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Not to beat a dead horse...

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by drummerfc, Jul 6, 2011.

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    drummerfc guest

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    ...but I too am in the head-scratching group who just doesn't get the new forums at all!! Questions abound: - How does one get a list of the most-recent posts since your last visit?


    - How in the WORLD do you create a signature/avatar/personal picture? (A little bit of discussion on this already exists but no "how-to's"; many of us don't have the slightest idea what "wsywig" <sp> is!)


    - Used to be able to preview posts prior to posting, and edit them once posted...now, ??????


    - Why...why...WHY the change? The previous site was great! I don't think we needed to go this drastic of a difference IMHO. Was it a performance issue with the old site/boards/forums? Is it a cost issue? I'm a true believe in the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't FIX it" and I think this new site totally flies in the face of that adage. I also firmly believe that change for the sake of change is a complete waste of time and effort. The original forums were fantastic and now...well, to be honest, ACK - it's BROKE!
    One suggestion - is there any documentation (ie: user manuals, "read-me's", etc.) lying around that could be made available to the user community? Being in the software industry myself, I would think that prior to rolling out such a huge undertaking, there has to be some sort of documentation that was created to guide testing and implementation. Any chance this can be posted somewhere here so we could search it, learn how to do something, and get more comfortable with this site?


    Again - not to beat a non-breathing, equine glue-factory intendee, but really...I just don't get it!
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    steven s

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    We are looking at other forum solutions.

    Other than the forum, there are many improvements on the current website.

    You may not notice them until you go to renew.

    You may not notice them unless you are a chapter officer.

    Those who say the last site wasn't broken - don't fix it did not see the duct tape and wire ties holding it together. ;)

    Steven
    BMW CCA
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    hutten

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    Renew for improvements?

    Until we renew?????? Well I renewed last month. Does that mean I must wait 11 months to see these improvements? I see more wire and duct tape NOW!

    Sorry,
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    MGarrison

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    "How does one get a list of the most-recent posts since your last visit?"

    You don't - you have to scroll through the the topics list and see if there are any new topics or replies in any forum topic you're interested in. :-p

    "How in the WORLD do you create a signature/avatar/personal picture? (A little bit of discussion on this already exists but no "how-to's"; many of us don't have the slightest idea what "wsywig" <sp> is!)"

    Wysiwyg (pronounced wizzy-wig) is an acronym for "what-you-see-is-what-you-get", the history of which goes back quite a ways, but the context in which I became familiar with the term was with word-processing programs, that evolved to be showing on the computer screen what a document would look like when printed. The word processing program I used on an IBM XT (1 large floppy disk, no hard drive!) needed formatting codes, had limited formatting options, and no print-preview... was _not_ wysiwyg!

    It does not appear this forum software incorporates signatures, avatars, or personal pics. You gotta do it yourself. This means you have to be able to put your pic, or pics, onto the web in someplace that their accessible, or hot-linkable. Perhaps photobucket, or Flickr? If you have any webspace, you could upload them there, and if you have a link to the pic, that would work.

    Then, when you're putting up a post, or a reply, at the bottom of this forum's "reply-box" screen, there's an "Input Format" shown at the bottom, click on that, and select wysiwyg. Then, at the top of the reply box, in the bar that has the smiley-face icon, at the left of that bar is a square icon (hold your mouse over it for a moment, a box should pop up that says 'image'). Click that "Image" icon, (the image dialog box pops up) in the "URL" text-input area, input the exact url for your picture (I think it matters if there are capital letters, so use the exact url, with any capitalization). In the preview pane, mine is showing a bunch of "Lorem ipsum" (argh!) latin text - if you see that, you can ignore it, and once you copy/paste or type-in your url, your pic won't show automatically, but if you click the green "OK" button at the bottom, your pic should show in the reply box (wherever you have your cursor in the reply box text-input area), as long as you have wysiwyg "Input Format" selected. If you want your pic to show in the "Image" dialog box preview pane, click one of the other tabs at the top of the box ("Link" or "Advanced"), then click the "Image Info" tab, and the pic should show in the preview pane. At least, it's working that way for me, so I can't guarantee it'll work that way for you! :-p

    "Used to be able to preview posts prior to posting, and edit them once posted...now, ??????"

    BZZZZZT! (that would be the sound of the "you-lose" buzzer on the old commercials with the "Biz-quiz")

    Sorry, no preview, or deleting/editing a thread-starting post, once posted; looks like all we can do is edit our own replies to posts. :-p

    "Why...why...WHY the change?"

    Perhaps Steven or someone else from the national office will offer up some specifics, but my guess, based on what's been said so far, is that the old site didn't have any easy way to incorporate several specific capabilities that had to be handled manually by the office staff. Verbal and manual processing of members updating their membership records (address changes, for instance), members renewing memberships, or new members signing up, and the website couldn't do secure credit card processing. So, between some members getting frustrated by unsuccessfully attempting these types of things on the old website, and, I'm guessing, national seeing that these tasks could be off-loaded to automatic processing with a website enabled to do them, allowing club members to do it themselves via the internet, if we so chose, brought about an impetus that ultimately ended up with a complete website re-design. I would assume that initially the consideration was to incorporate those functions into the previous website, and finding that it either couldn't be done, or done easily or effectively enough, that something completely different would have to be done to incorporate the desired functionality. As best I can tell, the site re-design came about largely due to issues internal to the national office and staff, vs. an outcry of club members en-masse for change. I know there were numerous comments in the old feedback forum pertaining to members having issues with several things, although I don't recall too many suggestions to change things, but more questions about 'why can't I do this or that', or comments that members couldn't do what they were attempting for some reason or another. Steven had commented in a post on the old forums that the old forums, or forum software, wasn't compatible with the new site - don't know why, though.

    I didn't have any specific problems with the old site, I mostly was on the site using the forums, and don't recall anything in particular jumping out at me as obvious flaws. It would appear this site is supposed to have a more "logical" placement of things, I'm not seeing the logic, in several instances.

    I don't know if that helps any, but that's what I'm thinkin', at least until we get some word otherwise.
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    MGarrison

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    "Other than the forum, there are many improvements on the current website.

    You may not notice them until you go to renew."


    If the improvements and benefits are not obvious to users, then it's incumbent upon national to make it clear to club members exactly what those improvements and benefits are....

    Otherwise it sounds way too much like "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it" - at least, presumably, I can have substantially more faith in you guys than I did in the last congress.

    "We are looking at other forum solutions."


    Hallelujah for that, but, considering most of the 99 posts in the site feedback topic are about forum-induced angst, how 'bout being a bit more forthcoming with the important forum-related news tidbits like that and making them more prominent than just way-buried in a reply down here?
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    steven s

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    You can renew again. That was something you would not have been able to do so on the old site.

    You can change the length of your membership. Again a new feature.

    Chapter officers now have automatic rights to specific areas where we had to manually add and remove them.

    The site is less than 1 week old. It is 100% brand new. It's going to take time getting the kinks worked out and features added.

    Steven
    BMW CCA

    ViolinARC guest

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    Paying Members...

    As a PAID Member, I would expect more from the adminisration. When Bf.c made changes, there were "growing pains" too but Bf.c is FREE! Here, we all pay a fee for the service that we receive so the expectations SHOULD be higher. Don't be too surprised if these changes chase away a percentage of old members and discourages new members from joining because it takes a LOOOONG time just to get logged in and the forums are STARK...

    Also, as mentioned in other threads, the system logs us off without any warning. What is the problem there? Anyway, IMO you guys have a LOT of bugs to work out before this project begins to benefit it's members again...
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    alexapril

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    "The site is less than 1 week old. It is 100% brand new. It's going to take time getting the kinks worked out and features added."

    rAmen. The kinks will work out. I like it. It's simple. I esp. like the map of chapters!

    Alex
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    alexapril

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    We're trying.

    "As a PAID Member, I would expect more from the adminisration[sic]. When Bf.c made changes, there were "growing pains" too but Bf.c is FREE! Here, we all pay a fee for the service that we receive so the expectations SHOULD be higher"

    ViolinARC, please remember, of all the fine people who work for the BMWCCA, we are all volunteers - with the exception of just a couple people. We help with the Club because we love it and we are not perfect. Please allow the site some time to work out some of the bugs.

    Alex April
    BMW CCA - National - Ombudsperson
    BMW CCA - St. Louis Chapter - Board Member and Membership Chairman

    ViolinARC guest

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    Thanks for the reply...

    Hi Alex...I didn't realize that we were paying a membership fee while still recruiting volunteers so to all those who are giving us their time, thank you!

    As for the site, it is definitely suffering from these "growing pains", which is making it tough for those of us who are trying to share our experience to the benefit of others. I'm sure you are well aware of the level of frustration some of us are experiencing so you're gonna get hammered with comments regarding disappointment.

    Please continue to iron out the bugs and I'm sure most of us will keep checking back to see if there have been any improvements...thanks again!

    P.S. The edit feature for OPs needs to be reintroduced to the forums as sometimes it is a necessary thing to do...just FYI.
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    BMWCCA1

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    Alex,

    First, thank you for your altruistic contribution to the Club.

    As someone who did the same for a dozen years (or more) as well as founding a local chapter thirty-years ago, and then going on to becoming a paid contractor for the Club, I can assure you those who did this website "upgrade" were most likely paid handsomely for their work. Obviously paid too much and possibly too soon. If they did Beta testing then those board members who checked it out and approved it never frequented the Forums. That's pretty obvious when you look for their participation in the old forums. Anyone who signed off on this debacle should hang their head in shame . . . or simply not get paid until it is sorted.

    I don't see what would have been hurt by simply leaving the old forum architecture in place. It had nothing to do with the accounting advantages of the web site at large supposedly gained through the "upgrade".

    We seem no longer to be a club but instead a source of income for hangers-on and subcontractors. (I believe we're even paying a member and friend of a Club contractor a finders fee for the new Roundel printer contract, though it may well be hidden in the printer's invoicing and not paid by the Club.) This Club's history in poor decisions with regard to computer systems, web site production and management, and pork would make a good book. When I came in as president we'd already spent too much money for out-of-date computers and we were paying those monies to club members and ex-national-board-members for consultation and implementation. All Roundel ad revenue was coming to a Club elder who had set himself up as publisher and was not required to even report the advertising income or cost of publication to the Club's board. A former executive director was granting contracts for Club memorobilia to a friend, fellow member, and revered Club elder, who in turn charged the Club for travel and site visits whle letting BMW AG employees do the work of contracting and producing the item.

    Until the Club comes clean on what caused this latest atrosity, we're left to conclude the same pork is at work again in producing an inferior product that takes the Club one-step backward while costing the Club more out of a shrinking budget whle more and more members get disgusted and fail to renew.

    I'm happy to contribute to the forums when I can help a fellow member. I don't see why the Club had to ditch a forum architecture that was working, albeit limping along, to replace it with one that is worse, functions more poorly, and retains none of the latter's history. Someone please tell me what we gained by the change?
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    CRKrieger

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    Still waiting - and noticing more that's missing

    While I wanted to reply to Alex, there's no "Reply" button on his post. I can't conceive why that would be.

    As well, I suspect that Alex didn't spend near the time on the forums that a number of the rest of us (including me) have. In the old forum, I could click on his member name and find that out. Now I can't.

    We also had a 'rating' system of sorts that could be used to find out who could be trusted to provide good information, based on other members' ratings. No longer. We also have apparently (at least, so far) lost the entire knowledge base we had there. If you had anything bookmarked there, toss 'em. You'll have to find it again ... somewhere.

    While the club's online administration might have been streamlined by this change, what little online community it had built has been essentially destroyed. I don't know how long it will take to get that back, but I have a pretty good idea what it will take. From here, it looks like a long, long way.
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