Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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Adam Corn Feb 18, 2022

Hi all. With the new year having recently begun I'd like to have a look at the future of these forums.

It's clear that the forums have becomes less and less active over time. I count about 11 threads posted to in the soundtrack discussion forum in 2021, several of which could be shared just as effectively on Twitter or other outlets. This isn't me complaining - I think it's largely just a result of streaming becoming so ubiquitous and of changed online behavior in general.

I have no intention of closing the site down completely, but I am considering scaling it down into a less resource-intensive version with the forums no longer open for new posts or registrations. (I'd like to at least leave existing discussion up for browsing.)

I still want the members here to be able to stay in touch and discuss VGM, and the best options I've come up with are Discord and Twitter. There's a Soundtrack Central account on Twitter already and I've just started an STC server on Discord. I invite everyone to message at either and we'll see what direction it takes. And if you have any thoughts on how to keep the community going please share them here smile

Zane Mar 1, 2022

Hi Adam,

It has been sad to see people drop off over the past several years and to see less activity here compared to how things were in our heyday. It's understandable since there are so many other ways to keep in touch and have discussions now that things like Twitter and Discord and even "older" sites YouTube are where people seem to congregate for discussions, but I still felt a ping in my stomach seeing this thread posted. I still check in here a couple times a week but haven't contributed as much because as you said, there hasn't been much going on conversationally. I guess If the store's staying open and only a few people come in now and then, it might be time for the owner to close up shop.

Regardless of what happens with the site in the future, I want to thank you and the rest of the folks here for many, many years of good conversations and for being the first place I found that had a community where others shared in an interest that I thought was completely niche and off the radar. The amount of info that I've been able to get from the community members here is staggering and is still a huge part of my life to this day since I still listen to VGM all the time. This was the first forum I ever posted to. Through the years I've also learned a lot about myself and about how I can continue to try to be a more respectful and accepting person, as I've made plenty of mistakes and have cultivated some difficult situations for some of the members here.

But, hey. Things change. We grow, we adapt, we take the best of what we still have, and if we need to, we move on. Thank you, and the STC community, for all of it!

Sincerely,
Tommy (Zane)

Idolores Mar 1, 2022 (edited Mar 2, 2022)

STC was a huge part of discovering the broader world of VGM for me. As with Zane, I can actually chart my growth by reading old forum posts I've made and seeing how I have changed. At times, my larval form seems unrecognizable.

The internet has definitely changed. Forums and message boards are very slowly fading away as new avenues for communication in the online world become available. I've kept in touch with a few people here, and there are others I'd like to talk with more, still. Discord is a decent choice, and if it's active, I look forward to it potentially becoming our next venue, so to speak.

Aran Mar 2, 2022

Awww no this is kinda sad. sad Maybe there could just be one forum instead of four? I dunno, I don't post here THAT often but I'd be sad to see it go.

layzee Mar 3, 2022 (edited Mar 3, 2022)

Idolores wrote:

The internet has definitely changed.

In many ways, the Internet has changed for the better and improved day-to-day life.

Idolores wrote:

Forums and message boards are very slowly fading away as new avenues for communication in the online world become available.

Idolores wrote:

I can actually chart my growth by reading old forum posts I've made and seeing how I have changed.

In others, for the worse. Assuming that the point of Internet forums is to be a repository for easily searchable useful and/or interesting information provided by members (think of it as an online library of people's thoughts and opinions), then all other non-forum forms of communication are poor alternatives. They either suffer from recency bias, difficulty of looking up older posts/history, poor search functions, functions locked behind a paywall/sign-up wall, the lack of permanence, and/or the lack of individuality make users of the website seem like faceless automatons/bots (or forces you to be an individual by making you sign up with your real name and phone number). This applies to Twitter, Reddit, Discord, Facebook, YouTube comments section, you name it. Unless something happened today or yesterday (i.e. recency bias), it's as if they're intentionally withholding information about the past from you.

jb Mar 3, 2022

layzee wrote:

Assuming that the point of Internet forums is to be a repository for easily searchable useful and/or interesting information provided by members (think of it as an online library of people's thoughts and opinions),

This is not the point of forums, imo. They are first and foremost a social tool for connecting and engaging people with a similar interest, just like all the others you listed... Over time they become "a repository" but they never start out with that as a goal, nor are they supposed to be some kind of easily searchable repository for data. No one is coming to this site or any other forum-based interest site and going "Boy, I wonder if I can find information on something many years old, let me search!". There are many different tools these days for connecting and engaging with people and it's not so much that some are better than others insofar as some are just meant to connect and engage with people in very specific ways and that specifically differ from how forums engage.

I think Discord is the appropriate platform to shift to. Twitter is meant for a person or organization of interest to engage with a large amount of followers and I don't think that really fits here. Twitter would be a great tool to post to if you posted each time a new review was published. It's not so great for just having random conversations about <topics> between individuals. STC, to me, has never really been about "the site" but more a place where a bunch of people get together and engage on topics. Discord works fine for that. At the very least it can be a place where those of us that have been here for 20+ years can catch up with each other now and then.

Dragon God Mar 5, 2022

Given the lack of activity, simply leaving it accessible but not allowing more posts is probably for the best. Ever since Social Media took the Internet by storm, forums (for the most part) are slowly becoming obsolete.

I know that I've got some good memories from this place. Had a few really good deals when I was looking to get all of Square's legendary OSV/OSTs. Good days gone by.

GoldfishX Mar 5, 2022 (edited Mar 5, 2022)

I'm in the camp that prefers forum posts to act as both a source of present day discussion and research for later. Obviously, lack of posts and participation doesn't work for the latter, so the decision makes sense. It is frustrating to see the growth of VGM acceptance and accessibility and at the same time, a deflation in the collector's market and traditional forums. It's like everything can't sync up properly.

I've probably joined about 6 different Discords over the past 2 years (for various themes) and they just tend to fizzle out for whatever reason (edit: and most of the posts amounting to "sorry for not posting much in here, I've been busy with real life"). I don't see any of the postings in these groups having value past day 1. Reddit isn't much better. And Twitter posts don't have value even 10 minutes later.

Jodo Kast Mar 20, 2022

I've tried out Discord, but never Twitter. Discord seemed like too much work to keep up with conversations, and I haven't used it for almost a year now. Twitter is something I plan to never use, unless it's for work.

Stephen Apr 15, 2022

I still prefer forums for communication at my own pace.  Discord relies on always being connected, and I'm not always online.

In any case, thanks for the site, Adam.  It was one of the first video game music websites I found at the beginning of the 90s internet.  I remember when people here were trying to figure out how to import soundtracks from Japan.  Once eBay, Yahoo Auctions, and proxy buyer services became available in the late 90s to mid 00s, this was quite an active site with discussion.

I still buy CD or digital soundtracks, as I don't have storage space or have discerning hearing to get into vinyl.

Adam Corn Apr 22, 2022

Stephen wrote:

Discord relies on always being connected, and I'm not always online.

I had similar concerns but that doesn't seem to be the case. You can still read the first message I posted back in February, and Discord sends me email notifications when there are new posts I haven't checked. (I assume it's not just because I'm the admin - can anybody confirm?)

Granted all the discussion is in a single thread but given there hasn't been that much posting anyway I think it's fine. And I can always add extra rooms for different topics if need be.

I'm strongly leaning towards using it and Twitter for the time being in place of the forums so I encourage everybody to at least stop by and give it a try smile

And thanks for the words of appreciation from many of you. It really does make me happy every time someone shows appreciation for the site. It's been a labor of love in the true sense of the word and I'd love to continue development on it in a revised form at some point.

Zorbfish Apr 24, 2022

Wow, end of an era... This and Alex's otaku.com were the only remaining pieces of the original VGM community of the 2000s I grew up with. Sadly all the other sites I used to visit: slightly dark, gaming force, Chudah, GMO, and VGMWorld have already packed up. Guess this was inevitable.

I can't agree with the decision but can understand it given the traffic.

But I refuse to use Twitter/Discord/etc. I tried Twitter awhile and talked with Keith(vgmfreak) and Mike (the_miker) a bit but I couldn't take the garbage inserted in the feed. I gave up about 2 years ago

While I not always agreed with your moderation decisions Adam, I did recognize you were PART of the community and actually cared about the hobby.

Adam Corn Apr 27, 2022

Oh I was a prude about flagging messages for profanity for a while many years back I confess. I don't regret banning a few people that were making things unpleasant for everyone else with their nastiness though.

As for continuing the community, I will say that if anyone knows of some modern forum or discussion system that is easy to set up, doesn't excessively show advertisements or invade privacy, and doesn't cost a lot to use, I would absolutely consider using it here. I just haven't had any luck finding something like that so far.

Zane Apr 28, 2022

Zorbfish wrote:

Wow, end of an era... This and Alex's otaku.com were the only remaining pieces of the original VGM community of the 2000s I grew up with.

I ordered from Otaku last month and found out Alex doesn't work there anymore (!!!). I was shocked. Someone named Reiko has been fulfilling orders but I'm not sure for how long. The only contact I had for Alex was his info@otaku address, so I found Alex on LinkedIn and sent a message to see if he was OK but haven't heard back yet.

Stephen May 13, 2022

I didn't know Alex is no longer at otaku.com.  Is this confirmed from their staff, or are you assuming because Reiko fulfilled the order?

Adam Corn wrote:
Stephen wrote:

Discord relies on always being connected, and I'm not always online.

I had similar concerns but that doesn't seem to be the case. You can still read the first message I posted back in February, and Discord sends me email notifications when there are new posts I haven't checked. (I assume it's not just because I'm the admin - can anybody confirm?)

Granted all the discussion is in a single thread but given there hasn't been that much posting anyway I think it's fine. And I can always add extra rooms for different topics if need be.

I'm strongly leaning towards using it and Twitter for the time being in place of the forums so I encourage everybody to at least stop by and give it a try smile

I'll pass on Discord and Twitter.  I don't like the single channel, infinite scroll format in Discord.  It's just not how I communicate.

Is Soundtrack Central's forum a custom application?  I'm surprised you are not able to find a low-cost or free forum.

Zane May 13, 2022

Stephen wrote:

I didn't know Alex is no longer at otaku.com.  Is this confirmed from their staff, or are you assuming because Reiko fulfilled the order?

I emailed info@otaku.com and Reiko answered and specifically said Alex doesn't work there anymore, and that they've been filling my orders recently. I don't know when he left the site, though.

Stephen May 14, 2022

Zane wrote:
Stephen wrote:

I didn't know Alex is no longer at otaku.com.  Is this confirmed from their staff, or are you assuming because Reiko fulfilled the order?

I emailed info@otaku.com and Reiko answered and specifically said Alex doesn't work there anymore, and that they've been filling my orders recently. I don't know when he left the site, though.

Thanks for the reply.  I always thought Otaku.com was founded by Alex, so it was his business.  Or perhaps he sold the business.  I also saw his linkedin account (or supposedly his account).  It still lists that he works at Otaku.com, so I don't think he is checking the email assigned to that actively.

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