Poll

Do you think there should be more sub-boards for different topics on this forum

Yes
14 (60.9%)
No
6 (26.1%)
Don't Know
3 (13%)

Total Members Voted: 21

Voting closed: January 18, 2007, 02:46:25 PM

Author Topic: New Forum boards?  (Read 24131 times)

Lasse_C

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2007, 12:35:13 PM »
I have done some thinking about the matter, and looked at a couple of other forums I frequent.

First, I do think that the IGKT forum has reached at point where it is relevant to divide it into sub-sections. If nothing else, the number of threads is now so high that at least I find it a little hard to look up a specific old thread.

Derek has a very good point of “the Foyer”. However, I do not think of it as a section where you actually post questions. I think of “the Foyer” as the page that meets the visitor. In “the Foyer” you find the basic information (“Read this before posting” and such), and this is where you get directions where to go next. Simple, clear, inviting, informative – that is how I picture Derek´s idea of “the Foyer”, and I certainly agree!

I like to think of the forum as “areas” with “sections” - not because I believe that is necessarily The Best Structure TM , but simply because a couple of forums which I like and which seem fo work well, are done that way. A Swedish forum about Living History and Historical Reenactment has five “main” sections, with several sub-sections, for example:
Equipment – subsections: Clothes & textile, Leather &  shoes, Housing & living
Arms & battle – subsections: Armour, Weapons, Martial Arts
(I think you get the idea. It is at http://www.historiska.se/histvarld/forum/ if you want to look at the design.)

We should avoid dividing into too small categories, though! Let´s start with some major, and if need be, they can later be divided. Note: The “areas” are only headlines, not sections in which you actually post!

I think we should be careful about what “signs” we put on the “areas” and sub-sections. Labels that may be obvious to “old” knotters but not to newcomers should be avoided as far as possible! In my opinion the labels should (ideally) be so obvious that a newcomer who can hardly tell a bowline from a slipknot can find out in which section his/her question belongs! As far as I´m concerned, the forum should have a design that will attract the interest of potential users "passing by", enable them to easily find their way around, and - hopefully - return.

“Decorative” and “Practical” have been suggested, and to me, they sound as “areas” They are good, simple to understand, and fairly obvious – at least if you add a little comment under the headline.

For example: 
Decorative: Knots and knotwork that is done purely or mainly for decorative and ornamental purposes
Practical: The focus is on knots in practical use – what you may call “working” knots
Possibly (but I am not sure about these) we can also have:
Science: Knotting theory, physics, etc.
Media: Books, internet sites, instruction videos, etc.

The section which was in part the spark that ignited this issue, “Forensic and medical knotting” might be a suitable subsection in the area “Science”.

I strongly support the idea that there should be a section of “chit chat”. There are always some little issues that we like to chat about things that may or may not be knot related, and which does not fit into the other categories. Such a section is needed (and often fun!), and helps keep the other sections "cleaner".

I would like to add that the sorting Dan has done of some threads and where they might be put is a good example of the thinking I am after. I may not agree on what he calls the headlines, but I do agree that the threads he has put in groups belong together!

I think we should keep discussing this issue with as little personal prestige and quick conclusions as possible. After some time we may reach some kind of consencus, and/or pick the best ideas from different inputs.

Still, I for one need a little input as to what is technically possible and (perhaps more important) not possible to do! In this discussion it seems that a structure is already beginning to take form - and we do not know if it can be done!

Lasse C


« Last Edit: January 08, 2007, 02:41:33 PM by Lasse_C »

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2007, 06:12:51 PM »
Still, I for one need a little input as to what is technically possible and (perhaps more important) not possible to do! In this discussion it seems that a structure is already beginning to take form - and we do not know if it can be done!

The only real technical limitation is that it is not possible for one board to be the 'child' of another board. Where a number of boards need to be grouped together, they can be placed into a single 'category'. So, for example, if there was a Practical Knotting Category, it might hold a number of board such as "Beginners", "Techniques" and "Decorative Knots".

Simple Machine's own forum illustrates this quite well:

http://www.simplemachines.org/community/

The order of boards within a category and even the displayed order of the categories themselves can be changed to suit at any point.

Um...anything else special that might be under consideration?




Lasse_C

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2007, 07:10:02 PM »
Hmmm.... A lot of dust was stirred up by a rather heated discussion, and then.... what?
Is there some work going on that I am not aware of, or did the issue sort of... die?

Lasse C

Ruben_Knotter

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2007, 08:08:30 PM »
the key issue is to have a platform for communication, which is easy to use as reader and contributor.
there is some inflation of platforms (knothead, knottyer, IGKT chit-chat and more).
due to this, its more and more effort to monitor all of them.
how do we cope with this trend ?

state-of-the-art platforms should allow the user himself to structure the board according to her/his needs, e.g. sort the entries (author, topic, keywords ...)

As the the previous entry fom lasse hilites, older topics will vanish from page one (out of sight - out of mind) even with structured forums.




Phil_The_Rope

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2007, 01:25:46 PM »
My two-penneth ...

I've come into this conversation late, and have only quickly scanned the posts. I concur with what many people have said in that it's not always intuitive finding what you're looking for, and people will often disagree where a particular topic should go!

What I think is MORE important is the "Subject" line. On other forums I've so often seen posts which say something along the lines of "Problem with version x", which doesn't give any clue as to what the problem is. That's no use to anyone! If people can think of a sensible headline for their posts then that helps enormously. It's like getting an email with either no subject, or something like "Hello" from someone who's not in your address book - in Phil The Rope's household these emails invariably get deleted before they're even previewed, never mind opened.

Very, VERY, important in my view that we all try to be as specific as possible when describing the subject of our topic.

Make sense?

Phil

Lasse_C

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2007, 10:24:55 PM »
Very, VERY, important in my view that we all try to be as specific as possible when describing the subject of our topic.

Make sense?

Phil

Makes lots of sense, if you ask me! Requires some self-discipline of all of us, though, but should prove well worth it!

Lasse

*Really would want to come here more often, but between hectic work, exercise for aching knees, etc, there is not all that much time!*

Willeke

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2007, 10:50:46 PM »
Should the moderators change the subject (title) of the thread if it is not clear?

Willeke
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nor what a clever person can do with simple tools." - Ian Fieggen

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Lasse_C

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2007, 12:57:41 PM »
Should the moderators change the subject (title) of the thread if it is not clear?

Willeke

Yes, why not? On a couple of forums I frequently visit this can be done. The title can be changed into something that better reflects what it is about. If need be, threads can be moved to a more suitable sub-section. Occasionally a thread starts to go in two directions, i e contains discussions about two subjects in one thread, and in that case the moderators split the thread. It may sound to some as if the moderators meddle much, but this is one of the best run forums I know of!

Lasse C

WebAdmin

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2007, 02:35:13 PM »
" but this is one of the best run forums I know of! "

Why, thankyou, kind sir - we aims to please  ;D

Lesley
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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2007, 11:37:34 PM »
>Discreet cough from a nervous contributor<

I was just thinking today about the letter I've sent to Knotting Matters, in which I said something like "I'm trying to keep my eyes open for opportunities to tie knots in a non-knotting environment".  (I bet if it's printed I didn't put it half so well!)

Anyway - today, we hopefully fixed a problem with a 6 ft high fencepost which pulls away from its gate, and needed something to hold it in the right place whilst you wrestle one-handed with the rusty padlock.  I found a small thimble at a local ironmongers, tied a scaffold knot round it, followed it up with a Solomon Bar, left a couple of loops free for extra grip in miserable weather, and fixed the whole thing to the gate with a handy D-ring with 4 screwholes in it (if anyone recognises that description, please can they tell me what it's called).  Then I discovered that Solomon Bars slide, and I had to add two overhand knots (one on each loop) to keep it all in place.  Anyway, it works!  (Photos may be appearing soon on my Yahoo album.)

Times past, I would have just put a handle on the fence.

Cutting the rest of the waffle, I had a project that would test me on one new knot, and two familiar knots in an unlikely setting.  It was a practical application of knotting I wouldn't have otherwise have thought of.

What about a forum or noticeboard where people can post situations in which they used knots in a mundane or unusual way, in order to encourage others to try them, or to be encouraged that "hey, if they could do that, I could use that to do this..." (sort of thing).

I probably haven't explained it too well, but as an amateur and very irregular knot-tyer, creative ways of using knots other than fishing, sailing, and life-supporting (aka climbing) would spark lots more ideas and thus hopefully be more visible to the general public, too.  Putting these all together in one forum or noticeboard would make them easily accessible.  A sort of "I wanted to do ..... so I used ....." title.  After all, it was a letter in Knotting Matters telling how a gentleman gave keyfobs to a choir he met on a bus that inspired me to make 35 Solomon Bar keyfobs for a choir visiting our church last week.

I hope I haven't butted in too much or anything.  As a new member, I'm nervous about speaking up in Guild administrative matters.

Regards
Glenys Chew
Mrs Glenys Chew
1 Corinthians 15:10

Lasse_C

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2007, 08:24:22 AM »
" but this is one of the best run forums I know of! "

Why, thankyou, kind sir - we aims to please  ;D

Lesley

Ehhh... No offence, but I was actually thinking about http://www.svartakatten.com/forum/phpBB2/index.php
The IGKT forum is also very well run, but I do think Svarta Katten´s forum is better in the aspects we are discussing in this thread - subsections and administration by moderators.

Lasse C
« Last Edit: March 16, 2007, 08:27:35 AM by Lasse_C »

DerekSmith

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2007, 06:19:40 AM »
Well, it is now eight weeks since I took good council and stepped back from this topic and indeed from posting here at all.  My objective in doing this was to let the heat go out of the situation and to follow the opinions of others as they developed.

Unfortunately, it seems as though just about everyone else has done the same thing.

New topics have fallen from nearly 2.5 per day to less than 0.7 per day and posts have dropped from an average of 8.6 per day to a low of less than 4 per day.

What has happened?  Is the board in terminal decline or is this some seasonal anomaly that has been seen before?  This decline is most surprising because the stats indicate a steady influx of around 200 new members a month (this in itself is strange considering our total membership is only 387).  Doubtless some of these are spammers, but if we are attracting genuine new members why are they not posting?

Webmistress, do you have any measure of how many of these new members are bogus?  Even if only a quarter of these are genuine, we should still ask - "Why are they not posting?"  You do not have to join in order to read the posts, so presumably they are joining with the intention to post, yet something is holding them back.

At less than one new topic per day and less than 4 posts per day, splitting the board up would be silly, we would have to hunt for the new content and moderators would have to fight over who was going to move what and to where (yes I still think this board is excessively moderated, although even the mods have been quiet for the last few weeks).

Do we now drop this issue as it has become a meaningless exercise or do we take it as a warning that unless this forum is welcoming and has interesting and well structured content it will continue to slide into total disuse?  I have a terrible fear that this forum has already fallen below the critical point where there is just no point in logging on because there is nothing worth reading!!

Five days ago Colin Younger posted a request for help teaching knots to his Cub Scout group.  Gordon immediately offered him off board help (well done Gordon) but has not followed up with any news as to how Colin's challenge is progressing.  Willeke followed by posting what I believe is the most insightful assessment of the problem I have ever read and probably the best advice ever given.  And then......  NOTHING.

Nothing, despite this being possibly the most important topic for the future of this forum.  A post so important it almost warrants a sub forum of its own.  Where are the prolific posters with their valuable input?  Where are the IGKT officials with their sage like advice?  Is it possible that we are witnessing the last dying flickers of this forum?  I hope not.

Unless there is a seasonal explanation for this decline, then we need to take action to 'fan the embers' and although it is silly to share our precious 4 posts a day amongst more boards, I am going to suggest that TPTB consider using this oportunity to spark some interest in the forum.  I am going to suggest you consider a slight renaming of Chit Chat and two new boards.

1.  Rename 'Chit Chat' to 'Chit Chat and Novice posts' (leave all present content within it)
2.  New board called 'Youth Group Support' (move Colins post here and promote it widely)
3.  Following Glenys Chew's excellent proposal, a new board called 'Knots put to work'

If there are others out there who, like me, really enjoy this place, then now is the time to help - blow on these embers - blow - blow.

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2007, 01:22:35 PM »
Members are still logging on and reading posts - average for March - 27 per day.   And when I look at the site - which is normally at least 3 times a day, there are often more than 15 guests looking at a variety of posts, as well as 3 or 4 members.

Since the beginning of January there have be 48 possibly genuine members and I have removed over 400 very doubtful new members.  I really can't understand the point of these people joining - they just join and are never heard from again.  I have also removed several members who had not been online since the new Forum was put in place in July last year and whose IDs looked a bit suspicious.   There are still a few members who I have my doubts about, but I'm leaving them for a while - if they haven't been online or posted within the next couple of months, I shall remove them, too.   It would be nice to see that we just have people interested in knots involved in the Forum.   

If this is what you call "excessive moderation", fine - I shall continue to excesslivly moderate.   I'm sure you do not want members with names like "Very-old-gibon", "pornaster", "SafeSex", "ADULT-WEBSITE", "webbyTimewasteroo" etc etc.  And these are but a few of the clean ones!!   The only messages that have been removed are the odd bit of spam or pornographic material that has been posted - do you want those left in as well?   I would really like to know what you call 'excessive moderation'.   Whatever restrictions are in place have been made necessary by would-be members with no interest in knotting trying to disrupt and contaminate the Forum.

Very few new posts actually go unanswered.   And there have been some really interesting posts recently.   However, what would be the point of someone in the North of England or America responding to Colin's request?   He needed local help, and he got it.   Hopefully, with the help of Gordon and members of the Solent Branch of the Guild, sufficient interest will be generated within Colin's Cub Group to encourage a few of the lads to join the Guild.   It is after all one of the aims of the Guild to to foster young people's interest in knot-tying.

Lesley
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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2007, 09:02:27 PM »
Derek,
There is no progress report to make as Colin has not yet contacted me

Gordon

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Re: New Forum boards?
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2007, 08:54:01 AM »
Hi Lesley,

Thanks for the stats update.  90% wastage rate (or should that be waster rate) is quite shocking, still, 48 possible new members is good, so long as we keep them and encourage them to become active.  As for the average of 27 visits per day, could I suggest that you not be misled into thinking this is a good statistic.  This site has in the past had some extremely interesting topics and lively debates which will have collected a significant number of readers and potential contributors.  When contributions start to dry up (as they have done over the last two months), those readers still continue to log on in the hope that someone will have posted some new content, but eventually, as the content continues to dry up, even those diehard readers give up looking to see if there is anything new.  The critical lifeblood of any forum is not readers - it is CONTENT.  Without content, a forum is just unused webspace.  Interestingly, you have not confirmed that this is a regular seasonal effect, so I guess this means we have to suspect the worst - for some reason, contributors are leaving the forum.

As for your sarchasm re "excessive moderation" - shame on you.  You know full well that the sterling work you and the mods do to keep spammers off the forum is respected and appreciated by all the genuine forum members - especially me.  You also know full well what I am referring to when I use the term "excessive moderation" and why it is abhorrent to me and those it has driven away.  However, if you genuinely want to discuss this problem I would suggest that we do it in its own post on Feedback.

Touching briefly on your comments on responses to Colin's request for help, could I respectfully suggest two things.  First, that it is beyond the Webadmin Job Description to decide that only local help is necessary and appropriate.  Second, that I think you have missed the fundamental point of an Internet Forum if you seriously believe that a response from the North of England or America is in any way limited or inferior.  Of course it is important to promote the youngsters to join the world of knots, that was the point I was making - that we should put additional effort into answering Colin's request - ON THE FORUM - so that the knowledge can be collected from, and shared around the world by many Cub Scout groups.

Finally to the point of my post which you did not address - ENHANCING THE FORUM.

More than 2:1 of those who voted were in favour of enhancement.
There have been a number of proposals for section headings.
The only negatives posted were that we might loose our few posts amongst too many boards and it might create a "frenzy of excessive moderation", and I am sure that neither of these will pose a real problem.

So my question is "As the board members have expressed a desire to make changes, how do we now implement this ?"

Your advice on how an enhancement could be implemented would be appreciated.