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  1. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Manley View Post
    yeah..we may or may not keep that...I will ask the programmer if that can be tweaked to not make things feel funky
    It's in it's own div right now "add_bar_container old". Set a z-index for it in the CSS and voila. (should take a sec for him if he knows basics) It won't fuck with the rest of the site and just appear as an overlay.

    Temp fix is setting a userscript through greasemonkey or tampermonkey. Or if you have adblocker just rightclick and remove that container.

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  3. #152
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    Hmhmm, that can also be the reason. Thanks for pointing out Dile.
    I actually hid that one also with the small arrow, so the forum keeps loading normally for me. No issues here.

    So I would suggest you guys to hide both if you don't need them.

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  4. #153
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    I have some some high level/long term thoughts on growing the site. And while features are important, it's easy to miss the importance of the design and how easy it is for users to find new interesting information, and conversely the system's ability to highlight/archive popular content. I think this is the area where this old-fashioned type of forum can be improved the most.

    Let's learn from what other sites are doing well and badly:

    CGhub
    + Super-visible gallery system that hooks users and keeps them clicking. Like wikipedia, it's easy to get lost just discovering new art, because on any page there are 10+ new interesting thumbnails to click (related art, favorites, "needs critique")

    + Because of perceived visibilty (though most art is buried in the system) and easy set-up, easily attracts new users. They see what you're getting immediately on the main page. The CA main page presents a higher barrier of entry.

    + Rewards quality content with visibility. Getting on the front page or editor's picks is the carrot on the stick. Big point is that the gallery is automatic, as opposed to the bar on CA which was rarely updated.

    - Virtually no connection between the galleries and the forum system - in fact I browsed the site for months before noticing there was a forum. You need a way to keep the different areas of the site connected. I'd estimate that 95% of all traffic there is people clicking the galleries. CA on the other hand is ideally more about more in-depth critiques and discussions, and needs a way to draw users into this.

    Polycount
    + Great news section on main page; lots of relevant news for artists, roundup of awesome community art and contest announcements. You immediately get what the page is about and see awesome content.

    + Great wiki with lots of resources; this would be a great place for people to post reference archives and tutorials that would otherwise go in "sticky threads" (which feels like outdated design). Also need a way to integrate the wiki and make it visible so that the areas don't feel disconnected.

    + Simple and nice main page (could maybe have more emphasis on the forum). For me the ideal ca.og mainpage would be the gallery features of cghub with the simplicity of polycount.

    + Simple and nice forum design. I think CA can improve on this - It feels quite bloated with big signatures and lots of wasted space. In comparison, the polycount forums have much higher density of content, and their color scheme is easier to read. Putting the user info on the left and leaving the right side for post content will go a long way to improve this. If I'm not mistaken they use vbulletin as well.

    + Great contests with prizes in collaboration with the industry (like valve dota 2 contest). This is a big one! Potential to draw in huge crowds.

    + Nice saturation of working professionals - a result of all the above. Whenever a big game is released, the artists flood the forums with quality art. This would be cool to see on CA again, so let's find ways to encourage it.


    Rewarding quality content

    Another thing to consider is the declining participation of big name artists and professionals in general. People like sparth, Jaime Jones and Min Yum used to have active sketchbooks, and there was more "high level" art in general. I think the explanation is simple; aside from the general decline in traffic, people have different goals interacting with sites like these. Most artist came here to learn, but successful artists often simply want a place to show of their work to lots of people in an easy manner, and being pulled into a community is often just a side effect. However cghub has now filled this role as a sort of high-end deviantart. I'm not quite sure what can be done about that. Let's focus on what CA does better, which is depth of content.

    But that leads me into another point, and that is lots of artist simply like to teach. Highly skilled people generally like sharing their knowledge, but I think the site format can be improved in ways that better reward quality content. Articles on the front page, more editorial content, more visibility - when a new person enter the page they should immediately have access to the most popular and helpful content/tutorials, as opposed to digging and searching through forums to find it. A new visitor should immediately realize the value of the site and what it's about, see what the most popular posts are and so forth. Rewarding quality content will attract more of it. There are people that will create amazing free content if they know they have an audience; with proper incentive, people like Matt Kohr will find a place here. Systems like Reddit is an excellent example of how valuable content instantly gains visibility and rewards the content producer/poster - I'm not sure how you'd implement these ideas in a forum system but I'm sure it can be done. Overall I feel like this old school style of forum needs and overhaul to keep up with the times.

    Perhaps the main site could be more of a blog format, like polycount but with user submitted articles. There is plenty of quality stuff on the forum that would fit. To summarize I think visibility is the best encouragement for most people, not forum badges or stuff like that. To bring up Reddit again, I think the people who care about karma points is in the vast minority, and most people submit content cause they want to be upvoted on the main page. Especially if someone were to spend time on a tutorial or critique, they want to feel that their time is well spent and that they helped a lot of people.

    • Some people like to livestream and put art tutorials on vimeo/youtube. There is likely a way to integrate this somehow. Maybe put up a schedule for people's streams and other events.
    • And how about merging less popular forum sections and generally giving it a cleanup?
    • As far as monitization, I personally don't think for example the Gnomon ads on cghub are very intrustive, plus they're relevant to the community.


    Anyways that's just some of my thoughts. I owe a great deal of my art to this site and I hope to see it grow and prosper.

    Last edited by plundh; March 11th, 2013 at 04:54 PM. Reason: typos
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  6. #154
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    plundh wins for best suggestion. Really knocked it out of the park.

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  7. #155
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    What if CA had an art theory wiki

    With demonstration vids accompanying every entry

    If that's a feasible idea I would totally lend my time to it.

    Last edited by Ian Barker; March 11th, 2013 at 05:39 PM.
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  9. #156
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    I started compiling a thread for rank beginners, but have been a bit distracted. I mean real beginners. And then wanted to work my way up. It would be nice to point people in that direction instead of the reading list etc all the time.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    I am very sceptical about drawing many positive things from cghub. Not because I think it's bad, but because the different design choices serve different purposes.
    The absolute biggest, neon-sign MINUS of cghub is that there is a very clear class divide between professionals and beginners. I mean obviously it makes sense- but that would run contrary to CA. It is very evident that professionals use it as a portfolio and socialize with others, but the place has little about development for the small people imho. I know the majority will disagree, but in my humble opinion we do not require such extensive galleries. I believe that the "minus" point about the gallery-forum divide is the reason why the gallery at cghub works. A forum IS clumsier, less show-casy, but a plain comment-under-gallery system wouldn't do a forum justice.

    (Yes I am aware no-one is arguing for cghub style, I am just commenting on the notes made).

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  11. #158
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    Just a few random ideas.

    A bundled PDF system. It gets hard to find some peoples portfolio work inside the SBs with all of the studies and stuff in the way. Cghub.com and DA does a great job with designating portfolios and categories but what would be better is a PDF download option. This would be great for tutorials as well.

    Spontaneous banners. Whenever a randomly awesome thread pops up like "teh MSpaint" thread or "Kill the character above" or the upcoming thunderdome pop up we can just make a banner for it and ask a mod to slap it up top. If the mod deems it worthy and there's room for it. It gets posted up top and replaced when the thread runs out of gas.

    Art feed. Whenever an artist you've subscribed to posts a new image you see it in a little box. Like twitter with images only. When you click on the image it goes to wherever it was posted.

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  13. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raoul Duke View Post

    Spontaneous banners. Whenever a randomly awesome thread pops up like "teh MSpaint" thread or "Kill the character above" or the upcoming thunderdome pop up we can just make a banner for it and ask a mod to slap it up top. If the mod deems it worthy and there's room for it. It gets posted up top and replaced when the thread runs out of gas.

    Art feed. Whenever an artist you've subscribed to posts a new image you see it in a little box. Like twitter with images only. When you click on the image it goes to wherever it was posted.
    I like these ideas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LordLouis View Post
    The absolute biggest, neon-sign MINUS of cghub is that there is a very clear class divide between professionals and beginners.
    I didn't think of it like that before but you're absolutely right, there's definitely a class divide. To me the class divide isn't as big an issue because making the top tier clearly visible is the best way to attract new people. The bigger issue is encouraging the people at the top to interact with the larger population. There are many Asian artists who have a hard time communicating in English but really appreciate the love they get on their pieces.

    Some kind of integration of the forum system to the galleries, coupled with incentives for professionals to communicate and contribute, incentives beyond simply being helpful, could go a long way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raoul Duke View Post
    Just a few random ideas.
    Spontaneous banners. Whenever a randomly awesome thread pops up like "teh MSpaint" thread or "Kill the character above" or the upcoming thunderdome pop up we can just make a banner for it and ask a mod to slap it up top. If the mod deems it worthy and there's room for it. It gets posted up top and replaced when the thread runs out of gas.

    Art feed. Whenever an artist you've subscribed to posts a new image you see it in a little box. Like twitter with images only. When you click on the image it goes to wherever it was posted.
    This is gold! I would rather get this than the emails about updates in the threads I've subscribed to, give us a sketchbook feed! I know it exists in my User CP, but why dig into a menu for it, when that's what you came for in the first place?

    (kill the character above is rad btw )

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  17. #162
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    Lots of interesting stuff from plundh, and I also like Ian's art theory wiki idea. That would definitely save sticky space and keep things altogether in one handy to find spot.

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  19. #163
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    for some reason my eye just skips stickies.

    maybe a way of showing theyve been updated really clearly?

    sb most art copied to page 1
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  20. #164
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    I agree with an art wiki in principle, however for the arguments sake and because I love doing it, I have to raise a few points.

    I think the advantages of a wiki are clear. Loads of information can be stored, kept for years and is easily accessible, and is moderated. Not fluttered with annoying questions of people who don't bother reading the first post, no off-topic, anything. Very good. It could also include vimeo and youtube videos. Such as linking to ProkoTV and his drawing tutorials. Tutorials could have their own wiki section. Rather than listing hundreds of tutorials in some sticky, having to go through 40 links before you find a right one, they can be appropriately cataloged and tagged, making actually use of a search function. SEO is sort of implied.

    The points I just would like to raise are that of a wiki being an easy way to deter from questions. I have been active on several SFX forums over the years, and those with wikis strongly discourage one-to-one teaching because the information is already available ("Please look at the wiki before posting"). While that is indisputable, I would however also argue that information is also very individual and if reading made you a better artist, we wouldn't need CA. Especially the CC section would worry me. A wiki should remove all the cluttering stickies and make tutorials accessible, but not replace one(many)-to-one advice.

    I just think we have to have always in mind "what is CA's function" when thinking about improving it. Just adding loads of things will not make it more efficient.


    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    for some reason my eye just skips stickies.
    maybe a way of showing theyve been updated really clearly?
    I also have a sticky-ignore cognitive switch in my brain. I think a wiki could get rid of loads of stickies.

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  21. #165
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    Me three. Definitely got a strong sticky skippy twitch in my scrolling hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LordLouis View Post

    The points I just would like to raise are that of a wiki being an easy way to deter from questions. I have been active on several SFX forums over the years, and those with wikis strongly discourage one-to-one teaching because the information is already available ("Please look at the wiki before posting"). While that is indisputable, I would however also argue that information is also very individual and if reading made you a better artist, we wouldn't need CA. Especially the CC section would worry me. A wiki should remove all the cluttering stickies and make tutorials accessible, but not replace one(many)-to-one advice.
    Definitely agreed. I'm wondering if there's any way to integrate individual critique into a wiki... maybe each page has a comment section where you can post images, and people can rate and comment how well it lives up to that particular wiki entry (color theory, texture, etc). Of course I'm guessing with that particular system you'd get tons of images posted and barely any critique, but it's an idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LordLouis View Post
    Rather than listing hundreds of tutorials in some sticky, having to go through 40 links before you find a right one.
    In my experience it's more like having to go through 40 links before you find one that isn't dead. I'm strongly in favor of a wiki and agree with your other reasons as well (no dumb comments, etc.)

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  24. #168
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    The stickies and tutorials are on my to do list. I might need some help though.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    The site has had a wiki in the past, check the stickies in the Tutorials,Tips & Tricks section.

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    Plundh, I can't thank you right now because the forums aren't fully functional because of the server-switch, but damn, you nailed it. I especially agree with you on promoting high quality content and information and rewarding people for actually contributing with information that others find valuable. There should be system that puts the good stuff on the front-page. And as you say, CA is about in-depth knowledge and critiques. In my eyes, this is what CA has been all about for all the years I've been here, and why I started here in the first place. Because I knew this was the place for me to find the knowledge and the feedback I needed and could trust.
    I want to see that again, and improved. Thanks again for voicing that.


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    I have to agree with Plundh on most of his points and the idea of using a wiki page for those who have questions and in need of answers. I would think of it as a large scale/searchable FAQ database dealing with many topics. Like a giant index and spine of a book that can assist in reducing the need for questions that are repeated over and over. Even tutorials being organized in that fashion would be fantastic where they would be archived. The newer and recent ones can show up on the discussion boards until when they become old threads, the tutorials can be moved to that wiki archive/database.

    The stickies is another thing that could be in need of improvement so I concur with the others on this. Correct me if I'm wrong but is'nt there an iOS app for conceptart that allows people to peruse the message boards here? When I log on here via mobile, it shows a standard HTML page on the browser. If there is a way to simplify it for the mobile platform, it would allow others to log in, chat or discuss in quick fashion without the slowdown of heavy graphics.

    (btw, I could'nt "thank" plundh because there was an error every time I tried to click on it. Just so you guys know as I used Safari and Chrome for this). Some discussion boards have a Talkback app but I was'nt sure if it would be appropriate for CA.

    As for awards for contributions, that would still be fine but I think if we encourage people to be more constructive in their crits, then they get awarded based on their contribution or such. But if they are'nt being constructive in their crits in a subjective manner, then there is'nt any reward. I think the idea is to teach people to stay professional and constructive here than de-constructive. We could call them Karma Points or something. lol. But one has to wonder if it should be quota-based or awarded by those who deem the crit as contributable or adding value to the thread involved. Something to consider. So the more points, the more privileges they get around on CA. Something to consider.

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    Yep we can turn on the mobile view. I will ask about that today. Lots of other great ideas too. I am going to have to make a list. Thank you.

    So.STREAMING VIDEO LIBRARY: http://www.conceptart.org/forumdisplay.php?f=249 We set up the streaming video forums so we can archive and put together a great resource and catalog of content for the community that way. We could use some help finding all the great artists doing them. In my facebook I see Bobby Chiu often times, as well as the up and comer Noah Bradley and Hurricane, but if there are any great channels happening, please do post them. Any help populating that, and getting it going would be appreciated by everyone I am sure.

    Soooo much good content out there right now. I posted a few, after we wrapped up the custom code work and testing that allows the livestream channels to function directly in the threads. First vbulletin forums to do it too. Livestream's code gave us a good fight, but it was wrestled down and forced to show up We will have ustream, justin.tv and some of the others, and of course, youtube works great too. It is all being handled as simply as possible and takes about 30 seconds to make a thread that shows the livestream or youtube stuff.

    Also we have a new forums theme/skin going in now. I will go ahead and set it live so people can peek at it while it is WIP. We went with a much cleaner, more modern layout without all the dark bars breaking up the flow of the page. There are bugs in it to work out but I think we will have it ready to go by the weekend. If you scroll down to the bottom there is a little dropdown which will let you change skins. As said, it is still WIP (the logo is just temp), but it brings back a hint of the old forums and goes with a much cleaner lighter look, which I like. We will let folks choose if they prefer to keep this one, I am just not a huge fan and wanted something that did not look 2002 style wise.


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    Jason,
    liked CA3.0's gallery interface (framed thumbs) a lot.
    Care to share what web engine was that?

    Thx and best regards

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vulgar` View Post
    Firstly, great job on the site updates. Everything looks legit.

    Here is the recent EOW #200 thread where there were prizes in the brief. I took the template from the milestone IDW "Mechanical Man" activity where the moderator offered the same prizes. If I was out of line in doing so, the fault is mine.

    Thread: http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...l-Round-VOTING!

    The prizes I promised to the winning individuals that CA.org applies to:

    1st Place: Kvenh
    - A ticket for the next Massive Black Workshop (or for any workshop really, to be used only once though).
    - Downloads of all Massive Black and CA Tutorial and Instructional DVD’s

    2nd Place: LukasN & merl1n (tied)
    - Downloads of up to 6 Massive Black and CA Tutorial and Instructional DVD’s.

    3rd Place: Weatherby
    - Downloads of up to 2 Massive Black and CA Tutorial and Instructional DVD’s.

    If you or another moderator could let me know if these prizes are to be awarded, please inform me and I will disseminate. If they do, I'd like to see the winners get their prizes!

    Also would it be possible to teach me how to award the EOW winners badges myself? emily g has been kind enough to do that for the EOW activity since the EOW badge was chosen and instituted around a year and a half ago. I'd like to handle that independently so I don't need to ask anyone else to do it. It ensures everyone gets their badge promptly.

    Thanks for your time.
    Can I get an answer about this from a moderator? I'd appreciate it since I don't want to leave the winners hanging indefinitely.

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    Vulgar, it's been reported.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    All are getting PM's now. Thanks!!

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    Thank you!!

    My site:
    http://thecentersphere.yolasite.com/

    DA:
    http://halfshavenbananas.deviantart.com/

    New World Creation: Designers Wanted – Environment of the Week
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  34. #178
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    I have an idea which is kind of -out there- interdisciplinary art inspiration and collaboration.

    Meaning, we bring people from other disciplines, like music, composing, chemistry, physics, coding, surgery/medicine, philosophy, psychology, biologists, law/politics, magicians/priests... whatever, people from all walks of life, in on live stream to answer questions about their world in 1on1 interview or group session, the metaphors/paradigms they use to decode it, resources which they make use of, and how they see the future, then, we translate this into images and or make bigger projects out of it, for instance, to inspire the public and create interest in the given Field, by illustrating these concepts, making posters, characters, creatures, environments etc.

    This could be really interesting, as a segue into new worlds, rather than just the re-hashed Ice-Fire-Desert-Tropics-City environments, We might open up new vistas into as of yet unused and unknown worlds; Quantum, String, Dark Matter, En-tropic... Osmosis, bodily processes, rhythm as an element of art/ game play. I don't even know, and that's the great thing: Potential for creation.

    In fact, it is even possible that this could lead to an entirely new (standard) revenue stream, as the potential from these fields is relatively un-tapped as of right now, and could relieve some of the market saturation; who said concept art has to be all about movies and games, which for the most part are about "fiction". The best Fiction which has touched me has always had something true to life and genuine within it... Why not go a step further and expand art into non-fiction; Blur the lines?

    The way I see it, society needs this, because if the only time a vast amount of people get really happy is when they sit down to play games or to watch films, then they are missing out on life!

    Fred Ross from art Renewal centre said,
    Modernism is art about art. Whereas all of the great art in history is art about life.
    Now, this (drawing people in from all professions) could be a prime way to utilize some of the INSANE amount of skill people working on what is otherwise "just" entertainment (i.e, really cool shit) for awakening the public.

    Other ideas: 1.a DA Muro type widget/ reply option, so people can directly draw their replies, if this isn't too difficult / expensive.
    2. Make a film about this place!
    3. Add some kind of "new members start here" section, which guides people step by step, and let's them teach themselves a bit.
    4. Lots of great ideas already stated, like the WIKI, i support that too.
    5. Make a multi-directional forum structure/reply option, like a tree, which has many branches that stem from it, truly allowing discussions to unfold and go in all kinds of directions, Simultaneously.

    Anyway,

    richard dawkins said in his book "unweaving the rainbow: science, delusion and the appetite for wonder" that science does not necessarily destroy meaning in life, nor is it at ODDS with art, but indeed, a whole new vista has been opened, his book made an impression on me when i read it a few years ago, in so far as, he said: the possibilities of art are FAR greater now, that we know why certain things in nature happen, which is why he wrote the book: to ask why on earth (as far as he sees it) all of this inspiring stuff isn't being made use of ?

    Last edited by samthemule; March 15th, 2013 at 05:27 PM.
    ...
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  35. #179
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    How about adding other language sections to the forum? CGHub has a ton of Asian artists that want to get exposure in western outlets, but many can't speak English and don't participate in the forums. Adding a Korean or Chinese section here would give them a reason to be part of the community.

    Additionally Korean and Chinese language sections have a natural attraction for those respective groups. For Koreans this site does not have the real name and identification number requirement that Korean websites do. For Chinese there is less censorship here than on major Chinese websites.

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  36. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by vices View Post
    Adding a Korean or Chinese section here would give them a reason to be part of the community.
    I don't want to appear cynical, but I would like to point out that this would create a community within a community, not solving the communication gap, but rather opening an umbrella. Especially since these sections would require appropriate moderating staff speaking both English as well as the target language. I am not saying it's a bad idea, but I personally have never found specific language forums helpful in terms of "community fostering". I can't say I am a fan of the female-only forum here either. There are also large spanish and portuguese speaking communities around, would that not kick off some chain reaction? (wild and unfounded speculation on my behalf).

    However if you want to promote the art and the galleries, I guess that's a different story..

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