"Invite" link?

posted on #1
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So..I do not play gigs..but many I know do..and are probably way better musicians than myself. Might be kinda cool to showcase some great stuff from great musicians here with some sort of "Invite to Join" thing? Just my thoughts...might help spread the word of Wikiloops and bring in more awesome musicians?

posted on #2
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Hey Mark,
could you provide some more info on this idea please, I must admit I feel I do not really get the idea just yet.
I can imagine some sort of "showcase"-thing that would feature certain musicians of wikiloops (but who would like to pick those?),
but I really didnt get the "Invite" idea so far...
Generally speaking, any "invite to join" feature might be abused very strongly, just imagine someone like Dafunkydrummer getting invited to join just about any jam missing drums (no offense meant to all the other great drummers on here).
Having 250 open jam invitations anytime you visit wikiloops is not the kind of user experience I myself would enjoy, but maybe your idea is going in a different direction?
posted on #3
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Hi Dick..I guess maybe I was thinking about showcasing a few of the most favorite tracks from here with some kind of link to bring Wikiloops to the attention of musicians that aren't here yet. I know a few talented musicians that play live in groups that may not be aware of your site. Many are friends on the way popular social media site we all know of. Perhaps not an invite to join in on any given template..but moreso a way to show what we come up with here when we work together and play with musicians from all over the world, as opposed to just group members. Does that make more sense?
posted on #4
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Fishinmissio wrote:
So..I do not play gigs..but many I know do..and are probably way better musicians than myself. Might be kinda cool to showcase some great stuff from great musicians here with some sort of "Invite to Join" thing? Just my thoughts...might help spread the word of Wikiloops and bring in more awesome musicians?


Agreed. There are a number of Muso's I would like to invite!

posted on #5
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Not sure exactly what Fish is looking for, but if you want to have a "showcase" for prospective talent... w/o having to choose a track(s), why not show off the album section. To me the album section is an untapped resource of all the great things that are produced on Wikiloops. That to me would be the natural place to promote the site to others, if you want to do that...
rp3 (Raymond)
posted on #6
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Hey guys I'm not sure what Mark is trying to get here a good idea. Somehow get people to find the wikiloops myself I started a Jam session at our local youth center. It is every Thursday night and all age musicians are welcome to come. What I do at these sessions is tell them about wikiloops and play a few tracks of what I consider the top of the line stuff and the ones that are good but not as good as the top of the line ones. Just my way of getting the word out. Although we do a lot of cover tunes it also helps to here the tracks from the wikiloops and get ideas one just jamming to a track. Everyone is told we can not use the tracks from wikiloops for any purpose, but to jam at these sessions. I keep them on my computer and no one gets a copy of them. They can go on wikiloops and join and get the tracks their selves. But this is just another way to get musicians to join. Or invite musicians to your home to jam and turn them on to wikiloops. Just a thought for the musicians. I would like to someday get a thing going like Dick does each year where the wikiloopers in the USA get together and have a jam session. I have a building to play in but it is a long way from any hotel for people to stay. About an hour drive to get to the building fromany hotel in the area. But it would be fun to get together with the wikiloopers in the USA. I watch the videos of you guys over there having a great time.
posted on #7
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I think I understand what Fish is saying. Make a section for new people browsing wikiloops to hear the variety of songs and in that section put up a link inviting them to join the loops. The brand here is the music. It can be intimidating when you come here and see 100 thousand plus songs published, it can be made easier by putting in a listening section with sub sections for music, like Rock, Blues, Jazz, and so on. That way people can come here and get a sampling of the style of music they play and see if it is a fit for them, you can even have a section on a song being built. Then when someone joins have a link there for them to send to a friend to join.
posted on #8
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I've got to admit to mixed feelings about promotions of wikiloops. While it would be wonderful for many more people to take advantage of this site and what it offers in terms of resource and learning, it is also becoming a very large community. It's becoming impossible to hear and enjoy all that's on offer. In circumstances of large numbers it's common to fracture into groups of players we know and like to hear and shutting out others...there just isn't time to hear everyone/everything. I've seen/heard some fine musicians come and go because they received little/no recognition for the wonderful music they play. To some, learning and just using tracks here to jam and practice with is enough. For those fine musicians Mark would wish to invite it may not be enough.

Some of you may know that I've got several memberships. I've used these (in the past) to undertake a social experiment in which they interact to various degrees with other members. There is a "control" in to experiment: I'm playing the same way, using similar tracks, etc. So the music is the same and only the level of social interaction is different. One membership follows others and communicates most. He has the most people following, thumbs, plays, etc. The member who communicates but follows nobody has far less, and the member who neither communicates much or follows anyone only gets comments from those whose tracks he has added to. This presents quite a clear picture of the social aspects within this site and how the quality of what's on offer is of less importance (in terms of gaining recognition) than social skills.

What does a new member want/need from this site? The answer will be as varied as the individuals signing up. However I think we can probably generalize about a few types: 1. The learner who comes to practice. They don't necessarily post anything and are realistic about their skill level compared to others they hear. 2. Intermediate player who has some skill (but maybe more ego than skill?) and wants to practice, post, and possibly gain recognition. It may, or may not matter to them whether they gain recognition as they are still honing their skills and will keep trying. 3. Experienced (pro?) musician who just wants to make music with others and have a good time. 4. Experienced (pro?) musician who requires recognition for their abilities and will quit if they don't gain recognition very quickly. Obviously there are lots of others out there like the delusionals who think they are great in spite of a lack of talent or skill.

What does Wikiloops offer to each of these types? More than enough for most, but certainly it certainly doesn't cater to type 4 or the delusionals. How would someone know if Wikiloops will work for their needs? We currently have descriptions and tutorials that are very matter of fact and utilitarian, but don't give a very human picture of what happens. There is certainly nothing that accurately describes the social nature of the site. Are these failings? Probably not as anyone keen will certainly find out what it's all about. Could that process be made quicker/easier. Yes, I think so.

Now, to get back to Mark's proposal...sorry about all that preface, but thought it was necessary. If you're inviting musicians to check out Wikiloops, then either you, or or the site could offer an introduction about what the site can, and can't offer. A video that shows people recording at home and then others taking that track and adding to it at their home, gives an accurate picture of what each individual does. A quick check list can then give them the other clues they might need.
Wikiloops can:
1. Provide tracks with a large variety of styles and instrumentation for practice.
2. Give the opportunity to post your contribution back on the site for others to hear or add to.
3. Be a learning experience and give the opportunity to learn by doing and/or interacting with others.
4. Challenges musicians to be creative as there are no “standards/covers” allowed.
5. Provide a safe supportive community to assist in growth.
Wikiloops does NOT:
1. Cater to individuals who wish to post complete projects (go to Bandcamp or others).
2. Promote individuals or provide a platform which will lead to being commercially recognized or even recognized within the site.

Wikiloops has a very strong community feel to it, which can be daunting to individuals wishing to gain recognition. It is an unfortunate reality that people with good social skills are more likely to gain recognition over those who may be better musicians but not as socially adept. There are strong similarities with other “social sites”.

The site is suited to all levels/abilities as long as those individuals appreciate being able have respect for other players regardless of their level, and have no expectations for fame or recognition. The act of playing and having a place to post your contribution must be its own reward.
Edited by Wade on March 26 2017 03:19
posted on #9
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Hey @ all, and special thanks to Wade for the sophisticated and spot on observation :)

I am not surprised about the "social components" effect on your user experience, this is something one will experience on any kind of internet community, and actually in any kind of offline community as well.
If you never interact with anyone, you will hardly gain a lot of sympathy and interest - it is however interesting to notice that people tend to think this rule would not apply online, it sure does, and I do not really see a way to change that programmaticly.

But let me try to get back to the "invite"-situation and possible ways to improve that, based on what you guys have pointed out:
I think the general "problem" can be summarized as "We like to tell people about wikiloops, but once they get here, it seems a little complicated to have them realize how this works and why this is a cool project", and I would agree to some extent.

I think it would be wise to distinguish two or three common scenarios here:
1st - I am inviting someone to listen to some of the music produced on wikiloops, who may not be a musician or likely to actively join, and
2nd - I am inviting someone who I feel might enjoy wikiloops when practising, and who may have interest to join actively.

For the first kind, I do agree with raymond on the albums, and I also see the radio feature as another way to let people realize what kind of music and which quality level can be found on wikiloops.
Especially the radio with the built-in world-map display does explain something about the musics origin and may raise interest in how this actually works.
An invitation along the lines of "visit wikiloops.com and click on the radio on the homepages shifting-banners, or go to "search" -> "albums & radio" and check out some of those albums" seems sufficient, the invited person really only needs to remember "wikiloops" and "radio" to get there.

Now, inviting someone to use & join the 'loops is a bit more tricky if you expect the invited person to become an active collaborator, if you just want to inform the guitar student from next door that there are a bunch of practise templates to be found on wikiloops, then I'd be quite positive one curious look at the wikiloops search engine will be self-explanatory enough to let someone browse around a little ("oh, I can select "Blues" with "Drums + Bass" in "Key of E", now, that's pretty cool!").

While the listeners and practicing folks can be guided quite easily, getting someone involved in the collaborations is much more complicated.
To tell someone "Yeah, go and register an account on wikiloops and you will have a lot of fun" is not enough information, and there may be invited people who feel like "OK, now I have this user account, what now? Theres a zillion of tracks, and people seem to enjoy themselfs, but what shall I do now?".
As Wade pointed out, the new users happiness depends on his or hers expectations, and very strongly on interaction (comments & likes) and the "follow" function.
Since we can not change the users expectations, I'd like to focus on making sure new folks understand the very basic principles of interaction and the follow-function, so they will get some crucial info on how to turn their initially blank newsfeed into the lively place of interaction which you as active members are used to.
This may seem totally self-explanatory to people who are using other social media platforms, but it is definetly good to make sure these bits of information are properly presented to new members, and that is actually something I'll be working on in the next few months.
I believe the crucial bits of information might be:
- interacting with members: get familiar with some folks by commenting and liking their tracks. Your newsfeed will keep you informed whenever someone replys to a comment
- follow others: If you enjoy some users contributions, "follow" him or her and new tracks by that user will show up on your newsfeed
- first remix: Start by remixing others instead of posting new templates, that way you will get noticed by those whom you remixed
- first remix: Choose a track to remix which is not 5 years old. If you pick a track from the latest jams, your chances of the creators being active and waiting for a remix is much higher then when remixing ancient tracks which already have 300 remixes.

I believe it is quite normal to see that there are people who realize wikiloops does not meet their personal interests, and it is only natural to have a percentage of people leave or loose interest.
One could try to prevent that by informing people up-front about what not-to-expect (as Wade suggests), but I feel that may go wrong communication wise - it would read like
"You will not get rich or famous by using wikiloops, and as anywere on this planet, no one will be nice to you if you are not nice to anyone.
Actually, no-one is sitting there waiting for your music either, but you are welcome to join and have a lot of fun with us. And don't forget, wikiloops is 80% about you collaborating with others, and maybe 20% about others collaborating with you :)"
That would be bold & true, but may not seem like a good up-front-advertising strategy ;)
posted on #10
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Great insite Richard... I always see questions in the shoutbox about what to do, or can I do this or that. I read many people helping with those questions. But is there a better way to fully explain the wikiloops objective to our new friends?
posted on #11
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Well, we've tried to "fully explain the wikiloops objective" in the video tutorials I made in 2014 (to be found at the top of the help section), the thing is, people do not go to the help section to get informed.

The "usual" way to deal with this which you may have come across on some other sites are those "Let us show you some new features on our nterface / Take a tour"-kind-of-animated things, where the part-taking visitor gets a few bits of information, while certain buttons on the page are highlighted. Many people skip such tours as well, but they are a good way to explain things on the site, so I might try to implement something like that.
A simpler approach is to try to catch the newly signed up folks either on the first-log-in-special startscreen, or when visiting their totally blank user profile.
As long as the offered information matches the new users interest ("What would you like to do on wikiloops today?"), those who are wondering could easily find the info without needing to click on the "help section" button...
We'll redo the whole help section and integrate a keyword search on help articles, too, but these three legs are all I have to walk on to get the message across. People just don't like to read too much :)
posted on #12
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Good points and thinking from Richard...well they should be! Have any of us thought and dreamed about this site and how to run it for all these years?

I'd just like to reiterate one point that I think was lost in my being too verbose. If there was an web address to a video of people doing what we do then that gives a 100% accurate picture of what we do and can (without too much detail) show how it happens. That is what people like Mark could give to a prospective member. If they are interested, then they can see the more detailed information in the help section. The help section information is very good as a step by step procedure, yet it doesn't give a human picture of the "what and why" of Wikiloops. What (IMHO) is missing is a human interactive approach. It's still necessary to have all of the details, yet why would anyone bother with details if they haven't been intrigued by being able to put themselves into the picture of using the site?
Edited by Wade on March 26 2017 21:42
posted on #13
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These are all great ideas, and thanks for the shout out about the album and radio sections that I brought up. Again I look at those as potential promotional tools for the site, as well as cool things for us to have B)

As far as the idea of an animated tutorial, that is exactly what this site needs. I have many musician friends who may have interest in the site but are not as proficient on the computer as I am and could use some visual guidance.

One thing I thought of to take this a step further is creating actual learning videos on the site. For example, a video on how to use a DAW, or setting up a home studio etc... I myself learned a lot from fellow Loopers, especially about recording from OLiV (I picked his brain a bit)... anyway, something to think about...
rp3 (Raymond)
posted on #14
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Hey Raymond, regarding the use of recording software, there are already a lot of videos available on YouTube, it is a lot of work to create new ones. And the software changes all the time.

I think it might be easier for someone who knows a little about this subject it to compile a list of already existing videos that would be good to look at.
posted on #15
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A good idea for a video is how to use DAW. I will not say for all the editors, but I can say for Reaper. On the official site there are enough high-quality video on the functional, but not all pay attention to this section -
For Russian-speaking users, there is a channel on Youtube with a high-quality translation of official videos
but their number does not keep up with official publications. Maybe someone will come in handy.
posted on #16
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Hello, Dick! As for the radio, an excellent implementation, but it seems to me that there are not enough visiting statistics, how many listen now, where these listeners came from. Do not take it as criticism, but as a suggestion.
posted on #17
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What an excellent thread! I think everyone is agreed that the top level objective is to get more active contributors to the site. With that it mind, I would suggest it's worth looking at the first two phases that I expect most new contributors go through. I'm sure Dick has data to back this up but since I don't, I can only talk from my personal experience and try to generalise!

1) Users probably start by using using the site purely as a source of online backing tracks. In my own case, I did this through a google search for '<style> backing tracks'. There are a number of stumbling blocks that I almost didn't overcome and which would have left me a non-user at this point (indeed I think it was several visits before I actually stuck around long enough to find a track to play with)...

- the search interface requires active intervention and only shows the first 10 results by default. Thre are only two main search criteria (date and popularity) so you tend to see the same list of tracks each time you use it)

- neither of the two search criteria delivered a track that I thought was good enough to bother with. I realise that sounds a bit insulting and very odd given the wealth of excellent tracks that do exist here, but my honest opinion is that, like the 'real world' popularity or novelty bear little relation to quality.

My suggestion(s) to try to make the 'out of the box' experience better would be to either find some way of identifying 'good' templates (perhaps numbers of remixes would make sense?) or to deliberately pick a few in each style for first exposure and to show these on a 'quick start' page.

2) Once people have started downloading the tracks, the next challenge is to try to get them to engage enough to contribute. Speaking personally again, I can say that a big disincentive was that for the tunes I liked, there seemed to be plenty of remixes already and often by the same people. As Wade implies, it seemed very much like an inside club of people who knew each other*. Indeed, for the first few weeks I went to some effort to avoid remixing tracks that had already been 'done' and deliberately sought out older 'overlooked' items. (It's notable that there isn't a way to search for these at the moment.).

- so the first thing is to really communicate that all remixes are welcome, even if a template has been done to death. Perhaps all this needs is a more prominent message on the download page suggesting "enjoy the download, we'd love to hear what you do with it so consider uploading your remix" in 24pt font!
- secondly, perhaps we could allow templates to be tagged in a way that indicates that a particular instrument remix is actively desired and this could automatically expire after some time. This might help new users find tracks where they actually feel that someone wants to hear what they do.

3) Once we've got past the point of the first contribution, we have the problem of ensuring that a contributor feels part of the community. I won't cover that since Wade has expressed it very nicely.

As always, these are just my opinions :)

*Edit - I should make it clear that once I was here, it became obvious that the atmosphere was very welcoming and not at all cliquey but that's how it looked from the outside!
Edited by GrooveEnth on March 27 2017 20:22
posted on #18
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“To get more active contributors” is that the objective here?

How many uploads appear on Wiki in one hour? You guys have days of 32 hours? Mine are still 24 and that’s sure not enough to hear a fraction of all the uploads here.

I still gotta eat ,sleep ….

Are we gonna let even more valuable uploads, who deserves an ad, go down the drain?

Wish the objective here was to get lesser, but qualitative better uploads here on Wiki.

Down the drain with ”just picked up my guitar, did one take and uploaded it” this attitude always makes me think of marrying the girl next door, while there are so many good, beautiful girls in the world ready to be found.
Down the drain with using the “copy and paste” button for a demo from a sample lib to the ”upload here your file” space on Wiki.

Sometimes less means more, Wade already said it in his post.

Concerning ideas, dare we look over the fence? Beautiful lay -out doesn’t mean better uploads, this site proofs it, but one or two idea’s do make sense to me.
Edited by fanne on March 27 2017 20:48
posted on #19
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Good point there, fanne -
let me just throw in that from my humble position, the objective is not to get more active contributers at any cost, and neither do I feel there is a lack of activity or too few uploads a day.
Yet there are things which may be improved to smoothen some of the new-member hurdles we've been collecting here.
I enjoyed having a look at the link you posted, too, and yes, looking across the fence is something I do every now and then.
The thing is (at least to me), wikiloops primary objective is to have fun, which is why we never developed towards convincing anyone how cool it is.
One reason why wikiloops is lacking the pitch-video focusing on its "greatest aspects" is that we've left it up to our members to discover which part of wikiloops they do enjoy the most.
By not settling a focus on things like "high quality" or "noodle about quick fun", wikiloops has become what it is - a community of quite diverse and nice folks.

If you'd ask me for my honest opinion, I believe we may have "missed to convince" some people who may not have found a way "in" lacking an idea how this works (as GrooveEnth pointed out), but on the other hand the very same lack of poshy presentation has somehow filtered out some, and left us with a good kind of people.
"Increasing the musical quality" is a valid objective from your point of view, but you are one of the scaryly high skilled people around here, too (take it as a compliment, it is).
Personally, giving people access to contacting friendly musicians from overseas and giving any skill-level musicians some reason to grab their instrument is still my prime objective - if they provide high or low quality music while doing so is less important in that aspect.

So, in an attempt to keep this thread somewhere near the "invite" topic,
I'd welcome any improvements which ensure new members can discover the things they might enjoy as easy as possible, without raising any wrong expectations, and without limiting wikiloops versatility.

@GrooveEnth - serious thanks for sharing your insight in detail, you are tuching crucial points which I had missed. However, you do go quite far in "wanting to make people feel at home" (guess thats what triggered fannes post, too). I think its a thin line between doing and over-doing that - wikiloops may just not be for anyone, and that is not a bad thing at all. If for example anyone feels overly attracted by the "pro" in procollabs.com, well, that is cool with me, and I'd rather let someone go there and find his luck than make believe wikiloops was a tool for the rising pro.
posted on #20
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Well said Dick, but please leave my personal status out of it.

My post was not merely an attempt to rise the quality of uploads here without any further ado.
My post has all to do with fun.

The following might come across as, over the top, incoherent, no reference what so ever….
I spent a great deal of my professional career in this pedagogic domain, so I didn’t picked it out of the blue.

Most people can’t fool themselves Dick, they got ears, and they hear what is good and what is better.
When they hear a good upload (and there sure are on wiki) they, maybe unconscious, compare it to their own skill level, and they evaluate, how good am I ….

Let’s say they hear that the others are far better then themselves would they be happy? Will they shout it out in fun?.....no, maybe they get frustrated or envy or depressed…..no fun.

So they try to cheat and upload samples of some lib or refuse to give a thumb or stick their head (ears) in the sand or…….no fun,

You only can determent your wellbeing by comparing it to others in any domain. We have enough acid, frustrated and sometimes angry people in this world.

At this point education, good advice, showing how to do it, setting a goal to achieve will make the difference.The smaller the gap between good and a bad uploads the better.

A musician(or in any other domain) that improves her/his skills, and gets better in what he/she is trying to achieve, wins in self-confidence and eventually has more fun in what he/she is doing.

In simple words: learn and you’ll have more fun.

These are not my words, but I practiced and tested them over a period of 30 years and I can approve: It’s true.

Another matter, where the last lines @GrooveEnth meant for me Dick? let it be clear, if you don’t want me around say it clear, Wiki don’t need me and I don’t need wiki, if my posts strikes wrong chords by you , be honest ,don’t let me read it between the lines of an answer for someone else.
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