Ulc Forum: Members, Friends, Or Customers?


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With only a handful of repetitive members, a good question to the Forum might be to ask, why so few posting members? Why only a handful of regular participants? Is this a tolerant social forum that wants to attract more members? Is it a personal whim? Is it a business model that isn't working?

I don't know about the rest of you, but this forum used to be much more exciting, engaging, diverse and stimulating. Tolerant might be a term used loosely at various times over the years......

While I have been on this forum for a long time, I don't know anything about Kevin, and precious little about Murph. I would be interested to know what the motives, goals and desires are of the "managment team" of this forum. Is it even wrong to ask the question?

:Peace: and :wub:,

:mike:

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I've been doing some thinking about this a lot, of late.

There's always going to be room for improvement.

Of course we'd like more actively posting members. Of that, there is no doubt. While I don't really want to just open the floodgates and let everyone attack each other at whim, I prefer to have members that can be civil to each other. I'm not saying they always have to agree with each other (far from it), but be civil when they DO disagree.

I recently had a discussion with a moderator who we felt was coming off a bit more harsh than probably intended. In my attempts to explain how I felt members should be treated when they come to us, I explained that, in that sense, we'd treat them as we would a customer coming to us with a complaint.

Well, you can imagine how that went over. Not well at all. And I've been blasted for it ever since! (:P) In hindsight, I probably phrased the whole thing poorly. I can accept fault for that.

Truth is, while yes, this forum is attached to the ULC.net website, which is a for profit bookstore for the ULC, I don't CARE about the sales side of the site.

While I have immeasurable respect for Kevin and his bookstore, it makes no difference to me whether or not he sells one more minister credential or saint certificate. I just don't care. This forum is NOT a focus for the main website.

I'd like to find a balance between having decent members, and a decent member count.

I like to think this place is a community for the members. Not the customers, not the "numbers", but the people behind the screens.

I also agree that in the past, we had a more vibrant community. However, nature of the beast, people come and go. Many (thousands) of our members sign up, maybe thinking it's a requirement of the ordination process, and then never return. Many register, look at the content of some of the threads, and think that maybe it's not the type of environment that they are searching for. Which is cool, our posting styles may not be for everyone. It's impossible to be able to cater to every person who signs up.

We have very detailed rules in place, and sometimes people feel they are unable to abide by those rules. Some people leave on their own, sometimes it's necessary to remove their access priviledges. Those who know me, know that I'm reluctant to bring that power to bear, tho, because often, the members that I end up having to remove for rule violations are indeed some of the more colorful and interesting people.

Being a forum administrator is not an exact science. I fully admit, before you and everyone, that I can make mistakes. I'm human, as far as you know, and things happen.

I have a couple of background forum issues brewing right now that have been going on for months, and I still don't know how to correct them without ticking a large number of people off.

My desires, really, are simple: I want a community of people that are able to discuss topics of varying natures, with the abilty to remain civil when disagreements arise (as they inevitably will.) I really DON'T want a bunch of people flingin crap at each other just because they can't agree.

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I don't know about the rest of you, but this forum used to be much more exciting, engaging, diverse and stimulating. Tolerant might be a term used loosely at various times over the years......

I agree that the diversity seems to be lacking.

Some of my favorite engaging and stimulating posters either left or barely post.

:P oO(I’m looking at you, Henry/hlange, Mike/Tallmilke, Ken/simplicitys-brother, Verisoph, and Visam)

I am sure there are more...

Also, some of the more “exciting” people (Trevor/Clueless Git, JohnE, fruitloup, Lord Occultis, Old Nick, and Hyper Real) were banned.

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I've been doing some thinking about this a lot, of late.

There's always going to be room for improvement.

Of course we'd like more actively posting members. Of that, there is no doubt. While I don't really want to just open the floodgates and let everyone attack each other at whim, I prefer to have members that can be civil to each other. I'm not saying they always have to agree with each other (far from it), but be civil when they DO disagree.

I recently had a discussion with a moderator who we felt was coming off a bit more harsh than probably intended. In my attempts to explain how I felt members should be treated when they come to us, I explained that, in that sense, we'd treat them as we would a customer coming to us with a complaint.

Well, you can imagine how that went over. Not well at all. And I've been blasted for it ever since! ( :P) In hindsight, I probably phrased the whole thing poorly. I can accept fault for that.

Truth is, while yes, this forum is attached to the ULC.net website, which is a for profit bookstore for the ULC, I don't CARE about the sales side of the site.

While I have immeasurable respect for Kevin and his bookstore, it makes no difference to me whether or not he sells one more minister credential or saint certificate. I just don't care. This forum is NOT a focus for the main website.

I'd like to find a balance between having decent members, and a decent member count.

I like to think this place is a community for the members. Not the customers, not the "numbers", but the people behind the screens.

I also agree that in the past, we had a more vibrant community. However, nature of the beast, people come and go. Many (thousands) of our members sign up, maybe thinking it's a requirement of the ordination process, and then never return. Many register, look at the content of some of the threads, and think that maybe it's not the type of environment that they are searching for. Which is cool, our posting styles may not be for everyone. It's impossible to be able to cater to every person who signs up.

We have very detailed rules in place, and sometimes people feel they are unable to abide by those rules. Some people leave on their own, sometimes it's necessary to remove their access priviledges. Those who know me, know that I'm reluctant to bring that power to bear, tho, because often, the members that I end up having to remove for rule violations are indeed some of the more colorful and interesting people.

Being a forum administrator is not an exact science. I fully admit, before you and everyone, that I can make mistakes. I'm human, as far as you know, and things happen.

I have a couple of background forum issues brewing right now that have been going on for months, and I still don't know how to correct them without ticking a large number of people off.

My desires, really, are simple: I want a community of people that are able to discuss topics of varying natures, with the abilty to remain civil when disagreements arise (as they inevitably will.) I really DON'T want a bunch of people flingin crap at each other just because they can't agree.

Murph, thank you for taking the time to address my concern/post/questions.

Also, some of the more “exciting” people (Trevor/Clueless Git, JohnE, fruitloup, Lord Occultis, Old Nick, and Hyper Real) were banned.

Yes, I miss those folks. But rules are rules, and personal decisions are personal decisions.....

But was Hyper Real really banned? Must have been recent..... I always cringe at the thought, even when I know such a decision is necessary.

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Yes, I miss those folks. But rules are rules, and personal decisions are personal decisions.....

*nods*

I believe that is what it comes down to, regardless of how I personally feel about someone.

But was Hyper Real really banned?

His profile currently lists him as “banned”.

I do not mean to sound vague but that is the only thing I am comfortable saying about it because it is public knowledge. I believe even ex-members deserve the same right to their privacy as current members regarding the details of warnings, suspensions, and/or banishments.

Must have been recent..... I always cringe at the thought, even when I know such a decision is necessary.

Unless someone appears to be a genuine safety concern or a spammer/bot, I am almost always uncomfortable about them being banned.

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Happy, as a retired Officer, I am sure you never liked giving Art15s, but it was sometimes required

True that! Such a comment brings many memories/stories to the forefront of my mind.

Nevertheless, does site management want to expand membership and participation?

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~ Happy, are you volunteering to ta hang-out at Wal-marts & other various congregating locations to solicit membership & participation?

... That could be rather precarious at certain locales :dntknw:

Do be careful, OK Hon?

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Nevertheless, does site management want to expand membership and participation?

Your question makes me think of a television show I was watching this past week, where experts come in to a hotel, restaurant, or in the case of this episode, a nightclub, because the business is going "off the tracks" or not bringing in money, etc.

Granted, this forum does not require financial participation, but the ideas are similar: you want to bring in a large number of guests who are going to return and bring additional business. You want your guests to be comfortable and to feel welcome to use the amenities (in our case, making posts).

What you do not want is guests beoming intoxicated, loud and obnoxious, making other guests uncomfortable (similar to those who make posts only to be disagreeable, those who choose not to follow the terms of service, those who lack restraint when they post sensitive topics, and so on).

It's a delicate balance, and like a night club, we are a people place, and the survival only comes from having a good crowd of good people.

Management (admins, moderators) can only do so much. The facilities are clean, the lighting is good, the food has been rotated, the beverages are stocked and fresh. The rest comes from the patronage and their interactions. Their behavior and interaction drives the mood which brings in the business or chases it away.

I would love to see an active crowd who enjoys being here. I realize, though, that it does not just happen. It has to develop and like most things, has its up and down cycles.

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What you do not want is guests beoming intoxicated, loud and obnoxious, making other guests uncomfortable (similar to those who make posts only to be disagreeable, those who choose not to follow the terms of service, those who lack restraint when they post sensitive topics, and so on).
Many businesses run successful models built around attracting loud, obnoxious drunks who cause a lot of trouble. While these are places I do not choose to frequent, there are obviously lots of people who want to do so. So the question is not necessarily about what it takes to be successful so much as what kind of success you want to have. Because a successful dive bar, a successful chain restaurant, a successful night club, and a successful church will all be doing very different things to attract the sort of customers who will be interested in the services they provide.... In terms of this forum, we would have more posts and more posters if the conduct standards were looser, but the majority of those posts would be things that Brother Kevin does not want to store on the servers he pays for. So, in my opinion, quality is a better goal than quantity.
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