nice. Even though it's changed a lot; old people left, new people arrived, and overall it's still somewhat the same, albeit also different. :)


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#22 Guest_Takua the Chronicler7_*

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Posted Jan 27 2013 - 08:56 PM

All of us. Without the members, BZPower would be nothing. No discussion, no stories, no MOCs, nothing. It's because everyone here spends some time on it and keeps it going. That's what makes BZPower so successful.
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#23 Offline Queen Grr

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Posted Jan 29 2013 - 06:32 AM

Core Dimension, wow, I haven't seen you around here in years.  Takes me back to the old days.

 

Anyway, BZPower succeeded for two reasons

 

  • Its initial userbase was comprised primarily of children and early teenagers at a time when this was a relatively new demographic on the internet.  Consequently, the members literally all grew up together, spending their formative years interacting with peers on BZPower and creating important friendships.  
  • The site put in place policies that heavily inhibited members from spreading to other forums, creating an insular environment and a monopoly on the entire Bionicle community.  

The fact that it was based around a creatively-based product/franchise in the first place probably accounts for the high density of enthusiastic creators the site attracted, as well.


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bring back "an cool dude"

#24 Offline Hawkeye

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Posted Jan 30 2013 - 03:19 AM

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#800000;]I think, it has to do with exactly how personal the staff were with the members, and how sociable they tend to be. I'm great friends with a lot of the staff on the site, and the others probably don't remember me. The staff listen, and that is really essential.[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#800000;]- Gideon[/color][/font]


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#25 Offline Dralcax

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Posted Jan 30 2013 - 04:41 PM

I'd say a large group of dedicated members. In fact, we just saw a great example of that. Take a look at the forum sidebar.

 

Posted Image


Edited by Dralcax, Jan 30 2013 - 04:41 PM.

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#26 Offline Dwanny

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Posted Mar 01 2013 - 03:44 PM

Gee, that's tricky.

I'd have to say that Bionicle attracted the perfect crowd. 

It also helps that we have brilliant staff.

Another thing is that BZP has some relatively strict rules. If you check out other forums with less rules, you will notice that things get messy fast.

And finally, i think it thrived because it targeted a very specific core group, most of them with somewhat similar interests.


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Yeah I'm kinda

Not here

At all

http://chauvinistcab...deviantart.com/

I'm there though

Kinda


#27 Offline previnyl

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Posted Mar 02 2013 - 05:56 PM

I think the reason that the BZPower community is so awesome is because the people who are really interested are also older, mature, and able to have intelligent discussions and create great content for the site. But also, the actually toy-line is for younger people so the posts are usually respectful and positive. :)


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