Despite being a fantasy football diehard, and a huge user of Internet forums in general, I haven't used this forum that much in recent years, and I think that's because.. yeah, this forum is just not good right now. There are smart people here, and when I do read what they're saying, it's usually good! But I'm rarely doing that.
I miss being able to log into The Shark Pool and see what fantasy football players are talking about. Now I know what's going to greet me. A wall of random player names. I might scan if there are any interesting looking topics but it's a needle in a haystack.
I think some folks here have too much of a utilitarian view of how to use a forum. Believe it or not, not everyone visits a forum just to get information on Player A and Player B and then peace out. While of course I get the impulse of wanting information this way, sometimes I do too, this is not leveraging the forum platform. It is applying a web search mentality to a forum. If this is what FBG wanted, they would be well-served to just build a comment section into every player page on their website and ditch the forum. But I don't think that's what FBG wants, and for good reason. With a good community behind it, a forum can deliver much more than a series of comment sections.
I see a lot of pushback, which makes some sense, as you are the people that are still here, so you're satisfied with the status quo. But Joe is flat-out saying that people are leaving the forums. Joe is not OK with that, and if you want Joe to be a good steward of FBG, then you shouldn't be OK with a hypothetical Joe that is OK with that. But I will also try to argue that Joe's initiative is better for the hardcores too.
Among other things, like how incredibly unwelcoming the forum is, a big problem with the current system is that it puts people into bubbles. You interact with the same handful of people who are farming the Waller topic. And there are tons of little bubbles like this. But we're all walled off with little reason to interact with each other.
Whatever compels you to post in the Waller topic (assuming it's not a reply to someone else), that should be a topic. That's how forums work. You have thoughts on how the injury to Jacobs will affect Waller's and Brown's numbers. Great, new topic. You're tossing and turning at night, trying to decide if Waller is a top 3 NFL TE. Boom, that's a topic.
Compare to how the forum works now. Everything about Waller is stuffed into one topic. Now, what about me, a random forum user who doesn't own Waller. Of course I'm a football fan, a fantasy player, Waller is not completely irrelevant to me. But am I really going to go into a 100-page generic Darren Waller topic? Probably not, right? But one of the more specific topics given above? Sometimes that will get my attention, I think 'ah that sounds interesting' or I have a take on it, and I'll get involved.
It is perfectly OK that over time, there will be many topics with Waller's name in it. That's working as intended, it's how forums have worked since dinosaurs roamed the earth. It is still easier to parse these topics, and find what you're looking for, rather than one giant mess of a topic that has EVERYTHING with no signposts whatsoever.
A well-functioning forum can also have built-in indicators of how topics are trending. If I see a new topic that has 73 posts already, I know something is really hopping in there and will likely check it out. Conversely, maybe the Darren Waller topic has some really great discussion, it has 73 posts since yesterday, but there's no way to know that. It's on page 105, what page was it on yesterday? Hell if I know.
What I'm trying to say is that having more specific topics is not just good for more casual visitors, it's good for the hardcores too. If everyone buys in, there will be more engagement across the board. More engagement is good for everyone. Right now, there is a decreasing amount of people in the forums (according to Joe) and they are mostly all in bubbles.
It will be tough to make real change, because again, the people who are still here are happy with how it works. As a long time FBG subscriber who rarely visits the forum, I think Joe is 100% on the money. A couple things I would suggest for FBG to help such a transition, on the off chance that it does take hold:
1) FBG player pages list all forum threads that involve that player
2) Shark Pool topics are tagged with the relevant players, people can 'subscribe' to those player tags and get notifications on new topics