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Author Topic: Cauldron Suggestions Wanted: How Would You Improve TC?  (Read 35346 times)
dragonfaerie
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« Reply #15: January 15, 2008, 10:14:45 am »

Suggestions regarding other areas will be considered. Suggestions that take a lot of staff time or that cost money will be considered, but will will be far less likely to be implemented (for obvious reasons).

I wish there was a way to warn people when they're about to start a new thread on a topic we're already discussing. It seems to primarily be a problem with new posters, who don't always bother to check the topic list before starting a new thread. I don't know that there's any kind of automatic way to do that, though.

I think it would be nice to take the Divinatory Arts board and perhaps break it down into a SIG, or at least split the major forms of divination into their own boards... tarot, runes, scrying, and astrology, at least. Each one of those topics is deep enough to support it's own board.

Finally, I want more chats. Specifically, I think it would be nice if we had more chats on a specific topic, with a few experts "moderating" so to speak. For example, some folks from the Celtic Recon Sig could host a "Celtic Paganism 101" sort of chat. Sometimes it's nice to talk stuff out in real-time, and the Flash chat is pretty easy to use. I could use a "MUX Chat 101" session to learn how to use the other venue... I've never been able to figure out how to set that up.

Otherwise, I'm very happy with the forum.

Karen
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« Reply #16: January 15, 2008, 10:23:56 am »

Finally, I want more chats. Specifically, I think it would be nice if we had more chats on a specific topic, with a few experts "moderating" so to speak. For example, some folks from the Celtic Recon Sig could host a "Celtic Paganism 101" sort of chat.

FYI, we tried that.  It was not very successful.  Usually only one or two people showed up, and they weren't necessarily there for the topic -- they just happended to on online at the time.

ETA:  I didn't mean to say that it shouldn't be tried again.  Just that there was some history.  Maybe there's a better way to do it.
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« Reply #17: January 15, 2008, 10:25:48 am »

FYI, we tried that.  It was not very successful.  Usually only one or two people showed up, and they weren't necessarily there for the topic -- they just happended to on online at the time.

*sigh* I wonder if polling the board for topic suggestions might help? Maybe we weren't targeting the right topics. I do still want more chats, though. (As I obviously spend way too much time online...)

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« Reply #18: January 15, 2008, 10:56:52 am »

I wish there was a way to warn people when they're about to start a new thread on a topic we're already discussing. It seems to primarily be a problem with new posters, who don't always bother to check the topic list before starting a new thread. I don't know that there's any kind of automatic way to do that, though.

There's no way to do that software-wise -- and even if such code existed, it would probably bring the server to its knees every time someone wanted to start a new topic.  But it would be nice if such software existed and was nearly 100% accurate.

Some boards make a huge issue out of checking every thread ever posted to be sure you aren't dupping before starting a thread. I don't start threads on such boards as I lack the time or the patience to do that if the board has more than 50-60 threads. We have thousands. I'd rather people have people starting threads than being afraid to start threads because it might be a dup of some thread already in existence.

Quote
I think it would be nice to take the Divinatory Arts board and perhaps break it down into a SIG, or at least split the major forms of divination into their own boards... tarot, runes, scrying, and astrology, at least. Each one of those topics is deep enough to support it's own board
.

This would be easy to do, but the single board we have now doesn't seem to get enough posts to make this work. The Tarot board would be somewhat busy, all the other divination type boards would be nearly dead. However, if the divination board ever gets busy enough to need this, we'll do it.

Quote
For example, some folks from the Celtic Recon Sig could host a "Celtic Paganism 101" sort of chat.


If they want to, they can.  Anyone can post a "Chat's Open: 1 Jan 9am-11am CT" message on the chat board and be in chat at those times.  Plugging the chat in advance might get more people there.

Chats have never been big on TC. Perhaps it is because the Hosts really aren't chat people, but I suspect it is because this board attracts more posters than chatters. You can read and post whenever you want, chatting requires a group of people plan a time in advance to get together. With everyone's time zone and schedule different, it can be hard to enough people into chat at one time to have a good chat.

The MUX (which seems to be down at the moment) usually has people in it weekdays during US work hours.

Sometimes it's nice to talk stuff out in real-time, and the Flash chat is pretty easy to use. I could use a "MUX Chat 101" session to learn how to use the other venue... I've never been able to figure out how to set that up.


[/quote]
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« Reply #19: January 15, 2008, 11:39:34 am »

I think it would be nice if there were some way to tag a post or topic.

I've added the Bookmarks SMF Mod.  You can "Add Bookmark" to a thread you'd like to be able to find easily (on the blue bar on the page with the messages in that thread).  You can list your Bookmarks from the "Marks" menu item in the top blue menu.  This is experimental in that it appears to work but has not been tested much.
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« Reply #20: January 15, 2008, 11:48:07 am »

Random thoughts here, and I have no idea if any of them have any merit or usefulness or not.

Some boards make a huge issue out of checking every thread ever posted to be sure you aren't dupping before starting a thread. I don't start threads on such boards as I lack the time or the patience to do that if the board has more than 50-60 threads. We have thousands. I'd rather people have people starting threads than being afraid to start threads because it might be a dup of some thread already in existence.

We do have a little more in the way of thread-managing ability now, though.  Perhaps we staffers could keep a little more of an eye out for dups and merge or close threads where appropriate?  Note that I'm NOT talking about us checking every single new thread to see if it's a dup, or going through a whole lot of trouble to find it if we know it is.  (If we can't find it fairly quickly, chances are good it's old enough that restarting a new one won't be too much of a problem.)  We none of us have the time and energy to do that on a regular basis, not as busy as this place is.  I just mean when we notice a dup we could go ahead and do a little clean-up, merge it with the right thread.  This could perhaps be made easier by non-staff reporting dups (most preferably with some indication of what they're a duplicate of, either a link or a thread name and folder), although I'd be slightly concerned that reporting them might give the impression that we view them as worse than we actually do.

The one thing I don't think this will help much with is one that I think is maybe a little bit unavoidable...  We do get some duplication between the "Basics" area and the Full Member areas because someone will see a thread out in Full Member territory (like, say, one about what we're reading now--this one was duplicated when we first moved over to SMF, I think) and start it up in the Basics area so that they can post on the subject.  Don't know what to do about that.

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Chats have never been big on TC. Perhaps it is because the Hosts really aren't chat people, but I suspect it is because this board attracts more posters than chatters.


I think part of it, too, is that we've had a problem with keeping the chat (by which I mean FlashChat) schedule relatively full.  People can open up chat any time they want, but if they want a time when they know someone will be there and they won't be wasting their time hanging out waiting for someone else to show up, they're going to look at scheduled chats.  We haven't had all that many of those, in no small part because we've had problems getting and keeping chat hosts to cover them.  Life happens, offline schedules are tight, and the chat schedule as a result kind of suffers.

There is also the fact that we do have a dual-chat system.  I think the MUX has been great for some people (I love it myself, and wish I ever had a chance to hang out there anymore), but it's also a really foreign environment for a lot of people, so they don't ever go there.  Our big chatters, though, tend to hang out there, so...  It gives the impression of a complete lack of chats even though there's chat going on all the time in there.  We actually have a lot of chat happening, if you think about it, all business day every business day in the MUX.  It's just not in FlashChat, and not terribly organized.

I don't have a solution for all of this, currently; I'm mostly just speculating about causes here.  I do think there is an interest in chat, and specifically in FlashChat as opposed to the MUX (which, from what I hear, seems to be doing relatively well outside of currently being down), but I'm not sure how to go about changing what we're doing now to serve that interest better.  Outside of people stepping up like Karen has and offering to host chats, that is.  Grin
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« Reply #21: January 15, 2008, 11:52:39 am »

I'm not sure how to go about changing what we're doing now to serve that interest better.  Outside of people stepping up like Karen has and offering to host chats, that is.  Grin

Even if I do get the MUX up and running (and I'm sure I could, with enough explanation), I can't chat at work during the business day. That is one HUMONGOUS no-no at NASA. I could on my days off, but I only get three weekdays off during a two-week span. I'm online in my evenings, so that's when I'm looking for chats.

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« Reply #22: January 15, 2008, 12:24:44 pm »

Even if I do get the MUX up and running (and I'm sure I could, with enough explanation), I can't chat at work during the business day. That is one HUMONGOUS no-no at NASA. I could on my days off, but I only get three weekdays off during a two-week span. I'm online in my evenings, so that's when I'm looking for chats.

*nods*  Similar situation here, minus the three weekdays off during a two-week span; I have a standard M-F job.  I don't think I even have the ability to connect from work, even if I wanted to try it and risk it.  I'm 99% sure they have that port blocked.  (Then once I'm home, I swing through TC in spare moments and am not generally on long enough in one go to chat very long.  Too many things to do with house and baby, and I suspect a lot of people have similar problems with evening chats.)  This is the sort of life-related challenge I'm talking about that makes it difficult for us to get and keep a good, regular schedule.  Sad
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« Reply #23: January 15, 2008, 12:54:46 pm »

it's time for our annual "suggestion drive" when we open a topic and request your suggestions for how TC (the forum, the web site, the MUX, forum rules, etc.) could be improved.

Repaint the lobby and clean the chandelier.

More plants (live, not silk).

Keep some good beer in the fridge (preferably Belgian or German).

More appetizers on the menu.

I'll let you know if I think of more.

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« Reply #24: January 15, 2008, 01:04:29 pm »

Keep some good beer in the fridge (preferably Belgian or German).


Ooooo, I think someone forgot to point you to Bob's Keg o' Many Drinks.  *points*  Dispenses whatever beverage you desire--including good beer, especially good beer--at whatever temperature you feel is appropriate.  Smiley

We also have a dessert cart with a similar function, but I don't think we've got an appetizer cart yet.  Might be a good project to work on.  Wink
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« Reply #25: January 15, 2008, 01:29:57 pm »

Finally, I want more chats. Specifically, I think it would be nice if we had more chats on a specific topic, with a few experts "moderating" so to speak. For example, some folks from the Celtic Recon Sig could host a "Celtic Paganism 101" sort of chat. Sometimes it's nice to talk stuff out in real-time, and the Flash chat is pretty easy to use. I could use a "MUX Chat 101" session to learn how to use the other venue... I've never been able to figure out how to set that up.

Sorry should have got back on this already...

I'll start another thread in the chats folder for "I want to chat about " requests as soon As I figure out how to arrange it.

Mux101: best I can think of would be for a regular to park themselves in both the MUX and the flash chat and help talk people though the set-ups. the MUX isn't working at the moment though so that will have to wait.
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« Reply #26: January 15, 2008, 01:42:50 pm »


I think part of it, too, is that we've had a problem with keeping the chat (by which I mean FlashChat) schedule relatively full.  People can open up chat any time they want, but if they want a time when they know someone will be there and they won't be wasting their time hanging out waiting for someone else to show up, they're going to look at scheduled chats.  We haven't had all that many of those, in no small part because we've had problems getting and keeping chat hosts to cover them.  Life happens, offline schedules are tight, and the chat schedule as a result kind of suffers.

There is also the fact that we do have a dual-chat system.  I think the MUX has been great for some people (I love it myself, and wish I ever had a chance to hang out there anymore), but it's also a really foreign environment for a lot of people, so they don't ever go there.  Our big chatters, though, tend to hang out there, so...  It gives the impression of a complete lack of chats even though there's chat going on all the time in there.  We actually have a lot of chat happening, if you think about it, all business day every business day in the MUX.  It's just not in FlashChat, and not terribly organized.


Yah.

I have a goal of having 5 Chats running a week outside of US business hours. its even Happened on the odd week here and there in the last year.

If anyone wants to run a chat even if its just a one off or once a month, Im willing to set you up and help advertise it. Any suggestions are very welcome

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« Reply #27: January 15, 2008, 01:44:14 pm »

We also have a dessert cart with a similar function, but I don't think we've got an appetizer cart yet.  Might be a good project to work on.  Wink

no we don't. (hides his snack tray behind his back and hopes noone notices the crisps and sarnies
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« Reply #28: January 15, 2008, 02:12:05 pm »

I don't think we've got an appetizer cart yet.

Since it is all virtual, I could really use a trans-fat binge. Grin

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« Reply #29: January 15, 2008, 02:22:39 pm »

no we don't. (hides his snack tray behind his back and hopes noone notices the crisps and sarnies

So THAT'S what happened to the snacks.

Geesh, Steve. Roll Eyes Tongue
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