I have owned Adventure Rider for 17 years, a niche motorcycle site that has somehow grown without promotion and with forum software from the 90s to almost 2 million monthly visitors. I always felt that eventually we could turn it into a Facebook Group or Reddit subreddit, or that social medial with its huge teams would cause it to fade away. And yet ADVrider continues to thrive, causing us to add ever more servers. 😲
The best part of Adventure Rider is the Ride Report section, where amazing adventurers keep us on the edge of our seats as they ride through Africa or the Australian Outback. Those threads get millions of views and thousands of comments from armchair adventurers like me.
A few years ago a 17-year-old adventurer named Jesse wrote a Chrome plugin to make reading them better. Eh? I thought no one would install a plugin to read ride reports on old forum software, but thousands of people did and say they love it. The reason is it filtered the ride reports so you only saw the OP's (original poster's) posts.
It isn't that people were trolling the threads; we moderate those pretty well. It's just that they were a little bit noisy in a noisy world. You'd have to scroll through comments like "when you get to my village in Honduras, let's grab a beer!" Or "I have the same tires on my motorcycle."
The problem with the plugin is when there are several people on the ride posting in the thread, you want to hear from them all, not just the OP.
I waited all those years from some team to come along and modernize our software, but none did. So a group of 2 designers, 6 engineers and I decided we had to become the people we were waiting for. They are the ones I invited to this inaugural panel. Some of them came by the panel idea independently from me in different ways.
I realize that when Cake is early with a smallish audience, Cake Panels may seem counter to what the internet stands for. What?! You're not letting me post in the conversation? But at scale, when millions of people are viewing the conversation, I believe we'll all benefit by letting the panel speak, just like we do in the physical world at SXSW, on TV, on podcasts, and at rallies like March for Our lives.
We can't wait to see what unfolds!