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WebmasterWorld Feedback Days Forum

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Ok, Enough with Features and Minutiae
What is your Overall?

 1:51 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

What do you think of the site on the whole?

The brand?

The value?

What is your OVERALL impression of the site?



 6:52 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I find the WebmasterWorld Brand and Value to be way above all other technical forums I frequent. It is simpler to use, faster to load and not bothered by spammers (for long).

Since all of the members here are supposedly working Webmasters, we should really have nothing to sell to each other, aside from sharing our knowledge. That means keeping the no-URLs policy in place. All of the moderators are volunteers who donate their time for free. They are great people with tons of knowledge, who are usually willing to help others move up, one level at a time. The questions that are asked are usually answered in a useful manner, but often teach by example. The person asking for technical advice learns the answers by doing it him/her self, after receiving suggestions from more advanced members. That is where the Quality Value lies.

Overall, I think things work as they should, for the targeted groups of people who become members here. Little things can be tweaked, policies played with, search engines expanded, but the overall feel and steadfastness of Webmaster World is what gives it the strong Brand, Quality and Distinction is enjoys today.

It is not a crime to ask for changes to policies, such as the posting of personal URLs, or links to sites being discussed, but that will require a lot more work from the volunteer moderators, to keep spammers out. It is probably best left as it is. There are other places one can go where posting of URLs and links is already permitted.

I feel that Brett has been and continues to do an extraordinary job maintaining WebmasterWorld, including the huge server move of a few years ago. I lift a virtual mug of beer to him and all of our volunteer moderators! Keep up the fine work!


 7:25 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

What is your OVERALL impression of the site?

If I can't find the answer here, I have little faith I'll find the answer anywhere else, and it usually takes five times as long to prove that to myself.

My only real complaint is the library, it needs to be much easier to locate items there, by any means you can muster.


 7:49 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Pageoneresults said
The feedback being provided during these Feedback Days is priceless! I read all the responses above and get goosebumps thinking how serious and professional everyone is over here. You can't get this type of discussion anywhere else on the web, not that I'm aware of anyway.

I don't get goosebumps from anything anymore, alas. But for me it's the thoughtful, considered questions and responses that appeal. I read the posts here to relax, actually. I often work in the political arena (thus my deep cover) and I need to know there are people in the world who are willing to listen to new ideas and disagree respectfully. I get an emotional recharge here. And help with web, too.

I'm asked to talk on marketing sometimes. I have developed a set-piece called "What is a good brand?"

A good brand signals trust. The product with a good brand is appealing because you trust it that will what you want or need. Thus, if trust is violated, the brand is damaged. (Example right now is the BP brand in the US. Same beer and gas they've always had, but...)

But what is trust? This is complex and I can show you articles and research that break "trust" down into 33 points, with subset in each.

I've got it down to three basis points. They are competence, caring and integrity. Not all three are important in trust to all brands.

1. Competence: You care if your heart surgeon is a caring gal? Maybe not so much. Competence is what matters here. And we communicate competence is many little ways. Polish your shoes. Speak clearly. Hang paperwork on the wall. It's also helpful to know what you are talking about.
Webmasterworld posters are competent.

2. Caring: A brand that stands for caring about the same things as you is easier to trust. I feel or think the brand shares my values. Thus, many brands are going "green" or are help others fighting cancer. Shared values build trust.
Does your spouse or mother care about your website? No? Are they not worried about Google? No? When they learned you were doing PHP, did the family have an intervention? You can get some caring and understanding here at WW.

3. Integrity: A highway bridge is said to have structural integrity if it doesn't fall down when cars drive over it. The bridge does what it was built to do. Product failure damages the brand because it damages integrity; it damages trust.
If you ask a question on WW, will you always get a good answer? Uh oh...

Generally in this little speech I give I end on integrity because it looks like a simple concept, but in the real world it is very difficult one. As any parent will tell you, life is hard and sometimes we can't do what we said we were going to do.

WW mission (like it or not) is to answer questions webmasters or would-be webmasters have about webmastering. Mission impossible. And, in this thread we heard from one poster who complained, rightfully, about not having his question answered. For this person, WW is not trustworthy, not a good brand. Harsh? I do not think so. Welcome to the real world of branding. As you have seen in all of the comments in Feedback Days, it is tough.

But, as many have said here, it is impressive how well WW does at accomplishing its impossible mission. WW's integrity is good, but not perfect. But, then integrity is hard, especially over time. That is why good brands are often older brands that handled the slings and arrows of life well.

The competence, caring and integrity seen in WW reflects its management. That's the way it is everywhere, for every brand. That is not a complement for Brett, it just a statement of a business fact.

So, as WW starts to make changes or expand its brand, it want to work to keep from damaging the brand. And even in enhance the brand. First and foremost, make sure you don't slack off on what got you here. (Apple's successful out-of-context move from computers into music was amazing and rare.)

Be competent, show caring, and if you say you're going to offer x, y and z, then do it. And throw in a w, too, for good measure. The WW brand is strong. If managed carefully as it has been, the WW brand will grow stronger over time.

You can see how this little talk on trust might work with people thinking of running for local political office.


 8:46 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

What I like best about here is the strength of community. I have yet to find another forum that has the strong following and support that is shown here. You all actually know and care about each other. That shows in the posts.

There is fantastic amount of information here. I believe that the newbies don't understand how best to find it. Many are calling the look outdated. It is what it is. Anyone that leaves because of the look is missing the point. As long as it loads fast, I don't have any issue.

How to sustain this community? I am all for having advertising. Not a problem. Newsletter with advertising also not a problem.

It once felt like WebmasterWorld was being listened to by Google and others and that made this place special. I don't get that feeling anymore. Perhaps some participation by them can be renewed.


 8:58 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

The brand is nice; it's good to know that the help I receive here is from the best of the best. However, the site itself is pretty outdated in my opinion. Most of the site is run on the principle of "that's the way it's always been, so there's no need to change it" which I, quite honestly, think is hogwash. It's a site run by webmasters; shouldn't it be constantly developing as the rest of the web is? Stability is nice, but not when it's stubborn and negatively-charged stability.


 9:33 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

>>Why is it mandatory to sign up even just to view the site contents when it is free anyway?<<

Not all of it is free - a number of pattern creators are on the site and even though some offer their patterns for free, they use Ravelry as a base point for tracking activity for their patterns. Most people also sign up for Ravelry to obtain patterns, as well as use the features that come with an account: saving librry items, patterns you've downloaded, queing stuff you want to eventually work up, favroitue items, etc. it is mostly free content, but the average peroson doesn't typically join Ravelry just to look around - it has a TON of features for the individual to use for cataloguing their stuff, and without an account, you can't do that.

It's also a site that's in Beta testing, officially. It's not quite ready to be a release candidate, and they're always looking to improve it. So really, by signing up, you're helping them with the features, etc. for the RC.


 10:05 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just some food for thought, but I checked the Alexa ranking of a couple of the forums I spend more time at now. Both have more traffic than Webmasterworkld and both allow specific URL mentions as well as dofollow signature links.

I think a lot of people who have their own sites and blogs are going to look for that feature.


 10:33 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Perhaps a useful middle ground would be to beef up the WebmasterWorld profile pages so people could say more about themselves if they chose, including room for more than one link.


 10:46 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Overall--a great resource for the webmaster/IT professional who wants to keep abreast of old and new ideas.


 11:22 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've been a member of WW for over eight years now.

I've learned some great stuff on here. Through the commercial exchange, I've picked up a number of coders that I ended up working with for years. This will always be one of my favorite websites, and one of the reasons why I've been so successful as a designer for so long.


 11:23 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Excellent site.

1. I want URLs so that I can see examples of what people are talking about.

2. I have made a reasonable number of posts but my post count appears to be screwed up.

BTW you have a typo:

"The existing homepage can be foudn at..."


 11:47 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's the definitive resource forum in it's space. New design and functionality will only enhance that.


 2:01 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Credible, but aged and sometimes cranky.


 2:11 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Brand: I work in companies with a larger marketing budget, so "brand" has a different interpretation there and it doesn't translate well to a semi-volunteer entity. In a corporation, even the employees are the brand (e.g. Zappos example) but at events such as Pubcon, you can't spot Mods or Admins even from their name tags (which might be a good thing, judging by some comments :))

I see a conflict between Pubcon and Webmasterworld as brand labels. Where a casual user attends Pubcon, they might not remember Webmasterworld once they get home and it becomes just another conference they attended.

Value: As I become more knowledgeable, I get less value. When I first found the site I would read it for hours on end. Some great contributors have left for a variety of reasons, so there are fewer Eureka moments for me.

Overall: It is the only site I visit on a daily basis and I don't get the time to explore as much as is needed to stay on top of the subject matter I need to do my job.


 3:34 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

shouldn't it be constantly developing as the rest of the web is?

There's forums, there's sites, there's blogs... each have a STRUCTURE which makes them work. How does one change a forum? There's not a lot one can do to change it, visually. One might change the backend processing, but you can't change forums/threads. Nor can one equate blogs with comments enabled as a forum. Nor can sites which are not forums or blogs into either. At some point the madness must stop! Not all things are equal, other than the unwashed masses wanting it all for free and allowed to speak without consequence, or expected to have two brain cells in operation.

Can't make everyone happy.

That's why the circus is okay for some and others require movies, and others can only have fun with opera or rock concerts. All the above are entertainment/info and each one has a different presentation.

Somewhere else a mention was made to "rectangles" and use of same. Somewhere else there was a dis on table (which is perfectly acceptable for database delivered content) as opposed to divs... Until somebody comes up with a better/different method of text communication we're stuck with what we have, since words were first put on clay tablets/papyrus/paper etc. Eye candy, color shades, pics... none of this improves the CONTENT...which is the words, the knowledge and, most overlooked, the participation.

I have another elsewhere: keep it simple (not adding stupid, but do suggest those who want ajax, js, python, even perl) just don't get it. There's nothing to animate in this content. There's nothing that requires more than a password cookie, and there's absolutely nothing here that needs links to off site content, other than what is already allowed.

And one other, before I sign off on this message: The ModGhods are human. The vast majority are ordinary grunts doing heroic work for zip and usually doing a good job! I've head knocked once or twice over the years, but that head knocking ended up with friendships formed. Instant grat users need a thick skin, won't happen, and if we study customers, social cultures, politics and countries we know why THAT will never happen. Some MhodGods might, as one most recently suggested about duties, take a sleep on it approach. But when it's wrong, it is wrong and no sleep, no instant grat, or even common sense it required. Just wrong.

A rant, obviously, and no apology offered, but do suggest that the benefit of "feedback days" for development purposes is approaching end of value. Time to get back to business...


 5:52 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

How does one change a forum? There's not a lot one can do to change it, visually.


Did a quick google and found this post on 10 well designed forums: [dezinerfolio.com...]

Clean. Simple. Supported by ads. Content well organized. Job boards. Whatever you want, AND they have designs that look like they have been updated in this millennium.

Or you can look at web design specific forums as more examples: [smashingmagazine.com...] --OK some on this list are just as bad as this forum when it comes to design. :\


 6:02 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

nigassma... guess we are not reading the same thing. You're looking at eye candy, not the content. It is always about the text. That ain't gonna change in the next 5,000 years as it as not changed in the last 5,000 years.

Letters, Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Forums, Sites, and Blogs. Don't think I missed any of the presentations, but willing to be educated.


 7:13 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Previously I said I don't come here often - never have done, never will do probably. Somehow I find my answers elsewhere. This is not a criticism of this site - just I prefer others. Especially Stackoverflow. In the last year that has turned into my number one resource for getting answers.

But, what I do want to point out, especially given nigassma links to other forum designs, is that this forum design, whilst boring IS NOT A PROBLEM. It is clear, easy to use and I would hazard a guess that it is very accessible. I feel the concept of forums has changed though and any new developer or webmaster might struggle to find info here. It's great to ask questions, but it's much quicker to find the answer without asking. That's something Stackoverflow is great at (for me).

In summary, I think the site IS missing something in functionality and it's not neccesarily about social stuff. It's about finding content. But the design, well, if someone forgoes knowledge because the forum isn't the right shade of grey, well, that's their loss in my books. This site is clear and readable, don't change that.


 7:36 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

@tangor you said

There's not a lot one can do to change it, visually.

Not There's not a lot one can do to change it, content wise.

Visually there is a lot of room for improvement. I agree about the content.


 7:39 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

@rmassart why do you presume that changing the aesthetics of the site design would ruin it? You don't think any of the linked forums in those two posts I linked to have good content that is easy to find?

This site COULD be simpler in its design, more minimalistic.

But Sitepoint (you may have heard of them) have a design that is much more modern and I don't feel I get lost in it. Now the content may be different, but content is built by the contributors, not the way a site looks.


 7:56 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Before changing anything, define very clearly who the intended audience is.

I just took a look at stackoverflow (for the first time) and the top question was ".save puts NULL in user_id field in Ruby on Rails". Now that question may appeal to and attract some but not me. And that's the problem.

Is webmasterworld trying to attract tecchies, the young, the old, the experienced, the newbies, or all of them?

Please, don't go down the tecchie route. There are loads of technical sites out there and none of them encourage real discussion. There's a simple answer to ".save puts NULL in user_id field in Ruby on Rails". I have not the slightest clue what it is but it's probably a one-liner, and that's the end of that discussion.

Mods should have their face pictures on this site. Put a face to a name. Personalise it.

What do you think of the site on the whole?
The definitive source of knowledge for non-tecchie type information.

The brand?

The value?
Excellent value.

What is your OVERALL impression of the site?
Clearly laid out but dated.

Why is the "search" function so insignificant in appearance. I'm not sure that everyone is aware it's there tucked up in the very top of the pages and in such small writing.

Possibly a function to allow users to exclude specific sections from their view. A simple cookie could do that. Then all the moans about the supposedly "trite" postings in the Adsense section would disappear overnight.


 9:44 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I always come here first when I need information or advice on a topic. I think it's probably because of the quality and credibility of the posts. I know that there are alot of old hats hanging around in here and it's these peoples opinions, that have been there and done that that I value. I care about that a hell of alot more than aesthetics niggly feature requests, it's about the knowledge shared by your users that keeps me coming back. Any improvements you make should ensure you hang on to these experienced users and anything else is secondary.


 9:50 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

The brand - #1 forum for stuff related to building and running websites. When I have an issue I will come here first and then search elsewhere.

The value - it was extremely high when I was starting. Fresh webmaster has lots of questions and they'll find answers here. Now it seems things are slower here.

Overall impression - I guess most of the old members have "graduated" and are too busy doing business to post too much here. Most questions have been answered already ;-)


 10:25 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I haven't been spending that much time here in the past couple of years, but that is not a reflection upon this site. If and when I do need help this is probably one of the few sites I do visit and always the first on my list.

I care about that a hell of alot more than aesthetics niggly feature requests, it's about the knowledge shared by your users that keeps me coming back. Any improvements you make should ensure you hang on to these experienced users and anything else is secondary.

The above quote mirrors my sentiments, exactly. Aesthetics along with bells and whistles are fine, but ultimately it's the quality and credibility of the content which counts. Sometimes I find what I am looking for and sometimes I don't, but in the end, I still trust this site a little more than others I have visited in the past.


 10:33 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

The brand: memorable and relevant, which are the most important things a brand can be really. I noticed some people think the term "webmaster" is outdated, but personally, it has always sounded a bit silly to me, and it is still the only term that best sums up the combination of SEO / coding and sometimes design that most of us have.

the value: still very useful, especially for insights in how Google is doing. I seem to be better now at skimming through the pointless comments/paranoid suggestions now, but they could be a problem for others (and I don't just mean newbies!)

overall impression. the look of the site (the header especially) is a bit dated, but for me that's almost a plus: I've come into contact with so many web development companies who are fixated with style over things like readability, SEO or updateability, and frankly, I do find myself trusting plain-looking sites more even if they are a bit dated.


 10:50 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

allowing large avatars would make this site more visually interesting


 11:01 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is a "No" vote for avatars. Slows the page down and focuses on "person" not "post content".

However, I would support Bio pics and more detailed Bio for moderators being added to their profile page.


 11:34 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

What do you think of the site on the whole?
When I joined some 8 years ago, this was the premier source of content for all questions/problems related to webmastering. Now there are other forums/blogs around which provide good content, but I still like my old WW the most - fast loading, high quality content, not overloaded with features no-one really needs.

The brand?
I don't care about brand as i know WW for such a long time and value the content provided here

The value?

What is your OVERALL impression of the site?
due to the fact that many sign up and try to spam the forums, sometimes the quality is declining, but I think the moderators have a good grip on it. I still come here on a daily basis to find and participate in quality discussions.

To Brett and the team of moderators:
Thanks for providing this good platform and please continue the good work.


 11:53 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

@nigassma: I never said a redesign would ruin it. I said the design is not the issue. Content and finding content is the issue. For me it's a lot easier to find answers on Stackoverflow than on WW. I think it's the format of the discussions.

I know sitepoint well and access it quite often. I would say their site design is also quite straightforward and reinforces the point. Design is secondary to content (as long as the design is not a hindrance to accessing the content).


 12:41 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

One thing I've noticed is a decrease in the technical complexity and motive of questions asked. There seems to be a much increased number of questions from those who could find answers to their basic questions with a simple search of the Apache docs, the PHP manual, etc. (laziness) as well as an increase in 'do all my work for me' questions in which the poster comes not with a problem to solve but a task to be done for them. Whilst there can rightly be some toleration of these kinds of questions, they do kill the forum and those who enjoy the challenge of answering the more tricky questions that are genuinely stumping able people just don't stick around if that's all they see.


 12:59 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

What do you think of the site on the whole?

It must be ok :-) as I have used it quite a lot in a busy period a couple of years ago.
I did go through a period where I did not use it at all, at that time I did not need to keep so up to date.

The brand?

The brand WebMasterWorld is good. It is a type-in for me, I don't need a favourites entry I just type it in. Very few sites are type-ins for me, this one is.

The value?

Difficult, yes of course it is valuable to me, but equally I am valuable to it as a user and contributor. But yes, if it was not of good value I would not visit. It does offer good value subscriber or not.

What is your OVERALL impression of the site?

Too quiet these days. It is not enough to use search all the time, (although that is of course valuable) but I think users do want to interact with like minded people.

However I do recommend the site to people so ...

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