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 Post subject: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 5th, 2018, 8:47 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm
Posts: 512
I was wondering if Scott has considered going back to his original forum format or some similar version with regional forums instead of the pressent single herping forum, "The Forum'?

Perhaps a survey of participant's opinions on that issue might be informative.

Richard F. Hoyer


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 6th, 2018, 2:15 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am
Posts: 2246
I'd be very happy if regional forums were brought back!


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 6th, 2018, 6:34 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Posts: 2246
Location: Unicoi, TN
I agree with bringing them back.

The main forum with its great global posts and trips that most can only wish for, disuade the new and very local herpers from posting threads that they may perceive as mundane, inexperienced, or even naive.

With the regionals folks feel free to ask tips, ids, general questions about general localities. The groups were heterogenious on experience and knowledge levels.

IMHO, the facebook posts don't seem to promote discussion. You eat up the pictures leave empty.

I never stopped learning from the regionals.


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 7th, 2018, 8:29 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm
Posts: 512
Bill McG.,
I believe your analysis likely is correct. I would hate to see this site befall the same decline that occurred on the "not allowed" site and many of that site’s forums when years ago, the leadership of that organization made major changes.

I could be mistaken but now during the prime herping season in the U.S., it appears to me that participation has declined markedly in most forums including the main forum.

I would have considered that participation would be a major objective. But it seems to me that instead of fostering participation, the changed format has done just the opposite.

Richard FH


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 7th, 2018, 10:36 am 
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Joined: April 2nd, 2015, 7:30 am
Posts: 124
Location: Utah
I would enjoy the return of regional subsections. I enjoy learning about local herping and the best way to do that is by narrowing the focus to where one currently is.

The reason, as I understand it, in removing the regional forums was due to lack of participation. I lived in Oregon at the time they were still around and, sure, not many folks herp the PNW. However, by removing the locality forums, it has become even more difficult to connect regional herpers. And I suspect that removing regional focus has not raised the number of individuals coming to this forum, which may have been one of reasons (that is, have more broad discussions rather than have regional discussions).

-Derek


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 7th, 2018, 11:01 am 
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Richard,

For clarity and factual discussion, “The Forum” was created due to other forums at the time having too many sub forums. FHF was not sub forum generating until about 6 years into the existence of FHF. At that point in time sub forums were created to support nafha chapter meetings, etc. Let’s not waiver from the historical facts. :)

The nafha sub forums existed for many years. Many people (far more than opposed) wanted ONE forum again. Nafha had moved on and it didn’t make any sense for FHF to host sub forums for an org that didn’t use them, at least not enough to support continuing. I made the call to return FHF to it’s original status of a one forum style board, The Forum.


Going forward....I’ll host sub forums if I see the relevance. Right now, The Forum and some of the unrelated other forums here are doing great. The numbers here were, as was everywhere else, impacted by social media (Facebook, etc). But not enough for us to end FHF. We have surprisingly strong numbers. It may not look like it to you, but it’s true. If not, I wouldn’t spend time being a part of maintaining FHF.

Thanks
Scott


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 7th, 2018, 11:42 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:11 am
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Location: Western North Carolina
Another vote for regional subforums again. Scott, I understand your point from a perspective of making this site profitable, but I don't really feel any sense of community with the larger group on the Forum - other than those I know from the days of NAFHA Regional chapters.


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 7th, 2018, 11:50 am 
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Profitable? LOL I made no mention of that, as it’s not reality. Go to a comedy club open mic night, cuz that was hilarious.

In terms of regional forums, I’m for it if it is supported.

Thanks
Scott


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 7th, 2018, 2:16 pm 
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Joined: December 13th, 2014, 5:27 pm
Posts: 82
I loved the regional forums too! It was great having a place carved out that was relevant to where we live and a real treasure trove of information when I returned to the amateur herping hobby a few years ago. I enjoyed seeing posts like Richard Hoyer's "first snake of the year" posts to push me out of my chair in the early season -- now these just get lost in a sea of posts from outside the region. I'm not aware of anywhere else on the internet that does regional field herpetology discussion forums. Unfortunately, there was no substitute when the regional forums were collapsed... at least I haven't found one. We could build one.

-ian


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 8th, 2018, 9:31 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm
Posts: 512
Scott,
You mentioned, “We have surprisingly strong numbers.”. I have no way of knowing what that means. Not having access to whatever you refer to as being ‘numbers’, I do suspect that both the membership and the number of individuals that view each post are higher than in the past.

To me, that isn’t the most important aspect of your forum. Active participation, not viewing, is what I consider as being most important. Perhaps erroneously, I have the impression that the the number of individuals that once use to post on a fairly regular basis has declined. Secondly, and again only an impression, it seems that the number of individuals that initiate post has fallen.

If as I suspect, there has been an increase in membership, there should be a proportional increase in the number of initial postings. That does not seem to be the case but here again, without having access to the ‘numbers’, I could be mistaken. And it also seems to me that despite a large number of individuals viewing each post, the number of replies per post has diminished in relation to the number of individuals viewing posts. But if your ‘numbers’ indicate that is not the case, so be it.

You also mentioned, “Many people (far more than opposed) wanted ONE forum again.”. Did you conduct a survey at that time? I missed it if you did. If you were to do so now, I wonder what would be the results?

I completely agree that producing innumerable mini-forums would be a flawed policy. But likewise, the clumping of all regional forums into one catch-all, super forum seems to be just as flawed — at least from my admittedly, personal point of view.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 8th, 2018, 9:51 am 
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Hi Richard,

‘Numbers’ doesn’t need to be in quotes. They aren’t my opinion. :) As I’ve said, this board would be gone if I saw usage numbers decimated. That’s just not happened. I thought it would, so even I’m surprised at how much this board is viewed since the social media movement became popular. To me, just my opinion, boards like this are not for those who prefer social media sites like FB, Instagram, Twitter etc. This is a different thing all together.

You raise good points. Engagement is a different metric than just being signed up. For that, phpbb forum style boards all took a hit post-2008, or so. Facebook and other social media outlets obviously impacted traditional boards. For our part, the last time I checked the daily averages (engagement), it was not dropping. Down some, but not dramatically. How it ‘feels’ is different than the actual numbers.

I remain open to any and all suggestions. Let me know! If a survey is to be done regarding the structure of FHF, I am not allowing it unless we conduct the survey. When it comes to how this board is managed, it’s up to FHF to handle that process. If you want a survey, great! Just let me know what you have in mind and we’ll colleftively work on the verbiage.

Thanks
Scott


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 8th, 2018, 10:50 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 am
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Location: Illinois
My feeling was that regional forums killed FHF as we used to know it.


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 9th, 2018, 8:26 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm
Posts: 512
Scott,
I believe your forum has filled a very nice niche and has been a very positive entity in the herping community. When you changed the format and consolidate all forums into one international type forum, I was fearful that wasn’t the best of strategies. I was reminded of the old adage that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

The reason for my recent August 5th. post was due to my perception that there has been a noticeable dilution in interest. That is, it seems as if the number of initial posts and the number of replies to each initial post and declined. That this could be due to the social media factor you mentioned
but it could also be due to the change in the forum format.

When you had regional forums, every day I believe there were a fair number of posts from Calif. and Arizona and once in awhile, some from here in the northwest. Now, posts from Calif. and Arizona appear to be infrequent in comparison to the past.

I would hate to see this forum deteriorate to the point of no longer being viable.and hence my speaking up. My suggestion of returning to some type of regional forums was to possibly foster greater interest and participation. That could be wishful thinking on my part.

Richard F. Hoyer


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 9th, 2018, 12:24 pm 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1768
Thanks Scott for the "community service" of operating FHF. FWIW I liked having the regionals too, but beggars can't be choosers! Ha ha ha.

I will NEVER go to Facebook. I'd rather just go without the whole damn internet, than go to Facebook.

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 9th, 2018, 4:44 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:25 am
Posts: 1164
Location: Mobile, AL
Glad to see them go. Those groups were too small. Too clique-ish and parochialist.


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 9th, 2018, 7:12 pm 
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Richard,

I’ve laid out my position and corrected your rewriting of FHF history multiple times now. Take it or leave it. If it’s not for you, that’s quite alright. No hard feelings. Life is too short to get hung up on, “to sub forum or not to sub forum”. :)

This post is being moved to the Board Line, our extended discussion area. Field herpers want field herping content, not behind the scenes banter. If anyone wants to express their desire for sub forums, contact me. I’m open, as always.

Take care
Scott


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 12th, 2018, 11:20 am 
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Joined: June 11th, 2010, 9:46 am
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Thanks for hosting this site over the years, Scott!

FH


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 14th, 2018, 1:57 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am
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Quote:
Thanks for hosting this site over the years, Scott!

FH


I second that emotion. Thank you, Scott Waters.


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 23rd, 2018, 10:03 am 
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Joined: April 3rd, 2015, 12:07 pm
Posts: 24
Adding subforums won't get the FHF back where it used to be in terms of user engagement. The FHF used to be a one-stop shop for pretty much everything related to field herping. You could ask questions ranging from newbies to the tools used in the field. Someone was always around to give you pointers on taking a better photo. There was an energy that sucked you in to see "what was new on the FHF today". That energy came from the users who ranged from seasoned field herpers to Ph.D. candidates and everything in between. It was that eclectic group of people that made the FHF what it was (and still is). It was the ability to connect with field herpers from all over the world in one convenient place. Scott listened to the user's request and customized this site accordingly. That's a pretty good vibe.

The two biggest draws (imo) were the banter between users and the trip reports. No one has been able to duplicate that from what I've seen out there. Maybe that's a lost art. IG is cool, but you're looking at hundreds of photos per day with little to no back and forth. FB has groups, but they seem fairly chill in terms of engagement. Probably because there are so many sub FB groups. Anyone can create a group on FB, just type in "field herping" under groups in the search. It's insane how many groups have been created. Same goes for individual species of a reptile or amphibian. The customization is cool, but also overwhelming.

The downside to the FHF was the trolls (ahem. present company excluded :roll: ) and that turned some folks off. Some people got butthurt when they were challenged, but that's what made the FHF a cool forum. :thumb:

Oh brother! I say we start a MAKE FHF FORUM GREAT AGAIN movement. Get the hats printed.

Seriously though, if you could convince a few of the old timers/seasoned herpers to post a few trip reports in here, then announce they did that on their personal FB's and IG's, you might get some folks interested again. Plus, there's a whole new crop of kick-butt herpers just waiting to tell the world what they found.


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 23rd, 2018, 12:42 pm 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1768
Nice positive contribution, thanks.

Quote:
Plus, there's a whole new crop of kick-butt herpers just waiting to tell the world what they found.


Definitely what I am seeing where I live. Some lurk around here I think, others must be elsewhere. It'd be nice to hear from them.

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 26th, 2018, 2:55 pm 
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More great insight, thanks all!

I have a very simple view of it......I don’t care if old timers “come back” or not. LOL Seriously, I truly do not care. Why? Because it doesn’t matter. We have strong numbers, consistently. As I pointed out earlier, social media platforms made an impact on all photo boards. That’s just a part of tech evolution. FHF, I would argue, has maintained its place in the modern era due to NOT trying to chase other technology and other trends. Those who have left may never come back, it is what it is. You won’t see FHF chase them down. We don’t have to, as our consistency has always been our main attraction. The one adjustment made here, which is what Richard posted about, is done. That train has left the station, so to speak. :) As I alway say, and prove, I’ll be open to all suggestions if they are proven to be a direction to go. After 6 years of FHF, the golden years of FHF, I did in fact create subforums. It was done out of a demand for it, even though I didn’t want to do it. I did, embraced it, got on board 100%. Did so for a number of years, saw that era was ending and moved FHF back to the original format of one main forum. That’s where it will most likely remain.....barring a huge movement to regional type forums.

That said, I love what fringe said about pushing FHF forward again. Tell your friends we are what we’ve always been.....a great place to not just click a like or bark a comment, but a place where it takes work to be a part of, an effort has to be made by the user. That effort matters, it means someone isn’t simply liking this page and doing nothing. Nope, to participate here it takes more......and THAT is why FHF rocks! We have a hard working group of thousands. I love every bit of it!

I’m available any time. Email: [email protected] dot com or message me here.

Thanks
Scott


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: August 29th, 2018, 12:42 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
Posts: 4113
Location: San Francisco, California
Once I remember calling FHF the young Lion of the genre. There is a richness here where the strong survive and the vulnerable get much generosity if they need it.


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: September 1st, 2018, 4:44 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Location: San Francisco, California
This is kind of awkward and i tried to dismiss it but, it seems that this thread had gotten an exponential number of views after i said the thing i said, and it aint me doing it because that would be - ugh.

So if someone is indeed doing that because they agree, etc i appreciate the gesture but please cease as imagining people thinking im doing that is embarrassing.

Like most people, again i am only guessing, i will check out something ive posted often wishing i had used a more accurate or better sentence, especially if i really care about being clear in a particular discussion. But not do that.

anyway i am pretty unedited currently as my cat of 17years has been diagnosed with a nasty and aggressive form of bladder cancer so excuse me if this is silly. i guess this is one of those vulnerable things.


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: September 2nd, 2018, 5:55 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am
Posts: 2246
Omigod, Kel, I am so sorry about your cat's diagnosis. I lost a 17 year old feline compadre about a decade ago, and it hurt so bad. I still think of her sometimes, still miss her. My condolences.
You have always been so kind and encouraging and wickedly funny on this site. I am sorry you are having this heartache. I wish I knew words that would console, but I don't think there are any. Some things just suck, through and through.
I don't know what to say, other than that I hurt for you and your kitty.


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: September 2nd, 2018, 6:07 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Location: San Francisco, California
Thank you Tamara.


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: September 3rd, 2018, 7:47 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:02 am
Posts: 582
Location: Southern Cal.
Kelly I have disagreed with you a few times.
But the threat of losing a pet is devastating. They are family.

My thoughts are with you and your cat.


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: September 3rd, 2018, 1:24 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Location: San Francisco, California
Thank you Craig, very much. I dont mean to take this off topic. But yes she is a family member.

It just popped out - an example I guess of feeling a sense of belonging here at FHF which is nice


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 12:21 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2011, 3:39 pm
Posts: 717
Location: Santa Clara Co. , CA
I'm terribly sorry to hear about your cat, Kelly. Very sad to hear.
It's good that you shared with us, Kelly. My prayers go out to you in this trying time.

Much Love,
Derek


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 Post subject: Re: change of forum format
PostPosted: October 20th, 2018, 12:08 am 
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justinm wrote:
My feeling was that regional forums killed FHF as we used to know it.


I never even would have come here if regional forums didn't exist. Literally the exact reason I came was because I was asking a question about Utah lizards at the Utah Herpetological Society's forums, and when I got great answers I said, "I wish something like this existed for California!" And so Brian Eager directed me here. If there wasn't a California forum, I would never have come.

In my lifetime on the forum (since that first post in late summer 2006), the first thing that killed the forum was trolls - people who don't post to share or learn information, but who primarily engaged in fighting and attacks on other people's opinions. I had no problem with people with strong opinions or debate, but there were 5-10 people who didn't post trip reports, rarely or never added their own field herping contributions, but literally came here almost entirely to fight. I had dozens of people tell me privately, and a number publicly, that they left due to that fighting and the trolls.

The second issue was facebook. That especially bothers me because I find Facebook inferior to the forum in literally every way. Sadly, it is designed to be perfect human attention crack and thus is taking over a huge portion of humanity, to the detriment of everyone. I try to mostly only use Facebook to advertise posts that I've made elsewhere, but it's annoying because Facebook devalues outside information, so if you actually want your friends to see your post to have to stay within their non-indexed, terribly formated system with hard-to-follow comment threads. Ugh.


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