Forums Restructuring

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

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  1. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Contributor 10 Years

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    togata, I feel this a very harsh statement.
    Have you not noticed how folk post in completely the wrong forum.eg just this week one post was made about a mystery plant that had just appeared . It was posted in the fungus, lichen forum. By the next time I looked in, it had been moved very efficiently to Plant Id forum, where it rightly belonged.

    All this we just take for granted. Sometimes it happens so very quickly that many people will not even notice.

    Thank you Daniel and Eric for all you do!
     
  2. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Daniel, is there some reason that you didn't consider the option of reducing your work load by appointing a group of moderators to look after typical housekeeping chores for the various forums? I notice that you have a moderator for the "Fungus & Lichen etc." forum. The same could be done for many, if not all, of the other forums. Most similar Web sites are run in that manner. I'm sure that you could find a number of volunteers for these tasks.

    Thanks for a great site,
    Vito
     
  3. JenRi

    JenRi Active Member

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    How do you think I found it?!

    Oh this is so sad....I haven't been very active recently I know as I have been very busy but I am really going to miss this site, people on here are (for the vast majority) so lovely and always willing to help. I shall miss all of you!

    I would have been happy to spend some time moderating I'm not up on all the technical stuff but I probably could have managed moving posts around and deleting inappropriate ones....I know a user-moderated forum might not have worked but its a shame we weren't given a chance to try....

    My email is littlemissdippy@gmail.com if anyone wants it.

    Thanks Blake for letting me know;)

    Also thank you Daniel, I know you have worked hard, so hard in fact that we don't notice everything you do, do. Some people say moderating shouldn't be necessary as we are all adults etc. but this is the UBC forum and I understand it needs to be neat and tidy as it represents the UBC botanical garden and research centre, if it wasn't moderated to such a high standard it would reflect badly on the centre, which of course you don't want.
     
  4. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    Well.
    As a newcomer and gardener,
    I guess I gotta say bury it for compost and cry me a river!

    Yes, let's do our own thing elsewhere. perhaps at an established forum where we may speak more freely. The stuffy rule of academia holds sway more than ever apparently.

    Not frequenting many fora, I cannot offer suggestions.
    Vic, I know you will let me know if you hear anything about another site we may visit with all of each other.

    Daniel, thanks much for doing a lovely job with a light touch. Much appreciated.

    D

    PS
    Funny how I just told a local gardener about this site and it is closing down. Sorry if I jinxed it! I said it was not stuffy and academic ! ha ha ha, ROFL ! HA HA
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Actually it isn't closing down, just parts of it are closing (see '3b' at the top). Yes, sure it'll be the academic parts that stay, but that doesn't necessarily also mean stuffy!
     
  6. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    Actually it isn't closing down

    I'm staying then lol

    ~runs to 3b~'

    So I am guessing the conversations will close.Will it still be a forum as far as forums go, or read only?
    Thanks Daniel!
     
  7. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    I would have recommended http://www.plantzafrica.com from South Africa but I don't see any Forum there.
    At the end 75% of most plants are from South Africa, Mexico, Argentinia.
    Here is a RSA link inside the UBC forum showing off some of its gardens links
    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=57421

    SO I spend some time looking at other forums the choice is not bad and many have "human" garden sections where other related
    themes seemed to be welcome such as "UBC Un-Biased-Comments" :-).
    This for local Canadian http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/cangard/
    http://www.homegardenguides.com/garden-forum/ this one looks quite detailed also
    I like the name of this one http://www.forumgarden.com/ CONVERSATIONS OF LIFE ...so everything goes and you can direct the garden talk
    http://www.thegrowspot.com/know/ Forum looks ok also
    http://www.gardenbuddies.com/forums/ CHECK OUT "Garden Bench Favorites" This looks as it has all the things we also like be HUMANS with other than only gardening thoughts
    http://www.blossomswap.com/forum/ they also have a "human" section in their forum
    http://www.almanac.com/forums/gardening-forum
    http://forum.douggreensgarden.com/ I looked there often although its a bit local
    http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?webtag=ab-gardening this one also seems to have the "human" sections
    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=57421 this one looks very HL/Nath etc also :-)

    Well maybe other suggestions out there ? put forward your 5cents .
     
  8. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    Is the 5 cents a SA thing?
    Inflation?
    It used to be said -2 cents not so long ago - rofl ;))

    Lots of sites.
    Hope we can somehow decide....

    D
     
  9. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Its not only about the moderation or not. Its about "human interaction" accepting it or rejecting it. About going with the flow and
    leaving the Internet a human edge and not only a " scientific" outlet.
    What's the big deal to make a section that on top tells something in this direction:
    This is our avid gardener chat forum section, any advice is NOT monitored and does not represent the view and knowledge
    of the UBC scientists, your posting and reading them at your own risk.
    Canada is so good at putting up signs saying "We do NOT take responsibility..." at carparks, stores etc. so why not a Forum section?
    All we do it talk plants, exchange a few much related photos and sometimes show and tell about our areas when they are in the news be it weather. Olympics etc..
    I go to the UBC gardens often. It's a very "human" place where one meets people much more easily than anywhere else
    just standing in front of a plant/tree/flower people open up talk share way faster than anywhere else where the not so human attitudes of "Do not dare talk to me" evaporates from the faces of people in public places.
     
  10. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    *Sigh*

    All good things must end eventually, I suppose. I'll take this as a lesson in impermanence, but I won't lose the friends I made here.

    Cheers, Daniel. It was great while it lasted.
     
  11. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    There are even people offering to help with the job of moderating. There is no excuse for this fiasco!

    : (
     
  12. C.Wick

    C.Wick Active Member

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    I've been here almost 3 years........for the fungi, mushrooms, lichen, molds and moss forum. Sadly...with the loss of this forum...you loose me as well.
    I have found this a wonderful place to find bits and pieces and to get help with my own questions.......very upset this is leaving!
    I've made a few friends here and this really was the place where we talked, met, shared.......
    Sad to see my area of main interests leave.
    Thank you, Daniel, for the work you've done to help this last as long as it has...and for the note.
    Sincerely,
    Carla Wick
    SauriaMami on RedBubble.com
     
  13. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    May this candlelight represent the hope for friendships that will not be snuffed out, and will still carry on, way beyond this forum...


    Keep in touch, everyone!


    : )
     

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  14. tlpenner

    tlpenner Active Member

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    Well, Daniel

    While I do appreciate what has been achieved here -- it has truly become global in scope!-- I have not been able to use this site myself for research any more as it has become unwieldy even for us who are just wanting to find answers to a question. I can't imagine how less than a team of 10 could keep up with the technological and academic rigor required to do this. So, I think resizing is a good move.

    It seems to me that the UBC Botanical garden has an academic function that must be maintained, and having this forum keep it's integrity is going to mean reducing the scope to just what the garden is meant to do -- to promote scientific research on the plants that are being grown here with all the rigors and reporting that entails.

    What a gift to the world it is to provide botanical information on the West coast rainforest ecosystem with quantifiable data and reported results. Who else will do that in this climate if not UBC Botanical garden??

    Thank you for all your hard work on this.

    Good luck with the transition--

    best regards

    Tracy Penner, Landscape Architect and UBC Botanical garden fan
     
  15. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    True enough, there are both on the internet. Many places on the internet are community run, letting the participants determine how things work.

    A university facility, on the other hand, has an obligation to the university to be run in concert with the institution's goals. I'm not criticizing C.Wick's statement at all, but having the forums be seen as "the place where we talked, met, shared......." puts the whole forum at risk of losing its funding if it is seen as a nice thing but costly and not contributing directly to the purposes of the university. Of course on a forum, ones does talk, meet and share, but the university forum has to be more about the plants and less about the meeting. Or more to the point, the university gets to say what it's about and how it works.

    Vic's annotated forums list, particularly the one on which he comments "...so everything goes and you can direct the garden talk" would seem to be a more comfortable fit for people who have been chafing at the bit at any attempt to control what these forums look like.

    I've enjoyed the company too, and will miss many of the forums that I've posted in or just read. I'm sorry it's come to this, but it doesn't seem inappropriate.
     
  16. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Can only assume you have not noticed the many times Daniel and Eric have helped forum participants attach photos, delete copyrighted material, direct posts to the correct forum, shared their knowledge, kept threads on topic, let alone all that isn't obvious. Maybe starting your own forum on Yahoo Groups would be a helpful option. http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/start
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  17. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    It is just a forum, It is no where close to life and death - its time to move on. There is a big wide world out there, get off your computer and go find it. - Millet
     
  18. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    The forum is dead. Long live the forum!
     
  19. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    chimera,

    I am appauled and agree with you.

    By heck, Daniel and Eric needs the patience of jobe at times.
     
  20. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    While I am very sorry to see the demise of many of the topics on this forum, I am happy that the Pacific Northwest Forum will remain. It is why I signed up in the first place...It is so nice to be able to share information with people who garden under the same conditions as I do. Hollyberry Lady and others...don't be too severe on the UBC Botanical Garden. All public institutions here in BC are suffering from fiscal restraint. They have to concentrate on their actual mandate.

    Thanks, Daniel, for all your hard work.
     
  21. ShearMe

    ShearMe Active Member

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    It was nice while it lasted, though others may complain, and I am grateful for what I received which was free and a gift from a stranger.
     
  22. Daniel Mosquin

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

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    Before replying to the many good points, I feel it is necessary to give you an idea of what my time has been like since making this announcement.

    In order:

    Before lunch yesterday:
    - met with a library work-study student to go through tasks, including developing a books wanted list for our reading room
    - met with an archives work-study student to go through materials he is working on, so that when the garden reaches its 100th anniv. in 2016, we'll have material prepped

    After lunch:
    - Botany Photo of the Day write-up
    - met with library work-study student to discuss additional tasks
    - went through my phone messages
    - went to the weekly faculty Learning Centre meeting -- this is off-site for me (15min walk there and back). My job in the rotation of work was to record minutes. Learned about the budget shortfall and layoffs in UBC IT. Wonder if something similar will be happening to the garden.
    - return to office, discuss budget reporting requirements via phone with principal investigator at UBC for the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI)'s Canadensys project
    - cut conversation short to meet with a volunteer who will be helping me organize a tentative field trip for our Friends of the Garden (FOGs) to Siskiyous, Oregon. The FOGs contribute >10% of our annual budget, so it is important they be engaged.
    - review job description for technician to be hired for CFI work at UBC BG
    - address what emails I can (still 6 outstanding from yesterday)
    - before going to bed, remove spam from forums, move a few threads into appropriate forums

    This morning:
    - before leaving for work, check emails for reports of spam, delete two spammers and associated messages, ban IP addresses. Browse BPotD comments for spam messages.
    - after arriving at work, quickly check emails
    - attend all-morning UBC Payment Card Industry Compliance Workshop, part of the process to ensure the garden can keep accepting credit cards as payments after July 30, 2010.
    - knowing that not all of the workshop would be applicable, work during the non-applicable times on reviewing the text for interpretative signage for the soon-to-be installed wintertime/early spring garden tour

    After a late lunch (again, it is a good walk to where the workshop was -- 20 mins each way):
    - work on BPotD
    - make arrangements to delay getting the documents I need to review the garden's purchases for the CFI project

    And now I'm here...

    First of all, thanks for the general understanding from many members.

    Possibly, this is something we'll revisit in a few months. This was something we discussed (3c), but rejected --for now-- because the bulk of the nastiest work (dealing with misogyny, foiling the cleverest spammers) still needs to be done by a representative of UBC. Plus, see other reasons below.

    It is a more of a reallocation of my workload (reduced with respect to the forums, I believe is the phrase I used).

    Thanks Margaret, I hope you'll continue to participate in the Regional PNW forum. You've always impressed me as someone who understood the forums at a higher level -- and what they meant as a public institution trying to provide a safe place for the community to talk about plants. It was a good experiment to try -- breaking down the barriers of the "University" as unapproachable by the public. To my knowledge, no other university garden attempted forums (there must be at least a few other university departments, somewhere, that have tried).

    Indeed, there is more to the story than meets the eye. Suffice it to say that I was the one who requested the reduction of my workload with respect to the forums -- and a reallocation elsewhere -- and this was the decision worked out with my managers.

    There are many reasons I'm not interested in giving the forums the time and attention I previously did. Among these, though not the only reason, is that 3 forum members complained to my director about how the forums were being administrated (i.e., complained about me). At least one of these called me a nazi, I'm told.

    Despite expressing my absolute disinterest in working in a hostile environment (what could be more hostile than being equated with genocide?), this was the compromise -- fewer forums and less time to be spent by me here.

    That might be because of the people actually doing the forums administration and moderation?

    Approximately 20% of registrations are from spammers. I delete, through checking IP addresses against stated locations, about 80% of these before they even get a chance to post. About 50% of the remaining ones are caught by the anti-spam software. Still, that leaves a few who get through -- and some of those are extremely offensive spam.

    If one imagines a safe, well-tended community with no crime that has a high presence of police, some people -- I suspect -- will question why the police are necessary. After all, there's no crime.

    To my knowledge, no one ever reported the "2 words" conversation thread that went along the lines of: "...got a ... new pet ... named Bubbles ... at the ... museum of ... hemorrhoid research, ... in Canada ... Shockingly it ... involves lots ... of glue ... to keep ... from getting ... his poo ... smeared on ... my carpet ... However, once ... the bugger ... came unglued ... from his ... chesterfield, making ... volcanoes erupt ... in his ... upper bowels"

    See the thread I quoted directly above. I think, at the least, an equal argument could be made that these forums weren't being respected for what they were intended to be.

    Again, this might be revisited in the future.

    Anything in "For Registered Members Only" is slated to be archived (read only by registered members). Pacific Northwest, a Miscellany Q&A forum for new members (though anyone can reply), and the science / biodiversity forums remain open.

    Carla, the Fungi forums remain under the banner of science and biodiversity, so they are still available to you.
     
  23. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Chimera, I too can only assume that you are unaware of the many members who've been tyrannized and downright bullied by a so-called "fair" management, who doesn't even set an example of following the forum charter rules laid out for the members, and uses predatory intimidation tactics to scare people away and upset them...to the point where supervisors had to be contacted by several long-term members.

    I even know of one member who emailed me for plant advice, saying that she was terrified of posting because she might be given an infraction point if she didn't do things just so! There is something very wrong when a gardener can't even log on here and ask a question!!!

    I am not sure what happened. Things were once very pleasant and relaxed. Rules were never made clear for nearly a year, and then all of a sudden members were being consequenced behind the scenes for not knowing them.

    I for one, who have never done anything but try to help others here, not to mention the many seeds I have freely shared, was treated dispicably by the management of this forum...like I was less than a human being!! No appreciation whatsoever for my time and efforts here - not even common respect. I am appalled that this is how good people are treated.

    I would have to agree though that Eric, has been an absolute pleasure to deal with here, and he is a very sensitive human being who knows how to deal with people in a positive, effective, and proper manner. Having sensitivity, good human relations, and people skills, are key when dealing with the public.

    I thought this thread was about commenting on what you make of the reconstruction of the forum...not about what you think of Hollyberry's opinions and experiences. I am just saying my peace, even though it might not be yours.

    I "appreciate" that not all members are treated equally and fairly here, and that some of you may not know anything about this. Nonetheless, it's been my experience, and the experience of many other folks too.

    This business of squelching the social parts of UBC, is just more of the same insensitive, cold indifference that many people have been feeling around here. It would sure be nice to keep the social parts going...and it's hogwash to think that it hinders the academic part in any way whatsoever.

    If you buy that, you'll buy anything!

    Let's not discredit as well the many folks who have also given their gifts here for free - it's a 2-way street.
     
  24. Blake09

    Blake09 Active Member

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    I will miss this fourm soo much!! Even tho I was here for 1 season I have learnde SOO much.... I dont know what to say... :(








     
  25. Daniel Mosquin

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

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    My director has kept the complainants anonymous, I will add.
     
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