Apologies in advance... I can go on a bit but bear with me. We all love this place right? Back in the day me and my buddies were on here EVERY day, talking crap with each other, smack talking other teams, buying, selling and generally just loving our new found paintball obsession. Anyone that knows us will testify to this. It was awesome and without P8ntballer we would never have made the friends that we did in this game. 19 years later and everything is very, very different. Smartphones, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and the rest of it (sounds like a broken record I know). These have all made the paintball universe much, much more diverse with so much more paintball content being thrown around. Not all of it is good. But it's good that more people have more access to our sport. However, there's a problem - Websites, magazines, forums are shutting down (and not just within paintball) because for the past 10+ years we've being convinced that these formats are old news. Tired dead-zones. And that they should be shut down, retired and forgotten. To some extent, this is true but not inevitable nor indeed is the p8ntballer forum going to suffer the same path of following the others to the dead-box. If something is **** it should go away, but a lot of good stuff exists on these so-called 'dead formats'. A **** magazine is always gonna be a sh!t magazine, but when good magazines turn to sh!t, that's a different story. Yes, Facebook (for example) makes it super easy for users to scroll, see the stuff they want without jumping to a different app or website and everything can be shared instantly. Which again is great, but the majority of this activity and engagement only exists and happens in the moment. There’s no real engagement for players and visitors to these places - it's temporary and quickly loses its value. We're driven to consume more and more temporary information which makes conversations reasonably short-lived. Then they eventually disappear into the endless scrolling timeline. We're being convinced that we don't want to digest quality content, just more and more stuff using the latest tech or piece of software. Which I believe is wrong. Good content should ALWAYS be intent, whether it’s an article, interview or photo journal. Technology is used and needed to access it, sure, but the content should always be created with purpose - And that content should mean something over and above forgettable snippets that are instantly forgotten. I'm not being the old fart against the Facebook, Snap, Insta generation, using them is part of my job at Planet and they're very useful. Without them we couldn’t keep the Planet brand relevant. But when we create all the graphic, photo, video and written assets for a marker launch or just for our regular stream of content we always create it with a purpose. Apart from Snapchat. I'm genuinely too old and cynical to use it. But I don't believe this is the way things should be and everything else has to die off as a result. So...to P8ntballer. The actual point of this post. It needs to represent the new generation of player our sport plays host to. But this doesn’t mean creating content that lasts 8 seconds. I still believe all paint alleys if all ages see the value of good quality and informative content that kick-starts a conversation and may educate people. P8ntballer needs to be upgraded, it has a few issues but these issues can be fixed without being moved to a Facebook Group or spread across 4 different social media channels that would make its owners become paranoid schizophrenics. So we're gonna fix it but you guys, the most important people on here (sorry Robbo... and Buddha...and co) you need to know what's happening and why. And how you can get involved. Because I personally think P8ntballer should still exist for the oldies, the new players and everyone in between. First up, mobile users. We all view stuff on mobile and forums are usually pretty terrible on mobile. They look crap, clunky, ads don't work (we'll get to that later) scrolling jumps around and they just don't work. But they can. So we're gonna update the whole style of the place. A new framework update that'll make the functions work better and seamless on mobile, so it just works better. It will have a style update too so that it looks clean and spacious. It will look very different, but not in a mental, over-designed extreme sports way. It’ll be designed to look good but designed to function seamlessly. Functionality may change a little. Nothing major and a few features may stop working for a while as we update and tweak certain add-ons. But this won't affect the way you use the forums, it may just remove a couple of features for a short while. Maybe. Content type will change a little. The forums are ace, but there are lots of old sub forums that don't get much engagement, so we'll trim them over time and if any sub-forums need creating for different reasons then that’s what we’ll do. It’s for the better. To make it quicker and easier to find the stuff you want. We'll introduce some new content areas too to help keep the site running financially and to keep all the users informed. There'll be a designated Industry News area where companies can keep us up to date with their latest wares, deals and sneak peek information. One of Robbo’s plus-points is that he knows everyone in this sport and they know him. This will help P8ntballer to provide up-to-date industry information coupled with an area for companies to really ask or say the things they feel are needed. But they won't have free reign, there will be rules in place, so this won't affect the way the forum's relaxed chat vibe works. It helps us all know where to go for the latest news. We want P8btballer to rekindle its fire, focus on news, up to date chat and BST will play a big part still. And then we can add more features as we go forwards. It'll be more like a magazine. Ish. The core of P8ntballer has always been the banter and loose chat, but when everyone's busy it can have really long quiet spots. And no offence, but people just aren't as chatty on here as they used to be (Facebook, mobile...blah, blah...). So, P8ntballer will be creating regular news / editorial content. Whether it's opinions about events, leagues, players, teams, products... there'll be more content generated by P8ntballer, which will keep the users coming back for more and gives this place extra purpose. And as always, these articles are open for debate. Robbo’s yet to be sent to the knackers yard but he is retreating to his own private padded cell. Robbo is often misunderstood and has a black belt in winding people up, but he's part of the fabric of UK (and International) paintball, so we're giving him his own corner to have his rants. I think it’s actually a good thing to have someone in the industry who can operate without bias. He actually has a lot of good opinions on the game. He's very well connected, has done a LOT in this industry and has been involved in all sorts of stuff (some good, some bad, but all entertaining), so he'll interview industry figures, tell war stories, ask questions, have the odd rant but ultimately he'll be 100% Robbo and will be bringing this place some awesome content that will only be available here. I personally want to hear the old stories of stuff that we probably shouldn’t ask about. Ads. Yes ads. P8ntballer hasn’t yet received charity status and so what keeps it going will be industry advertising, but without support this place just won't exist. It doesn't make much money but the maintenance, rolling costs and the new approach to editorial content will all use time, which means money. Luckily, p8ntballer has some great supporters in the industry and we'll be looking at better ways to help the companies who support P8ntballer. But with our users in mind at all times. I personally hate it when you want to read a blog article and the thing is unreadable due to 17 different types of ads that attack you, historically, this has never happened on p8ntballer and I have Robbo’s assurance it’s not something this forum will ever do. We want to have things in place that are subtle but effective. The industry news area for example could well be paid for which will encourage better quality articles and engagement. This is the plan anyway. So that's it for now. Robbo and co will update you when we have more news. I'm not a web developer, I'm a design / brand / content / marketing guy and these forums are pretty complicated to non dev types. So in all honesty, what I think is straight forward could take ages, but we'll see where we end up. It's all in good hands, finger's crossed it all works out. We've been working on things for a while now and I care about Robbo and this forum which is why I wanted to help out. I disagree with the way a lot of media channels are being pushed out and it is super easy for owners of these channels to lose faith, lose interest and sit back and see their ship's go down. Without actually knowing why. It doesn't need to happen. With positive input, enthusiasm, pride and belief in your own product things can work. As long as we know why they aren't in the first place and are willing I put some effort in and not chase the instant likes. So be patient and let's bring P8ntballer back up to date and have some fun with it. Thanks guys sorry for the worlds longest post. Watch this space!