International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum

General => Chit Chat => Topic started by: fordneagles on July 19, 2011, 04:21:06 PM

Title: Improvements to the website?
Post by: fordneagles on July 19, 2011, 04:21:06 PM
Hello, this is my first visit to the website and forum, and I've just joined. I know there's a thread on feedback already, but some of the posts are a couple of years old and I think fresh eyes can't hurt.

Btw, the only reason I searched for a site like this is because I stumbled across the YouTube videos of one 'J.D.', of Tying It All Together fame. (JD, you're awesome and I love your book, very very good ;D)

*Please* tell me the website is 'under construction' or something. I don't mean to be rude here, but the site is actually pretty boring. The home page has a list of important people (fine), what the IGKT does (fine), then an *extract* of the objectives that's a mile long... You realise you can pretty much sum it up with the words 'we teach people about knots', right?

I noticed a link on the left called IGKT Library. I thought 'Yes! That's what I'm looking for'. I want to learn about knots and knotting, that's why I'm here at all. Imagine my disappointment when I opened it to find a paragraph that basically said 'We have all the books/info/knowledge, but we're not going to share it with anyone'. That's not a library. That's an archive. Not even that, it's a vault. What's the point in all that knowledge if you're not going to share it with anyone?

Why isn't there an e-newsletter that can be signed up for? I'm Down Under, and trust me when I say an e-newsletter is going to get to me a heck of a lot quicker than ink on a finely processed tree. I reckon you'll get a lot more interest that way, too.

Better descriptions are needed for the things in the catalogue. Yes the front cover is pretty but it doesn't give much idea as to what the book is going to have in it. You don't go into a bookstore and buy a book without flicking through it first. I'm not saying put the whole book in the catalogue, but a brief description will go a long way.




I think what you guys in the Guild do is awesome, don't get me wrong. You're all very talented people with a lot of knowledge, it's just that the website doesn't seem to reflect that. It needs to do more than just sit on the interwebs. There's nothing to draw people in, to make and keep them interested. There's a rule to creating websites that says: A visitor will decide within 8 seconds whether they will stay or leave the site. Personally, I don't think there's anything on the homepage that would cause someone to explore further, and that's a shame, because I think the site has MASSIVE potential, it just needs someone to do something more with it.
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: alpineer on July 19, 2011, 06:09:21 PM
I think the site has MASSIVE potential, it just needs someone to do something more with it.

Congratulations fordneagles, you're hired!

alpineer
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: alpineer on July 20, 2011, 06:28:27 PM
Apologies to you fordneagles if my previous post appeared flippant. Thank You for taking the time to post your comments. I do hope someone will respond to the issues you cited who is far more qualified than myself. I do understand your intent which is  100% constructive.

Cheers,
alpineer
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: alpineer on July 20, 2011, 07:45:34 PM
My IGKT bookmark takes me straight to the forum. 

Mine also from Day One.

In all seriousness, there's enough in fordneagles words to suggest that he he might have some services to offer a receptive administration.

alpineer 
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: KnotMe on July 21, 2011, 06:42:28 PM
Don't really see the point in being flippant.  He is right.  The 'homepage' is grossly embarrassing.  I wince when ever I see it, so i avoid it entirely. 
The IGKT site is really all about the forum.  The rest is bunk.  It should just be stripped down leaving the useful stuff. 
This is not about fashion or aesthetics, its about content.  Kick@ss content forgives all manner of design sins.

The homepage (NOBODY even uses 'homepages' these days.  It's like calling yourself a webmaster or something.  Very 1995.) makes me cringe.  My IGKT bookmark takes me straight to the forum. 
My site is still a home page.  It proves to the online world that I am older than dirt.   8)

The homepage concept is still valid even if you call it "main site landing page" or whatever.

    Home: pointless link.  Everybody knows to click on the logo at the top right on nearly every webpage to get to the home page.  (Which btw doesn't work here.)
Consistency is key.  The link is not pointless.  It might be redundant if the logo went back to the homepage, but it doesn't.  8)

  Search:  The forum already has a search bar, and the forum is where you'll find anything you're searching for.  And this search function is terrible anyway.
Search is not the problem.  Content is the problem.  You want there to be enough content to search.  That said the search here sucks as you mentioned.  I don't remember what I was looking for, but I remember I had to use the site map to find it.  Lots of good search engines out there including using Google to search internally to your site.

    Annual Plan: a whole page dedicated to TWO LINKS TO PDF FILES.  Really??
Personally, I'm against links to files like PDF, RTF or DOCs when it doesn't take long to make a nice HTML page for people (and the end document isn't a book or at least a magzine), but I totally relate to not having the time to dot all the i's and such for a volunteer work project...

    Goods for Sale: another whole page for a pdf file catalogue of stuff for sale.  WTF SERIOUSLY?  Just link to an eBay shop.  Keep things current!
See about WRT PDF.  Also see above about volunteer work.  Have you researched online retail?  If the guild wants to work it by getting people to call and stuffing envelopes, then that's their right.  Why should eBay get a cut?  Why should they fuss with a shop.  It's not like they're offering a spectacular number of products.  It's a guild, not a mall.  That said, they should make it easy for people.  Less than an hour's work even if they were bootstrapping themselves technically should produce a clickable form that would allow easy ordering of products for the consumer with a nicely formatted email for the supply secretary.

    Publications: keep this, I suppose.  You really should have a link to Knotting Matters more up front than this.
Putting Knotting Matters online is a whole big kettle of worms you may not have been around to witness.  8)

    IGKT Library: this is pretty pointless.  useful if you're the one in a million person who plans to visit your library and wants to know what's available, but otherwise an absolutely waste of website space.
Completely untrue.  Even a list of books is useful for a researcher.  The whole point of putting stuff online that that one in a million people finds useful is so that of the almost 7billion people in the world right now, 7000 of them can enjoy what you're offering.  That said, those books exist and are theoretically for my reference, as a member, if ever I get to England.  Other geographically distributed guilds mail books to their members.  I'd love to see that happen with us.  The borrower bears the cost of postage.  For books not covered by copyright, they should be scanned and shared outright.  For books while they're current, perhaps an extra mailing copy could be purchased.  For books that are too rare... well, grey legal area that should be researched.  But making a digital copy for backup would be an excellent idea.  I recently had a flood and while none of my knot book collection was affected, I'm seriously thinking of scanning my irreplaceables for posterity and, y'know, reference.   Plus the guild can afford to take the long view and eventually those books will fall into the public domain and they'll have digital copies to share.

    Knot Gallery: This is embarrassing.  Should I carbon date this page?  Just link to a Flickr account, have the public submit their knotwork to it.  Get PEOPLE involved.
Or issue regular guild challenges and put the best from the forums into the Gallery.

    Links: For starters don't have a 'links' page.  Very dated.  Otherwise, there's a lot of good content here that should, AGAIN, be more up front.  Not hidden away.
    This Site:  Again, DATED.  Have an About Us link.  That's all you need.
Consider using a CMS engine for the site and giving more trusted members administrative powers...
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: KnotMe on July 22, 2011, 08:22:37 AM
It's not so much a forum as a 'say something and have a bunch of old guys tell you why you're wrong.'
King Korgan: Old guy.
Carol: Woman.
King Korgan: Woman, sorry. What knight lives in that castle over there?
Carol: I'm 43.
King Korgan: What?
Carol: I'm 43. I'm not old.
King Korgan: I did say sorry about the "old guy", but from behind you looked...
Carol: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior.
King Korgan: Well I am king.
Carol: Oh, king eh? Very nice. And how'd you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers. By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.

This Monty Python quote was modified for your amusement.  8)
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: aknotter on July 23, 2011, 06:50:30 PM
Another thing I have noticed - those that complain the loudest have volunteered nothing but criticism.   Haven't seen any offers to actually WORK on the perceived problems.
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: knot4u on July 23, 2011, 07:25:10 PM
There are some good suggestions here.  However, nothing will change.  Don't stress.  Go for a hike or workout or something.
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: knot4u on July 23, 2011, 07:39:17 PM
Another thing I have noticed - those that complain the loudest have volunteered nothing but criticism.   Haven't seen any offers to actually WORK on the perceived problems.

Is that your only criticism?  Maybe you could volunteer to do something about it.

Huh?  I will not be volunteering because, like I said, nothing will change.  I'd prefer to spend my extra time reading a novel, playing the piano, playing with my kid, or doing a thousand other things.  This is site is good enough for me.  I get my knot questions answered.
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: KnotMe on July 24, 2011, 01:36:52 AM
Another thing I have noticed - those that complain the loudest have volunteered nothing but criticism.   Haven't seen any offers to actually WORK on the perceived problems.
Do we want change?  Let's change things!  How can we change the website?  Well, we can't, except the forum where it is set up for general interactivity, the rest of the website is for the WebAdmin to change.  Unless we change that.  No disrespect or criticism at all meant to Glenys.  You wouldn't mind a little help if the framework is properly setup to manage it, right?

Options:
1) replace the WebAdmin with an energetic volunteer web developer type with no family or social life so there's time to handle all the input from the guild (does this person exist?)
2) replace the WebAdmin with a professional maintenance company/team (probably not in the budget)
3) supplement the WebAdmin with a CMS (content management system, a system set up to take input from any number of authorized users) and a team of volunteers so that she is not alone to handle all change requests, and there are backstops if her spare time disappears.

Questions for the Council:
1) do you want to authorize everything that goes on the main site or are you comfortable with a web content sub-committee speaking for the Guild?
2) would you be comfortable with the general public contributing content wiki-style?
3) is this forum discussion enough to get the ball rolling or does a decision like this require a vote at an official meeting?
4) Hey!  Or is WebAdmin sole arbitrator of web content?  I was looking at the Council/Trustee/Officials roles and in my mind the logical thing would be some combination of Magazine Editor, Publicity, and WebAdmin unless the committee feels like appointing a New Media Official...
5) is there a CMS back there or is it all hand coded/ftp?
Title: Re: Improvements to the website design
Post by: KnotMe on July 24, 2011, 03:16:21 AM
Previous post about process, this one is about content.  Trying to start a conversation, not trying to be all authoritative and order people around, even tho I know I sound all bossy.   8)

Home: Linking back to the page you're on unless it's to a label on a different part of the same page is bad form.  Korgan's right.  Remove the home link from the side menu and have the logo link back to the home page.

Search: Replace the search link with a search box.  I usually look for the search box to the far right in or right under the masthead.  At the very bottom of the menu is not a bad choice either for places where might commonly find the search box.  Also the search engine here could use updating or replacing.

Annual Plan: Please HTMLize at least the current plan.

Goods for Sale: The catalogue is only 4 pages...  Please HTMLize this.  Also making the order form interactive with CGI form processing should be pretty straightforward.
Link out to members who sell knot related products.

Branches: Branch write-ups inconsistent.  eg. not all branches have a listing on the main page although they do seem to be on the contact page.  Let's blame that on the branches themselves and ask each one to provide a write up for the main guild site.

Diary: Several aspects at work here, let's take them point by point.

* Local Branch Meetings: information here appears to be incomplete.  assuming that all branches have regular meetings even if they are not monthly, complete the information.  assuming that the information is complete: separate out the ones with regular meetings from the irregular ones.  put all meetings on the guild calendar.

* Knotting Events: put all events on the guild calendar and auto generate a list for a one month window.

* Guild Group Calendar: there's no information here that I could find.  throw open data entry to all guild members.

* Event Reports: make less work for WebAdmin.  Point this to a forum thread for event reports

Publications: publications seems to be the wrong name for this.  publicity leaflet and guild logo belong together as promotional material.
I think the knot charts (I paid for my copies!!  8) and pan chang should go under the guild library (free content to go with the list of books)  Knotting Matters can be highlighted with it's own menu entry along with a few sample articles.

IGKT Library: HTMLize the information here.  plus I'd like to see the guild undertake a project of doing writeups and reviews of each publication.  even index the contents (eg. list of knots covered if there are instructions).  How hard should we be flogging the interlibrary loan people for that tantalizingly titled book?  8)

Beginners: Expand this.  This should be the "taste of crack" as it were.  The free offering that shows what we have to offer new members.  How-tos, informational articles, learning program suggestions.  How to get involved directions.
Link out to further information here.  Start with members who have how-to/informational sites.  Or to the forums where information of this sort is collected and collated.

Knot Gallery: More here that I thought.  Needs better indexing or something.  Not sure how to better display what's here.  "knots around the world" requires 2 click thrus to get to content and then, why is that different from member work?  i guess because some is purchased vs actual member work.  so say that.
Start with a count of entries under a particular category (eg.  tell people before they click that there are 30 entries under the knot board category).
Link out to member sites with galleries or into the forum.  if the forum is too free form, have a vetted thread where particularly good general forum entries are reposted and link out from the main site gallery page there.

Links: References vs Links?  Again, leverage the forum or install a member only wiki to help manage all the info that's out there.

This Site: Odd.  I'd put this in the footer and call it something else.  Colophon?  8)
 
In Memoriam: A little macabre but still important.  They're called books.  Put them under library?


OK, let's think about this one more time:
The front page is pretty much an about us already but...  the president and such is there twice.  Start with context: "who is the guild", let the Council be listed just once further down the page.
Link to the annual plan beneath the extract of objectives, remove from main navigation menu.

Membership: Start with benefits!  Ask for money later!  8)  Link to Knotting Matters information from the membership benefits area.  Move the Gift Aid stuff to the bottom of the page.  Add a sub navigation menu to the page.  Link to Branch info from here somewhere.

Goods for Sale: just call it "Shop" or supplies?

Branches: see above

Diary:  Call "Calendar"?

Publications: split into Promotional Materials which should go under a Member Resources area, and Library

IGKT Library: see above

IGKT Forum: some title text for each menu item would probably be a good thing.

Beginners: see above

Knot Gallery: see above.  having a rotating randomly selected image from the gallery appearing in the sidebar is always fun.

Links: references?
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Sweeney on July 24, 2011, 07:53:26 AM
I don't have time right now to make detailed remarks but the following may help. The Guild runs its website through an independent webmistress to whom we pay a monthly fee to administer the site. Adding PDF documents means that the secretary (for example) can provide content as a file which only has to be uploaded - the expertise to run the website either does not exist or (far more likely) no-one will volunteer to do it (and that is not a criticism of Glenys of Webadmin - see her post recently). In my  2 years as secretary I tried very hard to improve our administration (eg we now accept PayPal which took around 8 hours of work because we are a charity and not a 'normal' trader) but devoting time to improve the website (which does badly need it) was not going to happen. Whether someone will take these justified criticisms and suggestions on board is a good question to which I think I know the answer unfortunately.

Barry
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: aknotter on July 24, 2011, 05:56:01 PM
@korgan - I do volunteer in my own back yard.  Look at our website, igktpab.org, and follow the link to the picassa albums.  We are quite active in our branch.  We have presented knot tying instructions to Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Coast Guard Auxiliary (meetings & events), all by invitation.  Members of our branch do many hours of volunteer work on some of the local Tall Ships and we participate (again, by invitation) in Tall Ships Festivals.  And on every occasion, we spread the word about the IGKT!  OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Sweeney on July 24, 2011, 06:26:47 PM
What's the monthly fee? 

This is not shown separately in the accounts but from memory was about ?800 - ?900 per year.

Barry
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: KnotMe on July 24, 2011, 06:52:43 PM
The Guild runs its website through an independent webmistress to whom we pay a monthly fee to administer the site.
Ah, interesting.  If I recall correctly, Glenys had been posting to the forum as a member for quite a while before becoming WebAdmin.  Hence I assumed the position was volunteer.

Quote
Adding PDF documents means that the secretary (for example) can provide content as a file which only has to be uploaded
I'm familiar with clients who do this.  Depending on the software you are using, it should be relatively easy to export as HTML vs PDF.  Word processor HTML is horrible and at least twice as big (file size wise) as it needs to be, but at least doesn't require extra plug-ins or downloading as such.

Quote
the expertise to run the website either does not exist
That's highly unlikely.  8)  Brian the KnotHead has technical chops, although probably very busy.  Pineapple knot Dan seems to have it going on.  I respectfully submit that I am technically capable.  There are no doubt others.

Quote
(far more likely) no-one will volunteer to do it
It's quite a job for one person (to make all the changes the guild might want), and a very big volunteer job.  But, with the proper site preparation, it wouldn't be too onerous for a team of volunteers to maintain.

Quote
In my  2 years as secretary I tried very hard to improve our administration
We appreciate that.  PayPal is good.  8)

Quote
Whether someone will take these justified criticisms and suggestions on board is a good question to which I think I know the answer unfortunately.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this statement.
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Sweeney on July 24, 2011, 09:50:25 PM
Sorry, there may be a misunderstanding here. Glenys (Webadmn) is a member of the Guild and a volunteer; when she can she acts as the interface between our Webmistress (Blackwidows Web Design) and the Council but in view of her horrendous difficulties in the recent past I have done that as secretary but only on a 'care and maintenance' basis. My final statement meant that I believe it highly unlikely that the Council will take on board the various comments to the extent of actually doing anything though the finance is available to pay for a professional revamp if there is sufficient support to do so bearing in mind that our survey earlier this year showed that overall 16% of Guild members do not have internet access and of those who do few look at the website (there were also a few very strong feelings expressed about the march of technology). Unfortunately we have an ageing membership which tends toward the technophobic and although we must move forward if to encourage younger members we must also take the current membership with us. This is a difficult circle to square.

Barry
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: KnotMe on July 25, 2011, 06:24:01 AM
Sorry, there may be a misunderstanding here. Glenys (Webadmn) is a member of the Guild and a volunteer; when she can she acts as the interface between our Webmistress (Blackwidows Web Design) and the Council
All, that makes sense.  Thanks for the clarification.

Quote
My final statement meant that I believe it highly unlikely that the Council will take on board the various comments to the extent of actually doing anything though the finance is available to pay for a professional revamp if there is sufficient support to do so...
I see.  I'm sure the rules are probably in the guild handbook, but I'm disorganized at the best of times and after a recent flood most of my knot related books are in boxes in storage.  So, I going to go on logic and how I remember these things usually functioning.  I hope I'll be gently corrected if I'm wrong.

Official guild business takes place once a year at the AGM where there is usually (???) quorum, right?  In the mean time guild business is conducted by the council as they see fit.  While there are regular branch meetings, the guild itself has no official meetings except for the AGM (and the half-yearly?)...  or does the council meet regularly in the interim?

I would like to enter (table?) a motion for:
1) the creation of a "new media" committee (NMC)*
2) this committee may contain any willing current council members that have internet access and can commit to checking in at least once a week
3) volunteers for this committee should be solicited either through this forum or through a email mailing list generated from the membership database (spreadsheet?) as well as a note in Knotting Matters
4) the NMC, once formed, would set goals and tasks based on guidance from the council and the guild itself, but I respectfully suggest that these goals include expansion of the guild through effective use of new media and outreach to "youth" through the means of new media.**

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_media (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_media)
** I'm defining "youth" here as anyone below the current guild membership's average age.

The council, I hope and believe wants the guild to expand and thrive.  They also, I imagine, recognize the need for newer and younger blood.  What they may not know or understand is that for people under a certain age things don't really exist unless they are online, and an effective online presence is crucial to recruiting younger.  The last time I used a phone book was to look up the phone number for my internet service provider to complain that my internet was down.  Today I used my smartphone and a search engine to find that phone number.

Equally old crafts such as knitting are thriving thanks to effective online communities like Ravelry and new ideas such as amigurumi which draws in the young.  There is no reason why knotting needs to moulder away.
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Sweeney on July 26, 2011, 10:43:45 AM


Official guild business takes place once a year at the AGM where there is usually (???) quorum, right?  In the mean time guild business is conducted by the council as they see fit.  While there are regular branch meetings, the guild itself has no official meetings except for the AGM (and the half-yearly?)...  or does the council meet regularly in the interim?

I would like to enter (table?) a motion for:
1) the creation of a "new media" committee (NMC)*
2) this committee may contain any willing current council members that have internet access and can commit to checking in at least once a week
3) volunteers for this committee should be solicited either through this forum or through a email mailing list generated from the membership database (spreadsheet?) as well as a note in Knotting Matters
4) the NMC, once formed, would set goals and tasks based on guidance from the council and the guild itself, but I respectfully suggest that these goals include expansion of the guild through effective use of new media and outreach to "youth" through the means of new media.**

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_media (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_media)
** I'm defining "youth" here as anyone below the current guild membership's average age.

The council, I hope and believe wants the guild to expand and thrive.  They also, I imagine, recognize the need for newer and younger blood.  What they may not know or understand is that for people under a certain age things don't really exist unless they are online, and an effective online presence is crucial to recruiting younger.  The last time I used a phone book was to look up the phone number for my internet service provider to complain that my internet was down.  Today I used my smartphone and a search engine to find that phone number.


I am going a bit off topic here but an understanding of how the Guild is managed is at least useful in effecting change. The AGM is the only official gathering of the membership; there is no quorum (less than 10% of members actually attend) because of the widespread membership - though this year we had 2 from the USA, 1 from Canada and several from Europe (outside the UK) as well as 1 from Japan (who attends each year). The rules require that all members are given 6 weeks notice of the AGM and 21 days of any motions to amend the rules (other motions can be proposed from the floor). The half yearly meeting could be made a special general meeting if 10 members request it and due notice is given. To effect a change to the rules there must be a majority of two thirds of those present and voting. Other motions require a simple majority.

The Council of Trustees meets about 4 times a year aside from the AGM etc and these are formal meetings which are minuted - 5 form a quorum.  Trustees from the USA join the meeting via Skype conference call. The Council can set up a sub-committee to include non-Council members but it must be chaired by a Council member.

A quick point re email. The Guild holds email addresses for less than half of members. At a guess at least 20% and probably more of these are wrong so email is something which has been considered several times but is not effective in contacting the membership generally. The survey was some help but only around 40% responded.

Turning to your proposed motion I suggest that rather than wait until the AGM to make a proposal, write to the Secretary (Margaret Boggs) at secretary@igkt.net and ask for this suggestion to be considered by the Council (the next meeting is on 6th August I believe). Personally I would write a short paper and email it as an attachment but that is up to you - it is easier to consider a submission rather than an email itself.

One last point. Committees are rarely good at decision making preferring to talk interminably rather than act (all committes - I've sat on too many! - not just the Guild). In addition anyone who makes a concrete proposal is likely to be the one charged with doing it ergo people are reluctant. Again a personal suggestion offer an option for the Council to select and pay a professional web designer to revamp the site - there is a lot of money in the kitty with no proposals to spend it that I'm aware of and this benefits the Guild as a whole not just the UK (with the best will in the world it is difficult to spend money across all countries where we have members).

Best of luck!

Barry

PS I am happy to discuss in more detail if it helps but I think an email or PM more appropriate.
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Phil_The_Rope on July 26, 2011, 03:50:13 PM
To put you in the picture of what's planned ...

I was recently appointed "Publicity Secretary/Officer" by Council, and the web site will fall, to some extent, in my remit. I have already been tasked with looking at the web site to see how it might be improved. I have some knowledge of web site design and construction, so hopefully I'm at least part qualified.

Yes, the web site certainly requires overhall, and many points raised in this topic are valid. I would just ask that any criticism be constructive where possible (to be fair, much of it has been), and preferably with proposed improvements, and not just "It's crap".

Please note, as already mentioned, we DO have a professional web mistress, Mel. Her job is to put on the site what we ask for, so we need to decide what we want, although of course we can ask for her advice. Naturally, we can't please everyone, but we need to remove clutter and make it more user friendly and navigable. I agree that any web site needs to say what people want to hear, NOT want what we want to tell them (that's making things rather too black and white, but you get my drift).

Like so many web sites, this one has evolved, but it is time for a "clean up".

Naturally, everyone must take into account that Council's time, my time, the Membership Secretary's time and anyone else co-opted's time, is voluntary.

Not only do I try to run a business, but I have recently spent many hours on other IGKT matters, so finding time to look at the web site has not been easy. Council members will have similar problems finding time. It is unlikely that I will be able to devote much time to this task until late August/early September.

If I discover that checking the web site out is too onerous in terms of time and/or effort, then either someone else will need to do it, or we will need to pay a professional to do it. Having said that, any professional would need time to establish exactly what we do before designing anything, just as (s)he would when considering a web site for a business, so an IGKT member ought to be the best option.

I would appreciate input from the forum, but a word of caution (I base this on unpleasant experiences) - if responses become personal or insulting I will stop responding. Sorry if that sounds grumpy, but it has happened before.

Thanks All!

Phil The Rope
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: KnotMe on July 27, 2011, 06:08:34 AM
The Council of Trustees meets about 4 times a year aside from the AGM etc and these are formal meetings which are minuted - 5 form a quorum.  Trustees from the USA join the meeting via Skype conference call. The Council can set up a sub-committee to include non-Council members but it must be chaired by a Council member.
Okey doke.  And it sounds like the logical Council member would be Phil.

Quote
A quick point re email. The Guild holds email addresses for less than half of members. At a guess at least 20% and probably more of these are wrong so email is something which has been considered several times but is not effective in contacting the membership generally. The survey was some help but only around 40% responded.
Understood.  That said, the type of people one wants involved in making decisions about new media would be people who are most definitely using email already.  While I'm not saying that someone who hears what we're up to via  Knotting Matters and gets their grandkids to help them get online might not have anything useful to say...

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Turning to your proposed motion I suggest that rather than wait until the AGM to make a proposal, write to the Secretary (Margaret Boggs) at secretary@igkt.net and ask for this suggestion to be considered by the Council (the next meeting is on 6th August I believe). Personally I would write a short paper and email it as an attachment but that is up to you - it is easier to consider a submission rather than an email itself.
OK, about 10 days, that's do-able.  If anyone else wants to chime in, PM or post to this thread.

By the way, the idea that a document attached to an email being somehow qualitatively different than an email is part of the technology divide we're talking about here.

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One last point. Committees are rarely good at decision making preferring to talk interminably rather than act (all committes - I've sat on too many! - not just the Guild). In addition anyone who makes a concrete proposal is likely to be the one charged with doing it ergo people are reluctant.
Oh, yes.  I'm kind of expecting that, but be the change you want to see, right?   With respect to committees, I believe that laying down clear parameters and trying to build backup systems into the initial structure will help.

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Again a personal suggestion offer an option for the Council to select and pay a professional web designer to revamp the site - there is a lot of money in the kitty with no proposals to spend it that I'm aware of and this benefits the Guild as a whole not just the UK (with the best will in the world it is difficult to spend money across all countries where we have members).
Paid minions, bonus!!  8)
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Sweeney on July 27, 2011, 09:12:59 AM
Just a couple of points of clarification - Phil is not a council member, anything for discussion must be sent via the secretary (copied to Phil by all means of course). Email attachments (ie properly laid out documents) carry more weight when presented to a committee to discuss around the table - if this an online discussion then email is the obvious choice but an email tends by its nature to be unstructured and abbreviated. There is no guarantee that all council members will have read an email by the time of the meeting and so will be looking at a paper copy on the day. Other than that all power to your elbow and if you need any help or someone to cast an eye over your suggestion don't hesitate to ask.

Barry
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: magboggs on July 27, 2011, 11:02:43 AM
I would just like to add my bit to this debate.
Constructive criticism is always welcome but there has been some very rude and unnecessary comments made which are not at all helpful. I am secretary of the Guild purely due to a total lack of volunteers by the time of the AGM although an appeal went out to all members prior to the meeting.  In accordance with the Charities Committees requirements there has to be a secretary and a treasurer, both of these positions were filled at the AGM because no one else would do it. So when we pour vitriol on the Council please do let us remember that they are all volunteers and do their best with the knowledge they have.

Perhaps it is time for someone to come forward and volunteer to help Phil with his task of improving the website, it would appear from the comments that there are people out there with the ability.

Remember it is always easy to criticize but harder to be a part of the solution.
Margaret  ;)
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Sweeney on July 27, 2011, 12:47:53 PM
Well said Margaret.  We are an organisation concerned with all aspects of knots and knotting. The internet and specifically this forum can help us to communicate with each other but I for one (and I am far from being a technophobe) have learnt more in 5 minutes from a master knotter than hours watching videos etc. so lets keep this in proportion. An improvement to the website will help us to bring knotting to a wider and perhaps younger audience but it is still predominantly a physical activity. And as Margaret's predecessor for 2 years I can appreciate the amount of work council members put in voluntarily hence my earlier suggestion that we may have to pay for what we want - but even if we do pay a developer there is a huge amount of work in specifying what we want done and I for one am prepared to offer any assistance I can to Phil.

Barry
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: fordneagles on July 28, 2011, 06:51:03 PM
I think the site has MASSIVE potential, it just needs someone to do something more with it.

Congratulations fordneagles, you're hired!

alpineer

The gauntlet has been thrown, and I raise you  :P

www.knottying.webs.com (http://www.knottying.webs.com)

Took me about an hour or so to whip this up. Keep in mind that I have put almost no content on it, I just wanted to demonstrate some possibilities.

Another thing I have noticed - those that complain the loudest have volunteered nothing but criticism.   Haven't seen any offers to actually WORK on the perceived problems.

There ya go, see link above and Korgan's post

Hmm..wherever will be find a coder with no social life?   :P

I'm not convinced you need a coder in this day and age... I know a bit of HTML but didn't use it to make this. The internets assume that nobody knows anything and so will do a lot of the legwork for you. I don't feel masses of code are necessary to make the site do what you want it to (well, they are necessary, but you don't really have to do the coding yourself anymore  :)).

16% of guild members don't have internet access?  So what?  Then 84% do.
Technophobes are idiots. By all means keep your slow, technophobic members.  But don't for god's sake cater to them, by excluding the progressive and strong members and potential members.

Yup. 'Like'  :P

Basically what I put on the site is a couple of things from igkt.net, like the little pic, a couple of the events in the calendar, things like that. All the good bits shouldn't be hidden away behind other stuff that may be important to the Guild but probably isn't of much relevance to a new visitor.

*NOTE* I'm not intending to use this site for anything, I'll probably delete it at some point, I was just trying to make an example. Everything on it is not real, so don't sign up or send donations or anything.

FYI: I'm a 'she', (so not a guy), and I'm 22 (so not old) :P Just clarifying :)

EDIT: @Korgan, you beat me by about 2 minutes, ha ha ha, nice work btw.
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Phil_The_Rope on July 28, 2011, 08:59:47 PM
Thanks Korgan - looks good.

Simplifying the site is probably the first task, i.e. get rid of stuff we don't need (or rather, that visitors don't want to see). Stuff that remains will need to be correct too (I know, for example, that there are one or two pieces of contact information which aren't correct).

Keep the ideas coming, and I should be able to get cracking in 3-4 weeks.

Please note, however, that we are not looking at rewriting the site, merely getting the design ideas right so Mel can sort it out for us.

Ta!

Phil
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Sweeney on July 28, 2011, 09:35:59 PM

Simplifying the site is probably the first task, i.e. get rid of stuff we don't need (or rather, that visitors don't want to see). Stuff that remains will need to be correct too (I know, for example, that there are one or two pieces of contact information which aren't correct).


Dead right - there is a lot of stuff that needs to be accessible but not up front. Our status as a charity registered under UK law has potentially a lot more impact than simply being a not for profit organisation but I don't see a problem in keeping the boring bits in the background.

Barry
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: knot4u on August 05, 2011, 12:26:02 AM
Simple change...

PLEASE add or change a forum to say "Applications of Knots" or "Practical Applications of Knots".  People often are NOT using the "Practical Knots" forum to discuss practical applications.  I believe many people post there merely because it's an active forum and they want the attention.  For example, there is currently a thread discussing the Bowline that is PURE theory, and it has managed to rack up 132 replies at this point.
http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=3233.0

If you don't add the requested forum, then please be more proactive on moving these theory type threads to "Chit Chat" or "Knot Theory and Computing".  :'(
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: KnotMe on August 06, 2011, 09:05:32 AM
How much of a procrastinator am I?  I figure that the UK is +6hrs from here, and the meeting is probably evening altho on second thought, it might be afternoon.   In any case, I've still got some time... 8)

Composing as I go, I'll post here, then cut, paste and print to PDF for emailing to Magboggs.

I would like to propose the creation of a "new media" sub-committee (NMSC).  "New media", for the purposes of this proposal should include but are not limited to: web sites, email, social media, software, and databases.
Sub-committee Chair
- a council member is required to chair any sub-committees (re: Sweeney/Barry)
- Phil the Rope was recently appointed "Publicity Secretary/Officer" with the a guild website redesign under his purview but he is not a council member
- council members, based on the list on the IGKT website front page, who are regularly seen on the forum include Sweeney/Barry (well, I couldn't match him to list, but I have faith) and Lindsey Philpott
- obviously, the council member chairing this sub-committee should be comfortable with the forum and email and willing to commit to checking in with the group minimally once a week
- if no current council member fits this description, I propose the creation/election of a new council position/member.

Sub-committee members
- volunteers for this committee should be solicited either through the Guild forum or through a email mailing list generated from the membership database (spreadsheet?) as well as a note in Knotting Matters
- while a recent survey showed that not all members have or use their email, the nature of this sub-committee implies that its members should be drawn from those who have a listed and functioning email address.  A note in Knotting Matters should take care of the typos.

Sub-committee mandate
- the NMSC, once formed, would set goals and tasks based on guidance from the council and the Guild itself, but primarily these goals should include expansion of the guild through effective use of new media and outreach to "youth" through the means of new media.  Here, "youth" is defined as anyone below the current Guild membership's average age.

NMSC initial tasks
- Guild website redesign
- effective website design is achieved by subject matter experts working in concert with technical personnel
- a good design service will require extensive access to the client in order to synthesize a proper plan that should include search engine optimization and good user interface design
- clear technical goals are needed.
- Social media plan
- members who use social media should be enlisted to create a social media plan
- does the Guild need a Facebook page?
- should the Guild have a Twitter account?
- when corporate/organizational Google+ accounts become available, should the Guild have one?
- etc.
- Online publishing plan - internal
- what current Guild assets can or should be published online and how?
- enabling Guild members to generate material for online publication (eg. pictures, reviews, instructions, references/links, etc) in a organized, searchable and browse-able fashion
- enabling Guild branches to generate material for online publication (eg. calendars, newsletters, event reports, etc)
- Online publishing plan - external
- policies should be generated with respect to important sites for the purposes of search engine optimization and establishing authority
- Wikipedia - create a role-user for Wikipedia and begin correcting and adding content?
- Open Directory Project - assign members to take on editor roles in the various Reference:Knots categories?
- establish a relationship with Instructables, Make: Projects, eHow, wikiHow, or ?
- have members monitor/create content with Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon, Del.icio.us, Squidoo, Del.icio.us, etc. ?
- Reference liaisons
- poll the Guild to find members who are willing and able to answer questions from the public, media, or special interest groups on a variety of topics and list them in an easy to find directory on the Guild website
- this is a complementary service to the forum as certain questioners might not want to publicly post their queries
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: squarerigger on August 08, 2011, 02:23:34 AM
Well, the Council meeting was at 6 am PDT (2pm UK time) just five hours after Carol's posting.  Her posting was not the first, nor will it be the last, on the subject of reaching out to younger readers and practitioners of knot-tying and making improvements to the web-site, but the IGKT Council does want to move forward to attract and educate young persons (those who are less than the average age of respondents to the Guild's recent membership survey) and to make one aspect at least of their world-wide presence more reachable and teachable.  The Council (subject to ratification) decided to set out a sub-committee with the basic ideas espoused by Carol and subject to a suitable organization and membership structure.  I will be chairing said sub-committee, with a view to reporting back to the full Council at our next scheduled meeting.  Our task before that meeting takes place in October will be to formally agree on goals, membership, reporting, scope, timeline and budget so that we can develop some functional guidelines for operation and direction.  Sounds all very technical or business-like in a way - it is meant to ensure that we do not simply go off bruiting the IGKT name about without proper advice and counsel.

The members of the Forum (not all of whom are members of the Guild) are welcome to express their views on the topic of the activities of a steering committee to broach New Media operations, but I would ask that, when you do, you consider that it has taken the Guild nearly thirty years to get here and that we will move ahead at a pace that is appropriate to the subject and the need for speedy action.  If you have something that you wish me to know please address it to me here or send me a Private Message - I will try always to respond in a timely manner but I ask that you bear in mind that I am not here 24/7/365 nor do I always consider that your questions, important though they are, have priority over my private and business life.  Laissez les bon temps roulez [let the good times roll]!

SR
aka Lindsey Philpott
Editor, Knotting Matters
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: KnotMe on August 08, 2011, 06:49:22 AM
I went looking for the previously posted redesign sketches that 2 of you had posted, but they are both gone. 

Oh well, that's not my usual process anyways.  I like to start with the Who, Why, and What before I get into the How (or When 8).

Who: there are 2 broad groups that the site needs to serve (1) the general public, and (2) members (plus knotters that should be members 8).  There is, of course, overlap but the segregation helps to clarify purpose and focus.

What does the general public want from the web site when they come visit?  Why are they here?  Off the top of my head without any research backing it up (in no particular order):

- got here from a search engine, who are you?
- I've heard of you, who are you really and what can you do for me?
- Is my knot new?
- I have a knot related question and I'd like to ask an expert.
- I have a knot related question and I'd like to ask other knotters.
- I have something knotty to show
- I'd like a knot demonstration for my group
- I'd like a knot exhibit for my event
- I'd like someone to tie some knots for me, or recreate something knotty for me
- what's so great about knots?  show me/teach me
- I know some knot stuff, help me learn more

What do members want from the site?  Why are they visiting?
- membership info
  - benefits and cost/renewal info 
  - guild council current officers and office descriptions in case anyone wants to think about volunteering
  - use of the guild logo
  - guild shop: shirts, hats, pins, etc.
  - guild shop: books written by members, kits and products created by members
  - guild shop: recommended vendors who pay for the advertising and give members discounts!  8)
  - branch info
- how can i help?
  - how to write for Knotting Matters
  - volunteer opportunities
  - reference material for demonstration/show/exhibit volunteers
    - recommended kit
    - teaching materials
    - supply sources
    - exhibit materials sources
- upcoming events and meetings (calendar)
- past event and meeting reports
- show your stuff (gallery)
- show your stuff (marketplace, see above)
- show your stuff (member links)
- job board (opportunities and requests)
- knot talk (forum)
- knot show and tell (forum/meetings/gallery)
- reference material (site links, book reviews, product reviews, how-to instructions)

Take elements and prioritize and categorize for site design and navigation.  What other elements should we be considering?
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Sweeney on August 08, 2011, 08:59:00 AM
This is good stuff to which I would add what can we offer to young people - teenagers say - who have not grown up with knots but may be encouraged to try their hand? (JD of T.I.A.T.) is probably the best example I can think of, of someone who will appeal to youngsters by using modern materials to make simple but attractive items through videos.  I'm not knocking the long discussion on this Forum about the definition of a bowline but that sort of discussion could be a real turnoff for a newcomer!

Barry
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: DerekSmith on August 11, 2011, 07:27:01 PM
I am a little slow at catching this one, but wow, what a positive start.

But before it gets too far, could I propose a very different route for you to consider.

Open a hosting account with someone such as BlueHost (http://www.bluehost.com/) $6/month for unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains etc.

Take out a dummy domain name for free (say IGKT2011.net) with the hosting account

Start a Wordpress (http://wordpress.org/) site with all the facilities - blog, calendar, CMS, etc. etc. expected of today's sites, and start to lay out a completely fresh IGKT web presence.

As fordneagles said, you don't need web designers anymore with tools like Wordpress, but you do need a small team of people with the time and interest to put the content into place.

Then, once you have something you are reasonably happy with, have the Guild officials give it the go ahead, and swap over the redirection for the IGKT.net url to the new site.

The absolute key to this change is exactly that - CHANGE - or rather, making change so easy that we want to and look forward to doing it, but don't try to fix what is already broke - go for a clean page and make what you would really like to find when you come to the IGKT site...

Listen to fordneagles - she is of the right generation.

Derek
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: KnotMe on August 12, 2011, 02:40:55 AM
This is good stuff to which I would add what can we offer to young people - teenagers say - who have not grown up with knots but may be encouraged to try their hand? (JD of T.I.A.T.) is probably the best example I can think of, of someone who will appeal to youngsters by using modern materials to make simple but attractive items through videos.  I'm not knocking the long discussion on this Forum about the definition of a bowline but that sort of discussion could be a real turnoff for a newcomer!
In my own research, I've spotted a few fashion things that are knot related.  I used to note them in my link roundups (http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=1141.0 (http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=1141.0)) that I did here, and now I'm noting them on my Google Reader public feed (http://www.google.com/reader/shared/user%2F13399843360271014998%2Flabel%2Ffashion%20knots (http://www.google.com/reader/shared/user%2F13399843360271014998%2Flabel%2Ffashion%20knots)), also accessible omnibus style here (http://www.knottynotions.com/aggregator (http://www.knottynotions.com/aggregator)).  I realize that this is kind of a write-only activity for me, but I live in hope.  8)  Also when the Google Reader stuff gets linked to Google+ it may be easier to access...  Who knows.  Umm, technical digression aside, back to the fashion thing I was talking about:

Now, my relationship to fashion is extremely... vague as anyone who has seen me can probably tell you, but if instead of noting down the knot-related fashion stuff as vaguely interesting, one took a pro-active stance...  On YouTube, the Discovery Channel posts regular videos explaining what is happening in popular videos that weird and curious but have a scientific explanation.  They call them xxxx Explained, like the Zombie Squid Explained was posted yesterday (I think).  So, since most fashion related knot stuff is quite simple (http://www.khww.net/forum/viewthread.php?thread_id=1139&highlight=fashion&pid=11898#post_11797 (http://www.khww.net/forum/viewthread.php?thread_id=1139&highlight=fashion&pid=11898#post_11797) or http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-rope-necklace (http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-rope-necklace)).  We could "explain" knotted fashion with how to's, not to mention short explanations of where to source materials from as well.  This would make us more useful in a practical sense as well.  Expanding into simple home decor applications (eg. http://www.designspongeonline.com/2010/06/diy-project-sailors-knot-doorstop-paperweight.html (http://www.designspongeonline.com/2010/06/diy-project-sailors-knot-doorstop-paperweight.html)) would appeal to an older demographic, but still younger than the guild average age.

Fashion and home dec.  This partially handles the distaff side of things, plus their guys who want to impress their girls.  What the young man might want, I'm thinking Stormdrane knows.

Thinking on it a bit more, even younger we could try to collate some knot related teacher materials.  Things that pre-school -> grade school teachers (and home schooling parents) could use.

Making dog toys and leashes and ...

So, what I'm saying is we create a database of simple project how-tos and share them, the key is to go from theory "how to tie knot X" that our membership appreciates and expand it into "how to make Y & Z with knot X" even if (especially if?) it's extremely simple.

Open a hosting account with someone such as BlueHost (http://www.bluehost.com/) $6/month for unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains etc.

Take out a dummy domain name for free (say IGKT2011.net) with the hosting account

Start a Wordpress (http://wordpress.org/) site with all the facilities - blog, calendar, CMS, etc. etc. expected of today's sites, and start to lay out a completely fresh IGKT web presence.
This is unnecessary as any number of us have our own servers.   You've got the igkt.pbwiki.com after all.

Quote
As fordneagles said, you don't need web designers anymore with tools like Wordpress, but you do need a small team of people with the time and interest to put the content into place.

Then, once you have something you are reasonably happy with, have the Guild officials give it the go ahead, and swap over the redirection for the IGKT.net url to the new site.
By starting this way you are already selecting the software.  This method is also highly unlikely to integrate well with the existing forums which we all kinda like as they are (mostly).

I'd be more than happy to set up a CMS (drupal) today so that we can work up a wireframe for the site design, but screen shots will likely be good enough in these early days of redesign.

That said, if there are forum members (who are Guild members) who would like to be involved in the official site redesign, not to mention internet strategizing... on the one hand I want to say PM Lindsey (because he's the council member in charge) but since I haven't discussed it with him yet and don't want him to say "where'd this deluge of email come from?" maybe PM me?

Ah, Lindsey is watching this thread, right?  And he'll let you know who to talk to to volunteer your two cents.  8)
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: DerekSmith on August 13, 2011, 04:54:42 PM
This is good stuff to which I would add what can we offer to young people - teenagers say - who have not grown up with knots but may be encouraged to try their hand? (JD of T.I.A.T.) is probably the best example I can think of, of someone who will appeal to youngsters by using modern materials to make simple but attractive items through videos.  I'm not knocking the long discussion on this Forum about the definition of a bowline but that sort of discussion could be a real turnoff for a newcomer!

Barry

Equally not wishing to knock your observation that we must look to providing content that will be attractive to the next generations (I have often pushed for this myself), I think that it is appropriate to stress to you the importance of not being critical of what is or is not of interest.

The post you think "could be a real turnoff for a newcomer", along with its sister post on the JanusBowline were second and third respectively in the most popular topics by reply.  These two topics were essentially the work of only a dozen or so posters and between them racked up in excess of 300 replies.  But between them both they also racked up a staggering 36,000 reads - that's over a 100 reads for every reply !  Clearly, a lot of readers found these two topics worth following, and without these posts, those readers would have had far less to read...

I do not know what the statistics are, but I would hazard a guess that the traffic to the Forum is many hundreds of times greater than the traffic to the website, and this would all be due to the ever changing content on the Forum, and especially its wide ranging breadth of coverage - something for everyone, vs the static and disproportionally decorative content of the Guild website.

So big discussions are not necessarily bad and just because some of our existing members find the content boring, it does not necessarily mean that younger generations would find it incomprehensible.

The other thing to consider is to set up a Guild FaceBook account with a half dozen administrators, then start posting news, events, photos, snippets from the Forum etc. and let every member know about it through KM and emails.

Derek
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: KnotMe on August 13, 2011, 09:43:49 PM
I'm not knocking the long discussion on this Forum about the definition of a bowline but that sort of discussion could be a real turnoff for a newcomer!

The post you think "could be a real turnoff for a newcomer", along with its sister post on the JanusBowline were second and third respectively in the most popular topics by reply.
I think Barry's point is not that the bowline stuff needs to be excised so much as there needs to be other stuff as well to appeal to a general audience.  Memory is dirt cheap, this level of bandwidth is also cheap.  No reason whatsoever one needs to be given up in favour of the other. 

WRT the statistics, I wonder because I don't know how they are calculated.  I must admit that I don't read those posts.  I don't read most of what is posted in the Practical forum unless Xarax is posting pictures or it's a topic I consider to be fringe-decorative.  But I do "mark as read" so that they don't clutter up my "unread since last post" display.  So it could be that statistically I am reading every post to the forums: chit chat, decorative and practical, while in truth I am reading perhaps a third.  Others might be in the same boat only really keeping up with chit chat for guild news and not reading the other forums at all.

Quote
The other thing to consider is to set up a Guild FaceBook account with a half dozen administrators, then start posting news, events, photos, snippets from the Forum etc. and let every member know about it through KM and emails.
Social media is being considered.  Perhaps we could ask the question of how many forum members are Facebook members?  Twitter?  MySpace? 8)  Tumblr?  Google+?  Reddit?  Squidoo?  Digg?  etc?

How many would consider being the Guild voice on those services?

Should I be making a poll or are people happy with this thread?

I will answer my own question:  I am on Google+ and read the occasional Twitter feed via RSS.  When Google+ gets organization/business accounts (currently they are all supposed to be personal) I am willing to be Guild voice on that service.  I have limited experience with Twitter but I'm willing to bite the bullet and sign up.  I may be that I cannot deal with the full firehose effect, but I'm willing to try and also willing to be Guild voice there if it turns out I can cope.
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: DerekSmith on August 15, 2011, 09:06:15 AM
The thing with Facebook is that groups or organisations can join such as  Kerry Greyhounds (http://www.facebook.com/KerryGreyhounds)

So you don't have to worry about 'personal' intrusion.

The other thing about Facebook, is that you don't know who is going to like it or where it will go until you try it.

Derek

Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Wed on August 15, 2011, 09:43:30 AM
The other thing about Facebook, is that you don't know who is going to like it or where it will go until you try it.
Where is this not true?

About Facebook specifically: I am one of those who refuse it. Mainly because I read the terms of use.
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Sweeney on August 15, 2011, 10:20:43 AM
I think we need to be careful to distinguish between Forum members and Guild members - the 2 are not the same group. At a guess admittedly I would suggest that less than half of Forum members are Guild members. The Forum is a useful medium to seek views but we need to be careful not to assume that this applies to Guild members generally. Before we embark on social networking sites we do need to improve our website (Kerry Greyhounds quoted by Derek do have an attractive website as well) and for that we need volunteers to put in some continuing effort and someone to co-ordinate that effort. I for one am grateful for Carol (Knotme) for her offers of help.

I do recall the AGM this year however where had we not secured the services of a secretary and treasurer very much at the last minute the Guild would have had to suspend operations so this discussion would have been pointless. And although that was not in any way intended as a criticism of anyone in particular, I had 58 responses from people to say they would attend the AGM, a few apologies for absence but nothing at all from anyone else (there is nothing to stop anyone who cannot attend from raising an issue via the secretary, I can only assume members are not interested). So please if you want things to change it's no good expecting someone else to do it - they won't.


Barry
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: DerekSmith on August 15, 2011, 05:39:52 PM
Not quite sure where you are going with those comments Barry.  You are quite right that the Kerry Greyhounds website has considerable support.  The website is maintained by daily update of the CMS and Facebook and the various Forums are maintained by a team of five volunteers who spend hours each day between them posting and managing content.  Without that voluntary input, the KGC website and social media content would be as dead as the IGKT site is.

But my point is that none of those volunteers are 'members' of KGC, they are just active and interested volunteers.  If their views were not listened to and their efforts applauded, KGC would be nothing.

So why do you wish to draw a distinction between IGKT 'members', and 'volunteers' who might be interested enough in knots to give their time to create web content, but not interested in wearing any kind of badge for the honour.  We members are all converts, but we need to reach out to those with only a passing interest, so that we might build on that spark of interest.  To do that we need content - new, fresh, constantly updated content to capture interest and bring back new readers again and again.

Yes, the Forum will be frequented by 'non members' - that surely is a good thing.  They come to the forum because there is so much new content there, every time they come back, there is some new topic, discussion, argument, problem under debate etc.  The more the better, because new people bring new views, new challenges and new opinions - that is, they are bringing NEW CONTENT, and content is the life blood of social media.

The existing members have not, and I would suggest 'cannot' breath life into the IGKT (or they would likely have done it already).  Only the non member 'volunteers' you seem to be sidelining, give us any chance of injecting new blood and new interest.  It is these people who KGC have attracted and utilised, and it is these people who I respectful suggest, the IGKT should be falling over themselves to attract, listen to, and keep, whether the become paid up members or not.

Perhaps a more valuable route might be to ask 'What the IGKT has to offer, that would make someone want to become a member?", while at the same time as heavily promoting the development of an extensive 'Non Member' following as possible to generate content and perhaps become active volunteers to contribute to our online presence.

Derek

Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: DerekSmith on August 15, 2011, 05:41:08 PM
Hi Wed,

I likewise read the Terms of use and refused to use it.  However about 80% of my (younger) family are on it, and when Kerry Grehounds took out a Facebook account, their public profile exploded - especially - with the younger generations (which for me means anyone below 40ish).

Social media, and in particular Facebook is (no matter how much our generation dislikes the T&C) a huge part of today's communication for the age groups we particularly need to reach.

Derek
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Sweeney on August 15, 2011, 06:24:06 PM

The existing members have not, and I would suggest 'cannot' breath life into the IGKT (or they would likely have done it already).  Only the non member 'volunteers' you seem to be sidelining, give us any chance of injecting new blood and new interest.  It is these people who KGC have attracted and utilised, and it is these people who I respectful suggest, the IGKT should be falling over themselves to attract, listen to, and keep, whether the become paid up members or not.

I have considerable sympathy with this view but the reality is that the IGKT is run by an elected Council and it is they who decide what is or is not undertaken and they are elected by and represent the current Guild membership. We are an educational charity and there is a respectable argument that what we do via the website and the forum goes some way to fulfilling our aims so it would be right and proper for the Council to steer the website development by injecting funds and using any non-member volunteers we can find to help us.

Barry
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: KnotMe on August 15, 2011, 08:35:13 PM
The existing members have not, and I would suggest 'cannot' breath life into the IGKT (or they would likely have done it already).  Only the non member 'volunteers' you seem to be sidelining, give us any chance of injecting new blood and new interest.  It is these people who KGC have attracted and utilised, and it is these people who I respectful suggest, the IGKT should be falling over themselves to attract, listen to, and keep, whether the become paid up members or not.

I have considerable sympathy with this view but the reality is that the IGKT is run by an elected Council and it is they who decide what is or is not undertaken and they are elected by and represent the current Guild membership. We are an educational charity and there is a respectable argument that what we do via the website and the forum goes some way to fulfilling our aims so it would be right and proper for the Council to steer the website development by injecting funds and using any non-member volunteers we can find to help us.

Barry

As for the current membership being totally moribund, it was Knot4U who said on the forum s/he wasn't even going to try to do anything because nothing changes.  I don't know if Knot4U is a Guild member or not, but that may or may not be the perception of the Guild membership at large.  I think we have proved that that is not necessarily the case.  Planning has begun, and I believe that action and changes will actually come from it.  Once the Guild at large sees that, I have faith that they will step forward and help.  All they need is a good boot to the posterior.  8)

As for non-member volunteers, I have no troubles accepting their help.  The problem as I see it is one of accountability.  What if we made Knot4u responsible for the Guild Facebook page?  Well, I don't know Knot4U's nationality, age, or even gender.  If Knot4U started "verbally" abusing other people or talking trash about the Guild itself on the Guild's official Facebook page and we had no clues who s/he is...  that would be foolish on our part, no?

If we are putting volunteers in a position to speak with the Guild's voice we should know who they are.  If they had taken the step to join the Guild then we have a better idea of who they are from the application process as well as their willingness to step forward, identify with and invest in the Guild as it were.

Having said that, I would have no problems with the Guild awarding memberships (yearly or lifetime) to non-members who have clearly provided a service to knot tying in general.
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Phil_The_Rope on September 05, 2011, 02:58:32 PM
Just to keep you informed ...

At last I managed to spend some time looking through the site and reading this thread again. I have provided Council with my comments, and await their feedback! It is highly unlikely that any changes, if and when they occur, will please everyone, but I think one of the main priorities is to make the site more friendly and interesting to new visitors.

It won't happen overnight, though!

Phil
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Phil_The_Rope on September 29, 2011, 04:39:45 PM
For reasons I'm not going to discuss here, I am no longer the "Publicity Officer/Secretary" of the IGKT. The Council are in possession of my thoughts on the web site, and they are aware that there has been a debate on this forum.

IGKT members with passionate views or ideas about the web site (or anything else to do with the Guild) might contact the Council to make themselves heard. That's not to say that non-members cannot contribute via the forum(s).

Kind Regards to All,

Phil
Title: Re: Improvements to the website?
Post by: Sweeney on September 30, 2011, 07:48:11 AM
IGKT members with passionate views or ideas about the web site (or anything else to do with the Guild) might contact the Council to make themselves heard. That's not to say that non-members cannot contribute via the forum(s).

It is vital that members let the Council know what they want from the Council - it's no good hoping somebody else will do it - they won't. There has been a useful discussion on this Forum about the web site and I hope that is not lost but in my 2 years as Secretary I can recall only one proposal put to me and that was never pursued by the proposer. To contact the Council all you need do is send an email to secretary@igkt.net or write to the Secretary (Margaret Boggs) whose address is one the main website.

Barry