Discussion in 'Announcements' started by FriscoCharlie, Aug 22, 2015.
Should we start a change/no change survey as well as further discussion?
Curious, how many members are there on Frisco-Dot-Org?
I recommend that you push forward for the move to XenForo. I have selected the same solution for a standards group that I support. There seems to be a large group of users for Xenforo and an active effort for additional features with Xenforo.
Since the Trainboard install has already identified many problems that will be encountered, and will provide a "support group" for managing our own forum, it seems like the best way to go.
Let me know if you need any help covering software cost.
We'll be coming to that. I have acquired some things that I will be giving away as gifts (to 18 of you) in return for donations. I will be talking more about that when I return from my trip to Friscoland.
3,300 but if you look at the list of members that visit each day, you can easily identify people that are active. A lot of our members (like on any forum) are non-participants. A lot of people join to ask a question and then never return, etc.
I'm hoping to caucus rather than have a primary on the subject.
Tom, Give me some examples so I can see what you are thinking.
Maybe I just like our chatboard better because I'm used to it. I'll go along with whatever you do. I just mostly look at the pictures anyway. I was wondering how many members there are?? There seem to be only about a dozen of us who post any commemts??
The steady users of Frisco.org appear to be model railroaders who have an interest in getting things right from a historical and/or technical perspective. I suspect that those interested in Frisco history only often also have a narrower focus based on criteria such as division or a specific geographic area. Tht's my two cents worth.
Different software will not change our focus, and should not change the things that you like. My goal, as long as I am the leader of the site, is two-fold: 1) Increase the Frisco Railroad content on the Internet (which serves to preserve the heritage that we care about), and 2) Make people enjoy this site and want to come here to be part of a like-minded group (which is why I am disappointed that more people do not welcome new members when they introduce themselves).
If you have browsed the "new" TrainBoard and have any issues with it (and this goes for everyone), then tell me what you don't like because I need to know what people are thinking.
What we are talking about changing is software only. Obviously, different software will work a little bit differently but learning what is different between this software and Xenforo is not heavy stuff, even for folks that do not consider themselves power-users of computers.
Regardless of the software that drives the site, I want people to know how to use it and enjoy it. If you have a Ferrari and can't get it started then it isn't any good.
I will continue to seek comments from members until 100, or more, members have read this thread. If anyone wants to say, "No, keep vBulletin and don't change to Xenforo," then I am listening. This whole thing has been hard for me on TrainBoard because I have been a big champion of vBulletin and you can find posts that I have made on the Internet saying, "vBulletin is the best forum software out there and the standard by which all others are compared."
I believed that until I saw Xenforo. The good news is that all of you can see it in action on TrainBoard.
I don't post much, but I will throw in my two cents. First off I appreciate all of your efforts in taking care of this site. I do know that it takes a fair amount of effort in keeping things up and running and keeping all of the back end database functionality functioning. I wasn't a Trainboard user until your post came out about updating software for this site. I did create a Trainboard account yesterday to "kick the tires". I think the Trainboard site is intuitive and is very similar from a user interface perspective to what is present on this site; thus, I am all for making your life easier in having only one software vendor.
After spending about 10 minutes on trainboard.com it seems pretty intuitive. I do have a question about the colored buttons / tags at the beginning of some threads. How are they used?
Thanks Mike. We appreciate everyone's comments.
Those are "thread prefixes." We actually have that here on vBulletin too but I don't believe that we are using it here on Frisco.org.
The way it works is; you can build up sets of prefixes and then assign those prefixes to a specific forum or group of forums. If you had a forum called "Pets," you could make a set of prefixes, such as, Cats, Dogs, Goldfish, Rabbits, and so on. When a user starts a new thread, he can select from the prefixes at the time he creates the thread. This lets people quickly filter content in a forum and only look at threads that they are interested in.
You can make selecting a prefix mandatory or optional, based on your needs.
See the TrainBoard Swap Meet as an example of the use of prefixes (where they are mandatory).
Let me give another example of prefixes and how they are used, and how I think they should be used:
TrainBoard used to have a very large "Fallen Flag" forum structure. The problem was that some of the forums did not get a lot of traffic. Click here to take a look at that forum now.
Note that each thread has the prefix of a fallen flag railroad. If you click on one of them, example "NYC," you immediately get a filtered list of all of the New York Central-related posts. We used to have a forum for every fallen flag road and some of them were totally dead. I think that puts people off on posting when they say, "This forum hasn't been posted in for two years."
Here on Frisco.org, in a lot of places we have a huge forum structure. Just one example. We have, HISTORICAL > MOTIVE POWER > DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES > ELECTRO MOTIVE DIVISION. That gets you four levels under the forum index.
Then, at that point, you have this page which shows forums for all EMD locomotives. There are more than 20 forums listed there. Only three of them have been posted in during the year 2015.
It is my opinion that this forum structure is too massive. If these forums were posted in frequently then I would have no problem with that but I think the information is too spread out, too fragmented.
You could, in this case, have one forum and prefixes for SW1, GP15-1, NW2, SD38-2, etc. It would make a less fragmented, and perhaps more active, forum. Plus, people would still be able to easily filter content.
Again, this is just my opinion and how I would do it if I were just making decisions without asking. I think it is important to talk to people about things before making massive changes so these are things that I would like people to think about.
Charlie suggested: "It is my opinion that this forum structure [of Frisco.org with layers of sub-topics] is too massive. If these forums were posted in frequently then I would have no problem with that but I think the information is too spread out, too fragmented."
On the other hand, the structure makes it very easy to find information, previous discussion or a photo without having to post anything. That keeps the signal-to-noise ratio at an enviably high level on Frisco.org.
I did try the thread prefix buttons on Trainboard among the Fallen Flags. It is a neat feature that functioned well enough; I was able to click on "NYC" and get a whole list of NYC-related topics. That feature may prove helpful.
I feel that one of the reasons that Mike Corley and I continued with the massive structure was that the Search engine on vBulletin is pretty lame; it does not search well for a specific topic: say "EMD SW7" to find all threads where the phrase EMD SW7 appears. A search for EMD SW7 in quotes yields no results. A search for either EMD or SW7 without quotes yields no results. It is easier to navigate through the forum using the forum and thread headings.
If the new software corrects that issue, the structure of the forum is not as significant.
I am struggling with the Picture albums now called media on TB. I resized my images to well under 2MB but roster shots of locos upload show as severely cropped in the album. Is there a setting I need to adjust? I have to say I am less than enthused with that particular part of TB.
As info I always crop my pictures to show relevant content, most are no longer a "square image" and these seem to be the ones that are the problem images, then I resize to get under 2MB, which means about all of them.
That's an excellent point Keith! Xenforo has the ability to have Elasticsearch installed (and it is installed on TrainBoard). This system produces incredible search results and works in a way that we have not see before on forum software. HUGE improvement in searches and the ability to search for shorter terms.
Tom, I am not aware of that problem. Can you e-mail me a picture that is not resized? I am able to upload 8 megabyte photos on TrainBoard and the software is resizing them to 2000 px and downsizing them to 2 MB automatically. If you are having issues I want to work through that as it may be an issue that I am not aware of.
Apologies for the non Frisco content, but this is the very photo uploaded and the thumbnail showed the picture cropped (no surprise), but when yo double click the image to open it, still shows the cropped image.
Actually Charlie I dont have any that are not resized right now as I do it as soon as I upload them from the camera. Let me get you some in a couple days.
BTW I deleted the issue photos on TB and uploaded again, now when double clicked the whole image shows, but if you right click and select view image it still shows the thumbnail. I just uploaded 2 images and thats what it shows.
I am not following 100%. What is the reason for right clicking on the photo?
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