A Plan to Move TT Forward

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A Plan to Move TT Forward

Postby Captain ACS » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:36 pm

This was originally a talk I had in the Teamspeak server of my own online group, Task Force 51. A friend wrote down everything I said. I originally intended on emailing this to Andrew, but since I felt that it needed to be transparent and open to the whole community, I made the decision to turn it into a standalone thread. If you all want to give your own opinions to the propositions, by all means, do so.

First and foremost, I think we can all agree that the layout of the forum is very open and spread out, which is probably great for a very large community, but that isn't really TT at this point. That's especially the case after February; the big wipe that sent the forum back into time to November 2013 drove several good members away, and now it's basically just me, Aaron, Andrew, and a few others still standing.

Now, the way it goes on at our side here in TF51 is very straightforward. Our YSFlight forum is, for obvious reasons, based on flight simulation, so we know what we're doing in our selected forum sections. We can talk about things, maybe put up an advertisement-type post for an aerial event, or talk about something else going on in the team. Maybe some new development that our crew is doing for the website. We can all go in that News and Announcements forum. We go down mainly into the gaming section, and we find "General YSFlight", and that's gonna cover, basically, everything. There's no separate section. It all gets in there, so we can talk about "Hey, we're gonna be doing this at this time", and there's screenshots going on, there's questions about what's going on, about organizations, and asking questions like "What do flaps do for me here?"...anything like that. So, it's just a big general area and there's no separate forum. It's just "General YSF", and that's anything and everything to do with YSF. Beneath that, we can do screenshot contests, and I'd like to bring that back. I remember doing that back in 2010. We'd have it once a month on a particular theme, we'd post our screenshots and we'd vote on 'em. It was a great time. There's also aircraft & addon creation, and there's no separate forum. It's just information and questions. You could put tutorials on there, you could ask questions or answer them, and get things taken care of.

The main topic that I want to focus on is the three main pieces of the site: Titanic discussion, general discussion, and site discussion. The Titanic discussion, basically, needs to be one big forum. There is no subforum or separate section. Keep it all in one place. We don't need more than 10 sections dedicated to passengers, crew, exploration, and so forth - some of these haven't even been touched since 2013, which doesn't exactly give would-be members/guests a good impression. At the very least, condense them a bit. I'll delve into a layout idea I have for that later [edit: see below for the rough draft of my plan]. Follow that up by site discussion, also known as the Website and Forum News section. There isn't a ton of it, but there is one big problem I noted in my own topic under the forum: all of the topics in the Website Announcements subforum are threads Andrew has created to advertise books by certain authors. There already is a whole section dedicated to books for this. It's all out of whack, really. Now for general discussion, aka "Cafe Parisien". Now, we all like to talk to each other and about things that are going on that interest us, and I think it's great to discuss that here in this forum, since we're all like-minded people. I'd also like to go to Say Hello, another place that's laid dead since 2013. On our side, introduction and birthday topics are merged into one forum: Personal Messages. This forum is used for welcoming threads, goodbye threads, and birthdays alike. We can congratulate somebody for something they may have accomplished outside of the team. You could say happy birthday, and you know, it's always a nice thing to come onto the forum and see that someone's been thinking "Hey, it's your birthday today, happy birthday" and giving you a nice picture of a cake, of course. I think that's great to have, and I think it helps build our morale in the forum.

It's just that I go on this forum and there's some 10 different forums, and it's all this crap, that I can hardly even check what's going on and see what's going on, and I have all this other crap that's everywhere. We need to step back and stick to keeping it simple. Even take a look at Apple and Microsoft: all their stuff is very clean. This isn't the 90s where we have lightning bolts on everything and...well, whatever, you get the point. We need to keep things very clean and user-accessible.

The point here is that we've become too messy with our forum, and that's not exactly helping our very diminished user base. I think we're looking to build ourselves, but we're looking too far away, and I think the objective is to enhance what we have here for all of us, and that's what's gonna bring us here, because I can go back in my mind and think of the first couple of times I was on the older TT forums: I would go and check it every day. I got home every day, and I enjoyed seeing what was going on. Virtually all of the old folks that are long-gone or still hanging around, it was neat to be with them. We need to go for a very simplistic idea and we need to enhance that. I think it's not too late to do that. We can do that right now, and I think we can make this better. I think we can get this to where it needs to be.

----------------------------------------------

As for what I was saying with my plan of reorganizing, this is how I think the forum should be restructured. It's worth nothing that the Task Force 51 YSFlight forum operates on IP.Board, and as such, it has the advantage of its forums being able to be made into sections. Because of this, we have game discussion, general discussion, and site discussion all in their own boxes. If I remember correctly, phpBB3 also supports this. The pre-2011 edition of TT had this boxing layout going on as well (see here: http://web.archive.org/web/201104271951 ... com/forum/).

Keep in mind that I wrote this plan up on a whim. I'll probably go back and change it later on.


Quick key for what the parts of this mean:
Single * = Section
Double ** = Subforum

*RMS Titanic (merge with Salvage/Trivia/White Star Line/H&W)
**Passengers, Crew, & Officers (merge of Passengers/Crew & Officers)
*Titanic Media - temporary name
**Collectables
**Books
**Art
**Software/Film
*Maritime Matters (merge of Maritime Matters/Titanic & Maritime Sites)
*Cafe Parisien
**Personal Messages (expansion of Say Hello)
**Whatever else may be felt to be necessary. I know that right now, we have several subforums of CP.
*Site & Forums News
**Site News
**Forums News

----------------------------------------------

PS: That problem with new members having the forum's template code break the website for them is still happening. That could be why we aren't getting much in terms of new member activity.
-Will "Madcatter" Allen

I'm a 27-year-old Mississippi River lover who spends his spare time playing country & rock music. Not much else to say.
Captain ACS
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:29 am
Location: Hammond, LA

Re: A Plan to Move TT Forward

Postby Andrew Clarkson » Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:33 am

Will,

Thanks very much for your lengthy post, but the forum's glory days are long gone, and a time consuming program you have in mind is not going to happen. The forum is a small part of the whole site.
All the best,
Andrew Clarkson,
Webmaster,
http://www.titanic-titanic.com/index.shtml
Andrew Clarkson
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2374
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:16 am
Location: Morecambe, England

Re: A Plan to Move TT Forward

Postby Captain ACS » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:23 pm

That "time consuming program" is merely rearranging the forum layout - something I've done myself many times (I've been an admin on several different forums), and taken some 20-30 minutes in doing so, not exactly what I would call extremely "time consuming". If that's the attitude we're going to have, then I'm sorry, but I'm not even going to bother. Trying to work with a community of "there's nothing that can be done, just forget about it" is hopeless. Go on, leave everything as it is. Watch the place die a slow death. I've seen it happen time and time again. I, for one, am not going to stay and watch it happen this time.

Andrew, you could argue the forum is only one piece of TT, but there's a big factor you fail to account for: this is the only part of the site directed at actual DISCUSSION. Discussion is, at least, for me, what keeps the topic of the Titanic so intriguing - you can always learn new things from it. Stop talking, lose interest in the subject, and watch where the site as a whole goes. It baffles me that you would be willing to give up that easily after 25+ years (the site main page DOES say 1990 onwards, after all).
-Will "Madcatter" Allen

I'm a 27-year-old Mississippi River lover who spends his spare time playing country & rock music. Not much else to say.
Captain ACS
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:29 am
Location: Hammond, LA

Re: A Plan to Move TT Forward

Postby Andrew Clarkson » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:14 am

Captain ACS wrote:That "time consuming program" is merely rearranging the forum layout - something I've done myself many times (I've been an admin on several different forums), and taken some 20-30 minutes in doing so, not exactly what I would call extremely "time consuming". If that's the attitude we're going to have, then I'm sorry, but I'm not even going to bother. Trying to work with a community of "there's nothing that can be done, just forget about it" is hopeless. Go on, leave everything as it is. Watch the place die a slow death. I've seen it happen time and time again. I, for one, am not going to stay and watch it happen this time.

Andrew, you could argue the forum is only one piece of TT, but there's a big factor you fail to account for: this is the only part of the site directed at actual DISCUSSION. Discussion is, at least, for me, what keeps the topic of the Titanic so intriguing - you can always learn new things from it. Stop talking, lose interest in the subject, and watch where the site as a whole goes. It baffles me that you would be willing to give up that easily after 25+ years (the site main page DOES say 1990 onwards, after all).


Sorry, what I should have added in my reply was that it's a lot of work, but with no way of knowing if it will bring more people.
All the best,
Andrew Clarkson,
Webmaster,
http://www.titanic-titanic.com/index.shtml
Andrew Clarkson
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2374
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:16 am
Location: Morecambe, England

Re: A Plan to Move TT Forward

Postby Captain ACS » Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:09 pm

Well, for starters, we're not going to get any new members if this keeps going unchecked. This is at least the second time I've mentioned it and gotten zero actual response. That being said, I have my ways of finding new members. Fixing the broken forum is half the battle.
-Will "Madcatter" Allen

I'm a 27-year-old Mississippi River lover who spends his spare time playing country & rock music. Not much else to say.
Captain ACS
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:29 am
Location: Hammond, LA

Re: A Plan to Move TT Forward

Postby Eric K. Longo » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:01 pm

Hello,

I am here too. It seems to me the posts above are discussing, were this a movie, what to show the screen. I think you have to get folks back into the seats first. Short of T2 sailing, I don't know how to do this.

Eric
Design/concept consultation. Digital images/restoration of prints & transparencies Examples: Chirnside's Olympic Class Liners, Maxtone-Graham's Normandie. Recently: National Building Museum, D.C. (U.S.) & The Segedunum Museum, Wallsend (U.K.).
Eric K. Longo
 
Posts: 604
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:01 am

Re: A Plan to Move TT Forward

Postby Captain ACS » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:32 pm

As I noted already, we already have quite a few members joining. The problem? That template glitch is without a doubt stopping them from interacting with the forums at all. That seems to be a priority right now.

Oh, and by the way, T2 is going nowhere :lol:
-Will "Madcatter" Allen

I'm a 27-year-old Mississippi River lover who spends his spare time playing country & rock music. Not much else to say.
Captain ACS
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:29 am
Location: Hammond, LA

Re: A Plan to Move TT Forward

Postby Eric K. Longo » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:45 pm

Yes, well, I was responding to your post above in this thread, not the link, and this seems to be about structure/format.
Well, I still can't even tell if my posts are posting, and no, I don't hit "submit" twice. I don't claim to have answers, just - I'm still here too.
I do think Andrew will do what he thinks appropriate and does not need any suggestions from me, well worded or otherwise.
Almost all sites I frequent, and the liner sites especially, have had this decrease in activity - data loss here aside. I know one site well known for having the same discussions over and over and even that has essentially stopped.

Eric
Design/concept consultation. Digital images/restoration of prints & transparencies Examples: Chirnside's Olympic Class Liners, Maxtone-Graham's Normandie. Recently: National Building Museum, D.C. (U.S.) & The Segedunum Museum, Wallsend (U.K.).
Eric K. Longo
 
Posts: 604
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:01 am

Re: A Plan to Move TT Forward

Postby Captain ACS » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:11 pm

Either way, if the remainder of the community is actually willing to cooperate, we can at least avoid the fate that my brother's defunct Forumotion board suffered in 2012-2013 (and it still remains dead to this day). On the other hand, if that doesn't happen, I may very well just pack up and leave.

That being said, I've spent years on this site now, and I'm not exactly willing to let it suffer that fate. I know we're not exactly going to get a massive rebound in activity, but that's not to imply that nothing can be done. If you were to ask anyone I talk to regularly, you'd know that I'm not one to let go of any great history that easily, and I mean "great history" in a lot of cases. Case in point:



Think less like Mussolini promising to return Italy to the Roman Empire, or Donald Trump promising to "make America great again" ( :lol: - well, that's a different discussion for a different topic), more of Obama promising to get America out of a rut.
-Will "Madcatter" Allen

I'm a 27-year-old Mississippi River lover who spends his spare time playing country & rock music. Not much else to say.
Captain ACS
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:29 am
Location: Hammond, LA

Re: A Plan to Move TT Forward

Postby Captain ACS » Mon May 09, 2016 1:28 am

http://i.imgur.com/aFo9ZB2.png - Alright, it's become blatantly obvious that someone has gone and straight up ignored everything I wrote here. On that note, I'm finished. I'm not going to bother with this place anymore given that the head admin is willing to do literally nothing with, or even take advice for, his own site.

PS- Andrew, your argument is that fixing the forum is too time consuming, yet clogging up the Website Announcements forum with links to author works - with a perfectly functional books section available - somehow isn't? Sounds logical...
-Will "Madcatter" Allen

I'm a 27-year-old Mississippi River lover who spends his spare time playing country & rock music. Not much else to say.
Captain ACS
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:29 am
Location: Hammond, LA


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