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Speakers Corner


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Where Have All The Forumites Gone?


Bing.alau
Resolved

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This forum certainly goes very quiet between Friday nights' Postcard Puzzle and the rest of the week. Where does everybody pop off to? Maybe we should get Brumas to put a second edition on Mondays or Tuesdays?

Are we running out of subjects to natter about?

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spuds

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morddwyd's post at 8.34am as raised some good and true points,and perhaps especially regard fix, but how can you attract new contributions, when there are obvious problems?.

Take the Tech Helproom as an example, and who are the regular virtually daily named active helpers, because there are very few, and possibly decreasing. I could be wrong, and no doubt I will be told so, but you never or very seldom see a response from PCA staff to questions being asked, within the forum. Other forums seem to have staff looking in (not just monitoring flow), and at the same time offering a visible and present contribution, especially if it involves a very technical or frequent site concern. Okay the PCA staff have a day job, but so does other forums or commercial websites.

The same applies to all the other sections within the forum (which are getting far to 'tech' many). The only section that brings a selection of various views is Speakers Corner (which I still look on and regard as the old 'Lounge'). But even that brings comments from certain individuals, which would suggest that they are not happy, yet very little is being done to perhaps correct problems being raised. The Forum Editor is often stating about the amount of daily email complaints he is receiving, so perhaps some of these regular complaints need airing on the website, and perhaps then a solution might be found?.

I could say that I regard myself as a loyalist, junkie or addict to this website, because I have been with the PCA forum since virtually its formation, usually on a daily basis in one form or another. But at times, I often wonder whether my contributions are being accepted or worthwhile, and whether I am now just wasting my time and/or any effort in possibly contributing?.

(NB: Another post that I intended posting only a few words, but it became an possible boring and non-constructive essay. Probably shows how complicated things are :O) )

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Forum Editor

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spuds

"you never or very seldom see a response from PCA staff to questions being asked"

Surely that's not true? If someone asks a question about the magazine we always respond - either I will say that I'm passing the problem to the appropriate person, or Matt will post a comment or solution. If there's a complaint about the way the forum works I usually wait for a while, to allow others to comment first, and then I add my response. If I don't see a thread I can't respond, of course, and I don't see all of them, all of the time. That's why I continually say that it's far better to contact me by email if you have a particular problem - you'll get a much speedier response that way.

"The only section that brings a selection of various views is Speakers Corner"

Again I can't agree - take a look at the other forum areas and you'll see plenty of people responding when a new thread is posted.

"very little is being done to perhaps correct problems being raised."

How can you possibly know what is being done? I've said before that we don't just have one web site to look after, there are quite a few, and all of them need attention from time to time. Our site doesn't just consist of the forums, there are many pages that require tweaking and updating, and of course the vast bulk of our site's traffic is not in the forum, it's spread across the site as a whole.

If you could see the constant flow of emails between myself, Matt, and other colleagues you would realise that we're doing a lot of work to resolve site issues and at the same time maintain our advertising revenue, without which - as you must be tired of hearing - there wouldn't be a forum at all. We need to find a healthy balance, and it's far from easy. We are working hard to keep the site running smoothly however, and those who have been with us for many years would probably agree that it's a good deal better now, than on many occasions in the past.

"The Forum Editor is often stating about the amount of daily email complaints he is receiving, so perhaps some of these regular complaints need airing on the website, and perhaps then a solution might be found"

I don't think I've ever stated that I get daily email complaints about the way the forum works - I don't. What I've said is that I get lots of emails each day from forum members, but these aren't complaints. In the main they are about spam postings, requests for personal help with computing or consumer issues, whinges about other forum members' behaviour, and - believe it or not - some compliments about our forums from people who visit us from other computer sites.

"But at times, I often wonder whether my contributions are being accepted or worthwhile, and whether I am now just wasting my time and/or any effort in possibly contributing?"

With respect spuds, you've been saying that kind of thing on and off for years, yet here you are, still with us and posting.

Your fellow forum members are the judges of whether or not your contributions are accepted or worthwhile, and of course you are the only person who can decide whether or not you're wasting your time. I can only say that over the years I have come to expect to see your name in our threads on a regular basis, and you are a valued member of our little community in just the same way as are all those who contribute.

Web forums are dynamic entities - constantly changing, and never without problems of one kind or another. Web sites of this complexity are not simple tings to control, and inevitably there will be glitches. The people who notice those glitches will, in the main be those who, like you, use the site every day. You'll be aware of the subtle changes in performance that aren't noticed by the majority of our visitors. As a result you'll be irritated when it appears that nothing is being done to correct this or that problem with performance, it's a natural and understandable reaction.

We are alive to the problems however, and we work away at them. The difficulty is that on many occasions it can take quite a while to identify a cause, let alone develop a solution. We have a great team of web developers - the largely unsung heroes who feel the heat when Matt and I come up with yet another reported glitch. They do their best, often under great pressure, and I for one am grateful for their support.

Enough from me - if you or anyone else need to have more information on a specific issue, email me.

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Forum Editor

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"If you don't use Twitter you will think it is a waste of time. If you find a reason to use it, you'll see what it can do."

That makes sense, but of course the key part is "If you find a reason to use it..."

I haven't found a reason. I've used Twitter, because I felt I should try it in order to know a bit about it. I decided that it offered me little that I wasn't already getting, and frankly I found it was - for me - a complete waste of time.

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spuds

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Forum Editor

I appreciate what you have said, but we (or at least me, there always as to be an odd one) are not talking about a magazine, but a more visible extention, as a daily global website that seems to bring increasing concerns and/or complaints, that it didn't in the past. There might be 'backroom' problems that we are not aware about,or not technically involved, but its what you see before you that brings the opinions or suggestions.

I and perhaps a few others might be regarded as constant 'moaners' or troublesome, but it really isn't like that. The points being raised are an attempt to save this forum and not see it disappear like other similar forum's have. This websites boasts, rightly or wrongly, 'Expert Advice You Can Trust', but that can only be true if people or the membership are making contributions, and not just a few regulars, giving their time and effort for free as a loyal gesture, and perhaps because we like to be here, possibly helping or contributing to help keep this forum more active, warts and all?.

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spuds

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Reading the above, now its on screen doesn't seem quite right in getting the message posted. Perhaps I am having another off day, damned medication?.

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Forum Editor

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spuds

Nobody is regarded as a constant moaner, so get that idea out of your head. We're all on the same side here, it's not a 'them and us' situation as far as we're concerned.

The human mind is a wonderful thing, and your comment that we didn't experience problems in the past illustrates that only too well. We experienced enormous problems in the past spuds, there was a time when we saw threads about slow-loading almost every week.

This forum is not being run for us, it's here for you, and everyone like you. We gain nothing from it in a financial sense, apart from the revenue that comes from the advertising on the site. We attach importance to the forum because it provides our magazine readers and visitors to the main site with a way to benefit from each others' experiences in a computing sense, and the opportunity for a little rest and relaxation in Speakers Corner. We've been doing it for a long time (now in our twelfth year), and over that time we've seen activity wax and wane - there have been times when things appeared to go quiet for no apparent reason, and then recover.

As you have freely admitted, many people come here simply because they like to be here, and because they know that they won't be subjected to constant streams of obscenities and derision.

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exdragon

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'Females take offence at the drop of a hat' This one doesn't, but there again, I'm no longer young but am still particularly female...

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Forum Editor

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exdragon

I think our shared experience of the forum over a number of years tells us that males are pretty good when it comes to taking offence at the drop of a hat.

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fourm member

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FE

'I found it was - for me - a complete waste of time.'

That, of course, is a perfectly valid point of view. I was just saying that there is more to Twitter than 'the appeal of reading about the minutiae of a complete stranger's life'.

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john bunyan

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exdragon

I wish there were many more like you, here. (Female, I mean) Throughout my career I tried my best to recruit and promote suitably qualified females, and only wish that there were more balanced numbers here, the Church (Bishops etc), Judges. MP's etc. Thank goodness I have 3 grand daughters, all doing well!I am not anti male, I just think it is unjust and unbalanced to have "us" in most senior positions unless there are good reasons.(Eg Special Forces, Infantry etc where the sheer weight etc of equipment , coupled with a wish not to set lower physical standards , makes it difficult or even impossible.)

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