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Forum activity - how do we get this active again

  • Juninho
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7 years 4 months ago #362 by Juninho
All good points - though I think i prefer a forum vs a Facebook group as things get lost there... !

So here is my resolution kicking in (erm in late feb) - I am going to try and be more active and contribute where I can ... I will also try and 'promote' this website as much as I can in the hope it starts becoming more active.

I can see I have missed out on a few topics by not frequenting myself so off to catch up now!
7 years 5 months ago #354 by Captain Crunch
Replied by Captain Crunch on topic Forum activity - how do we get this active again
Hi folks, I do not think there is a specific issue with the TD&WG forum itself, I just think that forum's as a vehicle has probably run its course. Other groups also face the same issue. If you take Usenet which is very similar, its has almost died whereas social media has taken off. At work, I am signed up to one forum where people collaborate across 50 organisations - its not busy and we are also asking the same question - how can we make it more interactive?

I probably dip in here a few times each year, and when I do, its possible to view if there is any chat on hot topics. The reason I am here today is because I wanted to find out more about the local threat to the green belt.

People are quite busy and I think the challenge is that where people have a wide range of interests (personal and professional), they do not always stay connected to forum's unless something brings a specific forum to the front of their mind. And of course people struggle with managing a huge number of password.

Technically, there is nothing wrong with this forum. Its easy to navigate and I have found that it performs well. Changing the design may have not been responsible for less engagement. I just think the concept is not as popular as it was. Friends Reunited is another concept which died.

Perhaps TD&WGRA should consider setting up a Facebook group? This may be the way to share news and perhaps FB posts back to articles on the main website? Where people sign up to FB, you will might see more engagement as articles are pushed to a platform which people will view most days.
7 years 6 months ago #352 by rudi
I think there were several problems that resulted in people not participating in the forum and the general decline.
1. Trolls - I think BlueSky rings a bell.... used the site for banal ramblings about local people and other trivia.
2. There was a major spat on here with regard to a planning application and an individual that got rather nasty.
3. The original administrator also used to regularly start topics - which people responded to - I believe the new administrators have a lot less time on their hands. The trolling was cut out when the new site went live by the current moderators but that doesn't seem to have been communicated to the old users (or new) to get people involved again.

But I agree, if more people started topics and the RA magazine promoted the forum - it might get a better take up.
7 years 7 months ago #344 by Badger
Agree, I got fed up with the troll/s and the moderator's lax attitude towards them. I'd have put a blanket ban on anyone who autocorrected to peanut instead of roundabout ;)

As Craig says, it's also a sign of the times. Motley Fool UK are about to close their investment boards which used to be amazing hives of discussion, entertainment and camaraderie until a few years back.
7 years 7 months ago - 7 years 7 months ago #339 by Dittonian
Replied by Dittonian on topic Forum activity - how do we get this active again
It is a shame that the forum dried up. It seemed to coincide with the changeover to the new website. There also seemed to be a rise in trolling.

I did find the forum useful for some debate or useful info about what is happening in Thames Ditton and it has its place in my opinion alongside the Facebook ATD pages etc. But without content, I stopped checking. It was also a shame that we lost a lot of old content when we moved to the new technology (or it wasn't easily navigable).

If people start posting again, and the website is promoted (e.g. as part of the RA publications), maybe it might take off again.

Agree with your points Juninho.
Last edit: 7 years 7 months ago by Dittonian.
  • Juninho
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7 years 7 months ago #338 by Juninho
Hi all valid points... And ironically I am only checking this myself almost a week later!

I do find it a bit slow and clunky but then again as Craig mentions aesthetically its massively improved. The old forum just worked - and some people (me included!) don't like change as often it means a slower experience in the short term (took me ages to come to term with some of the Sonos software updates but i digress). That all said - its ok in its current form, it just needs more users.

I think tdres' suggestion to link a topic to here from the ATD page would work well and vice versa but I suspect it would not suit either party (just us as users). For example the topic on the one way - bit of discussion on ATD and then link to here where people can continue. If that is a viable option then great but I'll assume not for now.

So how do we make this more active again? We did discuss it once before but I think it is worth doing... as mentioned I like getting news on About TD and asking / sharing the usual complaints about train delays etc but I miss being able to cover the topics that need a lengthier discussion.

About TD facebook did not achieve its critical mass overnight - a lot of work was done behind the scenes to promote content but the people who set it up. And now hopefully it has content from users. ATD also the advantage that its on a social media platform - its easy to 'like/follow a page and then its part of your facebook browsing. Here we would need people to actively visit this page which is trickier so not saying we should even get to that level of usage but it would be nice to get a core of about 30/40 people with another 100 or so dipping in.

Here are some things I think we could do:
1. Promote the page at the RA meeting
2. Spread the word between us
3. Have active content
4. Moderate to stop people trolling (we only really had Keith to moderate)

Any other thoughts?
7 years 8 months ago #337 by midibob
I'd love to see the forum active again but as has been said a lot of the contributors left during the changeover and never returned.
I still find the new site extremely slow, could that be a reason?
7 years 8 months ago #336 by tdres
It's a vicious circle - no one responds so no one bothers posting and it gradually dwindles away. I used to look at it several times a week but now its more like once a month as so little happens.
I think the few teething problems the new site had at handover lost quite a few people who haven't returned.
The ATD facebook page is great, but it is a different demographic and hard to monitor if you aren't a regular facebook user, whereas this site is standalone and, as Juninho says, has history.
Maybe a bit of advertising of the forum on the main page here and (if it's not conflicting interests) a comment now and then on the ATD page pointing people here for a more detailed discussion would help.
7 years 8 months ago #335 by craigvmax
Replied by craigvmax on topic Forum activity - how do we get this active again
Pertinent post matey and I think the lack of response for over 3 days speaks volumes sadly.

Keith did a great job on the original site and the chaps responsible for this one have taken a lot of time and effort to make it useable and aesthetically pleasing.

I stopped using it for a while when a few unregulated trolls seemed intent on causing trouble and I simply don't have time or inclination to debate with these people.

It's also a sign of the times that the past few years generally have been telling for forums as people find them less accessible and immediate than social media pages and there's been a general decline in use as a result.

I'm an admin on the ATD Facebook page and it's busier than ever and gets huge engagement, liking a post helps to keep you up to speed with additional comments as they are added. Across the platforms I manage we have around 100k followers and you have to be careful what you wish for as that can become a full time job in itself!

Forums are great and perhaps appeal to a different demographic but they will only ever succeed with regular engagement and sensible and regular moderation and engagement by the hosts. We're all busy people whatever we do though so I can fully understand why there is less content here than in days gone by.

Hope everyone is well nonetheless.
  • Juninho
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7 years 8 months ago #334 by Juninho
This forum used to be a lot more active and its a bit of a shame it has dried up. Looking back I realise that there was a core of contributors and a lot of it was kept alive by the helpful management of Keith.

It would be great if it was more active as its such a useful source of information. It was for us when we moved in and in fact I have also made some friends on here!

Some of the things that would have made it on here (like point in time news items) has moved onto facebook on the very good about thames ditton page.

I appreciate there are different factions but as a user, consumer and hopefully also a provider of information I think both have their place. Facebook groups/pages are useful for information/news/updates but its too easy to lose the history... and for topics that people will revisit over time that doesn't work well.

As an example on About thames ditton the topic of the one way through the village was raised. There is history on this topic and having a forum makes it easier to see that history and debate it over time. I fear that topic will get dropped and in spite of the reservations against it I think there is merit in it being considered.

The additional value of this forum - is that it gives residents a medium to raise items for consideration for the RA outside the meetings (which I have to confess I have not managed to make yet - to my shame).

I have to confess I find it a little clunky to use since the upgrade and I have not logged on in months.

How do we bump up activity and make it useful again?

I also think not enough people in the village are aware of it for one.