Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Improvements you'd like to see for this community

Hello all - Sylvia recently sent out a message that included a note about the two of us working together to give this community a face lift.

 

The bad news first: I'm new to this community.  Shame on me...but Sylvia's been too nice to say no to my requests for help so far, so she's been the only resource I've needed so far!  I'm also new to Ning generally, so I'll be doing some homework on getting up to speed with what can be done.

 

The good news: I know enough HTML, CSS, PHP, and other flavors of the alphabet soup to be able to do some pretty cool things.  I am enthusiastic about helping Sylvia continue to cultivate this community, so I've given her no limits to what she can ask me to do.

 

The content that you create is the heart and soul of this community, so keep it up, and even consider doing more of it!  With that said, any suggestions that you have to improve the other stuff - aesthetics, functions/widgets you'd like to see, how things are organized, etc. - this is your place to voice it.

 

Thanks, and fire away.

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Outstanding!


TCLynx said:
Well I'm already using Thunderbird so if it does work and I get the new blog posts and am notified of them, I'll probably not go searching for another way to do it (I will let you know if I do try the google reader though.)

I can say that I just got an e-mail about a new forum discussion and got to read it and comment so I'm happy about that.

So, I guess I just need some one to go put up a new blog post so I see if I get notified about that ; )
Ok here is an idea that could make the forum much better. A database that gives us a online entry form that we could fill out with the specifics of our systems. Fields we could populate with the information about our fish gardens plants etc. This db could then be used to collect information for searching and like minded Aquapons. Lets look into how this could be part of this forum.
It seems like threads often wind up in very different places than what they're titled as. Would it be possible to show sub-threads that contain important information with a rating system (on a by post basis)? Sometimes I find invaluable information stashed away in a thread that seems unassociated. I know this might be easy to abuse if members could rate their own threads, but I'm guessing there's a way around that. I'm also a little concerned about the "top 5" ranking. Seems like it might motivate and reward a spammer, once we've got spammers and trolls on the site.
As far as I can tell, the quickest way to wind up in the top 5 is to post lots of pictures and stuff, simply answering or posting in discussions only moves one up slowly. I think Sylvia has been doing a good job at keeping the spammers off by manually approving new members before letting them post.


Daniel E Brown said:
It seems like threads often wind up in very different places than what they're titled as. Would it be possible to show sub-threads that contain important information with a rating system (on a by post basis)? Sometimes I find invaluable information stashed away in a thread that seems unassociated. I know this might be easy to abuse if members could rate their own threads, but I'm guessing there's a way around that. I'm also a little concerned about the "top 5" ranking. Seems like it might motivate and reward a spammer, once we've got spammers and trolls on the site.
thanks for that, TC. We have only had a couple spammers in here, and I reject about one in 25 or so applicants because they clearly seem to be a spammer based on how they are answering the application questions (the last person answered everything with the word "good", for example).

Cosmo, the way I could do that is by sub-dividing the high level "tell us about your system" question into a series of questions, but then they would also need to a fixed entry type, like a pull down menu, to really be usefully searchable. And this would only apply to future members - can't do retroactively. I'm happy to modify those initial questions again (did it a few months ago at TCs request for more system info for diagnosing problems) but would like to hear from you guys what you would like those questions to be, and the possible answer set if applicable
Is there a Database - Survey kinda thingy that could be on the site. So we could search for all members that have Koi. It would have to have checkboxes or pulldown choices only so that it would work. We could then request all current members to fill out their DB profile so we could do some categorizing and searching. I belong to several forms for my business that have DBs on them. I think they are Yahoo. There might be a survey module that is not anonymous that works with this ning. I will take a look also.
Also if we could have a pick list for key words in posts that way we could better search that way.
Okay, you've thoroughly answered my spammer concern, but what about being able to rate a posting (particularly if the rating could include some sort of categorization for indexed searching)? As an example, I'll cite Sylvia's posting overviewing lighting. It is correctly categorized, so perhaps that's not the best example. Does this idea make sense to the other members of the group? Am I explaining it clearly? Maybe personal bookmarks or tags are the solution, but I was trying to think of a method. Let's say I go to search "tilapia fry food" and the best posting isn't in one of those groups, but other members have highly rated a post in a different forum as applying to that subject. Perhaps this whole line of reasoning is too convoluted and I should get back to my drafting work.



Daniel E Brown said:
It seems like threads often wind up in very different places than what they're titled as. Would it be possible to show sub-threads that contain important information with a rating system (on a by post basis)? Sometimes I find invaluable information stashed away in a thread that seems unassociated. I know this might be easy to abuse if members could rate their own threads, but I'm guessing there's a way around that. I'm also a little concerned about the "top 5" ranking. Seems like it might motivate and reward a spammer, once we've got spammers and trolls on the site.
I'm not sure but I think tags might be a way to help some with the searching but I must admit I haven't really tested out the search function on this site yet to see what happens.

As to the system stats. Hum. I wonder if there might be some sort of "app for that? LOL um kinda like there is the member map thing. I wonder if we might do a link to some sort of database where people could go do up a system stat the way they can go put their system on the map so to speak?
I don't know.

And the whole search thing, this has always been a problem on all forums I know of, info might be repeated and repeated but it is still difficult to search for so people wind up asking again and are dependent on other members either repeating the info again or pointing them to the thread that has the answers. I don't know of a good solution. Those forums where the administration becomes nasty about cleaning out off topic posts or scolding people who ask questions or those who repeat answers usually just turn people off and reduce traffic rather than making things any better. Sometimes google searching the site has helped me find info I wanted on forums but that only works if you happen to know the exact terms people are using to discuss what you want to know and that is often impossible when learning about new things and you just don't know all the terminology or people from different countries are discussing things and their terminology is different (though I do enjoy learning the different terminology from other countries as it is often really fun.)

I've taken to putting links I find useful or that I tend to send people to a lot into my group page.
OK, all. I've changed the profile questions per Kobus' list. I also confirmed that you can actually do a search of the membership by search term. If you go into the Members tab, then add the term you are looking for in the search box. If you want to find the answer to one of the profile questions go into Advanced search (which is now less useful than it was before because I just changed the fields around...). I discovered, for example, that 79% of our members are male, and that only 33% have aquaponics experience. There were about 8 members who mentioned Koi, Cosmo, in their system description (before I changed it around).

Same thing for the forums. I actually find that the search feature works pretty well. I was looking for ways to adjust pH recently and just typed "adjust pH" into the search box and got a useful list of posts. Try it and let me know what you think.
Just approved a new member who is experienced and filled out the whole new question structure. Check out Ramon's page and see what you guys think of the new questions and let me know...
I like it. I would like to see some way to know how much filtration one has to go with the size of their fish tank though. (filtration volume is just as if not more important than fish tank volume.)


Sylvia Bernstein said:
Just approved a new member who is experienced and filled out the whole new question structure. Check out Ramon's page and see what you guys think of the new questions and let me know...

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