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S J Birkill
MV Administrator
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just a sensible reserve

   

Posts: 604
Re: New Forum
« Reply #60: 19.10.04 at 00:19 »

John
 
I take your point about the daily or weekly memory jog now being absent. If I scan the server activity logs I can see many of our 250 forum members have only ever logged in once -- the day they signed up. Of course, they may be keeping up to date in 'Guest' mode, but I do suspect most are simply forgetting to come back and look what's happening. And if occasionally they do, so much has transpired that they never resynchronise: the thread they might have responded to has gone cold.
 
As I said (from beneath a sheet of flame) some time back, it takes a certain element of self-discipline to keep returning to one location in the Internet universe on a regular basis, without prompting: you really need to want to do it.
 
Then again, I suspect also that a large proportion of the e-mail list had MV mail permanently tagged for spam filtering, either in software or wetware: they never read the messages.
 
Posting activity has always been unpredictable. No doubt the apparently stochastic or perhaps fractal nature of the usage patterns could be analysed and the underlying causes determined, but to the casual observer there was no sense in the fact that one day could show 10 or more posts, while a week later there'd be a run of four days with nothing at all.
 
So an apparently random, but small, sample of data may give a quite misleading answer. It's now October 19th; the MV Forum was announced to its quorum of beta testers on July 19th, just 3 months ago, since when 650 messages have been posted. If we look at the previous 3 months, April 19th to July 19th, inclusive (to be generous), the e-mail serial numbers went from MV10662 to MV10853, a total of 211 posts.
 
It appears from this small sample that (3-monthly) activity has in fact increased by a factor of 3 since the start of the Forum. It would be interesting for someone to perform a more rigorous analysis, perhaps to plot activity week on week to chart the decline. Perhaps it's unfair to include the weeks immediately after launch, where most traffic was on the subject of the forum itself. If I look at the size of the weekly e-mail digest, I see Week 348 (May 2nd) was one of the biggest (in kB) of the early part of the year. That contains 30 messages, an average of just over 4 per day. In the past seven days of the forum we've seen 19 messages (including this one) -- less than three per day.
 
Any statisticians out there? Excel doctors? What patterns can we extract from the data, and how meaningful are they? What about content? -- are forum messages more focused, less flippant than the e-mail ones, or otherwise? Are more messages coming from a smaller base of contributors? Will we ever get back to the heady, soul-baring early days of MV, or has it all been said? Can we say anything meaningful at all? These, and other questions...
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Roger Cornwell
MV Friend
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Posts: 22
Re: New Forum
« Reply #61: 19.10.04 at 11:23 »

John,
I've suggested this before but what I've done to make it easy to keep on top of this Forum is to drag the little icon to the left of the Address bar onto the next line that begins Links, (we're talking Internet Explorer here) this creates an instant shortcut to the forum and it's a moment's work to check for new posts. Then you spend 15 minutes replying to something when you have work to do! But it does mean I'm up-to-date with the forum, even if I post infrequently.
 
Iain Banks tonight at the Durham Literature Festival, I may just ask him a question ...
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Roger
Secret Drinker
MV Fixture
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Paul Gunningham, MoM

   

Posts: 207
Re: New Forum
« Reply #62: 19.10.04 at 14:54 »

on 19.10.04 at 00:19, S J Birkill wrote:

Any statisticians out there? Excel doctors? What patterns can we extract from the data, and how meaningful are they? What about content? -- are forum messages more focused, less flippant than the e-mail ones, or otherwise? Are more messages coming from a smaller base of contributors? Will we ever get back to the heady, soul-baring early days of MV, or has it all been said? Can we say anything meaningful at all? These, and other questions...

 
I can't answer all (if any!) of those questions, but I would guess that people are more inclined to be both more focused and make more flippant responses in this forum than they would have been in the old email one. The structured nature of the new forum means that we know people will only look at a sub-forum if they are at all interested in the topic - for example, if we analyse lyrics in great depth, we no longer risk the displeasure of certain members of the group who have no interest in such matters  Angry
 
Likewise we don't worry so much about making a flippant or jokey response, which many of us would have hesitated to do on the old forum because of the risk of irritating people who dislike receiving lots of trivial emails. And of course we now have the off-topic sections so we can even mention (more or less) non-PA things with a (more or less) clear conscience  Grin
 
However, set against that is the fact that the forum is now more public. I wonder if many members feel that this prevents them from baring their souls as they did before? A 'members-only' policy would rectify that, if it were possible or desirable to implement it  Undecided
 
I admit I was concerned that I would forget to look at the forum, but the way you have set it up means it's easy to drop in at any time, from anywhere I have access to a PC, so whenever I do remember I can have a quick look. I admit I don't always remember to check every day, though. Perhaps you could update the 'news' thread weekly (even if there's no real news) and automatically subscribe every member to get an email notification as a reminder?  Huh
 
Of course it hasn't all been said, but long-serving members of the group may sometimes fell they've heard it all before. I'm not sure what can be done about that. Do other fora suffer from the same problem after they've been going for several years? Should we worry about it anyway? As long as it's there for us to use when we want, isn't that the main thing?
 
Sorry, I think I've raised more questions than answers! I'll shut up now...  Grin
 
Cheers
 
Paul
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Staving off the pressure... by drinking real ale
Leslie Moss
MV Fixture
****


Marmite Soldier

   

Posts: 161
Re: New Forum
« Reply #63: 20.10.04 at 21:24 »

I must admit that to some extent I miss the "push" aspect of the email list. At the very least, it kept the proportion of incoming emails that were addressed to me rather than to Gill at a respectable level. More to the point I could be sure of not missing anything because I check emails more or less continuously whereas the "pull" nature of the forum requires a conscious and somewhat more time-consuming effort. Indeed, it's been in part the need to keep on top of the PoD discussions and ticketing that's ensured that I now check at least daily.
 
On the other hand the separation into threads certainly makes it easier to keep the various strands clear in my mind.
 
The reality is that from a management point of view this is clearly a much better bet than having to rely on Steve being somewhere near a PC. I'm just a little concerned that it may become a minority sport restricted to a modest number of regulars, rather than a launchpad for a broader fan appeal, if such a thing is possible.
 
Leslie
 
PS Anyone know what I need to do to get notified by email of awaiting messages for me?
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S J Birkill
MV Administrator
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just a sensible reserve

   

Posts: 604
Re: New Forum
« Reply #64: 20.10.04 at 21:48 »

on 20.10.04 at 21:24, Leslie Moss wrote:
PS Anyone know what I need to do to get notified by email of awaiting messages for me?
Profile | Instant Message Preferences | Notify by e-mail
-- might do the trick...
SJB
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Pete Atkin
MV Deity
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Posts: 467
Re: New Forum
« Reply #65: 21.10.04 at 11:35 »

OK, here's a new idea, one which may fill in a perceived gap.  
 
Seems to me the advantages of the forum are clear and on the whole pretty well agreed, but for some people there's an equally clear loss, in that their elbow is no longer jogged by the arrival of e-mails.  The active effort required to check the forum is minimal, (especially if you put an icon on your desktop, for instance) but it undoubtedly is more of a psychological barrier than it might appear.  
 
As a result of that, we've lost a lot of lurkers.  And while I suspect that Steve is right that the number of postings probably hasn't suffered, I personally am sorry to have lost touch with that significant number of former MVs, many or most of whom are -- or at least were -- interested enough to have signed on to the old MV.
 
So what do you think if I were to initiate my own e-mail newsletter in parallel with the forum?  I'd imagine posting it not necessarily regularly, and probably no more often than once a month, say, unless a lot of stuff was happening.  That way, anyone who's even potentially interested could be sure to get news of gigs, recordings, etc., without having to remember to check out the website or the forum.    I could in any case also point people towards the forum and, for example, include a link to threads that have been specially active since the previous posting.
 
I've consulted Steve about the idea, and he's been typically most helpful and supportive.  I'd propose to send a one-off e-mail invitation-to-subscribe to everyone on the old MV list, and thereafter Steve has agreed to put a link on the website.
 
I'm not so much touting for support here as looking for suggestions and potential problems.   So what do you think?
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Secret Drinker
MV Fixture
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Paul Gunningham, MoM

   

Posts: 207
Re: New Forum
« Reply #66: 21.10.04 at 12:11 »

on 21.10.04 at 11:35, Pete Atkin wrote:

So what do you think if I were to initiate my own e-mail newsletter in parallel with the forum?

 
Sounds a good idea to me, Pete. I'd be more than happy to receive regular updates summarising the important upcoming events, news, etc. - as long as you're happy to do it!
 
I would think it would help to stimulate discussion on this forum, too.
 
I can't see why any member of the old MV group would object (but there's always one, isn't there?)  Wink
 
Cheers
 
Paul
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Staving off the pressure... by drinking real ale
Roger Cornwell
MV Friend
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Posts: 22
Re: New Forum
« Reply #67: 21.10.04 at 15:33 »

If you're looking for suitable software, I use PHPlist (see http://tincan.co.uk/phplist) which is free (contributions accepted) and was originally developed for use by the National Theatre. You need to be able to run PHP (obviously) and an SQL database, I use mySQL. I'm happy to offer more information if you need it, but perhaps off-list?
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Roger
Mike Farringdon
MV Fresher
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I love Midnight Voices!

   

Posts: 2
Re: New Forum
« Reply #68: 21.10.04 at 17:54 »

Pete's idea looks good to me.  I would certainly welcome receiving his newsletter.
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Leslie Moss
MV Fixture
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Marmite Soldier

   

Posts: 161
Pete's suggestion, and some comments on the website
« Reply #69: 21.10.04 at 18:24 »

I like Pete's suggestion too. Seems the ideal combination.
 
Incidentally, I'm also wondering what the hitrate on the website is these days? I went there myself yesterday to find that Steve had only days earlier updated the site. Steve, any chance of a periodic posting to the forum to alert us to any substantive changes to the website?
 
Methinks that the site could do with more user input. I remember the halcyon days when hardly a week went by without a new set of lyric analysis or parody lyrics or guitar chords being posted via Steve. How about some topics to elicit MV content? I'll give some more thought to this and make some suggestions.
 
Leslie
 
PS I'm sure this should be a new thread but haven't figured out if it's possible to start a new thread having clicked on "reply". Steve, do you want to move this to where it should be?
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Nick Munton
MV Fresher
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I love Midnight Voices!

   

Posts: 2
Re: New Forum
« Reply #70: 21.10.04 at 18:26 »

As one of the lurkers who has rather lost contact with MV since the switch to the Forum, and who only found Pete's message as a result of following links from an e-mail notification, I would very much welcome Pete's offer to write an occasional newsletter.
 
Thank you very much, Pete.
 
Nick
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Bob Kingston
MV Fresher
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I love Midnight Voices!

   

Posts: 1
Re: New Forum
« Reply #71: 21.10.04 at 18:46 »

Great idea for us technophobes.
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phil_smith
MV Friend
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I love Midnight Voices!

   

Posts: 18
Re: New Forum
« Reply #72: 21.10.04 at 18:47 »

Hello folks,
       I class myself as an M.V. loyalist. However, using a computer for recording info. at work means I like to avoid the thing as much as possible in social time, and like many of us, I'm interested in a huge variety of music. If Pete is kind enough to suggest this option, and I certainly want to continue my support, it seems the ideal compromise in making sure the important stuff gets disseminated.
       Hope related feedback is similarly positive!
             Cheers
            Phil Smith
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number_63
Ex-Member

Re: New Forum
« Reply #73: 21.10.04 at 20:06 »

Wonderful - best news of the week for me.
 
I agree with Bob Kingston- great news for those of us who aren't technocrats.
 
And Pete's comment is very amusing that to gain access to the Forum  ' requires minimum effort - especially if you create an icon on your screen' .
 
Hilarious! For there are those of us who don't know how to do that.Which is why the Forum has serious disadvantages,which is taking me ages to get to grips with,step by step.
 
Newsletter very welcome
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Mike Walters
MV Fixture
****




   

Posts: 127
Re: New Forum
« Reply #74: 21.10.04 at 20:10 »

I'd certainly welcome Pete's newsletter, if only because Pete's contributions are always illuminating in any case.  And I hope it helps to encourage people to visit the forum a bit more regularly.  I'm in the fortunate (?) of spending a fair bit of time working from home, being my own boss, in front of a computer with a broadband connection.  I've stuck a link on the menu bar at the top of my browser (I use Mozilla Firefox which allows you to bookmark stuff up there), so I've got into the habit of logging in here a couple of times a day, admittedly usually as a guest unless I want to post something (and, even more admittedly, usually as an alternative to some less attractive work task).  But I can imagine I might not yet have acquired the habit if I had to make a special effort to dial up each time.  
 
I think one of the characteristics of the forum compared with the old arrangements is the relative lack of immediacy.  This has its upside and its downside.  The upside is that, in the old days, there was often a sense that, if you didn't contribute to a discussion immediately, the topic would move on and the moment would have passed.  On the forum, people can, and already do, return to a topic as it suits them.  The downside of that, of course, is that, because there's no immediate impetus to respond, it's too easy not to get round to it all.  I'm surprised, for instance, that no-one's responded yet to the query about 'Commercial Traveller' on the Words forum, and that there have been relatively few suggestions about what Pete might do at PoD...I'm sure that in the old days both of those topics would have elicted a substantial response.  But there's still time...
 
I also agree with Leslie's suggestion that we should maybe suggest topics to provoke discussion - maybe that's something the various moderators could help encourage?
 
Regards
 
Mike
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Alan Manton
MV Friend
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Posts: 15
Re: New Forum
« Reply #75: 21.10.04 at 22:42 »

Sounds like an excellent idea to me, Pete.  I don't like to let day pass by without lurking around the forum (as I'm sure Mr F. Howard once said...) so an occasional newsletter in addition will just add to the pleasure.  
 
It's always fun to see which threads, or in the "old days", which emails would elicit a response from the MV Deity himself.  Now we're promised some words from him which may not necessarily be all prompted by our own inputs.
 
Can't wait.
 
Alan.  Grin
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You gotta help me doc...
Maurice_Lovelock
MV Fresher
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I love Midnight Voices!

   

Posts: 2
Re: New Forum
« Reply #76: 22.10.04 at 00:08 »

I am one of the lurkers who usually remains in guest mode.  A newsletter from Pete would be most appreciated and certainly prompt a visit to see what's going on.  Thanks for the generous offer, Pete.
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Robert Reid
MV Friend
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    3+Denniston+Place

Posts: 20
Re: New Forum
« Reply #77: 25.10.04 at 20:38 »

I think Pete's newsletter is a great idea. Go ahead.
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number_63
Ex-Member

Re: New Forum
« Reply #78: 25.10.04 at 21:24 »

Real names
 
I see that quite a few have taken up Steve's invitation(?) on 20/7 to use a description other than username.But that doesn't include many who are actively posting.
 
Looking back Steve described  real names as more friendly.But that's not my only reason for anonymity(!).
 
Anyone else find this a useful feature?-I do! Wink
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Andy Love
MV Feature
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Posts: 57
Re: New Forum
« Reply #79: 25.10.04 at 23:52 »

number_63 wrote:
 
But that's not my only reason for anonymity(!).

 
Now there's intriguing for you !  A bibful - or at least a clue - required, I think, 63 ?    8)
 
Cheers
 
Andy
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