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Why there isn't more activity on these forums

Feb 16th 2013, 03:35

Bart_KJ6BWB

Joined: Aug 28th 2009, 08:43
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Continued from: http://www.arrl.org/forum/topics/view/618
Here's my thoughts on the matter.

1. Some people don't like the forum software. Some have suggested PHPBB. Some have said that then the forums wouldn't look like this. It's not difficult to give a PHPBB forum a new skin and make it look like whatever a person wants to make it look like. Personally, I prefer a wiki. It's way more customizable and far more powerful. On my wiki, I can host YouTube videos, run all sorts of cool CSS tricks (like putting photo captions under an image so it looks like a polaroid where someone wrote on the bottom what the image is of), etc. A wiki can be set so that only registered users can post, so that users must verify their email, that an administrator must approve the account, etc., mediawiki software is really powerful and you can customize the heck out of it. Go with what seem to make the most people happy. :)

2. There are way too many subforums. The forum looks really complicated. I understand the desire to have a place for everything and everything in its place, but at first glance it's overwhelming. In the five different contesting subforums, over the past couple years, there's been an average of a new topic ever fortnight (every two weeks). That's too many places to check for new posts, because it takes a second for each page to load. So a person has to jump into a forum, see if there's a new post, go back to the main page, jump into a new forum, see if there's a new post, etc. "But people don't want to see posts that they don't care about, we want to only show posts that they want to see." The traffic here is light enough that people can handle seeing a post or two that they don't care about. If it take people 5 months to come back and check the forums again, then there might be 10 topics and it might take two minutes to read the titles and see whether the topic might be interesting. The goal is to drive traffic, not to so compartmentalize things that it's a real pain to go see what people are posting about.

3. Thread Necromancy. Threads that are over 3-4 weeks old or so can't be responded to. Why's it a bad thing? "Because the discussion is over and done with." It's not over and done with for random new person X. If the problem is that people keep beating a dead horse, then some forum management is required, possibly warning people not to keep beating that horse, or even giving out day-long bans (or longer, as seems appropriate). If someone sees something interesting from a long time ago and wants to comment on it, what's the harm in that? And isn't it better to have comments be in the proper context, so that you can more easily see what other people have said on the subject and how or why the new person is responding?

4. Advertising. It's difficult to find the forums. Sure, the html link is easy, arrl.org/forum but I only saw a brief text link to the forums on the main page. If you want people to get involved with the forums, it needs screen real estate up on top, up with the "On the Air" and Membership tabs, etc.

Edit: 5. (although something of a rehash of 1) On pretty much every other forum on the internet, my browser signs me in. It won't do that for these forums.
Feb 18th 2013, 04:04

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I agree about having too many topical sub-forums here. I generally don't look at them at all. I just use "view new posts", which gives all new postings in all forums. This works as long as there aren't too many posts -- and there aren't, alas.

It's fair to say the League is completely fired up about "social media" in general, and that would include forums.

If you want something better, talk it up with your League folks. Take your SM or Division Director out to lunch. (Complaining here is fine, but probably not especially productive. :-)

73 Martin AA6E
Feb 23rd 2013, 06:14

frog78

Joined: Feb 20th 2013, 15:14
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hi,

I just passed my tech and gen exam and am looking to study for the Extra Class. I was lucky to discover the Ham Whisperer, and am hoping to find something similar to study for the Extra. One of my particular stumbling blocks is the math. The rest I can get my arms around. Any suggestions or thoughts?
Jun 27th 2013, 04:56

9V1DB

Joined: Aug 10th 2011, 09:34
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Being over the half century mark does not mean that one is not connected. I visit this forum daily as well as several others and am a member of several "reflectors" including antennas, SDR, and RFI.

This forum has a very broad agenda, i.e. ham radio. However, it remains a good place to start if you have no idea where else to go.

I do agree with the above comments regarding the difficulties with the use of this forum as well as the ARRL website in general.

73, Dan 66 yrs 9V1DB (previously K6DMB)
Jul 1st 2013, 12:18

N4AAB

Joined: Jan 16th 2013, 01:39
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I've noticed as a new ham that not many hams seem to be online. I have been online since 1988 and I'm over the halfd century mark. Domain costs are way down. So getting a web site up is easy.
Jul 1st 2013, 18:39

W0BTU

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hi Martin,

Quote by AA6E
I just use "view new posts", which gives all new postings in all forums. This works as long as there aren't too many posts


I agree. An easy one-step link to those is http://www.arrl.org/forum/search/index/power:0/orderBy:LastPost.created .

It's fair to say the League is completely fired up about "social media" in general, and that would include forums.
If you want something better, talk it up with your League folks. Take your SM or Division Director out to lunch. (Complaining here is fine, but probably not especially productive. :-)


I do not understand this at all. If the League is "completely fired up" about this forum, then why is posting here not good enough? Respectfully, it is ridiculous to have to contact the SM or DD when we have this forum, isn't it?

From what I have seen here, it most certainly seems as if complaining here is an utter waste of time.

73, Mike
www.w0btu.com
Jul 2nd 2013, 03:33

9V1DB

Joined: Aug 10th 2011, 09:34
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
It seems to me that a lot of half century+ people are likely retired and looking for some way to volunteer and help out, especially if it is part of their hobby, i.e. ham radio. Many of these seniors have extensive IT experience and expertise. ARRL should consider letting these people help if they are "fired up" about social media and internet communication.

73, Dan
Jul 2nd 2013, 19:17

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I think I meant to say "not fired up". Sorry. My point would be that the people who read (or at least those who respond to) this forum are likely to be already keyed in to social media, etc.

It's cultural and generational. Lots of hams (including more than a few Directors and Officers) just won't be reached here. So it might pay to use other channels if you want to make your point to all the decision makers.

73 Martin AA6E
Jul 4th 2013, 00:23

KD7EIR

Joined: Mar 9th 1999, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Scott,

You hit the nail exactly on the head. TALKING about moving into the next century while remaining mired in the past is simply pathetic double-speak.

Rather ironic that amateur radio is about communicating and yet the ARRL cannot seem to embrace current communications methodology. I guess the current directors and officers would rather ARRL be delivered via CW only...
Jul 4th 2013, 01:09

KB0HAE

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hi Scott. As I and others have pointed out in these forums before, Digital QST is also terrible, and very non-user friendly! ARRL chose not to use PDF which would have been much more user friendly, and downloadable and readable on almost any device. The format that ARRL chose is possibly the worst choice they could have made. You need Adobe Air to download and read Digital QST. Adobe Air is only available for Windows, and the downloaded magazine is a huge file compared to a PDF file.

QST should also have been made available as a monthly CD in adition to the print version. We have many choices today about how we communicate, and ARRL is stuck in the past, using restrictive formats and technologies.

I have been a member for many years, but that may cease if changes are not made, and soon!
Jul 4th 2013, 23:51

W0BTU

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0

Hi Martin,

Quote by AA6E
... Lots of hams (including more than a few Directors and Officers) just won't be reached here. So it might pay to use other channels if you want to make your point to all the decision makers.


Other channels?

I think it's safe for us all to assume that it was Directors and Officers --and not the cleaning lady-- that made the decision to create this forum. If some of them are unable or disinclined to read the posts here, then I don't think it's difficult for someone else to communicate the important threads to them.

73, Mike
www.w0btu.com
Jul 5th 2013, 16:33

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Mike -

It's fine to express yourself here in the forums. That's partly what they're for. But they reach a limited audience. (You can see the stats in the posts & views columns.)

If you want to get some more leverage (and learn what the problems seem like to the leadership), I suggest calling or writing your Director or Asst. Director or just about anyone whose name is on the QST listing of Officers, Division Directors, and Staff. My Director says he doesn't hear from members often enough.

In terms of getting attention, I suspect a good letter (or call) is worth a hundred emails, and a good email is worth quite a few postings -- IMHO.

73 Martin AA6E
Jul 6th 2013, 02:45

9V1DB

Joined: Aug 10th 2011, 09:34
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I have contributed to and read this thread but am not really sure what the group is trying to address to the ARRL leadership. Is it to make the forum more user friendly, the overall site more user friendly, to get the officers to read the forum or what? I'm happy to get involved in a just cause, just not sure where this one is headed.

Dan (also K6DMB)
Jul 7th 2013, 04:22

9V1DB

Joined: Aug 10th 2011, 09:34
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Scott - What you suggest makes sense and should be something that the ARRL leadership could accomplish without too much trouble or expense. I suggest you first amend the list above to include email addresses. Second if you could print a "sample" email/letter for others that might be interested so they could copy/paste and amend to fit.

Email me direct if you want to work together and take this out of the forum for now.

Jul 8th 2013, 04:24

9V1DB

Joined: Aug 10th 2011, 09:34
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Scott - Thanks for the sample letter. I wrote my own based on your, abet shorter. I also noted in my letter that Region 3 has just passed a resolution requiring them to update and modernize their website. I emailed all the officers you suggested above. And, yes you can find the emails on the ARRL website but it's not easy.

I hope others reading this forum will also take the time and effort to call/write/email the ARRL officers (assuming there are other people actually reading this....hi hi).

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