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Coming Events - Last Chance To Help :)


Bill Edwards

Coming Events Usage  

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Bill Edwards

Dear All

 

Sincere apologies for yet another topic on the subject of Coming Events - this is the last post I will make on the subject. I invest a considerable amount of time and effort in compiling the Coming Events into what I believe is a useful format for our members. However there are a number of issues I face and if I can't improve the situation, I will simply give up and withdraw the facility.

 

Please note, I'm not looking for feedback here, I am looking for practical suggestions as to how I can encourage member participation, encourage members to share information they clearly have, but keep to themselves and how I can be helped to keep the facility available.

 

Firstly I need to know how widely used the Coming Event's file is. The file is stored on a Microsoft OneDrive which makes it's maintenance easy for me and I believe makes it easily available to the widest number of members. The downside is there is no practical way of establishing how many times the file is accessed. To this end I have set up a poll and I would be grateful if you would indicate your usage of the Coming Event's file.

 

It may assist you to understand the problems I face on a daily basis if I explain how the file is compiled. I have a spreadsheet with details of previous events - Location, Town, County & Post Code. I also have the 'master' file. As I add events to the 'master' file I'm including the event (if there is one) & lessee. I gain information from World's Fair 'ground to let', our posters forum, our coming events forum, our Facebook group and to a small degree PM's & email. Frequently these sources list only partial information.

 

Problems to solve:

 

1) I have events listed with only bare minimum details. How do I get the additional details? As an example a poster was recently posted on Facebook. The only details were dates, a Town name and the lessee. The town wasn't listed in my database. The was no report for 2016. Google maps showed 19 possible towns in the UK. I have insufficient knowledge of where the lessee operates so couldn't establish the correct town from that (in any event it would only narrow the choice, not provide a definite location). I am certain some of our members know where the fair is, but how do I get that information to include?

 

2)  Members are not sharing information. I am frequently seeing both Funfair Reports & Photo reports of events which are not listed in the Coming Events file. I appreciate members may have found out at short notice of the events, but the suggestion is that members know of these events but don't share the information. Why? How can I encourage sharing? Remember Internet Forums only work because members share information. If there are reasons you don't share event details, are you able to assist me with why? (By PM if you prefer - or anonymously via a Forum Panel member)

 

I have been discussing solutions to the above with the Forum Panel, but we are struggling to come up with viable solutions. I appreciate there isn't a magical solution and to be fair (pun intended) I'm not looking for one. But, the situation must improve or we will lose the Coming Events permanently!

 

A couple of ideas have been put forward and I would welcome your comments on these:

 

1) A new sub forum of Coming Events (Information Needed?) - Where I have an event which lacks details, I post in that forum asking for details. The thinking behind this is that members would be more likely to simply reply to a post than scan the events, identify one they can help with then either PM or email me. Any thoughts?

 

2) Are any members with a little free time able to assist with research? It would involve identifying events lacking detail and either posting in the forum as mentioned in point 1 above , or perhaps searching the forum or internet for answers (I do this myself, but only on a very basic level - time and other commitments prevent me spending too much time doing so). Any thoughts? Volunteers?

 

3) Excluding from the Coming Events file members who clearly have information on an event which they don't share without good reason (and I accept there may be good reason). I'm not keen on this idea, but I also think it's grossly unfair to use a facility you can't/won't contribute to.

 

4) Making a blank spreadsheet available so members can add their own events and send it to me. I could simply copy/paste into the 'master' file.

 

 

 

If anyone has ANY suggestions at all as to how I can make compiling the Coming Events easier and more efficient, I'd be very happy to hear them. I really, really don't want to withdraw the facility, but previous requests for help have just been answered with "you're doing a great job, please keep putting in time and effort whilst I just take what I need" and, as I've said, that situation isn't sustainable.

 

And finally, a big, big THANK YOU to those members who do contribute to both the Coming Events and the forum in general - without your support we wouldn't have a forum! THANK YOU!!

 

All the best

 

Bill

 

 

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Nadine Eden

Hi Bill, 

 

I'm a fairly new member so I do apologise if my suggestions have already been tested.

I'm not sure which content management system you use for the site, but is there a way of adding a form with all the details you need for the entries? This could be easily accessed in the main navigation bar. As for tracking how many times the file is accessed, I believe there is a way of tracking links that lead away from your website using Google Analytics. Info can be found here

 

I hope these suggestions are useful!

 

Nadine

  • Thanks 1
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Bill Edwards
4 hours ago, Nadine Eden said:

Hi Bill, 

 

I'm a fairly new member so I do apologise if my suggestions have already been tested.

I'm not sure which content management system you use for the site, but is there a way of adding a form with all the details you need for the entries? This could be easily accessed in the main navigation bar. As for tracking how many times the file is accessed, I believe there is a way of tracking links that lead away from your website using Google Analytics. Info can be found here

 

I hope these suggestions are useful!

 

Nadine

Many thanks for your input, I will look into your suggestions.

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Bill Edwards

I'm grateful to Nadine - the only one to comment :(

 

This topic has had 338 views, 70 votes with 39 members using the Coming Events either frequently or often.

 

Apart from Nadine, not a SINGLE suggestion. Not a SINGLE comment on my ideas. Not a SINGLE offer of a few minutes help a day.

 

With this level of support I will spend the weekend seriously considering the future of the Coming Events!

 

 

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Simon Deery

Hi Bill

I can understand your disappointment that only one person has so far offered any ideas. I believe that is more a sign that people are possibly struggling to find a solution that will greatly assist with what is a mammoth task rather than a lack of caring. I personally voted that I use coming events most weeks, sometimes for general interest and reference and other times to plan trips away to attend fairs. I am extremely grateful for this resource and it is not something I can see being offered anywhere else in the foreseable future.

My only solution towards assisting with inputting fairs and dates that I can see would be to use the master Excel template you currently have and have it up as a blank template with just the location. This could be put up towards the last quater of the year to get a fairly early start for the coming year ahead. Still have the coming events forum as it is now and people post the dates, lessee etc to fill in the gaps and moderators transfer this onto your master template as the details come. I appreciate this still requires the resource of someone inputting the dates on the spreadsheet but the research is left to the members to do. A second idea would be whether we can have editable tables month by month put into the coming events forum, again the locations we have from the Excel master could be pre entered and members are left to research and input the dates and lessee. I appreciate this would only be possible if the software permits but it would also allow you to see how many people are a) Viewing the coming events tables and B) How many people are contributing with information. I would like to think people will support this as it is in all our interests to keep this important feature going. The fact is we will only get out what we put in. 

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Hello Bill,

 

I have two suggestions that may help increase contributions to this part of the forum.

 

1. Make the process of adding details as simple as possible. The ideal scenario would a form, perhaps at the top of the home page. 'Enter a fair!' Dates, location, leasee. This depends on the forum software but might be possible.

 

2. The second idea could expand on and work well with the above. That being a separate rating for each user for fairs added. I imagine many members like adding photos etc because they gain reputations through the number of likes. However, I hazard a guess that perhaps the coming events posts aren't liked as much as other types of posts. By adding another rating....it could offer an incentive and even generate some competition.

 

For those not able to add events, whose rating may sit on zero, I personally don't see this as an issue....

 

Dan

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Scott Turner

Hi Bill.

 

I think the lack of response is probably the same reason as I have not, I simply don't have a solution. Sadly you can't force people to share info. Some people just don't. Its the same with other hobbies, certain people, you find just aren't interested in sharing.

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Gary Witcomb

its a shame we cant just use the posters as coming events entries, they would just need to be automatically but in date order ??

or

Possible use the clubs to post coming event posters so how 

 

just thinking aloud

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Paul McHaddan
2 hours ago, Gary Witcomb said:

its a shame we cant just use the posters as coming events entries, they would just need to be automatically but in date order ??

 

 

 

I also think the same as Gary the posters :)

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Bill Edwards

I am grateful for all your suggestions, and whilst not wishing to appear negative, I will run through them with 'the other side of the coin' :)

 

21 hours ago, Simon Deery said:

I believe that is more a sign that people are possibly struggling to find a solution that will greatly assist with what is a mammoth task rather than a lack of caring.

 

That is a possibility, but I also put forward four ideas of my own in the first post and NO ONE commented on those either!

 

21 hours ago, Simon Deery said:

My only solution towards assisting with inputting fairs and dates that I can see would be to use the master Excel template you currently have and have it up as a blank template with just the location.

 

The problem isn't with inputting the data. I am happy to do that, but with a little assistance :) I simply don't have time to research every event without details, if every member who uses the Coming Events researched just ONE event with missing details we wouldn't have a problem. I asked if anyone wanted to volunteer with a few minutes of their time and he silence was deafening.

 

19 hours ago, Dan Thomas said:

1. Make the process of adding details as simple as possible. The ideal scenario would a form, perhaps at the top of the home page. 'Enter a fair!' Dates, location, leasee. This depends on the forum software but might be possible.

 

Unfortunately a form isn't possible using the Forum Software. However we have a "Coming Events" forum where members can add details of events and as it's part of the forum there is no learning curve and every member already has access - but it simply isn't used as it could be.

 

19 hours ago, Dan Thomas said:

2. The second idea could expand on and work well with the above. That being a separate rating for each user for fairs added. I imagine many members like adding photos etc because they gain reputations through the number of likes. However, I hazard a guess that perhaps the coming events posts aren't liked as much as other types of posts. By adding another rating....it could offer an incentive and even generate some competition.

 

If members used the existing Coming Events forum they would get likes/thanks. It isn't possible to set up a separate system purely for Coming Events though.

 

19 hours ago, Scott Turner said:

I think the lack of response is probably the same reason as I have not, I simply don't have a solution.

 

That is a possibility, but I also put forward four ideas of my own in the first post and NO ONE commented on those either!

 

3 hours ago, Gary Witcomb said:

its a shame we cant just use the posters as coming events entries, they would just need to be automatically but in date order ??

 

We could do that. If the date of the event were entered in the correct format, they would automatically be date sorted. It's a variation of the system we tried last year with a forum for each month and events entered by members. Very few members bothered. This system would be much easier for me as it would be less work, however we would lost virtually ALL the functionality we currently have - the ability to filter, sort etc.

 

3 hours ago, Gary Witcomb said:

Possible use the clubs to post coming event posters

 

Again possible, but the restrictions as above would still apply.

 

 

 

Of the four ideas I put forward above - if 1 & 2 were actioned and members helped, the current format would be just about sustainable :)

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Stephen Bishop
On 16/07/2017 at 12:15, Bill Edwards said:

1) A new sub forum of Coming Events (Information Needed?) - Where I have an event which lacks details, I post in that forum asking for details. The thinking behind this is that members would be more likely to simply reply to a post than scan the events, identify one they can help with then either PM or email me. Any thoughts?

 

2) Are any members with a little free time able to assist with research? It would involve identifying events lacking detail and either posting in the forum as mentioned in point 1 above , or perhaps searching the forum or internet for answers (I do this myself, but only on a very basic level - time and other commitments prevent me spending too much time doing so). Any thoughts? Volunteers?

 

I think idea 1 makes the most sense and is easy to contribute to. Maybe if events missing info could be created in the sub folder first using a common template, i.e. this information must be provided or it goes in the sub folder. When and if all information is provided it could be updated and moved by the moderators.

 

I'm personally willing to help as I find this site a great resource for finding travelling coasters. I can't guarantee my effectiveness but I guess it's the trying that counts 🙃

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