Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

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Tim Lund
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Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Tim Lund »

Admin:

I'm a fan of this Forum, and I try to get more people to use it, but I often run into resistance. Rather than go into the arguments not to use it, I was wondering what quantifiable measures of its success or otherwise are possible.

So, how many posts, by how many different posters, the pattern of how posters come and go, how many people just reading - and to put it into context, a comparison with other sites, e.g. SE23.com, East Dulwich Forum, Virtual Norwood, Brockley Central, Love Perry Vale. I'd like to include the exercise Lewisham Council ran last year consulting on cuts to local services, ''Our Lewisham Our Say / HavingYourSay" but it seems to have disappeared.
Rachael
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Location: Sydenham / Forest Hill Intersection

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Rachael »

What are you trying to measure, Tim? And how are you going to correlate what you find to reluctance to post?

Have you profiled these reluctant users?

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CaptainCarCrash
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Location: Even further than before

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by CaptainCarCrash »

If you build it they will come.

?

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Tim Lund
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Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Tim Lund »

rshdunlop wrote:What are you trying to measure, Tim? And how are you going to correlate what you find to reluctance to post?

Have you profiled these reluctant users?

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I'm trying to measure how good a means of communication a Forum such as this is, in the first instance comparing it with other Forums. I'm also interested in how effective it is compared with other media, such as the traditional ones of the local press, leafleting, (paper) petitioning, and more recent ones such as non interactive blogs / websites, Facebook, Twitter and email lists. The reason for wanting to know is to help make the argument for posting on Forums such as this - if indeed what I suspect is true.

I'm not sure how I'd correlate numbers to reluctance to post, but intuitively I'd have thought there has to be some pattern, and I'd guess others, with wider experience of Forums than me, would know how.

I could try profiling such reluctant users, but much of what I have to write depends on private communications.
Tim Lund
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Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Tim Lund »

The post I just did on Town Cafe, quoting and using links from Love Perry Vale and the FOMP blog - as well as standing on its own merits, I hope - is an illustration of how I think local councillors and other local groups should be using this Forum. Their presence here would be most welcome, and with objective numbers, could be demonstrably a better way for them to communicate.
Robin Orton
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Location: London SE26

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Robin Orton »

You need to decide what you mean by 'good' and 'effective'. (Sorry, Tim, your bete noire definitions again.)

-Number of active and passive users?

-Whether the forum is attractive and entertaining? (I suppose trends over time in the numbers of users would be a proxy measure for this.)

-Whether it has any purposes other than to be attractive and entertaining (I think we've discussed this - inconcluslvely, of course - before) and, if so, how you might measure its success in achieving them.

In my view the main reason why more people do not use the forum is because it is dominated by rude people, noisy and opinionated pub bores (the two groups probably overlap), clever dicks and show-offs. If I did not fall into any of these categories (I do, fortunately) - if, for example, I were a polite and unassertive person who preferred reasoned argument to playground abuse, who was interested in Sydenham as a community rather than as a shopping centre, who was interested in bourgeois (classical music, painting, literature) rather than popular culture, who was a church/synagogue/mosque goer who thought that faith perspectives could provide a useful contribution to the local conversation - I wouldn't touch this forum with a bargepole. I know many interesting, intelligent and creative people in Sydenham who have one or more of these characteristics. As I have said before, it would be good if they could be persuaded to change their minds and contribute positively to what is potentially a great community resource.
admin
Site Admin
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Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by admin »

Robin,

I hope I score at least 3 on your scale of 4 of the people who wouldn't touch this place with a bargepole. I think you miss the true issue here. People who do not wish to leave their comfort zone are not going to have a pleasant time here. People who wish to engage or understand folks who will challenge their preconceptions will get their moneys worth.

Learning to deal with bores, the deranged and mosaic lovers (joke!) is part of life. Trying to ignore they exist or insisting they must conform to our unchallenged views of society is either escapism or a return to net curtain twitching.

STF was launched as a way people coming to Sydenham could discover what's going on, who people were, what issues face us. Above all to engage with their own community. I hope it still delivers on that. In doing so it may deliver stuff you don't want to know. But for people who feel that's a price worth paying are very welcome.

So what do we do about the people who disagree ...?

Admin
chrisj1948
Posts: 524
Joined: 15 Jul 2008 15:12
Location: Sydenham

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by chrisj1948 »

admin wrote:Learning to deal with bores, the deranged and mosaic lovers (joke!) is part of life. Trying to ignore they exist or insisting they must conform to our unchallenged views of society is either escapism or a return to net curtain twitching.
Whilst I tend to agree with you, I do not believe that people should be obliged to stretch their boundaries to enjoy many aspects of this board.

You seem to use selective moderation to ensure that 'objectionable' topics are only tolerated in the Town Pub. I feel this works well, and means gentler souls can avoid the Pub if they are careful. You might consider making Town Pub a closed group (many years since I used phpBB - I might have the terminology wrong) so that users could opt out of membership if they preferred not to know what was going on there.

Regards
Chris
Pantwetter
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Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Pantwetter »

Chris

I agree on the Town Pub, which is why I think the closed topic on reparations should have been kept open. For the more sensitive 'right on' souls, they should stick to the Town Hall etc. If this is a true community then it will have a place for everyone, 'Pub Bores' included.
Rachael
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Joined: 23 Jan 2010 13:42
Location: Sydenham / Forest Hill Intersection

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Rachael »

Robin has opened or contributed to many threads in the Pub, and seems to enjoy 'conversation' in the Pub (correct me if I'm wrong, Robin). Where would he do that if he just avoids the Pub altogether? Is there a case for opening another sub forum, maybe the Salon, for 'cultured' conversation, leaving the Pub for those who enjoy a good argument?

The problem, of course, is how to decide what goes in the Salon, and what in the Pub.

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Tim Lund
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Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Tim Lund »

I was hoping this thread would be mainly somewhere for Admin to put up actual statistics to compare with those for other Forums. Maybe when the current fuss over Wolfie is over this might be possible?
rshdunlop wrote:Is there a case for opening another sub forum, maybe the Salon, for 'cultured' conversation, leaving the Pub for those who enjoy a good argument?
Admin has addressed this one several times, and it's been gone over in arguments accusing Robin and me of indulging in self-indulgent intellectual posturing. The answer is always that the Forum you should be in depends on how abrasive the language you use to express yourself is, and that if the conversation at one table irritates you, you either go over to another table, or risk getting shown the door - temporarily - by the friendly Landlord.

As well as a Town Salon, I've sometimes imagined a Town Seminar or even a Town Temperance Tea Room, but I don't think any would prosper.
admin
Site Admin
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Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by admin »

Tim Lund wrote:As well as a Town Salon, I've sometimes imagined a Town Seminar or even a Town Temperance Tea Room, but I don't think any would prosper.
The Town Cafe doesn't serve beer Tim.

But to continue to hijack your thread - yes the threshold of moderation is higher in the Pub than elsewhere. I probably do need to try harder to keep Hall/Cafe clean and pretty and kick more ruffstuff into the Pub.

Not that the Pub shouldn't have limits. If you want pure freedom to say anything anyhow then there are forums elsewhere who would be deiighted for your custom. MikeCG - can you give us some links for the curious?

And, like all pubs, true intellectualism can be at the next table to the effing bigot. Robin is obviously a delightful person and has showed himself to be the equal of the most ferocious attacks. That's great, if only we could clone Robin - but that would rather defeat the aim to maximise diversity.

If I have one overarching issue it is the complaint that because of a fight in the pub - people don't wish to read or post in the cafe. Maybe this is about education or making the difference more apparent.

Should I, perhaps, kick some polite stuff from Pub into Cafe?

Admin (I'm rambling now ...)
Tim Lund
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Location: Silverdale

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Tim Lund »

admin wrote:
Tim Lund wrote:As well as a Town Salon, I've sometimes imagined a Town Seminar or even a Town Temperance Tea Room, but I don't think any would prosper.
The Town Cafe doesn't serve beer Tim.
The fantasy of a Town Temperance Tea room reflects my own cultural roots in English Nonconformism, from which point of view a café sounds a bit too polite, and definitely a bit foreign. But since I don't mind the odd half, and even the odder half of society in Sydenham, I'm happy enough in the Town Pub, as benighnly presided over by Barman Bill
Voyageur
Posts: 428
Joined: 2 Jan 2011 13:23

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Voyageur »

I am watching this thread with interest as, coincidently, we are currently reviewing forum guidelines on a neighbouring forum where, for my sins (at least out feels like that sometimes!), I moderate as well as contribute as a member.

It is a difficult balance to get right, especially as some members resent moderation and strongly feel that they should have the right to say whatever they feel - including in reference to what they sometimes rather robustly say about the character and behaviour of other members with whose views they are taking issue. If such exchanges are frequent and prolonged, however, other members are actively put off from either starting to - or continuing to - contribute to the forum.

Seemingly stf has a more relaxed moderating style than the forum I moderate on and we will certainly be looking closely at whether we should move towards that style. The difficulty
with relaxing the style is that the forum MAY become dominated by a small group of voluble regular posters at the expense of existing and potential new members. Selfishly I am rather hoping that stf come up with the perfect solution that we can then attempt to replicate :oops:
admin
Site Admin
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Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by admin »

I'm not sure about harmonising moderation with neighbouring forums V. Some here think yours is too pansy wouldn't want to go there and some of your own people think we are the wrong side of Penge.

Its nice that together we can give a range of experience so we both can house outcasts from the other (and quite a few crossovers too). Do you vary your moderation based on sub-forum too?

Admin
Voyageur
Posts: 428
Joined: 2 Jan 2011 13:23

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Voyageur »

admin wrote:I'm not sure about harmonising moderation with neighbouring forums V. Some here think yours is too pansy wouldn't want to go there and some of your own people think we are the wrong side of Penge.

Its nice that together we can give a range of experience so we both can house outcasts from the other (and quite a few crossovers too). Do you vary your moderation based on sub-forum too?

Admin
I am not sure about 'pansy' but we do endeavour, sometimes unsuccessfully, to keep a friendly tone overall :)

Yes, we have a virtual tavern where forum rules are more relaxed, but probably not as much as on here. As I said, we
are currently reviewing those guidelines in the light of recent member comments, hence my having a look at the practices of other forums to inform the deliberations.
Tim Lund
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Location: Silverdale

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Tim Lund »

So - are there any numbers either Admin here or Voyageur would look at in assessing the health of their Forums?
admin
Site Admin
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Joined: 20 Sep 2004 21:49

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by admin »

No reliable ones Tim apart from the posting numbers which are public.

Views are becoming increasingly irrelevant since they are now dominated by the increasing number of search crawlers sampling our pages at ever shorter intervals.

You can rank users by time/posts/chronology by clicking on the appropriate header inn the members listing. Comparison with our two nearest forums is also confused because they use different forum software.

There must be a better way of spending a Tuesday afternoon :wink:

Admin
michael
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Location: Forest Hill

Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by michael »

admin wrote:There must be a better way of spending a Tuesday afternoon
Streamed live from Westminster perhaps
Voyageur
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Re: Objectively, is there a problem with this Forum?

Post by Voyageur »

michael wrote:
admin wrote:There must be a better way of spending a Tuesday afternoon
Streamed live from Westminster perhaps
Watched it for a while - grew tired of the (predictable) evasions...
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