Discussion is dead.

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Re: Discussion is dead.

Postby Francis Wood » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:03 am

Several days later, and there are still very few responses in this important thread, though those that have arrived are very pertinent.

So what has happened to the energy that was apparent on Dartmouth, which itself has become fairly moribund?
Perhaps it's the proliferation of other areas of expression - the various Facebook groups that were set up diversely, some of which were closed or remained unused? It may be this dilution which has rather flattened things.

A forum such as this provides a good archive, organising topics and communications which are old. What it is really not good at (at least in its present form) is displaying what is new.That facility is provided excellently by Dartmouth and the Facebook groups, but those are useless in preserving older and potentially useful exchanges unless one makes a rather difficult expedition into the Dartmouth archives.

Another factor here is Society membership. Only NPS members may respond here whereas anyone can subscribe to the other facilities. I've no idea whether this is significant in limiting the present traffic. One thing I am certain about is that it is not immediately easy to find new contributions here. Apart from my lack of skill as a Forum user (which shouldn't actually be necessary for a reasonably satisfactory experience), is it the phpBB facility which is not ideal or are all comparable providers similar in their restrictions?

Thanks are certainly due to Barry Say for setting up this Forum. He deserves our support in modifying the present structure so that it meets more closely the needs of participants and attracts more useful communication.

Discussion RIP (Respond If Possible)

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Re: Discussion is dead.

Postby pipemakermike » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:22 am

Francis Wood wrote:
Another factor here is Society membership. Only NPS members may respond here whereas anyone can subscribe to the other facilities. I've no idea whether this is significant in limiting the present traffic.

Actually anyone may join but that isn't clear because the entry is buried on the members only page. The Forum should/must be promenently positioned on the front page or it will remain in its present state.
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Re: Discussion is dead.

Postby edric » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:43 am

Francis Wood wrote:A forum such as this provides a good archive, organising topics and communications which are old. What it is really not good at (at least in its present form) is displaying what is new.That facility is provided excellently by Dartmouth and the Facebook groups, but those are useless in preserving older and potentially useful exchanges unless one makes a rather difficult expedition into the Dartmouth archives.


As I've mentioned already, enabling the RSS capability (as per http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=1214645) would I believe make it easy to see what's new. RSS feeds can be read in various ways, including mail readers like Outlook and Thunderbird (although I prefer Google Reader which is web-based, and keeps track of where I'm up to in each feed wherever I've read it from).

Cheers, Edric.
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Re: Discussion is dead.

Postby Mike Dixon » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:06 am

And I note 'Dartmouth' has sprung into life again with some interesting stuff - is there any way we can transfer/copy that to here ? I did not realise we had, by the look of it got most to move to this forum so no need to hoover them up - 'just' to get more engagement

I like the idea of having the forum as a big button on the front page making it clear it open to non-members, (posting subject to registration though). The RSS feed or similar is, I think key, and needs made easy to use and to be advertised - is it allowed/possible to do a global mailshot to subscribers?

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RSS Feed

Postby Barry Say » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:55 pm

I have considered this and apparently it requires installing 2 mods, digest and RSS. I am quite happy to do this if there is sufficient demand, but I would have to set aside a good slice of time to do it, and I would probably close the BB while I did it.

I would prefer to back up the BB before embarking on the procedure. Installing mods is a fairly cook-book procedure if all goes well, otherwise............

of course if we have any phpBB experts on hand I would like to here from them.

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Re: Discussion is dead.

Postby John Gibbons » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:50 pm

Some of the more technical fixes may take time and be fiddly.
But aggregating some of the little-used topics into bigger ones could be done almost at once, I guess.
Making it easier and more obvious how to join the forum I hope will not be too much trouble either.
Keeping it effectively locked away is in nobody's interest.
How many subscribers did Dartmouth have?

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Re: Discussion is dead.

Postby Barry Say » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:34 am

John Gibbons wrote:Some of the more technical fixes may take time and be fiddly.

Sorry, perhaps I did not express myself quite clearly. Adding a facility needs to be done carefully. It requires research, and gathering materials. Once started, upgrades effectively break the forum until the process is complete. I do not wish to start down that road until I am tolerably sure I can complete the process. It is not the sort of thing I can do in 'multi-tasking' mode.

Personally,| do not use RSS feeds, I subscribe to the forums and receive e-mails when there are new posts. If there is sufficient demand I would be happy to install this facility, but I do not believe that it would be of any relevance to those members of the piping community who are not yet registered. I will look again at the process.

John Gibbons wrote:But aggregating some of the little-used topics into bigger ones could be done almost at once, I guess.

If could, but I am not going to unless there is a much more widespread opinion in favour. Personally, I would like to see more specialized forums to promote focused discussions, even if they are low traffic. Aggregating postings into larger forums inevitably results in the most recent topics having the greatest prominence, and we lose many of the advantages of a forum.

As you are currently the most prolific poster on the BB I would therefore assume that you find the structure acceptable even if it is a little annoying.
John Gibbons wrote:Making it easier and more obvious how to join the forum I hope will not be too much trouble either.
Keeping it effectively locked away is in nobody's interest.


The construction of the main website is not my task so I will leave others to respond to that item.

I dont think the forum is hidden away, but I do think that the fact that it has an independent URL (http://northumbrianpipers.org.uk/piperforum/) and can be reached without getting involved in the CMS part of the website is advantageous.

In May 2012 there were 3651 to the domain northumbrianpipers.org.uk.
Of these, 2001 visits started in the forum and 2385 finished in the forum.
1494 visits started on the mai homepage and 1152 ended somewhere in the CMS generated part of the website.
So about 280 visits came from the main website to the forum. Of the visits to the forum 57 did not go past the first page.

Of the visits to the website 2,278 (62.3%) lasted less than 30 seconds. This is apparently not an unusual statistic
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Re: Discussion is dead.

Postby Barry Say » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:54 am

In January of this year I wrote:


I am considering whether to delete the Welcome and BB Organisation Forums and move all the sections in Northumbrian Pipers Discussion space up a level? This would mean that visitors to the BB woulds immediately see what currently appears in Northumbrian Pipers Discussion Space. Can anyone see any down sides to this?


I received no replies. Any thoughts now?

I have no objection to renaming All and Sundry, if anyone can come up with a good and generally acceptable name.

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Re: Discussion is dead.

Postby Richard Evans » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:23 am

[quote="Barry Say"
If could, but I am not going to unless there is a much more widespread opinion in favour. Personally, I would like to see more specialized forums to promote focused discussions, even if they are low traffic. Aggregating postings into larger forums inevitably results in the most recent topics having the greatest prominence, and we lose many of the advantages of a forum.

The construction of the main website is not my task so I will leave others to respond to that item.

I dont think the forum is hidden away, but I do think that the fact that it has an independent URL (http://northumbrianpipers.org.uk/piperforum/) and can be reached without getting involved in the CMS part of the website is advantageous.

[/quote]

I much appreciate all the work that Barry has put in, but I'm strongly in favour of reducing the number of sub-forums. However, I agree it needs careful thought.
"Aggregating postings into larger forums inevitably results in the most recent topics having the greatest prominence"... well, yes, that's exactly what I want instead of checking the date of the last post on each sub-forum each visit. I'm not keen on email notification, too many emails as it is.

I think the forum is very much hidden away on the website, and it's not at all clear that it's open to non members, but I agree having it's own URL is good.

Cheers
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Re: Discussion is dead.

Postby pipemakermike » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:09 pm

Definitely hidden away!! A search for "northumbrian smallpipes" fails to find it (at least as far as page 10 of a Google search and who goes that far).
A lot of (possibly even most) pipers are under the impression that it is a NPS members only forum and that impression is reinforced by having the entry hidden away on the members page.
There is (and always has been)a tremendous amount of inertia in the NPS and often this is because the burden of getting stuff done falls on a very few, often busy, people. If Barry is overwhelmed by the effort of making what seem to me to be sensible changes then someone should offer to help.
So
I offer to help.
I have 15 years experience of using forums. I created and, for 8 years, managed a very active computer users forum. I have 32 years computer experience both as a user and as a system manager. I created and run my own website. I am now retired and, although busy, I am sure I can find time to help. added: I also have offers of help from a number of local computer professionals - one of the perks of living in Cambridge!
The web is one area where being based in the south isn't a handicap.
So I am trying to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem!!
Last edited by pipemakermike on Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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