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Author Topic: IMPORTANT: General Plans For The Cauldron 4.0 (Comments Wanted)  (Read 44841 times)
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« Reply #30: May 06, 2011, 07:06:17 pm »


I could help with some fundraising goods. I still have a whole box of ceramic stuff earmarked for a thread that never did much here >.> And I've been making more stuff, so I have plenty of doo-dads that could go for the cause. We could make an Etsy or Ebay store and fund-raise through there, I suppose. I don't know about Ebay, but Etsy is getting a little... odd, for those trying to sell there, though.

As for the board stuff, I do not know enough technical details to support one type of software over another. But, so long as we can still search old archives, I would have no problem following to a new board. I don't chat much, except when I'm trying to stay up all night long on Yule, so I hesitate to offer my opinion there.
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Hyacinth Belle
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« Reply #31: May 06, 2011, 07:50:16 pm »

Sounds like I would go with VBulletin... I too like the more "old school" message board look here. It works well for what we do, I think.

Archiving and starting from scratch doesn't bother me too much. Smiley

I would also be willing to contribute some $. Not much, mind you, but hopefully we can get enough people on the bandwagon that we can spread it out really easily!

Thoughts on a social network. I haven't used either of these, but have them bookmarked for possible future use once I get a teaching gig:
http://www.blogster.com/ -- It's a "blog site," but if you look at the profiles there is a lot more to it than that. You can have "groups" on there, but it wouldn't be self-contained quite like a Ning.
http://www.spruz.com/ -- I think you gotta pay for this one.
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« Reply #32: May 06, 2011, 08:28:02 pm »

http://www.spruz.com/ -- I think you gotta pay for this one.

We tried spruzz.  It was pretty horrible. 

I don't know anything about Blogster but it might be worth a try. 
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« Reply #33: May 06, 2011, 10:45:19 pm »


I'm super noob to TC and may not have much to offer (my apologies for that) except that I'm good at being the test idiot for idiot proofing things.  A while back I was part of a group whose social network went kaput and after trying out a few alternatives that failed folks tried to develop one with WordPress MU. (I now see that is integrated into WordPress.) It would have been a great success except that we did not have the server power we needed and with the bottleneck that developed it moved slower than old school dial up. But that was on us. If we'd tried we could have afforded better. In any case, the multi sites with a news wire etc. were very good and showed promise for a self contained social net. When I used a Ning for the first time it reminded me of the MU (of course totally from a user perspective). So from my limited experience with the multi-sites, WordPress sounds cool.

One thing I had wished with that group was that we would've required a small donation to afford better servers and to cut down on the spam. Also, even a small gate fee for anything discourages spur of the moment shenanigans that can be harmful. But folks wanted things free. As a result, no more group spot. So while I am new, I have found simply reading here to be very beneficial and would pay some to have the privilege to continue in a new form. There is good wealth of knowledge and experience here and that, in my opinion, does have monetary value. (Which reminds me, I need to donate!)

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« Reply #34: May 07, 2011, 06:59:29 am »


I hate, loathe, and abhor Joomla from a site management point of view. I tried doing the website for my Trek group (www.ussredbaron.org) in Joomla. It was difficult for me, as a WYSIWYG-loving webpage creator, to use. And then we got hacked.

I've since restarted the site with Wordpress, which is what you'll see now if you check it out. I created that template with a software package called Artisteer, which I had to buy. I'd be happy to make a custom template for the new TC for free. I've also purchased the "Wordpress for Dummies" book and will soon be using Wordpress as a CMS system for my site. Right now it's really just the blog/news page.

I'm happy to contribute content to TC if it's easy to do so. I've got my "Notes for the Seeker" series planned out that could use a better home than my LiveJournal.

As far as newsletters, that seems to be a sticky wicket in a lot of places. My trek group doesn't have one any longer because I didn't have time to do it myself. We belong to a larger parent organization, and while the parent organization does have a regular print newsletter (which I just finished a short stint at producing... and GODS, was that mistake!), our regional geographic area doesn't do one any longer because of lack of interest.

I did discover this wonderful email newsletter site called "Constant Contact", which only costs $15 a month for 0-500 email subscribers. I haven't tested it out for my Trek group yet, but I get a lot of newsletters from authors and such using the service and their newsletters always look good. That may be an easy way to push out a regular newsletter linking back to content on the site without a lot of headaches. Yeah, it costs, but that cost is pretty minimal. One Gold donor can pay for that expense.

I've used sites run by VBulletin in the past, and I like them. TrekBBS is the only one I'm using now (http://www.trekbbs.com/). I really find the ads annoying, but the content structure is similar to what we have here, so I don't think it will be hard for users to adapt to.

I don't think we'll have any trouble restarting the forum, so I don't know that porting over forum content would be necessary. I'd hate to lose all the other content on the site, though, so linking back to the older material is really good.

Er, what else...? I don't have a HUGE ton of free time, as I've got quite a few other projects to catch up on or get done (like finishing up the Trek group site). However, I'm definitely available to generate new content, and I've got newsletter production/proofreading/copy-editing experience that can be utilize, though I'm not anxious to jump back in to doing a regular newsletter after just getting away from the other disaster.

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« Reply #35: May 07, 2011, 08:16:03 am »

I hate, loathe, and abhor Joomla from a site management point of view. I tried doing the website for my Trek group (www.ussredbaron.org) in Joomla. It was difficult for me, as a WYSIWYG-loving webpage creator, to use. And then we got hacked.

The main thing Joomla has going for it from my POV is something called JFusion that would allow me to have a single signon for Joomla, the Vbulletin board, a Wordpress system, and more. But Joomla is as server intensive as Wordpress and lacks things like Wordpress' Supercache mod to remedy that. Hacking Joomla a big problem on shared hosting, but it is less of a problem on a VPS like we have as there are steps you can take to make it much harder to hack if you control the machine. That said, I doubt we will use Joomla. If I don't use Wordpress, I'd be more likely to use Drupal as it is set up on the machine and is very server-friendly.

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I've since restarted the site with Wordpress, which is what you'll see now if you check it out. I created that template with a software package called Artisteer, which I had to buy. I'd be happy to make a custom template for the new TC for free.

I'll keep that in mind -- and will have to look at Artisteer. The last time I looked at it (when it first came out), it did not create very good templates -- but I was looking at it from the Drupal end.

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I'm happy to contribute content to TC if it's easy to do so. I've got my "Notes for the Seeker" series planned out that could use a better home than my LiveJournal.

TC would be happy to give it a home.

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I did discover this wonderful email newsletter site called "Constant Contact", which only costs $15 a month for 0-500 email subscribers.

With 2000+ subscribers, we'd probably have to stay with something free, which is why we use Yahoo Groups for it now.

Quote
I've used sites run by VBulletin in the past, and I like them. TrekBBS is the only one I'm using now (http://www.trekbbs.com/). I really find the ads annoying, but the content structure is similar to what we have here, so I don't think it will be hard for users to adapt to.

I just looked at this board with Adblock Plus off. I would NEVER use popover ads on any message board I ran. They make a board next to unusable, IMHO. There are other ways to do ads that do not hide the board's content.

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I don't think we'll have any trouble restarting the forum, so I don't know that porting over forum content would be necessary. I'd hate to lose all the other content on the site, though, so linking back to the older material is really good.

The main reason for porting the content is sever load issues.  If I don't port it, I have to keep the SMF board up and running with indexing bots hitting it 24/7. However, I'm not sure that preventing this is worth the porting issues.

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....though I'm not anxious to jump back in to doing a regular newsletter after just getting away from the other disaster.

I sure understand that.
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« Reply #36: May 07, 2011, 05:04:50 pm »

CauldronMUX: will remain our main chat area. We will update the MUX software and try to make the starting areas on the MUX much more like a regular chat room. This may involve restarting the MUX completely from scratch.

Disclaimer: I'm not a chatter.  But the few times I've looked around, I've been charmed that we start in the grey mists. Instead of starting over, perhaps another exit from the mists to a chatroom.  So you'd have the option to exit to the central park or to the chat room.

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Newsletter: We'd like to revive the newsletter in some form as TC was much more active when it was published regularly.  However, it is a pain to produce when we have to constantly beg people to write articles for it. Reviving it may simply not be possible.

There are a number of people who volunteer for editorial positions.  TC regularly has posts that someone says "that'd make a great article," ie Koi's Christmas post.  Granted, most of our backlog of such posts was in the lost archives.  The editor volunteers could be set to specific posts (assuming permission from the poster) to article-ize it.  That way they'd be easier to find among other indexed articles than among the many threads.

Could we tap into the Teens and Paganism FAQ for articles to publish?

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Social Network: A number of our members really like our attempts at a TC members only social network.

As mostly a lurker, I never bothered to join the social networks.  But every now and then, I'd read a thread and they'd all migrate over to the network, so I couldn't follow.  They went for that functionability over the forum's.  Brigid of the Stars being the most prominant.  No idea what, if anything, could be done there.  Or even if it should.
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« Reply #37: May 07, 2011, 05:39:46 pm »

There are a number of people who volunteer for editorial positions.  TC regularly has posts that someone says "that'd make a great article," ie Koi's Christmas post.  Granted, most of our backlog of such posts was in the lost archives.  The editor volunteers could be set to specific posts (assuming permission from the poster) to article-ize it.  That way they'd be easier to find among other indexed articles than among the many threads.

I'm not quite sure what you mean, but the problem I see is that few posts make good stand-alone articles without some rewriting by the author to make them independent of the thread's context. Getting a post author to take the time and effort to do this generally has failed in the past.

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As mostly a lurker, I never bothered to join the social networks.  But every now and then, I'd read a thread and they'd all migrate over to the network, so I couldn't follow.  They went for that functionability over the forum's.  Brigid of the Stars being the most prominant.  No idea what, if anything, could be done there.  Or even if it should.

I see you point here. It would be nice if everyone on the board at least had an account to any social network so they could at least look at stuff there even if they did not want to participate. Unfortunately, making them work together would be a coding (and coding maintenance) nightmare.
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« Reply #38: May 07, 2011, 05:49:42 pm »

I'm not quite sure what you mean, but the problem I see is that few posts make good stand-alone articles without some rewriting by the author to make them independent of the thread's context. Getting a post author to take the time and effort to do this generally has failed in the past.

I think I can see the sort of thing that was being contemplated. It's not so much a matter of taking a single post and getting the OP to turn it into an article, as taking a thread of interest and getting someone with editorial skills and inclination to construct an article. The article wouldn't greatly expand on the original content so much as capture the key information and points of view that were presented in the original, but in a more organised and summarised form. This sort is something that I have taught corporations to do with discussion threads that relate to particular business practices or strategies. It can make a long, rambling and disjointed thread that is the source of informational gold, into a more consice resource that people are able to engage and work with far more effectively.
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« Reply #39: May 07, 2011, 07:24:52 pm »

I'm not quite sure what you mean, but the problem I see is that few posts make good stand-alone articles without some rewriting by the author to make them independent of the thread's context. Getting a post author to take the time and effort to do this generally has failed in the past.

I was trying to say let the editorial volunteers be the rewriters, subject to author's approval.  Though BGMarc's method of condensing an entire thread would work too, if with more permissions needed.
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« Reply #40: May 07, 2011, 10:27:05 pm »

I think I can see the sort of thing that was being contemplated.

I see that your idea and Derek's are slightly different. Both sound good to me and should be considered by whoever takes over the newsletter.
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« Reply #41: May 08, 2011, 05:27:36 am »

TC 4.0 Web Site:
I don't have much of a clue, but this sounds good and I'm very happy you're still running this big community. Smiley

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TC 4.0 Message Board:
As others have said, I think we don't need to transfer the old messages, just keep them somewhere as archive. For some topics it isn't bad to start from a fresh point of view and we have also a lot of new members. Smiley

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Newsletter:
I like the suggestion from Sperran. The newsletter could be made more into some kind of quarterly report what was going on at TC. Maybe we could also add any new articles which were submitted to the article section (if there are any). It might also be interesting to have a summary of larger / interesting discussions (if anyone could be found to write it). There could also be a summary of recent pagan related news/books which were discussed.

I'm not sure how to organize it. Maybe collect volunteers per board section to summarize what was going on there. For ex. one person could look at the book discussion section and see which books got any interesting discussion the last three month at all..., someone else could follow 'Pagan Spirituality' section etc. (of course not every section might be of equal interest or intensity of discussions - so for some there wouldn't be the need to have a large report every quarter)

I'm thinking about writing a short quarterly report about the 'Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology section' since I'm following this section regularly. But I'd need someone to beta-read since I'm not that firm with English. I also might not understand every discussion equally well (since there are many different mythologies and cultures involved) - so having a beta reader with a critical eye might be good. But I think it's not necessarily supposed to be perfect and there are still the specific SIGs for more special discussions.

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Social Network:
I'd also like one as a nice addition, but I personally wouldn't be willing to donate money for it. (Since I don't have much money at the moment and if push comes to shove for TC I'd rather donate money for 'life sustaining systems'.) So it would be a (very) welcomed addition if there's an uncomplicated possibility, but it's not totally necessary. (Nevertheless if others want to donate money for Ning or any other paid social network I'd be very delighted to use it without paying myself. Wink )


Nevertheless, yay you for still running TC!!!
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« Reply #42: May 08, 2011, 06:41:52 am »

I like the suggestion from Sperran. The newsletter could be made more into some kind of quarterly report what was going on at TC.

If we're going to shoot for putting the newsletter back together again, I think at the start we should shoot for more issues. Monthly, or even bi-weekly.

Yes, that's a heck of a lot of work. But... people have often given me the advice that when you're starting a new routine, you should try to do it as often as possible. Go to the gym at least 3x per week. Meditate for a few minutes each day. Then, when your practice does fall off a bit, it won't fall off entirely.

I worry that if we do something quarterly, that when something does happen and it slips off the rails it will be so much harder to get back into production because the production schedule is so long. Plus, and I speak from experience, people get antsy, angry, and confused when the deadline for articles is far removed from actual publication.

We've got plenty of content on the site that could be highlighted in regular newsletters while folks are working on new stuff.

Karen
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« Reply #43: May 08, 2011, 08:08:57 am »

If we're going to shoot for putting the newsletter back together again, I think at the start we should shoot for more issues. Monthly, or even bi-weekly.

I tend to agree with this, provided whoever takes it over has the time, of course.
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« Reply #44: May 08, 2011, 08:38:08 am »

I tend to agree with this, provided whoever takes it over has the time, of course.
I agree with you both and think it depends on those who collect the different pieces and put them together.

I think summarizing discussions is much easier to do monthly than quarterly. It's much easier to get an overview over what was going on in a month than in three months because it will narrow down the quantity of intensly discussed topics a lot and make it much easier to summarize. The articles might be shorter, but not necessarily less in quality.

So I'm volunteering to give a short monthly summary of the more interesting discussions in the 'Gods, Goddesses and mythology'-folder if we should start a newsletter. I might take on a few more folders later if no one else volunteers for those I have in mind, but I need to try this out first with one.

I also really like this idea about having similar monthly report about the SIGs, but I wonder if SIG-leaders don't have enough to do already. I think it's job anyone who is familiar with the topic of the SIG and follows it regularly might be able to do.
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