We need your feedback, all of you...
#1
Big Blue has been successfully online now for just over eight years. We've had a few glitches that our trusty stationmasters have been quick to resolve. We've had a few that didn't go our way, mostly due to our choice in forum software. When we started, we picked a popular open-source format that seemed to fit our requirements, (phpBB), but over they years, it just seemed to lag behind a few others. We had to shut down our gallery a few years ago because of this, we lost our original chat room and had to settle for something no one seems to want to use. Updates and backups are a real chore for our stationmaster to do and become more difficult as our database grows. One time it resulted in our losing a good many of our embedded photos when an update crashed us big time.

The point is that we admins have discussed changing to a different forum software platform, one that will bring us up to date with the times and keep us that way without risking losing what we already have. Right now, we can't interact with many social sites and we'd like to be able to do just that. Many forums can and so we're struggling to keep members that count on it. We can migrate to this new platform without loss of anything we already have, all our posts, member lists and photos can be moved intact. We will spend time testing this before we go live, but first we want your feedback.

What features is it that you like, dislike, want to change, add or delete from what we already have here at Big Blue? The sky's the limit, we want you to be honest; our new software choice will allow us a lot more flexibility in what features we can add or change. Please, don't be shy, we won't be offended, Big Blue is a bit old and worn and it's time to get a new look if that's what we need, or at least add or change some of the features we've been use to using all these years.

Please, post your comments here, we will listen. Tell us if you want something left alone, changed or deleted. Tell us if you hate or love some feature or suggest that we add something you'd like. Want to add a new sub-forum, or don't like our color choices or format, just tell us. Is doing something too difficult or do you think there's a better way of doing something here, just say so. It's that simple, so please, we need your input, we're here for you and want to give you want you want the way you want it. Oh, if you do or don't like the way we are running Big Blue, let us know too. No, we're not going to quit or fire anyone, but if we have room for improvement, we're open to changes there as well.

We all thank you....
  • ngauger, (Mikey),
    ezdays, (Don) &
    Packey, (Pat)
Don (ezdays) Day
Board administrator and
founder of the CANYON STATE RAILROAD
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#2
To address the last item first I want to send a huge thank you to all of the administrators and moderators for the way you are running the board right now. I don't think there's a better place to be.

Second, please don't change the color scheme/layout/format. When I click on the link for Blue it's like seeing an old friend.

Whatever you do, don't use the software that is used on the MR forum. It's pretty horrible.

What I would like to see are some new/additional smilies.

Again, thank you for running such a great place to hang out.

Tom
Life is simple - Eat, Drink, Play with trains

Occupation: Professional Old Guy (The government pays me to be old.)
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#3
I'm OK with the way things are myself. Whatever you do please don't change the way we post pictures here as it is the easiest of all the forums I'm on.
Mike

Sent from my pocket calculator using two tin cans and a string
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#4
I am quite happy with the forum software and how it is customized at the moment. Anyhow I fully understand and support your different and broader point of view as an administrator team and I would not object at all if you change the software.

I have three wishes
1. Keep an entry point starting with unread appends as I use is today "http://bigbluetrains.com/forum/search.php?search_id=newposts"
2. Keep the integration into Tapatalk (Using the "browser" on the iPhone needs much younger eyes and fingers ;-)
3. Add a choice at the bottom of appends to jump to the unread appends as e.g. provided by RMweb

You might consider of you want to have the administrative and space burden of an integrated photo/file storage along with the forum. It might be much easier to run a pure forum and accept links into the many photo specialized libraries (Flickr, Photobucket, .... ) available.
Reinhard
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#5
Old Farts like most of us are loathe to change , right ? We feel comfortable doing things the way we always have .

Having said that , if you feel the need for a different system due to technology , I would leave that in your hands . I just don't want a forum that is chuck full of advertisements that keep popping up . The only place I tolerate that is when I play bridge , or scrabble .......have to suffer through a 30 second commercial every few minutes .

I really like the simplicity of this forum and is virtually my ONLY train related forum . It's very comfortable here .

T
To err is human, to blame it on somebody else shows management potential.
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#6
A huge thank you for the behind the scenes work. No one notices when everything is working well Icon_lol I personally haven't had any issues with the forum as it stands but do understand the need to upgrade. Faraway did bring up an excellent point on running a straight forum and keep the photos hosted elsewhere to save on the bandwidth. If we could keep a similar format on how things are laid out I'd be happy.
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#7
I would say...or even beg...be very careful about trying to tie into the social media thing....far too many forums and websites have actually gone downhill in either format,usability or just plain content, or even all three when trying to become more " hip and modern". The other thing I have noticed is that due to the same reasons many sites have updated to colours and fonts that have lower contrast, making it harder for older folks, me included.....I think this white font on blue is very easy on the eyes.....please keep that in mind.

I've also noticed that many sites and forums have updated to photo uploading formats that are either really complex or just require too many steps to make it practical for many people. Please try to find something that makes it as easy and convenient as possible for less savvy computer users.

For many years Photobucket was one, if not the best site, to store photos and it made it incredibly easy to store and especially upload pictures to forums,blogs,websites,chatrooms and email....basically one-step. About 3-4 years ago they totally redisigned and re-vamped the Photobucket site to be more a social-media type format which really broke it( my first sentence)..... now I, among many find it to be almost useless and insecure to use. Photobucket is a perfect example of taking an excellent site and platform and upgrading it inadvertantly, into the toilet for basically appearences. Sad really and very inconvenient.

I don't mean to imply thats the reasoning here or that it will happen here ....just putting my personal observations out there for what its worth.

Cheers
Gene
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#8
Totally agree on the social media thing ......and as for Photobucket , I rarely use it unless there is a certain forum where PB is the only way to post pics .

I may be somewhat different in that I DON'T have a cell phone , textor etc etc . I don't chat on Facebook and haven't used the chat room here for that matter , So I'm behind the times with respect to social media . Thank God ! Goldth Goldth
To err is human, to blame it on somebody else shows management potential.
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#9
Thanks for all your feedback, please don't stop, we need it all so that we do make the right decisions on the path we take. Be sure of one thing, we made a pledge that we would never resort to taking on advertising as a means of support. For those of you that might remember our past, this is on of the major reasons that Big Blue was begun. For those of you that don't know, our old forum, "The Gauge", morphed into a revenue producing forum being run by big business where we lost our identity and had no say in how it was run. Nay, you won't see ads on Big Blue nor the influence of anyone but us and our devoted members, and we thank them over and over again for each one of you for your support.

We don't want to make changes for change itself, but we do need to reduce the risk of having problems and losing data. We have enough storage and bandwidth to house photos on site, to be sure, we encourage that because we've had members lose whole threads of photos when their links change to another site.

Our goal here is to make it easy to upgrade and do backups, and to maintain our database intact. If we do change platforms, we want to be able to take advantage of any features that will improve our site. We don't want to lose anything in the process either so we're going to approach this with lots of caution and lots of testing before we let lose.
Don (ezdays) Day
Board administrator and
founder of the CANYON STATE RAILROAD
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#10
Don , is there another forum , of any type , that you have seen that has the features and technology you are considering ?

T
To err is human, to blame it on somebody else shows management potential.
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#11
teejay Wrote:Don , is there another forum , of any type , that you have seen that has the features and technology you are considering ?

T
Packey has one platform in mind that he thinks has enough flexibility and features to make it worthwhile taking a further look at. No decisions have been made yet, that's why we're conducting this survey to see what everyone wants. We probably wouldn't even think about doing anything if this phpBB platform wasn't so difficult to work with. Remember, we were down for a few hours the other day. It was a reoccurring problem that there's no fix for, and I guess that's what gave Packey the idea that we needed to look around a bit.
Don (ezdays) Day
Board administrator and
founder of the CANYON STATE RAILROAD
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#12
After further review...

I have been thinking about the tie-in with social media. I don't know how it works but I'm wondering if they will try to scour our posts in the hopes of selling us stuff on their site. I know the ads won't happen here but I'm curious about whether the postings on here will be gobbled up, dissected, parsed, and otherwise manhandled.

I'm not on social media but just a little concerned about the privacy effects.

Tom
Life is simple - Eat, Drink, Play with trains

Occupation: Professional Old Guy (The government pays me to be old.)
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#13
FiatFan Wrote:After further review...

I have been thinking about the tie-in with social media. I don't know how it works but I'm wondering if they will try to scour our posts in the hopes of selling us stuff on their site. I know the ads won't happen here but I'm curious about whether the postings on here will be gobbled up, dissected, parsed, and otherwise manhandled.

I'm not on social media but just a little concerned about the privacy effects.

Tom

Good point, that would be of concern for us as well. I don't do social media either and so I'd have to rely on those that know about things like this. We can guard Big Blue's front door quite well, I don't know about what happens if we start adding gates that come from Facebook or other sites.
Don (ezdays) Day
Board administrator and
founder of the CANYON STATE RAILROAD
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#14
When I play Pogo games , scrabble , word whomp .....then bridge on another site , I' noticed advertisements off to the side , of items I've been googling for previously . It's a little unnerving to think that I'm being tracked as to what products I'm looking at on google . This hasn't happened just once , it's been many times .

I needed a garage door opener , checked for products on line and those ads were shown on the game I was playing . Same with Ikea furniture that I had been considering as well as a new 32" tv for my wife's room . The ads showed up for a couple of days then .
To err is human, to blame it on somebody else shows management potential.
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#15
"We have enough storage and bandwidth to house photos on site, to be sure, we encourage that because we've had members lose whole threads of photos when their links change to another site. "

Good to hear!!!!!!!!!!!! Thumbsup Applause

I also avoid social media as well and never surf anywhere on a phone. So any of that stuff is of no interest to me. Many thanks to all of you for all your work in keeping this forum a good place to be! Cheers
Mike

Sent from my pocket calculator using two tin cans and a string
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