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    20 Replies Latest reply on Mar 5, 2009 5:56 PM by organicgirl1

    Open Letter: How this forum could be improved

    SEOpro Adventurer
      Now that I've posted a half-dozen posts to this forum, here are a few improvements that I think would help a lot:
      1. Allow insertion of graphics to support text. Left, right, center justification large/medium/small. For an example of how to do it look at Blogger.com
      2. Allow signed-in user to edit any post they have created. If you are concerned about changes being made to historical pieces of a conversation, perhaps responses could be flagged as "original question modified since this post was made". Or you could just allow changes to be made up until the first reply is posted.
      3. Allow outbound links. If you are concerned about giving away the value of outbound links, or spammers, add the NOFOLLOW tag to the HTML of every post and every reply. At least, when someone adds a reference to an external site, you could show the link clearly and allow them to click through. You could also limit the number of outbound links to 2 or 3 per post, or only allow regular contributors, or ones with a high score, to add links.
      Those three changes alone will set the forum on fire.

      You might alos go to StartupNation as an example of a well run forum. They do all that and lots more and their forums are on fire.

      My 2 cents worth.
      Liam
      www.sitelead.net when he's at work.
      liam.scanlan@gmail.com when he's at home.
        • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
          Bridge Navigator
            • Need to be allowed to EDIT and/or DELETE your owm posts!
          • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
            Lighthouse24 Ranger

            Thanks for sharing your suggestions.

            1. I understand the desire to insert graphics -- sometimes it would be SO much easier to answer a question with the aid of a diagram or illustration. The problem I foresee is that too many people will start posting logos, promotional pieces, etc. and junk up the site (i.e., threads will span across multiple pages, performance will get sluggish, etc.). We currently have a community guideline that states all posts should be made to benefit the person who asked the question and for the community as a whole, not for the benefit of the person making the post -- yet pretty much every day, somebody new comes along and makes a ton of posts that are pure self-promotion. I can see how graphics would make it worse. My suggestion a few months back was to allow graphics insertions after a member reaches a certain point level or elapsed time in the community (to limit the abuse risk) -- but then, that's an easy position for me to advocate!

            2. Beyond correcting some of my typos, I'm not sure I see a big advantage in being able to edit posts. I do see two distinct advantages in not being able to (as things are now):
            (a) Members are a little more careful about what they write, since each post is semi-permanent. Unlike many on-line communities, this one isn't overrun with unsubstantiated opinions, off-track commentary, thread hijacks, or personal sniping. We don't have people posting misinformation maliciously or just for the fun of it in this community. There's good info here, in part I think, because if we post it, we're going to have to stand by it (possibly for a long time).
            (b) The continuity of each thread remains intact, which makes it a valuable education and reference resource (that's getting more valuable each day). Some threads that began last some summer have come back to the top of the board three or four times (as new members joined and asked the same questions).

            3. I fully agree that the handling of outbound links could be improved in any number of ways. As it is now, you can't even direct someone to another page within this community without them having to do a two or three-part copy-and-paste to build that link. That's very awkward.

            Thanks again offering your ideas!

              • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                SEOpro Adventurer
                I understand your worries about self-promotion and everything that goes along with it, but I do think you should consider allowing graphics in particular.
                You could so what other sites have done... Provide a self-promotion / marketing section, then allow viewers to flag postings elsewhere as self-prmoting or something.
                As far as the editing afterwards thing is concerned, making postings (like this one) is a different experience and feel to those that can be made elsewhere, because the "cement hardens once its poured".

                Perhaps the best approach is to research what best practices are for such forums like BofA's. I'm sure all the answers are there, and when implemented, will offer visitors a very familiar and predictable experiecne. (see! that typo right there? Captain, what'll I duuu?)

                Liam
                  • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                    organicgirl1 Newbie
                    Reading all of the contents on forum improvement. I concure that we don't need another "manipulated site" by authors who post conduct that fails to meet "professional " and real comments focused on the agenda. Personally, I sought out this group because it is a professional site which does not post and edit pictures as other sites do. To this date have non-professional conduct. Thank You.
                  • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                    Bridge Navigator

                    Lighthouse24,

                     


                    I think your comment

                    "Beyond correcting some of my typos, I'm not sure I see a big advantage in being able to edit posts."

                    is very short sighted. Editing posts is a common feature among most bulletin boards. Besides making the board look amatuerish (I am amazed how many basic features it doe not have), edits/deletes by authors help maintian the board and make them more functional.

                    Someone can edite their original post for clarifictaion to make it more meaningful rather tham adding another post, they can delete their post if their question has been answered and/or they would prefer no more comments/responses, etc.

                    And yes, they can correct typos - anything wrong with that?

                    The goal should be to make it more user friendly and edit ability does that.

                    Post a Poll (common feature not available here) and I am sure most members would agree that they would prefer edit ability. Don't post the poll if you really do not want to be responsive to waht members want....
                      • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                        SEOpro Adventurer
                        Bridge, you are RIGHT ON THE MONEY as usual.
                        • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                          Lighthouse24 Ranger

                          Bridge, I agree that a polling function would be great to have.

                          You noted that "Editing posts is a common feature among most bulletin boards." That's exactly my point. In terms of reliable and accurate content that empowers people to build a successful business (the mission of this site), I don't know of another community that even comes close to the SBOC. (Are you aware of any that have this volume of good, current, firsthand contributions from legitimate small business owners and recognized experts?) In the other business networking communities I've visited, editing (as it is actually practiced) lowers the quality of the content and enables a form of "information manipulation" that is probably fun for the people who hang out on-line posting all day and helps some people achieve their personal "web visibility" agendas -- but it is absolutely useless to the general membership.

                          SEOpro made valid suggestions, and I appreciated them. I said so. Twice. I just had a different perspective, and stated it. Doesn't mean I'm "right." Even so . . .

                          You've been a member of this community for all of nine hours and your very first interaction with me opened up by saying, "your comment . . . is very short sighted." We don't all agree on things in this community -- don't have to, and never should -- but we do respect each other's right to have and express a viewpoint. Thanks.

                            • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                              Bridge Navigator

                              Amusing comment from someone who seems to post a lot about everything - web visibility agenda?

                               

                              I think you took my statements way too personal.

                               

                              By the way, I missed your point, is their a correlation between the hours as a "registered member" of this community and the usefulness of posts? Does my not being a member for as long as you (7 months) reduce the legitimacy of my suggestions? It seems you do not want to respect the rights of other and think that your "seniority" of 7 months and excessive numbers of posts on ALL subject matter gives you some type of privileged opinion.

                               


                              This board has a lot of post but I believe in quality versus quantity and the ability to edit raises the quality of posts, in my opinion...

                               


                              You need to show a little respect to get a little respect and you seem to dismiss the opinions of other pretty easily.
                              • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                                Bridge Navigator
                                Just so there is no confusion, I do have to say that although Lighthouse does make a large "quantity" of posting, he also provide tremendous "quality" in his posts; much better than most hevay posters (no even in the same league) He obvioulsy has a very broad "real" business background and most of his comments are on target.

                                I just happen to disagree on the best way to make the discussionboard better - EDIT!
                          • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                            Bridge Navigator
                            Excellent suggestions. Perhaps allow users to upload pics rather than use the few standard avitars - this would make the forum more personal. Pics could be limited by both pixel size and file size to conserve space if that is an issues.
                            • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                              designer Tracker
                              I agree, it would be nice to edit/delete only our own postings. Sometimes, we may post something and a few hours or days later realize how dumb it was.
                                • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                                  RickFelten Adventurer
                                  I think you make a great point:

                                  "Sometimes, we may post something and a few hours or days later realize how dumb it was."

                                  The issue is that we tend to 'type first, think later' and this is what brings down the quality of the posts. I'm not directing this to you designer, so please don't take offense. You just bring out an excellent example of key differentiators between amateur and professional sites. What is wrong with actually spell-checking the content we produce? What's wrong with thinking about what we want to say and then putting it in writing? What about actually reading it before we hit 'post message' for the world? I could be wrong, but I haven't seen any prize for speed of posts that would preclude taking these simple steps. If we don't get caught up in the emotion of the moment, everyone will benefit.

                                  I'd be interested in seeing some suggestions on how we can help members grow and prosper in business. Like, how do we get members to feel comfortable about asking tough questions without getting a ton of sales pitches, rather than solid answers?
                                    • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                                      Bridge Navigator

                                      Perhaps if there was an edit/delete function (like most boards) a poster would be able to delete their post and stop unwanted solicitations.

                                      Perhaps a situation changes and the poster would like to provide more current information.

                                       

                                      It is not a case of type first, think later. Things change and the board should be able to change rather than be static,

                                       


                                      The reason most sites have an edit feature is that they have found it makes the site more relevant and professional.

                                      It seems the positives would more than outway the negavtives.
                                  • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                                    SBC Team Guide
                                    Community members,

                                    To better organize our content we moved the helpful feedback to "Community Feedback."

                                    Thank you,
                                    The SBOC Team
                                      • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                                        SEOpro Adventurer
                                        Ah ha!!!!!

                                        Now you see the value of being able to edit posts. The forum owners can move an entire thread to a different subsection, but contributors can't even make a typo correction.

                                        I suppose it's a real bank mentality. They want to be new age an' all, but they just don't have it in their DNA.

                                        Let's see if BofA can bring this forum up to snuff...

                                        Waiting in pregnant anticipation...
                                      • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                                        25trekker1 Adventurer
                                        Sometimes clarification of a post seems necessary. Rephrasing a question or changing just one word can achieve. I have done this on a couple of occasions. Is this considered editting?
                                          • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                                            Lighthouse24 Ranger
                                            On the subject of editing (and my earlier comments regarding it) . . .

                                            I now participate in another forum that allows editing for fifteen minutes after a post appears. That works really well for a couple of reasons. First, you can clean-up the typos and things that didn't come out quite like expected. Second, it cuts down on some of the trivial back-and-forth "sniping" that people can get into sometimes -- there aren't so many knee-jerk reactions reflected in lengthy threads because people have the ability to change or "take back" what they posted for a bit.

                                            I no longer participate in a community that allows a member to edit his/her posts forever because (a) it became impossible to follow the logic in evolving threads, and (b) people tended to edit frequently just to serve their own purposes. Imagine what this forum would look like if I went back into all 2,000+ of my old posts (some of which draw a lot of search traffic) and put an ad for my latest book or a link to this week's special offer -- and if everyone else did that too. It becomes an advertising forum, and totally useless as a support or learning community -- and I'm not in favor of that happening to the SBOC.

                                            So being able to edit for fifteen minutes after a post is made is something I really, really like. Being able to edit it forever is dysfunctional in my view.
                                          • Re: Open Letter: How this forum could be improved
                                            DomainDiva Ranger
                                            Being able to edit within 10-15 minutes would be a good feature. I personally would like to see more involvment by the moderators. Personally I think that allowing all kinds of avatar, logo and picture content would just visually clutter the board. People don't follow the rules for spam and other community conduct, what makes us think that these new rules would be abided by?

                                            This board gets hijacked occasionally and the moderators disappear, don't answer questions and have allowed hacking by so called 'members' into the posts of other members, marking quesions answered and removing posts at will.

                                            When there are problems, the moderators should respond to the community not hide behind code. We know who we are, we need to know who these moderators are.

                                            My 2 cents.