State of the CoasterBuzz - 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 1:27 PM
kpjb's avatar

Just sent in my $25 to rejoin the club. Please buy Buzzy a lap dance, and leave her a $5 tip.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018 2:01 PM
Jeff's avatar

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Thursday, February 1, 2018 11:17 PM
LostKause's avatar

Way up there on page 1, you all were talking about the meeting calendar.

I bet if it were more out in the open and less hidden, more people would use it. It's a great feature for the people who don't mind being stalked at the parks. I'm always kind of weird about that, for some reason. I'm the socially awkward guy at parties who pets the dog the entire time or plays video games with the children. :D

On the subject of Facebook competition, why don't you simply turn off the comments, and invite the conversation to be held here at CB? If I have something to say about something CB posts on Facebook, I make sure to come here to say it. Facebook is a whore.

On what you and Tek were talking about earlier, what if there were a "Live Trip Report" function in a CoasterBuzz app that allowed you to create an ongoing story with your device as you spent the day at a park? You could take photos and compile your story and it would post in real time. People could check in from time-to-time and see how your visit is progressing.

I don't know if I added something new there or just worded it differently. I'm also not so sure that it isn't something that is already easily doable in your device browser app connected to CoasterBuzz. Something to make it easier might be a good idea. Kind of just brainstorming there...

I've realized over the last few years that I don't spend as much time as I used to here. CoasterBuzz was one of the main reasons I wanted a computer when I first got one. I have learned more about how to communicate and what is expected of me as a good internet citizen here than anywhere else. Also, very early on, CoasterBuzz filled a lonely part of my life, because none of my friends cared about roller coasters. I had no one to talk to about the subject. I am extremely grateful for how CoasterBuzz has made me a better person.

I have had a really difficult time affording amusement park trips over the last few years, but things are getting better now, and I think I will be able to do some this year. Keeping that in mind, I still don't have the passion about parks than I used to.

I have never had any kind of desire or curiosity about participating in any other coaster furum. I would have felt like I was cheating on the one I love with some tramp. I really enjoy the different personalities here. That has kept me coming back for so long.

Friday, February 2, 2018 12:40 AM
sirloindude's avatar

I’ll start off by apologizing for any rambling that may occur. I have a number of thoughts that, while hopefully coherent, may not flow together well.

I want to commend Coasterbuzz as being what is arguably the last vestige of hope that good discussion can happen on the internet. The quality of discussion here is unmatched by any other website or social media platform. My post quantity does not accurately reflect the time I spend reading things here, and what makes it all the more amazing is that despite this website being geared toward the amusement industry, great discussion can be had on all manner of topics from new attractions to sociopolitical issues to the economy. It’s genuinely spectacular and the shining example of what the Internet, when it’s used properly, could actually be. Forgive my fanboyism, but Coasterbuzz has achieved a level of quality that I’ve yet to see be mimicked.

I definitely agree with the corner bar analogy, but I do notice that more regulars have gone over my thirteen years here than come. I find myself lamenting that, but conversely, I don’t suggest opening the floodgates and drowning out the regulars who have made the quality of the discussion that it is. The challenge is how to grow the base of regulars while not compromising everything that makes Coasterbuzz great.

I think that beyond the fact that Coasterbuzz is that sort of corner bar, which, despite being one of my suspected causes for reduced activity as the passion some hold for this hobby peters out and the already significant challenge of breaking into the discussion here without making a fool of yourself (hence me disappearing from here for a few years after a few really stupid initial posts that I made), there are a few other causes for the lowered “active activity.” One thing is the lack of events, which would appear to be a deterrent to purchasing a Coasterbuzz Club membership. Eliminating ads when they’re present pretty much everywhere else on the Internet, social media, and life in general likely isn’t enough to justify spending the money, inexpensive though it is, for some people. For me, I’ve bought memberships for fan clubs that I never used for events and once I can amass some more money in my fun budget, getting a membership here is near the top of my list, but that won’t be true for a lot of people.

Another challenge, and I think this is probably more significant, is the fact that if it isn’t a park in Ohio or Florida, it’s not going to generate much discussion, or at least not much relative to those two places. I say that despite the fact that we do have members who hail from regions other than those two, but I feel like we don’t talk about those parks as much. I know that the brunt of our regulars have a lot of experience with those places, but I feel like there are other people out there in other markets who would be able to participate in a forum such as this, but generate activity related to other parks. However, the question comes in about what to do to draw them here, and I think that after my already lengthy thoughts, this is what I’d pinpoint as my actionable item: generate more content from those regions.

Now, to be more specific, I think what I’d like to see for content, at least initially, would be an expansion on ride reviews. When I look at the Coasterbuzz top 100 (which is the only coaster poll worth anything as far as I’m concerned because it overcomes the obnoxiousness of an individual trying to rank all the rides in her or his track record), I often wonder who rated the rides and why they rated them like they did. I’d be interested in being able to pull up a ride in my track record and review it, and perhaps even discuss someone else’s review with them. I know we can already do that in trip reports to a degree, but I think that having something like this would generate content in the form of the greatest strength of the Coasterbuzz community, which is its intellectuality. I think it would also draw more attention to rides not on the list for no other reason than ridership count, or even those that perhaps don’t have much more than the minimum required amount, and that could possibly spark some new and exciting conversations. I know where rides on the top 100 rank, but short of doing some serious digging through trip reports, I surprisingly know very little about what people think about a whole lot of rides.

I’ll close by saying that whatever direction this site goes, I hope it doesn’t compromise what makes it so spectacular, even if that means that the number of active members here doesn’t get too high. I love this site for what it is, and I hope that my potential actionable item would be in keeping with the best characteristics of this site. Thank you for making this site so incredibly spectacular, and even though it may be the site for unenthusiastic enthusiasts to a lot of people, it’s actually one of the reasons my passion for this industry has remained, and is even going through a resurgence. You’ve given us a gem in this site, Jeff, and I can’t thank you enough for it.

Last edited by sirloindude, Friday, February 2, 2018 12:40 AM
Friday, February 2, 2018 1:19 AM
Jeff's avatar

Anecdotally, I don't think events connect much with activity. Of the "regulars," honestly I haven't met very many at events. Gonch and I go way back, but I don't think I met kpjb in person until I moved to Orlando and he brought his family to WDW. I've seen loriu and her family at a lot of events, but she typically doesn't post a ton (maybe she's stalking us now).

If I draw any comparison to other areas of the Internet, younger people don't seem to use forums much for any interest area. They're all into the quick-hit ephemeral stuff, which I don't care for at all. As those of us who have, maybe not outgrown, but definitely backed off on coaster stuff, those people are definitely not replaced by younger people.

This thread has got me thinking though, that I like what it is, provided y'all stick around for another decade or so. There's even a glimmer of hope on the revenue side. The 4Q was actually up over the previous year in a substantial way, after what would otherwise have been a dismal year.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Friday, February 2, 2018 1:40 AM
bjames's avatar

I'll admit that ever since I enlisted in the army a few years ago I spend less time on hobbies like coaster enthusiasm. On top of that, my most recent post was at Fort Drum in NY, with nothing but Darien Lake nearby and now I'm in South Korea for another six months. I don't have a lot of opportunity to get out and get to parks very much any more. Though I did hit up Lotte World in Seoul which was pretty neat but extremely crowded and I'm thinking of hitting Everland this summer, so I've got some interesting coasters that not a lot of other Coasterbuzzers have been on. Might try to take some decent photos too to add to the site.

All that aside, I have started splitting my coaster enthusiasm time with reddit too. I don't really think of it as a "big-box" style website as each subreddit is its own little community. This site really is the only forum I visit on a regular basis even if I don't contribute as often any more. This is my 10th year as a registered user and almost my 20th as a regular visitor.

One thing I would suggest is a little bit of a makeover for the home page. I've never really cared for all the clutter at the top of the page and having to scroll down to see the little news and forums boxes, which IMO should be expanded so you can get more than two or three posts in there. Those boxes are the main reasons I visit here.

"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

Friday, February 2, 2018 7:50 AM
kpjb's avatar

Jeff said:

I don't think I met kpjb in person until I moved to Orlando and he brought his family to WDW.

Fake news! We met at CP when Simon was quite young in between your time in Seattle and Orlando. It was quick, though. No pancakes.


Friday, February 2, 2018 8:56 AM
Jeff's avatar

That's right. The weirdness around it had more to do with the fact that I never saw you at your own park.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Friday, February 2, 2018 9:05 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Of the numerous times I've seen him, only once was at a park at all, so there's that.

That's another thing I like about this place. I've made many a friends that have similar interests other than parks and coasters, and over the years as we've grown, acquired other aspects of life and may have drifted away from his being our main focus - we've all sort of become buddies outside of this sort of thing.

R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
Friday, February 2, 2018 11:58 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

37 Bobs! In a row!

Website | Flickr | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Friday, February 2, 2018 1:09 PM

Jeff said:

I've seen loriu and her family at a lot of events, but she typically doesn't post a ton (maybe she's stalking us now).

Yes, yes I am. But you know that cause I'm sure you can tell that I log in almost on a daily basis. I may not post much anymore, but I do read. When my daughter started playing travel softball 6 years ago, our park trips took a massive hit. Coastermania and PPP have been the only events we've been able to do regularly. And we did miss a couple Coastermaina's. She's now in her first year of college and still playing softball. This shifts our heavy travel period from summer to spring so I'm hoping to be able to get back out there more, especially to new-to-us-parks.

We do have a core set of people that we tend to hang out with when we do get to parks, most of which are not members here. That's probably why when we do make it to an event, I don't go out of my way to meet new people. I appreciate Coasterbuzz because I have met some really great people from here years ago that I'm still friends with today. And by friends, I mean friends. We even do stuff together outside of amusement parks. I have belonged to other sites but this one is the only one that I keep coming back to. So like it or not, you're stuck with me in whatever version/vision/direction Coasterbuzz goes in.

Thank you Jeff, for all the years of hard work to make this place work.

Friday, February 2, 2018 1:15 PM

Jeff said: to kpjb

That's right. The weirdness around it had more to do with the fact that I never saw you at your own park.

Right? I never see him there either and we are there a lot more than you are. Last time I saw him was at the zoo.

Friday, February 2, 2018 4:41 PM
Vater's avatar

I hate seeing him caged like sad.

Friday, February 2, 2018 9:50 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

I'd love to reply in more detail, but my geezer of an iPad is having trouble keeping up.

I've been on CBuzz since 2000, thanks to the level of conversation.

The coasters brought me in, the people keep me coming back.

I'm on Facebook, but I'm relentless about blocking people and friend requests.

As Mr Gonch noted, it's not a rough or unfriendly crowd, but is a crowd that will challenge ideas.

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Saturday, February 3, 2018 1:33 PM

A few thoughts in the hopes they'll be useful, and thanks Jeff for your comments and this forum.

1) The coaster sites I visit most are, in order: this one, Screamscape, NewsPlusNotes, and RCDB. There aren't any others I visit regularly, and I tend not to visit any pages or groups on Facebook or the Twitter unless there's a link to a photo that seems interesting. Coasterbuzz has the best balance of news and commentary and the advantage of being consistently reliable. Screamscape is more comprehensive and has a lot of news that isn't here, but at the expense of (a) a lot of stuff I have no interest in, and (b) loony rants and rumors. NewsPlusNotes also has news that isn't here and more photos and artwork, but it's pretty press-releasy. RCDB is a great resource but obviously isn't a news/commentary site. If I had to live with just one, honestly it would probably be RCDB for the comprehensiveness, but Coasterbuzz would be a pretty close second.

2) I haven't been around here as long as others, and I lurked for a long time. And I don't post nearly as much as some others (partly because I can't from work). As far as membership and forum participation goes, and this has been observed before, this place can feel very clubby. That isn't really a criticism, and it's certainly not the responsibility of people here to not engage in inside jokes or conversations to make new people feel welcome. But I suspect that long history that frequent posters have does limit the growth of participation, if not visiting.

3) I read nearly all the news, and most of the forum conversations whether I'm posting or not. Once I figured out how, I started keeping a track record - for some reason, I found the process of starting that really unintuitive. It's not bad, the workflow is just a little backward from the way I think. But I really like that feature and I think the rating system is about right. I am not someone who can remember a ride from six years ago and accurately compare it to the one I rode last week, so I find 100-point scales a little silly. YMMV of course.

4) I would like to see ratings beyond #100 but I understand your reasoning Jeff. Maybe that could be a perk with membership? It might be enough to keep out the people who would try to game it.

5) Even though I tend not to want to join any club that would have me as a member, I have joined today, and sorry that took me so long.

6) What I value most here, and others have said it, but maybe I will say it somewhat differently, is the breadth of conversation in the forums. There are not that many places in my life - on the internet or otherwise - where I regularly engage with people with different political/economic/cultural views from my own - even if engagement is just reading. And seeking such places out intentionally can be frustrating, because there's so much animosity and point-scoring and devil's-advocating even in the best places, and let's not even talk about the comments section of Nearly every week on Coasterbuzz I am reading a different political perspective from my own, usually thoughtfully expressed, and whether I agree or not, or whether my thinking is shifted or not, I am reminded that there are intelligent and caring people who disagree with me. This is a cross-section of people brought together by a slightly offbeat hobby, or at least an offbeat level of interest in it, and kept together, I would say, by a moderator who (usually) gently steers things in a civil direction. That is no small achievement, and that is what keeps me coming back.

Thanks again.

Saturday, February 3, 2018 3:46 PM
Jeff's avatar

How would you approach maintaining the track record? It hasn't ever really been refined.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Saturday, February 3, 2018 7:09 PM
Fun's avatar

Surprised there has been no mention of the editorial features and exclusives. What makes this site unique and different is the quality of the content. Your interview with Ouimet, for example.

As for the actual "buzz", that's well outside of your control and is a function of a mature industry having less and less to talk about domestically each year.

Saturday, February 3, 2018 8:14 PM
Jeff's avatar

My biggest regret is that I can't do more stuff like that. I just don't have time. You'd be surprised who in this industry will take my call or respond to my email, but my day job and family always take precedence.

Also sad that my professional crush (Ouimet) quasi-retired. I've had a lot of chances to spend time with him, and 15 minutes makes you an infinitely better person. No joke. I partially attribute my success of the last five years to a conversation I had with him.

Last edited by Jeff, Saturday, February 3, 2018 8:15 PM

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Saturday, February 3, 2018 10:31 PM

Regarding the track record, I guess I would have expected a button that says, "Add a roller coaster" or something right on the track record page. It wasn't intuitive to me to first go to the roller coaster's page, and then find the "+" symbol, and that would cause me to go from not having a track record to having one. It has been a little while, but I remember clicking a bit in frustration before (probably reading the instructions and) figuring it out.

Now that I have a list, and I've done it a few times, it makes sense. And the current method is pretty economical in terms of code, I suspect; there isn't a need for an interstitial page where I add the details, for example.

Saturday, February 3, 2018 11:19 PM
Jeff's avatar

I think that's fair criticism. If you had an "add roller coaster" button that had some sort of auto-complete as you typed in a box, would that make sense?

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense


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