|Quantity vs quality|
Success is often more dangerous that failure
I have been a forum member for sometime, and I realized either I have outgrown the topics due to the knowledge I have gained here, or I have become less tolerant of either off subject or repetitive posts covering issues that have been cover several times.
I also belong to another much smaller forum that targets a smaller segment of the market. This other forum was a vast resource of information, though the sharing of members, until they marketed the site.
Now this other forum has become a (for lack of better words) a chit chat forum.
The Management of an aging forum must be a tremendous task, and I take my hat off to Brett and the moderators.
My question is: Where can we go when we have grown out of a forum?
There is a group of professionals that need really need something more targeted and advanced in any industry group.
Does anyone know of such reliable resources.
I am not looking for freebies, I am expecting to pay as I do for any good org.
Sounds like an idea for a new resource...
> I also belong to another much smaller forum that targets a smaller segment of the market. This other forum was a vast resource of information, though the sharing of members, until they marketed the site.
I've always wondered where you would go after Webmaster World. I think that comes in the next life. ;)
I can understand where you are coming from with the tolerance thing. You become accustomed to it and learn to scan through what may or may not be of interest to you.
Hmmm, the seounderground...
>> Where can we go when we have grown out of a forum?
> Sounds like an idea for a new resource...
Yeah, that's what I say. What can we do that we aren't doing? Then let's do it, and do it here! I doubt there's a better community (of course I am a bit prejudiced) for tackling this thing called the web from almost any angle.
Its funny you should bring that up, Minnapple. I have not been a member nearly as long as you, but I have noticed recently that I am suddenly feeling like a lot of the posts are very repetitive:
A) Is Google crawling
B) Is Google updating
C) I hate Google because of my PR0
D) What's the best log analyzer
I guess coming from the marketing side (and depending on my own web site for a substantial chunk of my income) I learn a lot more from conversations about concept (like Tedster's comments on "How to Design a Successful Website.")
I guess the board is really more technically oriented than I am - and that's my problem, not the board's :) But what I personally would enjoy (it is all about me ;)) are more conversations about the sales process, about finding what makes people buy and what makes people leave.
That said, I think the board is a great resource. How much would it cost to have Brett or Tedster come consult for your business? They do it here for free. Tough to beat.
IMO, effective moderation is the key element in keeping boards relevant and vibrant. Hats off to the WebmasterWorld crew! In boards that I have run and/or visited, I've seen discussion quality deteriorate when someone wasn't there to remove off-topic posts and/or nudge them back on track.
One interesting phenomenon: I run one forum that has several larger competitors that are mostly out of control - flames, off topic garbage, etc. Inspired by WebmasterWorld, I imposed strict guidelines on my forum. We get very few bad posts - even from participants that I know are "offenders" on the other boards! People actually DO pay attention once in a while, and if they don't see junk in other posts, they don't put up their own junk.
Here is a possible suggestion to fix some of the issues mentioned. As Mardi_Gras said the board is a little more technical than he would like and very repetative about some topics. If we implimented a customized Recent Posts to where it worked like the subscriptions, meaning only the cats you wanted to show up would. Check Google if you want Google posts, check WW Community Center if you want to keep up to date on whats happening with WW. Uncheck Perl, PHP, and Pyton if you dont want technical talk, or UK SE's if you dont need to worry about searches in the UK. This would probably fix alot of the issues, it would also make it very nitche for the people who only want to know about certin things. (Sorry for mispellings was typing in a hurry gotta go to step sons school.)
|As Mardi_Gras said the board is a little more technical than he would like |
But please don't think I am suggesting we change the board on my account! It obviously fills a big need for those seeking technical advice (my code skills are too low to benefit - I can barely use the style codes here :))
I agree with the mod comment - I think their work separates this board from the rest.
I am a very advanced webmaster and security expert, as well as a Windows administrator and former operating systems "guru". The way I solve the "boredom" issue is to post my own topics for discussion. I try and start discussions on topics on which I have some interest.
>> Check Google if you want Google posts, check WW Community Center if you want to keep up to date on whats happening with WW
Speaking purely as a member, I wouldn't use such a function if was implemented. I find that you can never tell where the useful info is going to come from. I think I have used stuff from posts in absolutely every forum at some point or another, and it wasn't always obvious before the event where I would find the answer I sought.
I know there are others with a far more focussed requirement who would perhaps benefit, but I still think the risk of missing a gem outweighs the value in filtering some of the noise.
I do ENTIRELY understand the perspective of those who find the board tech heavy. I have in the past, and continue to find many of the more involved threads, particularly in the programming and *nix related forums way, way over my head.
However, I am choosing to treat it as an opportunity to raise the level of my technical knowledge. I have advanced enormously in my understanding of many net related technologies during my time here through direct posts, and links to other excellent resources posted by other members. This is partly because it improves my understanding of issues at work, partly because I'm just interested. I am still way behind a lot of y'all technically, but over time, more and more of it makes sense.
Having the mix of ability levels and perspectives is one of the things that makes the board interesting. It can grate to see yet another thread on something you have no further interest in, but there are always new members to whom it is all a startling revelation.
Part of the problem lies in the threads title; as the number of posting members grows, so does the number of posts in a day. As most of us tend to be experts in one area or another, and disinterested in others, there is naturally only a subset of the information present here that interests us.
As the volume of traffic grows, it gets harder to sift it, and to find the information we seek, which leads to a perception of diminished quality, whether the reduction is objectively present or not
I agree. The whys and is google.... Are getting really old. However it is good to know the how to design a successful website and most of the Foo issues. I was wondering to save time could the moderators come up with a beginners area that address the issues that are most asked FAQs page. It would save time and rarely have to be updated. Some one asked about where to go from here... Become a moderator, they have there own little forum they talk in and share whats working more so than what the regular forum talks about. Once again coming up with a FAQs page would save time and band width. It would also save those of us who know more than the adverage bear.
Rather than start a beginners area and risk alientating newbies, how about an advanced area?
I think one of our important functions is to help the new webmasters get started and feel comfortable.
I'd be willing to bet that there is a secret community of the elite who have a special password protected area here at Webmaster World. Not the Mods area, but something beyond that. You know, like one of those secret frat clubs? ;)
>> coming up with a FAQs page
There is a new feature something along these lines that came with the recent upgrade Brett did, and we haven't pushed it much. Each forum now has "Library' (the link is right next to the "Charter" link.
Each Library has a start-up population of quality threads, and mods can add to them - so feel free to make your nominations.
either I have outgrown the topics due to the knowledge I have gained here, or I have become less tolerant of either off subject or repetitive posts covering issues that have been cover several times.
Well, the only way the content level of a forum can grow with its members is if the members help it along... if you'd like to be discussing more advanced topics, by all means start some threads with more advanced questions. Make the rest of us stretch our brains a little trying to work them out.
You're probably not the only one feeling that way (in my experience, for every one piece of feedback you get, there are hundreds of people who just never said anything)... so there are probably quite a few others who'd participate in some 'upper division' discussions. Start a trend! :)
An FAQ or "classic" thread link list would be handy. When answering questions like "What is PR0?", I find myself taking the shortcut of saying, "search for 'PR0'" instead of taking the time to find a definitive thread. (I appreciate the efforts of those mods and others who seem to be able to come up with spot-on thread references at the drop of a hat!)
This forum is good to beginners compared to others. New posters are treated with courtesy, even when they ask something that has been asked a hundred times before.
<<where I would find the answer I sought. >>
In many cases I'm not seeking answers, because (especially regarding the techie stuff) I don't even know what questions to ask yet. Often the biggest benefit I gain from hanging around here is discovering a new question to explore.
I've been on boards that were "newbie unfriendly" and I hated them, even though I am advanced. We were all new at one time and I believe we need to treat new people with respect and guide them into doing the right things.
I mean, if the PR0 questions over and over bother you, then just don't read them. I know that I tend to skip over them now or scan them real fast.
Perhaps you should consider joining a suitably placed moderated mailing-list (If there are any). I'm suggesting this because I like to keep on top of lots of computer & web-app security issues and so I subscribe to several e-mail lists which are moderated by professionals covering just the topics I want.
The fact that they are moderated is important because it keeps the pure junk, off topic posts and "read the FAQ" type questions to a minimum which keeps the quality of the topics at a high level which makes an enjoyable read at the end of the day. The downside is that there can often be a delay in between your message being sent and it turning up on the list, but it's a price I think most people are willing to pay for quality discussion.
Nothing beats a list where every message is worth reading, where if you read for long enough you will learn something new and most of all the other members are more than ready to answer your questions :)
> bet that there is a secret community of the elite who have a special password protected area here at Webmaster World. Not the Mods area, but something beyond that.
Nope, you'd lose the bet pageone (though there was once a "super-heavy-duty user" area that Brett set up as a "maybe", but never really activated). We have a "mods off-topic" area which is 99.9% conversational.
I do think that several splinter groups exist within WebmasterWorld, they form and break according to the needs of the moment. I know I've formed a few to tackle specific projects.
As for minnapple's initial post, I'm largely in agreement with it ...but, there just isn't a better forum around, and I'm not saying that because I'm a mod here, I belong to several forums and they are routine at best (and that's being charitable). Yes, I have to wade through a lot of stuff here now that isn't what I'd like to focus on, but the quality of the collective knowledgebase is what I've come to depend upon. If I raise my hand here, I still feel that I'm at the place that's most likely to point me in the right direction --and fast, too.
I don't mean for this to be a defense of the status-quo, either. Like minnapple, tedster, and dozens -perhaps hundreds- of members here, we feel the urge to evolve ..but the paths we need to follow aren't quite as easy to define as they were 2 years ago.
Thanks for the thread minnapple. This baby spawned 50 stickymails already.
We get into a delicate situation when subjects like this come up. I feel a good portion of our success here has been our strategy and techniques. How far I should go discussing those techniques in an open forum is always delicate. There have been occasions in the past, where I have done so and I've regretted it latter.
Google, I think the Google forum quality right now is better than it has ever been. Go read down the list, it's good stuff.
There are some seo tips and tricks in there right now, we've not seen discussed in a year.
Recent Great Threads:
NFFC's find on MS vs Google: [webmasterworld.com...]
Nobody anywhere has that but us! That's an important fact to bring to light and WILL have incredible historical significance.
MSGraph finding Google on AOL: [webmasterworld.com...]
First any where on the net that I know of. The topic was poached to other forums within 15 mins. Even some of the big tech sites are reporting it just today.
The Zeus saga. Although it got long in the tooth, it unfolded here. That's an important topic for many seo's.
The continuing Webpos risk factor - unfolded here to the point other forums page jacked the thread because it was so good. That whole thing is excellent stuff.
Raw SEO threads:
CSS, google and seo: [webmasterworld.com...]
The Cache: [webmasterworld.com...]
Simple clarification on PageRank: [webmasterworld.com...]
GoogleBot is crawling: [webmasterworld.com...] we are the only one covering crawling patterns consistently.
Another good one: [webmasterworld.com...]
The whole issue of redirects: [webmasterworld.com...] [webmasterworld.com...]
Headers with Damian nailing it in one post: [webmasterworld.com...]
Food for the machine: [webmasterworld.com...]
A deceptively simple question on singular vs plural with a surprising set of answers: [webmasterworld.com...]
How about the thread on validation that caused a major search engine (ODP) to redo it's code and two others to make inquiries about validators and consulting about validation. There were also several other inquiries about validation and how to do it. I think it is fairly important when we as a community can contribute to the industry in a positive way.
There is alot to read in the Google forum, but there is alot to talk about these days.
I agree the update mania has gotten out of hand. That is going to change this month. I've been actively contacting many "update chit-chaters" during and since the last update, and it has already had a discernable effect. We won't be doing "when's the dance" this month at all (fair warning).
All-in-all, I am extremely pleased over the way the Google forum has developed. It's got a good mix of news, seo, pure info, and what forum would be complete without a rant or two. Great diversity about what is basically a mono-topic. Seriously, I'm ecstatic with the Google forum. For all things Google - we are the only resource required on the net.
Sure, there's a lower quality post or two here or there, but far less than I would expect in a forum our size. That's a credit to the moderators and members for setting the tone and expectations!
Last week I bought a computer that arrived with a serious glitch. After many calls, I took some pictures of the problem and put them here on the site and sent the tech guy the urls. He called me within 10 minutes. He'd not only heard of the site, but he'd read the Google forum quite often. They shot me and rma number without any more questions.
Complaints about chit-chat. Sorry, that is Foo syndrome. Some people do want that sort of thing and it helps build community and get us to know one another. I think the "no active" list flag we implemented on the sillier chit-chat posts will do some good. Don't get me wrong, we definitely need Foo. There are people that come here just to read Foo for the hot news posts and Mac's weekly quiz is gaining quite the little following.
Part of it I can appreciate it from a newer users standpoint. They come and they read, get a bit intimidated, and when a thread pops up where they feel they can throw in .02, they do.
Topic drift and hijacking.
You can help with that by not answering off topic or side topic questions in threads. The easiest way to spot an off topic messages is if it is a question dropped further down in a thread. If there are questions not directed to the original poster and his topic, then there's a high likelihood that it's off topic. Just ignore those.
Specifics to this thread:
>Part of the problem lies in the threads title
Agreed. Moderators please feel free to change any title you feel could be more descriptive of the post. Never hesitate to update a title. It's the one area where you find me encouraging for more active visible moderation.
How to ask good questions [tuxedo.org] by Eric S. Raymond.
>there is a secret community of the elite
I get that alot. It's not true. What you see is what you get.
Seriously considered it and worked up a system for it and began seeding the faq. Members saw some of that effort in the Google FAQ and Cloaking FAQs snippets we posted. It's part of the reason I wrote the FAQ software and did the Opera Faq [searchengineworld.com] last year. That was beta testing the FAQ software. Once it was online and we started to work on seeding the FAQ, it became clear that the amount of time required to maintain it was a stopper. It would take one or two people full time and myself part time.
That's not to say the project is completely abandoned, but until someone can offer a solution to the work load involved, I don't foresee going forward with it.
>questions over and over
On the specific pr0 questions, most of those aren't really questions, they are "look at my site" disguised url drops. It's why we've been so active in removing urls in the Google forum.
All-in-all, I'm very pleased with where we are now. I don't foresee any major changes in the system for the remainder of the year. We are going to play the hand we have and continue to reach for a higher standard.
Where to go once you've completed your Webmaster World 101 classes..... hmmMmmm good question, everytime i think i start to outgrow the place a new subject arises that is answered or a question pops into my head that is answered by all you good people. Maybe I'm just not ready to graduate or this is a place you can't graduate from.
Hey why leave a place, why feel more elite than others, it only makes you arrogant in most cases. The point when I go elsewhere is when it comes to truely specialized subjects or type of sites. People who SEO for dog sites, seo sites, adult sites etc have different competition and rules. If it can be answered here hey, but I for one think WebmasterWorld should have an adult forum. Not to plug pr0n sites but for marketting etc more specialized that may require additional words disliked by others :)
Because of all the people around and the excellent mods this site could do any topic very strong so I don't waste my time looking elsewhere because I did before and there was much elitism and other unfriendly tactics that wore me out very quickly.
Ask and it shall be answered, reply to the repetive questions if you want to be helpful, or see a easy post count score ;) the search takes two seconds and you can resource them to the topic already discussed if its the same :)
>I've been on boards that were "newbie unfriendly" and I hated them, even though I am advanced. We were all new at one time and I believe we need to treat new people with respect and guide them into doing the right things.
OOOoooh, I missed that one, Richard. How right you are! When you boil it down to the one underlying "rule of rules" at WebmasterWorld, it's be friendly and respectful of all other members. I don't know if any of you have seen the write-ups about WebmasterWorld on other sites but there are invariably two points made about us; 1) the resident professional knowledge and 2) the level of courtesy. It's our brand.
|All-in-all, I'm very pleased with where we are now. |
You should be. The level of expertise found here cannot be found anywhere else. You have really built something unique. I think it is interesting that in response to Minnapple's original question, No One suggested another place to go - all the comments centered on possible improvements to WebmasterWorld - which, as you and Mivox pointed out, are really up to us - the members - in many cases.
Don't change Foo - that's part of what makes WebmasterWorld unique!
|I don't know if any of you have seen the write-ups about WebmasterWorld on other sites but there are invariably two points made about us; 1) the resident professional knowledge and 2) the level of courtesy. It's our brand. |
I know. One of the write-ups was mine. And it was full of praise. This board is one of the best, and let's congratulate Brett and all of the other moderators.
Oh yes, and something I used to really hate on another board. They made an FAQ which was very sarcastic, then when a new person would ask a question he would get a curt, very upsetting "look at the FAQ stupid!" (literally) answer. That board has since died and it was good that it did.
I can't help but thing the quality vs quantity discussion is based solely on our size. In 2000, the percentages are just the same, but when you compare 100k views a day in 2002 to 10k views a day in 2000, it looks different. The proportions of quality post to a noisy post are the same, and just the total volume has changed. The noisy post is more obvious now.
For example, in late 99 early 2000, we ran about 25 active threads a day with 5 as noise. If proportions hold, that would mean while we are knocking on 200 active threads a day, there should be around 40 noisey ones. Are there 40 threads you would call noise? I can find only 16 that I would call noisy. To me, that means our quality hasn't slipped and in fact, has gotten better.