Nick Bentley
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Last year, ICANN, the organization that regulates domain names, started allowing top-level domains beyond the usual .com, .edu, .org, etc.

One of the new top level domains (among hundreds) is .games

I grabbed a bunch of .games domains (some of which even have commercial value), but the relevant one here (which doesn't) is:

abstract.games


I was elated it was available. Now I'm wondering what to do with it. If there was ever a domain that should house the definitive site for abstract games, that should be it, right?

But what would that look like? The floor is open.
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Russ Williams
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milomilo122 wrote:
But what would that look like? The floor is open.

A community-editable wiki and a discussion forum are the first 2 things I think of. Maybe user blogs.

(It starts to sound redundant with BGG.)
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Nick Bentley
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russ wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
But what would that look like? The floor is open.

A community-editable wiki and a discussion forum are the first 2 things I think of. Maybe user blogs.

(It starts to sound redundant with BGG.)


One thing I've learned from my web projects is that audience-building is more important than site development. The only reason to do something like this is if we thought it would make it easier to get more of the world's abstract games lovers interacting in one place than we can here. That's an open question. Sites with a tight focus can do better at that sort of thing, however, if the people who run it are good at outreach. (I'm pretty sure most of the world's abstract game lovers don't participate on this forum, though I bet there are many who would be interested)
 
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It is a cool domain, but as you say might not be enough to bring everyone to the site

I would like a site where I can try out abstracts without making a profile and quickly play against a decent AI. Preferably platform independent.
 
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Muemmelmann wrote:
I would like a site where I can try out abstracts without making a profile and quickly play against a decent AI. Preferably platform independent.

That would be cool indeed (especially if it was really platform independent and permitted simply playing through an ordinary browser like superdupergames with no required higher tech stuff), but programming all those games and AIs would be a LOT more work than setting up more "off the shelf" features like forums, wiki, blogs, etc.
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Yes a lot of work just a wish list though
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milomilo122 wrote:
One thing I've learned from my web projects is that audience-building is more important than site development.

But how to build audience and make them feel the site is worth visiting? There needs to be some kind of infrastructure to enable the interaction you envision, right? I can't imagine a site trying to attract an audience if there is no way for people to talk with each other (presumably in forums), for example!

Quote:
The only reason to do something like this is if we thought it would make it easier to get more of the world's abstract games lovers interacting in one place than we can here. That's an open question. Sites with a tight focus can do better at that sort of thing, however, if the people who run it are good at outreach. (I'm pretty sure most of the world's abstract game lovers don't participate on this forum, though I bet there are many who would be interested)

FWIW I'm pretty sure that it's impossible to get "most of the world's (whatever)" to actively participate in a new website.

Pondering: I wonder if the "tight focus" dedicated website theory is even true any more. I agree that it seems intuitively appealing, and I often believe it (or used to). But e.g. I notice more and more companies seeming to just use Facebook as their company website. Are they just lazy, and they could attract even more regular visitors if they set up a separate website? Maybe not. We only have so much time and mental energy and focus to use each day... I suspect people have a preference for not having a zillion different websites they visit regularly, and rather they prefer to have a few places which consolidate their interests. E.g. I enjoy wargames, and there are lots of wargame websites including the huge major site consimworld.com - but in practice, I only do my (extensive) online reading/research/discussion about wargames here at BGG, because it's a pain to learn UIs of additional websites, learn the new (to me) website's culture and get to know other users (and recognize their often different user names and avatars) there, and to get into the habit of using additional websites regularly. And here at BGG I get to do suffiently much websurfing/interaction about pretty much all my various boardgame interests, even though BGG is not narrowly focused only on abstracts, or only on wargames, or only on euros, or only on solitaire games, etc etc.

Similarly I have a few websites where I play games online (superdupergames, littlegolem, dragongoserver regularly, and then less often but occasionally kgs, gamerz.net, boardspace, iggamecenter) even though I know with certainty that many games I would enjoy playing are available at many other online gaming websites. But there are only so many websites I can learn and visit regularly.

Of course there are always exceptions, and once in a while I start using another new (to me) website regularly. But it's a genuinely rare event really, I hypothesize, that someone truly starts regularly visiting some new (to them) website, if some existing website which they regularly visit does most of what the new theoretically better focused website does.
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Nick Bentley
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russ wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
One thing I've learned from my web projects is that audience-building is more important than site development.

But how to build audience and make them feel the site is worth visiting? There needs to be some kind of infrastructure to enable the interaction you envision, right? I can't imagine a site trying to attract an audience if there is no way for people to talk with each other (presumably in forums), for example!


I hope I didn't imply otherwise! Saying that A is more important than B doesn't imply that B is unimportant, after all.

Quote:
Pondering: I wonder if the "tight focus" dedicated website theory is even true any more. I agree that it seems intuitively appealing, and I often believe it (or used to). But e.g. I notice more and more companies seeming to just use Facebook as their company website. Are they just lazy, and they could attract even more regular visitors if they set up a separate website?


I can only speak from personal experience, but it has been true for the sites I've done.

Quote:
Maybe not. We only have so much time and mental energy and focus to use each day... I suspect people have a preference for not having a zillion different websites they visit regularly, and rather they prefer to have a few places which consolidate their interests. E.g. I enjoy wargames, and there are lots of wargame websites including the huge major site consimworld.com - but in practice, I only do my (extensive) online reading/research/discussion about wargames here at BGG, because it's a pain to learn UIs of additional websites, learn the new (to me) website's culture and get to know other users (and recognize their often different user names and avatars) there, and to get into the habit of using additional websites regularly.


This is the crux of the issue for me. Focus can be too tight. I don't think Facebook could ever supplant BGG for me, but maybe BGG has the right degree of focus. Certainly many of us interested in abstract games are also interested in other sorts, which supports the notion.

Quote:
Of course there are always exceptions, and once in a while I start using another new (to me) website regularly. But it's a genuinely rare event really, I hypothesize, that someone truly starts regularly visiting some new (to them) website, if some existing website which they regularly visit does most of what the new theoretically better focused website does.


Yep. This can be true even if the new website does genuinely new and uniquely valuable stuff, thanks to network effects (people like to go where everyone else already is)

So yeah, I won't do anything with the domain unless I can think of something both genuinely useful and interesting, and that's just the bare minimum requirement. The floor remains open!
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Some random ideas:

You can build a real abstract-pedia there, the equivalent of "mathworld" for abstract games, a place where you can find technical (or not-so-technical) information that can be trusted, linked and even cited in research papers. It can be either a fully-open wiki (anyone can contribute), a semi-open wiki (only a selected group of contributors can write) or your personal project.

You could also create a platform where anyone can play against a generic IA... AND anyone can submit new game rules (properly encoded) for others to play with them. A new, Zillions of Games in the cloud, if you wish. I'm quite sure that high-quality Open-source generic IA's will be readily available in a 2-years term. This will be really powerful as a platform for the development of new games, specially if you include a forum where we can discuss programming and designing ideas.

Another option will be to create a new magazine about abstract games, with long-form articles about combinatorial-game-theory, strategy and game design.

Finally, at the very least, you could put there a single webpage with the most basic information about our world (basic vocabulary and definitions, a brief "where to start" and a well curated list of links to redirect the newcomers to the most prominent pages, forums and wikis about abstract games).
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There is a LINK for some "Abstract Game" you can play now: Hex Frvr; and PUT this upon yours there, along with any other.
*\/*thumbsupwhistle-*clang-clang* "Cowbell" & 'Whistles' NOW!
 
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