Author Topic: Handing over the Reins  (Read 10506 times)

WebAdmin

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Re: Handing over the Reins
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2008, 01:55:13 PM »
Thanks again folks for all your kind messages

Yes, we'll be visiting Sydney (our favourite city), and of course the only way to travel around is by the many ferries - could happily spend the day going back and forth on the Manly Ferry - not sure who "cindylee" is, but I'll have to bring Jeff with me :)

We are hoping to be able to get to the Wooden Boat Festival in Tassie - I understand that there will be other Guild members there, too.

Sorry Oceanplats, MRS Chew ain't the tyer of oriental knots - methinks that's Carol Wang.

We may be Poms, but we consider ourselves at least part-Aussie having spent several years there in the '60s.   Would be back there permanently if it was at all possible.

Regards

Lesley
Lesley
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SlipJig

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Re: Handing over the Reins
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2008, 11:23:30 PM »
Lesley - Frank Brown, David Glasson and Madeleine Rowles will all be in Hobart. Roger Miles passed through briefly last time, not sure about this time round, though, so that's at least three members and maybe four, that I know of. David Glasson and I are in Sydney so maybe we can catch up here as well as there. I work just down the road (Garden Island) from your old stamping grounds from the 60s (if memory of previous conversations serves me correctly).

Mrs Glenys Chew

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Re: Handing over the Reins
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2008, 07:16:28 AM »
Ah - Derek, ever the velvet glove of courtesy...

Thank you for the compliments, I haven't been appreciated like that since the time I banged the gavel on the District Secretary for delaying my meeting with too much chatter.  And then it was only a raised eyebrow.  Well, what could he have expected?  Chairmanship can go to an 18-year-old's head.  Being the youngest chairperson ever in the District, as well as likely the region, can even go to the head of a seasoned veteran of Junior meetings such as I was.

Of course, I may have lost my touch a little since then - but I'm sure you'll soon have me in practice again >winsome smile<

Hi Oceanplats - I don't think we've met before.  There is rumour of a Chinese ancestor very far back in my husband's family, but personally I thought it more likely the name was an Anglicisation of Tiu, the Norse/Viking god of thunder, since they're from the Northwest of England.  You know, in the same way that Tiu became Tuesday, and Woden Wednesday?  Be that as it may, the only Chinese knot I've tried so far I discovered as the English Diamond Knot, so I'm definitely not an expert  :)  An expert would be someone who knows more than I do about something.

One of the things that will be happening is that I am going to be trimming and slimming the Forum a touch, in both membership and old posts.  I'll ask Mel if it's possible to store the old posts on a CD, for keeping with the library, as I'm mindful of how much accumulated knotting knowledge there is in them, as well as the friendly swordplay  ;)  But for members, I will be trying to contact everyone before deleting those who have not posted in 12 months.  You got in just in time, Slipjig  :)  I'll post a warning, but anyone looking in should make sure their email addresses are uptodate on their profiles, as that's going to be one of the criteria by which I decide to prune.

Look forwards to seeing you all on Monday after I get back from Retreat and recover from my daughter's 4th birthday party.

Regards
Glenys



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oceanplats

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Re: Handing over the Reins
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2008, 02:19:49 PM »
so whys carol not got the gig.........the other seems bossy.
I just work on the sea - good luck ...G ::)

DerekSmith

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Re: Handing over the Reins
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2008, 05:29:59 PM »
Quote
One of the things that will be happening is that I am going to be trimming and slimming the Forum a touch, in both membership and old posts

Hi Glenys,

Why?

Are we running out of disk space?

And if you do have a good reason for doing this, then once you start - what criteria do you use to decide where to stop?

For example, it has been a long long time since Nautile was badly treated and moved over to KHWW.  It would be wonderful if we could encourage him to come back, so why consider removing him?  What would be gained? Isn't our goal to increase usage by those who have only rarely posted but may be regular readers?

There are two things any forum is valuable for.  The first is its contingent of active posters available to create and reply to topics.  The second is the history and information stored in past posts.  The price of disk space today is trivial so why remove this legacy information from direct access by the users?  I often use the search facility so it is reasonable to believe that others will as well.  Removing the 'old' posts is a bit like chucking away old copies of KM.  I am involved in the project to make all the past KM's available in pdf format and I tell you, some of the stuff contained in those old copies is wonderful.  The forum hasn't been going long enough yet to build up stuff from almost a generation ago like the KM's have, but if you start to ditch stuff now, it will never become an archive worthy of being trawled for 'old perspectives', and again, like ditching members, once you start - how do you decide where to stop?

Derek

oceanplats

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Re: Handing over the Reins
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2008, 01:21:37 PM »
so why did you delete my post last night madam chew.
Good luck.

Mrs Glenys Chew

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Re: Handing over the Reins
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2008, 11:27:41 PM »
Hi Oceanplats,

I guess you're referring to the reply you posted to the Unwanted Guest with a Yoga problem.  I deleted the original post, because I recognised the poster's name from the ban list, and also (as I will be saying in the main discussion) because his was not the sort of post I understand the Guild to want to encourage.  Deleting the original deleted the replies as well.  I didn't think this would be too much of a problem as there was no actual knotting wisdom in the thread.

Derek - I've been in clerical work since I was 15.  It is the age of many of the posts that is the primary reason for their intended demise - but I promise this: I have not forgotten that one of the Guild's stated aims is to "Establish an authoritative body for consulting purposes."  You may recognise the source that I cut and pasted that from.  The Internet is without doubt one of the most effective and manipulable sources of both consultation and research on just about every level there is.

While I don't think books are in any serious danger of extinction, there is no doubt that electronic storage of information is much less bulky.

Whilst letter-writing and Knotting Matters are going to be staple means of communicating for many enjoyable years, email and forums are faster and just as much fun.

But - there comes a point at which you have to say "Prune the branch so the fruit can grow."  Trimming some old posts is a work scheduled, not a work in progress.  Containing the essential information whilst losing some of the non-essential, more personal posts, will be a task that takes some time to sift through.  It should be worth it.  Information will not be lost, nor will it be inaccessible to Guild members, but it will in fact be much more concise and indexable than before.  Search engines are a wonderful thing, but to have a basic file structure other than 'date order' would be much better still.

Leave it with me.  I am sure I will be able to honour the confident expectations you expressed of me on the Feedback Board.

As regards trimming membership:

I'll post a warning, but anyone looking in should make sure their email addresses are uptodate on their profiles, as that's going to be one of the criteria by which I decide to prune.

One of the most effective measures of whether or not a person is interested in the Guild, or is simply a casual enquirer, is that of their posting pattern.  Someone posts very prolifically for some time, and then is silent.  Someone posts periodically over a few days or weeks.  Someone else posts periodically over a couple of years and continues to recent date, but hasn't posted recently.  One of my talents is spotting patterns.  Any or all of those categories fail to respond to email and IM requests to contact me.  I'm better at alphabetical patterns than numerical, but I find most patterns fairly easy to spot.

Nobody will be deleted without courteous efforts to locate and advise them of a suitable time period in which to consider their membership of the Forum.  As a Webmistress/admin (the two titles seem to be somewhat interchangeable) part of my responsibility is to ensure that those who participate in the Forum have every opportunity to join and prosper the Guild, and those who are not interested in the Guild be offered the chance again - and then allowed to make their own decision.  If they're interested, they can post again.  If they're not, then they won't object to the deletion of an out-of-date footprint.  And, if they think they are interested in the future having been deleted, then they are just as welcome to join the Forum again as everyone else on the 'Net is.

I trust this answers your concerns?

Regards
Glenys
Mrs Glenys Chew
1 Corinthians 15:10

DerekSmith

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Re: Handing over the Reins
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2008, 04:05:02 PM »
snip..

 It is the age of many of the posts that is the primary reason for their intended demise

snip...

Glenys

OK, so we have a Forum with less than a thousand topics from less than four years of posting and you are looking to house clean on the basis of the age of the posts.

I really must ask again --  WHY ?

Are we running out of disk space ?
Are the older posts clogging up the operation of the Forum ?
Does the Forum software have a limit to the number of topics or posts its database can service ?

Frankly I would be amazed if you could answer yes to any of those questions - Mel has chosen very wisely for the software for this forum, I am sure she would confirm that modern databases won't even flinch at millions of records, let alone 6,637.

So what other reason could there be to force the removal of posts?

You cite there comes a point at which you have to say "Prune the branch so the fruit can grow."  indeed a very true adage for fruit trees.

But - do you really think that 'pruning' out 'The Sealed Knot', one of the oldest post on here, is going to stimulate 'more fruit' ?? A Forum is not like a fruit tree and adages relevant to the one have no bearing on the other.  And if your original concept of age is not the primary trigger for deletions, then presumably some personal opinion as to a post being 'Trivial' or 'Inappropriate' would be the cause for its removal.

Granted, if the Forum was in danger of grinding to a halt from an overburdened database, we might be forced to consider 'Pruning for continued Growth', but even if we were in that very unlikely situation, then relying on one persons opinion would be a very bad way to cull out our history.

Do we have a genuine need to remove history or is this the vigorous swishing of our lovely 'New Broom' ??

If I have a problem with chopping out our history, then I have an even bigger problem with chopping out non posting members.

My question would be ' What benefit do we get from chopping out members who have not posted in some time or who fit one of your 'patterns'' ??

And if we get no benefit - such as freeing up space for new members to join in etc - then why do it?  Why do anything to make life harder for even one member who might be encouraged to join in -  what harm does a non posting member have on the forum and what can we gain from wiping them out?

I know three people who are members of the forum, who regularly read the forum and who have not posted since 'the troubles'.  I am in regular email contact with them and would dearly like to encourage them to once more contribute to the Forum - how constructive do you think it will be to getting them back if their membership is deleted, or if they receive a communication which essentially says 'Start Posting or Go' even if phrased in the most congenial of terms??

I hope I have been able to convey my concerns adequately to you for you to be able to reconsider your objectives.

Derek

Mrs Glenys Chew

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Re: Handing over the Reins
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2008, 08:19:35 AM »
Good morning Derek

I see that my use of the word demise has led you to misunderstand my intention, and that my clarification of the scope of the work was not clear enough for you.

- What need would there be to keep posts which have no knotting wisdom, news of events, or such like?  Every post will have to be evaluated on its own merits, and its place in the objects of the Guild.

- Please would you try a search of the forum for every mention of Turk's Heads?  I tried 'turks', 'turk's' and 'TH' - which I know to be the common usages.  The results were 1 result, 2 pages of results, and 28 pages of results before the search engine decided it had had enough at 15% relevance.  You can check for yourself the variation of those answers, but suffice it to say that it was picking up 'the', 'those', etc and not mentions of Turk's Heads.  What I am proposing is to make information entirely more accessible.  Extracts, whole posts, and even whole threads will be grouped according to their knots, or under more general headings in the case of "what's your favourite..."-style posts.

- The Sealed Knot is in fact a specialist enquiry as to knot history and as such would be in an appropriate category for odd enquiries.  You might find that even though information is not specifically listed on the live Forum, that a properly organised knowledge database is something that helps people searching for information.

- History - there are some parts of history which are best left dry and dusty.  You have twice made mention to an incident which is obviously painful to yourself, but which did not happen during my time as an Administrator.  Don't you think it best if this new broom also starts with a clean slate?  I expect word is going about that there is a new Admin here.  Any and all members or former members of the forum are more than welcome to come and post again, and I, myself, will not be dragging their past back with them.  I don't do it to guests in my own home, I find no reason to do it here.

- Non-posting members - I'm sorry again, Derek, that my assertion that "Nobody will be deleted without courteous efforts to locate and advise them" passed you by.  I will try to be more clear about it: I will contact people first.  Communication might very well be the first step in the return of a non-posting member, as you yourself so evidently hope for.  I am greatly reassured that you will be supporting me in all my efforts to encourage the entire membership of the forum, both posting and non-posting, but I would like a chance to do so my way, as your encouragement does not seem to have acheived their return.

Regards
Glenys

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1 Corinthians 15:10

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Re: Handing over the Reins
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2008, 12:02:22 PM »
Are we running out of disk space ?

No

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Are the older posts clogging up the operation of the Forum ?

To some extent, yes. Effective searching will become more difficult as the size of the archive grows - especially given that a significant part of that archive will be general chat and conversation as opposed to specifically knot-related discussion.

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Does the Forum software have a limit to the number of topics or posts its database can service ?

Service effectively - yes. Before you ask, no - I don't have a definitive number of topics, or posts, as both are too variable in size to lend themselves to absolute limits. However, as I've said, the large the archive the slower the forum will become as each request to view any given post necessitates retrieval from an increasingly large archive. Although database driven applications do not suffer these problems as early as flat-file based systems do, they still have thresholds which impact upon overall effective operation.

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Frankly I would be amazed if you could answer yes to any of those questions - Mel has chosen very wisely for the software for this forum, I am sure she would confirm that modern databases won't even flinch at millions of records, let alone 6,637.

For millions (plural) you need Oracle not MySQL as your database server. Whilst the latter is undoubtedly effective (and even better, well supported and free), it doesn't cope with large archives terribly well. My database managing colleague could probably give you all of the technical details but I've learnt enough from her to be aware that MySQL does have operational limits and that, as the technical admin, I need to be aware of this.

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So what other reason could there be to force the removal of posts?

Because it is an issue that will have to be addressed. If not today then at some point in the future. At this juncture, I should point out that I was the person who raised this issue both recently and in the past. I believe it is something that needs to be addressed - preferably before any significant problem arise. As such, I think some thought needs to be focused on how it is dealt with and how/where we might develop a more permanent archive for the some of the material. Aside from the operational points, it may well be that some of the material in the forum's archive could be re-published in a more appropriate format that would form the basis for an invaluable online resource.

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Do we have a genuine need to remove history or is this the vigorous swishing of our lovely 'New Broom' ??

As I've explained, the idea is not to destroy valuable material but to ensure that it is placed in a more permanent archive that can be easily accessed. As for which broom swished, I'm afraid it is this decidedly ancient one that made all of the initial noise. Glenys has merely been looking at some possible options.

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If I have a problem with chopping out our history, then I have an even bigger problem with chopping out non posting members.
My question would be ' What benefit do we get from chopping out members who have not posted in some time or who fit one of your 'patterns'' ??

And if we get no benefit - such as freeing up space for new members to join in etc - then why do it?

Because it makes the forum progressively more and more difficult to administer effectively. In many cases members are not being "removed" per se. It is not uncommon for people to register then forget their details and re-register using slightly different credentials. So many of these idle accounts are no longer wanted. Please also bear in mind that accounts are not removed purely on the basis of posting history. Administrators also have access to details as to when a member last visited the forum and this is also taken into consideration when defining "idle/unused" accounts.

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I know three people who are members of the forum, who regularly read the forum and who have not posted since 'the troubles'.  I am in regular email contact with them and would dearly like to encourage them to once more contribute to the Forum - how constructive do you think it will be to getting them back if their membership is deleted, or if they receive a communication which essentially says 'Start Posting or Go' even if phrased in the most congenial of terms??

Given the number of times I receive requests from members to assist them retrieve their login data, I think it highly likely that anyone who has not visited the forum in over 2 years will have forgotten their details and will simply create a new account.