Despite former threads I feel this forum is great for the local commuity

Hi All

I would never judge anyone or their actions.

But I care about this forum and what it has helped with in our community.

This forum helped us raise funds for Forest Hill Library @leafandgroove and right now Stefanie’s Memorial. All of these mean a lot to me.

I hope everyone keeps on reading posts and contributing.

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Thank you, but I don’t deserve this praise as I just do what I feel is right.

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I feel this community is great for this forum. A forum is nothing but coded software. It’s the people who make it great. It’s the people who raise the money and volunteer their time and without this forum, they will still do great things and find ways to spread the word. Recent events have highlighted the fact that this forum is also highly divisive and a vehicle for other purposes.

Perhaps it is time to gift the forum to the community and let it run itself in a way that the community wants it to.

Its future, at the moment, appears to be uncertain.

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@JamesEvans Given the forum was started and has been paid for solely by Chris that would be a difficult thing to give away.

And when you say “Give it to the community”, to whom in the community? It is already run by members and ex members of the community.

Finally, of the over 81,500 posts on here I wonder how many are divisive as a whole. I personally don’t think most members care much for the very small percentage of discord, they just want a local forum where they can be kept up to date on local issues and events or post about them. This is why politics is an opt in topic as it allows 99% of the community never to have to listen to the spoutings in there.

This forum is not perfect, but then I don’t believe forums can ever be for all of the people all of the time.

All I ask is that people continue to support the forum even if you find you believe you can’t support the owner. That is your choice.

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There was already a forum which provided people with what you say they are only interested in. So why did we need a new one? I suggest it’s because of the way the old one was being run. So it would be naive to suggest that the local community is just interested in the content and nothing else.

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It would certainly be interesting to hear balanced opinions from people who have not invested lots of time and money in the forum to date.

@JamesEvans Very true but the issue for some was that the Owner was also the only Moderator and when they didn’t like something it was out, no explanation. Also, if they didn’t like you, you were also out. No explanation.

But before we continue please take a moment to read the latest thread from the mods.

is the old one you are referring to .com? If so one reason is that that site is rubbish and far less user friendly that this one (I’m also not happy they wanted to charge me to attempt to let my house for a couple of months).

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I got annoyed when I asked for a dentist recommendation and it got removed. I found it slung in some trade section where nobody was allowed to reply, as if I was doing some sort of spamming…

And then I found the entire first page full of advertisements.

There was another forum set up, but I always struggled with that, because it was set up by a group including a local businesswoman who ran a shop stocked with other peoples artwork, for which I was not paid, until I managed to drag some of the debt out of her when she folded the shop.

On reflection, both that forum and this one appeared to have been set up by people who had been banned from the original forum.

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Hi James

I’ll respond but without my moderator hat on for the sake of clarity.

When I moved to the area not far off 16 years ago, the only local source of information I could find was the .com site. At the time I found it hugely useful, and it no doubt still holds some interesting information in it’s archives.

I once spent a considerable time detailing a list of all parks in the area (similar to the one I did here) and it got deleted for no reason - though in contrast to others did get a response when I asked why.

It’s not my place to say why, but that site effectively lost most of its active members. Some moved here, and some will have moved to facebook groups like the popular se23mums which I am also part of.

I’ve no doubt that from a user experience across multiple devices this is one of the best forums, not just locally, to use. I think there is an underestimation of the amount of work that has gone in to developing that in the first place, and to continually improve and maintain it.

You and the poster above are correct - the platform should in effect merely facilitate members to help with various projects - and I believe in that it succeeds. The forum cannot generate or push what people do - only people can do that - but the forum has been well designed, in my opinion to allow that.

In a utopia, you’d hopefully not need moderators and the site could self-moderate. At times, the site almost does, at others it needs lots if intervention.

I’ve probably strayed a little into speaking as a mod, apologies. But for clarity this is just my opinion.

Thanks

Al

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I think that’s a sweeping understatement.

Firstly a small amount of that software has been coded by Chris himself in at least the form of the bots that try and regulate discussion and bring relevant content into the forum.

Secondly Chris clearly spent a lot of time organising posts, directing users to appropriate topics, promoting users and enabling messaging, handing out likes and badges as well as curating content into the forum & keeping his ‘ear to the ground’ on local topics of interest.

Software also doesn’t run itself indefinitely. Things crash, need backing up, maintaining and upgrading. I’m sure there’s lots of that work that has gone on completely unseen behind the scenes, and knowing IT, probably at the most inconvenient times too!

So I don’t think it is as simple as just ‘passing the software on’ and letting it run itself.

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At no point did I suggest there was no work, time or money involved in creating, promoting or running a forum.

The post you selected the quote from was about how the contributors are what makes the forum what it is. In my opinion.

I feel I have enough experience of websites and forum moderation to be able to appreciate the effort that goes into such endeavours.

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Did similar :exploding_head:

Yep that bit was strange - I never understood the logic - I could understand pinning people who paid for advertising, but not allowing conversation on those areas was bizarre and frustrating in equal measures.

Irrespective of recent events I imagine most of us would agree that the software product supporting this forum is streets ahead of others out there, and that it would be good to think se23.life could be restored to the trusted status it formerly enjoyed – before a critical proportion of members vote with their feet.

Whilst I would not begrudge Chris Beach his once-aired idea that a number of technically related local forums might provide a reliable income, I could never see that happening without overt ‘monetization’ (yuk!) of the system, and the consequent risk of further ‘forum wars’, and can envisage it even less from where we are now.

Q: Would Chris be prepared to cede ownership of se23.life and its software licence to others? And would they be prepared to take it on (I’d suggest dropping all but the se23 variant) – and raise or otherwise stump up the monthly licence fee? I believe it’s either US$100 or 300 per month depending on the exact feature set we seem to have available (and whether Chris has negotiated a special rate based on his own technical contributions to the Discourse product).

As a developer myself I don’t underestimate the time and effort, never mind the hard cash, that Chris has invested here. However I do doubt the wisdom of adding any custom features which depend on one individual for their understanding and maintenance. I’ve been there myself, regretted it, and have shed a few such millstones in my time. I’d be inclined to remove them, and doubtless still have the ‘bees’ knees’ in local forum software.

For the avoidance of doubt, I don’t have the time for hands-on involvement myself, and offer these thoughts for what they’re worth. (and I realise this may not be much, coming from someone far less active here than before).

Edited to add: Discourse give a 50% discount to ‘registered non-profits’ (US parlance). A putative new SE23 community group might qualify. It should be easy enough to raise the outlay via social events etc. Or maybe the forum could fall under the wing of the Library / Leaf & Groove organisation (just a thought).

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Bit cryptic? What threads?

PM’d you.

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Thanks for this. OK after reading the update it’s not going to be a good forum ever if admins continue to cover what’s happened up. Fgs there’s no way this can be under police investigation no one has none anything illegal lol. But there was a serious, serious beach of trust with this community and I would not be surprised if people feel like they don’t want to post here anymore I would not blame them. Ilwonder how long my reply will stay up.

Why don’t you wait and see. I certainly have nothing to hide.

It sounds like something big has happened here and those of us who haven’t been on the site recently don’t have a clue what it is!!! If there is a breach of trust rather than just people having the usual disagreements, I think it appropriate that a summary is shared rather than just hiding the original post. It would be good to know so we can make decisions on whether we want to continue using the forum. At the moment it’s all a bit cloak and dagger.

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