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Discussion is dead.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:27 pm
by John Gibbons
Why does no discussion on this BB ever lead very far?

Perhaps nobody bothers reading it {I hope that's not the case).
If there are readers, few reply.
I doubt if there are loads of tendentious posts that never get past the moderator.

Perhaps its layout means it is hard to see what the latest postings are.
It is very easy for a new thread to be hidden away at the back end of some subtopic.

Dartmouth had its problems, but at least did its job of generating discussion.
The occasional war or libel was a price worth paying, maybe?

John

Re: Discussion is dead.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:13 am
by edric
I read most things, and reply to a few. I know I personally would find it easier to see when new stuff is posted if there was an RSS feed so that it could sit alongside all the other different stuff that I like to keep up-to-date with.

Re: Discussion is dead.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:30 pm
by pipemakermike
One of the problems is that the forum is rather fragmented and split into too many sub sets making it hard to answer the questions and, possibly, putting off the less regular visitor.
There are a couple of sub-forums that could be usefully combined. "Peacocks Parlour" for example has attracted only 10 topics, and replies from only 10 people with most of the discussion between the same four people. Not a bad thing but, on inspection, I think that a good proportion of the topics could fit equally well into "Tunes and Repertoire" which has a similar number of posts from the same group of people.
"Pipes Maintenance" and "Assistance to new pipers" would be better placed in the "All and Sundry" forum where the information would be exposed to a wider audience.
The "Wiki-geeks" and the "Teaching Methods for NSP" don't have enough traffic to justify a seperate sub-forum and the topics in them would be fine in the general forum (and would probably attract more input from a wider pool).

Re: Discussion is dead.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:45 pm
by John Gibbons
Mike,

I'd second this - proliferating topics doesn't really generate discussion; instead we get common discussion strands appearing on different topics, and unless one searches carefully, we get a dialogue of the deaf. Peacock's Parlour split off as a subthread of Tunes and repertoire, but didn't generate significantly new ideas. One problem is that this BB has fewer people on it anyway than Dartmouth, so fragmenting the audience in this narrowcast way (which might have worked on Dartmouth) means that no spark ever really sets the fire going.

John

Re: Discussion is dead.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:15 am
by Mike Dixon
In addition to the fragmentation, which I agree is an issue I think there are a couple of things that might help;

This board is in general, setting up alerts apart ( which I have lost somehow!) a 'pull' mechanism. Might it be an idea to send topic alerts to the Old Dartmouth list to see if we can 'hoover up' some more members? In addition could alerts to all board members to new posts in all forums be the default setting you have to opt out of?

I think a front page with new posts would make navigation easier - see melodeon.net which uses this to great effect - it might be me but I spend a bit of time scrolling up and down to find the new stuff

It does seem to be very quiet which is a pity, there was some lively discussion on 'Dartmouth' - I do think thought that this board is potentially a much better information exchange mechanism and, especially, archive.

Mike

Re: Discussion is dead.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:19 am
by pipemakermike
There are a number of things that could help.
A lot of users have insufficient information in their profile. It is helpful to know where a piper is based. It should also be mandatory to have the real name in the profile. Here is my profile from another forum:-
Image
Of the 193 current members 119 of them have never posted anything. The success of this forum is really in the hands of the members. Of course with it being such a narrow specialisation it is never going to become a hotbed of chatter but, If so few people make the effort to comunicate, it is hard to see how things can improve. To give some context - I am a member of a number of Aeromodelling forums and I have done some counting. On the largest forum there are 3137 members in total and, of them, 40% have never posted. On our forum the figure is 193 members of whom 65% have never posted.
A good place to start would be to simplify the forums. We need a general forum. The current name "All and Sundry" is not really a good description and "General Forum" or "Open Forum" would be better. The sale and exchange forum is good and the society should continue to have an area for announcements, events etc.

I would suggest the following list:-
  • General Forum
  • Classifieds
  • Events and Announcements
  • User Help Forum
These should all be at the top level and extra "specialist" sub forums only added reluctantly if a specific topic starts to overwhelm the general forum. I would think that this is unlikely!
My experience on other forums is that, when a subforum is created to address a perceived need, a small number of users move to that forum but, after a while, move back to the main forum.

Re: Discussion is dead.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:53 pm
by pipemakermike
And another thing limiting access is that the entry to the forum is buried on the members page. It would improve things if it was accessable from the homepage.

Re: Discussion is dead.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:23 pm
by Francis Wood
This forum has been in existence for over two years and has attracted a good number of members. Despite that, there is very limited participation. This is not because of lack of interest; discussion, argument and occasionally insult flourished on Dartmouth, and traffic continues on the Facebook groups. However, these areas are essentially for ephemeral communication - a feature that in some memorable cases was a good thing. There is certainly a need for the present discussion group, since it provides a resource for information and ideas which can easily be consulted.

A question has been raised concerning the fundamental use and organisation of this facility and it has generated responses from only three other participants, all of whom made very interesting observations. However, the general lack of wider response so far speaks volumes about whether the forum is achieving any useful purpose at all in its present form.

No point at all in having a party if it is to go ahead in a multitude of rooms. There are far too many separate areas and consequently far too little common purpose and interest. I strongly support the suggestions that have been made so far.

Francis

Re: Discussion is dead.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:57 pm
by Richard Evans
I'm also mystified by the lack of activity, but I think some good points have been made above. I'd like to post more on pipemaking, but there are few topics raised and then they generally don't seem to develop much.
I'll stick a toe in the water in Peacock's parlour instead.

Cheers
Richard

Re: Discussion is dead.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:00 pm
by John Gibbons
I see there are 65 topics and 74 active participants.
So hardly anybody ever need talk to anyone else?
My Father's house has many rooms....

John