March 13th 2017

When I established the forums in 2005 it was to offer a more richer web experience and greater functionality than the platform where we started this social adventure in 2003, Yahoo Groups. The forums were once a busy hive of activity and provided locals and visitors with a wealth of information just like the Geocaching Ireland Discussion Group on Facebook today.

It was a time where we didn't have the many social media platforms we have today, and it was a different time in terms of mobility and technology. There was no instant access to information, no Google Maps and a very limited base map on your GPSr. Mobile connectivity for me was a 9600bps Infrared connection from a Nokia to a laptop and in later times to a PDA using WAP.

As we moved into the social media era so did our forums users. Geocaching Ireland moved there too, and we have a thriving community on the Geocaching Ireland Discussion Group on Facebook. As a result, forum activity isn't what it used to be and I have taken the decision to disable new registrations to the forums and to make the forums read only so any information there can still be accessed.

The discussion hasn't ended, it has just moved. Join us on the Facebook Geocaching Ireland Discussion Group .

Donnacha

Capitalisation and Management of unread messages

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johnrm
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Capitalisation and Management of unread messages

Post by johnrm » Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:21 am

Hi guys,

I have 2 questions.

First, looking through some threads, I have noticed, particularly with some users, that some (seemingly) random words are CAPITALISED.
I say seemingly, because as I understand it, CAPITALISATION is used either to SHOUT, to highlight, or someone keeps hitting the CAPS LOCK in error. (The latter is least likely).

Secondly, and I realise that a similar question has been asked in the past, 'Is there any way of managing unread messages better?'
I am a member of a number of other forums, and my preferred forum engine is SMF http://www.smfforfree.com
Quite simply, it is very simple to manage unreads within SMF, and not as possible within http://www.phpBB.com (That I can see)

In SMF, the first thing I do is 'look at replies to my messages', then 'look at unread messages sice last visit', then 'look at all unread messages'.
At any stage I can Click 'Mark messages as read' and it flags all of the current view as read. It is an extremely effective way of managing unreads.

Within phpBB, it seems that any unanswered thread (many informational ones, NOT marked sticky) remain to pester 'til death do us part.

BTW SMF is free if you don't mind a few Google ads.

Regards,
John

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Re: Capitalisation and Management of unread messages

Post by donnacha » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:22 pm

johnrm wrote: First, looking through some threads, I have noticed, particularly with some users, that some (seemingly) random words are CAPITALISED.
This happened after a DR of the DB and usually only affects old threads.
johnrm wrote:Is there any way of managing unread messages better
No, however I'll probably move the forums over to vbulletin soon which has better management features.
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Post by johnrm » Sun Sep 16, 2007 5:40 pm

Hi Donnacha,

See, there it happened again, dr and db got capitalised! ;)
DB=Database, DR=?

I'm on a forum that uses vBulletin, and for the user, as with this forum, management of read messages is pretty weak too.

You should seriously look at SMF, I'm on three forums that use it and its a treat.

John

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Post by klaus23 » Sun Sep 16, 2007 5:45 pm

johnrm wrote:Hi Donnacha,

See, there it happened again, dr and db got capitalised! ;)
DB=Database, DR=?

I'm on a forum that uses vBulletin, and for the user, as with this forum, management of read messages is pretty weak too.

You should seriously look at SMF, I'm on three forums that use it and its a treat.

John
The DR refers to a full restore that took place, I'm not sure of Donnacha's abbreviation.

We are in the process of testing a new forum package, update to come soon.

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Post by johnrm » Sun Sep 16, 2007 5:52 pm

At a guess that would be Data Recovery.

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Post by donnacha » Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:02 pm

Actually, DR is Disaster Recovery. Sorry John but I don't want google ads on our forums. VB is great forum software IMO. But the forums you use are probably using the standard installation. I can add in extra message management utilities. I can do that here also, but not going to bother since I'll be moving the forums over soon.
Last edited by donnacha on Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by johnrm » Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:58 pm

Ah yes, I remember now. Been a while since I had to do a DR! ;)

For a small fee, you can have ads removed from SMF, not sure the ins and outs, but its a great forum.
Have a look before you commit to anything else.

I'll get some info from the admin of a site with no ads that uses it.

John

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Post by donnacha » Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:08 pm

johnrm wrote:Have a look before you commit to anything else.
I am already running VB in a test bed! :)
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Post by albertw » Sun Sep 16, 2007 8:54 pm

donnacha wrote:
johnrm wrote:Have a look before you commit to anything else.
I am already running VB in a test bed! :)
vBulletin? Please don't install the arcade modules!

johnrm
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Post by johnrm » Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:29 pm

I own a motorbike, and am a member on the Biker.ie forum.
Last night, I posed a similar question (the Thread starter) on the Biker forum.

They use vBulletin and by way of research, I thought I'd spend a bit of time getting familiar with vBulletin.
To make a long story short, I almost ended up with me getting a ban!

They are such a sensitive lot despite the hard exterior!

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Post by klaus23 » Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:50 am

johnrm wrote: They are such a sensitive lot despite the hard exterior!
We're a hard lot despite the soft exterior. :lol:

Seriously though, it's good to have another techie on board. Do stick around, we are listening and appreciate yours and everyone elses input.

It's a democracy here, not a dictatorship. :wink:

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Post by kersti.com » Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:48 am

I'd have to agree that vbulletin is a brilliant setup - been using it for about 2 years for a professional forum (ie one that actually makes money) that I run with over 1500 members.

If you guys need a hand let me know, it can get a bit fiddly in spots!

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Post by Bootle » Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:05 am

kersti.com wrote: a professional forum (ie one that actually makes money)
well, that's put us in our place :(


Only joking :D
hello...

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Post by kersti.com » Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:49 am

Bootle wrote: well, that's put us in our place :(
LOL! Should have explained for those that would take that badly...

Only a few money-making forums exist and they require a different approach to non-money making forums. Basically a lot of features are set up only for those who pay for premium level membership and with vbulletin this is automatically organised via paypal. There's a bit more to do on the security side as a result and the permissions side of things can get very hairy!

That said, the experiences can provide valuable experiences of what kind of things to do and not to do depending on where you want to take the forum and I'm more than happy to dump the contents of my brain for others' use.

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Post by klaus23 » Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:57 am

kersti.com wrote:
Bootle wrote: well, that's put us in our place :(
LOL! Should have explained for those that would take that badly...

Only a few money-making forums exist and they require a different approach to non-money making forums. Basically a lot of features are set up only for those who pay for premium level membership and with vbulletin this is automatically organised via paypal. There's a bit more to do on the security side as a result and the permissions side of things can get very hairy!

That said, the experiences can provide valuable experiences of what kind of things to do and not to do depending on where you want to take the forum and I'm more than happy to dump the contents of my brain for others' use.
It crossed our mind to try and generate money for the forum - in lieu of members donations - (i.e. not for personal gain) at one point and I came very close to getting some advertising on the main page, but the persons involved decided not to proceed.

We're probably not going to go down that route, the only money involved at the moment is removing the cost burden that Donnacha has incurred over the past few years and that's sorted for another year. Next year we'll probably do the same again (passing the virtual hat around).

But, as I/we said to John, there's no such thing as a bad idea.

This is your forum, not ours. GCI has grown up, we definitely realised that at the weekend. 8)

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Post by kersti.com » Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:10 pm

One of the easiest way to encourage donations is to set certain privileges for it - things like the use of an avatar (which I would highly recommend) or access to particular discussions etc can all be used.

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Post by klaus23 » Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:57 pm

kersti.com wrote:One of the easiest way to encourage donations is to set certain privileges for it - things like the use of an avatar (which I would highly recommend) or access to particular discussions etc can all be used.
In all likelihood this won't ever happen here. When the initial appeal for funds was made we could have had multiples of what was actually received, which is a great reflection on the generosity of our members. We only need a small amount and if there was too much we'd have to work out a way of dealing with the surplus. As I said if we were able to get one advertiser the cost would be covered.

The site doesn't have enough members to sustain a closed forum and IMO these are 'cliquey'. On another forum I use the (previously unknown) hidden forum was mentioned in a public thread and it caused war.

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Post by kersti.com » Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:57 pm

Oh for sure - it's hard to get rid of the cliquey feeling. Mine is run openly - ie the presence of the private forum is known about and access is one of the features of premium membership. Secrets are a good way to kill any community.

There's not the membership level here to warrant a closed grouping at all, would do more damage than good.

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Post by johnrm » Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:11 pm

Somehow, I don't think the inclusion of Avatars would rock my world!

I threw the $30 at geocaching.com. The advanced features I don't believe I have yet used, but its a token contribution towards the effort. In fairness, Geocaching is a relatively low cost sport/pasttime to begin with.

If its small money, I don't think anyone would begrudge it.

Say E10 per annum, paid Jan 1st and be done with it.

I have no idea what costs are associated with maintaining a forum, but whatever is left in the Kitty at the end of the year, put it towards a Voucher for outdoor gear, put a covert code in a cache at random, and may the best man(or woman) win.

John

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Post by klaus23 » Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:02 pm

Again, hard to do. It's like collecting money for a group trip away. Some people pay up on the spot and others have to have it dragged out of them. It would also be unfair to try and get money from every single member, some people are here daily and others rarely post.

Donnacha had been offered contributions towards the site before but declined until this year, when he had to take action due to the rising cost of Meatballs at the Hungry Monk, Greystones. :wink:

After some discussion we thought the best thing to do would be to put a PayPal button on the main page. Contributions are anonymous - well, only Donnacha knows - voluntary, discretionary and much appreciated. I think there may have been a very small surplus this year but it's being kept for... next year! :D

We do thrash these things out in private and never take these things lightly. We're also very proud of this small community that started as a pipe-dream in my room just over four years ago. It hasn't been easy but we're where we should be and enjoying ourselves thoroughly. There's also a great mix of people who have formed close personal friendships through this site and also plan and do a lot of stuff on their own accord. It's nice to just be able to turn up to an event now, and not have to go through the planning stages.

I remember when craigsbar, co-founder of the original egroup, said to me: "You know, in the UK they have event caches where a big group of cachers get together and do stuff." I didn't believe him, and thought that it would be great. Well, it took those four years, but it certainly is a big group of cachers now! :D

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not shooting your ideas down, just explaining how we did this. Please keep the ideas coming, we're open to almost everything.

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