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WRATHWILDE
11-19-2008, 04:34 PM
The 10,000 character limit is becoming a problem... is there any way to bump up the limit to 30,000 or drop it entirely? There are a couple of old posts that I cannot modify because they are over the limit. Oskaar in a nutshell would be 19,234 and my Advice for Newbees weighs in at 10,300.

Cheers,
Jered Talbot
(Wrathwilde)

wildaho
11-19-2008, 04:43 PM
How about a list of links to existing posts instead? Or maybe breaking the long posts into a series of posts instead, concise and dedicated to a single subject. Long posts are a chore to read and it's easy to lose interest.

Just my 1/50th of a dollar,
Wade

WRATHWILDE
11-19-2008, 04:54 PM
..The Problem is that in things like Advice for newbees, since the original post, lots of people have commented, and some of the info has changed, so adding another post to the end of a string or linking to another thread kind of defeats the purpose of having all the advice compiled in one place. Even if I were to delete an entire section of a post that has since changed (proper use of goferm is an example) the post would still tell me that the remaining section is too long and that I need to cull it down to 10,000 characters. Frustrating.

Cheers,
Jered Talbot
(Wrathwilde)

wildaho
11-19-2008, 05:20 PM
Actually, are forum posts the best vehicle for this information? They don't really require responses. I think a series of small FAQs linked on the main site would probably be more effective. Each one short and concise and confined to a single subject.

I don't know that re-posting the same information over and over in the forum is effective. The information is already there. We just need a means of pointing to it repeatedly and consistently.

I know I spend way too much time looking up a particular post and cutting and pasting a link in response to someone's questions. I would rather post a link because, again, that information already exists. Why repeat it?

The search function works but can return too many confusing results. One of the reasons for the confusion is repeated information in too many different contexts. FAQs would narrow that down.

I would love to collaborate with you on compiling and presenting the information. I know Vicky's hands are full but the main site is built on Joomla and it lends itself to doing this fairly easily. I'd even be willing to tackle that end of it if Vicky and Pete are too busy.

Maybe we ought to continue this thread in the Mentor Group?

:cheers:
Wade

WRATHWILDE
11-19-2008, 05:54 PM
Actually, are forum posts the best vehicle for this information? They don't really require responses.
The information is already there. We just need a means of pointing to it repeatedly and consistently.

..True they don't really require responses, but can be useful if someone needs clarification. I compiled the Oskaar in a Nutshell thread because I was tiredof having to track down Oskaar's advice from multiple threads and wanted a spot I could reference it at one go. It also helps people understand his methods as a whole instead of a patchwork of posts they may or may not have read, and at 6000 plus posts that can be a daunting undertaking.

.. the Newbee Advice and Oskaar in a Nutshell Threads are stuck at the top of their respective Forum Boards and are meant to try and answer relevant questions concisely in the Forum.

..Although the information may be posted elsewhere on the site, and Angus has a good guide on the main site, these are specific to the Forum boards in hopes of answering the most common questions that arise in those Forums. They are the condensed knowledge of the forum participants in an effort to eliminate having to jump between multiple posts, and scour threads for relevant advice.

..I suppose We could come up with a Trusted Moderators Advice Board where the topics are split into categories. But I for one actually prefer the advice all in one go, you may learn something else useful along the way... that you may not have gotten if it were split into separate threads.

Cheers,
Jered Talbot
(Wrathwilde)

wildaho
11-19-2008, 06:31 PM
I guess we just approach things differently, that's cool, everyone is different!

When I have a question, I want an answer. I don't want to have to slog through 30,000 words to find the 300 that will satisfy my immediate need.

That is why I like FAQs and Wiki's (hmmm, that has a nice ring to it: Vicky's Wiki!). I get the information I need without getting sidetracked or confused with things that don't immediately affect what I'm dealing with.

When I see a list of topics or table of contents, it usually arouses other questions that I hadn't thought of before and further avenues for exploration. And it's easy to navigate to those other areas.

FAQs and Wiki's do take some care in design and presentation to be effective, this is true. But for me they still beat trying to sift through the chaff for that single golden seed of knowledge!

wayneb
11-19-2008, 06:45 PM
Wade, I agree with Jered in this case. I for one find lots of tangential benefit to reading a thread associated with the information that I am searching for. If it were distilled down to a compilation of salient facts, then the context would be lost. We're either going to have to invest a lot of extra time in prepping the Wiki and/or FAQs to include contextual information, or we should merely be able to point to a thread (or a specific posting in a thread) as a starting point for the reader.

Just my 2c.

Wayne

WRATHWILDE
11-19-2008, 07:07 PM
..Also, they're meant to be an overview of Meadmaking tips for those still new to the process, as opposed to topic specific information that would benefit a more advanced brewer. Although I must admit, automatically linking certain terms with quick facts would be awesome, it is beside the purpose of the posts in question.

Cheers,
Jered Talbot
(Wrathwilde)

wildaho
11-19-2008, 07:21 PM
I can see the point about context and tangential information. But that is a two edged sword. I get lost or bored in really long posts by the time I find what I'm looking for. And does it help me now in MY context?

From my first post:

The search function works but can return too many confusing results. One of the reasons for the confusion is repeated information in too many different contexts. FAQs would narrow that down.

Heck, this forum software already has a FAQ system. Look up at the links under the header of this page. Right now it just points to info on how to use the forum but I'm sure that mead topics could be added.

There is no reason that the really long posts in question couldn't appear in a FAQ. That way, they are in a single, locatable place. A link to them is easy to provide.

I find myself with extra time on my hands and am willing to tackle the structure. I like the idea of peer reviewed articles for it so that everything has an official GM seal of approval. I think it would simplify a lot of our lives once it was in place.

Oskaar
11-19-2008, 07:43 PM
I can see the point about context and tangential information. But that is a two edged sword. I get lost or bored in really long posts by the time I find what I'm looking for. And does it help me now in MY context?

From my first post:


Heck, this forum software already has a FAQ system. Look up at the links under the header of this page. Right now it just points to info on how to use the forum but I'm sure that mead topics could be added.

There is no reason that the really long posts in question couldn't appear in a FAQ. That way, they are in a single, locatable place. A link to them is easy to provide.

I find myself with extra time on my hands and am willing to tackle the structure. I like the idea of peer reviewed articles for it so that everything has an official GM seal of approval. I think it would simplify a lot of our lives once it was in place.


Vicky and I are planning on using the FAQ's for this type of information as it is what the FAQ function is meant to be used for. This along with being able to direct users to certain places within the forums when they sign up, or navigate to a particular forum is strategically where we want to be.

doctajones
11-19-2008, 10:03 PM
I realize that responding to this at this point may be moot, but this would be my suggestion to the W v WW quandry.

You could have a locked thread where long posts are broken down into smaller chunks. Parts could be modified in the future if information/practices change, questions could be linked to specific sections of the post and all of the context is preserved for those who might wish to read more.

Those with questions would then post in a sepreate thread with no worries of seperating information in the main post and if the discussion led to a change in salient ideas/practices someone from the GM team would simply log into the locked thread and change pertinent parts.

Just my 2% of the (formerly) Almighty Dollar.

Oskaar
11-20-2008, 12:08 AM
That's basically what the FAQ will do, plus it is not subject to the same cache state handling and storage as large posts are. FAQ's are handled more elegantly, with more control, and provide a simple central location for the types of information chunks we're looking to serve up in the forums.

webmaster
11-20-2008, 12:53 AM
That's basically what the FAQ will do, plus it is not subject to the same cache state handling and storage as large posts are. FAQ's are handled more elegantly, with more control, and provide a simple central location for the types of information chunks we're looking to serve up in the forums.

As Pete says, this is what the FAQ will be utilized for. I've long had an issue with super-long forum posts to compile information when I'm looking for a specific items. Oskaar in a Nutshell, Newbee Starter Tips and other such things will fit nicely into the FAQ format, and will allow me and other moderators to point folks to them easily. They will also (some of them) find a place on the menu to the left, so newbs can find them easily.

Wrath, I (and Gotmead) live on a shared server, so that means that I don't have unlimited bandwidth or space. Keeping this site online, spam-free, and within its space and bandwidth limits is a constant balancing act that takes time away from what I'd really like to be doing, which is expanding the content and knowledge on the site. (And please folks, don't send me your favorite free hosting, limitless hosting or other 'perfect' hosting solutions, I spent months researching to find the host we use now that meets both the needs of Gotmead and the web design customers I also host on my reseller account and do not plan to move again anytime soon. Moving to a new host is a weeks-long process that eats my life when I could be trying to find work that pays me food money).


Since Gotmead cannot support itself now with the income it has, I plan to maximize my efficiency of space and bandwidth as much as possible so I won't be forced to expand on my own nickel again, especially since I don't have any nickels (or even a salary). Someday we may get a dedicated server, but that day is in the foggy future just now.

Unlimited post size gives too much latitude to those who might take advantage of it, to the ultimate detriment of Gotmead. To that end, I plan to utilize the powerful tools that VBulletin has given me to keep Gotmead fast while providing as much function as possible. I may in future adjust that number higher, but right now that stays where it is.

I understand your concern, and will provide easy access to this type of info, via the FAQ, for those who are willing to make a few simple clicks and read the menu.

'Nuff said, I'm for bed.

Vicky

webmaster
11-20-2008, 01:10 AM
BTW, Wildaho, thanks *so* much for the offer of help!! Email me a phone number and we'll talk........

Vicky - really, *really* going to bed now....

wildaho
11-20-2008, 01:36 AM
Email sent!

buildmark
11-20-2008, 02:16 AM
I know it's not my place, but how about cheap banner ads to help pay the bills?

doctajones
11-20-2008, 09:48 AM
Just a thought . . .

Will the FAQ info show up if one does a forum search? For those who do research their questions on the site before posting it might preempt some of the more commonly asked questions, instead of having the question asked and then refering the asker to the FAQ.

webmaster
11-20-2008, 10:21 AM
Buildmark, to date we have exactly 1 paid banner ad to put up (I'm having issues with the software at the moment). I'm going to approach the meaderies and brewshops around the US, but the last time the feedback was pretty low, LOL. We'll see, it might help. Thanks for reminding me I need to do that again, I've been focused on the site config...;)

Doctajones, no, it won't show up in the search, but we'll just point them there. It isn't that hard, and there will be a short post that new registered users are forced to read when they sign up that will tell them to read the FAQ first.

wayneb
11-20-2008, 11:47 PM
Vicky and Pete,

I have no problems with moving the information to a FAQ format, especially if it saves the webmistress some $$! :) As long as you preserve the essential tangential information that provides context for each question, that is a good way to go.

I just don't like FAQs that have been stripped of all ancillary information, and provide only one or two sentence answers to a list of questions that usually aren't frequently asked -- they're just the ones that the site creators are able to answer. I know that you guys won't do that.

webmaster
11-21-2008, 12:35 AM
Well, since there seems to be strong feelings on compendiums of info, how about you guys who are all calling for it do the dirty work and give me all the links for what you think should be in the FAQ? I'll decide what actually makes it, of course, but y'all can compile the data...

Vicky - heading off to bed after another 18 hour day

Oskaar
11-21-2008, 03:36 AM
All,

This may piss some people off, but it's late at night here, I'm tired as hell, and frankly if some people take offense ... so be it.

Since when have Vicky, I or any of the other frequent posters on this site EVER been cheap and stingy with information we post up? This is one of the most verbose and freely sharing sites on the internet and a FAQ will not change or diminish that simple fact about this site.

Honestly, it's like there is some friggin accusation hanging out there that because we've changed the forum software (out of our own pockets, time and humongous phone bills in order to get technical support and a f#ckload of enhanced features in order to make this a more personally customizable environment for you all) that all of a sudden Got Mead? is going to cheap out on you and start deliberately diluting meadmaking information.

WTF? I mean honestly?

Bottom line is that these forums are changing, and our focus is to ensure that they change for the better. It's enormously disheartening to see posts where people are second guessing in advance of what and why we are doing what we are doing. It's equally disheartening to see these things posted up by folks who are part of Got Mead? before they've bothered to
voice their concerns directly to Vicky or I.

So, you ask why didn't we have a marketing campaign, or lay out a detailed plan of what is going to happen, when and why? Well, in case you haven't noticed we're not in the best of times. All of us (that means everyone on this site) are working our asses off to keep our heads above water, a roof over our heads and food on the table (and in my case dog food for pFredd). Vicky and I derive no income from this site, we both have day jobs and we live on opposite coasts. We communicate daily by phone on what to do, when we have to do it and how we should proceed. I think by this point we should have earned at least a bit of trust from you all that we know what the hell we're doing. We don't have a PR machine, and frankly we can't afford one so we do the best we can. That's going to have to do for now.

Pete "Oskaar" Bakulic

WRATHWILDE
11-21-2008, 04:27 PM
Hey Pete,
..I, for one, trust you both to maintain this site to highest standards possible within budget constraints, and as much as I'd like to be able to extend and revise some of my posts... I respect Vicky's decision to limit the posts to 10,000 characters.

..I'm sure some of the newer members are unaware of the financial strain this site puts on Vicky, and weren't around when there was a very real danger of this site going belly up. The Subscription Model was introduced to take some of that strain off Vicky, it by no means profits her to do so. I for one commend you both on the fine job. I may not get all the behind the scene scoops, but I do know that GotMead is a Labor of Love for both of you, not a money generating side gig.

..Anybody who still hasn't subscribed, I would encourage to do so. Anybody who loves this site and is already subscribing at the base level... please consider bumping up your subscription to Premium Patron.

Cheers,
Jered Talbot
(Wrathwilde)

buildmark
11-21-2008, 06:56 PM
I don't have much, but I paid my $25 just now. I hope it helps some.

Oskaar
11-22-2008, 12:39 PM
Wrath, thanks for that, appreciated. Build, thank you for the subscription.

It's the subscriptions that help keep us going, and the support from our community that keeps this thing alive. Just know that we're committed to improving this very special place wherever the opportunity presents itself. As with many things it takes time, and the changes aren't immediate, but, we do whatever we can whenever we are able to do so.

We're currently working on the main site and we're very excited about the new look and feel we'll have there as well. So hold on to your wigs, we have some pretty sweeping changes for the main site that should drive even more traffic our way.

Thanks for your support!