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Thread: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Hello all!

    Well, after months of fiddling, I *finally* have integrated the forum with the website!

    Please set your forum bookmarks to:
    http://www.gotmead.com/component/opt...mf/Itemid,103/

    You will see when you log in (on the left, middle of the column) that 'show unread posts since last visit' and 'show new replies to your posts' will now be available!

    And, with the site wrapped around the forum, you'll be able to see new recipes at a glance! (Recipes in right hand column)

    Please check this out, your webmistress 'bout broke her brain getting this thing working, and I'd like feedback.

    Vicky - really doing the customer work now, *really*
    Wassail!

    Vicky Rowe
    Owner & Webmistress, Gotmead.com
    Executive Director, American Mead Makers Association
    http://www.mead-makers.org
    Making Mead since 1995

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
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    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Vicky,

    Very nice having everything on the same page. There does seem to be an oversize problem with width of the main forum page though. I increased my resolution from 1024 x 768 to 1280 x 1024 and it is still slightly cut off. This page with the topic response is perfect though, with the the option bar, recipes etc. showing up nicely.

    Angus
    Chan fhíach cuírm gun a còmhradh

    A feast is no use without good talk.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 1996
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    1,610

    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Thanks for the feedback, Angus. I'll fiddle with the main page......
    Wassail!

    Vicky Rowe
    Owner & Webmistress, Gotmead.com
    Executive Director, American Mead Makers Association
    http://www.mead-makers.org
    Making Mead since 1995

  4. Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Nice job, I noticed you fixed the hyperlink to the forum articles (on left edge) as well. Excellent!

    Steve

  5. #5

    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Vicky,

    Forget Spanking, it's the stocks for you. Having the forum IN the main site is way too busy. It's hard to focus on the thread. My peripheral vision keeps trying pull my eyes away from what I'm trying to read. To simulate the effect make your eyes go cross eyed, Thats what it feels like... only my peripheral vision is trying to pull both eyes outward instead of in. No joke it's driving my eyes crazy.

    Also... I get the same oversize problem as Angus. Second when answering questions and researching a query I could pop up multiple windows and scale the forum posts to whatever size I needed to work with. With the new IN forum I cant do that, I get redundant information with every window I open, I can't scale it down without it initiating a scroll bar, then I have to center the scroll to read it. Scream!!!!!!!!!!!! A huge step back in my opinion all it does is make the forum more cumbersome, at least it does for me. I already have the main forum, my unread posts, and the main site bookmarked sitting at the top of my browser so that when I'm done with a thread I don't even need to scroll up, just click on my bookmark for where I want to go. I don't need (or want) all that extra clutter in a forum. On the site page it's OK... because I don't have to look at it with every window I open.

    Forcing us to read the forum like this would be like having to read Callahan's Crosstime Saloon in paperback, only the publisher thought it would be a good idea to sandwich the text on every page between a chapter list and an index. Sure it might be useful on the rare occasion you need it, but it would make reading the book (your main purpose) a pain in the ass. And so it is with me, my main purpose on the forum is reading and contributing to the forum. Keep it simple, keep it separate.

    I use a 19 inch monitor an am distressed by how much smaller the (forum thread) has gotten I can only imaging what people working with 17 or 15 inch monitors must be going through.

    Sorry if this sounds harsh, it's just what I've noticed so far.

    I wouldn't mind if it were just the forum home page that had all the cluttered columns, if you could just keep it at that and let the Topic threads be unadorned I could live with it. But not every topic link I open.

    Wrathwilde


  6. Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    I have to agree with the size. I like the idea of the extra content on each side, but it would be nice if everything fit in a 1024x768 resolution. Increasing resolution tends to make the text microscopic. No fun for my failing eyes.

  7. #7
    The Honey Farmer Gotmead Visitor

    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Sorry Vicky, but I have a 15 in. screen and my eyes are old too!!
    Squint, squint, squint.

    Dennis, The Honey Farmer

  8. Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Quote Originally Posted by Wrathwilde

    I use a 19 inch monitor an am distressed by how much smaller the (forum thread) has gotten I can only imaging what people working with 17 or 15 inch monitors must be going through.
    Try an 11 inch laptop monitor - it's almost unreadable if I shrink the page, and if I don't I have to scroll right on every single page just to read the message text.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Boulder County, CO
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    I agree with the others. Great idea, but it definitely needs some tweaking before its usable.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Whoa. I hadn't expected such an outpouring of issues. I tried it both on my 14.5 laptop screen and my 17 desktop screen, and could read it fine, or I wouldn't have launched it. Nevertheless, the link on the site has been removed, and I'm putting it back to the default theme until I can find time to modify it.

    For all y'all who liked it, thanks! You can still access it via the link in the first post, but the menu is back to the old link.

    You can still view the forum at http://www.gotmead.com/smf/ as well. My 17" screen shows it very readable wrapped in the site in IE at 1024x768, but too wide in FF (I'll have to figure that out, its only doing it before login, and using a different template there too, oddly), and small, but readable (I can't see past the end of my nose without glasses) on my laptop screen (14.5 in) at 1280x720.

    Wrathe, what you call 'way too busy' is what (theoretically) pays for the site to stay open, dude. I've made a whole $30 for upkeep since November. That won't pay the hosting, not even close. Either I get this site solvent in 30 days, or down it goes, orders from my family who are sick of me spending all my time upgrading and expanding, and spending our meager funds on hosting and upkeep. I did this both to (hopefully) increase main site usage (which includes the ads and such) and to try to integrate GM as a unit. I'm not picking, just stating the situation from my end. I'm sorry you didn't like it.

    I don't mean this in a mean way, but a lot of the complaints seem to be focused on 'hey, gimme my GM, and leave me alone'. There are nearly 800 people registered on the forum, almost 60,000 unique visitors a month, and maybe 10 or 15 of them have ever kicked in help or purchased anything (you know who you are, and I am grateful beyond words for your support). I'm tickled to *death* that people like GM, but all this stuff doesn't happen by itself, it takes hundreds of hours of work and thousands of dollars per year to make it happen and keep it running. I have my own business, and rarely take home much more than gas money from it (the web design business ain't all its cracked up to be), and can't afford to pay it all myself, plus put all my 'billable' hours into working on it.

    Its *extremely* frustrating to provide this resource, then find that it eats both my life and my money, with no hope of ever getting it so it covers expenses. I'll be honest, I'm pretty darn close to just tossing it and shutting down. I can't handle the stress of wondering if *this* month will bring the site so it covers itself or whether I'll make the hosting for one more month.

    Vicky - disenheartened and very, very tired after 8 years of trying to get my baby going so I can do it full-time
    Wassail!

    Vicky Rowe
    Owner & Webmistress, Gotmead.com
    Executive Director, American Mead Makers Association
    http://www.mead-makers.org
    Making Mead since 1995

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    The OC
    Posts
    7,874

    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Well,

    I frequent a couple of other forums that are in this format, not SMF forums but similar in style and feel, and I don't really have any issues with the layout. Of course I'm looking at a bunch of busy screens all day long for bandwidth utilization and sniffer data, so I don't see much problemm with this "busy-ness" at all.

    The only problem I see is that there is no place for the Swedish Bikini Team banners I keep sending Vicky!

    Oskaar <-------- Learning how to say "If I told you have a nice body would you hold it against me?" in Swedish
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  12. Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Quote Originally Posted by Vicky the Gotmead Webwench
    Its *extremely* frustrating to provide this resource, then find that it eats both my life and my money, with no hope of ever getting it so it covers expenses. I'll be honest, I'm pretty darn close to just tossing it and shutting down. I can't handle the stress of wondering if *this* month will bring the site so it covers itself or whether I'll make the hosting for one more month.

    Vicky - disenheartened and very, very tired after 8 years of trying to get my baby going so I can do it full-time
    Vicky,

    Don't chuck it, this is too valuable a resource to us "meaders". How much do you need to generate/month? Maybe we can figure this out.

    Steve

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Steve, I don't plan to chuck it, I just don't have any more funding. It takes around $400 a month between hosting, tools, add-ons and programming to keep it online. I just spent $2000 for the podcasting equipment, a laptop to run it (my old one died), a shopping cart system, and modifications to make it work with the stuff GM is going to have in the shop. So I'm sort of coming into the 30-day window in the hole. I used the cash I got from a customer (that realistically should have gone into my budget, we're hurting) to get set up, with the hopes that that would be the last 'big' cash for a while (futile hope, but you never know).

    That, of course, doesn't include what it costs in time for me to do the work. Honestly, I'll be suprised if GM *ever* gets to where I can actually expect to get paid anything for my time.

    Of course, that doesn't include buying mead to review, visiting meaderies to do interviews and other non-programming related activities.....

    I appreciate your trying Steve, but unless the store coming online soon does the trick.......well, I need to get out and sell some webwork. The bills beckon.
    Wassail!

    Vicky Rowe
    Owner & Webmistress, Gotmead.com
    Executive Director, American Mead Makers Association
    http://www.mead-makers.org
    Making Mead since 1995

  14. #14

    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Vicky I understand your dilemma and your frustration,

    Any way to set up as a subscription service to help offset the cost? Something on the order of $15 a year (one time payment) or $10 when purchased as automatic renewal on your credit card. I've donated to the cause before and am willing to keep doing so. Things like 1 month free trial, valid email needed to register, main site free with the Ads & things you need to do. But after one months free trial the forum becomes subscription only, and you'd have their email to remind them to subscribe. I know you need the site to start paying for itself... I can't speak for everyone, but putting more Ads on a page doesn't make me any more likely to click them.

    Just a thought.

    Wrathwilde

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Its definitely something to consider. The question is, how many would go along with it? I suspect many would flip out if I turned it into a subscription forum. But, then again, $15/year is a measly amount of money, and if each subscriber did it, I'd be able to offset some of the cost of running the site.

    I'd do a poll, but most everyone pretty much ignores them too. I think I'd have to pretty much turn on a subscription format, notify everyone via email that they've 30 days before the yearly is due, and watch the hate mail come in.....

    Vicky - back to work on paying sites for now......
    Wassail!

    Vicky Rowe
    Owner & Webmistress, Gotmead.com
    Executive Director, American Mead Makers Association
    http://www.mead-makers.org
    Making Mead since 1995

  16. #16
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Some things need saying here.

    The ads are a way that everyone can actually support the site just by clicking on them whenever they log in. It pays small amounts into the gotmead account which can be applied to offsetting the monthly fee. Vicky has posted this up a number of times. I don't know about everyone else but an extra ten clicks a day or even an extra click a day by 20 - 50 people adds up during the course of a month.

    As far as enclosing the forum in a wrapper that has clickable ads and such, this is becomming standard practice throught the web community because hosting costs cash, and clickthroughs to the google ads really help to pay those monthly hosting, disk space, podcasts, yadda yadda yadda costs. This forum takes considerable effort to maintain, upgrade, improve and fund, all are at Vicky's expense; and that comes not only out of her pocket, but cuts into her productive design and consulting time. We're past being a small, mom-and-pop style forum, and change she's a comin, so I say buck up and deal with it.

    I don't mean to cap on everyone for their opinions, far from it, but I have an opinion too. Mine is simply this:

    If there are a few banners or clickthrough ads that I have to click a couple of times a day to support this site, and keep it funded so I can share and learn about mead; then I have very little to complain about and will gladly excercise my mouse finger a couple of more times a day and suffer a few more keystrokes. It's just my small committment to this site, and my way of helping. Whatever you see initially will not be the finished product, and will certainly be changing and adapting to become more user friendly.

    Bottom line is that if it takes wrapping the forums and everything else in a template that has some banners in it, so be it. I'll be able to live with that and will adapt. I hope everyone else can too. I'd hate to see any of you leave over a few ad banners that are there to support the site, but sometimes that can't be helped. I'm sure there will be a more elegant solution in the offing once the Mead Festival is done and Vicky has some breathing room.

    Sorry if that sounds harsh, I don't want to sound like St Pat's (had to throw that one in just because) but I've sat on the phone with Vicky while she agonizes over changes, runs rolldowns of the site for backups, and have translated websites on the fly for her. That's only a few small things that I've helped with compared to the amount of work she puts in on this thing.

    I'm just another voice in the crowd here, but I really think that everyone needs to take a step back and think about this in terms of style versus substance. The substance is the site, resources, MLD, Forums, recipes, etc. etc. etc ad nauseum. The style is something that changes over time and has become much more elegant since I first started lurking several years ago.

    JMNSHO,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  17. #17
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Thanks Pete. I've come to rely on you not just for all the graphic and other help you've given me, but your translations for the mead sites in Croatian and Russian, and because you let me ramble on about my dreams for the site (even when they're pie in the sky or silly) and give me honest and constructive feedback. Much of GM's progress over the last year is there because you helped me figure it out.

    Even tho we've not met yet (that will all change next Thursday, and Boulder may never recover!), I've really come to think of you as a good friend, and words can't say how much I appreciate your support. (And letting me rant on the phone a bit today sure helped, I was --><-- this close to saying 'to hell with it') There's been more than a few times I woulda shut this whole thing down and walked away if you hadn't happened to call to give me a rah-rah talk.

    Thanks, pal. Hugs forthcoming soon.

    Vicky - with 2 more like you, I could take over the world (but how would we get the pantyhose on the elephants?)
    Wassail!

    Vicky Rowe
    Owner & Webmistress, Gotmead.com
    Executive Director, American Mead Makers Association
    http://www.mead-makers.org
    Making Mead since 1995

  18. #18
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    One leg at a time!

    DO NOT GIVE UP ON US!!!

    I beg of you. The amount I have learned from this site is amazing.

    Anything you need, let us know. I know that there are plenty of members, particularly me, who will be happy to help out.

    Angus - Last chapter of the NewBee guide almost done.
    Chan fhíach cuírm gun a còmhradh

    A feast is no use without good talk.

  19. #19
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Angus, you along with the other that have cheerfully chipped in front-end and back-end help as well as money to keep things hanging together are what keeps this site going.

    Unfortunately, y'all are in the extreme minority, and since I don't have a job that pays me enough to do this as a hobby, it'll all go away unless I can either make GM pay, or find a better job (and the resumes I send out go into black holes, since I get no answers...)

    I'm looking into a subscription model for the forum. I figure if folks can ante up for an internet connection, they can afford a small yearly sum to access the wealth of information thats here. And at this point, if folks get P.O'd, I'm pretty much at the end of my rope anyway, so it won't matter. If they leave, the site goes away for lack of funding. If I *don't* do something, the site goes away for lack of funding.

    So, if folks want it, it comes down to being willing to cough up a bit. Those who have donated so much time in programming, writing and such, and those who have donated cash already will get a bye for (an as yet to be determined) time. Those who didn't, will be offered the chance at a subscription.

    That keeps the site paid, possibly puts a buck or 2 in my pocket so I can put bread on the table, and lets the site expand.

    It will ride until I get back from the Fest, because I've got commitments to take care of there, including recording the talks, judging at the commercial competition, doing a 'walking, tasting, reviewing' podcast of the meads presented at the Tasting, and anything else I can find to record, hopefully including interviews with a few folks like Ken Schramm.

    After I get back tho, I'll be diving on this, and trying to get it going asap, as I'm out of time.

    Its make or break, folks. You willing to pay to play? (Not you Angus, you've got a free ride for a *while*, dude, along with the others that helped me get GM here)

    Vicky - spending the next 3 days doing paying work so I can pay the Amex bill from last months costs
    Wassail!

    Vicky Rowe
    Owner & Webmistress, Gotmead.com
    Executive Director, American Mead Makers Association
    http://www.mead-makers.org
    Making Mead since 1995

  20. #20

    Default Re: New Forum Address -View the Forum *and* the Site

    Vicky,

    It's very kind to offer those of us who have donated already a bit of leeway, but I'm willing to subscribe from the word go. I spend way too much time on the forum... I seem to recall you moaning at Pennsic that Oskaar and I were ALWAYS on. Only too happy to pay to play... just say the word.

    By the way I love the new Logo at the top with Wassail on a honeycomb background... Oskaar do that for you?

    Wrathwilde

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