Be The Authority

Discussion in 'Comments on Forum' started by Ken Anderson, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    This will be on a different topic than the opening post of this thread, but it will fit the thread title, so I think it might be appropriate here. My opening post in this thread discusses something that I consider to be extremely important to the forum. Don't let the so-called experts or the published media abscond with your brain. What you have to say is important and, for the purpose of this forum, what you have to say is way more important than what the media or the experts report.

    This post introduces another way in which we can use our own brains.

    I was going to suggest an area of the forum that could be set aside for tutorial threads, in which we would exclude the off-topic, back-and-forth banter that threatens to derail most of our threads here. This wouldn't mean that we would give up on moving the off-topic stuff from our other threads because the most valuable threads are those that remain on-topic. But this isn't about nagging about off-topic banter, overall.

    Are any of you familiar with the Foxfire books? Beginning in the mid-1960s, a Georgia high school teacher by the name of Eliot Wigginton, began assigning his students to interview a local person about any and all aspects of Appalachian culture and practices, and to submit a paper based on these interviews. These included oral histories, detailed instructions in various crafts and skills of all sorts, and a host of other things. In 1972, he assembled a collection of these papers and published it as Foxfire 1. This was followed by Foxfire 2, and so on. I once had the whole set but they were on the bottom shelf when my house flooded, which is itself a story that I might tell sometime. It evolved into the Foxfire Project, which became hugely popular until Wigginton was charged with child molestation in the 1990s, but that's another matter.

    My point is that these books were filled with instructions in performing skills that people rarely learn to do anymore, many of which were unique and, despite the fact that these were ordinary people whose stories were told by high school kids, the end result was anything but ordinary.

    Everyone here has accumulated a minimum of fifty years of experience, and most of us have learned a few things along the way. I am in awe of what some of you have accomplished, or been able to do at various times in your lives, and I can't help but believe that everyone has something to offer.

    No, I don't plan on publishing a book, or molesting a child, for that matter, but I know for a fact that the forum would benefit from threads that have a clear purpose and posts that add to the topic, rather than detracting from it. Touching on the title of this thread again, what I have in mind is not something that you have just looked up online, but something that you have learned through fifty years or more of experience. You may have figured it out all for yourself, or you might have learned it from someone else, but you have made it your own. However, you came about it, and whatever it might be, sharing it would be something that will, in the long run, bring more people here.

    This would not require writing skills beyond the ability of everyone here. Neither would everything in the thread have to be oh, so serious. The title should be descriptive, and the opening post should list the objectives of the thread. Anything after that is fine, so long as it furthers the objectives of the thread.

    I can remember when I bought my first Mac. After years of DOS and Windows machines, I was lost when it came to knowing what to do with the Mac. The web browser worked like any other web browser, however, so I did searches on "How do I (insert whatever it was that I was trying to do) with a Mac Pro?" In response, the search engine would give me pages of sites that supposedly answered my question. A lot of them weren't really much help because they referred to an older version of Mac than I had. However, the ones that were the most helpful were from one or more of several Mac forums, where someone had asked the same questions, generally in the thread title, and someone else had answered it.

    These most often showed up on the first page of the search engine results, too. However, if the question had been asked and answered, however perfectly, in the first two or three posts, but subsequently posts went on to discuss the pros and cons of Mac versus Windows, whether the Mac Pro was better than an iMac, how someone misses their dog named Mac, and discussions about whether Windex does a good job on windows, then the search engines wouldn't have any idea what the thread was supposed to be about, and it wouldn't matter that the answer to the question had been answered perfectly, because the thread would show up on page 137 of the results, if at all.

    That's why I nag about threads being on-topic. This forum costs me money. I don't make any money from this forum, and I don't plan on making any money from this forum, so I can't afford to advertise. If we are going to continue to attract new people to the forum, to replace those who have left, then our pages need to show up in the search results of the search engines, particularly Google and Bing.

    That doesn't mean that every thread here has to be a tutorial, and it certainly doesn't mean that there isn't any place for jokes, fun, banter, and everything else that we do here. We have plenty of threads that aren't about anything in particular, and that's fine. However, we have to have some threads that are, and that's what this is about.
     
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  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I don't even know if there is any interest in it but, if so, there are a few different ways to go about it, and I haven't decided which would be best.
    1. I could create a whole new category for it, which could be subdivided into topic areas, but I wouldn't want to do that unless there was significant interest in it and likely content for it.
    2. I could create a sub-forum in the Education section, perhaps, and they could be posted there.
    3. They could be posted in any of the existing areas that we have, according to the topic. That, I think, would be my preference. But then, I would need the cooperation of those who participate in them. When someone begins a thread with an informative title and a clear purpose stated in the opening post, by all means, do participate in it, but please don't derail it.
     
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  3. Bess Barber

    Bess Barber Very Well-Known Member
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    @Ken Anderson If someone googles Senior Forum, this site in listed as the second one. I think most people would look for a forum using those search words, as opposed to looking up information they could find on wikipedia. With those same search words, you also get senior insurance and senior home care informational sites. I found this site looking for senior insurance information.

    Just thought you would feel better knowing it DOES come up right away with the two words people probably would be searching with.
     
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  4. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Veteran Member
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    Yay, I finally get to use this...

    cliffnotes.JPG

    :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

    Oh and yes, I certainly do remember the Foxfire books; my older brother was enthralled with them.
     
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  5. Bess Barber

    Bess Barber Very Well-Known Member
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  6. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Veteran Member
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    Ken is going to ban me for being a smarty-pants. :D (And for derailing his thread!!! :eek:)
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Yes, I have been following that, and that's good, but we also need to attract people who don't know they're looking for a senior forum, or even that there are forums outside of Facebook, and I am not at all looking for anything that's covered in Wikipedia.
     
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  8. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Ken, I have one of the Firefox books. It tells about how people way back then did things. Like making soap, curing meat, etc. Is that something like you want us to post? I don't understand.
     
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  9. Bess Barber

    Bess Barber Very Well-Known Member
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    That is probably a good thing since there is a chance we don't really have Wikipedia league information to share.

    Suggestion: Why don't you think about coming up with a 'more searchable' topic each week? Let us all know in advance that these are designed for actual information only.........no memes, no jokes, no bantering. Then you'll have a good amount of serious thread topic information floating around. Since you know more of what topics you are looking for, just design some for that purpose.
     
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  10. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Everything on Wikipedia is taken, generally copied and pasted, from other sites. That's not at all what I'm talking about here.

    That's a good idea. It doesn't replace this one because I'd like people to be able to decide what it is they'd like to share, but it's a great idea.
     
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  11. Lon Tanner

    Lon Tanner Veteran Member
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    Good post Ken---First let me say that as a Atheist I am not angry or annoyed by others that are believers.It's extremely difficult for anyone to come up with new ideas or concepts that have not been expressed by other because within Our Brain we have stored what we have seen and heard from others and it becomes our knowledge base. We delude ourselves when we think we are original. I am a Atheist not because of any Original Thinking or by following the argument of aggressive and militant Atheists.
     
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  12. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Very Well-Known Member
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    @Ken Anderson Very interesting post and as one that administered a forum years ago while I was bed ridden, I understand your concern. First if I may, with all respect say that I feel there is too many sub forums. I see what I call hit and run as many members want to keep the forum active and instead of centering on one topic of interest, like and comment on as many threads as they can. These are ones that keep a forum from dying from post of little interest. I think if you want more on topic discussion and topics that will bring the forum up when one searches specific things like quilt making or building an Ozark dulcimer or how to make Sheepherders bread in a cast iron skillet, or replacing a leaking sink trap, then the game element must become secondary. I am well acquainted with the Foxfire books and also a former contributor to Countryside magazine back in the 70's when I lived in the mountains and lived as close to nature and the old ways as possible. I was never one for Mother Earth Magazine as they were very liberal leaning and mostly city folks trying to prove they knew more than real country folks. Anyway I get your point perfectly! From what I see on this forum, topics that would lead to a collection personal forum knowledge, I.E. an internet "Foxfire" complied by seniors, gets little interest. I think this could change, but only with members help.

    Have you considered that all the awards and members ranking may be a factor in making as many post as possible in time a member has to be online? Does this make it a game rather than a forum of members personal knowledge and experience? Should one take the time to make one interesting and informative post from personal knowledge or post links and meme by the dozens? That one informative post will probably not get many likes or on rail comments. A points system and other prizes does encourage participation and that is why forums use them. Is this the participation you want?
    I think your idea for a senior forum based on the "Foxfire" idea is perfect for a seniors forum and it will attract dozens of new real seniors to participate, but it may discourage long time members that like the "game" and awards aspect of the forum. I like the idea of this forum having something special that no other seniors forum has. Great idea Ken, I hope others understand what you are saying and that this thread isn't about what anyone believes, but about a new forum direction, a compilation of members knowledge and experiences, but still having a place for humor and general discussion. I might point out, very few put into practice what they read in the Foxfire books, but they were a big seller because people loved reading about all the old folks experiences, beliefs, arts, music, and living. The same is true here. I love seeing the photos and reading about Franks train, but no way I am buying a lathe and turning one of those wheels or machining anything. I loved the photo of Hal's crystal set. I have built several of them in times past. How many likes or comments did that get? I think we all have a lot to offer other than idle chit chat and sharing, but consider if one gets awards for such over quick and in a hurry posting, then few will take time to put together a post of substance from personal experience, especially one with photos.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
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  13. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Senior Staff
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    What Ken is looking for , is not people who find us by googling something that has the words senior and forum in the search. We do get those people, and also sometimes from our shared facebook posts about the forum (as mentioned in another thread by Ken).
    What this is about, is people finding us like YOU did, while searching for some other kind of information, and the answer led you to this forum.

    Just as another observation, based on your experience here, Bess; suppose that when you came here from your google search, and then found that most of the posts were useless to you, because they were off-topic, or just didn’t add anything to the thread, you might not have made the decision to investigate the forum (and join us) like you did.

    This is why Ken and I try to make sure that thread titles explain what the thread is about, and change the title or move the thread to a different area of the forum when necessary, and merge similar threads.
    A thread titled something like “Guess what happened to me today !“ might get our attention, but it does nothing to help with explaining what the thread is about, and can also lead to other responses from people , telling what happened to them that day, and then the whole purpose of the thread is lost, at least as far as it being found by a search engine result.

    If instead, that thread were titled “An airplane crashed on the freeway in front of me today”, then we understand a lot more than we do from the first title, and the topic can be found by anyone searching for more information about the plane crash on the freeway, which is likely to happen.

    We need more people to find the forum, whether they are doing a search for specifically a senior forum, or just researching something else online and discover us that way.
    I would not want this forum to be closed down because it becomes stagnant, and if I were in Ken’s position of having to totally finance the forum, I would want to have intelligent discussions to participate in.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  14. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I was merely using the Foxfire books as an example of something that could be done. I think it was a great idea, but the Foxfire books had a focus on Appalachian tradition, which is not what I am suggesting. Whatever someone might know and be able to teach or discuss would be what I am talking about.

    We have members from all around the world, from huge cities to small towns to rural areas. We have members from different countries, with varying backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, so I am most assuredly not suggesting one particular focus for the forum - only that individual threads should have a focus. What that focus will be is up to whoever starts the thread.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  15. Micki Pembroke

    Micki Pembroke Very Well-Known Member
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    I have clicked " Like " on these comments, to confirm my time spent reading and understanding for the most part. Totally agree with the fact that interest is needed to keep and to attract members. Everyone have different needs and interests. Just hope if there are changes that they are not reflected only to those with high education, me for one , do not fall into that line. I love learning, and have learned a great many things since arriving here at SoC. Finding ways of satisfying members here now and those to come is a good thing.
     
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