Quote Bob Bickerton:
Please don't take this the wrong way, it's an observation, not a criticism.............
Are some of these changes driven by wanting MORE people to participate? Are SOS concerned that a specialist forum does not attract many people?
Don't worry Bob, it's a fair question. It's one of those 'what end of the telescope are you looking through' questions. I would answer that the numbers of viewers/participants is secondary, the two things that matter most are the sense of community and the sharing of knowledge, experience, and opinions.
Every member of the forums has a unique experience, depending on which forums they visit, how often they visit, and how often they post. The forum Admins, and Moderators like myself, had to visit a lot of individual forums just to do the job. And one of the things we all picked up was that there were a lot of members that had a lot of interests in common but never saw each other because they posted in different forums. Even though they were notionally 'dedicated' forums, the discussions regularly expanded into areas more appropriate for other parts of the forum. And to be fair, it wasn't just the Moderators who noticed this; in the recent discussions a number of members have spoken up and said they prefer the new broader forum topics. Yes, the favourable posts are outnumbered by the complaints, but people tend not to shout about being happy with things whereas people who are unhappy are prepared to speak out. But you don't write off legitimate complaints on those grounds, you listen and learn, which is what we are trying to do here.
What I can assure you is that when the changes were discussed in the Moderator's forum numbers were not an issue. Quantity never entered the discussions, it was all about quality. The discussions weren't about the numbers of visitors to each forum, but about how we could pull them together so more people would contribute and/or learn. To use Microphones and Mic Techniques as an example, the feeling was that it was too important to the overall process of recording for it to be hidden away in a corner as a specialist interest, and that seemed to be supported by the number of questions about mics that appeared in other parts of the forum.
But what we missed, and has been pointed out to us, is how that knowledge would be diluted in such a broad new forum. People unable to see the wood for the trees. And that is why I was asking about a possible middle ground, a forum that is broader than mics and micing, but still focused.
It's OK to have boutique forums, where smaller numbers of people are having more in depth discussion, it's a service to the industry and a sign that SOS has a professional approach to these things.
I agree entirely, that is why I joined the forums and why, when invited, I accepted the invitation to become a Moderator. Our aim was to build on that, and spread it wider. And that is why we are so keen to listen to what everyone has to say and learn from our members.
So please, keep your ideas and opinions coming Bob.
When the going gets weird, the Weird turn Pro.