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QST feedback forum?

Sep 15th 2011, 12:04

N0NB

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I realize that a huge hierarchy of forums is probably not desirable. In light of that, I'd like the forum administrators consider a forum for QST feedback.

As QST is still the principal means by which ARRL communication takes place, having a forum dedicated to the discussion of articles and columns seems like a natural use for this new forum. Perhaps a later issue could print select posts from the forum as feedback to earlier articles separate from the Technical Correspondence column. This may have the added benefit of growing interest in the forum.

It could also provide authors of QST articles a means to interact with the readers providing a nice two-way discussion on the material.

73, de Nate >>

http://www.n0nb.us
Sep 22nd 2011, 01:57

W1RFIAdmin

Joined: Jul 25th 2011, 14:25
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hi, Nate,

First, it's nice to get to know you on the forums. I really appreciate that you are active and both making suggestions and helping to answer other members' questions.

When the ARRL BoD asked staff to create these forums, we were more than a tad nervous. I've seen other forums turn most discussions into time sinks and although staff can and do participate in other forums as individual hams, there was some concern that these forums would use quite a bit of staff time.

I mention this because staff made a concious choice to go at these forums slowly, both to ensure that we had forums balanced for staff interests and available time, but also to give HQ staff a chance to learn the fine art of forum participation, with all of its strengths and pitfalls.

We started with contesting and technical forums. It was pretty obvious to start with the technical forums because ARRL surveys, formal and informal, show that many hams have a strong technical interest. Also, because I've been a forum denizen since way back when the usenet newsgroups and a handful of landline bulletin boards were the rage, I figured I'd be able to make contributions.

I think the idea has merit, and I'll discuss this with the Editorium staff, to see how to best put this forward. "Feedback" would normally be handled by the editors, carefully vetted and edited for content and style. Questions about articles and ARRL publications are normally handled by the Lab staff. A forum would have some aspects of both, I would think.

I think that if we create a few new forum areas, we can spread this around a bit. If we keep it out of the formal "Feedback" arena, the Lab staff could probably moderate it as we do other forum areas.

What do folks reading this think of:

QST - Technical discussion and questions
QEX - Technical discussion and questions
Other ARRL publications -- Technical discussion and questions

Although I would encourage the ARRL editorial team to participate in the above, they could mostly be an area where members could discuss technical aspects of ARRL publications, including providing additional information, correcting any errors and both praise and criticism on specific articles.

Actual errors discovered would still merit a formal Feedback, and I am sure that the forums would serve as fodder for Technical Correspondence, or at least as a good area where ideas for TC could be discussed and developed.

I was thrilled when ARRL started the forum areas, btw. They have exceeded my expectations. I have seen other forums degrade into chaos and sometimes personal attack, but in the hundreds of posts I have seen here, I haven't seen a single one that I felt needed to be moderated.

Members have been answering each others' questions, and when I see a question I can answer, knowing that it will be read by a large number of people over perhaps decades of time, I spend a lot of time providing an answer. Now, when HQ staff help a ham with a question, ARRL is spending paid staff time helping hundreds, not just one. And, better yet, others have chimed in, sometimes adding to what staff have said, and sometimes providing a different perspective. The end result is the member receives a better answer, and more members benefit.

I don't think that these forums will or should replace QRZ.com, eHam.net, etc. But having participated on those forums, I have to note that the posts here have been well focused on a subject, with questions answered and then moved on.

I do hope that some who participate in other forums will also join us all here as I have found these forums to be a real pleasure to read and to post in.

Thanks for the suggestion. Please, keep them coming. I also hope that some of the "silent majority" that read but don't post can chime in a bit, too!

73.
Ed Hare, W1RFI
ARRL Lab
Technical forums moderator
Sep 22nd 2011, 17:44

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hi Nate and Ed,

Who would need to respond to questions or comments in a QST feedback forum? Sometimes it would the editorial staff, but very often it would be the non-staff authors or other members. To that extent, it shouldn't be a load on HQ staff, except to ride herd when necessary.

For technical and contesting articles, we already have a place for such postings. I don't know why we need to have dedicated forums for QST, QEX, etc., unless the volume grows a lot. Just put "QST year-month article-title" in the subject name.

73 Martin AA6E
Sep 22nd 2011, 19:55

N0NB

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Martin, I was thinking of a place to put comments about QST articles that don't warrant a letter to the editor which, odds are, no one but the editorial staff will see. Also, I didn't mean such a forum to replace the Technical Correspondence column in QST. Rather, this forum could lie between those two.

For example, I particularly enjoyed the LoTW article in the latest QST. As a new user of LoTW, I regret not getting started sooner but better now than never. I'd just like a place to express my thanks to the author publicly and then maybe drive a bit of discussion about LoTW. That was my line of thinking with the original post as I don't think such a post would be on topic in the DXCC forum as it's tangential to DXCC.

73, de Nate >>

http://www.n0nb.us

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