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How can we make this board better?

 
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coconino



Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 77
Location: Sunny Brixton

PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:00 pm    Post subject: How can we make this board better? Reply with quote

I have a few suggestions:

1. the moderators start taking an active part in promoting and running it rather than dropping in once in a blue moon;

2. the board software should be updated and managed properly to get rid of the spam bots, and this should be done without the loss of valuable contributions from legitimate contributors;

3. the topics should be rearranged into a less formal structure to be less intimidating to new users and to allow for informal cross-topic chat;

4. the forum should be highlighted on the solarcooking.org web site, rather than hidden in a list under "Take action";

5. users of the solarcooking mailing list should be encouraged to participate in the forum and bring the community together;

6. users of the forum should be encouraged to communicate with each other more freely rather than to just broadcast their own stuff.



.
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DerekPearcy



Joined: 15 Sep 2007
Posts: 9
Location: Shelbyville, IL

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, like I had problems with registering when I first came on here. I wouldnt let me register, and kept giving me an error message when I clicked submit. So THAT is probably why there are probably hardly any new members. I had to dig thru and find the webmaster email to get ahold of him to set it up. Most people wont go thru the trouble.

Then I'm still getting errors when I do replies sometimes. It says some error 555 debug or something, but I guess it posts anyways. I kept retrying one dayd and realized it had posted the same reply 5 times.

But those things should be fixed for everything to run smoother.
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Kruegerian



Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 4
Location: Minneapolis MN USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 4:49 pm    Post subject: Discussion maintenance Reply with quote

I just logged in after a hiatus and when I posted to another topic, I got the error message, but when logging back in, my post was there... So, apparently there are still some bugs. I hope to be more active promoting the site, the disucssion list etc., as I have been collecting solar cookers for a year now. I try to cook whenever I get sun here in Mpls...and am working on a model for a "through-the-wall" oven for a probably kitchen expansion in my home! So I'll be relying on the info posted here, and will do my best to keep the chatter going....
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SharonID



Joined: 24 Jun 2007
Posts: 74
Location: northern Idaho

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:34 pm    Post subject: Re: How can we make this board better? Reply with quote

coconino wrote:
I have a few suggestions:

1. the moderators start taking an active part in promoting and running it rather than dropping in once in a blue moon;

2. the board software should be updated and managed properly to get rid of the spam bots, and this should be done without the loss of valuable contributions from legitimate contributors;

3. the topics should be rearranged into a less formal structure to be less intimidating to new users and to allow for informal cross-topic chat;

4. the forum should be highlighted on the solarcooking.org web site, rather than hidden in a list under "Take action";

5. users of the solarcooking mailing list should be encouraged to participate in the forum and bring the community together;

6. users of the forum should be encouraged to communicate with each other more freely rather than to just broadcast their own stuff.



.


Now that I'm approved for the article in Back Home, I would really like to see this poor semi-forgotten forum get into better shape. Back Home has a circulation of more than 25,000, in the USA and more than 20 other countries. If even one percent of those readers check out SCA, I'd like to have a working forum for them to check out, and that is not what I'd call these boards at the present time.

1. It's a good point, but mods are volunteers and may already be carrying as much as they can, in which case this board needs more mods (or at least volunteer 'hosts' who could keep an eye on an individual board and make sure people get some kind of response to their questions). There aren't very many of us non-mods here. Who would be willing to commit to keeping an eye on one or more boards to make sure folks who post (especially if they are posting a question) get some kind of response? I don't have the technical expertise to fix the tech problems, but I can sure answer questions. I'd be willing to take Food Processing and at least one or two others. Who else wants to volunteer?

2. Yes, but I don't have any idea how one would do this, being a total techno-klutz myself. Do we need more moderators with greater technical expertise? Does anyone reading this have that kind of knowledge? If so, are you willing to donate your skill? If none of us do, could it be possible to ask for techie volunteers on-site or through the newsletters?

3. Either that or we at least need one or two more boards for the chit-chat. It would be nice to have a welcome/newcomers board for introductions, and maybe something akin to the 'village pump' in the wiki discussions for general or off-topic discussions.

4. Good idea.

5. Amen! Hallelujah!! Yes indeed!!!

6. Ditto!!!

I think one of the most important things to 'fix' on this forum is the registration process. I had no idea it was still broken! When I went through all the hassle of emailing to find out what was up with the error message I kept getting when I tried to register, Tom said they knew about it, so I figured that meant they were going to fix it. While I will certainly list SCA as a resource, I can't plug the discussion forums in the article if no one is committed to fixing this before the issue comes out (July/August issue), because it hurts my credibility as a writer to direct people to a broken resource. If SCA wants to screen applicants for the forum, then they need to make this clear and institute an email method of signing up that is clear to everyone. If not, then they need to fix the automatic sign-up so it works without error messages. I agree that many people will not go to the trouble of emailing when they get the error message.

The error messages when posting (just got one of those myself today, though the post had gone through) are also very confusing for people and another techie item that needs fixing. Also, though I have the appropriate box checked, I never receive email notification of new posts, so that is another feature that would be very good to fix. Another problem is the way the site cuts
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SharonID



Joined: 24 Jun 2007
Posts: 74
Location: northern Idaho

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:48 pm    Post subject: Re: How can we make this board better? Reply with quote

SharonID wrote:



The error messages when posting (just got one of those myself today, though the post had gone through) are also very confusing for people and another techie item that needs fixing. Also, though I have the appropriate box checked, I never receive email notification of new posts, so that is another feature that would be very good to fix. Another problem is the way the site cuts


Well, could you possibly ask for a better demonstration of the post-cutting problem than that!? Wink Oy. It is especially disconcerting because 'preview' always makes it look as though the whole thing is going to post. Confused
Anyway, what I was saying when I was cut off was that another thing that needs fixing is the way the site cuts posts short, way too short for some of the kinds of information we exchange here. It's ridiculous that I had to cut the report of the cooking demo at the Barter Fair into three parts to get it to post, and I never did get around to reworking the report on my fabulous multi-cooker birthday feast into a multi-part post. There must be some way to tweak things so that longer items can post in one piece.

This board needs way more techie input than it is getting. Does anyone reading this have that kind of expertise and a willingness to volunteer it? If not, is there some way we can appeal to the wider SCI/SCIA membership either on-site or through the newsletter to try to find more volunteers with this type of expertise? Tom may already be giving all the time he can spare, so I don't want this thread to be about heaping more on his shoulders but rather an exploration of what he needs to do the job right and how those needs might be met.

Regards,
SharonID
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webmaster
Site Admin


Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 66
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:18 am    Post subject: I totally agree with the original suggestions. Reply with quote

I would like to be more active in the forum. One big help would be if we could find someone familiar with PHPBB who could debug the registration problem that we have been having. Please send the email of anyone who might be able to help to webmaster@solarcooking.org.
Thanks,

Tom Sponheim
Moderator
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webmaster
Site Admin


Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 66
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:13 pm    Post subject: The registration problem is now fixed Reply with quote

I have edited the registration page so that new registrants are asked to write an email to webmaster@solarcooking.org to register. I then register them manually and approve their accounts. We are still getting a hundred or so spambots registering each day, but I have turned off the display of unapproved accounts, so the membership lists always displays only the approved list of accounts.
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SharonID



Joined: 24 Jun 2007
Posts: 74
Location: northern Idaho

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:50 pm    Post subject: Re: The registration problem is now fixed Reply with quote

webmaster wrote:
I have edited the registration page so that new registrants are asked to write an email to webmaster@solarcooking.org to register. I then register them manually and approve their accounts. We are still getting a hundred or so spambots registering each day, but I have turned off the display of unapproved accounts, so the membership lists always displays only the approved list of accounts.


Thanks for doing that and for letting us know. I'm sure it will help to have a clearer sign-up procedure for the real people who want to join.

Regards,
SharonID
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that I've looked into it more, it seems that registration still needs to be done manually by people sending me email and telling me a bit about their solar cooking interest. If I turn on self-registration, then I would have no way to differenciate that few good registrants from the hundreds of spambot registrants.

People have been registering the way we have it now, so I'll leave it that way.

Tom
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