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Thread: Future of eScouts?

  1. #31
    Senior Member silverhairedbeaver's Avatar
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    Hi guys, I used to look in on the site everyday and comment on threads quite often, then I just fell away from the site and got sucked into that dribble on 1st FB and it's associated sub groups (mainly because I am on FB everyday to run my work's page). Today is the my first proper visit back to eScouts and now I'm planning on visiting everyday again, but am dreading the number of threads that will be marked as unread. I do think the site could do with a trim and "tarting" up to make it more attractive to new/returning users, but surely we should be promoting it ourselves to increase the number of posters we have.

    Right I'll leave you all to the discussion now whilst I begin to catch up with what has happened on the boards.
    Colin Cooke

    Makes you wonder if it is all worth it

  2. #32
    ASL Kev's Avatar
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    One annoying thing is when a new poster starts commenting on really old threads out of context. I've seen that blamed on Tapatalk not making the dates clear. Can anything be done to make old threads clear that they are old threads or perhaps lock them after so many months?

  3. #33
    Senior Member alirainsbury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merryweather View Post
    i'm also sorry that you consider many of the posts here are unfriendly or confrontational. i would disagree: i think many posts here are friendly and helpful. however, there are many posts which are 'heated', not confrontational, and feathers do get ruffled in the heat of the debate. i acknowledge that the nature of these debates is not liked by some, however, many are tackling some really difficult issues and opinions do become polarised.
    But many aren't. And the response that new (or relatively new) posters can get can be off putting, especially if they happen to use one of the "trigger words" which sets the regulars off in a frenzy - photo permission, wearing of uniform (or not), insurance, etc.

    A chap posted a while back about how to handle planning leader ratios for events when the parents were rubbish at letting him know who was coming on said event, and what he should do if he only had the minimum leaders and an extra YP turned up. Perfectly reasonable question only he said something along the lines of "parent don't always return the permission forms" and so all hell broke loose with the usual suspects going off on one about why he shouldn't be using permission forms, etc, etc, etc. I think only one or two replies actually addressed the problem he had.

    The other one is the old joke about the farmer giving directions and starting with "well I wouldn't start from here". Regularly someone will ask a relatively benign question, and get told in no uncertain terms that they are doing it wrong. Internet access in a HQ being the prime example. Someone will ask for advise on the best way to set it up, and they'll get one or two responses which are helpful, but the majority will question why they need internet access in the first place and then go off on a massive tangent.

    Sometimes those diversions are helpful - but I would imagine when it is literally the first or second reply to an innocuous question, that it is very off putting and not at all friendly.
    CSL 1st Marple Bradshaw Cubs

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  5. #34
    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    I am a member of a couple of other (non scouting) forums... Escouts is by far the least scary.

    The other forums I frequent are vehicle-related - and at times threads can get downright unpleasant.

    On the other hand, those other forums receive hundreds of posts a day. But then there are 10x as many members.

    To compare:

    Escouts 11000 members, Landyzone 111000 members

    and yet Escouts currently has 22 online members and Landyzone 54... proportionally perhaps Escouts is doing better!


    I don;t know how we can make Escouts more popular. 1st FB is an "easy option" with minimal effort to post, but the quality of posts on there is frequently rubbish and is very repetitive. It is a large messageboard used by a vast number of members of multiple organisations around the world. Much of the stuff is borderline spam.

    Escouts however is much more specific. It is largely (but not exclusively) UK based and tends to attract people who spend more time on a computer, and perhaps more time scouting! it also feels like more of a closeknit community. There are members on Escouts who I could happily walk into a pub, sit down for a pint with, and chat like old friends, even though i've never met them "face to face".

    I can see how we might seem intimidating... what among friends may seem like banter, to a newcomer may seem like bullying. What to many of us are long running in-jokes may be taken completely out of context by someone who has not followed old threads.

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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  7. #35
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    the FAQs on usenet forums would warn abou topics to avoid or at least say thatthe response will not be useful

    uk.rec.walking used to be good fun when somebody popped up to ask about the three peaks, for example.

    oh... the faq was changed...

    "The National Three Peaks Challenge
    The Challenge
    The aim of the National Three Peaks Challenge is to reach the summits
    of the highest mountain in Scotland (Ben Nevis), England (Scafell
    Pike) and Wales (Snowdon) within 24 hours.

    Many people do this as a way of raising funds for various charities in
    which case guidelines drawn up by the Institute of Charity Fund
    Managers must be followed.

    Information regarding a successful attempt on the Challenge can be
    found at:

    http://www.ands.co.uk/3peaks/index.shtml
    The Objections
    There are a number of objections or reservations regarding the
    Challenge that have been voiced in uk.rec.walking, you should be aware
    of these objections before you raise the subject.

    Many old farts like Philip Powell consider the three peaks "theirs"
    and are trying hard to get it changed. We think it should be open to
    anyone and discussion is encouraged to educate the selfish twats."

  8. #36
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alirainsbury View Post
    But many aren't. And the response that new (or relatively new) posters can get can be off putting, especially if they happen to use one of the "trigger words" which sets the regulars off in a frenzy - photo permission, wearing of uniform (or not), insurance, etc.

    old school snip

    Sometimes those diversions are helpful - but I would imagine when it is literally the first or second reply to an innocuous question, that it is very off putting and not at all friendly.

    Your point may have some merit but it is somewhat diluted by the fact that the responses from 1st FB in a similar vein come thick and fast and often with much more vitriole. In any public forum, this will happen.

    There are a great many well known names on 1st FB, ex-denizens of Escouts, some ex-uk.rec.scouting. I'm never sure whether they moved on because the interface was better or the company was better. There are a couple of us here who can empty rooms pretty dashed quickly when we get started...
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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  10. #37
    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    There are a couple of us here who can empty rooms pretty dashed quickly when we get started...
    Oi, some of us resemble that remark!
    Chris Hawes, District Media Manager, Watford North Scout District and Watford Scouts; Group Treasurer and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group.
    Web designer of free Scouting templates, Scouting Themes 4 WordPress.

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  11. #38
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    I am a new (and female) member. I have found EScouts a mine of useful information as a new leader with no scouting background and little to no managerial local support. Occasionally posts and responded to with a bit of 'you should know that' which sometimes feels a bit insulting, people don't tend to ask if they haven't already investigated elsewhere. Some of the posts are on people management and it's useful to find out different opinions.

    There are clearly a group of people who know each other well (there should be a word for people who you ahve interacted with online for years a but have never met in real life) and a degree of banter should be expected in theses cases. I can't be bothered to feel excluded from online discussions in the same way as I might IRL, life is to short!
    'Simba'

    BSL/ADC Beavers.

    All opinions stated are my own.

  12. #39
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomsmum View Post
    Occasionally posts and responded to with a bit of 'you should know that' which sometimes feels a bit insulting, people don't tend to ask if they haven't already investigated elsewhere.
    I'm sorry if I have ever made you feel insulted. I don't think I have... but then again...

    To be fair, the "You should know that" response is not usually a criticism of the questioner, but rather of those who have failed to train them.

    There are a great many questions asked, both here and on 1st FB, where the poster asking the question, is often by definition, at a level of experience where thsy either should know the answer to their question from their training, or they should actually not be doing what they are asking about doing... (though, how would they know that if they had not done their training).

    After 20 odd years in this game there are still a few things I get wrong, I am still learning, so for a newbie, please ask away and don't worry too much if someone says you should know that, because, you know what. You actually probably do already know the answer... you just need a little nudging to help you find it.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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  14. #40
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    Most of the scouters I know have heard of Escouts and many have visited at some time, either just browsing or looking for answers/information.

    But let’s see it from the point of view of a first-time visitor, say, a new Beaver leader who is most likely looking for a Beaver section forum:

    When they land on the home page, apart from Wayne’s message of thanks and a few examples of recent forum activity, there’s not much else of interest to them. Nothing about Beavers here.

    Look around. Ah, a Forum tab, click that. Can’t see anything about Beavers here. Look a little closer and half way down the page under the heading ‘Scouting Talk’ there it is in small print. Click this link and it takes them to page 1 of 45, all to do with Beavers. Now they’re getting somewhere.

    My point is (and I’m trying to be constructive here and not critical) the scouting section and adult support sub-forums have by far the most posts, so I would assume are the most visited, yet they can only be found half way down page two in small print. Mind you, I can think of other sites which are far more difficult to navigate.

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  16. #41
    Senior Member DonTregartha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    I am a member of a couple of other (non scouting) forums... Escouts is by far the least scary.

    The other forums I frequent are vehicle-related - and at times threads can get downright unpleasant.
    Not to say downright inaccurate.

    On Escouts ask a question and you'll get a bunch of good replies and mostly in good humour - but scan them through and you'll get a pretty good view of what the answer might be.

    Sometimes we have a ruck and a squabble - but eventually we make peace, or at least learn to get along with each other.

    Try arguing with someone on FB...

    I think that Escouts has opened up a world of Scouting friendship that extends beyond on-line and I'm talking real friendship, not FB 'Friends'

    Whenever I've bumped into or met up with Escouters, or chatted on the phone to them, I can say we've all got along well and as Dan says I could happily sit down in a Pub with.

    Yes the site structure could stand a bit of tweeking, but all in all it's head and shoulders above 1stFB which makes me want to go 'meh'


    Don Tregartha
    Old Scouter
    1st Wing Scouts

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  18. #42
    Senior Member dasy2k1's Avatar
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    In terms of re organising the forums I would say have these sub forums in this order.... With sub sub forums kept to an absolute minimum

    Beavers
    Cubs
    Scouts
    Explorers and Network
    Adult Training
    Camping and Nights Away.
    Questions to the UKCC (assuming Tim is carrying on with this)
    Computer and website stuff
    The lounge

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  20. #43
    Beardy Wierdy BeardySi's Avatar
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    Ok, my opinions.... These probably will displease many. This forum is potentially a great resource, its archive of past threads alone is gold for someone looking for ideas or advice, and there's no doubt there are some very knowledgeable posters. The fact that I'm bothering to write all this out means that I feel the place is worth saving. But...

    This forum feels cold and unwelcoming. It feels like a cliquey, elitist boys club. The regular slagging off of 1st FB and those who post there is very offputting to anyone coming from there. A new poster who sees that isn't likely to hang about. Surely it's better to welcome and help those who don't have the knowledge and skills rather than making them feel like they'll be made fun of if they speak up? If they do hang about it's far more likely to be as a lurker who checks the board every now and again, rarely,if ever, contributing. That will mean dealing with some basic issues over and over again and probably rehashing (or at least resurrecting) certain age old discussions from time to time.

    I used to be active on the UK airsoft forums some years ago. One partulcular forum had been around seemingly since the dawn of time and was at one time THE home of the online airsoft community in the UK. Posters there were veterans of many years of playing before it became popular and highly visible. Another forum came along, a new forum which actively welcomed newbies and took a very open attitude. This coincided with an upsurge of popularity in the sport, which attracted a lot of new players, many of them young. Many new players went othe the newer forum as it was better designed and was very welcoming to newbies. Not surprisingly, along with some very good content being posted, there were many silly and obvious questions asked... The old guard on the veteran forum took to slagging the other place off heavily. Users suspected of cross posting were ridiculed, newbies were heavily bullied and told to **** off to the other forum with the children if they couldn't handle the banter. The new forum is probably the busiest UK airsoft forum now (and has been for many years) and the other is now a blog that just reposts press releases. While I'm not suggesting that that level of bullying and intimidation happens here (or anyhting close) reading through posts here reminds me of that situation.

    It's something of a catch 22, until theres more fresh blood it will feel elitist, but that needs to be overcome to attract new membership (or get lurkers posting).

    At the moment it seems that the forum is a talking shop for a dozen or so veteran posters and I think new users will be put off by that. Many threads seem to either drift into an unrelated discussion between long standing memebers or wind up berating the OP for not knowing the answer in the first place. Often there's little point in reading beyond page 2 as the thread will have drifted onto a parallel but unrelated matter or descended into a bout of POR pedantry.
    Last edited by BeardySi; 06-09-2016 at 01:18 AM.


    SL 81st St Bartholomews (South Belfast)

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  22. #44
    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeardySi View Post
    Ok, my opinions.... These probably will displease many. This forum is potentially a great resource, its archive of past threads alone is gold for someone looking for ideas or advice, and there's no doubt there are some very knowledgeable posters. The fact that I'm bothering to write all this out means that I feel the place is worth saving. But...
    they don't displease me! it's that 'but' that worries me!

    This forum feels cold and unwelcoming. It feels like a cliquey, elitist boys club.
    if you really feel that this forum has become that then should we not consider closing it down?

    The regular slagging off of 1st FB and those who post there is very off-putting to anyone coming from there.
    i think we need to be careful in not over-stating this point. 1st FB is not a forum as is escouts. it is a message board. it is there to learn things such as how far around the world this message can go. (currently in worcester!) when it tries to debate issues - such as one's we see here - it has trouble and needs to some regulars there to bring it back on track.

    as someone who has criticised 1st FB do you believe i have done so unfairly? i am happy to withdraw my comments and apologise.

    A new poster who sees that isn't likely to hang about. Surely it's better to welcome and help those who don't have the knowledge and skills rather than making them feel like they'll be made fun of if they speak up?
    if this forum really is that threatening then i'm for closing it down.

    If they do hang about it's far more likely to be as a lurker who checks the board every now and again, rarely,if ever, contributing.
    yes we should not forget the 1% rule and such like. (1% post, 9% reply to posts, 90% just lurk.)

    That will mean dealing with some basic issues over and over again and probably rehashing (or at least resurrecting) certain age old discussions from time to time.
    we've had the bacon discussion on here a few times!

    While I'm not suggesting that that level of bullying and intimidation happens here (or anyhting close) reading through posts here reminds me of that situation.
    but do you suspect it might exist here?

    It's something of a catch 22, until there's more fresh blood it will feel elitist, but that needs to be overcome to attract new membership (or get lurkers posting).
    so how do we get lurkers posting? is it about getting rid of the elitist few? will replacing the old elites with new posters simply create new elites (with the old elites becoming lurkers)?

    or will there always be lurkers?

    At the moment it seems that the forum is a talking shop for a dozen or so veteran posters and I think new users will be put off by that.
    i think the situation you observe is unfair on new users! so how do we go about correcting that? is it time for veteran posters to stand aside? should we make the forum here a youth zone, say just for u25s?

    Many threads seem to either drift into an unrelated discussion between long standing members or wind up berating the OP for not knowing the answer in the first place.
    that also happens on 1st FB and some will argue to an even higher degree than seen here. i'm happy though for greater moderation to remove so-called critical posts and maybe for a twitter-style limit on the length of posts here. what do you think?

    Often there's little point in reading beyond page 2 as the thread will have drifted onto a parallel but unrelated matter or descended into a bout of POR pedantry.
    i have to plead guilty! i am one who tends to be 'touchy' on POR and really should have learned by now to treat it as a guide and let people find their own way through it. i'm always willing to learn!

    TM
    going...going...still here...just

  23. #45
    Beardy Wierdy BeardySi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merryweather View Post
    if you really feel that this forum has become that then should we not consider closing it down?
    No, but some work to make it a more open place might broaden it's appeal.


    Quote Originally Posted by merryweather View Post
    i think we need to be careful in not over-stating this point. 1st FB is not a forum as is escouts. it is a message board. it is there to learn things such as how far around the world this message can go. (currently in worcester!) when it tries to debate issues - such as one's we see here - it has trouble and needs to some regulars there to bring it back on track.

    as someone who has criticised 1st FB do you believe i have done so unfairly? i am happy to withdraw my comments and apologise.
    Facebook is the wrong vehicle for anyhting like a discussion site - the nature of the site doesn't lend itself to discussion, the layout and the way content is presented leads to repetition, missed points and unread content. A forum on the other hand is ideal for it, but lacks the reach and broad appeal to FB.

    Quote Originally Posted by merryweather View Post
    but do you suspect it might exist here?
    Bullying and harrassment, no. But I can see how somebody who's not confident or experienced might be intimidated.


    Quote Originally Posted by merryweather View Post
    so how do we get lurkers posting? is it about getting rid of the elitist few? will replacing the old elites with new posters simply create new elites (with the old elites becoming lurkers)?

    i think the situation you observe is unfair on new users! so how do we go about correcting that? is it time for veteran posters to stand aside? should we make the forum here a youth zone, say just for u25s?
    Some folk will always lurk it's the nature of the site. I don't think the solution lies in limiting or excluding existing posters. The experience of the membership is a valuable asset of this site and should ideally be a selling point when promoting it. Perhaps have section of the site restricted by post count where members can engage in a bit more banter chat or heated debate. In one sense it's actually reinforcing the appearance of elitism I suppose, but it's removing it a step away from the new memeber who we're hoping to retain. Ideally by the time they'd have accrued enough posts (100? 200? 500?) they'd feel more part of the community of the site. Given enough time and new blood that would ultimately expand a clique into a community.

    Perhaps a section for newbie advice where no question really is too stupid? Perhaps include Andy Sissons' (sorry, can't remember your usename on here) extremely useful posts that cut through the BS to the root of the matter on things like nights away, mixed sexes in tents etc.... An idiot's guide to being a scout leader if you will. Yes, they're usually all things that should be covered in training, but many aren't. It could help to bring new posters into contact with a valuable resource and potentially encourage them to stay and become member of the community on this site.

    That of course, is only focussing on new and green members. There's many many leaders with years of experience out there who aren't onvolved who could potentially be. Perhaps it's a matter of marketing? Or of offering something that would entice them in - I'm not sure what it's late and I'm tired!


    Quote Originally Posted by merryweather View Post
    that also happens on 1st FB and some will argue to an even higher degree than seen here. i'm happy though for greater moderation to remove so-called critical posts and maybe for a twitter-style limit on the length of posts here. what do you think?
    Yes it does, it's an unfortunate side effect of the format - that doesn't mean it needs to be the way here. I'm not looking for removal of critiscism or character limits - but perhaps stricter moderation when it comes to thread topics? OT subjects that arise can always be split off into threads of their own. or taken to PM's if it's a debate between two memebers with little other purpose. That's also got a beneficial effect in that it makes it easier to find a discussion you read a while back on (for instance) insurance when it's not contianed within a thread on toilet chemicals.

    *apologies for terrible spellign and likely rambling. It's alte and I need my bed now!


    SL 81st St Bartholomews (South Belfast)

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