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Navajoa
Moderator
Navajoa

Number of posts : 599
Location : Australia
Registration date : 2009-09-15

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PostSubject: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyMon Aug 09, 2010 6:17 pm

What do people think about having only the top two sections or something allowed to guests ?? Not trying to be mean or anything, but it always seems that there are more guests than members on here and there's no real motivation for people to join as they see everything as a guest anyway !

Another idea might be a "Introductions" forum for people to say hello in ???

Anyway just thinking out loud...I publicised the forum on a couple of bigger overseas sites but don't think we really gained any new members, which is a pity.... but the thread I linked has had heaps of views so I gather a guest view counts toward the total views and that people did come but didn't join?

Just seems we're a bit stuck at present with the same dozen or so people making the most posts ??
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lewis
avid contributor & moderator


Number of posts : 862
Location : Melbourne
Registration date : 2008-05-07

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyMon Aug 09, 2010 6:32 pm

shiit yeah!

they should stop perving on us.
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TasV

TasV

Number of posts : 145
Location : NW Tasmania
Registration date : 2010-03-12

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyMon Aug 09, 2010 6:53 pm

It's not always as clear cut as what the number of guests show. I run a forum based on the same platform as this (forummotion phpbb based forum) and I have noticed both here and on mine if I look at who is online we both get the same overseas people showing up on the west coast of the U.S. I have since found out there is a few explanations for this such as search engine bots indexing the website and that these figures should be taken with a grain of salt as they don't always represent physcial bodies looking at the site. I have nearly 100 registered members and this place has 228 reg. members. At any one time I can have 12 people showing as guests and only one (Me) member showing. I figure so long as it is getting the word out I'm not worried about it. I actually changed my forum to members only for a time to get a better idea of demand. I'd been running for about 12 months at the time and wanted to know whether it was worth keeping it going. Even when I went totally members only my number of guests did not change leading me to conclude that were automatic things like bots or multiple proxy servers stacking the numbers.

I promote this site on my own forum (which you can get to via my signature)... Maybe we should join forces and start an Australian Gardening 'circle' of forums... a forum for all tastes/likes etc

Here's a screen shot taken about 2min ago of ACF's Who's Online page and my own:

Members Only Area ?? Wop10


Last edited by TasV on Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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TasV

TasV

Number of posts : 145
Location : NW Tasmania
Registration date : 2010-03-12

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyMon Aug 09, 2010 7:10 pm

My main beef with forum members is with the people who sign up and never do or say anything. An online community is only as good as its members. So now I try to drum up business by looking at what is being discussed and sending out a bulk newsletter to all members to try and pique their interest.
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Hellonasty
Admin
Hellonasty

Number of posts : 1824
Location : NSW
Registration date : 2008-04-04

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyMon Aug 09, 2010 9:25 pm

I like the idea Navajoa and have thought similar things myself. I cut the search feature a while ago to members only, no idea if this helped at all. The problem is, if people don't know what the forum offers why would they sign up ?


I think your on the right track we just need to figure out he best option.

_________________

My Cacti Blog, please come visit me.

http://astrophytum-and-friends.blogspot.com/

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WoodDragon

WoodDragon

Number of posts : 118
Location : Cool temperate
Registration date : 2008-06-12

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyTue Aug 10, 2010 12:12 am

Quote :
they should stop perving on us.

I often get that feeling when I see the guest count!

I feel guilty now, guys, for not posting more. It's a combination of wrangling three very small kids, moving digs, and smearing myself across a few other forums.

I've been tossing an idea for a particular thread about for a while, but I still haven't decided if it might be more of a hassle for posters on it, than a useful theme. I'll chew on it some more...
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shortly



Number of posts : 127
Location : SEQ
Registration date : 2008-06-28

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyWed Aug 11, 2010 11:13 am

With all these hordes of people perving on us is making me feel paranoid Suspect Laughing

TasV wrote:
My main beef with forum members is with the people who sign up and never do or say anything. An online community is only as good as its members. So now I try to drum up business by looking at what is being discussed and sending out a bulk newsletter to all members to try and pique their interest.

Granted Tas but i have to admit to being a lurker in another forum, but its largely because i'm using as a learning resource and don't feel that i have much to contribute just yet.
Having said that I do think that just having the members only area's is a worthwhile idea & it does seem to be fairly common in other forums, some even have area's that don't appear until you have been a member for a certain period of time & have made a certain number of posts that have been Ok'd by the mod's.
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TasV

TasV

Number of posts : 145
Location : NW Tasmania
Registration date : 2010-03-12

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyWed Aug 11, 2010 5:16 pm

The only area I have that is not visible to general members is an admin area where I can discuss things with my co-admin that relate to forum policy etc. I don't think it is really of any benefit to have any members only area because as I mentioned above I kinda think that so long as people are thinking about it and looking at it the word is getting out there and that's why I started it in the first place. In fact I received complaints from people when I did make it members only even though I was doing it as an information gathering strategy.

Shortly, I would like to think that a forum is friendly and supportive enough that newbs could ask questions to help them learn if they were new to it. As a teacher I'm always telling my students that there is no such thing as a stupid question... if they don't know then chances are someone else doesn't know either. I feel that sometimes these forums can get elitist and cater only for to whose experience level can only be described as advanced. I think making it members only helps to perpetuate this feeling even if its not true and wasn't the initial intention. One comment aimed at me when I did it was 'what are you trying to hide anyway?'. Clearly I wasn't trying to hide anything but they didn't see it that way and they haven't been back even though I have returned it to full access to members and viewing access to browsers now that I have the information I wanted.

So... before any changes were made to access I would consider carefully the questions why do you want to do it and what is the philosophy of the forum because from experience (I've been making and running forums since 1993) it can be detrimental to a forum as well.
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cactuscook
Moderator
cactuscook

Number of posts : 737
Location : Adelaide
Registration date : 2010-04-29

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyWed Aug 11, 2010 7:29 pm

Interesting views everyone i think we should encourage new people by maybe having a welcome to the forum post or something.
As far as people looking and not posting well thats there bad luck as i have learnt alot by posting and conversing with people that have the same interests. Maybe to encourage more people posting then say after they post a certain amount then they can view something like the specialist grafting and the selling threads only a thought anyway. Members Only Area ?? Icon_smile
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Hellonasty
Admin
Hellonasty

Number of posts : 1824
Location : NSW
Registration date : 2008-04-04

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyWed Aug 11, 2010 9:23 pm

I like the discussion here keep it coming Smile

_________________

My Cacti Blog, please come visit me.

http://astrophytum-and-friends.blogspot.com/

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WoodDragon

WoodDragon

Number of posts : 118
Location : Cool temperate
Registration date : 2008-06-12

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyThu Aug 12, 2010 3:05 pm

For mine, I know that I've lurked on ACF, AE, SAB, and lots of other fora for months and years before actually registering. Once I do, I tend to post immediately and regularly, although I guess that one could argue that I had nothing to say until I registered, so registering earlier wouldn't have made any difference...

I don't think that's the case, though, because I frequently found myself wanting to post long before I registered. In my case it's probably an unfamiliarity with the personŠ of the regulars that held me back - I'm naturally a shy person, although I have learned to overcome it.

How we might induce lurkers here to post I am not sure - perhaps any reading this thread might offer their thoughts?!

Members-only areas are useful in other contexts, but given the G rating of ACF I am not sure if such is relevant here. Perhaps though if we made the 'Trade and Sell' threads visible only to registrants, even if the forum itself is visible to guests, people might join so that they can see what's on offer. Once they're on board they should hopefully be more inclined to post...

We could always appeal to avarice and have a little lottery, where one new member each month will get a packet of seeds. Or perhaps it could be one new member in every ten (or 20, or whatever), randomly selected from the last batch when the decided number of new members has been attained. Unless we have a regular supply of freebie seeds though, it might be easier to restrict the T&S forum.

Just some thoughts.


Last edited by WoodDragon on Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Navajoa
Moderator
Navajoa

Number of posts : 599
Location : Australia
Registration date : 2009-09-15

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyThu Aug 12, 2010 3:58 pm

Lots of different ideas...I'm not sure what's needed and what isn't, or even if limiting access would be harmful...hard to say...

That being said, my thinking would be to add a New Members Introduction forum to the first section, then merging and moving propogation and specialist cultivation to the third section. Move News and events to the first section. Move Links to it's own forum in the second section and do the same with Identification. Move competitions to it's own forum in section four. Probably delete the Gallery forum as we don't actually have one do we ?

Section one and two would be available to all, the rest would be member only.

So the new structure would be something like-

Section 1 (Open)

Australian Cacti Forum
Member Introductions
News and Events

Section 2 (Open)

General Cultivation
Plant Identification
Pest and Diseases
Resources/Links

Section 3 (Members only)

NA Cacti
SA Cacti
Hybrid Cacti
Succulents
Propagation/Specialist Cultivation
Collections, Nurseries and Field trips

Section 4 (Members Only)

Around the Fire
Competitions
Trade and Sell
Site Feedback


Ideally there would be stickys detailing the member only sections so people know they exist. Or they could be shown on the front page but access to read the threads requires logging in...

Once again, these are just my musings... I haven't been here that long and have no "ownership" at all, so I'm just tossing these out as ideas for discussion...

Another idea might be a monthly subject forum to try and fire up conversation and get people involved...like show us your flowering mamms or something ???
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Darren
Calm and Collected
Darren

Number of posts : 352
Location : adelaide but moving to monbulk
Registration date : 2009-09-07

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyThu Aug 12, 2010 6:14 pm

what about an ID database where we upload all our plants names & images? is that possible?
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lewis
avid contributor & moderator


Number of posts : 862
Location : Melbourne
Registration date : 2008-05-07

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptyThu Aug 12, 2010 7:32 pm

wow, you guys have certainly put some thought into this!
...welll done.


sorry but i don't really have much to add...?
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fruitbat

fruitbat

Number of posts : 17
Location : Mid-North, South Australia
Registration date : 2010-07-30

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptySat Aug 14, 2010 11:58 am

Hello Everyone.

After reading this post, I thought that perhaps it's time I posted:

WoodDragon - "How we might induce lurkers here to post I am not sure - perhaps any reading this thread might offer their thoughts?!"

As a new member, and perhaps someone that could be called a "lurker" that hasn't yet made any posts, I can only offer you my thoughts on how I feel and why so that may give an insight as to why I haven't yet posted.

(I must admit that I find this forum full of great information and have read some posts several times, just to look at the magnificent specimens that are in some people's collections!)

So, why haven't I posted yet? Here's what I find when I consider posting:
- What I have in the way of cacti pales into insignificance compared to most members.
- My experience in cacti and the majority of succulents is extremely limited.
- Although I have somewhere around 2,500 plants, cacti make up just 30 or so of that number with the rest being Lithops.
- What have I got to contribute? I don't consider myself to be an expert in anything. Perhaps this is just a natural fear of being ridiculed (although I really don't think this forum is like that at all and is quite the opposite with the friendly, encouraging remarks that I see)

Since this post is all about visitors to this forum, members or otherwise, I guess it's OK to view my thoughts on the subject then?

-I'm not sure the idea of making certain areas of the forum "restricted" would be that helpfull. As a "lurker", I am encouraged to become a member and post when/where I think I can offer advice or assistance. Restricting areas to non-members would reduce the likelyhood of me finding something that would encourage me to do that.
- A welcome section where new members can introduce themselves certainly would help "break the ice". I have found that there are a couple of posts that I would like to reply to but have not had the nerve to simply start typing! (they are old posts but I assume that members/visitors would view them anyway?)
- I like the idea of a "lottery" as suggested by WoodDragon. Prizes don't have to be huge or many but the incentive may help. (personally, it's the information that counts for me)

Overall, the comments on this post are indeed very well thought out. Obviously experience with other forums, either as administrator, member, visitor or lurker, has helped fashion responses to the author of this post and I must say thank you for helping me to post, at last!
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WoodDragon

WoodDragon

Number of posts : 118
Location : Cool temperate
Registration date : 2008-06-12

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptySat Aug 14, 2010 1:00 pm

Hi Fruitbat.

Welcome on board, and thankyou indeed for your thoughts - you've made a valuable contribution from your first post!

If you have as many lithops as you said then you probably have a lot to offer the readers here - after all, there's a succulent forum here, and I know that many folk have difficulties with the stony ones!

The "Around the Fire" forum is usually where new members would post an introduction, but perhaps we should have a sticky thread for just that purpose. Being at the bottom of the list of fora it's possibly a bit out of the way too, so maybe a bit of furniture rearranging might help?

In hindsight I realise that I could have contributed, even as a new kid on the block, by asking good questions. I had many, and I used the search engine and google to answer most of them off my own bat, rather than risk clogging the board with what might have been a waste of space, but looking back now I realise that other newbies might have benefited from answers to my questions.

And even if a new member is fresh to the cactus/succulent scene, they might have other interests that the rest of us might like to hear about, so there's at least one reason to post.

Hmmm, I might saunter over to the Fire and check to see if there's a dedicated Introduction thread...
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cactuscook
Moderator
cactuscook

Number of posts : 737
Location : Adelaide
Registration date : 2010-04-29

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptySat Aug 14, 2010 1:25 pm

Hi fruitbat a valuable post for your fist i hope for many more.
I have been thinking a bit about all this and agree that a new member thread is ideal for people to break the ice.
It is great to read what everyone thinks i know a few people that read things and are not members i have tried to encourage them to join and maybe they will i also had the forum mention in the SA cactus and society news letter for members and at the meeting so hope for some new members that way. I always have people coming around to look at and buy plants and mention the site to them also.
I think people are maybe a little nervous to post for the first time but we can help by encouraging people when they do post for the first time. Members Only Area ?? Icon_smile
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fruitbat

fruitbat

Number of posts : 17
Location : Mid-North, South Australia
Registration date : 2010-07-30

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PostSubject: Re: Members Only Area ??   Members Only Area ?? EmptySat Aug 14, 2010 1:27 pm

Thanks for the Welcome WoodDragon and Cactuscook, appreciated.

Yes, I used to have a nice collection of older Lithops but when I moved interstate WA to SA) I had to give them up so I started again in 2008. Now I only have around 40 that are 'adults' of 5 years or so and the rest are still 1 to 2 years old. I have plans to sell Lithops via the web (Australia only) and have made good progress there.

As it is such a lovely day outside, I have been reading the forum to keep myself occupied and perhaps pick up a few hints on starting some cacti seeds that another member kindly sent me....thanks Cactuscook! When the weather is a little kinder, I will get some pics and build instructions of the heat mats I have made onto the forum as I see there have been a few questions relating to that subject.

It's nice to hear that post's don't have to be 'in depth' or highly technical, just simple questions. I have to agree with TasV in that the stupidest question is the one you don't ask so perhaps I should start asking some 'not so stupid' questions!

Cheers!
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