Reply To: Whither the Chairman?

Members Forum Miscellaneous Coffee Lounge Whither the Chairman? Reply To: Whither the Chairman?

Paul Willis

    I thought I would put my 2 pennies in here having been partially responsible for the introduction of the website and forum as is. The reasons for the choices have been explained many times both on the forum in the Newsletter. I also believe that it is more than the forum that is lacking use.

    However, having said that, the forum is not perfect and there are issues with it. Over the last couple of years I have attempted to improve it from suggestions made by members. I also started looking at other forum offerings as changing the app may improve matters. There were a couple of hurdles:

    1. It would need it’s own server

    I’m not a techy person (much) but is that really the case?  AFAIK, the Scalefour website and Forum are hosted in the same place.  I did know the name of the provider, but it eludes me at the moment.  One of the big hosting companies, anyway.

    2. It would need to integrate tightly with wordpress to avoid having to log in twice. That integration would be another 3rd party app


    The Scalefour solution of the phpBB forum is totally integrated with the website.  There’s no need to log in separately to the Forum and (say) the Stores for members only, or the archive of newsletters.  I know that the main website is not WordPress based because I have admin rights and can tweak the HTML if push comes to shove (although there are more proficient people to do that than me).  The new website will be WordPress based though, and a fundamental is single sign-on.

    And not one that kicks you out after a fortnight of inactivity, like this one does.

    At this point I realised that I was neglecting my role as Trade Officer and so had to back off. I had a choice of becoming the full time web admin and stepping down from being the Trade Officer or remain as Trade Officer

    Completely understandable, and speaks to the need to draw more deeply into the EMGS membership for the resources to maintain and grow a forward-looking platform for the Society.

    Paul (Willis) a question.

    What is your “speculative” reason for the non posting issue. Steve Young had a similar problem that, working with him I managed to pin it down to the spam filters (not connected to the forum software directly) objecting to some characters generated when copy and pasting from Word. A common problem affecting other professional apps.

    Having spent most of my working life in IT problem management, “speculative” suggestions often lead to concrete solutions. It may be that the filters don’t play nicely with the forum but without more than one  example of repeatable data it is difficult to raise an issue with the supplier as there may be other issues with the filters or the forum itself

    My speculation is that the implementation doesn’t seem to carry the logged in status properly from one place/page/status to another very well.  That may be down to cookies, or something more fundamental.  BTW, I don’t run any cookie blocker or anything like that.  Every month or two I do run a purge through Opera as my preferred browser, and live with the temporary inconvenience of establishing the necessary ones from my password safe.

    This inconsistency of status would explain why the list of recent posts in the RHS column doesn’t match what you see when you go into individual topics.  The column on the right seems more “random” than “latest”, to be honest.

    I run a pretty “clean” environment, W11, fully patched at least a couple of times a week for the security updates, no bloatware as it’s on a 32Gb Lenovo business-spec laptop, and I only keep what I need.  So I’m fairly confident that whatever issues I have lie within the EMGS website, and not my own environment.  Or put it another way, I don’t have the same challenges posting on any other forum, whether that is phpBB, Vuckle, XenForu, RMWeb, whatever.


    One final thought. The web site is more than the forum. My vision for the web site was always a repository of information. The forum does provide useful information as well as a way for members to share thoughts and so does need using and improving. Other parts of the web are woefully neglected and devoid of content. Again despite numerous asks for content e.g. the section Member’s Resources that was requested by several members but to date nothing

    There is a certain element of “build it and they will come”.  There needs to be content to draw more content.  I was one of the first posters on this forum – for a while the person with the highest number of posts – but when there is nothing else being added, then the visits become more infrequent.

    I looked at the Gallery earlier this evening.  No EMGS shows since Spring 2021?  That is what a visitor would think…

    Sorry it is such a long post but I feel this has gone on long enough. It does need more than the board. Your thoughts about the lack of board activity may or may not be correct but it also needs a small number of non board members to step up and work through what needs doing. Despite asking in the past no one has volunteered

    I do disagree about the participation of the Board.  Not because their modelling should be on show, but because unless they participate in the sort of activities that members do, their experiences and knowledge will only ever be abstract.  “To understand, walk in another man’s shoes”…


    Paul <hitting CTRL+C before posting as usual>