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Author Topic: Discussing Forum Land  (Read 5048 times)
CWazyTom
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« on: November 22, 2017, 01:09PM »

Hey everyone,

I need your feedback.

I want to understand the various reasons why the forms were really active places at one point but their much less active now. On most of the forums I'm one of the few people posting there.

Why were the forums so popular before?

What things have changed?

What can we do to revive some of the forum lands, so to speak?

I'm on quite a few forums: this one Chloë's, the forums for all the current girls, the Mairead Nesbitt's forum, Lisa Lambe's forum, Lisa Kelly's forum, and Chloë's forum.

Honestly, some of the forums are just being kept going for sentimental and archival reasons. The forums cost money to run. Glen has to run 4 forums and it gets expensive and time consuming.  We love the forums but it's getting harder to justify keeping those places running if there's only 2 or 3 of us actually posting there.

The heyday of the forums was before I was actually using the forums. I was a late bloomer, I guess. So I'd love feedback from some of the more tenured members to help me understand all this.

I have a few theories about it, but I'd love your thoughts.

I'm happy to discuss here. If there are things you're not comfortable posting in the open, please feel free to message me.

I'm really excited to read your insights!
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Jim M.
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 02:40PM »

The forums are always busier when the CW tour is in progress.  (Show reviews, forum members making plans for get-togethers, more new members joining, etc.) Wink
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2017, 07:08AM »

The forums are always busier when the CW tour is in progress.  (Show reviews, forum members making plans for get-togethers, more new members joining, etc.) Wink

Agreed. All the forums in general are less busier than they used to be though. We still have a small group of people here that are pretty active, but some of the other forums feel like a private chat between me and the admins sometimes.  Roll Eyes

I have a few ideas...

I don't doubt that as the group has changed, some of the fans have moved on.

Some fans had their favourites (Chloë, Lisa Kelly, Mairead Nesbitt, Méav, etc.) and when they moved on, maybe those fans still liked Celtic Woman but a bit less passionately than before.

Maybe, for some people that used to frequent the forums and be super-CWazy, the novelty (and consequently their interest) faded over time.

Maybe something changed with the forums and their environment. Maybe as people started moving on and the forums became less active, it just sort of snow-balled.

Perhaps in the days before social media, the forums provided a sense of community and a news network for fans that was difficult to get elsewhere. Social media might be fulfilling some of those needs more effectively than a forum now.

That's all just speculation though. Because I wasn't involved in the forums until recently, I lack the insight to properly understand the situation. So if anyone could help shed some light on it, I would greatly appreciate it.

Long live Forum Land!
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2017, 12:04PM »

Speaking for me, there's a number of reasons.

One, it seems like I don't have any time to look at multiple forums.  I'm kind of anti-reading-stuff-on-my-phone.  That partially comes from age (and fat fingers).

Secondly, as been mentioned before. we all know the group has changed. Do I feel the same connection to the newer members?  No.  There's probably a lot of reasons why, but I'm not going to go to as many shows as I did in the past.  Part of the reason I used forums was to see who had an extra ticket or to sell one. 

If I'm going to read a forum, I mostly want it to be about the girls.  I don't care about games or seeing how many times I can post. 

Somewhat related to the above is the question of why do we need so many forums?  Since, for example, this forum has a page for each girl, why do I need to go to another site?  Chances are pretty good the same info is being posted.  Again, I only have so many hours in the day.
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2017, 04:30PM »

Speaking for me, there's a number of reasons.

One, it seems like I don't have any time to look at multiple forums.  I'm kind of anti-reading-stuff-on-my-phone.  That partially comes from age (and fat fingers).

Secondly, as been mentioned before. we all know the group has changed. Do I feel the same connection to the newer members?  No.  There's probably a lot of reasons why, but I'm not going to go to as many shows as I did in the past.  Part of the reason I used forums was to see who had an extra ticket or to sell one. 

If I'm going to read a forum, I mostly want it to be about the girls.  I don't care about games or seeing how many times I can post. 

Somewhat related to the above is the question of why do we need so many forums?  Since, for example, this forum has a page for each girl, why do I need to go to another site?  Chances are pretty good the same info is being posted.  Again, I only have so many hours in the day.

Good feedback.

Thank you.
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FieryRedhead
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2017, 08:46PM »

I also wonder how much of "forum death" has to do with Facebook. I'm part of a couple different FB Celtic Woman groups, but for me, there is a pull to the forum as well. While Facebook and FB groups are convenient, there's something neat about the forum experience.
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2017, 10:15PM »

I also wonder how much of "forum death" has to do with Facebook. I'm part of a couple different FB Celtic Woman groups, but for me, there is a pull to the forum as well. While Facebook and FB groups are convenient, there's something neat about the forum experience.

I completely agree!

Facebook is a great way to socialize with other Celtic Woman fans and interact with the girls to an extent. But honestly, there's something special about the community here on the forums. Facebook groups are often a mixture of loyal fans and casual fans. It's a little different atmosphere here on the forums.
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 10:23PM »

echo much that has already been said...
 in the earlier years this forum was the go to for info.  not so much anymore.
The girls can communicate more directly ( if they choose to ) through Facebook and Twitter.

I too miss the earlier fun that shared here.
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2017, 12:12AM »

Thanks everyone for your feedback so far.

Keep it coming!

It's much appreciated.
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2018, 06:45PM »

I'm not really sure what to do, folks.

The last new member we had admitted here was about a year and a half ago: 2016-10-15. We're 100% sure we've had accounts waiting for approval almost since that time, unable to get onto this forum.

We know a bunch of the boards and FAQ are outdated and while I think we've done a decent job of making due, I'm starting to get pretty worried. I haven't gotten answers to my private messages or offers to help. I obviously can't tell though if I'm getting ignored or if the people they're being sent to just aren't checking anymore.

Glen and I have tried to get people over on the forums for each of the current girls in Celtic Woman, but while there's a few posts now and then, I think Glen and I must be doing over 90% of the posts there. It just doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to keep funding those forums if Glen and I are the only people using them. Sure, there's probably people viewing the forums without logging in and enjoying the content, but forums aren't really an effective community or platform without more people posting on a regular basis.

I hope the Celtic Woman Forum stays running for a long time. I love this place and I certainly plan to be here, providing as much useful and entertaining content as I can, for as long as this place exists. But I get the feeling we should all appreciate every moment we have here on the forum, because nothing lasts forever.  Cry
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 06:47PM by CWazyTom » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2018, 07:04PM »

   Scott Manke  and  Mike Brown are still around the  Mairead  N.   forum  and  Scott  is  still around the Lisa K. forum as well  as  Matthew Allen. The rise of the  Face Book  and twitter  media are probably to blame.   Undecided
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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2018, 07:06PM »

 Also-Lindsey  (Aislin)  our  only  remaining  admin seems  to be  content to  observe without  intervening. I wish she would usher in some new folks here. There are still  several  registrations  per  day. 
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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2018, 07:41PM »

Im also not sure what's going to happen to this forum as my emails and PM's have all been ignored I have also tried to tweet to Lindsey and have gotten nothing. Lindsey has not logged in for over a year and there is no one else left that can make changes to the forum. I will keep the 4 forums I have running so there will always be a place to go. When I have emailed Lindsey I have asked what is the Mod she has used to use different photos on each boards because I can't find any mod that will do this. Lindsey once said what she used something 16 or 12 but I can't find that post but maybe if someone can come up with it I would love to hear what mod was used. Reason I want to know this info as I already own celticwomanforum.net and .org and I have contacted the hosting company that really owns this domain
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2018, 01:01AM »

Note: This stuff below is interesting (I think) but it's going to get a bit technical. Sorry non-tech folks...

Hey Glen,

Regarding the different photos on each board, I'm not sure, but I was wondering if it requires a mod or if it's just part of configuring the theme.

Here's a snip of the page source from the main CWF page, showing what it looks like for Susan's board:


         <tr height="64px">
            <td rowspan="2" class="windowbg2" width="83px" align="center" valign="middle"><a href="http://www.celticwomanforum.com/index.php?action=unread;board=79.0"><img src="http://www.celticwomanforum.com/Themes/CWIOH/icons/79/off.jpg" alt="No New Posts" title="No New Posts" border="0" /></a>
            </td>
            <td class="windowbg2">
               <b><a href="http://www.celticwomanforum.com/index.php?board=79.0" name="b79">Susan McFadden</a></b><br />
                  

See the part in red? That tells us tiny bit about how the board icons work here. They're located within the icons directory of a theme.

Each board has a different board id, which we can see in the URL when you access a board, and also in the page source above (see the part in teal).

So basically, the icons in CWF are organized by board ID for starters. Whether all themes can do that or just special ones, I'm not sure yet.

Now the other interesting thing about this source above is the file name.

If we tinker with the file name, we can see how that part works too, based on whether there are read/unread posts:

Here's the icon for board 79 (Sue's board) when there are no new posts:

http://www.celticwomanforum.com/Themes/CWIOH/icons/79/off.jpg


Here's the icon for board 79 when there are new posts:

http://www.celticwomanforum.com/Themes/CWIOH/icons/79/on.jpg



Neat, huh?

So next, we need to figure out:
- Is this capability of all themes in SMF 2.x, or do only certain themes support this?
- Is there a standard way to configure this for different themes, or does each theme have its own way?
- Specifically, are the file / folder naming conventions the same.

For giggles, I checked the page source for Tara's forum and picked the "Tara McNeill Link" board arbitrarily as an example.

It looks like the on/off naming convention is the same for the theme Tara's forum uses.

<td class="windowbg" width="6%" align="center" valign="top"><img src="http://www.taramcneillforum.com/Themes/sunset-2-0-1-5/images/off.gif" alt="No New Posts" title="No New Posts" />
      </td>
      <td class="windowbg2" align="left" width="60%">
         <a id="b4"></a>
         <strong><a href="http://www.taramcneillforum.com/index.php?board=4.0">Tara McNeill Link</a></strong><br />


http://www.taramcneillforum.com/Themes/sunset-2-0-1-5/images/off.gif




http://www.taramcneillforum.com/Themes/sunset-2-0-1-5/images/on.gif




An important thing to note about Tara's forum vs CWF is that Tara's forum doesn't currently use any board subdirectories in the images folder.

That "Tara McNeill Link" board happens to have ID = 4, which we can see from its URL:
http://www.taramcneillforum.com/index.php?board=4.0

So I wonder if having different icons for different boards is as simple as:
1. Adding a subdirectory for each board within the icons directory of the theme (naming each subdirectory as the board id for that board), then
2. Adding a off.gif and on.gif (black and white vs color), with a separate off/on image for each board, within each board's directory.

I got as far as being able to see the file structure in Tara's forum while logged in as an administrator. But so far, I haven't found a way to add files / directories. That may be a privilege only you have or something that has to be down outside that administrator interface within the forum. I'm not sure yet.

Sadly, I never got around to installing a test forum in a lab, but I can see if there's some documentation on this somewhere we can refer to. My initial thought is it's pretty low risk to tinker around a bit and try it with one of the boards as a test, but as always, it's best practice to back everything up before making changes.

Hopefully this helps!
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 01:06AM by CWazyTom » Logged

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BlueAquaOcean
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2018, 10:06PM »

I agree that FB, Twitter, and IG plays a large portion. They seem to take forums all over
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