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What is going wrong with the Forum?
3 February 2018
6.07am
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Ron Nasty
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https://www.beatlesbible.com/f…..4/#p284805

You may need to refresh a page to see the latest version of it.

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

3 February 2018
8.11am
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Ahhh Girl
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Clear your cache/history. That should help. It helps me when I experience that problem.

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3 February 2018
9.57am
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Father McKenzie
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@Ahhh Girl and @Ron Nasty: thanks! It worked paul-mccartney-thumb_gif

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Ahhh Girl

Still writing the words to the sermon that no one will hear......

1 January 2023
12.05am
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Sea Belt
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Ron Nasty said
I realise this is going to be a controversial question. @Joe may not like all the answers. However, for several months now, it has not escaped any of the regulars attention that posting on the Forum has slowed down incredibly.

It used to be rare that you could look at the Forum and in the “Most Recent Posts” see a post that was more than 3 or 4 hours old, now that list is regularly filled with posts that are up to twelve hours old, occasionally older.

We who have been part of the Forum for a while are well aware that the conversation has dropped off, and I feel that acts as a disincentive to others join in the conversation.

It disappoints me when I look at the Forum and see that the last post was made hours ago, remembering how it always used to seem that there had been at least one post in the last hour.

I’d like to see this Forum become the vibrant and active community it was before, which is the only reason I ask the question:

Does anybody have any ideas about what the site could be doing to attract people back to joining in the conversation?

  

Wow, this comment was posted 10 years ago! It expresses exactly what I feel about the way the forum is now. I’ve been to many discussion forums on the internet over the past 20-odd years, some are dead, some are barely alive, and the ones that are normally active have stuff going on all day long by the hour. In other words on a normal discussion forum, when you post a question or a cool insight or a controversial opinion, usually you’re bound to get at least one response if not many within an hour or two. I say usually because sure, there are some postings that nobody cares about and they ignore, I’m just talking about the norm.

Anyway, I don’t know if this forum got livelier after Ron Nasty posted that 10 years ago, but whatever happened in the meantime, it seems to have subsided back to the state he was complaining about.

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

2 January 2023
2.48pm
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
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I would say that it’s a product of success. There are now so many threads.

I thought you’d be complaining about the advertising – a relatively new feature. It’s annoying, but after more than a decade of existence, I can see how Joe (the creator of the site) would want to monetize it.

Welcome!

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5 January 2023
6.59am
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Neely
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Sometimes I find this forum super dead which is kind of saddening because it’s the only space I have to get into a conversation about something I enjoy and have a conversation a bit deeper than:

mom- Food is ready

me- okay *makes plate* thanks for the food *goes to room because my mom is playing video games* 

 

That’s an example of the only types of conversations i have in real life.. really surface level. 

I just wish the forum was more active

5 January 2023
7.50pm
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Tony Japanese
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I briefly looked at another forum when the Revolver box set was first announced. We’ll call it Reeve Goffman. It was impossible to keep up with the one thread I was interested in – within a day it could increase by ten, twenty pages.

6 January 2023
1.24am
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Ahhh Girl
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For those who are new, please realize that the moderators are all volunteers. 2 of us have full-time jobs (and one of us -me- has a husband and a dog) and 2 of us are university students. We do the best we can to help the forum move along, but we do have full lives to lead outside the forum too. Joe only gets paid by advertisements, donations, and portions of Amazon and iTunes purchases when we use his links. He has 2 young children to raise also. He does his best.

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10 January 2023
7.37pm
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Sea Belt
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My two cents

 
Having tried to maintain a chat room a few times over the years on Paltalk, though I realize it’s a different situation than a discussion forum, I think there are relevant similarities, I made decisions about the rules that in retrospect sabotaged the chances for the room to thrive as a place of discussion with a comfortable amount of people — say 15 to 20, which is a very unambitious number compared to other chat rooms.  Most of the time — i.e. 97% of the time — my rooms ended up being little cubbyhole havens for three or four people who like to just park their nicknames in the room and not really type or talk much on the mic. For hours on end the room would have basically no activity.
 
The poor decisions I made can generally be categorized as stifling or putting a damper on free flow of conversation, even if only indirectly and in ways I didn’t see it at the time were having that effect. So the philosophy is, you want a venue to be a place of conversation about a certain topic, so you start making rules making sure that happens, but you forget basic human nature that allowing people to talk or color outside the lines may seem at the time to be undermining the main objective of the topic you want, but actually will facilitate over time an atmosphere that will even out and foster more discussion about the topic you want — in so far as most of the people in the venue are interested in it, but also appreciate the freedom to stretch and color outside the lines.
 
Related to this, is the decision for example to lock a thread just because members are increasingly bickering about one issue that actually is directly relevant to the main topic of this website (e.g., who sang the Ahhhs in A Day In The Life ). Just because that ongoing bickering seems annoying, shouldn’t be a reason to lock it and essentially shut down that conversation. That in my opinion is shooting yourself in the foot, because that annoying conversation is facilitating conversation at all — and it’s not as if it’s threatening to engulf the entire forum, overtake it and subvert it. It’s just one thread amid like hundreds of threads, and at least it’s generating lively conversation. Similarly for threads that are off topic completely. If they are generating lots of conversation, there’s no problem, because they’re not stopping people from having conversations about the Beatles. The fact that nobody hardly on this forum talks about the Beatles except once every 3 days and doesn’t follow up and there’s no real conversation 98% of the time between members, is not the fault of people who want to talk about off topic stuff or annoying stuff, and the latter shouldn’t be penalized for the lack of activity on this forum.
 
We can say pretty clearly that the policy of locking threads which has occurred over a long period of time and many of them a few years ago, apparently had no effect on facilitating an increase in discussion here on this forum, because the Forum during the time I’ve been here has been rather sleepy most of the time.

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Now today I find, you have changed your mind

10 January 2023
10.53pm
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meanmistermustard
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I am a mod but I work in the care sector doing long shifts multiple days a week along with half shifts at times. Recently my involvement here has become practically non-existent as work and life take over, it’s just how it is. When things calm down and I have a bit more time and energy I should be around a bit more. As for everyone else, well everyone has a life to live so at times activity drops off; most people spend this time of the year preparing for Christmas and time with family before needing a month or so to recover. No doubt it will pick up and get a bit busier soon.

 

This time of the year is also miserable. It seems to get dark before it gets light, the days are wet, windy and freezing cold – all I want to do is hibernate until the end of February.

 

Garfield on Twitter: "Hibernation is the only answer. #winter  #SitThisOneOut #TuesdayThoughts https://t.co/SG6gd9esS1" / TwitterImage Enlarger

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10 January 2023
11.20pm
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Sea Belt
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@meanmistermustard 

No doubt those are good reasons for the current slow traffic here. The Forum stats say there’s 2,781 members. If they were all active, or potentially active on any given day (with lots of variation among them of course), there would pretty much never be any slow traffic here. So it stands to reason that most of those are simply not posting here anymore. In the time I’ve been here I’ve taken a look at the stats at the bottom which include people who are online at the time I am, plus seeing the people who have posted new replies over the past 2 months, it seems like there’s less than 20 people who visit the Forum and deposit comments. So if we have only 20 people, then those factors of seasonal slowdown and busyness in real life will have a drastic effect, whereas if there were a pool of 500 or 1,000 (even that is much less than half of what the number of members is supposed to be), then the statistical chances of any slow traffic day would be rare, and most of the time we would be seeing several new postings every day along with back and forth discussions among members.

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

10 January 2023
11.39pm
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meanmistermustard
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It needs to be remembered that this is a Beatles forum, the chances of getting 100 people actively posting is almost never going to happen but even 5 or 6 people putting up topics will get some life going. And I would imagine a good number of the 2700+ users are either bots, spammers or folk who only promote their product then disappear.

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10 January 2023
11.49pm
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Ahhh Girl
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@Joe has mentioned before that he may cull out profiles that have never posted or haven’t posted in years (or maybe he already did some – brain can’t remember which at the moment). That would bring the member number more in alignment with reality. Also, it would free up good usernames.

11 January 2023
6.17am
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Ron Nasty
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I can see a good argument for cancelling accounts that don’t post and never have after a few months.

Not so sure about the idea of deleting former Forumpudlians though. Maybe those who have only made a few posts, or a single post, around the time of creating their account and are never heard of again. Old active Forumpudlians do stick their heads in now and again. When I joined just over a decade ago there were former stalwarts of the forum whose contributions I appreciated and wished they were still here, and some have reappeared — even if on brief visits — over the years.

I wouldn’t want to see the accounts of former active Forumpudlians removed for that reason. Sometimes you find yourself raising an eyebrow and having a grin when somebody from the forum’s past drops by. Wouldn’t be the same if they had to create a new account, and they might not bother if they just want to say hi.

Also I wouldn’t want to see accounts like @Matt Busby’s be vacated, even though those who have been here a while know he’s past needing it, he is a part of our history.

So wouldn’t be too keen on “haven’t posted in years” for many.

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11 January 2023
12.02pm
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Joe
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Hi all. Some good discussion points here, definitely plenty to consider.

Taking the last one first, dormant accounts which have previously been active are not deleted (unless for other reasons). The only accounts which are culled automatically (after three or six months, I can’t remember) are those where someone has signed up and never posted. There are a couple of reasons. I’ve had past problems with emails not being sent out from the server containing people’s login info and password links, and if someone doesn’t get that email they can’t access the account. The other reason is sometimes people sign up, forget, move on, then months later try to sign up again. Autodeleting the accounts seems like the best solution. Oh, and spammers. Bots do love to sign up despite the blocks in place, and, although we manually zap a lot of them, sometimes they sign up and don’t post, or do so months later.

Moderation has been mentioned. The mod team are brilliant and I’d be lost without them. I had a really tough 2022 for personal reasons, and was barely on here (I hardly worked at all for six months, truth be told), but they keep the whole ship afloat. I’m not the most active poster these days anyway but I do try to keep across the conversations wherever I can, but I’m aware that it often feels like I’m missing in action. It’s a difficult balance which I don’t often get right. I’m pulled in a lot of directions (tech problems, legal issues, emails, comments, content creation, non-Beatles things, real life) and, as the site owner, I know that my presence or absence is often more notable than most members’.

The mod team being voluntary and having other commitments brings me onto the subject of non-Beatles discussions. We used to allow them, and it was a bit of a nightmare. I don’t wish to sound ageist, but we had a bunch of teenagers who would sit on the forum day after day starting meme threads, discussing Pink Floyd v Led Zeppelin vs Queen, what they watched on TV last night, all kinds of banal and irrelevant stuff. The mod team (broadly) had its collective heart sink whenever they checked in and saw 90% non-Beatles chat, 10% Beatles, if that.

So we locked a bunch of them. It wasn’t popular, but it did bring focus to the board. Did it slow down discussions? Of course! That was somewhat the point. Would I love to have more discussions on Beatles matters? Absolutely, but a forum by its nature depends on the contributors, and although some of us can steer things to a degree, it’s more of an organic thing.

@Sea Belt said
No doubt those are good reasons for the current slow traffic here. The Forum stats say there’s 2,781 members. If they were all active, or potentially active on any given day (with lots of variation among them of course), there would pretty much never be any slow traffic here. So it stands to reason that most of those are simply not posting here anymore. In the time I’ve been here I’ve taken a look at the stats at the bottom which include people who are online at the time I am, plus seeing the people who have posted new replies over the past 2 months, it seems like there’s less than 20 people who visit the Forum and deposit comments. So if we have only 20 people, then those factors of seasonal slowdown and busyness in real life will have a drastic effect, whereas if there were a pool of 500 or 1,000 (even that is much less than half of what the number of members is supposed to be), then the statistical chances of any slow traffic day would be rare, and most of the time we would be seeing several new postings every day along with back and forth discussions among members.

This is a good example of the 1% rule. It’s inexact, but in online discussions roughly 1% of a website’s users actively create new content, while the other 99% lurk. People lurk here, some are motivated to create an account, but a decreasing number actually contributes. If ~20 people actively contribute, that correlates with the ~2,700 members. We could comfortably deal with some more though.

The Steve Hoffman forum was mentioned. In some respects I’d love to have a forum that active, but it also brings its downsides. SH is quite heavily moderated, and it must be a nightmare to have to sift through everything that gets posted to make sure it’s compliant. The mod team here is amazing but I wouldn’t ever want that kind of workload to be foisted upon volunteers.

On that subject, this site and my book sales do bring in money, but it’s definitely not a king’s ransom. It only just covers my (fairly frugal) living expenses and I’ve been picking up other bits of work where I can. There are about 1.8 million words on the non-forum part of the site (in comparison, my book is 110,000 words and runs to 300+ pages). It’s a huge amount of content, free to access, which I think I’ve earned the right to monetise. I’ve considered stuff like Patreon instead but I don’t really want the commitment of having to provide regular extra bits of content, so ads are the necessary evil.

If I was making millions I’d reduce the number of ads and pay the mod team as a priority. Maybe having a hugely active forum would bring in more revenue, but I’m not sure if it’s something I’m able to take on. More users = more arguments = more fires to fight = more white hairs and wrinkles, and less time for enriching, fun stuff.

That ADITL aaahs thread is a good example of the latter. It had to be locked because it descended into fighting and ridiculousness. One member in particular just would not let it lie, things got heated (over something that really didn’t deserve that level of passion), and I just could not be bothered with it anymore. He deleted a bunch of his messages so I’m not sure how much of it has been preserved or makes sense. I’ve locked other discussion threads for similar reasons – there’s a page on the Paul is Dead myth which attracted a panoply of nutjobs, who posted endless screeds of ‘evidence’ and got in the way of what should (as should everything here) be a harmless thing to chat about. I just can’t be doing with it, so it gets stopped. It’s pop music, nothing to get hung about.

I hope that explains some of the reasons why things are how they are. I’m happy to discuss any or all of this further. Suggestions are always welcome.

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11 January 2023
2.12pm
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Neely
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Joe said

The mod team being voluntary and having other commitments brings me onto the subject of non-Beatles discussions. We used to allow them, and it was a bit of a nightmare. I don’t wish to sound ageist, but we had a bunch of teenagers who would sit on the forum day after day starting meme threads, discussing Pink Floyd v Led Zeppelin vs Queen, what they watched on TV last night, all kinds of banal and irrelevant stuff. The mod team (broadly) had its collective heart sink whenever they checked in and saw 90% non-Beatles chat, 10% Beatles, if that.

Hope I haven’t done anything wrong. I will only talk about the beatles from now on.

11 January 2023
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Joe
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We’re all human, don’t think the thought police is going to swoop down if you go off-topic. But as a general rule of thumb, if you’re coming here primarily to discuss non-Beatles matters, maybe there are other places that are better suited (this isn’t really aimed at you; I don’t really know your posting history).

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11 January 2023
3.43pm
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Ahhh Girl
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@Neely, you are doing absolutely fine! All of the posts you’ve made are very welcome. You are one of our new bright stars. Keep up the good work. Happy posting!

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11 January 2023
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Rube
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@Neely Keep posting on here, we enjoy your contributions. 

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11 January 2023
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Sea Belt
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I always look forward to a new posting from @Neely 

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Now today I find, you have changed your mind

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