Forums Restructuring

Discussion in 'Forum Announcements and Feedback' started by Daniel Mosquin, Feb 1, 2010.

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  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hello all,

    On Friday, I had a meeting with my managers, including the garden's director, to discuss how I could reduce my workload* with respect to the forums.

    Various options were discussed:

    1. shut down the forums, remove them to reduce web traffic
    2. shut down the forums, archive them as resources
    3. reduce the scope of the forums by:
    a) only maintaining forums that serve UBC Botanical Garden or its commitments, removing the rest
    b) only maintaining forums that serve UBC Botanical Garden or its commitments, archiving the rest
    c) only moderating forums that serve UBC or its commitments, and allowing non-UBC individuals to moderate remaining forums
    4. reallocating additional resources within UBC Botanical Garden (staff time, UBC Friends of the Garden time) to moderate all forums
    5. generating revenue via the forums to fund additional staff for the forums

    After deliberation & discussion, it was decided that the best solution was 3b: for the garden to maintain the forums that directly relate to UBC Botanical Garden's priorities (regional forums, scientific forums, UBC Botanical Garden forums) or forums that the garden has a commitment to (the Maples forum due to links with the Maple Society and the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival). The Hortboard forum will be changed to accept new threads only from new members, so a general Q+A forum will still be available.

    For all other forums, it was decided to phase them out and archive them. The process will be:

    - until February 9, 2010, they will be available to registered members only.
    - from February 9, 2010 onwards for now, only replies will be allowed (no new threads)
    - after February 23, 2010, these other forums will be archived (only available to read by registered members)

    * Re: my workload:

    I try my best to monitor every message / thread for the following:

    At a minimum,

    1) ensure spam is prevented / removed in a timely manner
    2) relevant content (ensure focus is on plants and content is suitable to a university botanical garden web site)
    3) managing forum conflicts

    With a little bit of extra time,

    4) ensure legality, as best I can
    5) ensure copyright is respected, as best I can
    6) ensure pseudoscience is challenged / removed

    Ideally,

    7) promoting the use of academic sites for information
    8) push discussions on particular topics of relevance to UBC Botanical Garden
    9) adding relevant resources

    Due to the volume of postings on the forums and my other work priorities, I'm unable to do even the minimum required, hence the changes.

    I will be meeting with my managers on this topic again in 3 months, at which point we plan to assess the changes and see what needs to be revisited.

    On a personal note, I apologize to all of you who found a home here and will now find their favourite areas / forums phased out. We provide a list of other forums that you might want to investigate (little solace, I know).

    I'm disappointed that this project I initiated seven years ago and helped grow to what it is today is now being curtailed, but I suppose nothing lasts forever.

    Daniel
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    A sad day indeed. It's ironic that the popularity and success of these forums has led to their demise due to the increased workload required to maintain them. Thank you, Daniel, for the time and effort that you have put into this project. I hope the administration will one day in the not too distant future decide to resurrect the forums upon review as I believe they are a valuable resource to the gardening community worldwide.
     
  3. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    well, this certainly IS sad news!!!

    although i can understand it, it's still very disappointing!!! i have learned so much here!! and made more than a few friends, as well.

    is there no possibility for members to be appointed by you/mgmt to monitor and maintain the 'general' area???
     
  4. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Words cannot express my sadness at this awful news. Management has no idea what this means to the membership. The magnificent tree has been 'topped off'. I feel sick. We had something great here. No more.

    Congratulations on the reduction of your workload, Daniel. Enjoy it.
     
  5. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    Daniel.
    So sorry to hear this news. To me these forums worked on so many levels both educational and social. The forums proved a trusted venue where both expert and not so experts could share to the benefit of all. Sometimes it is hard to put a dollar and cents value on such exchange of knowledge and UBC has hard choices to make but I hope that they may, in the future, be able to reinstate the forums. Thank you so much and very best wishes for the future.
    Margaret
     
  6. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    thank you very much, daniel, for all your hard work. and thank you to everyone else on these forums; you've been very helpful and friendly. i'm going to miss you all so much, it feels nuts.

    these forums have been an invaluable resource to all of us. ...not gonna cry...
     
  7. MickiS

    MickiS Active Member

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    This is truly sad news. I hope that something will be worked out to continue with or reinstate the forums. As a relatively new gardener I have found them to be extremely informative. Thank you for all your hard work Daniel.
     
  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    On that point it's worth noting that Google searches on gardening topics often return entries from these forums that are near the top. I think that speaks volumes.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    On the other hand, GardenWeb comes up at the top all the time. People post quantities of nonsense there routinely, that the moderators never touch. Points #3 and especially point #6 above are two key ones that have made this forum site better.
     
  10. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Although I too am deeply saddened by this news...it really doesn't come as much of a shock to me. I bet there's more to this story than meets the eye.

    It was obvious in the way the forum was being run recently, that something was VERY wrong. Once again members now have to compensate for the neglect...on the part of management.

    I am of the opinion that more warmth and appreciation is shown to a herd of cattle, than to the members here...therefore it is not at all surprising that we will all have to lose out on enjoying UBC anymore.

    People do not matter here, and we are obviously of no significance nor importance.

    Hats off...for a job well done!

    : (
     
  11. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Word!!!
     
  12. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Daniel, it has been a pleasure.

    Thanks for giving me the chance to learn and to try to share what I've been able to learn with others. UBC is the best forum on the net and the chance to visit with friends will be sorely missed.

    For any interested, I've deliberately not made a point of making it public but there is an Exotic Rainforest Plant Discussion forum and any interested are invited to join us. We have about 70 members from around the globe and we talk about any kind of tropical plant, not just aroids! If you'd like to be a part just drop me a note: Steve@ExoticRainforest.com

    Thanks again!

    Steve Lucas
    Corresponding Secretary
    The International Aroid Society
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    >not just aroids!<

    Phew! That's a relief!
     
  14. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Well, that's all I know Ron! I just fell in love with a single plant family and stuck with it with the exception of orchids, and..............well, a bunch of other rain forest species.

    You're a brilliant poster so thanks for all you've taught to everyone........especially me!
     
  15. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    steve's group did start with a firm focus on aroids...over the past year, with an influx of new members, the focus has expanded to various other tropicals as well as aroids. it's a very nice group of people who represent almost all continents, i believe - and is a very nice mix of those with 'expert' level knowledge (both formally trained and just 'hands on' type) as well as those who are the more 'novice' level of knowledge.

    a very cheerful bunch, i must say!

    steve, i'm glad you posted and have offered forum membership to any who are interested (was going to ask you if you would)! your website is THE first place i refer people to when they want to know about aroids...

    as for general gardening, ubc has been my first-on-the-list reference when people need info...there are so many areas covered here. it truly is all-encompassing. i will miss it sorely.

    as for other garden forums, gardenweb? pfft! too cliquey and the majority of people are not so nice - some don't even attempt being civil; much less actually helpful.

    for those that have a strong interest in cacti and other succulents, please visit the garden forums. this site is also all-encompassing like the ubc site has been. the majority of posting is in the succulent sections (with a huge focus on cacti). there is also a strong presence in the vermicomposting, greenhouses and square-foot gardening sections. other areas have ebbed/flowed and trickled down...i'd love to see more postings in the outdoor sections - i do love my clematis and herbs and vegy's, etc...
     
  16. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Joclyn. We'll gladly find room for anyone that wants to join us. As for your comment about that other forum, oh well.

    Steve
     
  17. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    What to say, very sad. There are other forums online that are also "FREE" and not monitored like as we are children.
    Or anyone out there to create something similar smaller, a Yahoo or Goggle group or something.
    well my e-mail is no secret vstapelb_sa at yahoo dot com write it down and anyone inform me later beside the few very good online friends I made here from Vancouver
    in Australia, UK. Ecuador etc etc.. ( should be good enough to get it on going) one would think.
    REALLY blown away how one & many more just get brushed under the carpet of lovely daisies.... for not apparent reason but the time of "MONITORING"
    What ? "Time" would not be taken or costing if this digital thing would just let be "RUN ". I can't recall reading anything offensive beside a few clouds in the blue sky..
    Really I thought this was an WORLD RENOWN FORUM .. i guess the lay people like us are not really needed unless to pay the entrance and member fees at the UBC gardens...
    and the others oh they are just all around the world giving face to this Forum "Envergure".
    I came across one forum in Toronto run by a lady and made myself member its all about gardening but have not done much about it ..and now can't recall the name
    if I find it I will let you know maybe we can migrate there.
    CACTI in Vancouver mmmmH I wish .... SO LONG lads gals and gardeners .....snif
     
  18. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Tell it like it is, vic! Like I told H.L. a minute ago, this Forum is its members---its PEOPLE---and we are forcibly being taken away from one another.

    Agree with you about the monitoring thing. How insulting to us for our moderator to say that he must read EVERY POST, as if we are devilish schoolchildren! Are we members not alert and intelligent enough to recognize an offensive post when we see one, and then report it? I think we could handle it...but not so the management.

    vic, oh vic...this is just indescribably sad.
    Jeez, I'm gonna miss you guys. My Forum, oh my Forum. Gone but not forgotten.
     
  19. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Well my partner tells me that we should look at the Vancouver Forum that is sort of a totally free forum. Anyway its NOT the end of the world we can create our own UBC plants (utmost beautiful created) plants haha or something like this UBC must only on mean what it means here. UBC net = Union of the Baltic Cities etc.. its only the name that attracted us in the beginning
    Anyway lets sleep over it and see again tomorrow STILL VERY SADENING ! I know some may feel like the kicked out like the cat or dog.
     
  20. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ahh well it was great while it lasted. Daniel thank you for all your hard work. Have only been here about 3 years but it was great. I might look for a list closer to home if this gets too technical. :) I must admit I have not been as active and totaly missed this thread untill an O/s friend alerted me to it. On that level I have met some really nice people so thankyou all.

    Liz
     
  21. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Good points, Vic and Togata...it's why I said there's more to this story than meets the eye, rest assured. As my grandmother used to say..."and who do you think you're kidding"?!!!

    Socializing...and even friendliness...are frowned upon here. Just deliver the facts...but let there be no indication that there might be an actual real live person behind the keyboard...or you might be given an infraction point!

    Not a wonder that this forum is crumbling, when the rules of the 'forum charter' itself do not even apply to ALL members...only some.

    This whole thing is very CONfusing and makes no sense. The short notice is upsetting as well. There is just no sensitivity to people at all, and it speaks volumes about the level of respect "management" has for the members here.

    I will sure miss helping others to garden. Even though I was not appreciated by some, I sure felt appreciated by all of you members, and I hope you know the feelings are mutual. I have learned so much here and will miss you all very much.

    : (

    Anyone wishing to reach me, may do so at....

    GardeningForever@gmail.com

     
  22. Nath

    Nath Active Member

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    Well Daniel those are very sad tidings indeed, but I also appreciate all of your help and effort in developing what has become a home for me and I've made lots of great friends here and learned an awful lot from all of you. The flames of zeal for my garden have been stoked by you all and I have been motivated to try new things and new gardening practices. Thanksyou all for your pearls of wisdom that hopefully I can pass on to others when needed.

    Nath

    PS: I can be reached at nathan_maskell@hotmail.co.uk for those who want to stay in touch.
     
  23. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    I wrote to Nath thinking it was some problem but I see its not what I was thinking,

    Maybe a new forum with an experienced admin and Moderators at the helm. maybe setup a newsgroup with a 'list mom' to discuss plants etc.

    Possibly join one of the forums that has been suggested by the link.

    Just don't lose friends..friends are an important bond.

    Certainly exchange emails like Nath has done.
     
  24. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    Just when I found it as well..sob!

    I hope the forums don't go for good, if so we will have lost a big friend in you Daniel, and Eric.
     
  25. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Contributor 10 Years

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    I am just so sad. For 12 hours I have been thinking, trying to put into words how I feel.

    For me this has been THE BEST forum that I have found. I love almost everything about it. The vast wealth of knowledge from across the world, given freely and generously by all those who have posted.


    I love the exquisite pics of flowers, that I have never seen before, also pics of the scenery and gardens that have been posted. I love getting to know the different personalities of the people that post, and have often laughed out loud at the humour. I love researching the new plants that I have never seen before, and in so doing have learnt so much over the past 3 years.

    However, it is not just a free forum, it is THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA forums, and as such I feel should be for education purposes. It is only fitting that "the managment" run it to a high standard.

    Throughout the years Daniel has kept it running smoothly, and devoted a lot of his life to it. None of us can know the work involved with software upgrades, spammers etc. etc. Often, Daniel has consulted us all, on how we wish the forums to progress. For all this work and Botany Photo of the Day etc etc I would like to say a very personal, heartfelt thanks.

    I just hope that maybe a miracle will happen and a wealthy benefactor will come along to fund the wages of somebody, so that we can all continue to enjoy these forums.

    I am going to miss all of it so much.......
     
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