WillRock

ReMix Reviews - Lack thereof?

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So I've been wondering about something. When I joined OCR in around 2008, seemed like there was a quite an interest in new mixposts. Mixes would get 10-20 reviews, 30-40 if you were lucky. And i'm talking quite in depth reviews, people actually took the time to post honest positive feedback.

 

Fast forward to 2015! - Now, seems like you're lucky to get 5-10 reviews. So my question is this - what happened?

 

Now... sure, YouTube is a new means of getting feedback, but its hardly the same in terms of the quality of the responses you'd get. Getting a "WOW THIS SOUNDS AMAZING" is a lot more common than getting an in-depth response on there, plus many of the comments lack that personal touch you'd get from people on OCR. The mass of comments, for me, made the long wait to get on OCR worth it, whereas now... you wait for about a year, and get a writeup from DJP and about 2 comments on the site. Seems a little anticlimactic compared to how it used to be. 

 

I'm just wondering why because personally, I never really looked at many new mixposts ever. I've always just looked at the stuff I wanted to after the fact and ignored the front page generally, so I can't really say what changed. 

 

So... 2 questions:

 

1: Why, if applicable, don't you comment on new mixposts on OCR?

2: How do you suggest the number of reviews is brought back up again?

 

 

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It'd be awesome is more people wrote reviews here, I'll admit I am more excited to just read djp's thoughts and the Youtube reviews because that's about all we get these days, but the couple of ocr-based reviews I get from people who actually listen and enjoy the music really means a lot. I put the blame squarely on William Harby, who has not reviewed a mix in months. 

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I think it's a symptom of a larger problem.

 

OCR seems super dead in general compared to when I first came here a few years back. I don't know, it just seemed like this place was really happening around 2011-13. Now, the top threads in almost any part of the forum remain unchanged for days and some of those threads don't see a new post for quite some time. It's like everyone is either not here, or just lurking.

 

I'll admit that I don't really listen to a lot of the new mixposts, but that's due to my decreased interest in game remixes. I don't venture too far from the production and community forums these days, but I notice even in the workshop, it's not uncommon now for mixes to get over a hundred views but absolutely no response.

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Could be anything, IMO, and I really think someone needs to do some reviewin'!

  • Maybe it's the idea that the 'classic' ReMixers are in high demand for moar moar moar STUFF, and people want stuff from Sixto, zircon, etc.
  • Maybe with the newer ReMixers coming in, people don't know what to expect because the person's brand new or rather new.
  • Maybe it's because there have been ReMixes from "new" games that people aren't as familiar with, like Guild Wars 2, Beyond: Two Souls, and Fittest.
  • Maybe people are more busy these days; I know I'm really busy these days.

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I put the blame squarely on William Harby

 

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OCR seems super dead in general compared to when I first came here a few years back. I don't know, it just seemed like this place was really happening around 2011-13. Now, the top threads in almost any part of the forum remain unchanged for days and some of those threads don't see a new post for quite some time. It's like everyone is either not here, or just lurking.

 

Could be a part of it, depressing to think tho. 

 

I wonder what the difference in subs is like from those days...

 

 

 

  • Maybe it's the idea that the 'classic' ReMixers are in high demand for moar moar moar STUFF, and people want stuff from Sixto, zircon, etc.
  • Maybe with the newer ReMixers coming in, people don't know what to expect because the person's brand new or rather new.
  • Maybe it's because there have been ReMixes from "new" games that people aren't as familiar with, like Guild Wars 2, Beyond: Two Souls, and Fittest.
  • Maybe people are more busy these days; I know I'm really busy these days.

 

 

Seems like "classic" ReMixers are not exempt from lack of reviews so I doubt thats it. I also doubt its due to games, since again, popular games are not exempt either. Chrono Trigger hasn't had a remix this year with more than 5 responses.

 

Yes, people do get busy, but new members should be evening things out. Is that the issue? Lack of new members?

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Symptom of a larger problem sure.  

 

A significant part of OCR is the nostalgia factor. It hits pretty hard and people love to relive things they once found interesting and pleasurable.  But the nostalgia wears off quickly when you have to live it everyday.  Psychologists call the decrease in response to a stimuli over time "habituation" and I think we are seeing a significant dip in interest in VGRemixes across the board because of it.  It's probably also compounded  by the lack of loss we have in the digital age.  Back when technology moved forward and left the past behind you probably were not going to be able to play "classic" games ever again.  This added to the feeling of loss and likelihood of nostalgia.  Now you can get almost any game you want and play it in all of it's retro glory.  Until you get tired of it.  which is probably pretty quick.  

 

At some point you gotta stop living in the past and get on with things.   :)

 

...not me tho.  

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Symptom of a larger problem sure.  

 

A significant part of OCR is the nostalgia factor. It hits pretty hard and people love to relive things they once found interesting and pleasurable.  But the nostalgia wears off quickly when you have to live it everyday. 

 

That is very true. Most of the remixes I listen to on here or tried remixing myself are from late 90s or early 2000s games. Games I had as a kid in other words. Lots of the newer games don't have music that is as simple and melodic as the older ones, so it's tough to remix or when remixes of it pop up on the site (like those Dark Souls remixes) I either don't listen because I'm not familiar with it or when I do, I'm not familiar with or passionate enough about the material to really give an in-depth review. 

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Yes, people do get busy, but new members should be evening things out. Is that the issue? Lack of new members?

Well, by my calculations, after searching for new members by Join Date (between Jan 1 2015 and Oct 27, 2015 inclusive, and the same for 2014, 2013, etc), 20 members per page, we've had:

 

2015 --- 4 + 20*(1626 - 1586 + 1) + 7 = 831

2014 --- 9 + 20*(1574 - 1526 + 1) + 1 = 990

2013 --- 16 + 20*(1515 - 1456 + 1) + 7 = 1223

2012 --- 5 + 20*(1440 - 1368 + 1) + 10 = 1475

2011 --- 15 + 20*(1350 - 1243 + 1) + 17  = 2192

2010 --- 18 + 20*(1220 - 1100 + 1) + 7  = 2445

2009 --- 19 + 20*(1072 - 995 + 1) + 7  = 1586

2008 --- 16 + 20*(978 - 913 + 1) + 5  = 1341

2007 --- 12 + 20*(896 - 834 + 1) + 11  = 1283

 

So yeah, it looks to me like there's a lack of new members. It's not to say that the more members we have, the more activity we'll have (depends on what these members want to do with us), but statistically, less people are joining the OCR forums per year, at least since 2010. :/

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I think it's a couple of things for me. For starters, like most of us here already said, I have much less time than a few years ago. When I look at the active people at the forums (not calling myself that, because I hardly contribute at the forums), I have a feeling that the average age is higher than when I first joined these forums. Something which could easily be caused by a decline in new members and thus the old members growing up, but in these age categories, people have jobs and families. I can't miss five hours a day to check all of the new mixes and give reviews. I used to do that - I at least used to listen to all of the mixes on the front page, but I don't even do that anymore.

 

Another thing is YouTube and Facebook. Because new mixes are popping up in my Facebook/YouTube feeds, I listen to the ones from there. That means I never visit the OCR homepage anymore and I don't see djp's write-up or come in contact with the review thread. And the drive to write a review gets higher when you see other reviews - this is nto the case now. If I like something, I just hit the 'like' button on YouTube/Facebook and write a short sentence - even though I know how great it is to get a full review by other OCR'ers.

 

I'm not really sure how to fix that though... perhaps copy the write-up to YouTube as the first comment? It could be that people are more likely to write a more extensive comment

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I never want to hurt butts when I point this out but that's inevitable... it might be hard for a site that takes 6 months to a year for judgements to maintain an active member base. A year is a long time, by the time those judgements come out, people could have either given up with music entirely, or the feedback is irrelevant because they've improved. 

 

I would love nothing more than for this community to be large and thriving, and there to be music spilling out of every corner of the site, but that's not the way it's going right now

 

We're all busy and getting old (I'm 28 now) and it's time that we get replaced with the new generation of remixers, but it's harder than ever for them to actually be a part of OCR

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Symptom of a larger problem sure.  

 

A significant part of OCR is the nostalgia factor. It hits pretty hard and people love to relive things they once found interesting and pleasurable.  But the nostalgia wears off quickly when you have to live it everyday.  Psychologists call the decrease in response to a stimuli over time "habituation" and I think we are seeing a significant dip in interest in VGRemixes across the board because of it.  It's probably also compounded  by the lack of loss we have in the digital age.  Back when technology moved forward and left the past behind you probably were not going to be able to play "classic" games ever again.  This added to the feeling of loss and likelihood of nostalgia.  Now you can get almost any game you want and play it in all of it's retro glory.  Until you get tired of it.  which is probably pretty quick.  

 

At some point you gotta stop living in the past and get on with things.   :)

 

...not me tho.  

 

 

Yeah, I think there are a lot more avenues to find and share nostalgia these days... in the process making it less potent, as you point out. Also---and this has always been the subject of disagreement since I first started coming here---our arrangements don't add nearly as much in the post-redbook audio era. Not only has the music evolved away from less-abstractable melodies, but there's an instant wow factor for a DAW production of a low tech melody that serves as the lede when you're sharing a track with friends. Appreciating arrangements of already well-produced material requires a listener who's much more fixated on the music than the average listener, imo. There are definitely still plenty of arrangements from the older days, but those of us who might engage with it are busy with careers and families.

 

At least OCRemix still has decent search ranking (first and second page) when searching for specific game composers, which is how I discovered the site back around 2003.

 

There will always be a niche for this community. But there was a time when the community was a cutting edge little novelty in several related areas that all seem to reinforce each other... there was a more common core of game music cannon just ripe for the picking, digital music production was just gaining mass accessibility, people were sharing old game tunes and MIDIs easily for the first time, emulation was cool, file hosting was starting to make sense, forums were still more meaningful than social media...

 

We've just got so many other options to fulfill our music/digital/social/creative needs these days. But I've never been a creator of digital platforms, so I'm sure there are others with more concrete experiences to share.

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I never want to hurt butts when I point this out but that's inevitable... it might be hard for a site that takes 6 months to a year for judgements to maintain an active member base. A year is a long time, by the time those judgements come out, people could have either given up with music entirely, or the feedback is irrelevant because they've improved. 

 

Holy shit, it takes 6 months to a year for remixes to be judged now? Damn...well, speaking as someone just starting out in making stuff, that does make me FAR less inclined to submit anything. Six months to a year is an eternity in music industry time.

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1: Why, if applicable, don't you comment on new mixposts on OCR?

2: How do you suggest the number of reviews is brought back up again?

 

It'd be great if more people responding actually focused on those two questions :)

 

My personal answer to the first question is that I do a writeup for every single mix :)

 

I've VERY interested in ideas for enhancing feedback & number of reviews.... but here's my current thinking:

  1. We upgrade our forums to IPS 4.X
  2. We build the workshop out to integrate with the rest of the site
  3. We thus allow content creation & promotion on two tracks - the instant gratification, "look what I made" track for anything posted on the workshop AND the featured, canonized track for accepted mixes
  4. We automate the submissions process via the forums
  5. All of these changes serve to reinforce the forums and the benefits of registering & participating
  6. We consider some form of trackable reputation points or awards or whatever for the most active/helpful members who are reviewing content and offering feedback in the workshop forums as well

So we WILL be modernizing, quite a bit, and hopefully that WILL help... I sense some defeatism, here, and I can see where it might stem from, but this is when we need people stepping up, not stepping back, because big changes are in store and we'll need all the help we can get to implement them.

 

In the meantime, every review helps!

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I've VERY interested in ideas for enhancing feedback & number of reviews.... but here's my current thinking:

  1. We upgrade our forums to IPS 4.X
  2. We build the workshop out to integrate with the rest of the site
  3. We thus allow content creation & promotion on two tracks - the instant gratification, "look what I made" track for anything posted on the workshop AND the featured, canonized track for accepted mixes
  4. We automate the submissions process via the forums
  5. All of these changes serve to reinforce the forums and the benefits of registering & participating
  6. We consider some form of trackable reputation points or awards or whatever for the most active/helpful members who are reviewing content and offering feedback in the workshop forums as well

So we WILL be modernizing, quite a bit, and hopefully that WILL help... I sense some defeatism, here, and I can see where it might stem from, but this is when we need people stepping up, not stepping back, because big changes are in store and we'll need all the help we can get to implement them.

 

In the meantime, every review helps!

 

Yes to all of this, even 6. A different website centered on being a Q&A educational site just started trying a similar "Great Answer!" feature to motivate dedication to teaching.

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I sense some defeatism, here, and I can see where it might stem from, but this is when we need people stepping up, not stepping back, because big changes are in store and we'll need all the help we can get to implement them.

 

In the meantime, every review helps!

 

Something I'd like to point out here... Yeah, I'm DEF seeing some defeatism here, and while yes I 100% agree that people are busier, complaining about it isn't going to help the problem. 

 

My thought process and what it needs is as follows... 

 

When I joined, one thing I think people don't remember is that the WIP forum was in a similar state to how it is now. The odd comment but yeah... nothing huge happening. Enter ROZOVIAN - who pretty much single handedly managed to spark some motivation from others because he was so on the ball with wanting to help people. Eventually, the WIP forum had a load of other people critting along with him, and he basically spearheaded a few good years of WIP feedback. He wasn't a mod, he wasn't a judge, he didn't even have a posted mix, but you know, that stuff doesn't matter - all it takes is ONE person to put in the effort and others will follow. Its not me, i'm too busy with other stuff, but this whole "OCR is dead" mentality is probably contributing to this current situation, because "why bother flogging a dead horse", which is what i'm fearing a lot of people are thinking based on some of these responses. All it takes is one person to start doing some reviews and it might kick things up a gear. 

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When I joined, one thing I think people don't remember is that the WIP forum was in a similar state to how it is now. The odd comment but yeah... nothing huge happening. Enter ROZOVIAN - who pretty much single handedly managed to spark some motivation from others because he was so on the ball with wanting to help people. Eventually, the WIP forum had a load of other people critting along with him, and he basically spearheaded a few good years of WIP feedback. He wasn't a mod, he wasn't a judge, he didn't even have a posted mix, but you know, that stuff doesn't matter - all it takes is ONE person to put in the effort and others will follow. Its not me, i'm too busy with other stuff, but this whole "OCR is dead" mentality is probably contributing to this current situation, because "why bother flogging a dead horse", which is what i'm fearing a lot of people are thinking based on some of these responses. All it takes is one person to start doing some reviews and it might kick things up a gear. 

 

I thought about that being a possibility... Let's give it a shot, eh?

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So... 2 questions:

 

1: Why, if applicable, don't you comment on new mixposts on OCR?

2: How do you suggest the number of reviews is brought back up again?

 

1) For me, it's not applicable.  I don't follow or listen to much if anything that's getting posted on OCR anymore sorry!

 

2) To avoid answering this question with another question, why are the number of reviews relevant?  Or even why are reviews themselves relevant?  If posted mixes already got judged and approved by individuals, then there really isn't much more someone else can say about it.  I'm not sure what one person could even say about a mix other than they like the style of the mix, or the game / original song being mixed, otherwise they're just talking about what is happening in the song which I've always found incredibly redundant.  Reviews kinda just serve to stroke the ego of the artist (which don't get me wrong, LOVE it when that happens to me), and places like YouTube and Facebook have made using the review forum obsolete.

 

Reviews really only matter before the mix is submitted for approval, where it can help an up-and-comer out with mixing or writing, or give a vet some advice if they're going through sound fatigue.  Any criticism can be used to improve or alter the mix, and people can go more in depth with their review.  To be critical of a mix after it's been posted is a bit of a waste because the mix isn't going to be touched up, altered, and resubmitted.

 

However, to actually try and answer your question, you can't just focus on lack of reviews and you have to look at the forum system as a whole.  The forums themselves have gotten very slow, very boring, very dead and dying, and so the question should be "How do you suggest bring the overall forum activity back up again?".  I think back to the VGMix days are how they had a RPG-esque system in place for people when they rate, review, post, etc.  You got HP, you got coins, you could buy stuff,  and that made using their system fun and exciting.  Currently there's only a post count standing where you can go from Goomba to Ness to Wario to whatever inbetween that's kind of a fun thing with posting here.  I think what djp has lined up can certainly rejuvenate life back into these forum, but as it currently stands I don't think asking or having one person try and lead a march in improving reviews will have any long lasting effects around here.

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1: Why, if applicable, don't you comment on new mixposts on OCR?

2: How do you suggest the number of reviews is brought back up again?

 

For question 1:

  1. Less time to spend listening to other peoples work, unfortunately.
  2. Don't have as many personal connections as i used to on the site. If i know the person that posted the mix, significantly more interested in listening/commenting.
  3. If you make it onto the site, the mix is probably awesome and worth listening to, so I don't feel like feedback is needed at that point. I still listen to most of the new mixes.

For question 2:

  1. When the song gets posted, it could be posted with all of the information that the judges talked about, might spark some conversation and debate. Would be great to actively discuss the track WITH the judges. It can sometimes feel very one-sided.
  2. Featured Comments - you could feature well-made, insightful comments that individuals make about a particular track. Could have its own section on the main page to encourage people to actively comment and get featured.

 

I think DJP has the right of it, all of those things will help the comments.

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2) To avoid answering this question with another question, why are the number of reviews relevant? Or even why are reviews themselves relevant? If posted mixes already got judged and approved by individuals, then there really isn't much more someone else can say about it. I'm not sure what one person could even say about a mix other than they like the style of the mix, or the game / original song being mixed, otherwise they're just talking about what is happening in the song which I've always found incredibly redundant.

Reviews really only matter before the mix is submitted for approval, where it can help an up-and-comer out with mixing or writing, or give your pet some advice if they're going through sound fatigue. Any criticism can be used to improve or alter the mix, and people can go more in depth with their review. To be critical of a mix after it's been posted is a bit of a waste because the mix isn't going to be touched up, altered, and resubmitted.

I personally think that when you make music, especially for a non-profit kind of thing like ocr, it's actually really important to see as much reviews as possible to your remix. Not necessarily to improve, but because it can be really motivational to see people like your music. And then not just some "wow, I really like this", but at least a "wow, I really like this, because..." kind of response. My mum says she likes my music, but she can't give as fine a reason as a fellow vgm lover that actually knows what I'm remixing. Seeing people liking your stuff, and besides that also knowing what you're actually doing, is so much cooler than just hearing some random bloke saying he/she likes your mix. And I think that the review panel is a really good place for that kind of thing. As I'm relatively new to this place I don't know how it was in its days of supposed glory, but I do know that right now it isn't really as nice as it could be.

But, since I've never left a review myself, I don't really have any right to speak... Although, I think that after reading this topic I just might start doing it. :)

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Just my 2 cents on the why/why not for the reviews.  (also not intended as a defeatist rant :))

 

I understand as much as anyone that people put a lot of time and of themselves when committing to learning this art (not the midi-rippers which there seem to be more of now than ever but that's a different subject) and for that reason I've often favored not commenting in the forums out of consideration that my comments might not be taken as constructive by the remixer-to-be and I also know that there are a near infinite amount of ways to approach anything so the last thing I want the person who's work i'm commenting on is to think that I think my way is the only way.  There is a lot of self discovery that's needed and if everyone followed one or two mixing engineers to the T (Tee?  Ti?) then that would sacrifice any potential for something unique to come out of all that self discovery.  

 

Yet, I also am familiar with the environment where students and working professionals were nearly reduced to tears by their instructor/choir director/orchestra conductor/what-have-you because they might have played 2 notes that weren't stylistically correct or used an up-down-up bow pattern when the director wanted a down-down-up bow pattern. I was initially attracted to OCR because it got me away from that into a more stress free environment.  Now, with all of this music out there, it's no longer a similar minded group of people who care enough about their art to want to help each other further what they have a mutual love for and instead it's a lot of people who all want praise for their work regardless of how it is and won't take any constructive criticism without getting defensive. Of course I don't feel that this is 100% of the community at all. But it's the reason I mostly just stick to the compos because the attitude of the people competing I find is much better than elsewhere on the forums. I would love it if people understood that to be any kind of an artist it means you have to build yourself up then expect to get torn down REPEATEDLY before your art takes on any worth and I think that people should be encouraged more to speak their minds on the forums here as long as it has a constructive purpose to make the remix better.

 

To echo Brandon's statements about the panel.  The length of time it takes for a person to get judged and posted is an issue that extends beyond the trickle of music that gets added to the site but to the social impact it has on the remixers and how the reviews they write are perceived.  Once a posted remixer is able to have their work featured and even gain a few fans, suddenly their reviews take on a whole different meaning. Back in 2010 when I first started putting work up in the forums I jumped if someone I knew such as Brandon Strader, Willrock, Darkesword, Avaris, Gario or other posted remixers whose work I enjoyed took time to comment on mine. Even if the comments were harsh they were much easier to take because I was familiar with who they were beyond their name just showing up in the forums.  Now we are at a time when most of the remixers from earlier days of OCR have all moved on or are significantly less active than they used to be and the steam that was there for the earlier remixers to get noticed (I believe WIllrock had 10 mixes judged and posted in 2010) is not available to the new up and coming remixers which makes it much more difficult for the community to produce it's own stars. I know the panel is to ensure that people who come by the site are guaranteed a listening experience that would take them hours of searching on Youtube to find but I think we are at the point where the panel is separating itself too much from the community it once created and it's having detrimental effects. 

 

Hopefully no one is misreading my intent with this unusually long winded post. :) The topic IS about the lack of interest in doing reviews which I hope people understand just how it stems from more than one issue.   I've loved OCR since I chanced by it during the summer of 2005 and I don't think there is anything that could change that but if we could return the excitement of being a part of the VGRemixing scene to when it peaked between 2010 and 2012, when everything seemed to move a lot faster, than I would be all for that.  

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I remember when Garpocalypse got rekt 8) those were the days ;)

I could comment more in workshop, just super busy right now. Once you comment, people usually reply and/or PM you with new versions always asking more more more, which isn't a bad thing, it just makes work shopping a little intimidating if you don't really have the time for a lot of back and forth and don't want to be rude!

But that's more my fault for having no time...working on it

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OBVIOUSLY, what needs to be done is to label all remixes by genre(s), and also institute a favorites system. That way, people can pick and choose what they want to hear, and avoid anything nasty like new styles, or games they don't know about, or even anything outside of their personal comfort zone. They can then rank their favorites, and all rankings will be public for remixers to see.

 

This will create an atmosphere of popularism, one that will drive all remixers to strive for even better work.

 

The weak remixers that can't handle this will die out (or go to another site, same thing), resulting in a purer race of remixers. The strongest will survive, and then repopulate the decimated members list with their uber-spawn. Nay, their ubermixers.

 

Truly, this is the only way.

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Is there a way to integrate comments on remixes posted to Youtube into the equivalent comment thread here? The issue I see is that in the past, the forum thread was the only direct way to comment on a mix. Now the comments are split up amongst different media, thinning out the numbers.

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Is there a way to integrate comments on remixes posted to Youtube into the equivalent comment thread here? The issue I see is that in the past, the forum thread was the only direct way to comment on a mix. Now the comments are split up amongst different media, thinning out the numbers.

 

Include the Facebook comments and Twitter replies too, in that case. Effectively you'd centralize the discussion on the site. Technically feasible because all these platforms have APIs, but if it's a desirable functionality is debatable.

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