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Grimscythe

Cboxes and Shoutboxes: Why should I use them?

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I've noticed as I browse through a lot of games that cboxes and shoutboxes are commonly used, even among sites that have a discord. Is there a reason behind this? I've added one to mine, but mostly out of mimicry than anything else. I suppose what I'm asking is this: should I include a chat box of some sort on my site for guests to use? And if so, why? What are the pros and cons?

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Cbox can be useful even if you have  Discord. Easier for guests to ask questions, or it can be used as a tag box embedded somewhere on the site.

 

But you don't have to have it. I recently stopped using cbox and went Discord only and it hasn't made a difference to attracting new members. If you have only a Discord, just make sure you have a channel where people can auto-join so it remains easy for guests to drive by.

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Like Sith said, I've kept mine because people still haven't fully moved over to discord and often want to ask questions before they put their discord out there for everyone to immediately bombard. I personally keep ours up for mainly guests or because I can be on my site while I'm at work, but I cannot be in discord but the box is a bit of a loophole.

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We only have a discord, and truthfully, I feel like almost everyone in the community has one already, I hate seeing c-boxes sit there dead, and I feel like it looks bad to have the c-box's last message be 2+ weeks ago, 

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More and more, C-Boxes can be replaced by Discord Widgets like Titan. Titan even allows people to sign in under a temporary username, since discord itself allows for temporary accounts. 

C-Boxes are extremely limited, the only ones that I have seen are based on IRC chats with seperate rooms you can join, but even then IRC has fell short of what Discord can do.

A lot of people saying they don't have discord so they don't force players to make an account. I've never been forced to make an account to contact people on Discord. Just type in a username and go. I like discord, cause I feel they paid attention to this early on.

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To reiterate what others have said, mostly that the cbox is more guest friendly. I'm old, obviously.  I don't understand the appeal, or point, of discord. All it does is makes your cbox look dead by diverting people away from it, and gives you one more thing to monitor besides cbox, and Skype, and texts, and what have you. That being said, we've had plenty of guests come on our cbox asking if we have a discord, to which we say "no", and they vanish instantly...and I just don't get it.  I would never decide to join a site based on what chat function they use, and it's ridiculous to me if some people do. Given all the technology we have available, it's not difficult to get in contact with anyone, ever.  I want people around who actually want to write, and not hang out on some chatting app being pointless all day. Maybe the cbox helps weed those people out? I have no idea.

 

The shoutbox is a nice way to see new posts when you load the site. Especially if they're not threads you're in, so you aren't getting tagged, or whatever. That's the only thing we use our shoutbox for, other than announcements, so it shows up on the top of the page, and is another way to be like "hey, I'm here".

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8 hours ago, Foxamy said:

That being said, we've had plenty of guests come on our cbox asking if we have a discord, to which we say "no", and they vanish instantly...and I just don't get it.  I would never decide to join a site based on what chat function they use, and it's ridiculous to me if some people do.

Maybe I can explain this a bit because I am one of these people. I would not join a site without discord anymore, solely because I spend 70% of my time online on my phone. To connect to a site cbox, I have to use the desktop version of the board (and those are generally too wide to easily navigate on a phone), keep a chrome window open and check it from time to time myself.

 

Meanwhile with discord I don't have to do shit, it just sends me a notification when I get tagged in a thread, and I can just do whatever bullshit I do on my phone w/o having to occasionally interrupt it to comb through a tiny cbox in a clunky browser tab on the off chance someone replied to my post.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, sohvi said:

Maybe I can explain this a bit because I am one of these people. I would not join a site without discord anymore, solely because I spend 70% of my time online on my phone. To connect to a site cbox, I have to use the desktop version of the board (and those are generally too wide to easily navigate on a phone), keep a chrome window open and check it from time to time myself.

 

Meanwhile with discord I don't have to do shit, it just sends me a notification when I get tagged in a thread, and I can just do whatever bullshit I do on my phone w/o having to occasionally interrupt it to comb through a tiny cbox in a clunky browser tab on the off chance someone replied to my post.

 

This. 

 

The main thing I see people liking about chatbox is that it's guest friendly. So is any Discord widget out there, which lets you choose a name and type in a channel – exactly like a chatbox. If you have a chatbox that's empty after you get Discord, imo that's nothing more than admin laziness. It takes five seconds to post every few days saying that you're going to work on advertising today or say good morning or say 'hello guests, come say hi!' I've also noticed that it typically takes far longer to get a response in chatbox as opposed to Discord. And regardless of chat host, people are largely ignored for plots and threads if they're not active there - and I'm only on a site when I'm doing posts or plotter replies, so I'm absent from the chatbox 99% of the time. 

 

Chatbox only has one channel. Discord has unlimited, including ones that can be viewable to certain roles only (admin discussion, membergroup plotting, etc) and that can be muted if people don't want to see them (tags, NSFW, vent). Chatbox, to my knowledge, doesn't allow you to assign roles except to give two people admin powers. Discord lets unlimited members have unlimited roles, and members can assign themselves roles for things like pronouns and time zones. I have to have a chatbox open either on the site or in a separate tab. Discord has all my servers in one tab. This is especially nice because I'm on multiple sites and chatbox-only would mean having multiple tabs open. I also have no way to block people who annoy or unsettle me on chatbox and I can't just click on their profile if they sound familiar to see if we've interacted before. 

 

So I don't see why you would choose chatbox, looking purely at features. I get that some people don't like it and don't want to have it, and that's fine, personal preferences are valid. But I don't see any other reason besides personal preference to not have a Discord. And even if you don't have a site one, your members are probably exchanging their Discord handles anyway, honestly. Might as well have a server. 

 

TLDR - chatbox is not inherently more guest friendly than Discord, and Discord has practically unlimited features even compared to the paid subscription premium chatbox

Edited by Jaxx
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I think the most common comment I see about cboxes vs Discord is "but guests don't want to join the Discord to ask questions" and they don't have to. Discord widgets can be coded to view a single channel from the Discord. This means the site can embed the channel of the guest help channel for instance and let guests type in any name they wish into the site. They don't need to join to say anything so they can come and go as they wish. You can pick whichever channel you want to embed, code it to fit the theme you wish (I use Titan embed) and voila...it saves having a potentially quiet cbox that can be mistaking the guest to activity levels. 

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Posted (edited)

In my latest game I'm leaning away from any chat for the time being to see how it goes. Instead I've made sure my forums and forum messaging system are very mobile-friendly so they can be used across any device. The older I get the less time/interest I have in monitoring and maintaining yet another form of communication, and I've had a number of members join my games in the past that have expressed the same.  That, combined with the toll it takes on forum activity has led me to try a more casual approach that's a little less demanding of members. We'll see how it goes, but I'll throw together a Discord if enough people clamor for it.

Edited by theoryNine

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Currently we do not have a Discord or CBOX visible on the site, simply a link to our discord. After reading this discussion, I may look into getting a CBOX or a Discord widget up for guests to chat... A lot of this conversation pointed out a lot of things I wasn't even considering! Thanks, guys.


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I wouldn't have one "just because" other sites have them. I did that with Discord on WAB and guess what? People used it for like a week and then activity there dipped real low. Probably LARGELY in part due to the lack of interest in it from myself and my co-admin. Neither of us were ever on it. I found VERY quickly that I did not like having the desktop version because I don't like being caught to talk to when I don't feel like talking. So I deleted it and just used the version on the browser. And then I'd barely look in. It became too much of a chore. And a lot of the time, it was quiet in there anyway so after a poll, I got rid of it. There are a lot of different ways to contact each other OOC. And if people like Discord and it's a must for them, they can exchange Discord info with the members on the board who do use it regularly. I don't see the point in having a site-exclusive Discord group for a site where the staff doesn't even use it. 

 

So what I'm saying is, do whatever makes sense for you as admin. If you don't like cbox, don't use it. If Discord is your thing, loads of people agree with you and apparently there's ways to make it guest friendly. Just make sure you let potential members that aren't aware of it that you have a guest friendly channel or widget or whatever so they know. 

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My co-admin and I have talked about trying discord to see if we don't hate it, and maybe then I'll understand, but I'm still skeptical. I guess I just don't get the need for constant notifications, or a ton of features just for chat, and if people are always breaking off from the main chat into smaller group chats, it seems very exclusionary to me. We also also tag people in threads typically, so you get an email notification if someone posts for you.

 

You can easily put the cbox direct link on your site (as we have) for people to use on mobile, where just the cbox is in its own browser tab without the rest of the site.  I guess in our site culture, most members have used skype for outside-of-site communication/group plotting, probably because most of us are old too, and it just seems redundant to use something additional. None of our actual members have ever expressed interest in a site discord, only our guests.

 

That being said, it's really difficult to find good, reliable writers, and I hate to think that people are missing out on finding each other just because their dream site/writing partner is using the wrong chat function. I guess as an admin, I feel an obligation to try to meet my audience, and maybe that means I should adopt a chat thing I don't understand, but I don't have to like it. 😂

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Foxamy said:

I guess I just don't get the need for constant notifications, or a ton of features just for chat, and if people are always breaking off from the main chat into smaller group chats, it seems very exclusionary to me. We also also tag people in threads typically, so you get an email notification if someone posts for you

 

I have my entire discord server muted so I don't get bombarded with notifications! XD So if you do want to give it a go, that's something to keep in mind! Your tags and everything will be there when you decide to hop onto discord, so you'll know where people asked for you or tagged you. Something I have noticed is that people don't really break off from the main chat to talk in smaller group chats, we rattle away in the discord and then we have different channels for stuff that perhaps we don't want guests to see (a lot of the girls on my site share pics of their new hair color, make up, and so on) and these channels are private. Our main chat, want ads, and our member made face claim directory are all guest friendly and we have a widget so people don't need to join with discord to talk to us. 

@Grimscythe I've noticed a lot of people use cboxes and shoutboxes for tagging or even ICC. Though I do know some sites use it as a guest friendly area, but as I stated above: You can use a widget like Titan or WidgetBot to allow guest posting and it's viewable on your site just like a cbox. Also, our discord has a channel specifically for tagging people for thread replies. A lot of us do use the tagging system jcink provides, but people (like me!!) often miss those alerts, so using discord to tag is just another way to say: HEY I REPLIED! 

 

I think if you want to have both on your site, it might be best to designate the cbox/shoutbox for one thing and discord for another. I think having the cbox for in character chat would be a nice touch or utilize it for tagging. If you don't have a widget for discord, you can always use them for guest conversations, but from many of the sites I've browsed, an empty cbox makes people think the site is dead or not social. Which then means you have to be chatting in the cbox...which defeats the purpose of the discord. I guess? That's just my two cents! 

 

I would like to add the major downfall to Discord that I have seen is I can't ban IPs. Yes, you can ban a person under that specific username, but that doesn't mean they can't come back. I paid for cbox before so I COULD ban IPs- trolls, people posting inappropriate images and links. And that's the one thing I miss. Though, of course, a person could always come back under a proxy. So I guess it doesn't really matter. xD 

Edited by PixieMegs

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