Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming...

Posted by: Piano World

Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/09/08 01:58 PM

Warning, Warning!

I am evaluating new software for the forums. The new program is from the same people
who created the forums we are using now. However, it has more features and flexibility.

One feature that comes to mind is the ability to create sub-forums.

An example would be ... Top level forum = Composers, below that would be sub-forums
for Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, etc. (Yes, the famous "Just for those totally devoted to Chopin" thread
could finally have its own home).

And yes, it will bring back the printer friendly feature.

It would also give us the ability to exclude specific features from a basic free membership, allowing
us to charge a small yearly fee for "premium" membership. Don't roll your eyes like that. It's getting
expensive supporting the forums, and Piano World is now my primary job.

The majority of what we offer now would remain free, but instead of relying on a few kind hearted members contributing
to our survival, we could charge a small yearly fee for PREMIUM membership (basic membership would remain free) to cover expenses/overhead, etc.

Take the POLL...
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/09/08 02:45 PM

Thanks, Frank! I really appreciate the printer-friendly feature and look forward to getting it back. \:\)

p.s. But I would also love a bigger/different selection of smilies, if we're putting together a wish list for Santa... ;\)
Posted by: U S A P T

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/09/08 06:46 PM

I think it would be fun to try a new format although I have to say that the other place where people talk about everything BUT pianos is kind of slow.

If you switch will I lose all my stored PMs?
Posted by: David-G

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/09/08 07:03 PM

Please, the most urgent improvement is to sort out (and perhaps simplify) picture uploading!

Good point about the stored PMs.

I hope the whole thing doesn't get too complicated!
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/09/08 07:08 PM

Another feature that would be nice is the ability to store more than 60 PM's. They tend to stack up fast.
Posted by: kenny

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/09/08 08:20 PM

Hey Frank, could we have a forum for non-pianos stuff?
What should we call it?
I know.
We could call it The Coffee Room.
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/09/08 09:01 PM

A spell check would be really appreciated by the orthographically challenged like myself.
Posted by: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/09/08 09:08 PM

I would like to be able to email pianos to those that want them. (Only in my territory of course)

Can you please add that feature.

Thanks
Posted by: quiescen

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/09/08 09:16 PM

Hi Frank,

I'm a longtime member and have just recently started posting. I think new forum software is just what this place needs. Many features here are outdated and it's time for an upgrade.

It would be really cool if you could include social networking features too.

-- Edward

P.S. I'd also consider advertising using your small display ads if a new format were adopted.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/09/08 09:41 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by -Frycek:
A spell check would be really appreciated by the orthographically challenged like myself. [/b]
Fire Fox has it built in...
Posted by: gmf001

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/09/08 10:09 PM

I would like to see a feature where you don't continue to see posts that you've already read, so when you log in you just see the updated/new posts.
Posted by: Terrytunes

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/09/08 10:50 PM

I wish we could have the ability to send PM's to multiple members all in one key stroke!

But regardless of how the new forum appears, I plan on hanging around here for as long as time allows. ;\)
Posted by: U S A P T

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/10/08 12:12 AM

Yes, like facebook! I am completely addicted to that place. helps though that the median age is 21 except for all my WTF buddies where the median age is 23.
Posted by: tanjinjack

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/10/08 12:47 AM

How about an auto-refresh feature, and prompt when there's new replies on threads we have read before (not by emails). Gotta use some javascript I guess.

Student rebate for premium membership?
Posted by: 88Key_PianoPlayer

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/10/08 06:19 AM

I could be for forum expansion, etc... just so long as it's not priced too high ($100/year would be way too much for me, but depending on the features (whether or not I'd use them that is) $20-25/year might be swingable), and most importantly, every individual feature / spec / etc that's currently free remains as such.
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/10/08 07:29 AM

"It would also give us the ability to exclude specific features from a basic free membership, allowing
us to charge a small yearly fee for "premium" membership. Don't roll your eyes like that. It's getting
expensive supporting the forums, and Piano World is now my primary job.

The majority of what we offer now would remain free, but instead of relying on a few kind hearted members contributing
to our survival, we could charge a small yearly fee for PREMIUM membership (basic membership would remain free) to cover expenses/overhead, etc."

What would the premium members get that the freebie members don't?[/b]
Posted by: piqué

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/10/08 11:55 AM

i'm not web-savvy enough to imagine what new and improved features might be available to us, but if you could have a "squabble room" where misbehaving miscreants can be sent to hash it out out of eyesight, that might be a big draw for some. ;\)

i like pw the way it is.

i'm sure i'll also like whatever improvements you make, frank.
Posted by: jasperkeys

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/10/08 12:01 PM

How about the capability to post the same question on more than one forum with one posting?
Posted by: tanjinjack

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/18/08 07:03 AM

I guess it's still alright to revive this one-week-old thread.

As I read some old threads, learning that some knowledgeable posters have left the forum due to the fact that there's a lot of people posting wrong information and/or promoting self products without identifying themselves.

Therefore, is it possible that a rating system get implemented to each post/reply but only selected (well-respected) members can rate the post as useful/not useful (something like Yahoo! Answer)?

Possibly, a warning and banning system as well?
Posted by: AJB

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/18/08 08:38 AM

I don't mind paying a small fee if there are genuine value added features but I make a personal pleas for the following:

1 Simplify the top of the home page. There is half a screen of boring clutter that one only reads once, if at all.

2 Clear out the stickies regularly. Some of them seem to have been there forever (e.g. the grand adventure piano book one) and it just takes up space for more current posts

3 I agree that spell check is a modern feature that would be nice

4 Make moderators explain why they have closed or deleted threads. Some moderating is rather high handed.

More sub divisions adds no value at all to me. There are already more than enough. More divisions just makes navigation slower. Complexity for the sake of it.


Sorry to learn that Piano World is now your main job. That does not sound like good news.

Incidentally, I think the poll contains leading questions likely to generate the answer you seek. Not a brilliant basis for decision making,

Adrian
Posted by: keystring

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/18/08 09:14 AM

 Quote:
Make moderators explain why they have closed or deleted threads. Some moderating is rather high handed.
I disagree. As a moderator in another busy forum I must have spent 10 hours in the space of only a few days going through the sections I'm responsible for, answering private correspondence related to the same, discussing policies, decisions and cases with other moddies - maybe twice that amount of time since a thing or two "erupted". Moderating is a volunteer job usualy taken on by busy individuals, unpaid, untrained, often thankless and a bit like walking through a minefield aided by a sniffer dog that has a head cold. I assume that moderators have adequate guidelines as well as a support system of the team at large (?) to aid them in their decisions. How much to state in a forum, and how to state it, needs to be up to the mod, but governed by the site's guidelines I think.
Posted by: bitWrangler

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/18/08 09:59 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
 Quote:
Make moderators explain why they have closed or deleted threads. Some moderating is rather high handed.
I disagree. As a moderator in another busy forum I must have spent 10 hours in the space of only a few days going through the sections I'm responsible for, answering private correspondence related to the same, discussing policies, decisions and cases with other moddies - maybe twice that amount of time since a thing or two "erupted". Moderating is a volunteer job usualy taken on by busy individuals, unpaid, untrained, often thankless and a bit like walking through a minefield aided by a sniffer dog that has a head cold. I assume that moderators have adequate guidelines as well as a support system of the team at large (?) to aid them in their decisions. How much to state in a forum, and how to state it, needs to be up to the mod, but governed by the site's guidelines I think. [/b]
It wouldn't be hard to place an extra set of radio buttons/check boxes for "reason for locking/closing" that have a small set of values:

- inappropriate content
- user complaints
- violates TOS
- just cuz

and then a text entry field that the mod can optionally add more detail if they'd like.

Clicking one more box wouldn't add substantially to the mods workload and they could expound more if they felt like it.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/18/08 10:48 AM

One thing to keep in mind. Assessing a small user fee likely will diminish the number of participants (law of demand and all that), and the decrease may be substantial. In plain language (hah) the price elasticity of demand may be quite large in the neighborhood of the current price (which is zero, of course).

I don't say this as an argument against the change. I'm agnostic about that. There are good and bad points about shrinking the group of active posters.

Many people use 'nuisance fees' to reduce unwanted traffic. A small user fee here likely would eliminate people who place a low value on actually writing posts. I suspect we'd see a decline in trolling and a fall in the number of immature postings from people who can't resist offering their .02 for free.

We'd also miss some golden nuggets to be sure, and the number of young posters likely would decline. These are people, for instance, who are much less likely to have access to credit cards and check books with which to pay PW fees.

The number of posts would shrink even more if the cost was assessed per post. After all, if the cost is yearly (for instance) once you jump the hurdle the marginal cost of an extra post is again zero.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/18/08 11:07 AM

[/quote]It wouldn't be hard to place an extra set of radio buttons/check boxes for "reason for locking/closing" that have a small set of values:
[/quote]
Having just gone through that as mod, there are pros and cons. Sometimes check boxes hold some meaning, but it's not the same as an actual reasoned communication. Personally I haven't found it that effective though one can have the impression of having said something.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/18/08 11:12 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:
The number of posts would shrink even more if the cost was assessed per post. [/b]
Please tell me Frank isn't considering charging per POST!?!

Uh-oh.
Posted by: apple*

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/18/08 11:33 PM

we should charge him!
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/18/08 11:36 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica K.:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:
The number of posts would shrink even more if the cost was assessed per post. [/b]
Please tell me Frank isn't considering charging per POST!?!

Uh-oh. [/b]
Hmmm...11753...you are in trouble.

If PW becomes "by subscription only" I probably have say goodbye.
Posted by: currawong

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 12:00 AM

I am more than willing to pay, but (*techno-ignoramus-alert*) I don't have the foggiest idea how to do it. You may not believe it, but I've never paid for anything online ...

My other concern is that if the new format has lots of pretty graphics and moving thingies, my dial-up speed (well it's dial-up for about half of each month) won't cope, and consequently neither will I.
Posted by: AJB

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 03:00 AM

Piano Dad - surely your analysis only applies if subscription becomes compulsory. If Frank intends, as he has said, to maintain a free service running alongside a higher featured subscription one, then he may not see a significant decline?

But it is difficult to see how Frank can generate a significant income stream from this forum as if there is a two tier system, there will have to be significant disbenefits for non fee payers - or few will upgrade to the paid service.

The poll itself is interesting. From a claimed membership of 35,000 or whatever it is, only a couple of hundred have bothered to reply. A good proportion of those say they are willing or might be willing to pay a fee. But a few hundred fee payers will generate peanuts as most will not pay if the dollar value is above a fairly de minimis level.

And Frank will also have the issue of dealing with foreign currencies unless he wishes to turn PW into a US only forum. I volunteered to make a donation years ago, but I have no dollar bank account and my email on the subject, asking how I subscribed, was ignored.

It is perhaps a shame that there is no sponsorship from piano manufacturers. I suppose the brand bashing that goes on here (and all forums) puts them off.

A final thought. I am a member of an active motorcycle forum. It sprang into being because most members belonged to another forum that decided to charge a membership fee before anyone gained posting privileges. The result - a new, free forum, was formed and membership shifted en masse in a matter of a few weeks.

Piano World does look and feel dated and cluttered, and is in need of major rethink and update. I wish Frank success with cosmetic surgery on his baby.
Posted by: schwammerl

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 03:16 AM

 Quote:
Piano World does look and feel dated and cluttered, and is in need of major rethink and update.
Perhaps so but similar forums like the one below, what do they get, one post/week?

http://www.armleg.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=2&mforum=pianosinc

schwammerl.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 03:31 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by AJB:
Piano Dad - surely your analysis only applies if subscription becomes compulsory. If Frank intends, as he has said, to maintain a free service running alongside a higher featured subscription one, then he may not see a significant decline?
[/b]
Pianostreet for example requires paying membership to be able to write on fora, but offers lots of free sheet music for that service fee. There would have to be some added value for a service fee more than simply access to the current fora. There are Application Service Providers who can host a much improved version of what we have here at low cost. The barriers to entry for a new competitor to pianoworld are quite low.
 Quote:

But it is difficult to see how Frank can generate a significant income stream from this forum as if there is a two tier system, there will have to be significant disbenefits for non fee payers - or few will upgrade to the paid service.

The poll itself is interesting. From a claimed membership of 35,000 or whatever it is, only a couple of hundred have bothered to reply. A good proportion of those say they are willing or might be willing to pay a fee. But a few hundred fee payers will generate peanuts as most will not pay if the dollar value is above a fairly de minimis level.
[/b]
It would be interesting to see a recency, frequency analysis done on the membership. I would suspect that pianoworld might even have worse active member numbers than other genres out there given the focus on one-time, big ticket purchase support leaving lots of one time users long since disappeared in its wake. There might only be a core group of a couple of hundred people across all sub-fora who would pay a longer term subscription fee -- until the content became no longer entertaining.

My guess is that any fee on membership of the current proposition would have negative impact on participation with minimal or even negative financial contribution after cost of administration, etc.
 Quote:

It is perhaps a shame that there is no sponsorship from piano manufacturers. I suppose the brand bashing that goes on here (and all forums) puts them off.

A final thought. I am a member of an active motorcycle forum. It sprang into being because most members belonged to another forum that decided to charge a membership fee before anyone gained posting privileges. The result - a new, free forum, was formed and membership shifted en masse in a matter of a few weeks.

Piano World does look and feel dated and cluttered, and is in need of major rethink and update. I wish Frank success with cosmetic surgery on his baby. [/b]
The piano world is a small market. Also, particularly in the US the sales and distribution model and most dealers' business results are not benefited by what pianoworld does in the piano forum. There is little advantage to be had from contributing financially.

I can think of at least 10 other more logical and more promising revenue streams than putting a tax on the free labour of those very few persons who give pianoworld any value add at all.
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 03:48 AM

In agreement with theJourney, I would say that talk of charging fees for membership is not going to be successful. About half of the posts on PW are from people who are posting for their first time, and who often don't return after they have made a purchase of a piano.

I also agree that the forums have a dated look to them. I'm not sure how a social networking feature would look, but that is certainly the direction things are headed on the internet.

I could definitely imagine a kind of 'home page' for each member, where they could post recordings, pictures and so on. I think there are a lot of members who would do that, and more members would get excited about having their own pages when they saw other members' pages. In this way I think the PW forums could really help get people excited about pianos and bring them into the internet age.

For sources of revenue it seems like membership fees are outdated. Look at the most successful companies: google, facebook, myspace. They're all free and earn revenue from advertisements. From what I understand, you can post advertisements managed by google on sites pretty easily, and earn some money that way.

Why not solicit performer tie-ins? Manufacturer tie-ins?

I bet more than 25 percent of people looking for a piano do a search on google that gives them a PW page as a result. That is a huge piece of capital that PW has right there. People love pianos. People love keyboard music. That's not going away.

PW could also do some events to keep older members coming back. Since you have the email addresses of everyone, you could send out **occasional** notifications if you have a PW jazz festival or something like that.

The piano is sometimes thought of as being on it's way out, and the internet is still on its way in, so how do you capitalize on that??

First, by denying that the piano is on its way out, (there is plenty of evidence for this, for example the coolest new bands almost all use some piano in their songs). Second, by bringing what has been though of as being old (classical piano etc.??) into the internet in novel ways. I think it has to be a success. There are too many people who love pianos and computers for it not to be. It's not like this is an internet site about vinyl records, or printed books, or some other thing that is truly becoming obsolete.
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 08:46 AM

charleslang has some great ideas...

the active homepage for members would be a great idea...since that would take up bandwidth, maybe for those who contribute $
Posted by: apple*

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 09:10 AM

perhaps a link to IMSLP - they are still searching for internet helpers.

thanks for being you, Frank. as I've said before, this website has changed my life for the better in many ways.
Posted by: AJB

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 11:12 AM

I hope Frank is listening. Frank, if you want to make money from piano world then there are lost of creative ways of doing it, but you really need to start adding some new, modern day value to members.

Statistics on the zillions of page views you get each month are all very well, but the reality is the number of active and loyal members who stick around, is fairly small. The challenge is to grow this number and find ways of demonstrating to the industry at large that they can capitalize on this such that they and you can obtain revenue streams from PW.

Dealers could certainly be encourage more.

The piano buy and selling aspect has barely had the surface scratched. PW could be the eBay for pianos. Indeed why not for a wider range of musical instruments.

Why does PW need to be restricted to pianos at all. Why not be a forum and marketplace for a wider variety of musical instruments? Many PW members are multi instrumentalists.

Why the continued resistance to a chat place - the Coffee Room died years ago but demand (and related site traffic) still appears to be there. It could also be a depository for threads that the moderators feel are getting out of hand elsewhere on the forum.

I fully agree with Charles Lang's thoughts about personal home pages. I can see this going down well on the PC and AB forums. And also in a new "dealers shops" forum. As for the shops side, I feel it is likely that a major trick is being missed on the digital side of things.

Come on Frank, lets have a radical rethink. Before someone else does it and pinches your members. (The Larry model is an irrelevance here. It was never marketed and was too focussed on entrenched views of a few).
Posted by: w_scott_iv@yahoo

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 11:21 AM

While I'd love to see chat (amoung many of the other suggestions), I think Frank is right to consider changes cautiously. There's always the danger of diluting PianoWorld to the point that it's original devotees would no longer be attracted to the site.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 11:29 AM

Adrian,

Yeah, I went back and looked again at Frank's original post. He wasn't talking about compulsory membership in order to post.

Nonetheless, if the options available to a free rider are minimal we might be in much the same situation.

And yes, I do think the benefits to Frank of charging might be quite small compared to the hassle, especially if the fee is designed to sweep up most current posters.

If the premium membership is good stuff, but inessential for basic participation, it might induce more of the regulars to pony up.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 11:46 AM

Good feedback everyone, thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts.

The barrier to making improvements to PW and the forums isn't lack of desire or ideas (although I've certainly read some great new suggestions in this thread).

It's lack of funds.
Sure sites like Facebook are primarily advertiser supported. They also had millions of dollars in investment money to play with, and most sites like theirs didn't make a profit for years (in spite of spending millions).

I don't have that luxury. I built PW out of my own pocket. A few of our regulars have been kind enough to donate/subscribe, and we've made some money from the online store.

Advertising revenue is beginning to grow and become more viable, based in part on the fact that our classified advertisers are seeing results.

And yes, page views are still a measure of the popularity and "stickyness" of a web site, and used as part of the decision process by online marketers.

Unique visitors is the other important metric, and we average over 11,000 unique visitors a day.
So no, we aren't relying on just our core membership of the forums to drive the viability of advertising on PW. And yes, the industry is starting to take notice (albeit slowly).

I have lots of ideas for changing/improving PW, and features I'd love to be able to offer. But it all costs money, and can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

This leaves me in a catch 22.

I think redesigning PW and the forums, and adding more features (including some suggested in this thread) would certainly help us grow and attract more people.

It would also require money, and I don't see any VC's stepping up to shower us with capital so we can expand and grow.

It is evident that only the core group would consider supporting any variation of a subscription model, and they already have stepped up a number of times.

I will continue to chip away at improvements as funds and time allow. We may grow slowly, but we will grow.

Again, thanks for all the suggestions ideas and opinions.

I hope you all enjoy the coming holidays.

This will be my first year in a warm climate, a little odd to me. I moved away from "home" in August, starting a new life that I hope will include eventually making PW my full time concentration.

Best,

Frank B.
Posted by: Marty in Minnesota

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 02:12 PM

This is all very interesting.

Several months ago, Frank upgraded the system and some new features were added. A spell-check is one of them and if people don't use the "Full Reply Form' they do not know it even exists. At that time, he requested voluntary contributions. There was a drive, in several threads, to help out. I have no idea if it was successful, or not. I do appreciate the increased speed of down-loading pages and photos.

I think of Piano World as I do of National Public Radio or Public Television. I don't have to contribute to receive the service, but I choose to.

Have you? Have you ever contributed financially? If you have, are you current or lapsed? (Ahem, some are visibly lapsed.)

The basic format of Piano World should be kept free and open to all. This is where people come with questions about buying a first piano or learning out about prep, regulation, or voicing. There is nothing else like it.

For all of us regulars, wouldn't it be worth it to help with a membership fee so that this fundamental service can be maintained? Do we need a ton of bells and whistles?

I sincerely hope this does not become "Piano-FaceBook" or "PianoTube." I do not need a homepage or a friends list. It is about pianos, not about the latest IT technology.

It is for the sharing of information about pianos and our joy of playing, and owning, and cherishing them.
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 04:10 PM

One huge asset of pianoworld is the amount of knowledge in the forums and also given freely by members. Why not organize it? Wikipedia won't allow pages for very specific things like a certain model of piano. But pianoworld could have a 'pianopedia' function.

As a model, take a look at http://daviswiki.org
This is the first city wiki, with pages for individual restaurants, even pages for individual street signs and telephone booths, believe it or not.

They started a project called wikispot (see http://wikispot.org/ )

Wikispot has sprouted many city wikis modelled on the wiki from Davis. From what I understand, the software is there, and either free or very cheap, so starting a pianopedia would be something that could get going within days or weeks for little more money than server space.

After some time there would presumably be a page for each of those obscure old American pianos that people keep asking about, along with all the rest of the invaluable knowledge that the techs on the forum have.

As far as performance, you could have a page for each of Mozart etc. works. Pages could have links to famous interpretations that have been posted on youtube, and of course historical information related to the pieces and scores when copyright has expired, (or lead sheets for jazz pieces!).
Posted by: keystring

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 04:44 PM

Charles that looks like a lot of work for someone to set up and then maintain.

Actually at this time I would be happy just to be able to access my PM box. \:\(

KS
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 05:02 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Charles that looks like a lot of work for someone to set up and then maintain.

Actually at this time I would be happy just to be able to access my PM box. \:\(

KS [/b]
Really? I don't see how a wiki project involves all that much more maintenance than the forums as they are already. Most of the work is done by people who post information. In essence a wiki is a forum that is organized differently. It would be interesting though to see how much oversight the Daviswiki requires.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 05:13 PM

I don't know much about setting up wikis or running them behind the scenes.
 Quote:
I don't see how a wiki project involves all that much more maintenance than the forums as they are already.
But that kind of maintenance is already an incredible amount of work, is it not?
Posted by: DarkGreenChocolate

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/19/08 06:31 PM

I don't have any problem with the "bare-bones" format; in fact, in a world of ever-increasing clutter, virtual and otherwise, I treasure it. There's an endless list of busy websites; there's only a handful like craigslist or google (which has been "cheating" more and more with ads disguised as search results).

As for the general question of fees, I'm of two minds:

1) if the NYTimes is free, offering oodles of content by full-time reporters, surely PianoWorld, which is almost entirely member-generated, should be

2) the NYT, like most newspapers, is slowly bleeding to death

I think the Internet has backed itself into a corner: people expect everything to be free, but they also want content and features that cost a lot of money; meanwhile, advertising has not grown the way it was "supposed" to (despite google's intense efforts). At least PianoWorld's overhead is mostly the site itself (I assume); what worries me is how much quality journalism will be dumbed down or destroyed as paper-based publishing withers.

Thanks to Frank and everyone else for making this site possible in any case.
Posted by: turandot

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/20/08 03:25 PM

from DarkGreenChocolate

 Quote:
I think the Internet has backed itself into a corner: people expect everything to be free, but they also want content and features that cost a lot of money; meanwhile, advertising has not grown the way it was "supposed" to (despite google's intense efforts). At least PianoWorld's overhead is mostly the site itself (I assume);
It was in this spirit that I voted: an assumption that keeping the site running required more than it currently generates in revenue and that Ken Knapp has a thankless job for which he should be paid.

On the other hand, it ultimately does come down to content. To me, it's peculiar that the poll was floated only here on the Piano Forum, and not on the other forum which I frequent regularly: the Digital Forum. In searching the thread title, the poll seems to have been posted only here.

Perhaps it's simply because this forum is running at 35% of visits and none of the others are even at 20% on a regular basis. Or perhaps there's an assumption that the pockets are deeper here or the stakes higher.

Quite honestly, I feel the content here in the Piano Forum does not justify a cost to those who simply enjoy pianos and want to learn more about them. If I read the digital forum, I can find many threads and posts from which I can learn something. I can also sense a spirit of problem-solving and cooperation among the members. There is extremely little brand boasting or bashing.

When I visit here, I wade through a lot of thoroughly predictable posts by thoroughly predictable members to glean a few nuggets that are useful. I'm not trying to be mean, just honest. There is no solid core of knowledge that new members can depend on. It's not like there's a panel of industry experts who monitor the forum 24/7 to answer questions in a useful way. Almost all the professionals here are involved in direct-selling to consumers. There are a handful who enjoy (or at least are willing) to grapple with industry problems on air. There are a few others who post on a fairly regular basis. But for the most part, professional sellers come and go, many with a specific agenda that is not that hard to see. Accessing the the available thread-view pages here on PW shows that there are many sellers who monitor here very regularly, but hardly ever post. That's their business of course, but in gaining a sense of what is on consumer's minds or making sure they are not blind-sided \:D , they are not contributing content.

To sum it up, I would say that in my case I would pay for the hosting of the content on the digital forum, but would not be inclined to pay for the content in the Piano Forum due to the plethora of misinformation, bias, egotistical puffery, and wanna-be moderating from inside the community.

As for suggestions, I would add two to the list of those already given.

1.) Those who wish to post here as retailers or sales professionals representing a given brand should be required to prove that they actually represent the brand they claim to. I don't want to name names, but there are a couple of individuals here who I would think are an embarrassment to the brands they claim to represent.

2.) I was happy to see the thread-rating stars disappear because it was completely obvious that the function was being abused. On the other hand, I think appreciative criticism from the membership is a good thing. I would suggest a function where members who feel a thread has valuable content could click to simply indicate that and only that -- no negativism, no good, better, best options --, and that when the number of clicks received reaches a set threshold, that the thread automatically would earn a checkmark or some simple icon to indicate its status. I'm assuming of course that individual members could not stuff the ballot box by spending their days voting over and over again. (Not that anyone would do that. ;\) \:D )
Posted by: FogVilleLad

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/20/08 08:53 PM

Many of the people who post on the Piano forum are asking for advice re which piano to buy. IMO you should be pitching manufacturers/dealers for adverts which would include links to quality audio demos. Those demos would help advertisers to get a longer look from info seekers and could also be linked to by forum responders.
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/24/08 09:58 PM

I think a site with audio demos of various pianos, all equally excellently prepped, recorded with the same equipment, would be pretty interesting for a lot of people. Dunno how that could be tied in ... maybe in a wiki piano site.
Posted by: apple*

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/24/08 11:57 PM

pianopedia
Posted by: jman37

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/25/08 12:05 AM

it's easy for us people who post on this wonderful site 10+ times a day to say we are willing to pay a small fee, but the people who come here infrequently or come only to ask one simple question or post before making a purchase will most certainly not pay, my opinion is it would be a huge mistake to force a fee to post on the site.

Thats what advertising is for!

J
Posted by: sleepy

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/25/08 09:47 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by apple*:
pianopedia [/b]
pianopedia.com - for piano literature
pianopedia.ptg.org - for info about pianos
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/25/08 11:11 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by lilylady:
the active homepage for members would be a great idea...since that would take up bandwidth, maybe for those who contribute $ [/b]
I too like this concept. I really think it could work, providing significant and well-deserved income.
Posted by: jotur

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/25/08 03:22 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Marty in Minnesota:
Have you? Have you ever contributed financially? If you have, are you current or lapsed? (Ahem, some are visibly lapsed.) [/b]
If you discovered some are "visibly lapsed" by running your cursor over the icon underneath a name, be aware that the expiration date and level of membership are *not* updated as folks renew \:\)

I *really* like the format of the pages here that lead to the individual threads, and really *don't* like the formats of many of the newer forums on the net (like one linked to above). The forums/blogs I read regularly are all *not* in the above format, but in something more similar to this one, which I find significantly more friendly, and, as someone else said, less cluttered. Call me old-fashioned.

I guess the Davis wiki was nice, but I didn't discover the chit chat that is the hallmark of Piano World Forums and is the primary reason I visit.

So - I don't have any answers, tho I'll keep subscribing as long as the discussions are fairly straight-forward for me to find/access. I'd *really* hate for PW to go away, and I'd *really* like Frank to be able to make a living at it \:\)

Cathy
Posted by: James Maxwell

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/26/08 04:33 PM

I had not looked at this thread until FoxVilleLad’s post that prompted me to (thanks FoxVilleLad) – I am not a software guy and was a bit confused by the thread title - it seems to me this thread is more about content and formats than software. So here is my 2 cents:

Would like to see more sections (contents largely provided/collected by PW) and forums (contents/threads/responses mainly created by members), and each of them has the ability to contain and add sub-sections and/or sub-forums. Some of the sub-sections & sub-forums are of “premium” contests that require a paid membership. Here are some of my thoughts:

1. News – This will be a broad “section” with many sub-sections all related to piano in some ways. An example below is an ad for the Five Browns’ concert (26-27 Dec 2008 in Beijing) (Well the picture ad does not show up as I probably posted it incorrectly). Major concert halls and orchestra symphonies should be the main sponsors.

2. Piano Learning – Would like to see a “premium” sub-forum in which questions can be answered by expert teachers (ideally profs from the Curtis, Juilliard, etc.). Most piano students and particularly those highly talented can benefit from occasional consultations with teachers other than their regular teachers, and/or some objective opinion whether their current teacher is a right fit for them. Practically however it is difficult to arrange. And this sub-forum could serve the need.

Another sub-forum here could be on topics such as typical curriculums at Curtis, Juilliard, their prep schools, etc. so that (adult) students who do not have an opportunity to attend one of those schools could be self taught by following the same learning materials.

3. A Down-Load section – For music sheets, CDs albums and/or singles, etc. all for purchases. The key value added here is convenience, provided by a well-organized search function of the forum, all piano learning materials just a few key strokes away. This could also provide some of the much needed funds for the PW.

4. Links to the National Music Teachers’ Association, and its state branches.
Posted by: leebea

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/26/08 04:46 PM

Frank, this is a great forum and I plan on sticking with it no matter what. I am on other forums and I know that nothing worthwhile is free. How about a section for references to techs and technicians. Those of us who have moved around the country know how difficult it is to find both that you can trust and rely on.
Posted by: piqué

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/31/08 01:27 PM

 Quote:
I sincerely hope this does not become "Piano-FaceBook" or "PianoTube." I do not need a homepage or a friends list. It is about pianos, not about the latest IT technology.
i strongly agree with this. i probably would not be interested in hanging around if the site were "upgraded" in this way.

frank, i know you've created piano forum related products in the past--were they at all lucrative?

what about selling a downloadable e-book of "the best of pianoworld"?

i bet newbies would pay for a condensed version of piano buying wisdom, as a short-cut to learn what they want to know, if it were reasonably priced. (say, $9).
Posted by: apple*

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/31/08 05:05 PM

that's reasonable?

how 'bout $1.99?
Posted by: piqué

Re: Warning! Warning! - New Forums Software Coming... - 12/31/08 11:15 PM

i dunno. what do e-books usually go for? i thought it was around $9. maybe $7.99?