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 Whatcha think? A makeover that lets the public only see one forum

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Peter
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PostSubject: Whatcha think? A makeover that lets the public only see one forum   Thu 03 Mar 2011, 11:24

This site is just way too intimidating for the average person. There are eight forums in the Public category and four more in the regional. Then, if a person registers they have a whole other part open up to them.

I can make it so anyone coming to this site only sees one forum. One forum here would be like Ygroups on steroids but might not be so intimidating to everyone.

I know that is the reason many folks are scared away, though I have been wondering if we're not being black-listed here. This site was conceived from the need for an effective communications tool for the local community here in Michoacán, one that would accept Spanish accent characters and diacritical marks without the machine going nuts and spitting out a slew of junk characters if someone had the audacity to use an apostrophe.

If I were to do this it would only effect what a non-member would see and would not require them to register in order to post. We would remain uneffected. Whatcha'think?
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cheenagringo
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PostSubject: Re: Whatcha think? A makeover that lets the public only see one forum   Thu 03 Mar 2011, 11:56

I think you are in the "damned if you do or damned if you don't" range with your question. I don't believe there are many forums out there that haven't gone through exactly the same conundrum. The main purpose/goal of any forum is to try to get the greatest participation to enhance the experiences and information available. It is only natural for some people to feel intimidated by something new and thus hesitant to participate. To some extent those who are often called "lurkers" may sit on the sidelines for extended periods until the day that a topic catches their attention and they finally feel the motivation to participate. Others may be "lurkers" all their lives. From my experience, it isn't the total number of members but rather the total number of active members which dictate the relative success of a forum.

You are very early into the building process and I would say it might be way too early to start analyzing the whys and wherefores. I would think that worrying about people being intimidated should be less of a concern and efforts would be more positive if oriented towards providing potential members with a strong reason to join and participate. We have all seen forum that dangle the "what is behind doors 2 and 3 that I cannot see unless I join" carrot and I have seen people intimidated by that. On the other hand, if you have way too much info out there for consumption, then an attitude develops that they have no need to join.

I am of the belief that if a forum not only provides great info but also there is a tone to people's answers to questions that seem hospitable, people will join and participate.

PS: I just backed out to see what the public can see at present. One observation is that there isn't any info or clue as to what might be hidden behind the locked doors. It just looks like a forum with two categories they can participate in without joining.
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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Whatcha think? A makeover that lets the public only see one forum   Thu 03 Mar 2011, 12:28

Unfortunately with this type of BBS you cannot see what is behind the doors. All I can do to enhance that is as I have already done by putting descriptions on these forums. Someone might come along that has a clue, or by accident, and click on something and find it opening up to them.

I have a number of people I have talked to that find such a large site so scary and there are just not enough waaaa-ambulances in Mexico to accomodate them all. I will write a letter of apology to the public for putting the many forums I wanted open for public consumption now into the category of "Members Light" which is nothing I am trying to hide except the big, bad, scary forums that just overwhelm the Luddites.

I am thinking I have an advantage in making a good site because I did not do it with vanity as my motivation but was trying to accomodate our Morelia ex-pat club among whom there are members that use the Ygroup sites but are scared to death about what is behind these forum doors. All I could do to further accomodate them was to reduce the number of these menacing doors.

I am extrememly pleased by our A-team of Mexico bloggers that are contributing and wish to make it available to the public and not care whether or not they register here, that really does not matter as I just want the info to go out to those who seek it. Hopefully, like you suggest, some will register when an appropriate topic comes along and begin to contribute. I just don't want to alienate those who I specifically built the site for to begin with.

Indeed it is a conundrum. Merci.
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Don Cuevas
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PostSubject: ¡Buena Idea!   Thu 03 Mar 2011, 13:27

Peter wrote:
Quote :
I can make it so anyone coming to this site only sees one forum. One forum here would be like Ygroups on steroids but might not be so intimidating to everyone.

I agree with that concept. I was already thinking about suggesting it I also agree with CG that it's far too early to be analyzing this. As I said before, you are doing fine and need to be patient.

Since this subject has come up, I'll suggest a few other changes for the benfit of both the site and the members. I think that you could consolidate and perhaps redefine several, but not all, of the sub forums, which to me are presently a bit vaguely defined and very likely redundant in purpose. Looking over the present lineup, I see under PUBLIC these sub fora:

¿Que Pasa? What's happening? General questions and information, current affairs in the community, and things of concern at this moment. Congratulations, Happy Birthday, and How was lunch?

Fiestas Places and Events

and

Noticias y Avisos
News and announcements that are pertinent to Michoacán and Mexico in general. No public posting on this forum.
The last one contradicts the PUBLIC header of the overall category.

Here's my NSHO: Make ¿Que Pasa? or retitle it "Bienvendos a Todos", or something like that, to be the only publically accessible forum. Registration required for the rest.

Move Fiestas, Places and Events to Members (write only, but public can read.)

Move Noticias y Avisos to the Members section. Again, public can read but not write.

Now that you have only one Public forum to administer, we can have a look at the Members (read and write privileges)

Why have two separate shades or flavors of Members Forum? I note the Members Light. Why not eliminate the distinction and just let the posts go into the appropriate sub-categories?

En General and La Sala seem to fulfill pretty much the same function. Why not combine them? They are also similar in purpose to ¿Que Pasa?

This Isn't Kansas Anymore (I do love that name) and The Inside Scoop seem to overlap. I don't understand the distinction. Recommended for consolidation.

La Comida can stay. (I bet you knew that I'd say that.)

¿Sabes por Donde? can be useful, but in someways it overlaps function with This Isn't Kansas. Possibly candidates for consolidation. I don't have a strong opinion on these two. (Also, while I like the colorful Spanish titles you've given to some sub-fora, I'm thinking that that may intimidate or confuse newbies.)

Getting Around: very useful potential. A keeper.

¿Hablas Español? Another keeper.

REGIONAL: Just fine. Leave as is, with the option of adding other places to it if the need arises later.

La Sala: see above.

Immanentizing etc.: great title, fairly intimidating. I didn't still don't know what it means. :-)

Muchas Cosas. Fine, although it might be more useful entitled "Se Vende Se compra y Se Renta", or something like that.

Bromas: Could be consolidated perhaps with Back Behind the Barn? I'm not sure.

Back Behind the Barn (I'll never go there to post; only to read.)

Finally! Put Our Purpose For Being at the top of the site. But perhaps it doesn't need to be in a separate category of its own.

Now, I know there's not much time before you go to Wang Jiao, so I don't expect you to make all these changes before comida. Before cena would be fine. lol!

Have a great afternoon. See you later. (If we're still talking.) Smile


Last edited by Don Cuevas on Thu 03 Mar 2011, 13:29; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Spelling)
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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Whatcha think? A makeover that lets the public only see one forum   Thu 03 Mar 2011, 19:16

Let's see how this boils down in a reply. It seems most suggestions had some reason for being as they are for the moment and maybe we can fix what is left.

Quote :

Noticias y Avisos
News and announcements that are pertinent to Michoacán and Mexico in general. No public posting on this forum.
The last one contradicts the PUBLIC header of the overall category.

Here's my NSHO: Make ¿Que Pasa? or retitle it "Bienvendos a Todos", or something like that, to be the only publically accessible forum. Registration required for the rest.

Move Fiestas, Places and Events to Members (write only, but public can read.)

Move Noticias y Avisos to the Members section. Again, public can read but not write.

Noticias yAvisos is mainly for consulate messages and warnings and things of that nature. I want that for all to see so for that reason it is public but I don't allow posting there so as to not cloud-up the message.

Renaming that Bienvenidos is an OK idea and maybe will change soon. I can include enough description to let the public know it is their BS place for most everything. With the changes right now everyone could be wonderin ¿Qué pasa? so I'll give it another day or so before changing.

At the moment public can read and write to Fiestas. That was debatable and you seem to agree it is good for the public to view so it stays in Public section but I may change access rights to members only. That will leave the public one forum to post to, which was the idea.

Quote :

Why have two separate shades or flavors of Members Forum? I note the Members Light. Why not eliminate the distinction and just let the posts go into the appropriate sub-categories?

En General and La Sala seem to fulfill pretty much the same function. Why not combine them? They are also similar in purpose to ¿Que Pasa?

This Isn't Kansas Anymore (I do love that name) and The Inside Scoop seem to overlap. I don't understand the distinction. Recommended for consolidation.

Members Light was just a temporary category of convenience so I could try this and switch it back or whatever. It is what the public formerly had full read/write access but I want to remove it from view so it is a Members category, but since it was for public consumption I tagged it "light". It will stay like this until I make further decision what to do with it. just as a convenience.

General and Sala are redundant, not by original intent but it ends up that way. I will eliminate La Sala and transfer its content.

Kansas and Scoop the same but they were originally in two flavors - members and public. Scoop goes.

Quote :

¿Sabes por Donde? can be useful, but in someways it overlaps function with This Isn't Kansas. Possibly candidates for consolidation. I don't have a strong opinion on these two. (Also, while I like the colorful Spanish titles you've given to some sub-fora, I'm thinking that that may intimidate or confuse newbies.)

Muchas Cosas. Fine, although it might be more useful entitled "Se Vende Se compra y Se Renta", or something like that.

Bromas: Could be consolidated perhaps with Back Behind the Barn? I'm not sure.

Back Behind the Barn (I'll never go there to post; only to read.)

Finally! Put Our Purpose For Being at the top of the site. But perhaps it doesn't need to be in a separate category of its own.

Sabes por Donde is a forum for trying to find something. Perhaps I need to re-title and clarify that a bit. I tried to keep the Spanish simple and then explain it all in the forum description.

Correct about Cosas. I will rename it. Something cuter and less generic though??

Bromas and Barn I see as very separate and different, we just haven't used the barn yet. Hopefully won't need to. But it's there!

Purpose for Being. I had it on top and thought it was a bit authoritarian so lowered it. I need to review it more objectively sometime and maybe get your opinion if it states the purpose well enough. I need input on that. It has its own category just as a page break.

It appears we agree about the other things. Some of what we just discussed is temporary - though in a sense it all is - but the Light category is just an easy way to undo things so can stay for the moment.

_________

OK then, eliminate Scoop and Sala and move their content. Rename Cosas right away and rename Que Pasa tomorrow or so, perhaps. Anything else?


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PostSubject: Re: Whatcha think? A makeover that lets the public only see one forum   Thu 03 Mar 2011, 19:28

Peter:

Please remember the definition of a camel:












A horse designed by a committee!
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Don Cuevas
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PostSubject: Re: Whatcha think? A makeover that lets the public only see one forum   Thu 03 Mar 2011, 19:55

Paso a paso, poco a poco.

Looks good to me as these changes are gradually effected.

Many thanks for the feedback.

EDIT: Perhaps "Muchas Cosas" could be renamed "El Mercado", or "El Tianguis", though how many expats might know what a tianguis is?


Last edited by Don Cuevas on Thu 03 Mar 2011, 19:58; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added another suggestion)
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Admin
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PostSubject: Re: Whatcha think? A makeover that lets the public only see one forum   Thu 03 Mar 2011, 20:25

El Mercado it is.

We need to salt the Bienvenidos forum. Looks a little bare nothing of substance is there yet.
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PostSubject: Re: Whatcha think? A makeover that lets the public only see one forum   Mon 07 Mar 2011, 10:53

I really agree with whoever said it's too early to be worrying about some of these things. I believe in the long run some of the things members and others are most interested in and want more info about will become more obvious.

Glad to hear 'members light' explained as I couldn't figure out what that meant. I thought i meant a sampling of different subjects!
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PostSubject: Re: Whatcha think? A makeover that lets the public only see one forum   Mon 07 Mar 2011, 11:13

flossiebebe wrote:
I really agree with whoever said it's too early to be worrying about some of these things. I believe in the long run some of the things members and others are most interested in and want more info about will become more obvious.

Glad to hear 'members light' explained as I couldn't figure out what that meant. I thought i meant a sampling of different subjects!

You get to look over some of the planning notes for the site here. Semi-interesting, I suppose.

Today marks two weeks since this site opened its doors. I'm still experimenting with things and hoping to find a formula that will work well. If you have any suggestions it would be a good time to bring them up. I expect in another couple weeks it will have reached its more or less permanent configuration, though it should evolve still but at least more slowly after that point.


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