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Author Topic: Metaclub Feedback  (Read 13079 times)
arcwelder
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« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2010, 10:01:14 pm »

If it's the active usage instead of the archive depth, it does make for more of a conundrum.

Most of what I could immediately contribute there amounts to second-guessing your perf analysis, and thus probably isn't that helpful. More so since I don't know the details of your hosting setup. It does help explain the thinking behind the proposed solutions (redirect traffic to IRC / a socnet site / etc.). While those would solve the resource issue, there are problems as discussed. On the other hand, if you don't have the resources to handle the traffic, then you don't have them - us not liking the solution won't change that.

It seems like the consensus opinion is that the continued existence of metaclubs would be appreciated even with tighter "no chat" controls, and it sounds like that could work assuming it doesn't become a moderation nightmare to maintain it.

It also seems that it would be nice if the idle chat could continue in some form. But short of finding a way to make the "take it to IRC" plan work, I don't personally see a way to reconcile it with the technical issues. Perhaps someone else does?
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HAC
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« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2010, 10:15:03 pm »

From my point of view -
The real problem starts to happen when an individual post thread starts to run past (and here's where it gets tricky to calculate, but on average) 100 or so. MySql can be problematic with large table entries, (as we see here, some threads running to 2000+ replies). The problem is that SMF uses a single database for all its data, and  ALL posts (no matter what Board they are in) go into a table called (by default) smf_messages.  That table gets pretty gosh-darn big, and that's a big part of the problems we see here. (Meta Clubs and OT activity are at the root of a goodly portion of our issues, the other issue being hosting costs (as in we could have a bigger better server space, and that would help, but as my auld gaffer used to say 'Aye, lad, brass!')

I can see that there is a user community here that uses and enjoys Meta Clubs, and OT, and I can respect that, even if I don't agree with that view. What I would suggest is that we look at a compromise that would keep the server and our users happy. What that would look like, would be open for discussion, perhaps it would take the shape of a "rolling 30 days" worth of posts per board, perhaps setting limits on the number of posts in a thread, and "rebooting" the topic once that limit is reached. At this point, I think though that we'd all agree, that board reliability and performance has suffered, and that we really should do something to try and get things back on an even keel.

If there are suggestions on how to keep Meta Clubs and OT alive, and not impact board performace as well, I'd be happy to hear them..

Cheers
Harold
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« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2010, 10:18:43 pm »

It also seems that it would be nice if the idle chat could continue in some form. But short of finding a way to make the "take it to IRC" plan work, I don't personally see a way to reconcile it with the technical issues. Perhaps someone else does?
I'd agree IRC is not a viable solution, my option would be a separate SMF (or other) forum set up as a sub forum of BG, (that would require probably more host resources, but at least it would be a separate database. Ideally, it would use the same user table, so login  ids would be common.. I'm researching split databases with forum software, to see if we could get some relief that way, but I don't hold out a lot of hope..

Cheers
Harold
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Dr. Zedrich Heretic
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« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2010, 10:44:08 pm »

Page limits on threads does often help, both in keeping only active topics alive and for keeping things a little more on track.  The Forum I mod for has a 30 page limit on threads, (Again, anime fans tend to go off topic faster).  Once a thread reaches its limit, it can be locked, the thread can be deleted after a time to allow the club members to archive anything they want from that thread on their own.  That might cut down on the data storage issues. 

As for traffic issues, I don’t really know how that could be handled.  As has been stated, there are a lot of forum members.  But I don’t think getting rid of the Meta Clubs and other not strictly steampunk sections would handle the traffic issues.  Take away the places where people post and they will simply post elsewhere.  Unless you’re counting on people to quit the forum, and I don’t think that’s ever a good way to handle things.

One of the reasons the Meta Club “Experiment” was started was because of threads in metaphysical that didn’t quite fit in or were constantly being repeated.  In one form or another, threads like the Meta Clubs will reappear, it’s better to have a place where they can be continued and managed than spread across the whole forum.
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« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2010, 11:31:59 pm »

If page counts are at issue, aren't the pages with the highest counts the on-topic threads, like the sticky threads in Tactile and Anatomical? On a brief survey of the meta-clubs, I don't see anything that comes close to the 400+ page count on Playing Dress-Up, or the 500+ page count on Post your picture thread!

My bigger point, however, is this:
Quote
1. The forum is amazingly popular.

I think the first part of topic number one says it all. Allegedly we are all brought together by Steampunk - I can't imagine why I would visit this forum if I were not - and common bonds we've found through the forum make us want to have social time together. There are benefits to having this social time on forum, like how it's non-exclusive, unlike facebook.

Further, every forum I've ever been a member of has always had a section for social off-topic threads that naturally develop out of an online community, and none of them have ever debated whether or not we should have these off-topic threads. I honestly don't see why it's a question.

But most importantly - doesn't Brass Goggles want frequent visitors? Isn't a popular section a good thing?
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« Reply #30 on: June 18, 2010, 12:27:44 am »

Very minor couple of ideas since I haven't ahd a peek around the engine room or so on (so have no idea of DB schemas used or suchlike).

1. How easy would it be to re-design the tables behind front page from it's current form ? The front page is fairly clearly split into 'General Steampunk' and 'Non-steampunk', the former of which includes Meta Clubs ? I'm thinking that you could institute a time limit on the Non-Steampunk section with a separate database - HAC was thinking along these lines I think - so that the posts in Trading and Off-Topic can expire in 30 days (or less - maybe a different expiry for different areas of Non-Steampunk ?). The main area can still archive as usual.

Then move Meta Clubs to Non-Steampunk, or even to a third section and give it the same expiry rules. Perhaps a third section to make it more obvious that it shouldn't behave in the same was as Metaphysical ? Now I have NOT looked at roleplaying/portrayal at all, so other people can discuss if they should behave the same way as Meta Clubs and have a post expiry rule or not. I can see people getting angsty about early parts of their personas vanishing, but that it has to be balanced against bandwidth/storage/performance.

As I say, I haven't looked at the data model behind BG, so I don't know how easy that would be to do, but if the forum had to come down for a couple of days to implement, I (personally) think that would be fine so long as there was suitable advance notice across the forum.

2. Personally, I like Meta Clubs and  I think the Queer Gear is still on its topic and posting relatively regularly. The other one I keep an eye on is the Prometheus Club and I do think that most if it's output (it's a slow club) would probably be best in Tactile or Anatomical ayways. Since I'm not on Facebook or Myspace and don't like IRC, I'd like to keep Meta Clubs. If that means that old posts vanish, I'm quite happy with that compromise. I'd much rather have the archives of Tactile and Anatomical kept forever!
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« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2010, 12:33:48 am »


Then move Meta Clubs to Non-Steampunk, or even to a third section and give it the same expiry rules. Perhaps a third section to make it more obvious that it shouldn't behave in the same was as Metaphysical ? Now I have NOT looked at roleplaying/portrayal at all, so other people can discuss if they should behave the same way as Meta Clubs and have a post expiry rule or not. I can see people getting angsty about early parts of their personas vanishing, but that it has to be balanced against bandwidth/storage/performance.


But what about the threads like Time Traveller's and the Prometheus Club? They're clearly steampunk, but also definitely do not belong in Portrayal, because they're just mucking around, not actually roleplaying...
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LukeHogbin
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« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2010, 01:46:25 am »

Y'all can't put a bunch of people together and expect them to talk about ONE thing forever. Things are bound to deviate. Just my two cents.
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« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2010, 01:49:01 am »

I am still running under the assumption that there are performance issues related to the traffic. I love the fact that there is no advertising on this forum and that it is member supported but could better hardware be funded by selling ad space? Would the members wanting to keep the metaclubs (or any members for that matter) be willing to view ads to support the forum as it is?

I guess this is a question for Sprocket... Is this going to be a Mod decision or are you going to set up some polls? I am sure there are plenty of members not looking at this thread because they do not use the metaclub section...
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« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2010, 02:00:06 am »

I would tolerate ads if necessary. I'd even click them if it would help keep BG running.
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arcwelder
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« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2010, 02:06:52 am »

I wouldn't click ads, but I could see my way to setting my web sanitation proxy to load but not display. No one would ever know. Wink
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HAC
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« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2010, 02:16:11 am »

Very minor couple of ideas since I haven't ahd a peek around the engine room or so on (so have no idea of DB schemas used or suchlike).

1. How easy would it be to re-design the tables behind front page from it's current form ? The front page is fairly clearly split into 'General Steampunk' and 'Non-steampunk', the former of which includes Meta Clubs ? I'm thinking that you could institute a time limit on the Non-Steampunk section with a separate database - HAC was thinking along these lines I think - so that the posts in Trading and Off-Topic can expire in 30 days (or less - maybe a different expiry for different areas of Non-Steampunk ?). The main area can still archive as usual.

Then move Meta Clubs to Non-Steampunk, or even to a third section and give it the same expiry rules. Perhaps a third section to make it more obvious that it shouldn't behave in the same was as Metaphysical ? Now I have NOT looked at roleplaying/portrayal at all, so other people can discuss if they should behave the same way as Meta Clubs and have a post expiry rule or not. I can see people getting angsty about early parts of their personas vanishing, but that it has to be balanced against bandwidth/storage/performance.

As I say, I haven't looked at the data model behind BG, so I don't know how easy that would be to do, but if the forum had to come down for a couple of days to implement, I (personally) think that would be fine so long as there was suitable advance notice across the forum.

2. Personally, I like Meta Clubs and  I think the Queer Gear is still on its topic and posting relatively regularly. The other one I keep an eye on is the Prometheus Club and I do think that most if it's output (it's a slow club) would probably be best in Tactile or Anatomical ayways. Since I'm not on Facebook or Myspace and don't like IRC, I'd like to keep Meta Clubs. If that means that old posts vanish, I'm quite happy with that compromise. I'd much rather have the archives of Tactile and Anatomical kept forever!

All good ideas, I've set up an SMF test forum on my  home machine to look at things like table and database splitting, as well as general tweaking. Hopefully, there will be some positive results.  What I'm think of is a separate SMF install for Metaclubs/OT that shares the members table with the BG SMF database..Will it work? beats me, but I've done shared table setups before (albeit in a mainframe environment) so the theory is sound..

Cheers
Harold
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S.Sprocket
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« Reply #37 on: June 18, 2010, 03:15:26 pm »

The current administration is anti-advertisement so I wouldn't worry too much.


I've pressed for steampunk ad's rather than tawdry random ones.  However I was still rejected.


So don't worry, we're ad free.  For better or worse.
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CorneliaCarton
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« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2010, 03:47:12 pm »

I dislike the use of facebook or MySpace type places for finding common ground.  It simply doesn’t have that sense of community.  I would say that the vast majority of people on the forum are here because we are steampunks or just discovering steampunk, but we can have more in common with each other than just that.

Exactly.
There has to be more common ground than just Steampunk.
Besides, not everyone has Facebook or Myspace. Some people just plain hate social networking sites like that, so they turn to forums like this.
Are we not allowed to find other common ground than just Steampunk on this forum? Fair enough that offtopic chat is causing the forum to run slowly (which I still don't get, by the way. How does offtopic chat cause a forum to run slowly?).
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LukeHogbin
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« Reply #39 on: June 18, 2010, 04:18:14 pm »

*snip*
How does offtopic chat cause a forum to run slowly?

Shitty framework on which it runs, storing everything into a single table, which makes SQL a sad panda.
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S.Sprocket
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« Reply #40 on: June 18, 2010, 04:25:13 pm »

I dislike the use of facebook or MySpace type places for finding common ground.  It simply doesn’t have that sense of community.  I would say that the vast majority of people on the forum are here because we are steampunks or just discovering steampunk, but we can have more in common with each other than just that.

Exactly.
There has to be more common ground than just Steampunk.
Besides, not everyone has Facebook or Myspace. Some people just plain hate social networking sites like that, so they turn to forums like this.
Are we not allowed to find other common ground than just Steampunk on this forum? Fair enough that offtopic chat is causing the forum to run slowly (which I still don't get, by the way. How does offtopic chat cause a forum to run slowly?).


Bear in mind we are a forum.  We are not a social network.
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LukeHogbin
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« Reply #41 on: June 18, 2010, 04:47:29 pm »

I dislike the use of facebook or MySpace type places for finding common ground.  It simply doesn’t have that sense of community.  I would say that the vast majority of people on the forum are here because we are steampunks or just discovering steampunk, but we can have more in common with each other than just that.

Exactly.
There has to be more common ground than just Steampunk.
Besides, not everyone has Facebook or Myspace. Some people just plain hate social networking sites like that, so they turn to forums like this.
Are we not allowed to find other common ground than just Steampunk on this forum? Fair enough that offtopic chat is causing the forum to run slowly (which I still don't get, by the way. How does offtopic chat cause a forum to run slowly?).


Bear in mind we are a forum.  We are not a social network.

"We want only steampunk and nothing but steampunk here."
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Dr. Zedrich Heretic
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« Reply #42 on: June 18, 2010, 07:00:58 pm »

Bear in mind we are a forum.  We are not a social network.
Forum: Noun.  A public meeting place for open discussion

Isn't talking to each other kind of the point of this place?
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« Reply #43 on: June 18, 2010, 07:21:54 pm »

I find it odd, flattering even, that one of the most popular meta-clubs is the Smoking Room Gentleman's Club I started in reaction to darkshine's lady's club, it seems to be rather popular bolthole for those disposed to a bit of verbal jousting; although it would probably sit just as well in Off Topic or portrayal...

I'm not averse to trimming Meta Clubs back, but at least the most popular, like the Queer Gear, probably need to be kept in order to stop spillage into the rest of the forum.

Just my view.

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« Reply #44 on: June 18, 2010, 07:38:24 pm »

My tea room for ladies, Doktor's smoking room for gents and the Queer Gear and the clubs I visit most frequently.
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« Reply #45 on: June 18, 2010, 08:54:14 pm »

I visited The Lonely Gear very often.
But I believe there have been calls to bring The Lonely Gear back, and I fully support this. The Lonely Gear was really popular.
I also agree with Herr Doktor. We should keep the most popular of Meta Clubs open and maybe prune back the rest (Even my dear Clutch... *sniffle* That being said, it's turned into a bit of a portrayal thing. Can it be moved to portrayal?).
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« Reply #46 on: June 18, 2010, 10:20:26 pm »

I still haven't had time to really put much significant thought into this, but I'll join the last few posters on this notion: without a designated place for pointless chatter (and there will be pointless chatter, its human nature) there will be no place to tell folks to "take it" when they start gabbing in other threads.  Spreading the gibberish out might be easier on the servers, but I don't think most readers would appreciate it.  And without its own place, there's nothing to tell chatty types in purpose-driven threads other than, "shut up."
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« Reply #47 on: June 18, 2010, 11:24:04 pm »

There was some talk in the Engine Room of being able to keep a thread at about 30 pages and archive the rest once a fortnight or when it runs over that.

I don't think places like Myspace and Facebook really suffice but HAC's auxiliary forum sounds very promising.  

With regard to clarifying the rules, what I mean is that it has been said that the Meta Clubs are to be a set of clubs for people who would not be able to meet up in person but should otherwise reflect the workings of real clubs but I've never been a member of or known a club which didn't deviate somewhat from its subject matter at best or wasn't just a group of individuals with similar interests or situations coming together to chat about whatever came to mind at worst.  
If Meta Clubs is not a place for idle chatter, its intention can't be to mirror real clubs and I think this may be where people might be getting the wrong idea.  

I'm also wondering why the forum shouldn't include a bit of social networking.  
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« Reply #48 on: June 19, 2010, 12:29:32 am »

From what I've seen people here that are advocating for meta clubs are simply advocating for an off topic chat area. If all of your time is spent posting in off topic comments here at brass goggles, and the only reason you are here is for the off topic area,  Wouldn't this be better served by some Steampunk flavored version of MySpace?  The few on topic meta clubs I've seen could easily be rolled into portrayal.

Couldn't those who simply desire off topic conversations make a ning or another forum dedicated to singles and off topic chat?  Why should a forum who's focus is steampunk support these off topic areas?


Just playing devil's advocate here.


As for my own opinion, I believe the meta clubs experiment is over.
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Dr. Zedrich Heretic
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« Reply #49 on: June 19, 2010, 01:07:46 am »

From what I've seen people here that are advocating for meta clubs are simply advocating for an off topic chat area. If all of your time is spent posting in off topic comments here at brass goggles, and the only reason you are here is for the off topic area,  Wouldn't this be better served by some Steampunk flavored version of MySpace?  The few on topic meta clubs I've seen could easily be rolled into portrayal.

Couldn't those who simply desire off topic conversations make a ning or another forum dedicated to singles and off topic chat?  Why should a forum who's focus is steampunk support these off topic areas
I would say that’s an over-simplification.  Many of the people who post in Queer Gear also post in anatomical, tactile and so on.  We certainly can’t share our other common interests there, unless you count that Victorian cross-dressing thread.  We certainly aren’t here just for non steampunk talk.  You’re looking at it backwards, everyone who is on the forum is here because it’s a steampunk forum, but as I said, we have more in common with each other.  Talking to each other about things besides steampunk is a good thing.  That’s how friendships are made.

What you are saying comes off as “You can’t talk to each other about things that aren’t steampunk”  I know this isn’t what you mean, but it is what it sounds like.
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