Can’t Please All of the People All of the Time

mryuk.jpgWhoops.

After one day on the site, it became apparent pretty fast that the region-specific open discussion pages made almost no one happy. They added a ton of clutter and they’d be impossible to follow. Everyone said they’d rather have a message board (just like the ones already in existence at Groceteria, AmesFanClub, and Remembering Retail) than that clunky piece of junk.

I agree.

I have been teetering between wanting more open discussion and not on Labelscar for some time. My main problem is that I think that it dilutes from the primary mission of the site–i.e., this isn’t really a retail-based social networking community, it’s a blog about a ton of stuff that we’ve visited, discovered, and researched, along with news. I’ve gotten a lot of flak recently because of what Labelscar isn’t, but what it IS is a hobby, and a place for the two of us to try and organize a lot of our research and travels and interest in this stuff in one place, hopefully for a bunch of other people to enjoy too. And clearly a lot of other people *do* enjoy it, which is awesome.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to have a different idea for what Labelscar should be, and where it should go, and honestly I have to follow my nose on the future development of the site and do what I think makes the most sense, and sadly those discussion pages weren’t it. Given that it’s hard enough to find the time to post great pages about malls, I need to use my (limited) time towards creating more content for Labelscar rather than lots of forums and things that really take away from the core purpose of the site while presenting a duplicate version of an offering that has been in existence–and thriving–on other sites for some time.

That said, I may change my mind and decide to add a real forum sometime in the future, but I have a fairly high bar for how such a thing would need to look and function, and I’m not a developer, so anything that requires a lot of database back-end to give me something of the appropriate quality isn’t going to work out.
The reason that I shut the pages off so quickly is because I didn’t want a bunch of you guys to devote time and effort in making really great, informative comments only to have them deleted. I value the input you’ve all had in the direction of this site, and it wouldn’t be nearly as successful or fun without the many thousands of comments that reside on all of our pages. I don’t want to dump all effort that into a medium that I just don’t think will work out long term. Since there were so few comments on those pages, I’ve tried to save/move some of the best comments that were left on them so they weren’t lost forever, and a few really good ones will be used in conjunction with some upcoming posts so that they’re in a more relevant and high-profile place.

16 Responses to “Can’t Please All of the People All of the Time”

  1. I like Labelscar and check it every day to see if anything has been added. I’ve always been a big fan of enclosed malls since I was a kid, and your site has many articles about them, and you’ve visited some of the malls that I’ve been in when they were doing well, which have since declined. I like that you visit both types of malls — ones doing well and ones that are dying or dead. I posted about Madison Square Mall in Huntsville, AL (where I live) and it’s recent slow downward trend in the past 3 or 4 years — one I hope is reversed before it’s too late. It needs an upscale anchor to fill the old Pizitz/McRaes/Belk space badly and I hope it doesn’t turn into one of the dying centers like many you’ve visited.

    I remember you visiting Century Plaza in Birmingham, but it’s not showing up in the Alabama section. Do all of your articles get indexed under the relevant state?

    Like you, I ran a web site on my own time, and found it was hard to please everyone. Everyone has a different idea of what should be added and changing anything will make some people unhappy.

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  2. Yeah, one of the problems was that much of the items on the Freehold Raceway Mall page was that it was too centered on other malls in NJ. That wasn’t the only problem, most of it was wishful thinking lists of stores and off-topic rubbish.

    I know for a fact you have some Moorestown Mall pictures, if there was a topic on that, then you’d surely get relevant comments!

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  3. Aw, no love for Moorestown? :P

    I just took another south Jersey Mall visit, coincidentally.

    I suppose I’ll wait to post the Non-Cherry Hill Mall ones.

    But yeah, get SimpleMachinesForums if you can :D

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  4. maybe you should do what urbanplanet.org does with it’s state & subregion forums but where else are you going to get info on long since dead malls like for example walnut mall in petersburg va or cloverleif mall in richmond

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  5. Well, the “proof” is in the early comments, mentioning an exterior shot of Sears that was thrown up with the CHM posts.

    Why not Proboards?

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  6. Why not a ph3bb(Or however it’s spelled.) board

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  7. Hi,

    I would still hope there would be a forum. The Groceteria forum is geared toward grocery stores, and the Remembering Retail group is a Yahoo group which is very clumsy to navigate, not to mention all of the ads.

    That said, this is by far my favorite “dead mall” site and I check it several times a week to see if there are any updates. I like that it’s not completely focused on “dead malls” but also gives updates on thriving malls as well, and the commentary is well-written.

    If the people running this site don’t want the hassle of a forum, then maybe someone reading these comments who has the knowledge of this might want to set one up – the audience is definitely out there! :)

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  8. I think sticking to the original mission of this site would make more sense than trying to do a message board and spreading things too thin.

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  9. Chris, LOL, Century Plaza is actually featured on my site, Georgia Retail Memories, which in all honesty partly due to lack of updates doesn’t hold a candle to this one. Personally, I like all the comments on my blog but they have been decreasing due to the weeds growing there blocking the view. I understand that when there are 69 comments with one post that the guys here feel like it’s out of hand. What might surprised them is that I love reading through all the comments…always interesting additional information to be found there. For me, I had an issue in the past where people started posting crazy stuff and I had to moderate the comments, so I have indeed rejected a thread or two but I’m usually pretty lenient as long as it’s on-topic and doesn’t make some suggestion that I was doing, for example, dirty deeds in an old Richway before I was even born. Perhaps they could go here and just have a strict moderation policy so that if the comments go on topic they just reject them? It’s bound to ruffle some feathers, but it’s just a suggestion :)

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  10. This is my favorite retail history website and I think the website should stay pretty much as it is. The only thing I would like to see are updated pictures of current mall postings. Especially when it is demolished or renovated, or when it gets a new wing or anchor. Basically, any update on one of the current malls listed, just in pictures, as well as comments. Caldor and PrangeWay, you don’t have to worry about getting the pictures and coments yourself, you have many posters that seem very willing to help you out with something like this. Other than that this is great website. Keep up the good work!

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  11. I work in Finance at the corporate offices of a major retailer, with both big box and small shop stores. I LOVE your website, and can only begin to imagine the time and effort required to update and maintain it. What I see on your pages is a direct (and updated) reflection of the reports that come out of our real estate committee. We generally see the writing on the wall several years before a mall reaches meltdown and vacate if the lease terms allow it. This site is a stroll down memory lane. Even if I have not actually been at the malls, I have been privy to the assessment of the regional real estate director, and the reasons for staying in or vacating a certain location.

    Keep up the great work! I appreciate your efforts in whatever direction you choose to take them.

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  12. I think you ned to fix somthing in the corpus christi listing. It taes FOREVER to load.

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  13. JT, I remember Century Plaza being featured on your site (I posted comments on several of your entries on that site, which I check regularly too). I enjoyed your information about old Richway and Treasure Island stores, which I remember from my childhood (they had huge toy departments).

    I thought for some reason that Century Plaza was featured on this site as well, but I guess I’m wrong.

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  14. Sorry Caldor, my idea just didn’t work out. No matter, I will keep trying to come up with an idea that does work to your satisfaction, or your money back. LOL

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  15. As they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I personally think things are fine the way they are around here. A lot of the time, adding forums to a site makes things get crazy really fast, and I’d rather just post on comment threads than see a site lose some of its charm.

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  16. I love your website just the way it is. Informative and fun. An insight into a person’s (people’s? :D) life that has a hobby I happen to enjoy myself. Don’t change~! :3

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