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Author Topic: A map of this forum - what is where?  (Read 3857 times)
grahame
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« on: February 25, 2015, 02:07:08 am »

Introduction

Our forum (as I write) hosts 169,418 posts in 13,172 topics on 46 boards, and of those 150,900 posts in 11,456 topics on 39 boards are publicly available for anyone on the internet to read.  We welcome external (non-registered) readers, and as you see from these numbers, such guests can read around 90% of the content. That's a conscious decision on our part. We don't think people want to have to go through (or should have to go through) a signup and approval process prior to seeing most of the information that's contributed. Such would be an unnecessary hassle for people who want to learn about something obscure that affects them, and which has already been covered. Examples are ... who they should ask about potholes in the station forecourt ... plans for diversions during major engineering works ... the details of fare rules ... which side to sit on for the best view.

Much as we would love to welcome new contributors on the same easy basis, we cannot do so.  We would rapidly end up with large numbers of contributions from all over the world on off-topic and sometimes shady subjects, and it would drown out our subject areas and potentially leave our team (or operator) responsible for the results of some posts. So we have a registration process which gives us a communication route back to our members - an 'audit trail' if you like.  People who want to post on-topic are always welcome, whatever their views, within our posting policies and legal limits (the "forum agreement") that they sign up to on joning.  Indeed, so much do we encourage new members that every thread viewed by a non-member (or by a member who is not signed in) includes the following:

Quote
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of First Great Western for customers of First Great Western and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

With so much public material, how is it divided / organised?

* We've split the topics into three categories

All across the Great Western Territory
- as it says on the label ;-) - general Great Western topics

Journey by Journey
- items specfic to individual lines or line groups

Side shoots - associated subjects
- forum admin, humour, preservation, new service campaigns, etc

* Each category is divided into a number of boards

* Each board comprises a number of threads

You are encouraged if continuing a subject that's already being discussed to add your post to an existing thread in one of the boards which is found in one of the three categories.  If the subject you're posting about is new, you're welcome to start a new thread - but only the admin team can add new boards or categories, and even they only do so very rarely indeed!

So that's most of what's posted here.  What about the other 10%?

39 boards are public - already covered above. Three of the seven remaining boards ("Frequent Posters", "Rumour Mill" and "And also") are areas where established members who've made a number of posts and so have become or are becoming known friends / contacts can post stuff they don't want to go public.  It could be a frustrated 'rant' post, it could be something they want to inform others about that's going on without giving it the oxygen of publicity, or it could be to arrange a meeting where they want to limit the invite and personal details involved to just the group. We ask members reading this area to respect the privacy of posts in this area and not to disclose them outside the group of people (established members, and the staff of the forum) who have access there.

A further board is the one we host for the "TransWilts Community Rail Partnership".   Most TransWilts line posts are made on the public facing board for that line, just as they would be for other lines.   However, the CRP sometimes discusses interim issues and thoughts which may not be fully public, or would cause needless concern or confusion to newcomers.  The most recent thread (for example) is about a suggested timetable amendment we may like to see, and having an incorrect timetable on public view could cause confusion and have people turn up for trains that don't exist. People did actually turn up for the new train service from December 2013 in the week before it started, so this is a real concern!  Membership of that board is not by number of posts, but on request - just send me a message if you would like to join - and the rule on sharing from the other limited boards is not as strict. Members are wecome to discuss things / comment within reason within their own organisations, bearing in mind that the CRP is a combination of local government, rail industry and community bodies.  A post picked up by a council representative, for example, may very well (and usefully) end up being discussed back at council with colleagues or elected members.

The moderator team needs to co-ordinate its activities, and we do that through a "Behind the Counter" board - it helps us ensure a continuity as we all come and go, and a consistency in decisions where we have to get involved in what's going on, or where we change things for the future, and a more technical "Stock Room" board for the admins lets us (primarily) sort out good registration requests and approve them.  The final board (1 thread from the last 4 years at present) is available as a parking ground for topics which require to be pulled off public view for consideration / investigation.

How to find out more?

I've posted the above as it's rather grown over time and it's worth putting all together and explaining.  Many forums keep their admin structure secret, but I see little point in doing that and I'm happy to let people know what's going on - just as it's good to be able to know 90% of what's going on when we travel, should we wish to do so.  This isn't a complete "forum guide" thread - far from it - that's posted elsewhere, and I encourage you - should you wish - to take a look at

"Who are 'we' - the people behind the forum"
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=1780.0

"Newcomers start here - and a reminder for established members"
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=1761.0

"The background to this forum"
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=10011.0

Please also feel free to ask more about the forum ... on the forum  Grin , or by personal message on the forum to one of the admin team, or by contacting the administrators - details available via any page, and that latter is open to guests as well as members.

How to find out more about Train (and bus) travel on Great Western (and elsewhere)?   Read and ask!  Wink Cheesy Grin - and thank you for reading this!



Edit note: With grahame's encouragement, I've gone through the above text to correct a myriad of his minor typos (in the interests of clarity), and I'll now make this topic 'sticky' for ease of future reference. CfN.  Smiley

« Last Edit: February 25, 2015, 07:54:31 pm by Chris from Nailsea » Logged

TransWilts Rail - Linking North to West and South 9 times a day. [see here]
grahame
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2017, 01:46:54 pm »

Adding to the map of the forum - a map of our user base, based on the star rating and descriptive text that appears alongside each persons's posts.





Of the 1800 + members, there are less than 50 member in "regular groups". Only four of those "regular group" accounts would be ranked below "full member" (three star) if they had count based accounts. All four are people we know very well indeed; three have a big community interest in transport and the fourth is a techincal person who runs another forum that makes the Coffee Shop look quiet.

You will notice a "moderator" and a "global moderator" category.  On The Coffee Shop, all moderators are enabled to moderate all boards, making them global moderators.  We have never found the need to say to anyone "we trust you to moderate, but we don't trust you enough to moderate everything".  More seriosuly, the facility would be used if the board was to be shared by a different group with differrent editorial policies.

The "Researcher" group is also empty. It allows us to appoint someone as a moderator without appearing with such a label against his / her name - the idea being that it's someone who could act in a fast moving crisis, but is not normally at the front line of keeping an eye on the forum.   Frankly, the forum's members are so self-moderating that we really haven't needed the safety net of "researchers".

« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 02:32:16 pm by grahame » Logged

TransWilts Rail - Linking North to West and South 9 times a day. [see here]
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
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