Articles Section

How can we improve this forum, and the site as a whole?
Post Reply
astronotus
Forum Follower
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:52 am
Location: Lancashire, UK
Contact:

Articles Section

Post by astronotus » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:02 am

Hi,

I know it states on the main page you intend to make more articles available. I think a more organic articles section on the forum would be helpful to members who wanted to access information on a specific area though. The quality of information and advice on the forum is excellent and by focussing on specific topics would be more readily accessible. It would also be very easy to implement on the site, all it needs is a new section which is a 1 minute job.

One person writes a short article on, say food, stating the foods they use at various stages. Other members then add to the list, or disagree with items on it. If somebody then asks about this topic and it's already been covered it's a simple matter of referring them to the topic, instead of repeating/telling them to search. This pools the knowledge of several members rather than just the one who wrote the article, makes it more open to change in light of new information etc than having essay style articles.

Rather than have a ban on slang/acronyms there could just be a fishkeeping terms article. That way people can talk about TDS, LFS, pH etc (which it's tricky to avoid!) but newbies and those who don't use English as their first language can follow the discussion without the need for an explanation within the topic. I've seen KH explained a few times, for example, but it would be much easier to explain it well once and then direct people to the article.

The combined knowledge of members of the site is phenomenal, and I do feel that pooling that knowledge in subject areas (with mods deleting off topic posts to keep the topics on track) would be very helpful for furthering the knowledge of the species.

What do you think?

dave
Obsessed!!
Posts: 328
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 6:58 pm
Location: liverpool

Hi

Post by dave » Sat Aug 05, 2006 4:03 am

Members offering advice is a matter of opinion, by highlighting a particular food, method will I think make it too methodical.

In addition to encourage new members who want to learn, an individual approach helps and assists.

And while things may repeat themselves, there are always little additions to knowledge every now and again.

To me, to make something definitive, and really we are only posting our experiences and we are all learning is self defeating.

Just my opinion.

Dave

astronotus
Forum Follower
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:52 am
Location: Lancashire, UK
Contact:

Post by astronotus » Sat Aug 05, 2006 5:02 pm

Hi Dave,

That's kind of the point I was making against static articles. Having articles in the forum (as opposed to essay style articles written by an individual) prevents it being fixed and definitive, as the little additions would be added to the forum articles.

Mceve's article for example is great but other people may have success using other methods, and she may have revised her techniques since originally penning the article, static articles will always be one person's experiences at that point in time. If that article was posted in the forum others could expand, contradict and confirm which surely is the whole point of a public forum which is striving to develop the best methods for species care.

Totally agree that an individual approach to help new members is beneficial. When a member posts a question in the forum they could be referred to the article if it's beneficial and/or an individual explanation given depending on how specific the question is. A question related to KH, for example, could be referred to the article for background information on water quality rather than explaining what KH is and how to adjust. That's quite obviously not to say that people shouldn't give individual replies. A reply could state: Please see the article for detailed information on water parameters. In your case I'd suggest...My experience is that...etc. It's more helpful to the individual with the question than telling them to search through all the past posts, and easier for the people answering than having to define KH for the umpteenth time before moving on to the specifics. I'm certainly not suggesting an approach where some kind of "zebra manual" is compiled and people are just told to adhere to that, and I'm not sure where you get that impression.

Your argument seems to be more against static articles or perhaps against even having articles at all to me, if that's the case of course you are entitled to your opinion (which I specifically invited by posting the question...) As Rob has expressed an intention to have articles I was offering an opinion on what I felt would be helpful to a new member such as myself, and a method that would be easier to implement and less burdensome on experienced keepers/breeders who would necessarily have to write static articles. Rob is offering a reward for articles which would seem to acknowledge that writing a full article such as Mceve's is time consuming- posting a quick opinion on what type of foods are used or a single definition of KH (to stick with the examples) is less so. The onus would not be so much on the most experienced zebra breeders/keepers either as, for example, I couldn't contribute much by way of a zebra article but could write lots of general fishkeeping definitions to alleviate the time demands on others with better species specific knowledge who could then spend that posting time adding to the forum so we could benefit more from their experience.

Please don't take this the wrong way but some of your posts seem to have the same effect as trolling, in that they can drive the post in different directions- I'm not suggesting this is intentional. It's not meant as a criticism either as you are definitely entitled to air your views in a public forum, and you can make good points (and sparking debate can be quite healthy as it makes people consider their position). The reason I mention this though is to illustrate the fact that the forums are like an ongoing conversation, which can go off in different directions, repeat information, see people changing their mind in light of new experience etc. This is great as it's what that type of resource is all about. The articles I'm suggesting would basically act like a recap, a summary of people's experience in specific areas. I'm not suggesting they replace the forums in any way, I feel they would compliment them. I've seen it work well on other forums and don't see why i wouldn't here, particularly as the forum continues to grow.

You personally could have start an article on exchange programs or zoo donations, to give yet another example. People then wanting to get involved could read the article and people's replies to get an overview on this topic in a single place. :D

NetsuaiAngel
Obsessed!!
Posts: 211
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2005 7:04 am
Location: Las Vegas, NV - USA

Post by NetsuaiAngel » Mon Aug 07, 2006 7:40 pm

astronotus,

Personally I really like your idea of dynamic articles. They sound interesting in how the information can be updated as our learning and experiences evolve. And the plus is that it isn't set in stone and different theories and techniques can be expressed.

The only set back that I can see is how the dynamic article process would be done. This may create more work for the moderators and Rob. They could act as the advisory board and review submitted articles or additions to an article, and then they could vote on the submission. A majority vote would 'approve' the submission added to the article.

This could be a way to control the article's development and lesson the workload on Rob and his team. And this would set the difference between the articles and a forum post.

Great idea. I love it! :)

- Angela

astronotus
Forum Follower
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:52 am
Location: Lancashire, UK
Contact:

Post by astronotus » Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:19 pm

Thanks Angela,

As you say the difficult bit is keeping them on topic. It would mean finding the balance between just leaving them as normal posts (and therefore with the potential to get sidetracked, bogged down etc) and heavily modding them, which would be a demand on the mods.

I was thinking maybe the mods could just delete off topic posts, or superfluous posts which didn't add anything like "nice article" and leave the rest. Hopefully people would understand they weren't for general chit chat and self moderate to some extent.

The voting idea is great and would keep the articles very focussed. Along similar lines submissions could be made to a seperate section to the articles then mods could move the ones they wanted to include (either by concensus or individual mods choice). Kind of the opposite of the deleting posts I was thinking :)

Anyway, whether it's possible or not I'm just pleased someone liked my idea :lol: 8)

Paul.

User avatar
Rob
Hypan-guru!
Posts: 1568
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 11:50 am
Location: Southwest Scotland
Contact:

Post by Rob » Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:36 pm

Hi Astronotus

Thanks for the input, you have some excellent points there. I think it could definitely give us something to work on. I can see Daves point also and I feel that it would be difficult to define the exact intention of the articles, i.e how we stopped them from becoming "Just another post".

Let me have a think and a chat with the mods and We'll get back on this one.

If I haven't got back in touch in a couple of weeks just give me a nudge!!!

rob
The perfect white lie..."Of course I didn't pay that much for the fish honey"

User avatar
McEve
Hypan-guru!
Posts: 2876
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 7:33 am
Location: Norway
Contact:

Post by McEve » Wed Aug 09, 2006 7:45 pm

Wikipedia-style articles? Can easily get out of hand if not moderated :wink:

Post Reply