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Thread: Forum Changes

  1. #1
    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    Forum Changes

    I have been pretty much otherwise occupied for the past week and a half so that I haven't posted much here in that time. Regardless, I have noted the number of suggestions for changes and improvements to the forum. While not every suggestion is feasible to action, many are at least worth investigating. I'll be holding discussions on this with the moderators over the next while as well as taking further input here.

    I am proposing the following general guidelines:
    1. Any proposed change must have a positive net benefit. In other words, the anticipated benefit must outweigh any costs such as added complexity, maintenance requirements etc.
    2. Any structural changes to the forum must be limited to editing existing templates, editiing or adding forums, and setting currently available options in vBulletin. This means no programming changes to the vBulletin code base (no hacking). For example, one suggestion has been to have a pop-up dialog box show up for members that have been registered for less than two weeks. This would require such code changes. Forum hacking is discouraged because there is a great risk of the forum "breaking" with each new release (currently around 6 per year).
    3. There has to be broad membership concurrence with any proposed changes.
    Feel free to comment on this approach.
    Regards

    Don McRitchie

  2. #2
    Senior Member Don C's Avatar
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    I think that the organisation and layout of the boards is excellent, I don't see any need to make changes. It aint broke, don't fix it.

    The Library, on the other hand, could use some attention. I know that your free time for updating the site with new materials is limited, so maybe it would be a good idea to get help from qualified forum members to help out. I may be going on disability for a month or so this spring, stuck in the house. If so, I'll volunteer.

  3. #3
    Moderator / Treasurer/Marketplace Czar boputnam's Avatar
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    Main page layout needs (re)prioritizing.

    "Forum Information - PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING" - this should be at the very TOP (above "General"), and notice the changed title. As well, use of the Search function should be emphasized there, and examples of useful search strings provided.

    Make this headline flash, or move, or something to attract the new snail darter's attention(s)...
    bo

    "Indeed, not!!"

  4. #4
    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    The Library, on the other hand, could use some attention. I know that your free time for updating the site with new materials is limited, so maybe it would be a good idea to get help from qualified forum members to help out. I may be going on disability for a month or so this spring, stuck in the house. If so, I'll volunteer.
    I can understand the frustration of not having the library updated in the past year. Beleive me, It's not my intent to have this situation continue indefinitely. Right now, getting someone else involved would entail considerably more work than catching up on the backlog. Library additions involve more than just uploading scanned images. The primary repository for scans is an offline archive that I maintain. Here, images are kept at their original resolution at with in a highly organized directory structure. New scans first have to have the directory structure modified and then added to the archive. After that, they are down converted to a standard 150dpi resolution, cropped to eliminate extra white space and heavily compressed to reduce the file sizes. These are what get published. They have to be added to a secondary archive. This is then uploaded to the site. Frontpage is then used to create a new page for every scanned image, a title page for the overall document and an updating of the index page containing the document. Finally, there is an offline Access database that I maintain and update containing meta data about each document added to the archive.

    To transfer this, I would have to find someone familiar with both Access and Frontpage. I would have to document the complex directory structures for the archive, the structure for the actual website and the Access database. I would also have to document the Frontpage templates used for the individual pages, title page, and index. Finally, some mechanism would have to be developed to maintain at least two, physicaly separate copies of all of this data and ensure that they are always synchonized and complete. Believe me, this is much more work than the backlog.

    At any rate, I do appreciate the offer and understand the frustration behind it. I continue to work at chipping away at this backlog. If by Aug 1/05 the backlog is not eliminated, I will come back here with the intent of developing an alternative soliution.
    Regards

    Don McRitchie

  5. #5
    Steve Gonzales
    Guest

    Wow!

    Makes me even more thankful for what we DO have!

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