Decreasing activity

Tell us how we can improve the night ops forum. Your suggestions and complaints are welcome.
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blackhawk
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Decreasing activity

Post by blackhawk » Tue Jan 21, 2020 1:20 pm

I am not very experienced yet, but I would like to become a serious opper. I love the night. However, I noticed that the activity on this forum is slowly but surely decreasing and that's such a shame. I strongly believe that there are many people like us somewhere out there. People who are passionate about the night and the ways of exploring it. My question is: how do we find them and how do they find us? Is there anything that could be done to breathe life in this forum, so that the community will still exist in 5 or 10 years?

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Xanatos
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Re: Decreasing activity

Post by Xanatos » Tue Jan 21, 2020 1:34 pm

People have tried advertising on sites like 4chan and various &totse clones, but few ever really stick around for long. Or contribute at all - I suspect most of our members merely lurk from time to time without saying anything. It's kinda hard to 'advertise' an inherently surreptitious activity, especially on more open platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
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What is locked, can be opened. What is hidden, can be found. What is yours... can be mine.

blackhawk
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Re: Decreasing activity

Post by blackhawk » Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:17 pm

So from what I understand, the problem is twofold:
1. Not getting found by new people
2. People are only reading for a while and are gone shortly after

For the first issue I cannot immediately think of a solution. Maybe I can think of some system or network later on.

However, for the second problem there may be things that we can do. I think that there is a big step between just reading guides and how-to's, and actually getting outside in the night (personal experience) and I feel like that big step won't be overcome by just growing some balls. Maybe that's the reason that people forget about Night Ops: they have the literal knowledge, but not the deep understanding or skills. I am aware that there are various guides and threads about going on your first OP, but maybe these are not suitable for everyone. That method of learning is quite linguistic, while a lot of people learn better when visual aspects are included.

What if we made a detailed training program. So I don't mean another text document, but an actual step by step (online) program, with visualised concepts and theory. Maybe include some exercises and videos of OPs, to make it interactive.

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Xanatos
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Re: Decreasing activity

Post by Xanatos » Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:20 pm

I've posted several videos, but the only 'tutorial' was that ghillie vid. But sure, making videos about the fundamentals of stealth, gear selection, how to plan & execute an op as well as relevant skills would be useful. Stealth Technique's Youtube channel does a fairly decent job, but it'd be nice to have something tailored to our community.

I wrote a NO training regime stickied in The Art of Night Ops too, but a more 'interactive' guide would be neat. The trouble is getting people to stick to it. Ultimately it comes down to the individual, and like you said, most people lack the balls to do so.
We are all books containing thousands of pages and within each lies an irreparable truth.
What is locked, can be opened. What is hidden, can be found. What is yours... can be mine.

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Re: Decreasing activity

Post by spartan_ninja45 » Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:21 pm

It's an absolute shame that the activity is decreasing. If I were a more experienced opper, I'd post frequently. But I don't know what to contribute to the forum so I mainly just lurk.

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Re: Decreasing activity

Post by Xanatos » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:53 pm

Any experiences, really. If you feel an op isn't significant enough for its own thread, there's the NSEFIOT to post in.
We are all books containing thousands of pages and within each lies an irreparable truth.
What is locked, can be opened. What is hidden, can be found. What is yours... can be mine.

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Secant
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Re: Decreasing activity

Post by Secant » Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:02 am

Part of the problem is that the web works differently these days. There's this expectation that communities will come to where users already are (facebook, twitter, reddit, discord, etc). Having a separate website is a high barrier to entry and NONET is a casualty of this along with much of web 1.0. Not sure what we can do about it.

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Re: Decreasing activity

Post by spartan_ninja45 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:47 pm

A Discord server would be nice

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Xanatos
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Re: Decreasing activity

Post by Xanatos » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:52 pm

We had one for a while but few people used it due a concern over security.
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What is locked, can be opened. What is hidden, can be found. What is yours... can be mine.

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Re: Decreasing activity

Post by Psychlonic » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:02 am

I think what Secant said has a lot to do with it. Not only has the internet changed, but the generation that was present when Night Ops started is basically gone. Read the old night ops archives... now realize that most of those people are married and raising families. Many of the first gen enlisted. Some have passed away. For those of us left, like myself, it takes something exceptional to get into it again. The questions we had aren't compelling anymore - we already know the answers. If an operation lacks meaning, we're just not interested. Personally, most of my old operations were theft-oriented and short of something on a federal level it's not worth it anymore. Not because I have more to lose (although fencing stolen items has gotten MUCH harder as social media has brought us all together) so much as I just make more through legal means. And even if that weren't the case, my driving force during my career here was a total disregard for people in general and I no longer carry that chip on my shoulder.

It should be obvious from my more recent posts but I'm mostly just here for nostalgia at this point, my focus has shifted almost completely to biochemistry and physics - that's where the exciting questions lie for me now. Who and what are we? I never found the answers in any buildings, even castles.

:) But I'm a fossil in Night Ops time - I've been around off and on longer than some new members have been alive. If you guys want more members, talk people into it. I don't even speak adolescent language anymore so... I'm not the PR guy.
Let your code be to have no code. Let your way be every way.

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Re: Decreasing activity

Post by fx1k » Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:20 am

I echo everyone above. The internet has changed. We are no longer in the age of Totse, and the pieces of internet that generate interest have migrated to the large platforms. It seems everything is bathed in sunlight now. Everything is in the open or its censored by some company's terms of service.

Our target demographic for new members is mostly teenage males. They are young, adventurous, under the watch of their parents, and excited by the prospect of pushing the boundaries. The nature of Night Ops gels perfectly with them. I was a teenager when I joined in 2010, and all of this was borderline magical. Today, those teenagers are probably drowning in typical social media platforms. Now, we could advertise substantially on the sites mentioned above. A consistent long term effort in advertising on a site like 4chan might do it. Just needs the willpower.

Psychlonic talks about waning interest as members grow up. I'm in this group. I went and became a stiff professional and now have way too much responsibility and liability to be doing any of this. I also pass through here for the nostalgia.

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Re: Decreasing activity

Post by rvn » Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:36 am

I find it difficult to connect with good stealth content online - where is it and how to find it? I guess it makes sense it is mostly hard to find. I found this site embedded in Stealth Techniques training videos while searching for, aptly named, stealth techniques. I think it makes sense to advertise where people would go to look for learning about stealth. Stories, practices. Nice to find discussions here.

The internet is a different place now but thankfully there are still more independent websites like this. Thinking about target audience makes sense too and how to reach them, also what you want community composition to be like. It is hard to say how much of an audience there is, of course since stealth is inherently difficult to track down and trace and identify.
it's a bird, it's a --...no wait it's nothing
(and yet it's something)

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Re: Decreasing activity

Post by Xanatos » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:05 am

It's a niche subject we deal with here, along the same vein as martial arts, parkour, survival, firearms and military enthusiasts are concerned. Many of our common disciplines overlap, but while those other subgenres are populated with "expert" survivalists, athletes, competition shooters and service members/veterans, our core audience is a little harder to identify. There are people who train & compete in martial arts or shooting for a living, being in the military is obviously a common & respectable profession and while it's difficult to find a "professional" outdoorsman, even simple camping is a common and healthy hobby. When was the last time we were graced by the presence of a "professional" ninja? Aside from the Axe Bawmbz guy, but that's another story.

Conversely, many of the skills we cultivate here (moving unseen, lockpicking, infiltration, etc) are generally frowned upon and associated with people who are "up to no good" - which we are, I suppose, in a way. In truth while our activities cause no more harm than any of the other hobbies listed above, it's far too easy for people to draw the wrong conclusions about what we do here or why. Most - in fact, almost all of us - are not career thieves or saboteurs or assassins. In fact I'm willing to bet most of our members have never been on an op nor do they intend to, they just like reading about the tools, techniques & tales we share here. While it's easy to frown upon "couch commandos" they have just as much right to view our content as anybody else. Our information is free.

What we suffer from is an image problem. All we do is host information tailored to a specific subject and allow others to share. We make no encouragements on how one should use this information. Gun-related platforms often come under similar scrutiny whenever there's a mass shooting, for example, because uneducated fear-mongers think the people peddling information are somehow responsible for how others use it. Firearm blogs/forums/channels don't "create" school shooters any more than we create burglars - in fact we don't even advertise. Like you said rvn, people come looking for us not the other way around. We don't create the interest in stealth, the interest is already there and we simply offer a haven of knowledge for those so inclined to explore.
We are all books containing thousands of pages and within each lies an irreparable truth.
What is locked, can be opened. What is hidden, can be found. What is yours... can be mine.

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