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Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!

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One of the ways to satisfy and attract active members is to have topics of interest to them….dealing of course with two lane travel. Mobilene recently suggested a sub forum dealing with abandoned roads. I have some additional possibilities to suggest, based on interests shown here already.

 

The cars of the two lane era

This would provide a venue for collectors and aficionados, including those who drive a vintage car

 

Road design and construction of two lane roads

The methods and materials used in two lane road construction can be interesting in and of themselves, and helpful in identifying the age and history of a road. And it can include modern two lane road construction and maintainence as well.

 

The Images and Advertising of the two lane roads

The post cards and brochures of the two lane roads (past and present) are of considerable interest to many, including collectors and old road fans

 

Stories and memories of the two lane roads

We have both members’ family memories and published descriptions of two lane travel that deserve attention.

 

An interesting person met on the two lanes

It is difficult to travel the two lanes and not meet wonderful people. In fact that is much of the fun. So maybe we could describe the positive experiences we have with people.

 

 

What say ye "powers that be?" :)

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Dave,

All interesting topics to be sure. But I know I do get to a lot of the topics as it is now on the forums I belong to, so maybe these should all be threads in the general discussion area rather than separate branches. The forum I spend most of my time on it the British Car Forum. I seldom go to most of the separate forums, but read most of the posts in "the Pub" which might not even touch on a British Car. It is an open area with not to many limitations, but if there is anything beyond teasing in the group, or something too suggestive, or something that could be political, it is immediately pulled. Some of the topics are inane to be sure and I skip later posts, but the activity level is high, and the friendships are great. You can check it out at The BCF Pub if you are interested.

I know I miss a lot by not reading each route forum, and I get a lot less information than I did from this group since it went to the forum format, but maybe allowing, or even encouraging, a lot more OT stuff in the general discussion area will generate more traffic and membership as well.

I only am active in two forums, and it is because of the friendly, and cordial demeanor of the members. We need to retain that, but maybe we can do that and expand too.

Just my two cents, which aren't worth nearly what they were a month ago...

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I'm not sure I would have said anything at all if Dave R hadn't opened the door but, now that he has, I'll thank him and step through. Dave's sentiments are almost exactly the same as mine and, rather than trying to put some other words together, I'll just say "Me too".

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Denny and Dave Reese,

 

I value and respect those views, but let me step back a couple of steps to my thinking underlying the suggestion.

 

It isn’t how I, Denny, or Dave “approach” the forum that is the issue. No offense intended. We are already active, engaged members. I count maybe 10 to 15 of us, based on posts in the last 6 months. I am trying to attract new active members…not that I’m tired of you guys!

 

Part of the issue is my lack of knowledge. I don’t know, for example, how people “approach” the forum routinely. Not you guys…gees I see you all the time. How does a guest find the forum, where do they come from, what do they do while here, and what converts a visitor to an active member?

 

I “assume” that most visitors come by way of a search engine, following a search for a specific place or thing. Some must come via links (I didn’t get 150,000 hits on one topic from a search engine). I “assume” that the broader the range of topics we discuss actively, the wider the “net” so to speak. For example we almost never discuss post cards of two lane road scenes, but I’ll bet my lunch money there are a bunch of post card folks out there.

 

Once here, for whatever reason, what does a visitor do? Where do they go within the forum? If I came to the Yellowstone Trail sub forum, but have a related interest in the Lincoln Highway, or Travel Post Cards, will I stay longer and go to those forums?

 

What makes me want to be an active member? It must be that I see kindred folks. The more “rooms” (sub forums) I identify with, the greater the likelihood I will join and become engaged. I am an old auto trails and US highway guy, but even I know that most people do not identify with, or even know, two lane roads by name or number (with one or two possible exceptions). We have probably already attracted a substantial proportion of the folks who are looking for info on the Pacific Highway!!!

 

I don’t say this with anything other than affection, but we are the entertainment here. (If this is a forum to permit 15 good folks to exchange messages, it would be easier to use text messaging.) If 15 “perform,” and thousands watch…which is OK with me, what should we be singing? What do people want to hear? If they like vintage cars, jeeps, post cards, road music, etc, I say lets get them visiting and posting…so long as it is two lane road focused.

 

End of explanation.

 

Since I am on a roll here, let me raise one other issue that troubles me. Where are the women? Is it coincidence that 95% of those who post are males? Or are the topics just uninteresting or unengaging to women (I doubt that)? Or are we unconsciously sending bad vibes to women(I hope not)? Or lacking a critical mass of women posters, do female visitors write us off as a boys club (I’m thinking that may be the case)?

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Dave,

I agree that we need to touch on more topics, but not by starting new forums. If a number of threads on post cards show up in a general discussion area, then there should be more search engine hits as well. But I think you will find that the number of members in a specific post card forum pertaining to American 2-lane highways may be scarce. But get them started without having to leave the general discussion area, they may find an interest in other categories.

 

I am turned off when I need to navigate through too many forums to find a topic I am interested in, and I have joined a number of forums and disappeared after two or three posts as It was too hard to find what I was looking for, or the sub-forum that interested me most had one post every month or so. If there are lots of active topics, and you do not need to hunt for them, you will probably participate more.

 

As to how do most people find forums to join, I normally have been invited to join a group by someone who belonged and thought I might be interested. I don't think that happened for the American Road, but it sure has for probably 80% of the forums I have joined. So maybe we need to find people who have an interest in travel, and invite them to try the place out...and personal invitations are the most effective. I know that I have mentioned this group to a number of people in the past, and I will continue to do so in the future. I seldom have joined a forum I found through a search engine or a link on a web site...

 

Most of the forums I belong to are mostly male members. It may be the topics that I gravitate to, but it might be that the forum appeals more to males too. I have no deep insight into this. I don't think the topics are male oriented here, but then, what do I know.

 

I don't object to having more sub forums, but I know it will probably keep me from getting into more discussions than I do now. I probably posted more when we still were email oriented because it took less effort on my part. And any discussion that will take more effort on my part will probably keep me from joining in. That may just be me, but I think when it is easy to see lots of involvement in posts, there will be more members joining too. What you want is to get them involved, not go into one room (forum) and not venture out into the "lobby".

Edited by Dave Reese

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Dave,

I agree that we need to touch on more topics, but not by starting new forums.

 

Dave Reese,

 

Those are excellent points and I won’t refute them, even if I wanted to. So let me step back even farther. I don’t really care whether we have 1 or 100 “sub forums.” I want more active members and more visitors.

 

So let’s not start with my “solutions.” Let’s ask what strategies or tactics might work (or declare that we have reached our full potential and enjoy it).

 

And thanks for your thoughtful replies! That is what we need to move anything forward.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

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Once again, Mr. Reese has done a darned good job in matching my thoughts. He saved me some writing but his mention of the "email oriented" days made me wonder just how they compared -- really. I knew what my impressions were but I didn't know any facts. Here are a few.

 

The Yahoo egroup ran for almost four years and ended with 687 members. The forum has operated for just over two years and has 1287. That forum number includes the 687 egroup members but, with 600 additions, the forum is doing OK at getting new members.

 

During its four years of activity, members of the egroup posted 5456 messages. The forum message count now stands at 10077 which I believe includes 5362 messages imported from the egroup. I'm guessing the other 94 messages (5456-5362) are still stuck in Pat & Jennifer's modem. The forum has roughly the same number of messages in two years as the egroup had in four. Of course, the egroup ramped up from nothing so here's another view. During its last three full months, the egroup averaged about 125 message per month or 1500 a year. Either view shows the forum, at 2300/year, exceeding the egroup message rate.

 

That's not what I expected. Neither the postings or the posters are the same but the rate of posting and of joining has increased. I still have a sense that the postings come from a smaller group of people but I'm not as confident in that as I was an hour ago. Maybe it's just the absence of some familiar names that makes me think that and determining whether message distribution has really changed would require more digging than I'm prepared to do right now.

 

I sincerely doubt that we've "reached our full potential" but maybe things aren't all that bad, either. I like Dave R's ideas and agree that a couple of interesting topics and a few personal invitations could do some good.

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I threw out a suggestion for new sub forums which met with a resounding thud from some of my friends. They provided cogent counter arguments.

 

Denny, I really appreciate the numbers because they start to inform the discussion and give us some basis for discussion.

 

I obviously did not suggest additional sub forums because I want more categories into which to divide the existing audience! It was an idea that I thought might increase participation, on the premise that the more two lane road sub topics (e.g. vintage cars, road related post cards or ephemera, two lane destinations, etc), the more visitors and active members. That may be a faulty notion.

 

I was trying to think of ideas that don’t require a lot of moderator time and attention, don’t cost money, are largly risk free, and don’t require redesigning the forum pages, that might broaden the active participant base, and might attract more visitors.

 

We have a healthy, active forum, with skilled, capable, and dedicated leadership. I can’t compare it to Yahoo days. I wasn’t there. I only go back to January 2007.

 

If we are satisfied, then growth ideas are irrelevant anyway. But my sense is that activity may have plateaued. That should be a testable assertion. What was the visitor count for June, July, August 2008 vs the same months in 2007, for example. How many new members joined in comparable periods? How about posts in comparable periods?

 

Then, assuming that we know what is happening, what do we want to happen? Suppose visitor count is up by 10% this August over last August and for other comparable periods. Does that meet our expectations?

 

There is a problem with me asking me whether we are doing the right things or not. If we poll active members, the typical answer is self evident…we love us, or most of us!!

 

How do we get at the needs and interests of those who aren’t here? Those are the people we need to reach, while not making the already satisfied unsatisfied!

 

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Hi all.....

 

I've been checking this topic out throughout the day & wanted to formulate my thoughts before responding. Very good points brought up by everyone. I would have to agree with Keep as far as things hitting a plateau. I'm not sure what the reason is for that either. We seem to have the same core group of posters we can count on, but how we get new members to join the group of regulars is the $64 question. As far as hits on the site, I don't think I have access to those kind of stats. That might have to come from web guru, Guy Cook. I was able to find some membership registration stats, and what I found was rather disturbing. I was able to enter a custom date range for new registrations to the forum. I sampled two 6 month (April through September) periods from 2007 and 2008. In 2007, our new memberships in that time frame were 116. For the same time frame in 2008, that number was nearly cut in half to 63. The reason behind that is what I need to figure out. Is it because of gas prices that people's minds aren't on road trips? One would think that with each new post on here, our chances for new members should continually increase. Because, Google and other search engines scan this forum daily, so all the info on here should end up somewhere on a search engine, thus exposing us to more searches. It very well could be a "shot of B-12" we need is a larger, quick-hit in the magazine itself. I don't know if it could be by me having something put in the "Write of Way" or possibly a small article in an issue telling about the forum. Something like that would probably be harder to get done (space is money!).

 

One thing I'm pretty sure of is that I don't think contests are the way to attract new, participating members. Sure, we can have a contest that'll attract maybe 25 new members, but history has shown that their continued participation in the forum has been nil. And any contests we do internally, i.e. not announced outside the forum, will only attract our current, active posters.

 

Now, as far as adding more subforums, I'm open to that idea if they're the right topics. Right now we have some subforums that I'd like to look into taking their contents, dumping them in "General Discussions" and eliminate those subforums. Since there are some subforums that haven't seen a new post in over a year, I don't think they'll be missed. It was brought up regarding off topic posts. That's where things enter a slippery slope area. If the AR forum was independent and just a forum about two-lane roads started and run by a roadie, then I could see having an off topic forum. BUT, that's not the case with this forum. We're tied to the magazine which is advertiser driven. Certain off topic discussions can lead to opinions that can lead to some volatile discussions, which can spawn some negative views of the forum, which will in turn have a negative view on the magazine. But, with some strict guidelines, I'd be open to trying off topic discussions, but with limitations on what can't be discussed, such as religion, politics, etc.

 

It might be time for a little revamping & housecleaning on the forum. I'm sure Becky will chime in here & give us her thoughts. But nevertheless, it's good we're having this discussion and tossing around ideas on how to make things a little more active.

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Pat,

 

Thanks for that very thoughtful analysis! I'm here a 1000% behind you......and the rest of the fine folks here.

 

You said so many wise and thoughtful things, I need a little time now myself reflecting and rethinking.

 

I'll be back in the dialog tomorrow.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Hi Gang,

 

I've been reviewing all the posts in this thread. I've not formulated any plans. But, I have some information to share:

 

First, a few FYI items:

 

1) We invite all new subscribers to the magazine who have email addresses to join the American Road Forum. Here is the invitation language:

 

Be sure to check out the AMERICAN ROAD FORUM. Joining the group is

free and its a great opportunity to share stories with fellow roadies.

The new FORUM even allows you to send e-cards to friends and family so

you can share your vacation pictures while you are on the road! The

link to sign up for the group may be found on our website at

www.americanroadmagazine.com.

 

If you have recommendations to modify the language, please send me a PM or email me at becky@americanroadmagazine.com

 

2) Those individuals who do not have email addresses receive a postcard inviting them to visit americanroadmagazine.com and check out the Forum.

 

3) I attempt to include a mention in the Forum in every e-newsletter that we send.

 

 

I'm going to share some info that I found when doing a bit of research about how American Road's Forum compares to other Forums:

 

1) There is a magazine (initials AH). It has sizable distribution (reportedly hundreds of thousands of subscribers). They, too, have a Forum. Here is the data: they have 19757 registered users on their Forum who have only posted only 1130 times. I couldn't get an exact start date from their site - but, it looks like they have been around since at least May 6, 2006.

 

2) Another group (an e-group) about an historic highway that I recently visited indicated that they have just over 300 members since January of 2007. I could not figure out how to get posting data.

 

To me, based upon the above two Forums, our activity looks great. However, that does not indicate that we should stop striving to improve.

 

I took a look at our Forum statistics (a quick glance) and it appears that roughly 116-120 different members have posted since January 1, 08 (between 9 - 10%).

 

Re: our website statistics, the six month average: 6 month average as of Oct 1:

 

Uniques: 52,669/month

Page Impressions/Views: 613,727/month

Hits: 1,151,839

 

Our Forum does get pulled up frequently by Google News. I automatically receive messages from Google News on subjects pertaining to "road trips" and "American Road" and the Forum makes that news at least 3x per week (if not more).

 

I can tell you that the Forum is one of the most popular sections of our website to visit. In order, the top six most popular pages according to Google Analytics are:

 

the Home page

the Forums

the Calendar page

the Sweepstakes page

the Road News page

the Road Trip Itinerary page

 

I'm not sure how to find this data - but, it would be interesting to learn how many people simply visit the forum each day. I believe that, too, would be a measure of success. I will see what I can learn with respect to this information.

 

A few thoughts:

1) If you belong to other Forum's features do you like about that Forum that we might be able to accommodate on the American Road Forum? Are there Forums who have more than 9-10% of their Forum members posting. If so, what are they doing differently?

2) I believe someone said that they personally invite other people to join the Forum - this is absolutely wonderful and we thank you for doing so. This is perhaps one of the best ways to encourage growth on the American Road Forum.

3) I wonder if the ongoing political elections and recent economic developments have monopolized everyone's time. It will be interesting to see what happens after election day.

 

I look forward to hearing additional thoughts and ideas as to ways we can continue to meet the needs and interests of Forum Members, American Road readers, and the large community of individuals interested in traveling North America's back roads.

 

Becky

 

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I'm going to share some info that I found when doing a bit of research about how American Road's Forum compares to other Forums:

 

1) There is a magazine (initials AH). It has sizable distribution (reportedly hundreds of thousands of subscribers). They, too, have a Forum. Here is the data: they have 19757 registered users on their Forum who have only posted only 1130 times. I couldn't get an exact start date from their site - but, it looks like they have been around since at least May 6, 2006.

 

2) Another group (an e-group) about an historic highway that I recently visited indicated that they have just over 300 members since January of 2007. I could not figure out how to get posting data.

 

To me, based upon the above two Forums, our activity looks great. However, that does not indicate that we should stop striving to improve.

 

Becky,

Thanks for doing some digging! In regards to #1, those are some pathetic stats. In that regard, no, things aren't that bad! I try to compare our forum with another forum I frequent daily totally unrelated to roads: motor oil. There is a site out there relating to anything motor oil related, and they have a forum to go along with it that was started in 2002: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ They have over 22,000 members and over 1.2 million posts in those 6 years. I've yet to figure out what makes motor oil a more attractive discussion than road trips & highways. But, they do have a variety of subforums, including a "General & Off Topic" subforum which is actually one of the more frequented subforums on there (nearly 12,000 threads and over 190,000 posts). But they do stipulate no politics, religion, sex, etc. That forum is watched by its moderators like a hound and typically things stay in line. I guess where I'm going with this is that *if* we want to include such a subforum for non road related topics with strong guidelines, I'd be willing to give it a test. I say that very cautiously however, because I don't want to do anything that might put AR's reputation at risk. I think it would be a good way to know what our fellow members think about things outside of roads and thus it'd enable us all to get to know each other a little better.

I got some message stats from Denny & while we are down from a year ago, it's not that dramatic of a drop, and we're actually higher than two years ago.

While we've tried for some time to increase participation, I think the important thing (for me at least) is to still provide a top notch outlet for those members who find the AR forum their "home" for 2 lane discussion. And we'll attract new members who'll participate over time. Keep & mobilene are relative newcomers who are at & near the top of the posting ranks in a relative short period of time. We'll get "found" by those in the future, I'm sure. I think a reminder to department heads about the forum and encourage them to participate wouldn't hurt either.

 

Just a few random thoughts before starting my Saturday chores.....

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This forum is healthy and doing what Becky defined as its purposes. But there is no doubt in my mind that higher fuel prices and economic uncertainty take a bite out of travel, including two lane road travel. So other things equal, forum activity will level off. I think it has. And BTW, if the blogs are correct, using that other road magazine’s forum as a comparison should not put anyone’s mind at rest. It might better be a wake up call, or object lesson.

 

I am concerned that this forum is more vulnerable than some to economic fluctuations. To take off on Pat’s example, those folks who want to talk about oil cans will not change much in number because gas prices or the economy fluctuate. We will.

 

I think there have been some excellent suggestions regarding ways to continue to be the best. I don’t see anyone suggesting that we ignore external factors and rest on our laurels.

 

I do want to say that I don’t support off topic forums. I want to be absolutely clear that none of my suggestions relate to any subject other than two lane roads and the travel thereon!

 

I have other no doubt equally popular ;) suggestions beyond more sub forums, but I think I will hold them until we see what people find out when they look at the data.

 

I’m shutting up for now on this topic, and standing by for enlightenment! :rolleyes:

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

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You know, the most vocal of us here are, I think, pretty hardcore. We follow dusty old alignments to where they trail off into nothing, climb down creek banks looking for bridge remains, consider and evaluate highway construction methods, "clinch" entire highways, swap stories about the people and places that weave their way through a road's history, and so on. We are explorers and amateur historians and wannabe civil engineers.

 

Yet the magazine looks to me to be about two-lane tourism. I see the magazine appealing to people interested in a jaunt down the old two-lane, stopping for dinner, staying in an old motel or a B&B, doing some shopping, taking in the historical sites, enjoying the local color. I'm sure somebody will let me know if I've not captured the essence correctly.

 

I wonder if people in that audience come here, see the serious roadgeekery going on, say, "Nothing for me here," and move along.

 

I wonder if the pump here at the AR Forum needs to be primed with more about two-lane tourism so that that audience finds something they can plug into. I don't think that means we roadgeeks need to tone it down or go away, just that both groups find something interesting to them when they come.

 

Peace,

jim

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Regarding the concern about this Forum being affected by economic downturn, I'm not sure that I agree with that. That is certainly not reflected in our website statistics. They have continued to climb despite soaring gas prices. (I gave the monthly average of our website stats in a previous post. And only two months ago, the page views/impression average was over 100,000 less. Website growth has been outstanding.). Our subscriptions have also continued to grow. I've been receiving phone calls from individuals eager for their next issue of American Road stating "With gas prices the way they are, I REALLY look forward to my copy of American Road for unique and fun ideas to plan our next trip." American Road (and this Forum), inherently, provides affordable vacation ideas. One individual even told me that he thinks "American Road is the every man's magazine." His reason, he said it's because the trip ideas in American Road are actually attainable by most people--unlike those in luxury travel publications.

 

 

 

 

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Of course, there's no denying or hiding the current economic situation. However, despite this downturn, many people will need to do something fun. Even if you don't go far, the magazine has tons of great ideas for local getaways, shopping, dining, etc. I'm sure most people can find new things to do and see right in their own state or neighboring ones. The tourism / convention / visitors bureaus are a wealth of information and very helpful (see any issue of AR and start contacting them - you can even do so right from the AR website: American Road Advertiser Request Card. And actually, in economic down times, there can be an advantage to traveling...gas may not change, but there are often deals to be had out there!! In an effort to encourage business, you can often find specials, discounts, incentives, sales...making it very affordable to travel.

 

Also, while there are times that flying has its place, despite gas prices, a road trip can be quite affordable. After all, the airlines are feeling the bite and they want to make a profit, so they're raising all kinds of fees. Especially for a family, who have to pay not only the airfare, but additional taxes, security fees, extra baggage charges, and every other charge that the airlines are now nickel and dime-ing passengers. But with a road trip, you're paying for the gas and motel/hotel (again - you can get some great hotel bargains...) and not alot of added on fees. You can see lots of cool things along the way and be in control of your trip.

 

I think "one tank" getaways are the way to go - be a tourist in your hometown or state and still discover new things! Look no further than AR or the forum for ideas!

 

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The tourism / convention / visitors bureaus are a wealth of information and very helpful (see any issue of AR and start contacting them - you can even do so right from the AR website: American Road Advertiser Request Card.

 

Not playing favorites with our advertisers, but this just happens to be one that I requested after a trip on US 51 a few months back. Wisconsin's efforts with US 51 are outstanding! The info I received is 1st rate and was in my mailbox in less than a week. You'll get a Wisconsin US 51 Passport and a guide that includes maps of the current US 51 as well as the historic alignments. It also includes things to do in some of the larger communities from Beloit all the way up to Hurley. I can't tip my hat enough to the folks at the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for how they've put this together....they "get it"! It should be the standard all states should follow when putting together info for heritage tourism. This would make a really nice 3 day weekend trip for anyone around the midwest....highly suggested by your's truly! Web site info is availble at the web site Jennifer mentioned above and scrolling down to "Wisconsin Highway 51". And don't forget to check out the rest of the list.....many useful resources there & it's FREE.

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You know, the most vocal of us here are, I think, pretty hardcore...

 

Yet the magazine looks to me to be about two-lane tourism...

 

I wonder if people in that audience come here, see the serious roadgeekery going on, say, "Nothing for me here," and move along.

I think I agree with your assessment. Being on the roadgeek side, I tend to feel that being highly involved in a forum requires some sort of "geekery" to keep you coming back: whether it's motor oil, old highway alignments or whatnot.

 

What would be the compulsion for someone seeking "tourism" that would draw them back several times a month to see what others are doing? Is it more "touristy" content? We have the 'roadside business' section with lodging, dining and other attractions. I would anticipate that to be the type of content to draw them in. So maybe I should ask, what interests a typical "tourist-geek"?

 

Chris

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People are coming to American Road magazine and the Forum, I believe, to seek ideas for road trips. I think, correct me if I'm wrong, that people are wanting to see what cool drives, people, places, things, etc. other folks interested in traveling America's back roads have found during their travels. This covers a broad array of folks - from the couple that just retired wanting to explore North America in an RV and see all the wonderful people, places and things along our back road; to road 'aficionados' seeking to trace every alignment of an early auto trail. I think that the various sub-forums are meant to address the different interests held by the wide-spread audience that we reach. That said, we've got lots of great conversations going on in our Forum already and I don't want them to change.

 

Here are a few thoughts:

 

1) Perhaps we need to look at all the sub-forums and make sure that we have a moderator who is posting and encouraging participation in them to increase interest and participation.

 

2) When we have a topic mentioned in the general discussion that pertains to a sub-forum topic we may want to post that item in the sub-forum. Reason being -- people have selected topics of particular interest and get emails sent to them when something is posted in that sub-forum.

 

Thoughts?

 

Becky

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When we have a topic mentioned in the general discussion that pertains to a sub-forum topic we may want to post that item in the sub-forum. Reason being -- people have selected topics of particular interest and get emails sent to them when something is posted in that sub-forum.

 

I may be in the minority, but I find that I seldom move out of the general discussion area. I do get emails informing me of topics there, but I do find that when I am not planning to go to a specific area, I do not follow many discussions of that particular sub-forum. If the sub-forum moderators see a topic in general discussion that pertains to the sub-forum, maybe a quick link to the topic posted in the sub-forum would help those who really follow that forum.

 

I am not sure how to get more people to jump from forum to forum. I am sure that I have missed lots of interesting topics, but I probably am more active when I am in travel mode, rather then when I am in stay at home mode like right now. It is a quandary without a simple solution in my mind. But then many days there is nothing in my mind. Hopefully someone else has a clue to get more involved during certain discussions. Also, when going back to a topic, it would be nice if there was a quick way to see just the posts since I last visited. It speeds up my perusal on other web forums so that I am not scrolling up or down to see if there is one new post or ten since I last read the topic. And yet I can always then scroll back up when I need a refresher on what was said before that has run away from my current thought processes.

 

But just having this discussion means that we can probably make the forum more user friendly to visitors, and make more people stay and enroll and be active. Thanks for starting this topic Keep.

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Becky, I think your #1 suggestion is the most important. I've been posting to (and moderating) forums of one stripe or another for 20 years and my experience is that when somebody takes the lead and posts on topic, others will follow. jim

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1) Perhaps we need to look at all the sub-forums and make sure that we have a moderator who is posting and encouraging participation in them to increase interest and participation.

 

I'm all for that, and I must admit I'm sometimes lacking in my duties! :mellow: But, we do need to add to our moderator list those who will show up. Sorry if I step on toes here, but when some of our moderators haven't even been on the forum in over 8 months, then I think it's safe to say they're probably not coming back. And in the case of some of the smaller subforums whose moderators have been AWOL and activity there has been nil, to me those subforums are the ones we should consider eliminating for the sake of tidiness.

 

Something else I would like to see more of is participation by some of the department heads of the magazine who don't already post here. I have no doubt their status with the magazine would give a reason for folks to come back if they saw some postings from a Johnnie V, McJerry, etc. At least 1 post per month on the forum should be a stipulation for their employment. :D

 

And lastly, I think we can all help the situation by just watching out for stories online that would fit nicely into our forum where we can formulate a discussion that way. Speaking of employment....back to work!

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Also, when going back to a topic, it would be nice if there was a quick way to see just the posts since I last visited. It speeds up my perusal on other web forums so that I am not scrolling up or down to see if there is one new post or ten since I last read the topic.

 

When I visit the forum, I click on the link at the top that says "View New Posts." That should show you a list of all new posts which have been made since your last visit. I find this helpful, because you can see all the threads with new posts.

 

Pat also said that when you are on the main forum page, that any subforums with new posts will display a dark blue "IPB" logo on the left.

 

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When I visit the forum, I click on the link at the top that says "View New Posts." That should show you a list of all new posts which have been made since your last visit. I find this helpful, because you can see all the threads with new posts.

 

Pat also said that when you are on the main forum page, that any subforums with new posts will display a dark blue "IPB" logo on the left.

 

Jennifer,

I understand that and use that feature, but on another forum I am active on, when I open the forum page it shows me how many new posts are there since I last read, and when I open the topic, each post since I last read had a small box with new plus the page automatically takes me to the first new post since I last read. A real timesaver when you are looking at a topic with several pages of posts there.

 

I realize that is a small detail, but it also makes being active a lot easier...or maybe I am just lazy.

Edited by Dave Reese

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When I visit the forum, I click on the link at the top that says "View New Posts." That should show you a list of all new posts which have been made since your last visit. I find this helpful, because you can see all the threads with new posts.

My experience is that this feature only works if it has been no more than two days since you last visited. If I don't check every day or two, things don't show up on "View New Posts".

 

And the other annoying thing is that every time I visit I don't have chance to read everything on "View New Posts", so next time I log in, it only shows me things since that last visit whether I read them or not.

 

I really wish the forum somehow kept track of what new posts I had actually viewed, and could give me a list of all unviewed posts. Since I try to read every post in every subforum, it's often very hard to keep track. I don't use the e-mail notification because it looked like you had to sign up for that at the sub-forum level, and I wasn't sure I wanted to sign up for 20 different forums... but if I did, would that work better for me?

 

Chris

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