Front Range 4x4 Upcoming Trail Runs - Add a New Trail Run

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Thread: Forum "New Member" stats

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    Default Re: Forum "New Member" stats



    Jim previously posted:
    "Being 'mobile friendly' is something we could"

    when I was apart of a ton of forums back in the day I would always interface with them on my phone using Tapatalk it was the best app for a long time but I think it has been pulled from the app store. Might be worth looking specifically into "alternatives to Tapatalk" to see if something new has surfaced taking the place.

    RockyMtRebel previously posted:
    "What is discord servers, Scott?"

    I think the best comparison to use to describe Discord is for anyone who has used Slack for business/corporate. If no one knows what Slack is... the next best thing would be Teams whether that's Microsoft Teams or WebEx Teams. If I am speaking a foreign language still at this point... Discord is a free service that's easily accessible on Windows, macOS, android phones, iPhones and web browsers. It was started mostly for gaming communities to communicate with each other for both instant messaging and actually VoIP (voice). It has grown tremendously over the past 5 years and now all kinds of communities not just gaming ones start a discord server for common interests or groups of friends or various communities. I have run some small discord servers with just a handful of people involved, I have a private one that has built in automation with my home media server for notifications, I have been apart of some community ones that have thousands sometimes tens of thousands of members moderated by entire teams.

    I use it on a daily basis to keep in touch with some groups of my friends, one way to think of it too is an organized "Group Message" that you can have layers of channels and security to allow for instant communication. For work we use WebEx Teams (Slack is better) to collaborate with my company and even other companies with various teams sometimes per project.

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    not saying we need a discord server or trying to push it or anything just saying it's pretty popular and answering the questions. personally i love it. i used to run a website for gaming and we had forums and even a chatroom, that eventually downscaled from forums to just an IRC server then to GroupMe messaging and ultimately to a discord server

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    Default Re: Forum "New Member" stats



    So, would a discord server provide the assortment of forum categories, and most importantly, calendar functions with RSVP for trail runs?

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    forum categories would best be compared to server channels here is a screenshot of one of the servers i'm in as an example but don't frequent too often. This particular community supports this application I use for my home media server so fans and users of the app go in and either ask for help or offer help to people with troubleshooting etc.

    This picture is a fairly basic server example and layout of channels.




    some of the bigger servers have really complex integrations with all these bots that can do all kinds of various things. i've used a few bots on one of my servers but have barely scratched the surface really, the possibilities are almost limitless and the communities behind the development for such things is massive.

    I have not personally scheduled events with RSVP functionality but I know it's possible, I believe it's integrated already without a bot and I'm sure if the basic version wasn't to someone's liking there are bots you can add that make it even better, my quick searching resulted in this: https://top.gg/bot/616754792965865495


    There are probably some people who could feel discord is too intrusive, it's like that instant gratification kind of response and chatting and i know some people just want to be left alone unless they are feeling like it's their time to go browse the forums etc. This would be like if every single new post no matter what topic you got a notification to your phone... obviously you can turn off notifications completely, or for an entire server or even for specific channels but there is a big distinction between this and forums. Each channel is a chatroom so it's possible with multiple people online chatting 100s of messages could get posted while someone hadn't checked their phone it would be difficult to sift through (how important can those 100 messages be though) so basically you fight this with the different categories where some are for BSing and others are for important notices or less used. I know a lot of people even at my work don't like being bombarded with messages and can't concentrate. I seem to operate fine with the distractions jumping between work, teams and discord fluidly but i understand a lot of people aren't used to so many streams of information pouring down on them or rather just have absolutely no desire for such a thing





    it's much more chaotic and instant than forums, even if it's not a good fit for our group here i recommend you check it out for yourself Jim thought i had found a good server invite link for you but it seems to have expired

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    Default Re: Forum "New Member" stats



    Discord feels like irc more than a message board. I don't think it's a very effective replacement for a forum where you want to reference years old content often, but I'm not much of a discord user so happy to be educated on this. I used to idle on many IRC channels on freenode and efnet back in the day.

    Maybe the best analogy is to think of this forum like newsgroups and discord like irc, if you've been around long enough to know all of those things

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    My thoughts exactly, these are the yahoo chat rooms of my youth. I'm in a few for conversation, but the synchronous nature of it is exactly why I wouldn't love it as a replacement for forums. I like that I can post something, and three days later someone else can come along and add to it. Discord is pretty real time, you are almost solely (in my experience) chatting with folks who are on at the same time you are.

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    Think I'll just go to the bar in my jeep, have beer and start up a conversation with the guy next to me...maybe he'll have a 4wd.
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    for the record i never suggested discord as a replacement for these forums. i was just commenting as others had that forums and their popularity have been dying off over the past decade, for most groups that once relied on forums their needs have changed over time as technology has evolved and created new platforms. for a lot of communities facebook groups either took that place or was a brand new platform for people less familiar with the internet and became so convenient for them to use that it took over, i think that technology has shifted and it's no surprise that we saw facebooks active user count actually decline for the first time ever (personally can't wait until someday in which facebook is nothing more than a memory like AOL and the giant is slain)

    discord is much more similar to IRC than forums, that's absolutely true but it's really about 100x better and more advanced than a single server chat. If the requirements of a group align with what forums provide then there is no replacement that will fit those same needs. I know a lot of groups and communities who you wouldn't think could exist in the past without forums and the needs of that community changed overtime and brought them to newer platforms, Pirate 4x4 comes to mind where a lot of those users eventually keep connected on other social media platforms like IG, especially the ones who didn't migrate to irate 4x4. For me as someone who has never liked or been apart of any social media platform with the only exception of using reddit anonymously i still overwhelmingly prefer traditional forums over anything remotely like FB, IG, Snapchat, Twitter, or TikTok.

    some companies still rely heavily on all communication through e-mail where as I know some companies literally hate e-mail communication and use a Teams application for nearly all internal communication including sharing files and having meetings. It's all about having the right platform for that group/communities requirements and Shane is absolutely right it's primarily live communication with occasional people coming back to a message when they weren't online.

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    I feel doxxed.

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    Default Re: Forum "New Member" stats



    Paul previously posted:
    "In 2019 Google made some big changes to the way it handles searches and that may have stopped this site from showing up on searches. People may simply not be finding FR4x4, or not finding it as easily. Edit- just spent some time googling 4x4 group colorado, offroad club colorado, 4x4 denver, and other variations and FR4x4 doesn't show up well. I think it might possibly be an SEO issue."

    I think this is major. I bought my jeep in 2019 and started trying to get involved again at that point. I am new to this forum this year and only heard of this forum by word of mouth by meeting a current member through Cherokeeforum.com. I did plenty of searching, and this website never popped up for me.
    ___________
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    Default Re: Forum "New Member" stats



    So we need to sponsor some YouTube interstitial ads? We can be the new "Raid shadow legends".

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    Does this mean I'll need to start making my youtube vids longer than 30 seconds?

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    Default Re: Forum "New Member" stats



    open_circuit previously posted:
    "So we need to sponsor some YouTube interstitial ads? We can be the new "Raid shadow legends"."



    This post is brought to you by NordVPN. P̶r̴o̷t̷e̷c̵t̷ y̵̛̻̤ö̸̧̳̱̤̺̟́u̴̧̢̱̩̟̲̫̻̿̿̄̿̈͌̚͝r̶̢̃̓͂́͜͝s̶͚͖̍ē̴͘ ̨͎͇͖̓͊̋̏l̴̳̱͇̈́͆͠f̸͎̫͎̱͓̟̝̙͂ ò̷̖̬̋n̵͉̣͐̋̄̾͊͠ļ̷̢̡̡͇̲͑̊ì̵̥̝̫̞̩͠ͅn̷̥̜͍̭̪̝̑ͅẽ̶͒ ̨̟̤͉̻̫̏.....

    Others have touched on this already, but I think the big problem is just the platform - the group itself is fantastic. Old school forums like these have fallen by the wayside as people move to big corporate centralize platforms i.e. MeetUp and Facebook.

    There's only a couple of possible solutions I could think of to solve that:

    1. Give in and move to a big platform (pls no, that's also what sets us apart and why I like it here)

    2. Modernize this platform - completely overhaul it with a modern mobile-friendly site.
    Problem: That takes quite a lot of someone's skilled time, and might not actually solve the issue since a lot of those people might just search the platform they're already on for 4x4 groups instead of actually searching the web.

    Though it might be helped by increasing visibility otherwise, as Tom did on the last page.

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    As I recall there are actually 2 urls for this site; an easy way would be to pick one and make it just a simple one page text only site with a single link to the forum and a short paragraph loaded with keywords, page titles and such the same. Make the page simply responsive so it works on any device and add it to google. Another easy thing is to add a physical address to your google profile, assuming FR4x4 has one. I recently got an email from google telling me:

    The Google My Business app is being replaced
    Start using Google Maps and Search to keep your Business Profile up to date and connect with customers

    So I guess they are becoming more location focused for search results, but I haven't scratched that surface yet.

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    Yes, there are two URL's:
    www.FrontRange4x4.com
    www.FR4x4.com

    The short URL simply redirects into the long URL.

    There is a "search friendly" URL which is not mentioned too often (I had to look it up):
    www.FrontRange4x4.com/forums/archive/index.php


    From the comments - the group is mainly the folks who participate. The forum software is by far second place with respect to importance. There is no need to move to new software to have a wider audience. We have a wide audience - but many new members do not get involved. Getting that inactive new member audience involved - no matter the forum software in play - is more on my mind.

    I'm not looking to replace the forum software though I do recognize it has some issues, primarily it is not mobile friendly. In this respect, I think mobile is changing to be more friendly to non-mobile web site software. A significant item is uploading photos direct from mobile device to the forum - photo sizing and simply the upload process.

    If we did look at changing forum software, I could see us moving to the cPanel (EDIT: bzzt - cPanel is incorrect, vBulletin is what I should have typed) hosted subscription model - auto updates for features. I'm not active in looking to change - but I realize this car is starting to have more "little things" that don't work as they used to.

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    Default Re: Forum "New Member" stats



    The problem, as stated by Jim, is that too few new members get involved. So, why not ask them? Take all the new members from the last few years and send them a short email or message. It could ask, what FR4x4 can do to to improve and help them to get out on the trails more often? There will probably be only a few responses but those comments could be very helpful.

    I agree the forum software itself is not the issue but it does need some updating. I believe some content improvements are also badly needed. Specifically, I donít think the content is very friendly to a newbie, nor to an experienced wheeler new to Colorado and the FR area.

    I pretended I was in one of those groups and tried to find a place to start. I went to Trail Resources and much of it is either outdated, or good but buried amongst, and in, many different posts, IMO. Example, I didnít see Trails Off Road mentioned at all, nor the now somewhat dated but still useful Wells books, in the first couple of minutes I looked around( but might have missed it someplace, which is the point). The same is true for the General, Newbies Start Here link.

    I donít think people have the patience anymore to search through a bunch of buttons and posts for what they need. So a link to information critical to newbies and newcomers needs to be obvious on the front page, and then the linked content needs to be easy to absorb and updated from time to time. I think this also applies to the Calendar and related trail forums.

    Iím not suggesting that the look of the site needs to be totally transformed, only that more visual emphasis be placed on the key items to help people get involved.

    Just my two cents, FWIW.

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    Thanks for the comments Bob. We'd love it if you wished to pick up the ball for the improvements you see that can be made. I'm interested in a review / change to what an interested person would see when they first visit the site through the initial email messages and logged in experience. I can provide content and make the changes where needed.

    As for contacting new members that don't get involved - yes, I plan to do that. I could see it being tied in with a "new member / ice breaker" run.

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    Hey, new guy here. Just want to add my 2 cents on the forum software in terms of UI/UX (gosh, showing my hand as a software engineer here). It seems a bit outdated in terms of usability and readability, I can offer a few specifics:

    - Profile and stats above the post and the length of the "thanks" panel below a post really takes up a lot of real estate. On my 1080p screen I can fit 1.5, maybe 2 text posts on a screen. Most forum layouts put that stuff to the side, which also solves the second issue
    - Wide text is hard to read. It's the reason newspapers split into multiple columns. Profiles on the left, and blank space on the right keep text tight in the center of the screen and easier to scan. Pirate4x4 is an example of both of these things.
    - On newer forums, clicking into a thread on the "unread posts" pane takes you to the first message you hadn't yet read. Here, it takes you to the beginning of the thread and you have to scroll to the new messages. Maybe there's a way to do that but I haven't found it.

    The feature niceties certainly aren't the fix-all for getting new membership, I think that facebook groups are killing forums the same way that marketplace is killing craigslist. It's a shame on both fronts because the FB offerings are much worse products.
    I absolutely hate how there's about 50 4x4 facebook groups for Colorado that are some permutation of "CO|Colorado"/"4x4|Offroad|Crawling|Overland"/"Jeep|Toyota"/"Club|Group|Squad|Mafia"...

    I swear I'm not just a forum troll, I'll be out for a run as soon as I've sorted out my power steering install which is turning into a lot of custom parts, spring under conversion, panel trimming...

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    Default Re: Forum "New Member" stats



    a1gemmel previously posted:
    "- On newer forums, clicking into a thread on the "unread posts" pane takes you to the first message you hadn't yet read. Here, it takes you to the beginning of the thread and you have to scroll to the new messages. Maybe there's a way to do that but I haven't found it."

    Yes, the button exists (see attached graphic).

    Here's what I do:

    I have this URL bookmarked:
    http://www.frontrange4x4.com/forums/....php?do=getnew

    From that resulting page I middle-mouse-button* click the Go To Last Post button for each thread, opening each in a new tab.

    * I typically access the forum via desktop environment. It's a rare day do I visit via mobile. I'm a desktop person and rarely use mobile for any site.
         

  26. The Following Member Says Thanks to Jim For This Post:

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    i use both desktop and my phone browser, i don't think it's "terrible" for a mobile experience but certainly isn't optimized. If I only used mobile I could understand people being off-put by it

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