Changes

 

Lee

Administrator
Staff member
Over the next few days, we will provide guides and community tips and tricks to hopefully help with the transition.

If there are any items you would like to see covered, please do suggest them here.

:)
 

Kyng

New member
Looks good so far :D !

I myself will probably be sticking with the traditional layout - but if the new layout helps to attract new users, then I have no complaints (just as long as the traditional layout remains as an option for oldies like myself :p )

Good luck with the changes!
 
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Dave

Active member
I've held off commenting until anyone else wanted to say what their opinion was.

My only criticisms are:

1: The initial view when first entering the site gives the impression it's about games and not health issues

2: Making your site look like a Twitter feed is not really going to attract people away from Social Media

Those who are interested in what you have to offer will care less what the layout is like, it's the content that really matters and how they will associate with it. All of these tricks have been tried before and the truth is that people are generally only interested in Social Media sites, mainly because that's where all their friends and associates will be living; trivial crap for trivial moments of instant gratification and anything beyond that just doesn't interest them. That is a real shame because they don't know what they're missing out on, and probably care less.

I believe that you have a really good core group here and they have been pretty active, but I've noticed a drop off since the changes were made. It really is a shame because I can see that you have put a lot of thought into it and no doubt a fair amount of time, but you can't make a forum act like Social Media, the two are diametrically going in different directions.

To be honest my own sites are stagnant and no matter how well they're dressed up it's a sad fact that forums are just not that popular anymore, I've already dumped my Movies site and I'm seriously considering dumping the rock music site after the New Year. The Internet is saturated with sites where people can get information from and Google is where they will look first.

Treasure your core group and give them what they want so they will stick around and continue to add to your site and hopefully they will be able to bring some fresh people to the site and give it a bump up.

Personally, I get more pleasure out of the building and setting up side of things, but once that's done and no one appears to care, regardless of the kudos from peers, my interest evaporates.

This is, I wish to point out, just my opinion, but it's based on having faffed about with forums for 20 years and knowing what they were like back in the day, but that's a different playground today :)
 

Lee

Administrator
Staff member
I've held off commenting until anyone else wanted to say what their opinion was.

My only criticisms are:

1: The initial view when first entering the site gives the impression it's about games and not health issues

2: Making your site look like a Twitter feed is not really going to attract people away from Social Media

Those who are interested in what you have to offer will care less what the layout is like, it's the content that really matters and how they will associate with it. All of these tricks have been tried before and the truth is that people are generally only interested in Social Media sites, mainly because that's where all their friends and associates will be living; trivial crap for trivial moments of instant gratification and anything beyond that just doesn't interest them. That is a real shame because they don't know what they're missing out on, and probably care less.

I believe that you have a really good core group here and they have been pretty active, but I've noticed a drop off since the changes were made. It really is a shame because I can see that you have put a lot of thought into it and no doubt a fair amount of time, but you can't make a forum act like Social Media, the two are diametrically going in different directions.

To be honest my own sites are stagnant and no matter how well they're dressed up it's a sad fact that forums are just not that popular anymore, I've already dumped my Movies site and I'm seriously considering dumping the rock music site after the New Year. The Internet is saturated with sites where people can get information from and Google is where they will look first.

Treasure your core group and give them what they want so they will stick around and continue to add to your site and hopefully they will be able to bring some fresh people to the site and give it a bump up.

Personally, I get more pleasure out of the building and setting up side of things, but once that's done and no one appears to care, regardless of the kudos from peers, my interest evaporates.

This is, I wish to point out, just my opinion, but it's based on having faffed about with forums for 20 years and knowing what they were like back in the day, but that's a different playground today :)
Unfortunately Dave the statistics show the forum stagnated well before the change was made. :(

This is a direction I am more than happy to go in, as the more "old school" forum list is still available for anybody who wants to use it.

A lot of research, thought and time was put in to this change and I am very excited to see how it pans out.

Like you I developed an interest in forums many years ago, as a young boy. I have been steady in this scene since around 1999 and have even worked for some open source (reasonably successful) projects. I think the internet is evolving and forums as we know them are a thing of the past. We can either evolve with it, or fold. I'm going to try and follow the evolve path and see what happens.

I appreciate your feedback RE the lack of clarity in the topic at hand - I actually am developing some artwork that will help massively in confirming the website topic.
 

Jay

Community Friend
I'm the same as you both when it comes to forums, been doing it for years and no matter how hard you try none of us will beat social media out, don't matter what you spend or do forums are slow nowdays, like Dave said please your core group and enjoy and never take it personal that you don't see the traffic you had hoped for, have your core members spread out and post back-links to your site here.

The last few months have been busy for me so not been around much but i will try and visit here daily as well as Dave's sites, if you have a few of us doing this more people will join in and make a post.

As for the layout i'm old school so i will always default to the traditional forum look, not saying this look is bad it don't fit me but may fit many others.

Keep up the great job here @Lee
 

Dave

Active member
Unfortunately Dave the statistics show the forum stagnated well before the change was made.
This is what happens when the interest wanes, mainly because people run out of things to say, so it's incumbent on you to inject some new content. The look is never going to attract people, but the content will and the membership will come over time providing the content is of interest. No matter how you dress a forum up to mimic a Social Media site, it will still be a forum.

The problem with forums, nowadays, is that they are too difficult for Social Media addicts to rationalise - believe me, I've seen every trick in the book that people have tried with forums to lure Social Media addicts into the fold, and none of them have worked. Keep your core group happy, you really do rely upon them, and keep good and relevant content flowing. Motivate your team to look for ways to generate interest, promote outside of the forum by offering reciprocal links to sites covering the same interests as yours, but don't have a forum.

I've seen this concern about forums on Xenforo, IPS, Woltlab, PHPBB and loads of others.

I can see that you have a genuine passion to offer something to give help and hope to others, but you need some substantial content that is relevant to back this up. I understand how difficult it is and how despairing it can be when members are not flooding in, and a good few who joined up have faded away.

It's your baby, and you've spent a lot of time and money and effort to breathe life into it and I'm not trying to tell you what to do, just point out that what you are doing has been done to death by many others and it fails. I wish it were otherwise, but I look forward to seeing what you will do in the weeks to come and will watch with interest :)
 
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Lee

Administrator
Staff member
This is what happens when the interest wanes, mainly because people run out of things to say, so it's incumbent on you to inject some new content. The look is never going to attract people, but the content will and the membership will come over time providing the content is of interest. No matter how you dress a forum up to mimic a Social Media site, it will still be a forum.

The problem with forums, nowadays, is that they are too difficult for Social Media addicts to rationalise - believe me, I've seen every trick in the book that people have tried with forums to lure Social Media addicts into the fold, and none of them have worked. Keep your core group happy, you really do rely upon them, and keep good and relevant content flowing. Motivate your team to look for ways to generate interest, promote outside of the forum by offering reciprocal links to sites covering the same interests as yours, but don't have a forum.

I've seen this concern about forums on Xenforo, IPS, Woltlab, PHPBB and loads of others.

I can see that you have a genuine passion to offer something to give help and hope to others, but you need some substantial content that is relevant to back this up. I understand how difficult it is and how despairing it can be when members are not flooding in, and a good few who joined up have faded away.

It's your baby, and you've spent a lot of time and money and effort to breathe life into it and I'm not trying to tell you what to do, just point out that what you are doing has been done to death by many others and it fails. I wish it were otherwise, but I look forward to seeing what you will do in the weeks to come and will watch with interest :)

I can fully understand what you are saying and where you are coming from. I have tried every approach in the book over the course of the last 20 odd years, some with success and some without. I am going a new path for me and taking my website away from the traditional forum. Only time will tell what will happen, but I am quietly confident that this approach will garner some interest - if I wasn’t, what would be the point?

The look isn’t the reason for the change - content discovery is. Bringing the latest posts and threads to an easily accessible place is the goal here. People who frequent social media are used to having things in one place, so if you truly want to reach out to as many people as possible, then something similar needs to happen with the forum experience.

Ultimately we are all keepers of our project and we will do with them as we think best. By keeping the more traditional layout as an option, I can cater to any audience.

I have a few ideas for content that we are working on behind the scenes. :)

Unfortunately link exchangEd rarely work these days, the only real way to get users to view is to show up in their searches. It is an almost impossible thing to achieve, but if I can reach out to three people I am happy I have made a difference.

The goal at the end of the day for me is to make a social environment that people can use to support each other. Where people can share their stories and experiences without judgement. Like you say, the look doesn’t attract the users, but if I can make content easier to discover, then I will try my best to do that.

All this is my opinion also and there is never one path to get to the same place.

I feel by keeping the traditional look available, that I am taking care and looking after the core user group here who might like a more traditional forum. Whilst providing a look the general population might also appreciate.
 
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Dave

Active member
I fully understand your desire to try something new, sadly it's not new, but if you don't try you will never know, so I can appreciate your enthusiasm - I will feel bad for you if it doesn't work, I get that feeling very much so, not just from my own experiences but also from the experiences of others that have travelled the path we have chosen to travel.

If content discovery is paramount as opposed to look and feel, I would suggest that you consider evaluating what content it is that is important to be discovered over and above the current feed which, as I intimated in my initial comment, gives the impression that this site is about games and not health issues, as that is where your members are gravitating towards.

As a point of contention, trying to please everyone generally leads to pleasing no one and instead of gaining new members you may end up losing some; that's not a given simply an observation.

It is your site, after all, and you must follow what you consider to be the best route you wish to take and it's not for me to tell you how to operate your own site, my comments are meant to be constructive. I wish things were different and that forum's were still the thriving communities they used to be, but wishing for something doesn't make it so. I'm looking at alternatives to Xenforo and IPS (the stalwarts of traditional forum wares) that fall more inline with Social Media usage - Discourse looks promising, as it is geared solely towards content discovery, it's free, but unknown territory for me but it does look compelling.

All the luck in the world to you Lee, and I hope that your vision proves to be the exception rather than the rule :)
 
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Kyng

New member
Yeah
I fully understand your desire to try something new, sadly it's not new, but if you don't try you will never know, so I can appreciate your enthusiasm - I will feel bad for you if it doesn't work, I get that feeling very much so, not just from my own experiences but also from the experiences of others that have travelled the path we have chosen to travel.

If content discovery is paramount as opposed to look and feel, I would suggest that you consider evaluating what content it is that is important to be discovered over and above the current feed which, as I intimated in my initial comment, gives the impression that this site is about games and not health issues, as that is where your members are gravitating towards.

As a point of contention, trying to please everyone generally leads to pleasing no one and instead of gaining new members you may end up losing some; that's not a given simply an observation.

It is your site, after all, and you must follow what you consider to be the best route you wish to take and it's not for me to tell you how to operate your own site, my comments are meant to be constructive. I wish things were different and that forum's were still the thriving communities they used to be, but wishing for something doesn't make it so. I'm looking at alternatives to Xenforo and IPS (the stalwarts of traditional forum wares) that fall more inline with Social Media usage - Discourse looks promising, as it is geared solely towards content discovery, it's free, but unknown territory for me but it does look compelling.

All the luck in the world to you Lee, and I hope that your vision proves to be the exception rather than the rule :)
Yeah, Discourse looks promising on paper... but sadly, it seems it's failed to find an audience. The social media crowd is sticking with what they know - and the people who are still on forums don't want to re-learn how to use a forum. A shame, really :( .

As for the activity slowdown... even if it began before the change, activity seems to have fallen right off a cliff after the change. And I don't think it's because of the new layout: I'm willing to work with that, and I think everyone else is too. Instead, I believe the more recent slowdown is due to the simple lack of content. A lot of forums got slashed from the board index - and there's been nothing new brought in to replace them. This means everyone's posting in the same few threads, because there's literally nothing else to talk about.

I'd suggest at least bringing back two or three of the more popular forums from the old board, so that people at least have *something* to discuss.
 
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Lee

Administrator
Staff member
Yeah

Yeah, Discourse looks promising on paper... but sadly, it seems it's failed to find an audience. The social media crowd is sticking with what they know - and the people who are still on forums don't want to re-learn how to use a forum. A shame, really :( .

As for the activity slowdown... even if it began before the change, activity seems to have fallen right off a cliff after the change. And I don't think it's because of the new layout: I'm willing to work with that, and I think everyone else is too. Instead, I believe the more recent slowdown is due to the simple lack of content. A lot of forums got slashed from the board index - and there's been nothing new brought in to replace them. This means everyone's posting in the same few threads, because there's literally nothing else to talk about.

I'd suggest at least bringing back two or three of the more popular forums from the old board, so that people at least have *something* to discuss.
Still a work in progress :) our statistics actually show that there has been an increase in activity since the change (probably us debating it! :D) - but content is coming.

I'm not saying this is set in stone, but these things take time. I wasn't expecting a miracle over night, but the tradition methods aren't working any more, so I am going to take a less traditional route. Might work, might not - but there is only one way to find out :)
 

Kyng

New member
Glad to hear more is coming :) . I'll look forward to seeing what you have in store for this place!
 

Ash

New member
Looking forward to seeing what else is planned for the forum. I think the layout change has been discussed enough so won't add much but I do agree with some of the points made.

I'll be sticking to the traditional forum layout as well.
 

Lynn

Be Kind!
I think it looks better. Only problem is I have to keep clicking on the forum list to get to the main page but I will get used to that :)
 

willowtigger

Well-known member
This type of layout i find easier to navigate round, places like HealthUnlocked i dont use cause i just find them too hard to figure out :(
 

Lee

Administrator
Staff member
This type of layout i find easier to navigate round, places like HealthUnlocked i dont use cause i just find them too hard to figure out :(
Glad you are finding it easy to navigate. The idea is to highlight the content on the front page more. Seems to be working well so far.
 

Ash

New member
Lemmie do some tinkering and see if I can set some code to remember everybody's default view. :)
That would be great. It's honestly not the end of the world if you can't but it means one less click to get to the option we like :D
 
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