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Encouraging wider use of the BBS

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:35 am
by Tpfairfax
I have split this out from a discussion in the BB Organisation section - As it strikes me that it warrants discrete discussion on its own.

It was noted by a couple of the more active contributors, that only a small proportion of the community appear to use or contribute to the BBS. It was further suggested that we should discuss ways of increasing the use of this resource. I agree - I think this is an important discussion.

My own personal view is as follows:

I note that as a pretty self reliant "player for pleasure" for many years, I was not only not using the BBS, I was unaware of its existence and only found it (and the NPS) when I had a problem to solve, and resorted to the internet.

For that significant proportion of the piping community, for whom the NSP are a luxury evasion, (or possibly a guilty catch up), there may be little need or incentive to browse the board or even find its existence. To be frank - I don't think we need to worry about this - it is an amazing resource which is there when people need it - and for those of us who are using quite a bit - incredibly useful.

I think the difference comes when we need to use it as an explicit tool to solve a general piping community challenge, such as the availability of pipes for new players, or discuss issues of interest to the whole community. Under these conditions, I suspect we need to take a broader view of the project and support it more widely, either through Society and Community Media or through a wider PR campaign. I am aware that we are all fortunate to have some PR specialists on the various committees who may be able to advise..

It will be interesting to see other peoples views.

KR

T

Re: Encouraging wider use of the BBS

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:43 pm
by Francis Wood
Hello Tom,

It is good to read of your active interest in this Forum and in increasing its use. I have always regarded this as an important resource which is sadly neglected. Facebook is interesting and carries much that is of value but it is necessarily ephemeral. Sometimes that's a fortunate thing but generally anything of value is quickly lost. Here it can be permanent.

I do think this is an issue that deserves some committee discussion if that has not already happened. Apart from the printed matter issued by the Society this is the only place where information, observations, advice and questions can interact and accumulate to form a resource for future reference. Its capabilities are entirely congruent with the aims of the Society but generally there has been little committee involvement in promoting and developing this resource.

There's a sticky post on the Northumbrian Piping Newsgroup linking directly with this forum. Though that Newsgroup has no official connection with the NPS, it is achieving what the NPS Facebook page has neglected to do. So I'd suggest that as a simple matter to correct as a first step.

If the committee agree that this is an area of development then it would be good to observe some wider committee participation in its use, in addition to your postings and Andy's, both of which I am very glad to see.

Francis

Re: Encouraging wider use of the BBS

PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:12 am
by RobSay
The most critical issue is that board cannot be found and cannot be seen to be active. It currently takes 10 minutes for a new user to get to the real content and see if there is anything worth reading.

1. Open up the board content so it's readable by anyone without logging in (with the exception of current For Sale)
2. Make sure the actual discussions are found in Google et al.
3. Make historical For Sale notices visible - this drives an extraordinary volume of traffic to active sites.

The measure is putting "Northumbrian Pipes" into your search engine: https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q= ... n+Pipes%22
Forum content needs to be in the first 5 rows; and specifically 'For Sale' notices. That doesn't happen unless there are inbound and outbound links from message content that the search engine can follow.

For comparison - look at alternative successful specific instrument forms - where the content is readable:
http://forums.bobdunsire.com/forums/for ... .php?f=356
http://www.concertina.net/forums/
http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?action=forum

It is worth noting that all of these are *not* run by the equivalent organisation to the NPS for those instruments - but by individuals. That is a separate discussion.

Re: Encouraging wider use of the BBS

PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:07 am
by pipemakermike
Yes I agree that it would be better if all the content was visible to the passing visitor. Most/all of the other forums I read have a policy of allowing anybody to read the content but only registered members to post to the forum and this seems to be a good policy.
The lack of visibility was also part of the problem but this has been addressed by putting a link on the society's front page. I am not sure what more can be done here.
The policy for the forum is currently set on the safe side and most of the forums I visit do this. Either a moderator will check every posting or, as is the case here, a moderator will check the first posting of a newly registered memberbefore making it visible to the forum. This seems to work OK. There was a problem some years ago when there was hundreds of registered members most of whom seemed to be unconnected with piping and probably here to post adverts for dodgy websites or other mischief. These have now been deleted.
One problem that I am currently struggling to work out what to do about is the number of registered members who have not shared their real name or location. I know that the legal view is that we should not allow anonymous postings but I have tried the softly- softly approach of asking that the users concerned add their name to their profile with little success. I would value other users input to this. The only other thing I can do is to delete any user who doesn't have an accurate profile. Some forums require that any new user requires allowing into the fold by a forum administrator before they can post and this might be the way forward here as the number of new users is quite low.
The For Sale forum deletes any posting older than 3 months (90 days) and this seems to be working. Previously the forum was full of pipes for sale and it was not clear which had been sold as few sellers updated their entry when the set had been sold at least this way the list was self limiting.

Re: Encouraging wider use of the BBS

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:03 am
by Richard Evans
pipemakermike wrote:Yes I agree that it would be better if all the content was visible to the passing visitor. Most/all of the other forums I read have a policy of allowing anybody to read the content but only registered members to post to the forum and this seems to be a good policy.

One problem that I am currently struggling to work out what to do about is the number of registered members who have not shared their real name or location. I know that the legal view is that we should not allow anonymous postings but I have tried the softly- softly approach of asking that the users concerned add their name to their profile with little success. I would value other users input to this. The only other thing I can do is to delete any user who doesn't have an accurate profile. Some forums require that any new user requires allowing into the fold by a forum administrator before they can post and this might be the way forward here as the number of new users is quite low.


It's a real pain having to log in to see if there are any new posts- anyone should be able to read the forum.
Anonymous posters are a nuisance, here and elsewhere. Why should anybody respect the opinions of someone who is reluctant to tell us who they are?

Thanks for all the work Mike,
Richard

Re: Encouraging wider use of the BBS

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:25 am
by pipemakermike
Hi Richard

I have found where to reset the permissions for the forums and I have set them so that any passing stranger can read but not post to any forum

Regarding the Anonymous poster problem do you thing that it would be too draconian for me to remove them after a couple of requests to up-date their profile?

Currently I am only aware of 1 regular poster who doesn't have a full name in the profile "Workers and Drones" and I think I do know the real name of this person. I have reviewed his posts and they cause no problems and are "on topic"

Re: Encouraging wider use of the BBS

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:28 am
by Richard Evans
pipemakermike wrote:Hi Richard

I have found where to reset the permissions for the forums and I have set them so that any passing stranger can read but not post to any forum

Regarding the Anonymous poster problem do you thing that it would be too draconian for me to remove them after a couple of requests to up-date their profile?

"


Yes, straight in the forum this morning- good!
I don't think what you suggest is unreasonable at all, but that's just me, maybe others aren't concerned by the issue?

Re: Encouraging wider use of the BBS

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:39 am
by GrahamRB
There's nowt to stop folks using a nom de cyber (guerre), I suspect that chasing down real names would be pointless, fruitless and unrewarding.

Re: Encouraging wider use of the BBS

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:34 pm
by pipemakermike
Hi Graham??

I have given it some thought and I think that the sensible way forward is to keep a watching brief and if there are any anonymous postings that could cause any dismay to other users then in the first instance move the anonymous poster to the new user group thus allowing all posts to require moderation. I really doubt that this will ever be needed as we have generally polite and useful postings here.

Re: Encouraging wider use of the BBS

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:16 pm
by GrahamRB
Hi Mike!
It would seem that all forums come under intrusion from ne'er do wells, scrotes, trolls etc. at some point.

Whilst ever traffic is minimal, monitoring's probably the best option.