Availability of the BAA forum

Forums General Discussion Availability of the BAA forum

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    Posted by Nick James at 20:58 on 2012 Nov 01

    At Council yesterday we decided to make this forum visible to all as a trial. This will allow non-members to read what we are saying but, as before, only members will have the ability to post.Thanks to Callum for getting this set up so quickly.Let us know if you think this is a good or a bad idea.Nick.


    Posted by Gary Poyner at 09:33 on 2012 Nov 02

    I certainly don’t think it’s a bad idea, but I don’t see any advantages to be gained from it either! I’m interested to know the thinking behind it though.Gary


    Posted by TonyAngel at 10:48 on 2012 Nov 02

    I am not sure about this. Yes it would be a good idea that the general public can ask and discuss various astronomical topics, but I do believe that there ought to be an area of the forum that is dedicated to members. On which subject matters to divide I have not yet given much thought to.


    Posted by Gary Poyner at 13:03 on 2012 Nov 02

    TonyAngel wrote:

    Yes it would be a good idea that the general public can ask and discuss various astronomical topics, but I do believe that there ought to be an area of the forum that is dedicated to members.

    The general public can’t post to the forum, just read what members have posted. The forum remains a member only utility.Gary


    Posted by TonyAngel at 14:22 on 2012 Nov 02

    Sorry Gary I misread! A questions then.Would it be possible to have two copies of Kunena running – the forum software – so that there could be a public area for potential members and members to post and read, as well as a members only area? This would enable two way "conversations" that will hopefully lead to more members. Looking from the potential members point of view there is nothing more frustrating than reading a forum and not being able respond. It would also allow members to raise and discuss what may be considered internal matters privately – this current discussion being one of them.


    Posted by Callum Potter at 17:19 on 2012 Nov 02

    Hi Tony,access can be controlled on a category by category basis, so it could be possible to have some categories visible without logon, and others not.Callum


    Posted by Nick James at 19:08 on 2012 Nov 02

    The thinking behind it is that there are sometimes discussions that may be of a wider interest (imaging techniques, particular objects etc.) and that it may help to raise the Association’s profile if these are available to non members, search engines etc. As Callum says, we can fine tune this depending on feedback received.


    Posted by Nick Atkinson at 17:41 on 2012 Nov 05

    This needs to be thought through. Anything that encourages a wider interest in astronomy should be welcome. However I see this as creeping agenda and will lead to some members thinking that there is little value in continuing to be members. When I look at who is logged in I see far more "guests" rather than members. Is our membership increasing or are we not in fact seeing is, a fall in numbers?I think it would be better to encourage some of the guests become full supporters and I do not think this is the right way to achieve this.


    Posted by Nick James at 20:53 on 2012 Nov 05

    Thanks for your views Nick.They are certainly valid and I agree that we have a difficult balance. The BAA does some really great things and we want to encourage as many people as possible to become members. We’re working on ways that will allow non-members access to a limited number of services so that they can see what we do but which will control access beyond a certain point so that there are still significant benefits in being a member.We are definitely sensitive to the fact that there has to be a clear benefit arising from membership and recognise that there are pros and cons here. Making the forum visible read-only to non-members was just one of the ideas mentioned at the last Council and we have a lot of scope to fine-tune this or even turn it off altogether depending on the reaction/feedback that we get.Nick.


    Posted by Phillip Hudson at 22:27 on 2012 Nov 05

    Letting the public see what is being discussed on the forum is a great idea. It may well wet the apetite of the public to get more involved possibly increasing the membership which would be great for everyone.


    Posted by TonyAngel at 17:05 on 2012 Nov 09

    We also need to encourage BAA Members to access the site more. I do not know why it is not used more. Perhaps at one of the meetings someone could ask why they do not use the forum much.


    Posted by Gary Poyner at 18:13 on 2012 Nov 09

    That puzzles me too. I’d like to see a live chat room also. That might be lively :-)Gary


    Posted by David Basey at 10:19 on 2012 Nov 10

    I wonder if it comes down to visibility and accessibility?According to the last Journal we have around 3,000 members and the whole BAA site has something like 180,000 page requests per month. So if the site was ONLY accessed by members this would equate to 60 page requests per member per month or roughly 2 per day. Now obviously many non-members access the site as well pulling this figure down quite a bit. Ive no idea what the multiplier is between members and non-members but as I write this on a wet Saturday morning the home page states that there is one member online (me) and 34 guests. Clearly some of these will be members not logged in but my point is that likely a large majority of the membership will never access the BAA web pages on a regular basis to even see the forum.The 34 guests bring up the point of accessibility. To access (until recently) the Forum, never mind contribute you have to be logged in and some people are not. Now it may be they are not aware of having a log in, have forgotten their password, cant be bothered or indeed all of the above. Whichever, its an impediment to access and you have to be bothered to do it.For ease of use I have the BAA set up as the home page in my browser so every time I access the Internet, there it is in front of me and by using the remember me facility in the login the Forum is only a single click away.Maybe what we need is a note in the Journal, perhaps in the From The President column pushing the virtues of the site in general and the Forum in particular?David.


    Posted by Richard Miles at 10:50 on 2012 Nov 10

    The key is to attract more BAA members to use this forum. People’s attention is split between the various items potentially grabbing their attention, of which there are loads these days. We shall have to advertise its use more rather than leaving it as more or less a background activity – it’s a sort of competition for people’s attention and so we need to enhance the value of the forum to our members. How we might do this would be the subject of some other thread.Getting back to Nick A’s point about having this area of the BAA Web viewable by non-members might be considered a negative move, if we enhance the content of the forum then those non-members who can only read and not post their own comments will feel increasingly left out or missing out on what we are doing. Overall, that ought to make them more inclined to join the BAA, which would then further liven up the forum.Richard


    Posted by Callum Potter at 13:03 on 2012 Nov 12

    Certainly it would be good to have more members using the website and contributing on the Forum.I think it’s around 1/3 to 1/2 of the members that are registered on the site. I did a quick look, and it was around 170 individual members that logged into the site in the last 4 weeks (it’s not possible to tell how many times each logged in).Often when ebulletins are sent out with new videos or journal to download, there is a flurry of registrations or password reminders. But I guess that the BAA site is not the place most members view when they are on the net.I think what will make more members visit more often, is more new content – and content production is the biggest problem to tackle.This (and other initiatives) are amongst the objectives of the new website design.Callum


    Posted by D A Dunn at 13:40 on 2012 Nov 12

    Just to add my bit. I think there is some danger of diluting discussions if the general public has unfettered write access to the forum. Can non-members not be given read only access?I would, however, like to see much more use of the forum by the members. It would be good to have an active forum which, we would be proud to let the public see.RegardsDavid


    Posted by Nick Atkinson at 19:18 on 2012 Dec 07

    I am not in favor of this. The constitution of the BAA is to encourage an interest in astronomy, all well to the good. The forum should remain an area that is only available to members, there are many other areas available within the our web site. We pay good money to be members of the BAA and at the moment I am the only member on line as opposed to 63 "guests" Some may conclude that they will gain very little from membership and jump ship.


    Posted by TonyAngel at 10:24 on 2012 Dec 09

    Nick I think a balance could be achieved that could encourage guests to join and get members to use the forum more.

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