How Can Black Belt Forums Be Improved?

Discussion in 'Suggestions & Feedback' started by Kevin, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    Now see, I thought it was just the opposite - that the eye is naturally pulled toward the right.

    ... maybe that's only in China ... :censored:

    This whole mobile-phone thing still has me stumped. I grew up in a time when a phone was only for talking, and it's been a long, hard road to "responsive design". I just got my first touch-screen phone, a tiny LG, and I'm totally stumped - I'm not even sure how to make a call or answer one yet, and I've had it already for a few days, so maybe I'm not the guy to talk to about mobile apps. :dead:
    Charlay Atkins likes this.
  2. Charlay Atkins

    Charlay Atkins Samurai

    If you can find a single site on the web that has the menu on the right I would be very surprised.;)
    Also another reason for not using drop down menus, it's not very SEO friendly, hence the need for a site map.
  3. Locutus

    Locutus Your fight is futile, my hands are pounding you!

    I grew up in a time when our mobile phones were two cans with a piece of string between them. Harumph, hmph fhmmm.
    Charlay Atkins and SifuPhil like this.
  4. Kevin

    Kevin Admin Staff Member

    With regards to the sidebar guys, I'm happy to switch it to the right hand side. Whatever you guys prefer.

    Let me know what you think. It only takes two minutes for me to switch it.

    You can buy a design that comes with a responsive design. Do you use WordPress (or something similar)? There are lots of applications that will create a mobile-friendly version of your site for you automatically.
    SifuPhil likes this.
  5. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    Doesn't matter to me, really - just want you to get the maximum impact on the site.

    Well, I currently have a trimmed-down collection of themes and templates for WP - I got rid of a lot of them a while ago - but the collection still numbers in the hundreds. ThemeForest, Woo Themes, StudioPress, ThemePress, frameworks like Genesis and Thesis ... I'm a bit OCD about collecting themes and plug-ins. o_O

    In fact, I'm one of those guys that spends too MUCH time playing with themes, instead of USING them, which is why my increased emphasis on marketing.
  6. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky :ROFLMAO:
    Charlay Atkins likes this.
  7. Charlay Atkins

    Charlay Atkins Samurai

    You funny git, other than your own site.:banghead::p;):D
    SifuPhil likes this.
  8. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    From what I've learned recently, sites with sidebars on the left make more money from their ads; sites with the sidebars on the right emphasize their content over their advertising. That's why MY site has all the junk on the right.

    I know that isn't a hard-and-fast rule, and I realize that cell-phones and tablets have changed the game, but yeah, here in the West we're used to starting on the left of a page.

    Just something to consider, though, given the explosive nature of 'Net usage by the Chinese and Japanese - traditional Mandarin is read from top to bottom, right to left ...
    Charlay Atkins likes this.
  9. Charlay Atkins

    Charlay Atkins Samurai

    That is actually spot on Phil. As people are more likely to click on the ads by mistake there for increasing your PPC revenue.;)
  10. Charlay Atkins

    Charlay Atkins Samurai

    I don't actually mind which side it is on Kevin, it will just take some getting used to it that is all.(y)
  11. Kevin

    Kevin Admin Staff Member

    WordPress is where my experience lies, so if you ever need help or advice with it, please give me a buzz :) :)

    The vast majority of blogs place menus on the right hand side. Most large shops and news websites and magazines place menus on the left hand side.

    The reason that blogs place menus on the right hand side is simple - it focuses the readers attention on the content (as we read from left to right).
    SifuPhil likes this.
  12. Charlay Atkins

    Charlay Atkins Samurai

    Ok, ok there is no need to bombard me with this now. I got the point when Phil pointed me to his site. Talk about picking on the little guy.:p:D(y)
    SifuPhil, Kevin and Locutus like this.
  13. Kevin

    Kevin Admin Staff Member

    I'm a great believer of kicking a man when he's down. It's easier that way.

    Plus one for the mob mentality! :)
  14. Charlay Atkins

    Charlay Atkins Samurai

    Haha you cruel bloody lot I'm off and I'm not coming back.:sneaky:

    Well that's what people usually say when someone on here upsets them.:p;)

    Good job I'm bloody thick skinned.:D
    SifuPhil and Kevin like this.
  15. Kevin

    Kevin Admin Staff Member

    I have talked about this forum, and my views on running a forum, many times in the past, however I will try and answer all of the issues you raised one by one :)

    It's well established I own the site. I founded the forum last year and, as I have no staff, I am the only person responsible for moderating the forum. This may change in the future as the forum grows, as it can be very time consuming moderating a forum on your own.

    I realise that you are trying to insinuate that I have no control here. That is obviously not the case, I do have final say on how things are run here.

    Whilst I respect the fact you have a lot of experience running schools, I can assure you that running an internet forum is a different ball game. I have a lot of experience running forums and have seen situations arise because of rules that were set in place. I started my first discussion forum in 2000. I have launched over a dozen forums. Many were sold early in development though I developed a football community and a poker community that were extremely popular.

    People run forums in different ways however I do not think there is a right way or wrong way to do things. With no moderation at all, certain forums become a bit chaotic. There are forums that are like the wild west, with everyone fighting all the time. Some are very popular...and can be quite fun....though I'd say most suffer because of the lack of moderation.

    On the opposite side of the spectrum, forums with too much moderation can suffocate members. Members feel like they are being treated like children (and inevitably, someone will eventually say that the place is run by nazis!). From a site owner's point of view, making too many rules and regulations is costly as it takes so much time to enforce and regulate. This forum isn't currently profitable, therefore I cannot spend several hours a week moderating threads. And why should I - people here are adults, why shouldn't they be treated like them. At the moment, 90% of the threads that are reported to me (and that I need to respond to) are from people who couldn't take a joke. For example, someone makes fun of someones view and leaves a smiley Face :) to illustrate they were only joking. Rather than taking it as a joke (as it was intended), they write a long detailed message to me, most of the time asking for that member to be banned (and for the record, I do not appreciate members asking for other members to be banned, particularly when something was made in jest).

    Do I really need to come to a member's rescue every time someone says something they don't like? I will not tolerate racism etc, though I do think people need to have a sense of humour to be here. Most members here have conflicting points of view on issues (myself included), but they are old enough to get along on the forum.

    I do not know where you get the idea that I am asking for suggestions and I do not want them. I do not add every suggestion that is made, though a large number of changes here do come from suggestions (and I try and explain my reasoning behind why a suggestion isn't suitable for the forum).

    With regards to permitting others to attack members here, I think this is the same issue I spoke about above. Your wording it as if I am a policeman watching a thug beat up an old lady. This is a martial arts discussion forum. Just about every single member here is a tough guy who takes no shit in real life. Do you really me to step into an argument of thousands of black belts who are arguing over who can be Mr. Black?

    Many people here (again, myself included), have strong opinions about certain subjects (whether it be religion, guns, effectiveness of martial arts etc.). Sometimes members will strongly disagree directly with the member, other times they will have fun and say a joke. In my opinion, 99% of situations like this are 50/50. No one is right, no one is wrong.

    If I took your suggestion on not to "permit others to attack another member" then one thing would happen: I would be accused of picking sides. And you know what...they would be right, because if I start criticising one particular person in a 50/50 argument, I would be picking sides.

    Again, this comes down to what the rules are, and for me, I do not think it is in my interests, or in the interests of BlackBeltForums members, for me to become the forum policeman and constantly moderate members. It really is impossible for me to decide who is right and who is wrong, particularly when neither party is right or wrong.

    This is clearly in response to your post earlier in this thread, in which you wrote:

    Again, I think it's important to remember that an online discussion forum is different from a Dojang. I am sure there are many similarities, though they are different.
    You seem to be concerned that I didn't criticise Matt for what he wrote. I didn't criticise him because I think he was right. I do not appreciate members coming here saying that they won't be back. I do not charge members here. It's a free forum, so if they want to leave, they can do so at any time. Obviously, I do not want members to leave, though the vast majority of people who publicly declare that they are going to leave the forum are only doing so to instigate something and cause problems in the forum.
    I think that making such a bold claim publicly on the forum is the wrong way to handle the situation; a private message is more suitable.

    I do not agree that Matt creates a hostile environment here. In fact, I would go as far as saying he is one of the most popular members here. Matt is always contributing to the forum, particularly with MMA related news and discussions. Not to mention all the great video tutorials he has been posting recently.

    In this instance, I believe Matt was defending the forum. Guys like Matt post here day in, day out. I am not saying that someone who hasn't contributed here for months cannot make a suggestion, though surely you can understand that members who post here every single day do not appreciate people who come here after a few months hiatus, make a complaint, and then publicly demand a change to be made or they won't be back. If you are right, and Matt was wrong to respond in that way, then I believe that you were wrong to write what you wrote.

    To use your analogy, how would you feel if a student came back to your school after a long period of time and said "you better make this change or I'm going"? I am sure you would not be pleased.

    Respectfully, you know my name and you know I am the owner. I'd prefer you referred to me by my name rather than "the forum owner" :) :)

    I think we need to remember that things are taken out of context easily on a forum. It's not like in real life. I am a Taekwondo man myself so I have a lot of respect for what you have accomplished. There are many many members here who have also accomplished a lot in traditional martial arts where respect is fundamental, but no one sees that. All they see is a someone's username and picture. There is no connection to the real person, particularly when their real name/identity isn't used.

    In that respect, everyone is given a free slate when they sign up here. They are not judged by what they have done in the past, they are judged by how they contribute to the forum, how they help others out here, and how they interact with other members. Put it another way, if a 9th Dan Grandmaster signed up here, he wouldn't be judged by what he has achieved, he would be judged by what how he acts on the forum.

    I hope you continue to be a member here. I do not want members to leave, particularly over a silly April Fools joke (I know it was annoying, however it was only for one day).

    That being said, I do not agree that I should always get involved in arguments. I like the atmosphere here. We have discussions about serious topics though on the whole I think it's a fun place to hang out, and a sense of humour is mandatory. If one member really doesn't like another member, then they should use the ignore option so that they do not see their posts. You can be assured, if any person came here and started being an asshole to everyone for no reason, they would be banned.

    I appreciate your feedback. I think you could have been a little more constructive with your feedback, though I understand that your post was made after what happened between you and Matt.


  16. Charlay Atkins

    Charlay Atkins Samurai

    How very diplomatic and eloquent of you Kevin. I must admit Blue Knight, when I read your post, it did come across as a child stomping it's feet demanding things to be changed or for the said fly to be removed otherwise you would not return. It did seem a bit off.

    Although someone on here neatly pointed out, we are all responsible for what we write, but we are not responsible for others interpretation of what we have written.

    However a little time and thought before we put pen to paper so to speak can help avoid situations such as these.

    By the way I am not defending any one here, I am merely saying how I interpreted what you had originally written.

    Much respect to all members of this forum.(y)

    P.S. Hope you stick around Blue Knight, I wouldn't want this misunderstanding to cause you to leave the forum.;)
    Eric Dufurrena and Kevin like this.
  17. Kevin

    Kevin Admin Staff Member

    I hope he stays too. :)

    I'm a member of other forums, so whenever I make a decision here, I try and see things from a member's point of view. I don't think I should be arrogant and believe that I am always right, because I won't be. As I said before, things aren't always black and white. There are many ways to interpret a situation. Plus, for an outsider, it is very difficult to see who started a heated argument and to see if anyone is wrong (it's regularly just two alpha males butting heads).

    I hope the way I handle things here doesn't come across that I don't care. I just don't think the "ruling with an iron fist" approach works. Plus, I think a forum becomes successful when the future of the forum is shaped by its members (at least in part).
    Charlay Atkins likes this.
  18. Blue Knight

    Blue Knight Disciple

    That’s really all I wanted to know in the first place, and this could have been resolved with none of this excess discussion or rude attacks.

    Thanks, Kevin. That’s what I wanted know.

    Thank you for your time,
    Blue Knight
    Charlay Atkins and Kevin like this.
  19. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    ... the fly is gone ... :(
    Kevin likes this.
  20. Charlay Atkins

    Charlay Atkins Samurai

    Hi Blue Knight, I respectfully waited for Kevin to reply before passing on my thoughts with regards to said post. I just wanted you to understand how your post had come across and that it was not to point any fingers.

    I hope you will continue to be a member of this forum, it should never matter how little or how much a member contributes, everyone is welcome regardless of this.

    Hope we can all put this down to experience and move on.


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