Request for A Beginnner's Board

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  Mitch Thomas on Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:58 pm

Fiona
Brilliant I say brilliant! So if I am reading this right, any member can post a "how to" or "progression" and it is left for all to comment on then if deemed so it will be listed in a advanced techniques section. Or even a neophyte section for basics like soil or watering. To be used as a future reference, that can searched and used that way. Brilliant ! And when a newbe has a newbe question they can be referred there for thier answer instead of everyone chiming in with thier two cents worth. Brilliant I say!

That's why I love this fourm.

Mitch

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  fiona on Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:15 pm

Kind of. Take the Joey McCoy example and also the one of Tony's blackthorn that has been resurrected recently: Joey's is predominantly about a technique and under that example I gave should be put by the poster in the Advanced Techniques category. Tony's thread was mostly about the progression of his tree but as part of it an interesting technique emerged. It too merits being in the advanced techniques section. More routine progressions - the "here's what I've don to my xxxxx" ones - stay in the Progressions section. I would be looking for two things: first that posters give some thought to whether their thread is a simple "show and tell" (Progressions) or if it has some unique aspect that makes it more of a "teach/inform" (Advanced techniques). Second, in the case of posters who are a bit shy of putting something into Advanced Techs, then the Moderators should move it.

What we're trying to avoid is a whole load of forum boards as that gets far too confusing. Possibly what I gave in my example is already too much, possibly it is on the upper limit. A comment has been made that you should be able to see all the options without having to scroll down the page and I think that is a very fair comment. What I was trying to do is little other than achieve better housekeeping, especially in the heavily used boards of Bonsai and Bonsai Questions where topics very quickly get pushed to a previous page and forgotten about simply because of the sheer volume of threads.


I believe that the way forward is the right blend of forum boards to keep things neat, good thread titling to allow better searching (the Search function is very limited) and stickies/FAQs to refer members to when the same question comes up time and again.

Bottom line is we can always try it and change it back again if it doesn't work.

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  JimLewis on Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:32 pm

Bottom line is we can always try it and change it back again if it doesn't work.

Hmmm . . . Can we? What would happen to posts that were in forums that suddenly don't exist?

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  fiona on Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:38 pm

We'd have to move them back to where they came from. A pain but do-able. But to be avoided at all costs which is why it's so important we get this right first time if we are going to do it at all. Maintaining the status quo is very much an option too.

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  coh on Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:39 pm

A few additional thoughts...

Fiona, all the effort and thought you've put into this is much appreciated!

The proposed structure basically would double the number of forums, from 9 to 17 (unless I miscounted). I'm not sure at what point the number of individual forums becomes counter-productive, but perhaps the way to approach this, if such a structure is to be implemented, would be to do it gradually rather than all at once. I know that BonsaiNut, in my opinion, has too many forums and I rarely browse through most of them (unless the most recently updated thread title catches my eye). Wouldn't want to see that happen here.

The more I think about it, the more I agree about it being important to avoid being "elitist" by separating beginners (which would include myself) into a separate forum. However...I do think it's important to be more aggressive in moving inappropriate threads to their proper forum, such as (to paraphrase Tony) the "6 inch seedling in a 5 litre pot" threads that show up in the current "bonsai" forum. If left, those dilute the content and push more deserving threads off the first page.

Similarly, I would avoid adding stickies as much as possible, as this also pushes threads down. I'd rather see a specific "library" forum or some other implementation of a library feature where particularly informative threads could be collated.

I do like your proposed "personal space" forum and agree it should only be visible to logged in members.

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  fiona on Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:10 pm

We could easily lose four sub-fora straight off by keeping Announcements and General Discussion as one each, and by only having two in Bonsai Questions (say, General Questions and Basic Styling Advice). That would not unduly affect things. Taking that line it would look like:


ῼ Testing and FAQs
ῼ Personal Space
- Who am I? (introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your experience)
- Galleries (members are invited to post a single thread showcasing their trees)
ῼ Bonsai
- Show reports
- Advanced Techniques (where members show trees they have worked on using advanced or innovative techniques such as grafting, layering)
- Progression Sequences (where members can show the progress they have made on their trees)
ῼ Bonsai Questions
where members can ask for assistance or advice on bonsai issues. Members are advised to read the appropriate FAQs and/or to search through previous entries to see if their own question has already been answered.
- General Questions
- Styling (requests for advice with future direction of trees in an early stage of development)
ῼ Pests and Diseases
Where members can ask the Doctor about any pest or disease problems with their trees
ῼ Pots
ῼ Suiseki, Viewing Stones and Scholar Rocks
ῼ Display – Tables, Kusamono, Accent Plantings, Scrolls
ῼ Announcements
ῼ General Discussion & Off Topic Banter


You could probably even roll Show Reports into another location as well, reducing actually forum boards to twelve. I think we could make far better use of the General Discussion board rather than tie it up with "silly" threads, which is why I'd suggested two sub-forums there. The General one would include all those artistic discussions, and the many threads about the weather etc. which are interesting but have no real teaching/learning content.



Last edited by fiona on Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:16 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  fiona on Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:12 pm

coh wrote: Similarly, I would avoid adding stickies as much as possible, as this also pushes threads down. I'd rather see a specific "library" forum or some other implementation of a library feature where particularly informative threads could be collated.
I agree, and this is probably what would be in the Tutorials/FAQs section.

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  Mike Jones on Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:16 pm

JimLewis wrote:
Bottom line is we can always try it and change it back again if it doesn't work.

Hmmm . . . Can we? What would happen to posts that were in forums that suddenly don't exist?

Oh for goodness sake man! Fiona has embraced this idea, as have others. ...CLEARLY. Do you like just being antagonistic about everything; or is there a slim chance you might just agree with someone about something about anything??

Fiona, and many others; Thank you all; and I'm sorry if I said what I was thinking. I meant every word!

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  marcus watts on Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:01 pm

hi, and thankyou Fiona for both taking on board what I said and for responding with such a well designed and thought out overview of the potential forum. Thank goodness you didn't have a powercut in the snow!

Simply briliant - the levels and sub levels will work perfectly. This is the best forum of any subject I know of, and by defining the levels of information the posts with helpfull methods and a wealth of bonsai information will not get lost or buried under normal chat.

Opening up with personal info is very nice - the forum is strong because of the people we have joining in and sharing unselfishly.

I dont think people need to worry about not finding new posts in the various levels. i use the feature that lists all topics that have new posts since my last visit and a list pops up making it easy to see what has happened.

Good things are afoot i think - and if i can be of any help in any way please ask.

thanjks Marcus


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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  JimLewis on Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:25 pm

Oh for goodness sake man! Fiona has embraced this idea, as have others. ...CLEARLY. Do you like just being antagonistic about everything; or is there a slim chance you might just agree with someone about something about anything??

Good lord. Lighten up, and stop being so bloody pissy yourself. This was a mannerly discussion until that bit of crap. I agree with Fiona about most of this. I've been through discussions like this one more times than you can possibly imagine, through every earlier iteration of the Internet Bonsai Club, back to the late 1980s.

Apologies to Fiona for a thankless job. I'll keep further "discussion" on this for the Monderator's board, so the nitwits won't get angry at me (again).

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  Mike Jones on Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:33 pm

JimLewis wrote:
Oh for goodness sake man! Fiona has embraced this idea, as have others. ...CLEARLY. Do you like just being antagonistic about everything; or is there a slim chance you might just agree with someone about something about anything??

Good lord. Lighten up, and stop being so bloody pissy yourself. This was a mannerly discussion until that bit of crap. I agree with Fiona about most of this. I've been through discussions like this one more times than you can possibly imagine, through every earlier iteration of the Internet Bonsai Club, back to the late 1980s.

Apologies to Fiona for a thankless job. I'll keep further "discussion" on this for the Monderator's board, so the nitwits won't get angry at me (again).

Bet you don't. Laughing keep it in the 'Monderator's' board that is. Sleep

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=nitwit lol!

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  landerloos on Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:48 pm

mmmm I am a nitwit???

Peter

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  kimo on Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:02 am

Mike Jones wrote:
JimLewis wrote:
Oh for goodness sake man! Fiona has embraced this idea, as have others. ...CLEARLY. Do you like just being antagonistic about everything; or is there a slim chance you might just agree with someone about something about anything??

Good lord. Lighten up, and stop being so bloody pissy yourself. This was a mannerly discussion until that bit of crap. I agree with Fiona about most of this. I've been through discussions like this one more times than you can possibly imagine, through every earlier iteration of the Internet Bonsai Club, back to the late 1980s.

Apologies to Fiona for a thankless job. I'll keep further "discussion" on this for the Monderator's board, so the nitwits won't get angry at me (again).

Bet you don't. Laughing keep it in the 'Monderator's' board that is. Sleep

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=nitwit lol!

Nitwit?? ouch! pirat




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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  marcus watts on Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:59 am

JimLewis wrote: I've been through discussions like this one more times than you can possibly imagine, through every earlier iteration of the Internet Bonsai Club, back to the late 1980s.

this was my point exactly - the users of the forum have requested some valid and viable improvements many many times before - and this makes you wonder if there is a 'head in the sand' mentality somewhere in the system? - surely there must be some people at moderator level wanting advanced content areas and a layout like the one outlined by Fiona above? or is it just the users that can see the need?

In one breath people are concerned that the experienced artists and growers are slipping away from the board, taking a wealth of experience with them, but when the request for areas that would actually keep them more interested repeatedly amounts in nothing can you actually blame them?..

if it needs money have an auction - we will support it, if it needs labour approach people and ask them - they will help out , if it just needs a new way of thinking......then it is in your hands and not ours.

cheers Marcus

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  fiona on Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:41 am

Before returning to the matter in hand, I would like to point out that Jim is being very unfairly singled out for criticism as he has been one of the strongest supporters of considering change. His point about the ease of restoring to what went before should things not work out is perfectly valid and I fully agree with him that is must be taken into consideration.

Think of this: I am suggesting in my example that we split Bonsai Questions into two sub-forums. If we do that, then unless we name the sub-forums carefully, someone has to go through the existing threads and allocate them to a new sub-forum. Otherwise we lose them. Only moderators can move topics so that makes for a heavy workload for someone. It gets even more hazardous if you take the very traffic heavy Bonsai forum.

My task for today is logistical - to establish precisely how easily we could shift existing posts into new areas and how easily we could shift them back in the (unlikely if we get this planning phase right) event of having to shift back. The answer to that will largely drive how much we can add to/alter the existing set-up. Jim is right in advocating that we proceed with caution for that reason. I believe, as does he, that some sort of "improvement" is necessary but it shouldn't be change for the sake of change.

But there is one thing that concerns me: there have been some very positive suggestions and contributions from you guys on this thread and we thank you for taking the time and trouble to do so in a mannerly and positive fashion. But so far only about twenty have commented - do the rest not want any changes or are they just not interested or bothered? And in particular, where are the contributions from all these "big names" who are supposedly getting put off by the current set-up? Their lack of comment makes me just wonder if it's really just an ego thing with them and in essence it wouldn't make any difference what we did on here. Just a thought.

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  fiona on Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:54 am

A short synopsis of where we are currently:

1. there seems to be support for a "Personal Space" new forum where members can introduce themselves and where those who so wish can put up a gallery of their trees

2. there is scope for some additional forum boards partly to assist in keeping like posts together and partly to reduce the heavy flow into two forums in particular which results in posts getting relegated to previous pages very quickly

3. BUT any new forum boards need to be carefully selected to make initial set-up and any undoing that becomes necessary easy to effect.

4. there is a strong case for a FAQs section that members to which members can be directed to prevent the endless repetition of the same old same old questions (a factor which IS annoying but is one of those things in forum life we need to deal with if we are to ensure that new members are encouraged rather than discouraged)

Additionally, John Quinn has suggested a way in which the Search facility could be enhanced and we are currently looking at that.


I am also seeing that members could do more to help themselves. This includes:

. better titling of new threads to assist in future Searches
. better use of the Favorites function so that they can "file" those threads they find interesting

Onwards we go.

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  my nellie on Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:19 am

fiona wrote: ... ... His point about the ease of restoring to what went before should things not work out is perfectly valid and I fully agree with him that is must be taken into consideration.
... ... My task for today is logistical - to establish precisely how easily we could shift existing posts into new areas and how easily we could shift them back in the (unlikely if we get this planning phase right) event of having to shift back. The answer to that will largely drive how much we can add to/alter the existing set-up. Jim is right in advocating that we proceed with caution for that reason. I believe, as does he, that some sort of "improvement" is necessary but it shouldn't be change for the sake of change.
... ... Onwards we go.
Wish you tons of patience at the time you will begin separating threads... I used to be a forum moderator (31.000 members at the time) and I can imagine what you will be going through.
But, maybe a suggestion could help in directing your thoughts in a variant path.... So, have you considered to keep the existing threads into some kind of archival form? If this could be adjusted then it would save you Hours of work and labour, I think....

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  fiona on Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:24 am

Thanks Alexandra. All suggestions as to how to make the admin side of any change we do easy are gratefully accepted. I think the plan is to go with something that involves minimal change from the existing. Less work all round and even more importantly, less scope for anything to go wrong in the changeover process. That's the real worry.

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  DangerousBry on Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:53 am

Hi all....
I'm loving the forum. Change always brings problems. Whatever these changes maybe it will be embraced by all I'm sure.
For me, I would like to ask if it's just ideas about the format, or is there scope for Technology updates as well!??
As an avid reader of the forum I access it through mobile phone and tablet devices. However with these there is no way of posting photographs.
Members would be able to post 'Instant' updates and photos, whilst working on their trees. It would be more dynamic.

Thanks
Bryan

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  stavros on Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:53 pm

JimLewis wrote:
Oh for goodness sake man! Fiona has embraced this idea, as have others. ...CLEARLY. Do you like just being antagonistic about everything; or is there a slim chance you might just agree with someone about something about anything??

Good lord. Lighten up, and stop being so bloody pissy yourself. This was a mannerly discussion until that bit of crap. I agree with Fiona about most of this. I've been through discussions like this one more times than you can possibly imagine, through every earlier iteration of the Internet Bonsai Club, back to the late 1980s.

Apologies to Fiona for a thankless job. I'll keep further "discussion" on this for the Monderator's board, so the nitwits won't get angry at me (again).


I have to say that we appreciate what the moderators are doing, and i know personally it is hard work sometimes.

On the other hand, if i was to call people names (see above), i would probably receive PM from a moderator to use better language.........

Regardless of how the discussion was led there, I think an apology is in order.

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  Mitch Thomas on Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:56 pm

Fiona
Blessed are the peace keepers. Thank you! I trust in your wisdom.
I think some need to take a deep breath and remember what's important here first of all international friendship, secondly our border less love of BONSAI. It's really not much more complicated than that! I for one came to this site for two things friendship and information they both go hand and hand.

Thanks again to all who manage this great fourm

Sincerly Mitch Thomas

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:58 pm

Can we somehow get some of the experts that post on here, to pitch in on this conversation? I wonder what Walter Pall, Robert Steven, Budi Sulistyo, Min Hsuan Lo, Robert Kempinski, Suthin Sukosolvisit, Boon Manakitivipart and all the other great, expert level bonsai artists, would recommend we change in this forum, if anything. Maybe these guys are too busy, but if we're proposing changes to get more responses from them, I'd love to hear they're opinions. I'm seeing Suthin this weekend, maybe I'll try to catch up with him and ask him.

Thanks Y'all.
Happy Easter!!!!
Sam


Last edited by Sam Ogranaja on Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:59 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  Ingvar Nilsson on Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:59 pm

fiona wrote:
But there is one thing that concerns me: there have been some very positive suggestions and contributions from you guys on this thread and we thank you for taking the time and trouble to do so in a mannerly and positive fashion. But so far only about twenty have commented - do the rest not want any changes or are they just not interested or bothered? And in particular, where are the contributions from all these "big names" who are supposedly getting put off by the current set-up? Their lack of comment makes me just wonder if it's really just an ego thing with them and in essence it wouldn't make any difference what we did on here. Just a thought.

They're all busy posting on their blogs... Wink
I like the idea of a few new boards
faqs/artikles/how-to's are a great idea.
Splitting general and of topic is also great.
I don't think splitting bonsai questions into subforums like soil/watering/tools/collecting/drastic pruning Wink /species specific or similar is good. To many places. Less people would look and comment and the "what soil"-question sooner or later leads to "how to water this?" and "do I really need 6 sizes of Scissors?"
(I'm typing this on my iPhone, sorry for typos)

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  fiona on Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:15 pm

Ingvar Nilsson wrote: I don't think splitting bonsai questions into subforums like soil/watering/tools/collecting/drastic pruning Wink /species specific or similar is good. To many places. Less people would look and comment and the "what soil"-question sooner or later leads to "how to water this?" and "do I really need 6 sizes of Scissors?" (I'm typing this on my iPhone, sorry for typos)
I am more and more of the opinion that you are right in that - most certainly for the Bonsai Questions forum. I think that a better and simpler way to do it would be to encourage members to use much more clearly defined titles for their questions - e.g. Styling question for boxwood, or Tree Identification - conifer, or What soil is best for xxxx? That way, readers know quite clearly what the question is about and it also will make future searches a lot easier.

Thanks for taking the time to post, Ingvar.

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

Post  drgonzo on Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:24 pm

stavros wrote:

On the other hand, if i was to call people names (see above), i would probably receive PM from a moderator to use better language.........

Regardless of how the discussion was led there, I think an apology is in order.

I'm forced to agree, when a Moderator feels free to be disrespectful to the board members it reflects poorly on the forum as a whole. This sort of attitude is something I personally would like to see changed as the forum moves forward.

-Jay

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Re: Request for A Beginnner's Board

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