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Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: brett tabke

WebmasterWorld Feedback Days Forum

This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38 ( [1] 2 > >   posting off  
It is broke, so it needs fixed
I assume you have a catastrophic decline in users

 10:16 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I assume that the reason that Brett has provoked this discussion is that user numbers has declined/nose-dived/meltdown. So I assume WebmasterWorld is, to that extent broke, I know not whether broke financially or broke figuratively.

Can it be fixed? I have no idea. I do not know how bad the problem is, but it must be bad for the panic button to have been pressed.

It is similar to the soap marketing business that I used to be in. You have to define your market, you defend your brand, promote it and make small regular changes to keep your market. You get to a point where the product can no longer be sustained, and at that point you, milk the brand to extract the max amount of profit, and let the brand die. At at the same time launch a new "improved " brand under a new name

I have been here at WebmasterWorld on and off so long that I donated before there were walls. I have been here long enough to remember Brett saying Adsense would not work. So why do I rarely drop by these days?

It may be that I have not anything to learn here on Adsense, I have a nice regular income, and do it my way. I have long since got bored with writing posts on Adsense to try to help, its the same thing over and over. I am not interested in whether payments have now been received this month in Timbuktu, nor the burblings of posters who want to be the current Google execs best friend. Basically nothing to attract me to Adsense forum. I appreciate the heady days when we were all learning is over. Can a new presentation take over?

It may be that the easy fixes on search engine placement no longer exist, we do not have monthly Google dances. You have lost that market

It may be that Software cannot be discussed (ban on these things) , so if I am wanting to buy something new, I get no help here.

I put the odd post on Foo, but that invariably gets (unjustly) moderated. The implementation of TOS has descended to the level of a bureaucrat mindlessly enforcing rules without questioning the rules.

So to sum it up "people like me" have drifted away. What is in WebmasterWorld for us? It is broke and it needs fixed, and the fix is not really by changing the colour scheme, it is a radical business reassessment of who your market is and how you can make the site appeal to them. I think you would find it difficult to bridge the gap between the "Muppets" and "the Professionals", you may have to go for one market or the other. You may have to just let this site fade away and launch a series of new sites for specialist markets, which may be the way forward (spin off each forum effectively, if you have little movement of users between forums)

...and don't shoot the messenger, but I would be surprised if this post too is not moderated! In the past criticism has not been tolerated, and perhaps that has been your greatest problem.



 11:12 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not sure about Brett's intent,
I believe it could be a logical simple biz expansion move;
however I hate to see your post unanswered, it should have triggered an interesting exchange of ideas!


 11:20 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

When I came back to the site recently I asked why there were no new posts, the response I got from one poster was that all the questions had been answered! Well perhaps in some sections they have. But what about people at the same level helping each other? that should not have dried up surely.


 11:35 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think a lot of rules were made long time back. It helped prevent spam and promotional junk, but it also led to lot of serious members moving away to other forums which had a relaxed policies.

I think this feedback is a move in right direction.


 5:31 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

cornwall made a bunch of really good points, user churn is definitely a factor.

I've been reading here since the early days to solve specific problems, and finding (or deducting) answers without having to register. Meanwhile, I contributed -almost exclusively- on another 'expert' forum. This lasted for about three years, until I got bored: the majority of questions had been answered 1,000 times over and the odd high-caliber question would require too much time and effort to answer.

The same is happening here: after about three years of learning and contributing intensively, my frustration with 'Muppet' level questions has started to grow to the point where I become abrupt and confrontational in my answers... I want to be entertained, engaged and enlightened by WebmasterWorld - not frustrated! What keeps me here is industry news, the spiders forum, and a handful of individuals who take the time to share their incredibly high-level of knowledge.

For the most part, problem solving threads are either of an operational (how do I redirect a to b) or tactical (which CMS should I use) nature.

I've seen suggestions to start a wiki to answer the most basic questions rather than referring to the existing library. Would building a wiki-style "best practices" knowledge base help to answer the many entry-level questions? Probably not: answers often require a lot of hand-holding, and solutions are usually given by providing a detailed example for the specific use case. I'm not even touching the fact that a visitor who finds the answer in a wiki is not very likely to become a forum participant...

Like the OP, I couldn't give a rat's behind about "PIP in Topeka" or "I lost 51% traffic last week" - and when following those monthly Google search threads with hundreds of posts, I find myself weeding through mountains of clutter trying to find one or two pieces of gold.

Is it maybe reasonable to introduce a two or three tier membership level in each forum? Levels where the ability to post, mention names of companies or -behold- drop links is reserved (by invitation only) to those who have demonstrated their proficiency on lower tiers? Not that different from what we now have with moderators and administrators, just more explicit.

bridge the gap between the "Muppets" and "the Professionals"
crude, but true!

 5:46 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

When I came back to the site recently I asked why there were no new posts, the response I got from one poster was that all the questions had been answered!

Webmasterworld shoots itself in the foot sometimes with that. i remember a newbie posted something about link building once (i think it was link building), asking the same old questions that a newbie always asks, and the second post was from a mod saying look in the library before asking. end of conversation.

i'm guessing that newbie has never returned, because 1) he got a telling off as soon as he arrived, and 2) he probably felt like he wasn't allowed to ask anything without trawling through hundreds of old posts first.

i can understand why the old timers at WW (and i'm one of them) dont want to read the same newbie questions all the time, but they shouldn't chase away the very people who might end up asking some new ones.
if they had let that discussion run, then maybe someone would have chipped in with a good idea. but it was killed off before it even got going.


 6:07 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

i remember a newbie posted something about link building once (i think it was link building), asking the same old questions that a newbie always asks, and the second post was from a mod saying look in the library before asking. end of conversation.

Hey, I resemble that remark! :P

You are correct that some members get a link to the library but have got the circumstances mixed up. ;) The only times I refer someone to the library is when the question is too general, like "How do I build links?" It's like joining a fishing forum and asking, "How do I catch trout?" The best answer to that would be to point to a stickied post or a library that has the general answer to that.

The other occasion to point a member to the library is if the member has a faint grasp of the fundamentals. That goes back to the general "How do I build links" question. You, caribguy and cornwall can spend an hour posting a complete guide to the fundamentals of link building and post it for the member. Then do it again in a few days for another member. And another. And another... Of course, that's a poor experience for you and the other senior members.

The library presents a wealth of information for learning the fundamentals. A referral to the library is made in order to be helpful to that member and virtually every time I pointed a member to the library they return and post an enthusiastic "THANK YOU!" [webmasterworld.com] It's quite common that members referred to the library are happy to discover it.

Another reason for doing that is to benefit senior members, what caribguy and others have mentioned as the tedium of "muppet level" questions. How do I build links is not only a "muppet level" question but it is also too general to discuss in a single discussion. The entire link dev forum is about how to build links. How could anyone condense that into a single discussion, then repeat that week after week? This is why it benefits all members when overly broad questions are referred to the library.

[edited by: martinibuster at 6:32 pm (utc) on May 26, 2010]


 6:10 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Why post here when there are more popular webmaster forums where the members don't have a heart attack when you post http-//www.URL.com/

Not to mention, when we have a question, obviously we'll go where we'll get the question answered faster...on a webmaster forum that has way more activity.

And most webmasters are used to vBulletin, not some massively outdated forum software. I say we upgrade to the WWWBoards!


 6:40 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

i agree with you on all of that, and the library is definitely a useful place with loads of good stuff in it. and im sure that the majority of us get bored with newbie questions. but if you can remember the post (i cant) it would be interesting to see if the newbie did indeed come back. because at the end of the day these are the people that are going to make the board busy, and better.

pointing newbies to the library all the time might be helpful, but it's the equivalent of microsoft telling you to go and read the manual when you phone up their helpline. okay, so you might get the answer in the end, but it's not what you want when you pick up the phone.

its also a bit like google's idea of customer service -- you want to ask them a question and all they do is point you to their help pages which don't contain the answer. when all you really want to do is... just ask a human.

[edited by: londrum at 6:45 pm (utc) on May 26, 2010]


 6:43 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

but if you can remember the post (i cant) it would be interesting to see if the newbie did indeed come back.

There's one already linked to in my post. ;) That's not a newbie but a longtime member who needed deep information about the fundamentals.

All referrals to the library are made in response to overly general questions.

[edited by: martinibuster at 6:52 pm (utc) on May 26, 2010]


 6:47 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

(p.s. i found the post... and it wasn't actually you. but the newbie stayed for 23 posts and left. that was over a year ago.)


 6:52 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for taking the time to find that, londrum. :) I wouldn't generally want a member to get a link to the library for a specific question, whether it's about recips, directories, etc. But you know, sometimes, a member who demonstrates a need for that link will get it. But personally I think they should also get the answer to their question, too.

I've made a request for the admins to make the library link more apparent. And perhaps we can use a few sticky posts in the link dev library.

[edited by: martinibuster at 7:00 pm (utc) on May 26, 2010]


 6:54 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I feel like I don't have much business even responding to Brett's request, because I haven't been here but a couple of times in the past five years.

But I do agree with cornwall on the software discussion ban. It took away a lot of value to me. I am a one man shop and being able to learn what software other people were using (particularly for the hated task of bulk emailing) was very useful to me.

I also agree with those who say the design could use some refreshing (but please not vBulletin). A site devoted to web issues should at least get a little facelift every now and then. I can see that some things have been updated (html tools for editing posts) and I am sure there are other changes that I don't see. But the basic look is really tired.


 6:58 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Repetition of question can get frustrating. Some people expect the forum to be a free helpdesk, and to run to their schedule. :)

There's a question that is regularly asked in the Apache forum, one that has now been answered over 6000 times. Is it unreasonable to ask people to read the previous threads the next time it is asked?


 7:23 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

asking the same old questions that a newbie always asks, and the second post was from a mod saying look in the library before asking. end of conversation.

This is not unique to this board, the major difference is people here do it politely. Most other board moderators/participants do it with a vehemence revealing they were removed from the breast far too soon and want it back very badly.

I will say, however, in this regard, the library has always been far too cryptic and difficult to locate specific items. It could use some work. Some things that would vastly impr0ve it are searches by forum, topic, of course keywords . . .

more often than not I hit google with [keywords] site:webmasterworld.com which is not all that intuitive for the uninitiated.


 7:37 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

it doesn't matter if it's polite. when google point you to their help pages it's always polite, but we'd still much rather ask a human than trawl through the age-old archives.

as i said, that newbie stayed for 23 posts and left, never to be seen again. and he's probably experienced and asking good questions now, but he doesn't want to come back because he remembers the bouncer on the door. (Read the thread yourself, to see how the newbie was put in his place: [webmasterworld.com...]

if you want a closed shop with the same old seniors talking all the time (not that they aren't good, of course) then keep on fobbing off the newbies with links to the archives.


 7:48 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

revealing they were removed from the breast far too soon and want it back very badly

ouch! zinger! LOL!


 8:01 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)


I register years ago when it was for free. I am not professional and I do I learned HTML and CSS because I wanted to do my very own pages, about the things I know to thank millions of people in internet that in one way or another share their knowledge and I have learned from them.

Photography, Learning Spanish, and a Cooking book are my site and all are for free.

I didn't make many questions while it was for free, but it was a great resource to read posts where I
could find the answer to my problems. When I saw I had to pay to get access to the forum. I went some other place to get help. I am not against asking for money, and probably if I were professional, I would pay to get in touch and be updated, but as I don't get money from doing my own web pages, and most of the times I get help for free in some other sites .....

The last two book I have bought, (about meditation and photography) I have taken the decision to buy them because I had the chance to read more than one chapter and see the exact table of contents. One of the books was entirely on line and it was so amazing that I want to buy the printed version to be able to read it in bed and share it with my friends... I was thinking that for people that for any reason can't pay the subscription, it would be nice to give for free the opportunity to read post that are let's say 6 months old and backwards with no chance to comment of course. Like so, both worlds are covered....

I belong to many photography forums, it is always a bit annoying to get the same question again and again, a friendly redirection and leaving the door open as "don't hesitate to ask again if you can't find what you need" always gives a good feeling.

I am giving my feedback because I received a letter asking me to come here and help. One day this forum helped me in my problem with my HTML, and I thank you very much, I hope my post helps a bit now ...

I wish you all the best,



 8:15 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well said Cornwall


 3:43 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I too agree with pretty much everything Cornwall said.

I was previously a paying member for years. But the level of garbage : value has risen beyond usefulness.

And where there isn't a flood of garbage, there is just silence - what used to take hours daily to get caught up on takes a few minutes each week now. Forums that should be very useful are dormant. So either you get nothing of value, or you have to search through too much crap to get anything of value.

The community here is made up of a mix that just doesn't work. You've got those who know an awful log, but don't necessarily want to share with the peons and you've got the floods of newbies.

There is very little opportunity for the newbies to grow. I presume the overall strategy for "success" here is to create an engaging, learning environment. That's the key place where WW has failed over the last handful of years.


 5:16 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

[webmasterworld.com ]

just wow. It's no wonder so many users don't get past 50 posts. I think once you have been here a while, you just get used to that sort of thing.

there are so many types of questions I don't bother asking on here, for many reasons.

1. I might break clause 385, subsection 34 (ii) of the TOS
2. It will go unanswered for 3 days
3. somebody will post "go and see the library" (and while we're on the subject...the what? Seriously, want to get a reputation for being stuffy and stuck in the past, call your archive of old posts "the library".)

I think in these days of feedback, it's the users with less than a 100 posts whose voices should be heard the loudest. The question they should be asked is "why didn't you hang around?" and that linked thread up above is, I guess, typical of why many don't.


 7:03 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

(Read the thread yourself, to see how the newbie was put in his place: [webmasterworld.com...]

Point well taken! A moderator requires the patience of a saint (if you believe in that sort of thing) . . . not picking on WebWorks, just saying, it requires a special personality to be a moderator.

I've declined invites as a moderator here, mostly because I doubt I'd make a good one. Not for the reasons above, but because what I perceive as acceptable discussion may or may not align with site policies.


 8:36 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

And we are supposed to have confidence and respect for the Mods? Why would I want to create anymore unique content for a site with people like this helping run the show. I mostly stop by and read, and not post these days here.

A self professed hacker, in charge of moderating an e-commerce forum, does not give me a warm and fussy feeling of confidence in anyway, shape, or form.


And I expect this will be moderated into the bit bucket like so many posts.


 9:39 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Great post, cornwall, expressing exactly my feelings.

I too feel that the way Brett was asking for "feedback" sounds desperate, probably caused by a massive user drain (impacting the financials). I too feel that the site is somehow broken, and I too feel that the way the TOS are being used is probably the reason for the drain.

Maybe the site is indeed close to reaching its end-of-life like any other product will reach it at some point in time?

Looking at "services" like Facebook, Twitter and countless off-the-shelf Q&A forums I can't help the feeling that in general discussion has detoriated on the web. People simply can not express themselves properly any longer. Those who seek answers often do not know the meaning of "sharing" or "giving" or even "asking politely"; they EXPECT answers. And naturally those who could provide meaningful answers get bored and annoyed and finally leave the site.

A downward spiral that is quite difficult to break.


 9:51 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

A self professed hacker, in charge of moderating an e-commerce forum...

buckworks or lorax hackers? That is so off the scale mistaken... it's beyond off the scale, it's off the planet.

Why would I want to create anymore unique content for a site with people like this helping run the show.

Please, please, please, if you must vent about Jeff, do it in this thread [webmasterworld.com] where Jeff invites you to say exactly why you think Jeff is such a bad person.

I mostly stop by and read, and not post these days here.

Not speaking as a WebmasterWorld moderator, just my personal thoughts. But I feel a community member is someone who participates. If you see a problem tell an admin. It will be fixed. If someone is being rude to you, tell a mod. They will take care of it. There is no reason to get wound up by what another member does, mods are here to help. And if it's a mod that you feel is less than nice then tell an admin. No need to kick the game pieces off the board and sulk.


 1:06 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

martinibuster, I have no idea who "Jeff" is and I do not care. I did not call lorax a hacker, I would not give that much credit, they are a legend in their own mind, not mine. lorax professes in that thread to be a hacker, I did not call it one, I did not make the statement, they did. I said he/she is claiming to be a hacker in it's statement

I did tell an admin, I told the owner, I could not go any higher, and I was ignored.

Yours is a Typical reply by a mod here & you wonder why people are loosing interest in this site.
Just another condescending post by a mod here.

This post was entirely on topic, I do not need to discuss it in another one.

For Me, "It is broke, so it needs fixed" the title of this thread, is the mods here, and is why I do not create content for WebmasterWorld anymore.

I am not sulking, I have moved on to greener pastures, as have many.

If WebmasterWorld did not want criticism, they should not have asked.



 1:09 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I grow weary with the "instant gratification" folks seem to expect these days. I remember when I asked mom how to spell a word she'd say: "Look it up in the dictionary". After a few times I quit asking and just grabbed the dictionary.

WW is similar in that there's a great deal of really useful info in the libraries. (Which is the equivalent of the asked for "tag" or "vote" or "like" requests seen during feedback days)


 2:10 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

"Just another condescending post by a mod here." -- that feels so true. I'm not lying if I say that I'm kinda scared of quoting that. That's how I feel usually here, hence my lack of participation.
I only lurk.


 3:00 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

If WebmasterWorld did not want criticism, they should not have asked.

I am answering your criticism. You make a serious accusation, that a mod identified himself as a hacker. Let's get to the truth.

I know that moderator. I've spent many hours in his company. I know he is not a hacker. So when you post something that is not true, that he self-identified as a hacker, then I feel it is important to answer your criticism, to little light to it. So let's shine some light on this. ;)

Here is the post in question. [webmasterworld.com...]

You misinterpreted the moderators post. He did not say he was a hacker. Here is what he posted:

>> if you follow the rules
That's the issue. Many smaller shops don't follow the rules for one reason or another which leaves them open to exploitation.

But from a hacker's point of view, why bother with an ecommerce site in the first place? While I maintain that many of them are easy targets, why bother trying to get access to money in transit? It's better to hit the final destination - the banks.

When he says, "from a hacker's point of view..." he does not mean from HIS point of view. Misinterpreting things that are posted in forums is common and this is what happened. You misinterpreted his post. And I would like everyone to go read that discussion because the moderator in that discussion conducted himself in a patient, polite and respectful manner.

Then you reacted to that post with this:

Last post in this forum, I will not further waste my time, I do not hang out in hackers forums, I do not wish to become a target.

But you see, this is all due to a misinterpretation on your part. That moderator was polite to you and not condescending. He was discussing the issue, not insulting you in any way. In fact, his post after yours starts with an apology:

I'm very sorry you feel that way.
I did not mean to mislead you. Yes, some of the CC info was from non-online transactions. I still believe the examples are relevant.

I do believe in ecommerce but I don't believe that ecommerce is as safe as some seem to feel it is and I think it is important to point out that just because a eStore owner buys a cart and SSL cert doesn't mean their setup is secure. There are so many details to ensure an online shop is secure - and not all of them are in the hands of the store owner. I've seen shopping carts with unencrypted cc numbers. I've been told by clients they don't want to delete the CC numbers because they want to hold on to it for some reason (bookkeeping, possible future charges, ease of use, etc.) I've seen hosting companies that don't update their webserver's OS when security patchers are released. I've seen all manner of honest mistakes and plain disregard for security issues. While the total number of people I've dealt with is only a fraction of the all ecommerce I suspect they aren't the only ones to take risks or make mistakes. Does this mean that all ecommerce is at risk. No. But I think it's misleading to say it's safe and secure.

So here we are. You misinterpreted his post. You accused him admitting he was a hacker. It is clear he did no such thing. So what next?

And I apologize in advance if you feel my post is rude or condescending to you. I do not mean it that way. I only mean to answer your criticism and show the truth of the matter. I've taken fifteen minutes away from my daughter's bedtime story to do this for you, I don't have a moment more to spare.

Good luck to you.


 3:25 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hmmm "But from a hacker's point of view, why bother with an ecommerce site in the first place? While I maintain that many of them are easy targets"

How could I missed it, how could I be confused, I guess I made a mistake with lorax's the use of "I" in a paragraph where he/she is speaking from a hackers point of view.


I'm done, again, drifting back to the greener pastures, like you, I'm done wasting time, but before I leave, I would like to thank you for helping to prove my point on condesending posts by mods here.

Edited to add, martinibuster, I did not call lorax's post condesending, I called your post condesending as an example. Your statement "No need to kick the game pieces off the board and sulk. " was condesending and quite the norm for you and other mods here. Part of the mod/god complex

This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38 ( [1] 2 > >
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