What You Mean To Us

Colin has been insanely busy so there’s no Community Round Up this week. In its place, I thought I’d write a little bit about what the active community means to the staff. I don’t want to divert anyone’s attention away from the events and competitions we’re having though so please, in exchange for these words I’m about to give you, take a look at the community content (also available on the left-side menu) and consider getting involved.

I joined TheSixthAxis a long time ago as a regular member. I remember lurking for a while, reading the opinion pieces and reviews. I remember loading the page each day, filled with anticipation of whatever new content I was going to find. I’ll be totally honest and say that it was the wit and charm of Alex and Michael that made me want to visit this site every day. I remember my very first comment. I remember hurriedly recording a song Michael had written about Home, it was awful (the recording, not the song). I remember when the forums launched and there was only half a dozen of us in there.

You see, it was a google search for PlayStation 3 news that delivered me to the site. It was the personality in Alex and Michael’s (and the other writers at the time) writings that made me want to return the next day. But it was the community that made me feel like I was actually a part of the site. I came for news, stayed for character and joined the community.

Now, years later, I own the place. That’s still a little bit bizarre to me and I don’t intend for it to sound grandiose. Technically, I am the owner of TheSixthAxis but I don’t fool myself. I know that without Alex I couldn’t run it. Without the News Team we wouldn’t have that constant influx of new readers, some of whom stay and become part of the community. Without the opinions and character of the writers there wouldn’t be a site here to own.

The community events and competitions at TSA are, by quite a distance, the single largest running expense to the site. The competitions now cost more to run than the rest of the site. From a business perspective that doesn’t make sense. Very few people arrive here after looking for a competition to enter so you could say that it doesn’t drive traffic and therefore won’t increase our appeal to advertisers and our prospects of making money. So why invest so much in it?

Let me clarify that when I talk about investment I will be referring to financial investment and the little bits of time and hassle I put in here and there. I don’t wish to gloss over or understate the massive time investment made by the Community Team but I will save that for another time.

The leading (business) reason I value the community so highly is for the difference they make to the site’s hardworking staff. It is almost impossible to describe how much easier it is writing something when you know that there is a good chance someone will respond to you.

Sure, all the staff are occasionally frustrated or annoyed by some of the comments we get on stories and articles. It genuinely hurts when we pour hours into a piece of writing and someone who has taken thirty seconds to form an opinion tells you what a fool you are for disagreeing. When people make assumptions about our integrity it is massively insulting because we work so hard to do things the right way. We really care about what we do and when we’re told we’re doing it badly, or when it’s wrongly assumed we’re doing it for nefarious reasons, it’s disheartening.

The negativity that occasionally rears its head in the comments sections is a tiny minority of the response we get though. We are far more likely to receive interesting discussion, well reasoned debate and genuine appreciation for the efforts we make. The difference that makes to a writer when they’re putting in the hours is immeasurable. The interactivity between staff and visitors here is much greater than I’ve seen anywhere else on the internet. It’s something we actively encourage the staff to do because we think you guys like it too. When the community speaks up on our behalf in response to the misfired negativity I’ve mentioned, that is such an affirming act of kindness that it’s difficult to put it into words.

It takes so much work to run a site like TheSixthAxis, so many hours of writing and researching to put out the level of content that we do. The fact that hundreds of thousands of people are reading that is humbling but the fact that a few hundred of those people take the time to respond and discuss our work is much more valuable to us.

The financial investment the site puts into our community is just a way to say thank you for taking the time to make our jobs here more enjoyable.

Hopefully, the staff of the site are one of the primary reasons for the community sticking around but without that community we probably wouldn’t be able to keep hold of the fantastic staff members that we have. So we all support each other. In that way I know that even though it might be my name on the deeds, this site belongs to us all.

– PAGE CONTINUES BELOW –

82 Comments

  1. Saddens me that we tend to take you for granted. I never will again.

    Thanks for all the hard work, people! :)

  2. Hugs all round :D

  3. I’ve seen so many writers come and go over the years, and TSA still has the same charm and atmosphere as it did when I first joined back in 2008. Well done to you Cb and all the others keeping this site going – it’s certainly the best community on the internet

  4. TSA is my fav site on the web. Partly for the news but mainly for the community. The meets, competitions, folding etc… All fab, well organised, professional but yet friendly and fun. I hope that my participation along with everyone else’s means it continues to run. If help is ever needed for community events then I’m happy to volunteer my time. Anything to help the community thrive.

  5. TSA – Best games website i’ve ever signed up to. And the best community that I’ve been a part of.

  6. Beautiful :)

  7. Aw, that was lovely. I love you too, man. Since emmigrating from ThreeSpeech back in 2008, TSA has been my first (and pretty much only) stop for gaming news, reviews, and opinions about hackers, crackers and jailhouse slackers. It’s a great site, with a great community, and I’m really happy to see it flourish like it has.

  8. It’s not until you find yourself in other internet communities that you go “man I wish this was like TSA”, case in point: I signed up to DeviantArt recently, comments and signatures on there are just so… Internetty.

  9. Great article, sir…

    It was also a google search that delivered me to the site, in a time I was trying to decide which console I should buy. After reading a couple articles, I bookmarked the site. After a few days it was in my work computer’s favorites, in my Opera Mobile start page, and in my favorites all over… Now TSA is (literally) the very first page I visit in the morning, even before I check my work email (good news first!). All that happened that fast bcos you guys put so much effort in delivering high quality content and make TSA, differently from the so-called bigger sites (I’m looking at you guys, G and I), feel like a community. Congratulations to all the staff and keep up the good work!

  10. i love this site i look every other hour about news an watnot and is just great thank-you .. ive also meet few good game buddys here..keep up the good work.

Comments are now closed for this post.