Thanks to all of those that filled out the site survey. The feedback helps show us what we are getting right, and what we could do better. I’ve summarized the main findings from the survey, and the writers will discuss how we can move forward with the best suggestions.
And to those of you that didn’t fill out the survey? You’re dead to me.
The overwhelming majority of feedback was positive and a considerable number of people used the survey to share their gratitude for the work we do. When respondents were asked how they felt about the content produced in 2019, there were no negative responses, and just over 80% of respondents rated it positively. The open-ended question that let people offer their thoughts more generally gave people an opportunity to highlight certain aspects of the site that they particularly liked (or disliked). The main takeaway seems to be that the majority of people really value the small but thriving community that Fear The Wall plays host to, particularly liking that it provides an easy means for the English-speaking section of the BVB fan base to keep up-to-date with Dortmund and Bundesliga news.
There were a number of valuable suggestions, some of which can be used to inform content decisions in the future. I’ll address a few of the more common suggestions:
- More, more, more – Probably the most frequently stated pieces of feedback was that respondents wanted more articles. I think that is a fair request, and in an ideal world there would be more. However, this is a relatively small team of unpaid and part-time writers, so there is a ceiling on the capacity to keep pumping out content. All of us are writing for the site in our spare time, and sometimes that limits how often we can contribute, which is a shame, but is also unavoidable. With that said, we would like to produce more regular content, so hopefully that can be a big change in 2020.
- Expand coverage - There were some requests for expanding the type of content being produced by the site, which again will be dependent on capacity. There were some helpful suggestions as to the kind of articles people would like to see, and that will help inspire any expanded coverage the site can manage.
- Bring back player ratings – There was a big push to bring back player ratings, or something of the sort. I think that is definitely something we can take on board and try to address in the future.
- Proofreading – There was some suggestions that we should do more proofreading and copy editing and that some of the writing could be a little tidier. This is probably fair. Again, this will be dependent on capacity, but it’s something we can (and should) think about how to address for the future.
- Opinion/Tone – There were a couple complaints about the cynicism/sarcasm (I think this one might be on Sean & I…) and negativity in some of the articles. I think it is a reasonable request, especially if the articles don’t reflect your own opinion, but the reality is that much of the negativity and cynicism is simply a reflection of our own view (though I think it is also pretty reflective of the wider fan base view too). One of the best aspects of the website (both in my opinion and reflected in the survey) is that it is a platform for us to share our opinions, and if the articles were towing a site tone/message as opposed to reflecting our own views it would be less valuable in this regard. We’re sorry if our views don’t reflect yours, but we’d encourage you to let us know in the comments. Hopefully it’ll inspire a good discussion!
In terms of the direction the site should take in the future, respondents clearly wanted more of the same. More than half of you asked for more news coverage, ~40% of respondents wanted more match coverage, and just over 20% said they want more review and preview articles in the off-season. I think there is universal interest in more
There was also calls for more analytical articles, both tactical (~60%) and statistical (~45%). These are particularly time-consuming work, so it’s difficult to say how much more we can offer on this front, but we’d certainly like to do more. As the go-to for statistical analysis, I hope to offer a little more in the next year, but it’s all dependent on my capacity. There was also sufficient interest in more surveys like the Hinrunde survey that is currently running to suggest we should keep this sort of thing going, which is good news.
Beyond the kind of content we’re already providing, there were some requests for more transfer news/rumor coverage, more in-depth pieces looking at the history of the club and some interesting stories from previous eras, and a podcast. I think more articles related to transfers would be a good way to fill the breaks in the winter and the summer, and I think it would get plenty of interest, and I think the same can be said for historical articles.
Finally, over 70% of respondents expressed an interest in a regular podcast. We’re definitely exploring the idea of a regular podcast, and this remains a priority in the near future. Podcasts can be hard work, and if they’re not done right they can also be total garbage, so we want to make sure we have the know-how and the capacity to do a good job and make episodes as regular as possible. It’s good to see that the interest appears to be there for a podcast, and hopefully we can meet the demand relatively soon!
FTW 2019 Awards
And now to the most important part of the article (/the year/our lives), the end-of-year awards! There were three relatively pointless but hopefully fun awards badly buried in to the survey, that reward the best content, writers, and members of the community. Please remember not to shoot the messenger. If you’re mad about the results, please fight each other to the death in the comments.
Most Popular Feature
The award for the most popular type of content being produced by the site doesn’t involve rewarding an individual for their good work, but as it happens, the winning feature is primarily down to one person. The most popular feature is:
The Daily Bee
Clearly the real winner here is Gilles Hoffmann (and Brian when Gilles isn’t around). The Daily Bee received over 50% of the votes, well out ahead of the other contenders. I’m sure I speak for everyone by thanking Gilles. He’s the unsung hero of the site, and we will stand for it no more! BE SUNG GILLES! The Daily Bee is the bread and butter of the site. It creates a regular space for discussion, and keeps us up to date on news we might otherwise miss.
The award for the most popular writer was what this was really all about. I don’t care about any of your feedback, I just wanted to be validated, and given how often Sean asked me about this award (admittedly made worse by my refusal to answer him), I’m not alone. The winner of the favorite writer award is:
Sean Keyser/Paul Johnson
It’s a tie! Apparently the neediest among us are also the most popular? I don’t know what to make of this, but it almost certainly seems like bad news. You’ve added fuel to the fire. On your heads be it. But thank you, nonetheless.
Sean and I collectively received 2⁄3 of the vote, while Greg & Gilles also received a substantial number of votes. Our humble leader was also given a little credit, as further proof that people don’t get sufficient reward for the work they put in. I guess everyone loves a sarcastic idiot (or 2⁄3 of people at least).
Most Valuable Commenter
Finally, the award for the most valuable commenter. This is an award for the most valuable contributor on the community side of the website. The content produced by Fear The Wall is one part of what makes the community great, but the discussions that go on beneath are just as important (unless they are my articles, in which case you’re not nearly as important as me).
This one ended up being a two-way race as well, with the winner pulling away and ultimately claiming a total of 50% of the votes. Your MVC is:
There were a number of people that received one vote (hopefully not from yourselves), including Arkelios, at_sunshine, Greg, Sean, and Panzer987, but the two most popular choices were TBG and I. I think the results from this vote perfectly encapsulate the Fear The Wall community, since TBG and I are worlds apart in our view of football, especially when it comes to Borussia Dortmund. The positive takeaway is that we seem to be a community that is pretty open to diverse viewpoints and personalities.
So that’s your lot. Thank you to all of you for responding to the survey, it wouldn’t have been possible without your feedback! Perhaps we’ll make the end-of-year awards a regular thing. But only if you all keep voting for me. But with that said, please know that I will hunt down all of you that voted for Sean & TBG. How very dare you.