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The forum's future - how many care?
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If a new forum is started, I am willing to support it by
Becoming a member
61%
 61%  [ 42 ]
Acting as a moderator
19%
 19%  [ 13 ]
Acting as an administrator
4%
 4%  [ 3 ]
Acting as a named holder of the site
7%
 7%  [ 5 ]
Providing sponsorship or other financial support
7%
 7%  [ 5 ]
Total Votes : 68

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noranthon
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:25 pm    Post subject: The forum's future - how many care? Reply with quote

There seems to be good reason for forum members to give thought to the forum's future. It has not escaped everyone's attention that there are problems.

One problem which has recently come to the fore again is the difficulty faced by some registrants. A procedure was activated at the beginning of the year to require new registrants to provide and subsequently confirm an email address when registering. The purpose was to reduce the substantial amount of spam being posted to the forum and the ruse has been dramatically successful.

Unfortunately, no allowance was made for the less than perfect workings of internet services. As those who have joined other forums will know, it is common to allow a new registrant to request another email. This is to allow for the situation where, for whatever reason, the first email has not been received or the reply has gone astray.

The new procedure was only put in place after a number of requests, a delay of some months and a long thread discussing the need for action. The problem faced by new registrants is mentioned in a thread discussing one case some months ago: What to do if activation email is not received?.

A registrant cannot overcome the problem by changing the user name alone because the forum will not permit more than one user to have the same email address. Once you have applied using an email address, you cannot reapply using the same address. Indeed, you can never use that address for your forum account again.

Registrants coming up against the problem have, evidently, been seeking help on the users' list. As a result, a subscriber to that list has gone to the trouble of registering with the forum and filing the following thread: Contacting an Administrator. Now we have another thread on the subject.

The users' list cannot help, nor can the moderators. The same is true of the performance issues faced by forum users, discussed, among other places in these threads: Forum response slow; Forum pages slow to load or do not load.

One user has felt it necessary to provide a backup of the database himself: Admin, performance & disaster recovery. Another thread which touches on the state of the forum's database is A Four Year Review: Feedback Requested.

The forum has a section entitled "Site Feedback". Anyone who has looked at that section will know that feedback almost never leads to any response from anyone able to do anything. A number of suggestions, one of which, a long time ago, was endorsed by the site owner himself, simply fall into oblivion. The same thing happens when a member draws attention to a problem or responds, for example to the invitation on the links page.

Forum members and users of the software generally owe a great deal to the owner of this site. It has been a valuable facility and now represents a valuable resource, albeit one which, without improvement, is difficult to mine. Yet it must be said that the forum does not and is unlikely for the foreseeable future to function as it could or should. It seems that performance issues will continue to get worse.

There does not seem to be an abundance of options available to remedy the situation. Requests for the appointment of (an)other administrator(s) have, evidently, gone nowhere. The preferred choice seems to be to matters drift indefinitely. What do people want and are they willing to help? Any constructive suggestions are welcome.


Last edited by noranthon on Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:05 pm; edited 7 times in total
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TerryE
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Noranthon, a lot of us care and care a lot. I don't think that the issue is whether we care but more what we do about it, and as far as I see we have four options open to us:
  • Live with the current situation
  • Agree some form of Admin access within the current ASPextra.net hosting arrangements
  • Transfer the site to another home such as forum.openoffice.org.
  • Take over the hosting of oooforum.org
We could rank a comparison of these options, but I think that the first is becoming more unacceptable due to the performance degradation of the site, the SPAMming of our user listings and these functional issues which require administrator action.

The second is quite workable if draude is willing, but my instinct tells me that he won't do this.

The third is easily doable. It would take me about a couple of weeks of evening working to reload the bot download of oooforum.org into a new site (assuming no MySQL access). The main problem here is converting the HTML version of the posts back into bbcode. It also has the problem that oooforum.org is now well known and people will continue to post to it for a few months transition, and more if some of the moderators stay with it.

The last is the preferred option for all. To be honest, running this site will cost pin money. I could pay for it, but it actually makes sense for Sun to host it along side the rest of OOo, because what is to stop me turning into another draude? What we really need is some sort of commonwealth governed by the moderators.

However draude does own the domain oooforum.org. We can't unilaterally take it away from him. Yet neither is it in his interest or that of his company, ASPextra.net to start collecting bad press over this administration of the site (especially given his businesses goals). I am sure that we could work out a sensible way ahead, as long as we can actually take the first step, if we can get Ed Buck into a rational dialogue. However, what we don't want to do is to start being nasty or libellous to draude, because he could retaliate by just closing the site hence my decision to back it up.
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rotomano
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TerryE wrote:
bot download of oooforum.org [...]
i hence my decision to back it up.


mmm just out of curiosity, how BIG is the backup (i.e. all posts ??)
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TerryE
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Download them if you want see: http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.phtml?t=53253

The ZIPped HTML is 83 Mbytes. I estimate that when converted into BBcode, this will fall to about 40Mbytes. Unzipped maybe 5x this.
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noranthon
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't regard any connection with openoffice.org or Sun as an improvement. We are talking about an organisation which has a hidden site on documentation, a special "user-faq" site and, unbelievably, a new one called ux which represents "user experience".
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acknak
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hear that, but I have seen signs of improvement, and there is value in being under one roof. I do expect however, that they would choose to stick with one community interaction method (i.e. the mailing lists), but I still think it would be worth asking.
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TerryE
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still think the best bet for the community is constructive dialogue with Ed B. The last thing that we need here is to end up with here is two oooforums, with the people who support it and the community that use it split 50:50 between them. It's just that at the moment I am not hopeful that Ed will come to the party Crying or Very sad
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noranthon
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you, TerryE but, rather than shedding any tears, I'd like to get on and begin a constructive discussion about what we do when the tooth fairy doesn't arrive.

The two moves should, I believe, occur in tandem. While you and others continue to knock your heads on a brick wall, we should also we working out an alternative.
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TerryE
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, the alternative is simple. Go to a reputable service provider and get a domain with a name similar to oooforum.org and a LAMP service; we'll need support for a mySQL D/B of ~150 Mbytes; spin up a copy of phpBB; I need to finish the grooming of the robot dump of this forum, then load it into the new forum.

Oh yes, there are a few wrinkles -- like how we enable users to rehook to their user IDs but I've also worked out how to do that. We need to work out funding of course, but if I am right about volumetrics then that shouldn't be an issue.

Then the hard bit -- everyone needs to agree to start using it, because if we don't we will just end up with both forums running in parallel, and our users and supporters split between them. It's this last issue which is the real killer in my view.

Maybe you need to add a poll which asks who would move and under what circumstances.
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noranthon
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are right. This is intended to allow people to indicate their sentiments. As a devout pessimist, I expect dialogue with forum members to be about as productive as attempts to converse with the site owner. But we cannot really prejudge.
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Hagar Delest
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

noranthon wrote:
As a devout pessimist, I expect dialogue with forum members to be about as productive as attempts to converse with the site owner. But we cannot really prejudge.

Well, I was following this thread but what can we say ? You seem to be all you 3 the best experienced for this kind of question. If nobody give his thoughts, it means we fully rely on your decision, knowing that all solutions have pros and cons and we all are sure you'll choose the one you truly think is the best.

I thought the more logical would have been a forum on the openoffice.org domain but why has it not be done before ??? It seems to be an internal policy in OOo because it's the same with the French team (they don't want to hear from the web-based French forum).
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noranthon
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for replying, Hagar de l'Est. It's reassuring that the chief resident Viking is on board.

It seems so far that there are about 5 people to whom the functioning of the forum matters. I'm including you and 3 other contributors to this thread in that count.

5 users isn't enough, especially when no support for any particular action is mentioned (except by TerryE). I think TerryE has put forward the only choices we have.

If there were strong support for a particular course, discussion would have to take place (probably elsewhere) about the details. If people don't stand up to be counted, they will just have to accept the status quo.
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jwr
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

noranthon wrote:


5 users isn't enough.
.


To the "famous five"!

It's time to add a few hundred persons to the "famous five" caring for the functioning of the forum ...

For single users the forum is the only place where novices may get any usefull help to urgent problems. To an average of 50% starting a suite like OpenOffice will end up in serious problems, which cannot be solved by individual users without a forum's help.
Local forums (especially in use for non-english languages) may be a first aid, but the largest forum will be able to provide higher quality and quicker response.

To me (representing a company of several hundred employees, who are using OOo as a standard word processor for professional use) the forum is a valuable (-> "priceless") platform and database for knowhow, ranging from repairing files, post-mortem diagnostics, strange effects and theirs solutions and independant professional assessment for new releases. Anyone who needs to accumulate professional knowhow in OOo-tools must visit this forum.

Of course we test new releases for all relevant software tools, but testing phases may be reduced considerably if we are able to search (and contribute to) an independant forum.

Thanks to you all for spending your priceless knowhow in the name of countless users who rely on OOo, but haven't been visiting the forum themselves yet!

Regards -Hans-
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Mark B
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just throwing in my lot.

I find the forum invaluable - if for no other reason than it keeps me up to date all all the current issues.

So I guess it's a case of "Ask not what your forum can do for you; ask what you can do for your forum".

Mark
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hol.sten
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

noranthon wrote:
It seems so far that there are about 5 people to whom the functioning of the forum matters.

The functioning of an OOo forum matters to me, too! I've learned a lot here! And it's fun to help others. Not that funny is, that talking to the owner is nearly impossible. I'm afraid of the day when this forum ceases to function due to insufficient maintenance, funding or what ever. The knowledge of this forum needs a backup. And I'm glad that some of us are working on this and willing to go further if necessary! I'll be with you.

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