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Pete Atkin >> News >> New Forum
(Message started by: S J Birkill on Today at 12:22)

Title: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on Today at 12:22
MV's new Web-based message forum will be trialling with a small number of members from 20th July 2004. If we like the way it goes, it may in due course take over from the current e-mail based MV system.

-- Steve Birkill  ::)

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Carole on 20.07.04 at 15:10
Oo-er. This all looks very technical  :o  Should work out ok though.

Carole

Title: Real Names
Post by S J Birkill on 20.07.04 at 15:31
Remember, you can change your MV persona to something other than your 'username' (and with normal capitalisation and spacing -- real names are more friendly) by selecting 'Profile' from the menu bar and editing the 'Name:' field.

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Mike_Walters on 20.07.04 at 15:38
Well, it looks superb, Steve!

I've got mixed feelings in that I've always ejoyed the relative informality and spontaneity of the MV discussions, and I've been happy to live with the downside of that, which is receiving a fair amount of stuff which (inevitably) happens not to be of interest to me.  However, I'm my own boss and not overwhelmed by spam, and I can imagine that for some people a continual trickle of MV messages of varying quality and relevance could easily become an irritation.  

So, on the whole, I think this is probably a positive move - the discussions do seem to have become a little tired lately (partly perhaps just because, having been spoiled rotten over the last few years, we've had relatively little new 'product' to discuss recently ), and some added structure may indeed shake things up a bit.  And it may encourage more involvement from those who are afraid of their in-boxes becoming highly cluttered.

Certainly, it looks very professional and these kinds of boards seem to work well for others (Warren Zevon's, for example).  And I'm happy as long as I don't have to hide under a silly pseudonym!

Go for it, I say.

Regards

Mike

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Roger on 20.07.04 at 15:38
I think the bulletin board could be a useful replacement, particularly if those topics that are of interest only to a minority of MVs are in their own thread. This would mean that newbies would not be annoyed by them and be more inclined to stay with us.

It would also, in the fullness of time, mean that the spread of viruses via the list and associated emails would not be a problem for our esteemed moderator.

On the other hand, I wonder if YaBB is the right choice of software? There are two features of the board I use most often (Invision Power Board (http://www.invisionboard.com)) that I use a lot, namely "search for posts since I last visited" and "email notification of replies" that speed up the way I use the board. On the other hand YaBB is free. Have you researched other BB software? Can these features be implemented in YaBB?

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 20.07.04 at 15:50
Thanks Roger. I've also implemented an 'off-topic' section to help keep the boards free of clutter.

Of course the e-mail MV never propagated viruses, but that didn't stop infected members' machines dumping them on me -- it's still happening.

No, no time really to sus what else was available -- I could see that YaBB offered basic BB functionality, was easy to set up and free (I've no budget for peteatkin.com, so the hosting fee's more than enough to shell out). E-mail notification of replies is available -- I wondered whether it would annoy BB novices who'd forgotten they'd set it, but I'll enable it now.

SJB

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Jeremy on 20.07.04 at 16:06
Hi all,

Thanks for the pre-release invite to join in.  I'm quite happy with the mailing list, but doubtless there are clever technical reasons why a bulletin board is superior (no spam? no viruses? What else?).  Of course, since it's Steve's show (and/or nobody has done nearly as much has he has to spread the PA word) the choice is, in the end, his to make.  Once again, I'm most grateful to him for all the work he's done here.  I'm happy to help out by being a moderator.

Cheers,

Jeremy

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by gerrysmith on 20.07.04 at 18:11
Hi Steve, and thanks for asking me to test drive the new forum.  I s'pose I've always known that one day MV would go down the bulletin board route.  I'm sure most of us are aware of the time and effort required to manage and moderate MV, and indeed are most grateful to Steve for the verve and aplomb he has shown in doing so these past seven years.  

I just don't buy the 'irritation/relevance' argument about the currrent system of distributing posts.  It is easy to set up a MV mailbox on any email client, and easier still just to gloss over or delete posts which are of no interest.  So noone's inbox need get clutterered up.  

Secondly, I really cannot see how a bulletin board will encorage more of us to post.  Although as BB's go this is quite a good one, it is definitely more difficult to use than simply sending and email.  It also incorporates the ubiquitous and hideously irritating gamut of 'smileys' so reminiscent of those dreadful chat rooms.

Thirdly, I like MV just the way it is and am always pleased to start the day in front of my PC going through new posts. Steve has done a sterling job which lends a personal touch to the MV forum and I fear this would be lost if replaced with an automated bulletin board.

If MV could remain unchanged, I would be quite happy to help in any way I can, for instance by being responsible for maintaining or extending section(s) of the website.  I say again that I understand the commitment of time involved in running the enterprise, but I humbly prevail upon you steve to maintain the status quo if at all possible.

All the best

Gerry

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by safe6tet on 20.07.04 at 18:55
I tend to prefer the old list like Gerry: the first mails I open are always MVs. This morning I found myself asleep on the settee at 3.00 a.m. (well, it was my birthday yesterday) and what did I do, knowing full well I had to be up at 6.00? Yes, that's right, I checked my email. I need it. I have to have it. You probably wouldn't realise to what extent MV (and what it's led to) has changed my life though I won't bore you with the details . However, I go along with Steve if he feels that a change would be a good idea. I'm the last person to complain about off-topicking (which is all part of a really complete discussion forum especially when the members are as erudite and well-informed as we (OK, you) are but it might be a good idea to try another approach.

Ian Chippett



Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Dave_Lewis on 21.07.04 at 00:18
Hi steve,
Well I'm all for it. I spend far too much time on rather sad audio engineering forums as it is, so another one won't matter. I think it might encourage intercourse. Which has to be a good thing.

Cheers,

  Dave.

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by JtJ on 21.07.04 at 20:52
Hi there!

I've had a quick play and it looks good to me.

But I've just travelled back from a gruelling 2 days in York.

Just going to put my feet up.

I'll get back to you with more detail later.

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 21.07.04 at 21:33

on 07/21/04 at 20:52:25, JtJ wrote :
But I've just travelled back from a gruelling 2 days in York.

Was it you I saw in Back Swinegate with the top hat, leading 22 Americans on a ghost tour last Thursday night?

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Cary on 21.07.04 at 23:28
Well, as forums go this is a pretty good one. Personally I don't like online forums and much prefer email lists. Not so bad now I've got broad-ish-band but I find needing to navigate between threads irritating. And on dial-up frustrating when the line got dropped (which it used to do frequently) . Good that you can get email notification of replies which makes it more likely that I'll remember to look at the forum - who knows, maybe I will get to like forums though I think I'll always prefer the click, click click of email. I can quite understand though why Steve wants to change things - 5 years + forwarding messages is enough for anyone!! Well done that man. Would YahooGroups or the like be another option?

Like the preview option. Shame there isn't a spill chucker - never mind about apostrophe'''s - you'll all find out I can't spell!!

Happy to help and moderate on the bit Steve has suggested if this goes live.   ::) - sorry, couldn't resist that - not quite a winking PA is it??

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Snoopy on 22.07.04 at 11:19

on 07/21/04 at 23:28:26, Cary wrote :
Shame there isn't a spill chucker - never mind about apostrophe'''s - you'll all find out I can't spell!!

If you use Internet Explorer, you might like to try ieSpell (http://www.iespell.com/) - it's a freeware add-on to Internet Explorer that lets you spell-check any HTML form input box (such as the message box on this forum).

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Cary on 22.07.04 at 21:54

on 07/22/04 at 11:19:43, Snoopy wrote :
you might like to try ieSpell (http://www.iespell.com/) -.


Thankes Snoopie - that's a grate litle toul to have - wurks reely wel


Title: Re: New Forum
Post by SimonReap on 22.07.04 at 21:57
A web-based system is not so good for those of us still on dial-up (roll on September 1st when broadband hits the village).  One of my choir colleagues tries to use yahoo email via the web interface, and is often disconnected in the middle of writing her emails.  I don't imagine that would be as much of a problem with the short messages that a system like this encourages, but will require nifty cut-and-paste for longer gems.  Like MikeW, I like to be able to skim through the MV emails at my leisure, and keep all of the old ones.  Anone want to buy a near-complete set of over 10,000 MV missives?

By the way, I'm so glad to have found the 'disable smileys button  ;-)

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Roger on 23.07.04 at 17:14

on 07/20/04 at 15:38:35, Roger wrote :
There are two features of the board I use most often (Invision Power Board (http://www.invisionboard.com)) that I use a lot, namely "search for posts since I last visited" and "email notification of replies" that speed up the way I use the board.  Can these features be implemented in YaBB?

Steve implemented the second of these, and I have just found, under "statistics", View the 10 most recent posts to this forum. which goes a long way to providing the first.

I wonder if my quote of myself will come out OK, as two of the above posts that have quotes start with a decidedly odd first line.

Roger


Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 23.07.04 at 18:05

on 07/23/04 at 17:14:46, Roger wrote :
I wonder if my quote of myself will come out OK, as two of the above posts that have quotes start with a decidedly odd first line.

I guessed that Snoopy might have inadvertently pasted the quote code into his subject line whilst editing. I see the dreaded 'on Today' survives in the quotes -- the German 'Am Heute' mod didn't fix all occurrences.

-- SJB

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 23.07.04 at 18:55

on 07/23/04 at 17:14:46, Roger wrote :

Steve implemented the second of these, and I have just found, under "statistics", View the 10 most recent posts to this forum. which goes a long way to providing the first.

OK Roger, how about headings for 25 (see 'Information Summary' box under 'MV Home')?

-- SJB

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Roger on 23.07.04 at 19:05
Spot on!  :D
What I particularly like is the way you jump straight to the posting in question, rather than having to scroll down.

R

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by JtJ on 23.07.04 at 21:27
It wasn't me in the top hat!
I was in the Pavilion Hotel all the time.  Honest.
Not guilty!

But seriously....
This all seems to work fine.  And I find it dead easy to use.

I DO prefer the old ways though.  It made it more personal IMVHO....but then I'm not the one doing it all and making it happen.

So I say:  Go for it!  But....

I predict many MVs will fade away/not register anew.
If that matters of course is a subject for debate and must remain  the Chief Webmaster and Webmistress's decision.

Joke:
Perhaps we need a thread to discuss the changes for MV otherwise the main thread (this one) will get cluttered up like what we're doing to it now! :-)

I like that word "Webmistress".
It makes all the little hairs stand up on my....

Ooops sorry....it's been a long week.

Forgive me not offering to be a moderator.  I'd love to have a go....and may volunteer in the future....but not right now.


PS:  On topic....
So glad that the November thing will happen!

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 23.07.04 at 21:37

on 07/23/04 at 21:27:54, JtJ wrote :
Perhaps we need a thread to discuss the changes for MV otherwise the main thread (this one) will get cluttered up like what we're doing to it now! :-)

We'll have an 'admin' or something board when we launch properly. FTTB I think New Forum is the place to discuss the, er, now what was it?

SJB

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Cary on 23.07.04 at 22:48
Is anyone else receiving email notifications of new messages - I think I'd asked for them but so far haven't received them.

Really don't like the fact that the system shows if you are signed on ... and you have to sign on to post.

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 23.07.04 at 22:52

on 07/23/04 at 22:48:21, Cary wrote :
Is anyone else receiving email notifications of new messages - I think I'd asked for them but so far haven't received them.

You need to request notification at the point of posting your reply -- it's not retroactive.

SJB

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Cary on 23.07.04 at 23:13

on 07/23/04 at 22:52:43, S J Birkill wrote :
You need to request notification at the point of posting your reply -- it's not retroactive.

SJB


Did that last time and it didn't work ... this time it worked.  I do have the  'notify of replies' option activated as well but this is the first time I've received notification. Does it only notify you of a reply to your own email - or that there is a new reply in the thread?

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 23.07.04 at 23:38
Any new reply in the thread, I believe.

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 23.07.04 at 23:48

on 07/23/04 at 22:48:21, Cary wrote :
Really don't like the fact that the system shows if you are signed on ... and you have to sign on to post.

I'll look at implementing an 'invisibility' option in user profile.

SJB

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Carole on 24.07.04 at 11:09

on 07/23/04 at 22:48:21, Cary wrote :
Really don't like the fact that the system shows if you are signed on ... and you have to sign on to post.

I was a bit unsure about this too but you can keep logged off for most of the time and only logon when you want to post, so you only need to be on for a short time. But you probably know that. Will that not work for you?

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Roy on 24.07.04 at 13:31
Well, I´m in, and I´m on, even on a Spanish keyboard where MV seems to be one of my Favoritos...

so it can´t be that hard to use...

but I don´t think I like forums as much as email. I fell off the Dory Previn forum, somehow - never found out how - and when I went back it had migrated elsewhere.

I resubscribed, and asked for email notifies, but I see in my mail here that Yahoo have delisted me because I bounced. Which seems to be a problem with Demon now they have Brightmail anti-spam. Ho hum...

Hope it doesn´t happen here.

I know the email MV is/was very Steve-labour-of-love-intensive, but I´ve always assumed that was down to it not being automated; other mailing lists I´m on seem to be able to be automated, and can still stop HTML and attachments getting through; and only allow known subscribers to post directly, routing unknown ones for moderation by exception.

That would, I guess, have eased the load on Steve, though it still doesn´t address the éverybody gets everything´issue...

Anyway, this BB seems easy enough to use, and better than the klunky Yahoo thing....

Though this reply seems to have cost about a euro, it would even if I had doen it óffline´here...

Roy

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Roy on 24.07.04 at 13:32
NB: what misguided setting makes me an MV newbie?

Pah...... :huh:

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 24.07.04 at 13:47

on 07/24/04 at 13:31:00, Roy wrote :
I fell off the Dory Previn forum, somehow - never found out how - and when I went back it had migrated elsewhere.

I resubscribed, and asked for email notifies, but I see in my mail here that Yahoo have delisted me because I bounced. Which seems to be a problem with Demon now they have Brightmail anti-spam. Ho hum...

Hope it doesn´t happen here.

I think even the Yahoo Groups type of thing can be troublesome like that, bumping bouncers and losing chunks of the membership. And automated e-mailing we never would do.

No, those things'll not happen here -- it's all under my direct control. I could even vet every post if I chose, but the idea is to give more control to the membership. Once we go live we'll need to watch out for mischievous sign-ups (only members may post) -- I will implement mail domain filtering if necessary to block hotmailers and such (the untraceable addresses) joining.


on 07/24/04 at 13:32:54, Roy wrote :
NB: what misguided setting makes me an MV newbie?

Pah...... :huh:

Keep posting, Roy -- I haven't preloaded the forum with membership histories, but you'll soon become a 'Junior Member', and may even graduate eventually through the ranks to become an 'MV God'!

Steve

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Cary on 24.07.04 at 13:54

on 07/24/04 at 11:09:21, Carole wrote :
I was a bit unsure about this too but you can keep logged off for most of the time and only logon when you want to post, so you only need to be on for a short time. But you probably know that. Will that not work for you?


Yup - I can jump on and jump off again - but with my memory I might forget .... now, what was it I might forget???

Notify of replies still isn't working for me though I think I'm doing everything I should - any ideas anyone?

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Leslie Moss on 24.07.04 at 16:06
Okay, so I finally got into here. Couldn't get the website up ealrier this week if that's any useful feedback.

Like a number of responses, I like the email interface, not least because when working at my desk I am constantly downloading emails but would not remain logged-into a web forum. However, I see the attractions for the moderator.

The only other forum I have any experience of is the BBC Origins forum, which is rather clunky, and messages go missing from time to time. It's also immensly irritating to compose a long message and have the system hang when you're nearly at the end - something which never happens with my offline email client.

I have to say, that unless the volume of postings grows from the recent (Not very recent, but near-recent) trickle of emails, the forum would feel like a hammer to crack a nut. But if it encourages a new level of interaction, especially in real time, it could be a load of fun.

And now I'm going to see if my message miraculously appears immediately, or if it gets delayed by the censor err moderator!

Leslie

PS So sorry I missed Eastbourne, but work commitments made it impossible. (Is talk of PA off-topic for this thread?!)

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Leslie Moss on 24.07.04 at 16:08
Well stone me, here it is!

Leslie

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by avner on 24.07.04 at 16:17
Hello Steve

Thanks for including me in your founding 40. I've just registered and had a quick look. It appears good, but I must play around with it some more. At the moment I have to limit my PC time as I'm recuperating from some surgery.

Best wishes and success for the new initiative.

Avner G

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Snoopy on 24.07.04 at 19:19
Is it possible to enable editing of posts (assuming this forum software supports them) - it's often useful if you've made a typo or forgetten a small titbit that isn't worth an extra post.

There's usually the ability to have the fact that the post has been edited noted at the bottom of the post, along with a timestamp, which stops people changing their post and then pretending it was like that all along.

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 24.07.04 at 19:37
The way I have it set up at present, you're allowed to edit a post without tagging it as edited for 5 minutes after initial posting. The interval for editing with the tag is 72 minutes, and you can also delete your own message for up to 5 minutes after posting. The reason for these limits is to allow reasonable time for corrections, while preventing posters changing what they've said in a hypothetical dispute with the author of a follow-up message. :) The option isn't presented unless it's available.

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Snoopy on 24.07.04 at 19:44
The edit option isn't showing up for me at all, unless I'm being blind...

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 24.07.04 at 21:51
I'll look into it... (it's different for administrators)

(Later) Yes, looks like another bug to fix  :( .

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Kevin Cryan on 25.07.04 at 14:35
Time constraints have meant that I've not had a chance to look at what's on offer until just now. My immediate reaction is that we have here a wholly unexpected and welcome improvement on MV mailing system.

As I'm away for the next couple of weeks, I'll not necessarly be keeping up with how this develops. But I have high hopes that it will prove to be as good as Steve thinks it will.

Well done and thanks Steve.


Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Jan on 26.07.04 at 17:19

on 07/23/04 at 18:55:34, S J Birkill wrote :
how about headings for 25 (see 'Information Summary' box under 'MV Home')?

-- SJB

I'm still getting the 10 most recent posts in the summary but have discovered the link at the bottom for More recent postings which gives you the last 500, enough even for me!
Have to say that this forum doesn't fit in as well with my workflow as the email list, simply because I use email all day and every day.
I am finding the interface a bit intimidatingly complex - although I'm sure its a bit like a washing machine where you only ever use 2 programs no matter what else it does.

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 26.07.04 at 17:24
Jan

I cut the summary of recent posts down to 10 (from 25) over the weekend, so as not to clutter up the listing. The click-through '50 most recent' I increased to 500, but the 'view 10' I cut back to 5. I'm sure (?) everyone'll grow to love it...

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Richard_Corfield on 31.07.04 at 08:38
Hi Friends,

Just back from holiday so I'm only just trying this.

Yes, it works for me! Well done Steve and thanks for all your continuing hard work.

BTW: Saw Clive at the Dartington Literary Festival a couple of weeks ago. He was on excellent form - read out a couple of his reviews - the one about Judith Krantz (?) was hysterical and he also did some readings from Unreliable Memoirs - notably Billycart Hill.

I managed to ask a question about Pete so that the audience (the hall was packed) were informed about the music side too. He made a point of mentioning the web site - has there been any more traffic as a result Steve?

Also, I bought his new poetry volume (The Book of My Enemy) and I was truly delighted to see so many song lyrics featured: not just old ones but also newer stuff from The Lakeside Sessions and Winter Spring.

All best,

Richard C

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 31.07.04 at 09:09

on 07/31/04 at 08:38:02, Richard_Corfield wrote :
Saw Clive at the Dartington Literary Festival a couple of weeks ago. [...] He made a point of mentioning the web site - has there been any more traffic as a result Steve?

Pretty quiet, Richard: 2 new members on the 15th and one on the 29th. Hits about average -- SJB

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Richard_Corfield on 31.07.04 at 09:22
Hi Friends,

Just got back from holiday so I'm trying this for the first time.

Yes, I like it! Good job Steve, and thanks for all your continuing hard work.

Saw Clive at the Dartington Literary Festival a couple of weeks ago. He was in good form reading a review he wrote of a book by Judith Krantz (?) which was hysterically funny and reading the Billycart Hill extract from Unreliable Memoirs.

I managed to ask a question about his work with Pete and Clive used the opportunity to plug the website - any more hits than usual as a result Steve?

I also bought The Book of My Enemy and was delighted to see so many of the lyrics in it - not just from the old albums but also from The Lakeside Sessions and Winter Spring too.

All best,

Richard C

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Richard_Corfield on 31.07.04 at 09:27
Sorry guys,

Wasn't sure the first version posted so I retyped it. I can see that this new system will take some getting used to but I'm still sure it's an improvement!

Richard C

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 31.07.04 at 09:36
Richard: after posting, in case of error, you have 6 minutes to delete ('Remove') your message and 31 minutes to edit ('Modify') it, after which it becomes permanent (the 'Remove' and 'Modify' options disappear). -- SJB

Title: Easy url
Post by S J Birkill on 01.08.04 at 22:45
http://www.peteatkin.com/forum

Unfortunately, because of the way YaBB works, any links you make to specific forums or threads will need to use the full address, e.g.
http://www.peteatkin.com/cgi-bin/mv/YaBB.cgi?board=news;action=display;num=1090236135;start=40#47

-- Steve

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Dave_Smith on 02.08.04 at 05:25
Steve
Love it.  Just when I think you may be doing too much work you do even more. I have been a silent weekly MV for ages.  Don't know how many more there are like me.  This is just the way to spend 5:30ish am when you can't sleep.
:D

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by colin_boag on 02.08.04 at 10:04
Steve, excellent forum - well done.

If I might make one suggestion.  I would remove the facility whereby members can use a pseudonym rather than their name.  As one who subscribes to a few such forums (fora?) I've seen the trouble that can be caused by letting people disguise who they are.  I use the Gloucester Rugby Club forum regularly and all kinds of idiots post the most amazing rubbish because they believe their identity is hidden.

MV is a small, relatively intimate group and I don't see why any one of us shouldn't be willing to have our name attached to our post.

Colin

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 02.08.04 at 10:38
Thanks Colin

I'm inclined to leave this decision to the member. In fact I don't think we can insist: we have no control over the username an applicant enters on registration -- it may well bear no relation to his or her real name, although you, myself and most of the regulars have used our own names; to set a different nickname for forum use is then optional, and we can only recommend members use their real names at this point. Yes, I could disable this option, barge in and enter their names myself, if I recognised them from their e-mail addresses, but that would be unfriendly and in any case couldn't always be done with newcomers. I think there will be some peer pressure for openness -- I've already noticed some members dropping their nicknames on seeing the large number of familiar faces here. Also we can afford to be more strict in our moderation in this open forum, which could penalise the anonymous: we'd be more likely to censure or bump a made-up name than a recognisable 'Voice'.

Steve

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Pete Smith on 02.08.04 at 10:44

on 08/02/04 at 10:04:29, colin_boag wrote :
Steve, excellent forum - well done.

If I might make one suggestion.  I would remove the facility whereby members can use a pseudonym rather than their name.  As one who subscribes to a few such forums (fora?) I've seen the trouble that can be caused by letting people disguise who they are.  I use the Gloucester Rugby Club forum regularly and all kinds of idiots post the most amazing rubbish because they believe their identity is hidden.

MV is a small, relatively intimate group and I don't see why any one of us shouldn't be willing to have our name attached to our post.

Colin


I quite agree Colin. I'm sure we all remember the trouble Linda Snell had with "4square" on the Ambridge web site.

Pete Smith

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Cary on 02.08.04 at 20:52

on 08/02/04 at 10:04:29, colin_boag wrote :
If I might make one suggestion.  I would remove the facility whereby members can use a pseudonym rather than their name.  
Colin

But how would you know!! My real name is Mrs Bumbblethwithen :o

But as myself I have another query/suggestion Steve .... the notify of reply is finally working properly, which means my mail box is filling up! No problem there, but they all look to have come from you Steve rather than the forum. Which means if you really do send an email to someone it could easily get lost in the 'noise'. Would it be possible for the system to use another address such as forum@peteatkin.com?? Thanks

Ever onwards to  non-newbie status

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 02.08.04 at 23:08

on 08/02/04 at 20:52:51, Cary wrote :
Would it be possible for the system to use another address such as forum@peteatkin.com??

Good idea -- implemented, thanks to Snoopy's on-line help! And sorry to John W, who caught me in the act (all 35 seconds of it) of trying a fix which didn't work, and crashed the forum! -- Steve

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Cary on 02.08.04 at 23:15

on 08/02/04 at 23:08:45, S J Birkill wrote :
Good idea -- implemented, thanks to Snoopy's on-line help!

Thank you to both ...... from an MV Junior Member. ;D

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Alan Manton on 11.08.04 at 22:30
Do you really want to know what gives me a thrill about this new forum?  It's a bit embarassing really.  It's the bit at the bottom which tells you who else is on line at any one time.  When I see the names of Steve or Carole or Leslie or Gerry or Julian or any of the other friends I have met at various locations around the country over the years, it somehow makes me feel a bit more a part of the wonderful community which Steve by his efforts has built up.  Why, a couple of times Pete himself has been but a fewe keboard clicks away.

Yes, I like the new forum - long may it flourish.

Just one thing though.  On a couple of occasions I've noticed that Steve and Carole are both online at the same time.  Seperate computers? - surely not...

Alan.   ;)

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Carole on 11.08.04 at 23:48

on 08/11/04 at 22:30:53, Alan Manton wrote :
Just one thing though.  On a couple of occasions I've noticed that Steve and Carole are both online at the same time.  Seperate computers? - surely not...

Hi Alan

You don't imagine that the Forum-meister lets me use his, do you?  ;)  I like seeing who is online too. It does feel more of a 'family'.

Carole

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Gerry Smith on 12.08.04 at 01:35
But doesn't it feel bloody lonely when it says 0 guests on line and 1 member and the name is your own!

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Snoopy on 12.08.04 at 19:52

on 08/11/04 at 23:48:27, Carole wrote :
You don't imagine that the Forum-meister lets me use his, do you?  ;)

He's got enough to choose from!  ;)

(Not that I can talk!  ::))

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by John N L Morrison on 18.10.04 at 22:53
Ahem....  Much as in principle I welcome the move to the new web-based forum, it does seem to me that it's dying by stages....

I used to catch up on the old messageboard as and when I could and there was a sort of vibrancy about it. But there is a critical mass for this sort of operation and I don't think that on the current level of usage there's a hope of meeting it.

As it happens, I run a website for a lot of senior military people who originally convened in 1993 and get together every 2 years for an hilarious international reunion. But will they use my website to comminicate? No way. Not their generational thing.

So perhaps those who used the old system are no longer being reminded by the daily/weekly pop-up on their email to keep in touch. Perhaps that's because we're all getting older.

Steve - I'd be interested to know the statistics on weekly messages to the old board as conpared to postings to the new. I'd guess you're down by a factor of what? 5? 10?

Not trying to be difficult, but I do have a sinking feeling reminiscent of the 2-3 major computer disasters I've presided over in the past. Let me tell you sometime about my apparence before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee  to justify spending GBP40M of the taxpayers' money to no avail. But it was the best thing I ever did - by axing that sucker we got a system that worked!

Yours, an ex-Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence,

John

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 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...

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Roger Cornwell on 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 ...

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Secret Drinker on 19.10.04 at 14:54

on 10/19/04 at 00:19:22, 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  >:(

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  ;D

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  :-/

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...  ;D

Cheers

Paul

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Leslie Moss on 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?

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by S J Birkill on 20.10.04 at 21:48

on 10/20/04 at 21:24:18, 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

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Pete Atkin on 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?

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Secret Drinker on 21.10.04 at 12:11

on 10/21/04 at 11:35:51, 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?)  ;)

Cheers

Paul

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Roger Cornwell on 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?

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Mike Farringdon on 21.10.04 at 17:54
Pete's idea looks good to me.  I would certainly welcome receiving his newsletter.

Title: Pete's suggestion, and some comments on the website
Post by Leslie Moss on 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?

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Nick Munton on 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

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Bob Kingston on 21.10.04 at 18:46
Great idea for us technophobes.

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by phil_smith on 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    

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by number_63 on 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  

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Mike_Walters on 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

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Alan Manton on 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.  ;D

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Maurice_Lovelock on 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.

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Robert Reid on 25.10.04 at 20:38
I think Pete's newsletter is a great idea. Go ahead.

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by number_63 on 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! ;)  

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Andy Love on 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

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by number_63 on 26.10.04 at 20:32
Gosh! The ego is flattered that anyone might be remotely interested;albeit that some might suggest that too much of MV is spent trying to unravel puzzles.

Giving clues would completely negate the point of anonymity.But fortunately security 's no problem at all.

So I'm fully intending to hold out for at least a week (though as a clue that might contradict the information on  the profile for number 63) before you get the bibful requested :-X

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by andyw on 04.11.04 at 20:51
Yes, like many others I think Pete's newsletter is an excellent idea. Thnks for thinking of those of us, who, for various reasons, forget too keep up to date with our "lurking".  I hope that it will go ahead.

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by David Barrett on 02.01.05 at 16:18
I'm someone else who would very much welcome Pete's email newsletter.  I'm relatively computer-literate and as a freelance writer I spend most of every day sitting in front of the damn thing, and could very easily log in to this forum at any time to see what's going on.  But I don't.  I've known it's been around since before it started, and have dropped in a couple of times over the months, but I've only actually joined it today, in order to send this posting.

A couple of years ago, after 9/11, I got caught up in a forum on UK2Net, and found I was sometimes spending two or three hours each day on it, and so not working.  A quick browse through this forum, and there are all sorts of things I could respond to -- but I really don't have the time.  Even if you don't spend ages composing long responses and engaging in fascinating discussions, forums take up far more time even to read than email lists.

The other major problem, which others have mentioned, is remembering and choosing to log in to the forum on a regular basis.  It's not just "self-discipline", Steve; for many of us it's a right pain in the fundament.  It's just one more damn thing to do.

As you'll have realised by now, I'm one of those who vastly preferred receiving the weekly digest every Sunday, reading it at my leisure, and responding or not.  And, of course, getting my Pete Atkin news that way.

Interestingly, the senior editors of Phenomena magazine used to communicate via a forum; we've now set up a Yahoo email group, and now none of us risks getting left out of the loop on discussions or decisions because we'd neglected to log in for a day or two.  Immeasurably preferable.  I'm in several other Yahoo groups, including for 1970s singer-songwriters Lesley Duncan and Dory Previn, and they work.  You can easily be as active or as passive as you like.  You can be a lurker for years, then suddenly contribute because something chimes for you.  I know for sure with both of those groups that we would lose most of our members if we changed to a website forum -- as I would guess has happened here.  Oh, I'm also in the Janis Ian Yahoo group, not a discussion group but a news notification group, similar to what Pete is proposing to set up -- and very useful.  A similar service for (and from) Pete would be great.

I probably won't drop in here all that often, so yes, please let me have news via email.  Though perhaps I should point out that I didn't receive the email notification of this proposed service, which I understand from the above posts should have happened.  Hey ho.

David
www.midnight-music.info

Title: Re: New Forum
Post by Murray McGlew on 04.01.05 at 12:31
I like the new forum. As far as my email is concerned, the starting of the forum coincided with the beginning of an anti-spam service from our server, and checking for routine communications is much easier now.

As for the actual discussion of things PA and CJ: a lot of topics have been thrashed out over the years, which limits what gets talked about now. It doesn't necessarily mean a lack of interest because of the new format. I've been very busy with other stuff lately, which means I haven't contributed much, but I have checked in when I get a spare moment, and the fact that a thread can sit here more or less indefinitely means that I don't miss the boat on something I would like to comment on.

Oh yes: and the lack of a spell check (as far as I know) is a good dissaplinn for me.

Murray.

Title: Newsletter & Downloads etc
Post by Pete Atkin on 04.01.05 at 22:22
Hi Dave, and everyone who's responded positively to the idea of a newsletter --

Yes, I am proposing to do it.  It really isn't all that difficult, especially with the help of the virtual gizmos in the way of which that Nice Mr Birkill has pointed me.   It's just that I've got this terrible inertia in the diodes all down my left side.  Well, both sides, actually.  But I shall crack it.  I will crack it.  

And having cracked it, I'll then try to figure out what I might use it for.  Primarily news, I suppose, when there is some.  And then probably my own responses to forum postings, when called for and/or appropriate.  That will requie giving some hint about whatever it is I'm responding to, of course, but it may prove a useful way of pointing subscribers back to the forum itself.  And besides, it always feels like a bit of an intrusion when I muscle in here.  It may not be true in practioce, but I still can't help the feeling that for me to stick in my eighteenpenn'orth puts a blight on any further useful contribution -- as in the case of Andy Love's recentish query about My Brother's Keeper.  Anyway, we'll see.  

I'll do my goshdernedest to figure out how to manage the list and hope to have something under way in the next couple of weeks.  

The possibility of providing downloads is another, rather more complex question.  Please don't forget that the website is run and maintained by the aforesaid NMB as an entirely non-commercial operation, and while hosting the Hillside Shop is one thing -- and one that doesn't ask more than the absolute minimum of TANMB's time and attention -- providing the download facility is something else again.

And by the way, please do not forget that providing legal downloads is, as far as the owners of the recordings are concerned, contractually just the same as making them available on CD.  (I'm going to have to refer you to previous postings about the distinctions between the ownership of and rights in (a) the recordings, (b) the performances, and (c) the material being performed -- I simply don't have the energy to go through it all again;  maybe it should be in the FAQs.)

While I'm on, my thanks again to Steve for posting the news of my old chum Al Sizer's death.  It was a real shaker.   We'd known each other since about age 12, a friendship based primarily on music, and mostly on playing it together, through our teens and through Footlights, and well beyond.

By the way, if you haven't read it already, do not hesitate to get hold of a copy of Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1.   It's anything but a standard rock autobiography.  The shape of it is unconventional, but makes perfect sense, and it adds greatly to the experience of listening to his songs, without "explaining" them.   It's extraordinarily vivid, and unusually revealing of the creative process and what lies behind it and underpins it, without being in the least mock-modest or self-glorifying.  BD comes thorugh as a human being, and one you'd want to spend time with.    Oh yes, sorry -- comma in my opinion.

Anway and whatever, I hope that there'll be plenty that I have to keep you informed of in 2005, and that the year will be memorable for all of you, for all sorts of positive reasons.

Go well

Pete

Title: Re: Newsletter & Downloads etc
Post by Theo Clarke on 11.01.05 at 20:14

on 01/04/05 at 22:22:03, Pete Atkin wrote :
it always feels like a bit of an intrusion when I muscle in here.


Whilst your modesty, Pete, is an essential part of your charm, it does seem to me that you may be taking it a bit far with this opinion.  I realise that this forum does not actually belong to you and that speaking here is not quite the same as being in you own home but I do feel that this is akin to a pub at which most of us are the regulars whilst you are the only one with a plaque on your stool. It is certainly true that your opinions carry more weight than those of the rest of us when you speak of your own work. No muscle; just a form of wisdom.  As far as I am concerned, you cannot muscle in because you are always at the centre.

Theo



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