Re: [nbos] [FM8] blogs, forums, email lists
"Mike Oliver"
Mon Aug 6th, 2007
I agree with pretty well everything Chris has said - at least in general
if not specifics.

I'd be happy to contribute when that situation arrives. At present, I'm
still learning FM8 and can't spend nearly enough time doing that to get
to a point where any contributions I have would be worthwhile.

Meantime, please count on my interest in keeping this list alive and
desiring a searchable archive (or whatever) that I can go to when I hit
a problem a bit more complex than the present list could help with.

I visit NOX fairly regularly and have downloaded quite a bit of stuff
(thanks go to the providers). However, I can't say I've done more than
browse to see what is on offer - that is to say I haven't tried to
SEARCH for anything specific.

Cheers,

Mike
www.cartography-services.co.uk

-----Original Message-----
From: nbossoftware-bounces-at-nbos.com
[mailto:nbossoftware-bounces-at-nbos.com] On Behalf Of Christopher
Rodrigues Macias
Sent: 03 August 2007 14:06
To: nbossoftware-at-nbos.com
Subject: Re: [nbos] [FM8] blogs, forums, email lists

The irony in this discussion is that in some ways it mirrors the
discussions
of last year, and in other ways it is the very opposite.

It is different in that last year we had several people volunteering
(almost
to the point of competing) to take control of the project and set up a
web
site. It is the same as last year in that many people are obsessing over
the
technology instead of the content.

Here is what I think I observed from past experience. (Feel free to
disagree!)

1. The mailing list is the preferred means of interacting for the
majority
of the community. While several of us (and this includes me) think there
is
a need for other tools to share certain kinds of information that are
not
suited to the list, creating something that attempts to *replace* or
directly competes with the list is both unnecessary and unwelcome.

2. Some (not all) people believe the list does not (and cannot) meet all
our
FM information sharing needs. In particular, there is a need for a
searchable repository of information for those cases where it is not
convenient to just re-post the info to the list every time somebody
asks.
This may be because the answer is too complex, and/or because it is best
answered using screen shots or other media.

3. The FM community does not appear to be active enough to create the
critical mass needed to keep a full-scale fan-run site going. IMHO, this
is
in part a 'good thing'. The CC3 community is active and organised, at
least
in part, because that software has such a steep learning curve that you
almost *have to* seek out help to learn to use it. Fortunately, for
basic
mapping needs, FM is reasonably easy to learn. Whatever the cause, IMO,
any
attempt to create something outside of NOX with all the bells and
whistles
(file uploads, forums, news posts, yadda-yadda-yadda) is going to repeat
the
failure of last year. Small, targeted web sites might fill a gap, but a
Yahoo group (for example) is probably overkill.

4. Because of (1), significant additions of content to any 'searchable
repository' should probably be announced on the list, with a link
directly
to the new content included. This will go some way to alleviating the
concerns of people who prefer to rely on just the list for information,
rather than having to also periodically check a web site to see if
anything
has been added. Note that, while such emails would be annoying/spamming
if
it was a large volume, given past experience that isn't a danger. I
think
we'd be lucky if we saw people contributing two items a week.

5. We never really discussed it then, but I got the sense (then and now)
that people would prefer that information be delivered through an
'official'
mechanism--that is, one sponsored/operated by NBOS. Fan sites are a good
answer when the developer can't meet the need, but in an ideal world
there
would be a 'one stop shop' for everything FM-related. [Of course, in an
*ideal* world I would have a small army of artists and graphic designers
at
my beck and call to create whatever maps my little heart desired, but,
alas,
this is not the world we live in. ;-) ]

6. As with most on-line communities, the number of people who 'want
stuff'
vastly outnumbers the people with the time/interest in contributing
content.
This is normal. It does, however, mean that the desires of contributors
should outweigh the desires of lurkers, at least for now. If that sounds
backwards to you ("doesn't the majority rule?!?") then I think you need
to
adjust to the world of web-onomics. Community sites survive on content.
You
have to make it as easy/enticing as possible for people to contribute
material. Without a constant stream of new 'stuff' for people to see,
pretty
soon, no matter how pretty it is or how easy it is to *get* material,
the
community dries up. As an example, teens are not going to move en masse
from
MySpace to some new site, no matter how many extra features it has,
because
all their friend's pages (the interesting content) is on MySpace.

Where does that get us? Well, here is where I stand...

If/when Ed is able to put up an 'official' means for sharing complex
material (e.g. a NOX wiki) then I will lean toward moving everything
there.
The exception would be if by some weird twist of fate an 'unofficial'
site
grew so big and well-developed that it becomes unwieldy (and
unnecessary) to
move everyone back to NOX, but unless it takes Ed years to get something
up
I can't see that happening.

In the meantime I'm happy to investigate and discuss options for how we
share things until a NOX option happens. The blog is just one experiment
in
that process. Maybe it flies, maybe it doesn't. Other suggestions and
experiments welcome.

*However* when it comes to questions like what technology we use, right
now
I just want to hear the opinions of people who have a serious interest
in
becoming a contributor of material. This isn't because I think end user
opinions are not valuable, but simply because I've seen that 'fan' web
sites
live and die based on content. Content, not delivery technology, is the
biggest issue we have to solve. If we can't get enough people interested
in
posting material, the rest of the conversation is moot, really.

So, besides Joe and I, who is looking for a place to put stuff?

-Christopher

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