• Your advice for the AskWoody Lounge, please

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    #21919

    My web folks are limping along with a bbPress appendage to the AskWoody site. I have a million questions and would like to enlist your help, if you ha
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    • #21920

      I would like to see some archive for old comments from current blog posts and past blog posts.

    • #21921

      I guess there are plenty of other sites where the forum heads could be taken as examples to follow, but that leads to the inevitable question – why do you want this site to become like so many others when its appeal lies in its distinctive approach to these things?

      Didn’t we have this conversation here a while back, and didn’t a lot of commenters say to please leave things like they are? Or has it simply become too much to handle, in which case how is a mass of fora and sub-fora going to make things any easier?

      A lot of the topics covered will be cross-Windows versions, but it won’t make a lot of sense to have multiple fora without separating out Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 even though a lot of things will be common to them all.

      My direct answer to your question, Woody, is to follow the examples of headings at sites like Windows Secrets and Windows 7 Help (with its other fora for Windows 10 etc), but my preferred response is to ask why this change is needed.

      Please take this as a tribute to what you’re doing right at the present time rather than as a criticism of what you’re planning on doing in the future!

    • #21922

      What seems more familiar is one forum and many threads (topics). With multiple forums, are you trying to be too ambitious?

      Best wishes for success.

    • #21923

      I intended to add that once the ground rules are established, the threads will take care of themselves.

      Many forums establish certain permanent topics, which always appear at the head of the list. Not sure how valuable that would be here.

    • #21924

      That’s a very good question.

      Short answer: I’m not sure. Adding multiple forums certainly makes my work harder – in no small part because many of my posts span multiple areas.

      On there other hand, multiple forums make it easier fort folks to post questions.

      I considered doing both – putting all of my blogs in a single forum, and seeing up a forum infrastructure for people who wanted to post their topics.

    • #21925

      @Woody,

      Things were going along so well, I was reading your post and pondering your points, and then suddenly, with one word, you forced an unhappy image to loom large in my mind…
      a sort of orangey hovering head, shouting!

      Aaugh. :-O

      De Nile isn’t just a river in Egypt, it’s my mode of getting through the day, anymore.
      😉

      ====================
      Anyway.

      Here are some initial thoughts regarding your appendage:

      1. layout of forum / fora

      I am not sure that I can mentally picture what your multiple forums would look like, as opposed to the one forum that is suggested by wdburt1.

      Is there an existing discussion-forum site you can point us towards, to have a look at, which displays its fora similarly to how you are thinking of arranging yours?


      2. allowing all registered members’ posts to be posted immediately, with no moderation

      If becoming a registered member is going to be as quick and easy as you have described, I think that allowing all registered members’ posts to be published instantly might invite spam and otherwise inappropriate messages.

      I would suggest doing what one forum that I used to be a member of does — they put newly-registered people on a kind of probation for a while, during which time their comments *are* moderated, and the areas on the site where they can comment are somewhat limited.
      If their posts continue to be clean and benign, after a while they are taken out of probation, and then their posts are instantly published and they are allowed to participate on most areas of the site.

      [Further, what that site does, since it’s a site about some medical issues, is to have a special area that is reserved for trusted members, with the expectation of mutual confidentiality, where people are a little more open about themselves and their health situations, and this area of the site is not indexed in search engines.

      I think it was some months before that forum’s staff said that I had been “vetted” and allowed into that more-private area of the site.

      However, I am NOT recommending that sort of “inner sanctum” for your site. Because the topic areas are so different, obviously.

      Though maybe you could have a boxing ring for verbal ‘fisticuffs’! Just joshin’, just joshin’.]

    • #21926

      By the way, the medical issue covered by that forum I was in for a while wasn’t anything bizarre, nor was it even embarrassing!

      It is a common medical issue, it’s just that some of those forum members wanted to be able to describe in detail their life situations, their medical insurance coverage, their doctors, and their personal thoughts, without fearing that their comments would get out to too many people, and that someone might be able to figure out who they were by their descriptions of what city they lived in, how old they were, what job they had, who their doctor was, that kind of thing.

    • #21927

      3. What would you think about having an off-topic area?

      I don’t do “off-topic-y” postings too much, but, say,
      the news article about the 2016 poohsticks competition in Oxfordshire,
      or the news article about the UK Toblerone swindle…
      I would welcome a place to post topics like those, for a bit of light relief, where I didn’t worry that their appearance might annoy people who were trying to get down to brass tacks.

      —–
      4. In terms of your request for a suggested list of fora and sub-fora:

      Could you tell us what sorts of topics that YOU see your site as covering and not covering, very generally speaking?

      My thought would be to start out with some basics. Not too much complexity, just a few key areas sketched out, a few fora and a few subject headings,
      then let the site evolve, add more topic sections as the site grows into them,
      and too, allow for your personal interests to change and grow, as well — since it is your personal site.

      —-
      5. I think I already suggested this earlier this week,
      but if you could have an area of “guides”, where you put guides like Canadian Tech’s guide to re-doing a Windows 7 installation, which you posted a few days ago, that would be great.

      …A reference section that people could turn to on their own,
      and that you could direct people to, when they ask common questions like “what do you mean by Group A and Group B?”

    • #21928

      6. There might be ways you could link to, feature, and market your Windows books a little more.

      I don’t know if this is something you prefer not to do, whether it’s best to keep the “branding” and intellectual property separate, etc.


      7. Are you going to have private messaging from member to member possible?


      8. One thing that personally drives me around the bend, especially when they are a bit silly or secretive, is those “badges” and things that some forums give out to people, or let people earn, and they show up under the person’s screenname next to their posts.
      I know some people like them.


      9. Maybe it would be good to have an easily-seen statement about what your forum is not going to include, just so new visitors will know and don’t get their hopes up/waste their time and other people’s time.
      For example, you probably don’t want to get into diagnosing and fixing computer issues generally, into troubleshooting malware infections, and the like.


      10. I suggested this earlier – and maybe you specifically don’t want to do it — but if the topics in your Twitter feed are along the same lines as your topics here, you might want a box showing your latest “x” number of tweets, to keep people in the loop.

      I don’t do Twitter or go to Twitter, but I do sometimes find it interesting to see bloggers’ recent Twitter content when it is displayed on their websites.

      The same goes for Facebook – I don’t ever go to Facebook. I don’t know how much what you do there is duplicated here.

      But if there are areas of overlap, if there are diverse groups of your readers who might benefit from being joined together a little more, and if you can save yourself from repeating yourself on different platforms, that might be worth doing.

    • #21929

      That’s a great step forward Woody! This will make it so much easier following the replies to threads I am interested in.

      Can I make a suggestion though? It would be worthwhile to have a dedicated “Off Topic” sub-forum/thread that people could post to and receive replies there instead of in the computer type blog posts.

      Some posters already leave non-computer comments however, at times, they are none the less interesting.

      Good luck with this move.

    • #21930

      11. Maybe one of your topic areas could be coding, and teaching coding, since you hold a weekly class for some kids in your town, and it is something you feel strongly about.

      A topic area doesn’t have to be something that will attract a lot of ongoing comments, it might hold just a couple of stickied threads, but be an information resource.


      12. Will the historical comments people have made on this site become more easily searchable than they are now?

      I hope so.

    • #21931

      11. Good idea!

      12. That’s the goal. We won’t really know for sure until it’s been going for a few months.

    • #21932

      Another good idea.

    • #21933

      6. I have no problem with branding – the book was written with the same no-nonsense style. I just don’t want to overload people with advertising.

      7. I believe that’s part of the bbPress feature set.

      8. I want to keep the number of “types” to a minimum. As for badges… I wouldn’t mind putting a halo on people who donate, but that’d get a bit unwieldy.

      9. I’m not sure what topics would be off-limits. You folks don’t see it, but I try to devote a certain amount of time each day to answering emailed questions – and I get into diagnosing and fixing computer issues, malware infections, and so on.

      10. Hmmm… have to think about that.

    • #21934

      Good ideas! Especially the area of “guides.” Many of those I’d like to turn into Win10Tips for the InfoWorld column.

    • #21935

      1. The paradigm I have is the old Woody’s Lounge… precursor to today’s Windows Secrets Lounge and Eileen’s Lounge. The trick is putting the Lounge on the side of the blog — which hasn’t been done yet, as far as I know.

      2. Interesting idea. Not sure if it’s possible to implement with bbPress..

    • #21936

      I am not in favor of the halo idea – it might be counter-productive
      (especially with people who wish to remain anonymous altogether, including their donation activity,
      or with people who register with one set of “fake” information and who donate to you with their real name and address, but you wouldn’t know that those two people were the same person, and so forth)
      and on top of everything, it would be fiddly to keep track of, since you have donations coming in all the time (hopefully).

      I also don’t think that it would be, across the board, an incentive to donate.

      Some people wouldn’t want that kind of spotlight on them…

      Some people wouldn’t want to tell you their real name, so they would donate in an anonymous way via Amazon purchases or mailing you a cache of proper Toblerones or whatever, so they _had_ indeed made a donation, but because it was anonymous, their little AskWoody avatar wouldn’t have a halo, and that would falsely make them look like a cheapskate in comparison to everyone else.
      🙂

    • #21937

      Or you could start out with everyone having a halo, and then let us vote for a person to be “devil of the week” and his avatar would get a pitchfork and horns.
      Just joshin’, just joshin’!
      😀

    • #21938

      …and that’s another good reason for “safe” participants to have their posts displayed instantly, as my suggestion was already covered by @poohsticks.

    • #21939

      In terms of “overload[ing] people with advertising”,

      I really appreciate that, and I know what you mean — I can’t stand commercial blogs that are in-your-face and always “on the make”, squeezing every dime they can out of visitors,

      but I would have to say that I think you are a little bit *underloading* people with advertising here, because there wasn’t any advertising at all until you put up the photo of your book on the right-hand side.

      There are ways to be tasteful that would bring in your book a little more, quote content from the book, ask for suggestions for the next edition.
      Just to raise some awareness of the book, not to go overboard.
      Keep it a subtle thing, not an exploding-open sales window every time a visitor clicks on a new thread. 😉

      Maybe you could either have some kind of competition, or an equal-chance-drawing, once a month or once a quarter, for someone to win a signed copy of your book.

    • #21940

      13. I expect this is part-and-parcel of most “real” forum layouts,

      but please have the appendage team build in a way that registered, logged-in forum members

      can easily tell the difference between the individual posts that they have already read, and the ones they haven’t read yet,

      and can easily find the new posts that have been written since their last visit to the site (not just the inadequate “last 10 comments” sort of box that the WordPress template has).

      This is one of my bugbears with the current commenting situation – with the nesting here, it gets hard to keep track of the new comments that have been made, because there is no easy way to find them, or to know that anything new has even been posted.

    • #21941

      14. As far as “Participants (who can create Topics and submit comments unmoderated)”,

      in general it appears that you are more easy-going than I am, and that is great,

      but I personally would want to start slow on that front, to keep that side of things to a minimum, just to make sure that the new forum had your personal stamp on it, was really representational of _you_, at least at the beginning.

      Later there will be time to expand, to bring in other voices, to add other co-creators whom you give some authority to.

      But it’s a hundred times harder to put a halt to something, to dial back another person’s full involvement if it seems to be going in a direction that you don’t agree with, than it is to hold the reins closely from the beginning.
      (Sorry if I am mixing metaphors, or just using unfinished ones — I have such a migraine today!)

      I think that the readers who have written that they are not too keen on this site’s adding a forum appendage are, to an extent, afraid that it will lose some of the character and uniqueness that the self-contained blog has now, and that is all due to its being _your_ blog, run by you, shaped by you, moderated by you.

      Just my opinion, but I think it would be better to have a small, simple forum at the beginning, which was directed with your “voice” and guided from the top-down by your views alone,

      than immediately to widen out and distribute to other people some responsibility for new content (new stickied threads, new topics) and permission to put their own editorial slants on things,

      and wait to do that until after the “atmosphere” and traditions of the new forum entity have gelled as “Woody-esque”, however that is defined by you and for you. Just a thought.

    • #21942

      Hi Woody,

      a). Obviously, most of the times I am searching it’s for finding solutions in areas that I feel to be very dumb. So fine-grain-searching is a very needed thing. then…
      b). When I would like to enlighten some knowledge it’s a great thing to scroll through a wiki-like-database with recognizeable phrases, sentences…..
      c). When my search-topic/quest is becoming a pain in the head it would be so nice to be able to ask a humble question…
      d). Till now most questions I had were solved by your texts, and/or the comments of your expert-followers-critics (*compliments*)…

      So far you and this site is doing a great job, and …
      e). …perhaps your looking for the holy-grale that just doesn’t exist. So the optimistic part in this is just to go-on.

      regards Fred

    • #21943

      Keeps it small, simple and niche, otherwise I fear we will loose the essence of what AskWook is

    • #21944

      Interesting concept to AskWoody!
      My initial thoughts..
      Firstly I’d be looking at an HTTPS forum.
      Members registration data/ info profile etc..so many have been compromised over the last few years and this would be beneficial to all.

      Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on...
    • #21945

      Thanks.

      I need to make a change. The overhead is killing me. And there are so many great posts nowadays that I hate to see them buried…

    • #21946

      Well considered.

    • #21947

      That’s one I don’t know about. It’s a great idea. Not sure how bbPress handles it…

    • #21948

      Wish I could send out signed copies to everybody! I’ll keep it in mind.

    • #21949

      Cache of proper Toblerones? Wait. Does such a thing exist?

    • #21950

      The great surprise (and delight) when I stumbled across AskWoody a couple of years ago was that it was actually “about” something!
      I mean by that, in most visits, it actually gave me a reliable, real world solution to an issue or caused me to go away and investigate/educate myself on some other thing of genuine benefit to me.
      It also has a very healthy mixture of the deeply technically knowledgable and non-IT specialist-but-interested users (like me).

      Occassionally comments threads bloom a little from the tight definition of the original topic but not ridiculously and permanently. They often offer an interesting insight in the “general state of things” be it Microsoft/AV/OS development – whatever.

      Do not underestimate how much your personal style, ethos – call it whatever – is important in underpinning that. If you bring in, as you almost certainly will need to if you plan on sleeping at all, other folks as moderators or to create threads/topics then it will inevitably drift with time to become “AskWoody… and… some other people.”

      So many forums, particularly tech-oriented sites, are (to an end user like me) full of sneering “my spec is bigger than your spec” type stuff or have become the unhappy domain of people howling into the darkness or droning on about their particular “issues”. AskWoody doesn’t suffer that… at the moment.

      So, that is what I get from your site and why it stands out for me at the moment.The fact that you are returning to this issue suggests that you feel the structure of the site and/or your direct input to it needs to change. ,,,,, Hmmm….

      Before resources are applied to the kind of radical revamp you outline, what about looking at
      – a really effective search fuction. The back catalogue here must be awesome but is pretty inaccessible just now.
      – a simple way of moving diversified threads( if they have any genuine mileage) to a discussion section away from the focussed technical issue originating it.
      – a database of technical “how-tos”/topics by some of yor trusted contributors would be really hepful and easy to manage. (oh just looking befor posting I see that has already been suggested)

      If significant changes are needed from a resource angle – go smaller and even more focussed not bigger. A leaner version of what you have now would be more useful to me than a big blob of something just like the others.

      Thanks for giving us this resource Woody, less might be more!

    • #21951

      I’m hoping – hoping – that search in the new Lounge will work better than search in the old comments. I’m also hoping to transfer the past three years or so of comments over to the Lounge.

      I’ve already planned (just in the past half hour!) for these fora:

      > AskWoody blog with individual Topics corresponding one-to-one with blog posts. This replaces the commenting system we have now. There’s full nesting of “Replies” (that’s the term bbPress uses) within a Topic, so it’s like what we have now, except each Reply can be tagged (and presumably searched), and pre-approved posters will have their Replies appear immediately.

      >AskWoody Knowledge Base – this combines your second and third points. It’s a place that’s independent of the blog posts, where we can stick important things. Moderators can create new Topics here and the initial Topic post will have a full text description. So, for example, Canadian Tech could post his steps for re-installing Win7. I can come up with something that reminds me of all the advice Abbodi and ch100 and Canadian Tech and PKCano and so many others have about various situations. Posters can post, but they can’t change the main post in the Topic description.

      > AskWoody Support – with individual fora for, say, Surface or Win10 or Win10 betas or Win10 patches… and so on. People can ask questions here and hopefully get some answers. That’ll offload a lot of work I’m doing via email – and have responses (with comments from everyone!) readily available to anyone who’s looking. I’m not sure if “normal” users will be able to create Topics, but I think that’s the best way to go.

      > Outside the box – covering everything under the sun. Teach coding. Travel. Just hanging out. Anything but politics and religion.

      How does that sound?

    • #21952

      More I think about it, I prefer the sound of “AWK” over “KB.”

    • #21953

      How about a distinguished pith track? A home for comments Woody decides are worthy of special notice.

    • #21954

      Oooh… I like how that sounds… “Distinguished pith”… 🙂

    • #21955

      Absolutely right on. That’s why I’ve long put off starting a forum – there are so many other fora around, how could AskWoody be any different?

      There are three big reasons for grafting a forum onto the side of the blog:

      > It’s become nearly impossible to find stuff. (Don’t laugh, but that’s one of the main reasons I got into the book writing biz. I couldn’t remember all of it.) The volume’s grown enormously – this site’s hit count has doubled since March.

      > I don’t like what’s happened in the other places. Penton controls the old Windows Secrets forum. You saw what happened to me at sevenforums. MDL is a great forum, but it’s impossible to wade through the chaff. Microsoft Answers forum is wonderful if you want the Microsoft Party Line – but many moderators there are tearing their hair out because Microsoft won’t support them. Martin Brinkmann’s stuff is outstanding, but his forum(s) don’t cover many topics that concern me. Eileen’s Lounge is a tremendous resource, I’ve tried to funnel stuff there, but folks aren’t rolling over there in spades. Reddit makes me cringe. There are many, many Windows forums, but they’ve degenerated into the kind of “my stuff is better than your stuff” banality mentioned by another poster here, and the level of misinformation is astounding.

      > The amount of work necessary to keep it all going has turned overwhelming. Part of that is because the quality of posts are generally so high. Part of it is just volume. Creating a forum won’t decrease the volume, but it should give people tools to get their points made in an accessible and understandable way.

      I’m also a sucker for old-time genteel interactions among knowledgeable and tolerant individuals. Remains to be seen if that’ll happen, but I’d like to give it a shot.

    • #21956

      This is obviously a much-needed development. I don’t know how you can keep answering to most of us. The forum format will allow the most knowledgeable readers to pick up from you to a degree, put their own expertise to work and give you some slack.

      It will also make it much easier to solve individual problems. And to devise a separate space for totally off-topic discussions, which have their interest and charm. And keep the community going.

    • #21957

      Only you know what the key pressure points that need to change are and what aspects of doing all this you get the most satisfaction from.
      If it were me – and everybody here can be deeply, deeply grateful that it isn’t – I would be very much concentrating on your points 1 and 2 above.
      Informally a “phase 1”? It is, for me at least, what AskWoody is about.

      Item 3 – down the line a “phase 2” when changes have had chance to bed in a little. Or, if this is actually a crucial issue in terms of time and resource then it may need to be dealt with upfront to allow you to start to “see the wood(no pun..) from the trees”. Only you can know that.

      Item 4 – Hmmm…Lovely but lots of other outlets for that kind of thing.

      It may help to always aim to keep it smaller rather than broader – my concern is that the edges of this redesign project blur and spread and it becomes self-defeating for you. Be horribly focussed on how the changes will benefit you and not a feeling of oh that’s a good idea… we could do that… and that..and that.
      Lots of individually good ideas may need to be saved for later unless they achieve what it is you need to achieve right now.

      Random thoughts:
      – posting of new topics by you on given days only. I know some of what you deal with reacts to real-time events but not all.
      – aim to put out a relatively fixed number of articles per week. Save yourself a little.
      – knowledgebase queries/further advice to be handled by the creator of the topic not by you. They look after their own children. Will help with “discipline” of what’s posted.
      – do this, if at all, in stages.

    • #21958

      Interesting ideas. Let me cogitate on them…

    • #21959

      +1

    • #21960

      You would probably want “Sticky” posts for some of your “How To” posts. That would make them easier to find, which is already one of your priority goals. And of course someone must have the authority to unstick them when they become obsolete or just dated. Such might be archived as one of your other commenters suggested.

    • #21961

      For your consideration: FAQ, Chillout Room, Finds, Red Alerts

      FAQ to keep the repetition down – different from knowledge base. You know what you get asked the most. Just a list with a short answer and a link to the KBase or a thread when necessary.

      A Chillout Room for fun stuff, rumors, what-ifs and rants.

      Finds – e,g, like the GWX control panel that helped so many, a group policy edit that helps, a program/app/utility of interest, an MS policy change, a great deal worth sharing.

      Red Alerts – A list of serious known dangers. I suggest this be a no comments section.

      IMHO: I’d steer clear of a Support section as you can get bogged down in fixing computer problems that have nothing to do with the unique ‘service’ that you offer. Keep to Maintenance, Patching/Updating, and upgrades.

      Big Peev: Halos and Horns, badges, shields, up votes/down votes, like-dislike, distinguished member – yikes!!! Rankings get manipulated and prolific posters get status for all the wrong reasons. A ‘Tech Contributor’ tag would be adequate recognition.

    • #21962

      What I would like to see most is an index of topics sorted by original posting date. Clicking on the “older Topics” link many times to find what you are looking for is tedious. Just a database type listing to scroll through – Topic (with a link to it), original date, last modified date. That could certainly be automated. Maybe a “Topics” link to the list at the top in the line with “Home.” I also like the links to latest comments on the right – it could be longer (more recent) – there is certainly room, and that could be automated too. Easier NAVIGATION.

      I like the fact that you choose the topics – it keeps the focus more narrow. People come here for computer/software information – not the price of tea in China or political comments (at least the ones we see). You might have a section where people could suggest topics with a short description. That way you can control the topics that actually get posted. I believe if the subject matter becomes wide open, the value of the content will be less.

      What is really great about this website is the “flavor” of the comments – computer info for both techs and non-techs alike. I really like the way you handle it. It’s not your common website/forum/blog!! That’s what makes it so valuable.

    • #21963

      I guess poohsticks is talking about the recent (and rather not welcome) change in the shape of the Toblerone chocolate bar. The story, according to Associated Press, is here http://www.bigstory.ap.org/article/f56eebcccdb2413481322d7fe10117e6/mind-chocolate-gap-britons-grumble-toblerone-shrinks

    • #21964

      Perhaps Woody you are trying to take up too many topics. I like the present format. It is easy to navigate through. Also, perhaps as many people switch to Apple because of Microsoft’s lousy customer service your load will be lessen in the future.

    • #21965

      Woody, the Lounge sounds like a good plan! Many good suggestions have already been offered, but I would add a few thoughts to consider.

      Focus mainly on the shortcomings of the current blog comments, and what could be most improved with the least effort for you.

      I like the ideas that you have put forward to have the main AskWoody Lounge topic tie in directly to the AskWoody blog posts.

      1. The AskWoody Lounge should have a good search function. There is valuable info shared here, but it is a bear to find anything later on in the current blog.

      2. The AskWoody Knowledge Base and AskWoody Support topics could be combined to tie in with your books in some way, plus here is where your knowledgeable posters could start threads, that you or a designated moderator could “sticky” as permanent posts.

      3. The Outside the box topic would be nice to have, but I think it might be more work to control. In the other main topics, it should be clear to the moderator what is off topic. Outside the box, maybe not so much. This would be your call, of course, but I think the initial efforts would be best spent on the blog and book/knowledge base.

      As a final thought, threads should be closed at some point, where appropriate. I subscribe to another forum that has a few topics (specific applications) each with one never-ending thread discussing anything about that application. This method obviously gets unwieldy after several hundred pages of posts. Even with a search. These discussions could have been broken into sub-topics or threads, but I’m afraid that train left the station long ago.

    • #21966

      +1

    • #21967

      I’m hoping that the new configuration won’t be any harder to traverse than the current configuration – but make it easier to find information, and for people to start new conversations….

    • #21968

      Oh yeah, I know the story well!

      Not only Brits are grumbling about the Toblerone shaving…

    • #21969

      In fact, the search capability is a byproduct of the way the appendage is attached. Each Topic (most, at least at first, generated directly from teh blog post) will be in a scrollable list by forum.

    • #21970

      Very good ideas. Lemme see if I can make them happen.

    • #21971

      1.General (eg About Woody, Forum rules, Sign-up link etc)
      2.Monthly updates (Group A/B/W, Use of MS Catalog, Patches by month)
      3.Windows (General eg Speedup patches, Telemetry , W7, W8.1, W10, Other?)
      4.Other OS – just in case
      5. Anti Virus (General and Specific eg MS, 3rd party by name – Avast, Norton, MWB etc
      7.Off Topic

      All forums and subforums to have ‘sticky’ topics at top (sorry, I did take Latin at school but pedantry can go only so far regarding fora!)

      Just my thoughts 🙂

      Win10 22H2 Pro, MBAM Premium, Firefox, OpenOffice, Sumatra PDF.
    • #21972

      I agree with UKBrianC’s advice. ‘Start low, go slow’.

      A small forum that is well-executed, well-defined, easy-to-manage, steered only by one captain/navigator has the best chance of success.

      It’s always possible to expand later as it hits its groove/finds its feet,
      keeping the “steepness” (I know there is a better word for that) of the successive learning curves on the low side, so that the undertaking doesn’t become overwhelming.

    • #21973

      I’ll try. Never was any good at slowing down. 🙂

    • #21974

      Regarding the proposed structure of

      a-threads specifically corresponding to every blog article written by Woody

      b-knowledge base of guides/how-tos

      c-personal, specific, and self-contained support/help requests (not just “what do you guys think is the best non-Adobe pdf program?)

      d-everything else

      ——
      my thoughts on D:

      I guess that “D” would be the general forum that would involve reader participation and discussions. Reader-suggested topic ideas.

      I would propose bringing computer/technical subjects out of “everything else”, and giving them their own area in D, and this area would receive much more emphasis than the totally off-topic things like travel, jokes, recipes, whatever.

      D-1 would be computer and technical topics that people wanted to talk about (antivirus software, apple, chrome, non-Adobe pdf programs, gaming, best keyboard, teaching coding to youngsters, etc.)

      D-2 would be off-topic, literally not computer or techical

      ——
      my thoughts on C:

      I think the idea is wonderful,
      and I appreciate you do this a lot behind the scenes and out of the goodness of your heart,

      but I think it’s a risky idea to advertise this to the world, because the load might be overwhelming.

      And the contributed advice coming from all different quarters, which you would not be able to keep a tight grasp on, might then become diluted, perhaps incorrect, and not very helpful.

      If it were me, I would not put in a C area at all, not at the start anyway.

      And I would also not attempt to expand/publicize the behind-the-scenes help you offer, because you need some downtime for yourself and your family, and you need to make hay while the sun is shining regarding profit-making activities.

      This is your year, where Microsoft is behaving in such a way that they are literally throwing new readers and potential customers into your path.

      Keep some of your powder dry, under-promise and over-deliver.

      —-
      Section A: I think section A could be part of section D (the overall forum). Section D-3 is threads that are about specific Woody articles/blogposts.

      Or you could call that one section D-1, as it’s the most important and most connected to the current AskWoody.com site. 1,2,3 it’s immaterial which position it has in the overall Forum.

    • #21975

      HA! A scholar and a gentleman. Take a look at the new design (it should be available in beta sometime next week?) and let me know what you think.

      Other OSs – man, I hadn’t even thought of that. It may well come down to that.

    • #21976

      Therefore, something like:


      Area 1. Forum

      section 1A:
      threads that are specifically connected to blogposts and articles (no matter where they are published) which are written by Woody.

      section 1B:
      computer and technical-related threads and topics that are suggested by readers which are not connected to a specific Woody article/blogpost at the time that it is written, or which are wider in scope etc.

      I would say, though, that I think a lot of the subjects mentioned in section A might want to jump over to section B, because they will be perennial subjects that people will have comments about for the medium- and long-term.

      section 1C:
      literally off-topic, things that are not related to technology or computers,
      OR purely opinion-based discussions in the realm of technical matters that might be divisive and distracting if they were in section B.

      —-
      Area 2. Knowledge base/guides/how-tos

      If possible, make this ship-shape and well-edited, so it can be really helpful to people, an efficient resource that can be turned to in times of need.

      If it’s just a lot of long-winded threads that resemble similar threads in Forum section 1B, it would be less useful.

      —-
      Area 3.

      No area 3, at the start.

      Could introduce a new section in the future, after everything is humming along with the introductory forum.

    • #21977

      You said there was an amazing lady who handled a lot of stuff at the original Woody Lounge.

      She surely did a lot of anchoring for you, and handling stuff in the periphery. I am sure she helped so much with the forum’s flow and health.

      You don’t have that kind of person now (as far as I know), so be careful not to disregard all the things that you will have to provide self-support on. You will have to be the one to tether your own hot-air-balloon, instead of cranking up the gas in it and knowing that it will still be held safe at ground level.

      🙂

    • #21978

      1B a general technical forum that allows discussions and reader-suggested topics — is what those of us who have been complaining about the WordPress comment structure limitations have been asking for.

      We’d like the current blog site to unfold into that kind of forum.

      1A discussions based on specific Woody articles — is related to 1B, and really they are part and parcel of the same idea.

      1A and 1B are what is most important, to the readers and contributors, I think.

      Those 2 areas would be what we’d want you to spend your time on, and build solid foundations for, I would guess.

      —-
      1C completely off-topic — is not important, just a nice-to-have.
      The rest of the internet provides us outlets for this. We don’t need it here too, really.

      —-
      Area 2 knowledge base — is also a nice-to-have.
      I think it would be better if it were small but of a high quality, rather than expansive yet not that helpful.

    • #21979

      One thing not to overlook. There are many of us out there that depend on ASK WOODY for the basic HOW TO do what we needs to be done. So many of these HOW TO sites become a place for the geek to exchange information and us regular folks get left in the dust. A section for us needs to be included, perhaps an extension of your ALL IN ONE books.

    • #21980

      I have to concur with Allen here, and I don’t mean to be a wet blanket…

      Your unique claim to fame here is that you post well thought-out topics and elicit comments. It keeps the subject focused and your site targeted.

      You have already got a good balance. Achieving that is not a given!

      I understand your reasons for wanting to change to a forum format. Know that it’s been tried by others, and it doesn’t always work out the way you think it will.

      Please keep this in mind:

      People want to read what you write, Woody – that’s pretty clear.

      It doesn’t mean they want to read what one another write on the very same subject. Sure, you could get some good threads, but you could also get an overwhelming number of “Windows Dont Work, Fix It” (not to mention “Cabinets For Sale”) threads – or worse.

      Maybe you think bringing on volunteer moderators will help. Then it becomes THEIR site, not yours.

      I wish you the best, but as my Pop used to say, in the last century: “If it works, don’t fix it!”

      -Noel

    • #21981

      Other OS’s – was going to mention that, but your plate is already overflowing 🙂

      Even though you are all about Windows, that topic frequently comes up in these discussions, so it’s not that out of scope.

      It seems likely that a subset of your audience would like to abandon ship on Microsoft, based on all of the forced updates, get Windows 10 silliness, telemetry, and general snooping. The only thing possibly stopping them is the perceived technical barriers.

      A little for-dummies expertise on the subject could be useful!

    • #21982

      In fact, I thought about pitching a book along those lines. Don’t think there would be enough interest, but ya never know….

    • #21983

      Understood. But it’s become a huge time sink – and it’s awfully hard to find stuff….

    • #21984

      Hmmmmm….

    • #21985

      Eileen Wharmby was an absolute jewel.

      I hope to find a person or a small group that can help guide the transition. We’ll see.

    • #21986

      “Under promise and over-deliver” – my motto for many years. Hope I can do the same here!

    • #21987

      Here’s a title for ya:

      “How to simplify your life with a Chromebook – ALL-IN-ONE for dummies” 🙂

    • #21988

      There are 20x’s more Non-geeks and novices than there are understanding geeks. We need the help!

    • #21989

      I migrated to the Askwoody site when MS started pushing GWX onto my W7 laptop.
      That is how I found out about the GWX control panel.

      Little did I know how much MS was screwing with my machine until then. As you noticed I’m not a master computer operator. My machine was always set on auto update since I purchased it in 2011. Although I have replace
      the Motherboard and fixed other problems on my own. I’m sure there has some bad KB’s installed on my machine since 2011.

      Since July 2016 I have not installed many updates. I have around 28 updates still hidden.

      As for the AskWoody Lounge ideas,
      If there was a more easier way to explain what KB’s to install.
      Maybe some kind of monthly video tutorials.
      Monthly good KB list.
      MS-DEFON change notification alert sent to registered users.
      The ability to post images to better understand the problem or issue.

      With the above info it would be easier for me to move from Group A to Group B.

      The AskWoody Lounge, I can’t wait to try it out.

    • #21990

      I think that NOW is the time for such a book!

      You may not be getting the feeling nowadays that there is enough interest in it, because the subject of switching from Windows is not being talked about much anymore *here*,

      but that is because the people who used to be active on this site and who decided to abandon Windows for Mac, Linux, and Chrome have already left us.

      They don’t have a reason to keep posting here, so they have slipped away.

      One can see, when reading threads from earlier in the year, all the familiar names that suddenly vanished about a month or two ago.


      If not a Dummies book because that organization might not be able to gauge the appeal, then you could do an ebook or something.

    • #21991

      Unfortunately, technical ebooks have a very, very poor sales history.

    • #21992

      I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a monthly MS-DEFCON video, on YouTube. Let’s see how the Lounge goes.

    • #21993

      +1

    • #21994

      The video is a good idea!

    • #21995

      The main point about this being the time to strike, when the iron is hot, still holds.

    • #21996

      Really ? Do you mean self-published, or generally speaking ? I would have thought that computer-minded people would rather read computer books on-screen. I myself prefer paper books with a CD (does that still exist ?), but then it’s me.

    • #21997

      @Woody,

      This is not a Lounge comment, exactly, but I’m putting it here since this thread is currently active.

      Just now, for the first time, I’m seeing a little ad for your book that is showing up under the blog template’s “Categories” section on the right-hand side of the page. (It is showing up because earlier I allowed Amazon IPs through PeerBlock in order to grab the link to the Norton Security sale that I posted elsewhere on AskWoody.com.) Anywa, I don’t mind seeing that particular ad, of course. You probably know the ad I mean — it has a “buy now” button and it is from amazon-adsystem.com.

      The reason I’m writing this post is that the ad boldly states “3.5 out of 5” regarding your book’s rating on Amazon.

      As I pointed out on a different AskWoody.com thread a couple of weeks ago,
      this middling rating of your new book on Amazon needs to be corrected (in an honest way, of course),
      because in reality the 2nd edition of your book has only 3 ratings at the present time and the average score looks lower than it normally would be (the 1st edition of the book has a 4.2 rating out of 5, across 252 reviews, including 60% that gave it 5 out of 5).

      If a handful of people who honestly have dipped into the 2nd Edition of the book and who have a good opinion of it could rate it on Amazon, and get the rating back to where it would normally be (like the 1st edition average), that would be great.

      I am not going to go with Windows 10, so I haven’t read the book, and naturally I can’t leave a review.

      —-
      I am hoping that some people here who _have_ dipped into the book might take the time to leave an honest review on Amazon of it, and help normalize the 2nd edition’s rating.

      If you are willing to do that, please click on the photo of Woody’s book in the top righthand corner of this page, and it will take you to the right item listing.

    • #21998

      Correction:

      To get to the Amazon item listing, do not click on the photo of the book,

      rather click on the link under the book’s photo which says “order from Amazon”.

      This seems to be that link:
      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1119310563/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1119310563&linkCode=as2&tag=askwoody07-20&linkId=069357f876776fddd61477290502ce34

    • #21999

      Thank you!

    • #22000

      Both major publishers and small houses, both self-published and traditional.

      I don’t know anybody in the tech industry who’s made more than a pittance on ebooks. There may be some niche that i’m not aware of, but the ebook-only avenue has been very disappointing.

    • #22001

      +1 This suggestion is perfect. It keeps things simple and true to the culture that you’ve already established here.

    • #22002

      What you really want to do is retain the freshness, usefulness and immediacy of the blog and its lenghty replies, with the ease of management of a forum.
      As an interim step, you could try closing old topics in the blog and moving them into threads in a forum, making them properly searchable, etc. The blog would gradually reduce in size, the forum would slowly be populated and, over time, you could reorganise how contributions are made with little or no disruption.
      The key thing is the the recent, live, and current blog topics would be where they are now and people could interact with them as they currently do. The forum would be a resource that would gradually grow and become more useful.
      Just a thought. Incremental rather than revolutionary.

    • #22003

      Right on the money, I think. Let’s see if I can pull it off. 🙂

    • #22004

      Woody;

      “Oooh… I like how that sounds… “Distinguished pith”… ?

      What a pithy thing to say with perfect pitch while wearing a distinguished Pith helmet.?

      “What is really great about this website is the “flavor” of the comments – computer info for both techs and non-techs alike. I really like the way you handle it. It’s not your common website/forum/blog!! That’s what makes it so valuable.” PKCano

      Right on!

      “Maybe you think bringing on volunteer moderators will help. Then it becomes THEIR site, not yours.” Noel Carboni

      +1

      And an MS Partyline moderator could reject ‘disloyal’ posters out of hand (I’m thinking of one right now} or treat them rudely.

      “I’m also a sucker for old-time genteel interactions among knowledgeable and tolerant individuals.” Woody

      That’s why I’m here! Best forum on the web. JF

    • #22005

      Thanks, Mom, but when did you change your name to Joe?

    • #22006

      Woody;

      “I have many names, if you are interested” Zorba

    • #22007

      This comment is not about your appendage, but about your Amazon ads below the “Categories” area on the right of the page –>

      Interestingly, although my Peerblock is back to normal, and Amazon IPs are blocked, I can still see that Amazon ad area on your main page here.

      Today, instead of having 1 Amazon ad below the “Categories” area, there are 4 Amazon ads. One is of your book, and 3 are of similar-looking Samsung $700 cell phones. (It’s like Sesame Street’s “one of these things is not like the other” game!)

      If you have any input into what is shown in that quartet of ads on your site, other than your book which is a constant, I would suggest that you don’t have them show phones (if possible), because your site doesn’t have anything to do with phones. Computers of course, and also peripherals would be good. Legit anti-virus programs like the Norton 15-month Prime special would be good.

      Anyway, the reason I’m leaving this comment is that I see that the line on the Amazon ad for your book which yesterday said “3.5 stars out of 5” is now gone. You may have taken that off, which is good in the interim, until the book’s rating normalizes.

    • #22008

      Aha! That’s the block you were talking about.

      The block below Categories is an Amazon-created ad, which I have no control over, other than to specify a general category – in this case, computer-related stuff. I intentionally put it wayyy down on the right side.

    • #22009

      HA! Zorba the Geek. Anthony Quinn. Yes, I knew him well…

      Or was that Yorick?

    • #22010

      Woody;

      Or was that Yorick?

      Possibly or perhaps the barbaric cleric Garrick

    • #22011

      Fair enough, Woody – I’ll be a part of it, that’s for sure!

    • #22012
    • #22013

      I have lost too many good Fora over the years because the moderator(s) could not manage the workload. If it is not working for you this way, I want to be changed to something that will.

    • #22014

      Out of all the possible suggestions that have been raised on this topic……….. and they are all excellent but some made my head spin trying to get a grip on them……… but the one Des above is suggesting is something I can relate to straight away and seems to be very understandable, practical and easier both for yourself Woody and us, the users!

      There is nothing more frustrating when looking for a solution and having to wade through different sections and comments just to find the one you are searching for, and having to get your head around these different formats………… know most of us have experienced that and sometimes have just plain given up.

      And as Des has suggested it could be a way of STARTING all this off…… and then progressing as it develops and you can see more clearly what else you need to add.

      It’s a marathon task this and it’s never clear until you start and modify etc……… when you then see what you really needed and didn’t include etc…. or did as the case may be. But of course you need to make that first step………. so one never knows until one tries! Good luck! LT

      “If everything is important, then nothing is.” – Anonymous

    • #22015

      It is fairly simple to stop automated forum spam by simply adding JavaScript code that only allows posting when JavaScript/Cookies are enabled in the browser; and a session cookie has been verified. Otherwise, no post form is included… However, blocking human spammers is a different thing (a little more effort required to block them) and a forum won’t stop them….

    • #22016

      +1

    • #22017

      HARRRRRRR!

    • #22018

      I liked the way you set up Woody’s Lounge when you were with Windows Secrets.

    • #22019

      Hard to believe, but Woody’s Lounge predates Windows Secrets. Brian Livingston “bought” Woody’s Windows Watch – and Woody’s Lounge came along for the ride. He merged his newsletter with WWW and came up with Windows Secrets.

      Woody’s Lounge was Eileen Wharmby’s creation – I mostly stood by and marveled at what she accomplished. The early mods shaped Woody’s Lounge into what it became. Many of them are still active at Eileen’s Lounge.

    • #22020

      Great!

      I hope this will help Woody populate the area of his new forum that will be about switching from Windows to other operating systems.

    • #22021

      Another Plus One for the way the older Woody’s Windows Lounge operated, both its format and the way it was moderated. If something like that can be revived and blog comments offloaded into such a format, I would be very happy.

    • #22022

      Watch as it rolls out and give me your ideas.

    • #22023

      Woody,

      Some of us were saying it would be good to put a section in the appendage about moving to a different OS if the person feels the need/desire.

      On that topic, I noticed on Ghacks.net tonight that a commenter there mentioned that the following magazine’s December issue has a good overview of switching to Linux.

      I have never heard of the magazine before, so am just passing this along to anyone who is interested.

      “are you contemplating switching to Linux? We’ve flung open the Windows escape hatch and will show you how to take the first tantalising steps into a new OS.”
      http://apcmag.com/whats_inside_apc_this_month/

      “The December issue is available for sale at newsagents, selected supermarkets or online from Thursday, November 10th 2016.”

    • #22024

      Interesting!

      Yep, APC is a legit magazine. I wrote some stuff for them, once upon a time.

    • #22025

      @Woody,
      A small cache will be arriving early next week.
      🙂

    • #22026

      Yesssss, puh-leeeeeez

    • #22027

      They’re sooooooo good! I’ve never had SnowTop before.

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