more re: forums restructuring

Discussion in 'Forum Announcements and Feedback' started by Olafhenny, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

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    QUOTE: The Mission Statement

    The mission of the UBC Botanical Garden forums is to create an online community of plant, gardening and natural history enthusiasts with participation from around the world, for the purposes of appreciating the diversity of life on Earth, interpreting the natural world and aiding people to improve local environments and communities.
    UNQUOTE
    Bold emphasis in the above quote is mine.

    Hi Daniel:
    I have been away from this forum for quite some time, while I was out of the country and then there was the winter.
    So, when I logged in for the first time yesterday, I was quite stunned at the new format, although I am sure you had your reasons for it, but I question if they justify the outcome.

    There appear to be only two viable categories:
    • The Pacific Northwest where most of the gardening discussion appears to take place other than…
    • Plant identification

    I think it is commendable, that you are inclusive of Washington State and possibly Oregon, I really do, but what about the rest of us poor wretches in the interior of BC? Frankly as a resident of the Interior of BC I feel a bit slighted. Do we get a category for the Thompson-Okanagan region? Or what about the north of the province? If UBC is a guiding reference, what about The University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, the Thompson River University in Kamloops or the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna with campuses in Salmon Arm, Vernon and Penticton, which altogether serve about ½ of the population? All of these areas have climate and growing conditions quite different from the “Pacific Northwestâ€

    Of course such regional chauvinism is absurd and uncalled for. As you pointed out in the above quote. This is a gardening forum open to the world.

    IMOEO the previous format, which separated the categories of discussion into subjects like ‘ Groundcovers’, ‘Vines and Climbers’, ‘Garden Vegetables’ etc. was much more suitable for us country bumpkins from the Interior of BC to navigate.

    If this criticism gets me bumped off the forum, it is just the same, because I cannot find my way to my subjects of interest through that disorganized hodge-podge in the ‘Pacific Northwest’ anyway.

    Best,
    Olaf
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    In the Pacific Northwest forum, there are prefixes for:

    British Columbia
    Oregon
    Washington
    Alaska
    Yukon
    N. California

    and a more generic USA, for those folks from Idaho and Montana that want to step in.

    Feel free to suggest a more inclusive term than "Pacific Northwest" for that geographical extent.

    I had thought of breaking British Columbia into smaller subsections, but that's more work than I able to do classifying threads at the moment. If that route is pursued, mind, I suspect there would also have to be prefixes for eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, southeastern Oregon, northern Alaska, etc.

    I don't ever labour under the presumption that the Pacific Northwest only includes those west of the Coast-Cascades -- so I'm not sure where you are picking up on that. Remember "My Canada includes Quebec"? Well, "My British Columbia includes the entire province". Given that I spend the majority of my vacation time in the interior parts of this province and neighbouring jurisdictions, I feel a "bit slighted" by your accusation of regional chauvinism.

    I agree that having separate forums makes things easier to the members, but this was the decision by my managers. It will be revisited in early May.

    I think you'll find that criticism rarely gets people bumped off the forums.

    I suppose I'll have to update the mission statement.
     
  3. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    This thread looked as good as any to post this comment.

    I was looking at the archives, where neither posts nor replies can be made, and comparing the Tech talk to its original purpose and description.

    The information in there will become outdated, and that may be one archive that becomes more of a relic than an archive.
     
  4. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Archiving these forms is hardy a meaningful effort One third of the information is either semi-correct or outright incorrect, one third was mere chit chat, and look at my pictures, and who will care about the remaining third in a month or two. The information recorded here had hardly any virtue of science nor technology, in the final analysis, it was nothing more than just an other Internet forum, one of thousands on the Internet. The "valued" archives, quickly forgotten, cast into a molding grave of "Will Anyone Care". Life moves on. - Millet (1,031-)
     
  5. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Some very wise sage once said: "be careful what you wish"

    It seems that this forum has not only shed its worts but also it's soul.

    That is a shame.

    Truth be known I can live without the forum but it cannot live without me.
     
  6. nic

    nic Active Member 10 Years

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    Um, I've always clicked on "New Posts" and used the hovering cursor to see if I wanted to read further. The new arrangement is confusing, but no more so than the site was when I first joined, so I expect I'll get used to it. Still brill, anyway.
     
  7. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    One of the features of all these online Forums, not just this one, is the mishmash of accurate and inaccurate information -- can't be helped. This one seems to have a nice combination of beginner question and shared semi-beginner solutions, plus the truly trained and knowledgeable [as far as it can be, without a personal inspection of the problem] diagnosis or piece of advice. I can live with that, and I trust many others can too. I can also live with the sharp and prickly comments, and those can't be avoided either in an open forum. I wish we had the old ones back, I really do, they made wonderful reading. I haven't explored the real Archives, whatever and wherever they are, but the forums I can get into here, whether considered archived or not, don't invite one in somehow, when they are closed to new participation; one reason is that new varieties of plants come onstream every year, something new is always cropping up... it's too bad! I used to notice things say, re orchids or some other exotic, and pass it on to a friend I knew was into that kind of plant...
     
  8. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

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    Daniel, you are missing my point completely. Regional division in a forum like this are plainly wrong. As far as horticulture is concerned there is a huge difference between coastal regions and the dry Interior of BC, Washington and Oregon. To lump everything under Pacific Northwest is akin to filing office correspondence under "letters".

    My point is: Bring back subject categories, to allow us to steer to the subject we are interested in, without having to sift through a lot of posts, which do not concern us. Have you not noticed a drop off in contributions? That is not only due to the season, but very much because we do not have the time to search for pebbles of info. through a whole slew of unrelated posts.
    Best,
    Olaf
     
  9. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    I don't live anywhere near The Pacific Northwest lol

    Hopefully everyone loves these new structures.

    With the UK in the main missed out I moved to two other forums so whats happening here does not affect me any longer, more so now there is hardly, if any UK even mentioned...its all The Pacific Northwest.

    I was under the impression the restructure took place because Daniel had issues about too much work but then appoints two new moderators..strange What was the real reason things changed here?

    I have new homes now.

    What do I know about what grows in the The Pacific Northwest?

    These forums are not how W3C sees a web site is accessable by all.
     
  10. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Two?

    Andre (for maples) -- Sept 13, 2005

    wcutler (for Vanc. Cherry Blossom Festival) -- sometime in 2007, but recently given additional access to help with cleaning up documentation re: how-to forums

    frog (for fungi) -- Sept 19, 2009

    maf (for maples) -- Mar 22, 2010

    Having maf involved as well as Andre re: maples means I will be able to step aside from any monitoring duties in the maple forum eventually -- i.e., less work.

    Behind the scenes, I've been setting things up so that there is a forum moderators and admins discussion area (to learn from each other instead of solely relying on me), and areas for moderators and admins to discuss reported posts.

    When I meet with my managers in early May, we'll be re-evaluating the changes to the forums. Number of posts year-over-year is down by 50%, and I'm finding it a lot more manageable for the time being -- but that will change once I start taking time off for vacations. Still, better to for me to come back from two weeks away and only have 1000-1500 posts to review than me coming in on a Monday morning and have 700 from the weekend, like was occurring earlier this year.
     
  11. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    I originally was in support of paring down, somehow, as far as workload was concerned, but honestly, I now feel that less micro-managing this forum would surely be better policy and easier for Daniel. It's not rocket science, and it's not the main focus of the Botanical Garden. Let a few ranters rant, let a few jolly types do their chitchat off topic, me included -- some people only do that once in a while anyway... if things get derailed in a particular thread because of insults hurled back and forth, then go in and delete them, as many forums must, and some student working part-time can do that! Separating some or half of the Forum's subforums from the educational goals of UBC Botanical Garden would retain the friendly bantering quality it used to have, and let those who will "carry on" a bit just be ignored except by their pals... this user says "please", it was nice the way it was before, and couldn't we go to something approximating that. Why on earth would you want to go through all of the posts? Let someone complain to you before that happens, that isn't really worth the time.
     
  12. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Daniel,

    I am very grateful to have the forum in whatever format those gifting it to us determine. I feel I have learned so much because of this resource. So thank you for providing it.

    That being said, since you will be revisiting the format in May, I'd like share my preference - I preferred the previous shape. With that in mind, perhaps a few ideas as to how to make that type of organization an easier load.

    1. Perhaps you don't need to personally read every post? Perhaps a chain of command with volunteers reporting to you?

    2. Perhaps more volunteers would step up if they knew they were one, needed, and two, able to help.

    3. Pictures - as I understand it, right now pictures remain the property of those posting them. I suggest that future pictures be deemed joint property. That way, if someone leaves in a huff you won't have to deal with removal of "their" property. Plus, if you get something really great, you might find a way to generate funds from them which could in turn be used for forum needs. Maybe you could even post a 60 day notice that previously submitted photos should be removed by the poster or that they would become joint property, too.
     
  13. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I was at first very disappointed with the "restructure" but I do understand the need. To my surprise, I've still been able to help more than just a few find information on the plants I study as well as exchange ideas with some of the others that share a similar interest. So my real comment is THANK GOODNESS FOR UBC!

    I have tried just about all the other forums on the net and have found almost all to be worthless chit chat. None of the one's suggested in the "other thread" have much value at all and people are more interested in who is cooking what for dinner than how to make a plant thrive. I've already "resigned" from two. One other at least appears to be making an effort to create forums that are informative so perhaps the "whole world is not lost".

    So even though I don't know a maple from an oak, once again, thanks Daniel and to UBC for the very best plant forum I've ever found on the net.

    Looks like I'll still be here, even if all I do is mostly lurk. Who knows, maybe I'll learn the difference in those trees yet!
     
  14. cgjedi

    cgjedi Active Member

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    Well, I have to add my thumbs down to the recent decision. This used to be a great resource and great discussion for our specific climate and the concerns we deal with. I felt really proud of UBC that they would provide such a valuable resource. Well, no more. If this is how it's going to be run, then I won't be back, won't support it, etc. It's too bad another short sighted decision leads to a reputation ruined.
     
  15. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    It's hard to understand a statement like this. Everything that concerns your specific climate is still here.
     
  16. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    Hmmm...I too just came back as gardening season is upon us once again to find that it's all be re-organized.

    I looked into this thread to try to understand why one of the most active and useful plant sites on the entire internet needed such drastic changing, however after reading through this the only impression I get is that it was too much work moderating so someone went at the site in anger with a blunt and rusty machete and "pruned" out huge swaths of the site in an attempt to drive away users so that there would be less moderating required rather than simply find a way to address the moderating issue.

    (Or alternatively the other impression I get is that it was done as an act of revenge against uncaring bosses who probably still don't care. :) )

    It's a real shame and a disappointment, it takes many years to build up a valuable site like this and to see it all torn down is like watching a mature diverse and well tended garden ripped out to put in a walmart parking lot.
     

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