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Keep the Show on the Road!

Let Everyone See The Photos

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It is difficult or impossible for non members (anyone not logged in) to view photos. You have to be a member (logged in) to access the gallery. Furthermore, inline (embedded) images display only the URL link (no photo unless you click it) for non members. The whole effect is a dull sea of text. Imagine American Road without photos!

 

Can we change the board settings to better display our photos to non members? I would think it would encourage interest, thus membership, and the like.

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We like to think it will encourage folks to join the forum. It's a little "reward" for those who took the time to sign up with us.

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We like to think it will encourage folks to join the forum. It's a little "reward" for those who took the time to sign up with us.

 

I thought that might be the reason, and I do understand it. It certainly is one way of looking at it, but I would like to make a respectful counter argument.

 

Look at the photo gallery statistics.

 

First, there are few viewers. So if membership is a requirement to view the gallery, it appears few are being induced by that incentive to join. Even those photos up longest with 30 or more viewers, average fewer than 5 a month!

 

It isn’t evident from this distance that the strategy is working to induce new members to join if so few people get to the gallery. And we have to assume that most of the 5 (or less) per month per photo are old members, not new.

 

Second, making it hard to view photos discourages us (at least me!) from posting photos. Who wants as small an audience as possible?? I have 400 viewers of my Route 66 trip thread, and only 10 viewers of the associated photo gallery (that magic 5 per month)!!! If it were only my gallery photos that got few viewers, you could blame the photographer. But look at the view (and comment) count for all the photos in the gallery.

 

If admission to the gallery is the inducement to join, very few seem to be joining to get there. And it discourages those of us (at least me!) who want to share photos as well as text, from doing so.

 

I recognize the reasons for using membership as a prerequisite to posting, but not as a prerequisite to viewing. I hope we will reconsider the strategy and decide instead to show off our members’ talents, both written and visual, to all who visit us. The photos are important to all viewers. I truly believe that will interest and induce more to join than will our current practice.

 

In any event, thanks for listening, and keep up the good work!

 

I’m just trying to Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

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I thought that might be the reason, and I do understand it. It certainly is one way of looking at it, but I would like to make a respectful counter argument.

 

Look at the photo gallery statistics.

 

First, there are few viewers. So if membership is a requirement to view the gallery, it appears few are being induced by that incentive to join. Even those photos up longest with 30 or more viewers, average fewer than 5 a month!

 

It isn’t evident from this distance that the strategy is working to induce new members to join if so few people get to the gallery. And we have to assume that most of the 5 (or less) per month per photo are old members, not new.

 

Second, making it hard to view photos discourages us (at least me!) from posting photos. Who wants as small an audience as possible?? I have 400 viewers of my Route 66 trip thread, and only 10 viewers of the associated photo gallery (that magic 5 per month)!!! If it were only my gallery photos that got few viewers, you could blame the photographer. But look at the view (and comment) count for all the photos in the gallery.

 

If admission to the gallery is the inducement to join, very few seem to be joining to get there. And it discourages those of us (at least me!) who want to share photos as well as text, from doing so.

 

I recognize the reasons for using membership as a prerequisite to posting, but not as a prerequisite to viewing. I hope we will reconsider the strategy and decide instead to show off our members’ talents, both written and visual, to all who visit us. The photos are important to all viewers. I truly believe that will interest and induce more to join than will our current practice.

 

In any event, thanks for listening, and keep up the good work!

 

I’m just trying to Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

 

 

I concur with you. It does seem like there are less people posting than before the switch from yahoo.

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I concur with you. It does seem like there are less people posting than before the switch from yahoo.

 

 

I have found from several groups that more members participate on email lists than on forums. I have been opposed to changing most lists to the forum format, and for the most part I participate on a forum for a day or two, than disappear for days at a time. I only read the emails that get forwarded to my regular email, and I am sure I have learned a lot less since the change. I belong to half a dozen forums or more, but only check three regularly, but I read most emails from each of the 40+ that I get individual emails from as they are posted.

 

As to the photos, it would be great if my friends to check out my gallery on American Road without having to join. Instead I have ended up posting photos on my web site, and post fewer photos or duplicate those in the gallery...

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I have found from several groups that more members participate on email lists than on forums. I have been opposed to changing most lists to the forum format, and for the most part I participate on a forum for a day or two, than disappear for days at a time. I only read the emails that get forwarded to my regular email, and I am sure I have learned a lot less since the change. I belong to half a dozen forums or more, but only check three regularly, but I read most emails from each of the 40+ that I get individual emails from as they are posted.

 

As to the photos, it would be great if my friends to check out my gallery on American Road without having to join. Instead I have ended up posting photos on my web site, and post fewer photos or duplicate those in the gallery...

 

Dave, I agree. And I see no reason for our other practice of not showing photos in posts to guests. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I will.

 

How does a guest know that by joining they could see photos in line, displayed along with the text without having to click a link?

 

Said a different way, how does not showing the within-post-photos to guests induce them to join if they don’t know that by joining they get to see the photos?

 

Said another way, how is an inducement of which you are not aware, an inducement?

 

I acknowledge that guests will discover they can’t get to the gallery without joining, so conceivably that is an inducement to join. But not showing in line photos to guests serves no purpose except to dissuade members from posting photos.

 

Since photos on my server place no demands on the forum disk or storage space allocation or band width, the only “advantage” to not showing the photos is to guests with dial up modems. And if that is an “advantage” to guests, it should apply to members also, and they shouldn’t get to see the photos either. If that sounds illogical, it is.

 

I know I am being a bit of a “smart a**” but we seem to have a practice that doesn’t serve the intended purpose, which also works to discourage members from sharing photos, and it presents the forum as a sea of text to guests. I don’t see the upside, and I see several downsides.

 

I’m willing to bet that the decision makers here don’t realize the problem exists because they don’t sign in as guests.

 

Sorry for rejoining this issue, but I really don’t understand the benefit and I do understand the disadvantages. I probably just don't understand the issue, so would someone enlighten me.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Edited by Keep the Show on the Road!

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Dave, I agree. And I see no reason for our other practice of not showing photos in posts to guests. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I will.

 

How does a guest know that by joining they could see photos in line, displayed along with the text without having to click a link?

 

Said a different way, how does not showing the within-post-photos to guests induce them to join if they don’t know that by joining they get to see the photos?

 

Said another way, how is an inducement of which you are not aware, an inducement?

 

I acknowledge that guests will discover they can’t get to the gallery without joining, so conceivably that is an inducement to join. But not showing in line photos to guests serves no purpose except to dissuade members from posting photos.

 

Since photos on my server place no demands on the forum disk or storage space allocation or band width, the only “advantage” to not showing the photos is to guests with dial up modems. And if that is an “advantage” to guests, it should apply to members also, and they shouldn’t get to see the photos either. If that sounds illogical, it is.

 

I know I am being a bit of a “smart a**” but we seem to have a practice that doesn’t serve the intended purpose, which also works to discourage members from sharing photos, and it presents the forum as a sea of text to guests. I don’t see the upside, and I see several downsides.

 

I’m willing to bet that the decision makers here don’t realize the problem exists because they don’t sign in as guests.

 

Sorry for rejoining this issue, but I really don’t understand the benefit and I do understand the disadvantages. I probably just don't understand the issue, so would someone enlighten me.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

 

As to photos in posts not being visible to guests, we never had a policy disallowing that and I did not find a setting in my control panel which allowed / disallowed that. We allow guests to view all posts, but they cannot not post new messages or replies, nor can they see the member list/details.

 

I just logged out and viewed the forum as a guest. I browsed over to the thread which contained the photo contest entries, and I was able to view them. I saw the thumbnails, and was able to click on each one and view them. So, I'm not sure about that issue.

 

I did change our settings so that guests can now view the photo galleries. Hopefully that will be an inducement so that they will want to post their own photos, since I know everyone just LOVES sharing their photos. And we love seeing them!

 

Hope this helps,

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I did change our settings so that guests can now view the photo galleries. Hopefully that will be an inducement so that they will want to post their own photos, since I know everyone just LOVES sharing their photos. And we love seeing them!

 

 

Jennifer,

Thanks so much. I remember posted photos from a trip and sending friends here to look at the gallery to find that they could not see them. Maybe looking at the galleries will be an incentive to join the group and get us new participants. I sure feel this will be a better way to get new potential members to experience our group.

Thanks again!

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As to photos in posts not being visible to guests, we never had a policy disallowing that and I did not find a setting in my control panel which allowed / disallowed that. We allow guests to view all posts, but they cannot not post new messages or replies, nor can they see the member list/details.

 

I just logged out and viewed the forum as a guest. I browsed over to the thread which contained the photo contest entries, and I was able to view them. I saw the thumbnails, and was able to click on each one and view them. So, I'm not sure about that issue.

 

I did change our settings so that guests can now view the photo galleries. Hopefully that will be an inducement so that they will want to post their own photos, since I know everyone just LOVES sharing their photos. And we love seeing them!

 

Hope this helps,

 

Jennifer,

 

Thanks so much for listening and addressing the concerns of members! That is a sure sign of effective leadership! I really appreciate it and second Dave’s thanks to you. Now if Invision would provide more storage (as Becky is investigating) we will have solved another important concern.

 

Regarding the issue you are not quite sure about, you can see the problem if you view Rick’s (roadhound) post in the US66 forum titled “Heading West Kingman to Williams" as a guest.

 

His photos will appear as links, not images.

 

Next, sign in as a member. Now view the same post. Bingo, the images appear!

 

So guests get what I have referred to as the “sea of text” display, and no hint that by joining they could see the images as Rick (or I) intended.

 

I don’t know what Invision setting would correct this. It might be the “Allow guests to view posted images” described on page 132 of the Invision documentation, but I’m not sure.

 

One last quirk I know you can solve, if you think it appropriate. We limit the number of links (not attachments) per post to 10, which is probably the default. Page 127 of the documentation describes how to change that. It is “Max. no. images per post.” Ten gets in the way. Fifteen would be better. Its logical purpose is to shorten the download time for dial up users, which is a worthy goal, but that might be better achieved by keeping image file sizes small.

 

I know you have a lot more important things to do then tweek the forum settings. If Becky can get substantially more storage from Invision, then the gallery, photo contests, and other photo related issues will be solved.

 

You are doing a terrific job solving the concerns.

 

Thanks again for your leadership and great efforts!!

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Thanks so much for listening and addressing the concerns of members! That is a sure sign of effective leadership! I really appreciate it and second Dave’s thanks to you. Now if Invision would provide more storage (as Becky is investigating) we will have solved another important concern.

You're welcome! :)

 

So guests get what I have referred to as the “sea of text” display, and no hint that by joining they could see the images as Rick (or I) intended.

Yes, that's true that guests don't see embedded files, but members do. If that's something that's preferable, I changed it, since I don't see it as a security risk. Personally, I'm not a fan of embedded images on forums or websites...I like hyperlinks or better yet, thumbnails, for the reason you indicated, that it slows things down. I have cable, so that issue doesn't affect me. However, I would prefer if people do embed images that those images are resized for web viewing. Sometimes large files will skew the forum and force you to scroll over.

 

I don’t know what Invision setting would correct this. It might be the “Allow guests to view posted images” described on page 132 of the Invision documentation, but I’m not sure.

It is, and it's done!

 

One last quirk I know you can solve, if you think it appropriate. We limit the number of links (not attachments) per post to 10, which is probably the default. Page 127 of the documentation describes how to change that. It is “Max. no. images per post.” Ten gets in the way. Fifteen would be better. Its logical purpose is to shorten the download time for dial up users, which is a worthy goal, but that might be better achieved by keeping image file sizes small.

Agreed! So, I changed the setting to allow 15 images; however, I would ask everyone to resize their images so they aren't larger than 800 pixels at their largest dimension...

 

I know you have a lot more important things to do then tweek the forum settings. If Becky can get substantially more storage from Invision, then the gallery, photo contests, and other photo related issues will be solved.

The only concern about adding a lot of storage space here on the forum, is that I don't want us to fall short of anyone's expectations for hosting photos (or, continuously run out of space as we add photos). Offering some photo storage space is fine and Invision's gallery is cool, as is the ability to attach photos to a a post or embed them, etc. But for alot of photos, there are better ways for people to store photos online and they're free, like Flickr - Photo Sharing or Photobucket. I'm so impressed with Flickr that I'm moving most of my photos from my website over there. Just a thought for everyone! We'll see what we can work out..

 

You are doing a terrific job solving the concerns. Thanks again for your leadership and great efforts!!

You're welcome again!

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I agree with you 110%. And thanks again, and again for considering and acting.

 

The attachment route would be perfect. It puts a nice thumbnail into the post at the place you want it, it downloads fast for dial up folks because only the thumbnails download, and if someone wants to see the bigger image it is easy to get one without leaving the story line. Besides it is easy for anyone to use, even beginners. The “downside” is that attachments use forum storage which right now is scarce. So I hope Becky is able to get more storage for attachments from the Invision hosting folks.

 

I don’t choose to use the gallery a lot because it suffers from the opposite of a sea of text, it is a sea of photos. I think you lose the context when the text and photos aren’t together. It is like a book with all the photos in a separate section at the back. But it has its place.

 

And although I have other sites where I post photos, I don’t choose to lead folks there because they leave the forum and may not return. Plus it suffers from the problem above with the gallery. I do like DennyG’s site layout and I may go that way myself. It nicely combines text and thumbnails. But again, that takes the viewer away from the forum.

 

This may sound a little something, but my motivation in posing concerns and in being an active forum member is at least 75% based on a desire to see the forum succeed. So let me step back from my pixel width issues and ask “What can I do as a member to help the Forum grow and prosper?” And “How can I help American Road continue to be the best travel magazine around?”

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Edited by Keep the Show on the Road!

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I'm a little late to the discussion but I would like to add my .02 worth.

 

First, I commend you for opening up the forum to allow guests to see the images. I suspect there are a lot of people out there like me who will lurk on a message board for awhile before jumping in and saying something. I was a guest on this forum for a few months before signing up and wanted to make sure that it was a worthwhile place to spend time and contribute. Seeing the images will only help to encourage return visits by Guests and hopefully they will register and contribute to the discussion.

 

Second, in regards to posting pictures, the guidelines that I follow are 792x528 @72 DPI with a quality setting of between 8 and 10. The pictures are linked to my own website and are generally speaking around 125k in size. Some variance in size may occur based on the detail in the image. Although all of the pictures that I do post here can be seen on my own site I do try to avoid directly sending the viewer away from this site.

 

Finally, Thank You for providing this forum. The information that has been provided to me by others on this forum has been extremely valuable in helping me to plan my road trips. The knowledge shared by Keep the Show on the Road, DennyG, ypsi-slim, and others has been a great resource for me so far and saved countless hours of research on my part by pointing me in the right direction.

 

Roadhound

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This may sound a little something, but my motivation in posing concerns and in being an active forum member is at least 75% based on a desire to see the forum succeed. So let me step back from my pixel width issues and ask “What can I do as a member to help the Forum grow and prosper?” And “How can I help American Road continue to be the best travel magazine around?”

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

 

Greetings everyone. Thank you for continuing to provide us with ways to improve the Forum. This community was designed for your use and enjoyment. Therefore, your feedback will make it that much more enjoyable for you and other members.

 

I'm so glad that Pat and Jennifer resolved the majority of the issues identified rather easily. There are a few other items remaining to resolve, and we are looking at our options.

 

Responding to the above two questions: #1: Post, tell your friends, and keep suggestions coming! #2 Tell your friends, send us pictures and letters telling us about some of your journeys, let us know about any particular roads that you would like to read about, and keep telling your friends about the fun to be had on the American Road!

 

We appreciate everyone's feedback regarding the Forum, our website, and American Road magazine.

 

Best,

Becky Repp

GM

becky@americanroadmagazine.com

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We encountered a problem this morning w/ two guests posting SPAM to one of our member's photo gallery. As a result - we are removing some of the guest privileges related to viewing images. They should still be able to see them and search. However, rating and commenting on images has been removed as a guest privilege. I am open to discussion on this -- but, sadly, think that we do need to take these measures to protect the Forum from further SPAM attacks.

 

We have banned the IP addresses of the individuals responsible for the SPAM. And, we are working on removing the comments from the gallery.

 

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

 

Best,

Becky

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Becky,

Hopefully it can be set that visitors can view the photos but not rate or post comments. That way there are benefits of membership, but less of a chance of SPAM or other problems. It is a shame that these steps need to be taken, but in this wonderful world of cyberspace, spam happens.

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Becky,

Hopefully it can be set that visitors can view the photos but not rate or post comments. That way there are benefits of membership, but less of a chance of SPAM or other problems. It is a shame that these steps need to be taken, but in this wonderful world of cyberspace, spam happens.

 

I tried it myself, logged out, and viewed the gallery. But there was no option to comment on photos.

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I tried it myself, logged out, and viewed the gallery. But there was no option to comment on photos.

 

 

I'm with Dave....and Jennifer got the result that should be in place. Guests should be able to view images, but NOT COMMENT OR CHANGE ANYTHING.

 

We have thousands of great guests, but there are always couple of folks in a thousand who want to vandalize. Lets not make that easy.

 

I also want to thank Pat and Jennifer (again and again) for their vigilance and attention to forum care. KUDOS to JENNIFER, PAT, and BECKY!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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I'm with Dave....and Jennifer got the result that should be in place. Guests should be able to view images, but NOT COMMENT OR CHANGE ANYTHING.

 

We have thousands of great guests, but there are always couple of folks in a thousand who want to vandalize. Lets not make that easy.

 

I also want to thank Pat and Jennifer (again and again) for their vigilance and attention to forum care. KUDOS to JENNIFER, PAT, and BECKY!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

I disabled the option to add comments for the galleries on my web page. I had to spend to much time cleaning up the rude and irrelevent comments that were being posted there. It sucks that the few have to ruin it for the rest of us.

 

Roadhound

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Thanks everyone for understanding the need to disable the comment and rating feature for guests. We didn't want to take that step - however, deemed it necessary given today's inappropriate comments on the Forum.

 

As Jennifer said, guests may view and search, but, they cannot actively participate in gallery or Forum discussion. For the legitimate guests who have been visiting the Forum - please continue to pay us a visit. And, we welcome you to join as a Forum Member so that you may engage in all of the fun and benefits of being an American Road Forum member.

 

Pleasant and safe road (and cyberspace) travels to you all!

Becky

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