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Announcement Good quality content and why it matters

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
What is good quality content?
As I see it, a good quality thread has a clear, specific title, which contains keywords that describe the topic well. It's the kind of headline that someone might search for with Google Search. As such, the title may be a question.

The opening post should clearly define the topic and the scope of the thread.

A good quality post has original content not found elsewhere on the Internet. It is on-topic. It's engaging. It has correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling. It makes you want to respond or alternatively, print it out and hang it on your wall. It might cite sources, it might quote from other sources, but a large part of the post is original content.

A bad quality thread has a vague title and a vague, open-ended scope. The opening post is vague, maybe very short, maybe just a link to another site. Imagine a thread titled simply THE THREAD!!! And then an opening post simply saying "Post yer stuff in ere".

Why and where it matters
Veggie Views is a forum/community for vegans and vegetarians. So it's especially important that we have good quality content in the areas relating directly to the kinds of core topics you'd expect in such a place.

In online communities it's natural that members' posting frequency wanes over time. People come and people go. Good quality content is one important way to attract new members. Search engines rank good quality content higher, which means sites that have such content will get more visitors. The more visitors, the higher likelihood that some of them will sign up as members, start posting and become permanent members of the community.

Speaking of community, we must of course also have some room for casual chatting and having fun. That's why we have areas such as The Lounge and its sub-forums. I don't care if the content here is good quality, but it helps if it's at least engaging to some users.
 
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KLS52

“SnarkMaster”
And your point is...

Hahaha, kidding!! :p

It’s a good post. I think I understand why you wrote it.
 

MadamSarcastra

MadamSarcastra, over & out.
Like multiple threads on the same topic started weeks, days, or mere hours apart by the same person?

Long-recurring problem, it seems....

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ETA:

I'm very aware of how certain persons (one in particular) feel about me, have been from day one, and it's just gotten more & more obvious.... But I prefer peace.

I'll just show myself out, shall I? :up: **curtsy** :flower:
 
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Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
To be clear, this thread is not directed at any specific member and was not initiated because of the posts / threads by a particular member.

These are thoughts that have been maturing in my head for some time as a reaction to a more general tendency towards more vague and catch-all style threads. I think we have always had such threads, and they're not always a bad thing, but I suspect their number have risen in more recent years, perhaps because of "bad behaviours" we've learnt from social media platforms that don't even have the concept of thread titles.
 

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
Wow. That's a tall order.
Maybe I didn't phrase that sentence too well. What I meant to say was that it shouldn't be mostly just copied and pasted from another website. It should be the posters own words, or quoting a source that isn't on the Internet, or it could perhaps be a translation from another language. And it helps if the topic itself is "original" as well, but of course that can be difficult in this day and age.
 

Andy_T

Addicted Poster
Forum Moderator
Thank you for making this clearer. I very often find very helpful information here that points to other articles on the Internet that are very informative and helpful, and I, myself, also try to share information that is helpful.
 

Mischief

Stranger in a strange land
How are the rules in the opening post working out?

I ask because, after having not been active for a while, I came on this evening and noticed some absences, as well as what I assume is decreased activity by other posters. (That assumption is based on the fact that, when I clicked on "Recent Posts", the threads popping up on the first two pages showed the same member being the most recent poster on a large majority of those threads. That generally seems to happen when fewer members are active.)
 

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
How are the rules in the opening post working out?
These aren't rules, I'm only pointing out what I think characterises good quality content, and why that's important to the forum. That said, from now on the mod team will take a more active approach in closing, merging, splitting and renaming threads etc. in order to facilitate better discussions. That is part of our job.

I'm glad I got what I said in the OP off my chest, although in retrospect I wish I had phrased it in a way that made it absolutely crystal clear I wasn't criticising anyone in particular.
 

KLS52

“SnarkMaster”
I think, maybe, you could just come out and say that you are disappointed with the direction the forum has taken. After all, this is your baby and it does seem to be in a world of its own, so to speak. You could ask the members for help in trying to figure out what we can do, collectively, to help it grow. I think we've all become too comfortable, here, and comfortable can translate into boring.

You should be able to say how you feel and offer suggestions/guidelines, as you did in your OP. And sure, in hindsight, maybe it could have been phrased differently, perhaps a little less formal?

I think part of the problem is social media. I don't belong to other forums, like VV, other than VB...and it's pretty dead over there, too. So I can't speak on whether or not social media like FB and Twitter is just the way to go. Maybe there are still forums, like VV, that still get a lot of traffic? I don't know.

I do know that the things I like to discuss aren't topics of interest that would fit here.

So, just to understand, the goal seems to be to have more threads geared toward vegetarians/vegans. If so, how do we do that without attracting the annoying, repetitive newbie questions, lol.

Are we still supposed to be hash-tagging threads/posts? Can you go over it again/provide a link as to how we are supposed to do that? I kind of forgot all about that, assuming that would help when people type into the search engine...

:)
 

Mischief

Stranger in a strange land
I don't think that social media is really the problem.

The place that I hang out online, other than here, is Ravelry. For those that don't know, it's a site for knitters crocheters, spinners and weavers. It's a large site, with millions of members from around the world, and a terrific resource for people with an interest in the fiber arts.

A large number of subgroups have sprung up within Ravelry, each with its own discussion forum. Ravelry has some basic ground rules which apply to all the groups, and then the people who form a group establish additional rules for that group. Some grou ps thrive and are extremely active, others not.

IS, I think it might be worthwhile for you to explore Ravelry and some of its discussion boards. You might get some ideas.

The group in which I have lately been active is called Lazy Stupid and Godless. It has some political discussion threads which I found interesting. It also has many general
chat type threads, and has spawned a whole slew of subgroups. It's a fairly successful group, with thousands of members. Here's a link to the group: Ravelry - a knit and crochet community
 
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shyvas

Deity
Forum Moderator
I think, maybe, you could just come out and say that you are disappointed with the direction the forum has taken. After all, this is your baby and it does seem to be in a world of its own, so to speak. You could ask the members for help in trying to figure out what we can do, collectively, to help it grow. I think we've all become too comfortable, here, and comfortable can translate into boring.

You should be able to say how you feel and offer suggestions/guidelines, as you did in your OP. And sure, in hindsight, maybe it could have been phrased differently, perhaps a little less formal?

I think part of the problem is social media. I don't belong to other forums, like VV, other than VB...and it's pretty dead over there, too. So I can't speak on whether or not social media like FB and Twitter is just the way to go. Maybe there are still forums, like VV, that still get a lot of traffic? I don't know.

I do know that the things I like to discuss aren't topics of interest that would fit here.

So, just to understand, the goal seems to be to have more threads geared toward vegetarians/vegans. If so, how do we do that without attracting the annoying, repetitive newbie questions, lol.

Are we still supposed to be hash-tagging threads/posts? Can you go over it again/provide a link as to how we are supposed to do that? I kind of forgot all about that, assuming that would help when people type into the search engine...

:)
As I'm neither a member of FB or Twitter, I can't give my opinion on whether it's better to be on the latter rather than a member of a forum.
From what I have read or have heard FB & Twitter help people stay in touch without too much involvement. To my mind being a member of a forum is more of a tight knit community where members share more or less the same interest on a subject, just like our forum ; Veggie Views.
As Vegetarians/vegans are on the rise, logically we should be getting more members. Perhaps, more groups are forming via the multiple medias instead of individual forums having more frequent members that post.

I have found a link which explains the difference in a clear manner :

Understanding the difference between Forums, Blogs, and Social Networks | Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Digital Business

Being curious, I put 'Vegetarian/Vegan forum' into both the Google & Ecosia search engines, and VV's came up both 2 nd and 3 rd, i.e. both before and after VB's. We are perhaps getting a lot of traffic but are encountering difficulties in having
members that stay and that is the reason why IS posted this thread.
His opening post is crystal clear and obviously has been written to remind members why the contents of a thread are important on a forum.

Perhaps, setting up a Suggestion Box, would prove useful in this part of the forum ?
 
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Mischief

Stranger in a strange land
I've never before given a great deal of thought to what makes a discussion board successful and what causes it to die, but I'll try to give it some thought in the next few days, based on what I have observed over at Ravelry.

Obviously, you want to both attract new members and retain existing members.

Ravelry has a hook - it is a clearinghouse of sorts for knitting and crochet patterns, both free patterns and ones for which one has to pay. The best equivalent for that in the veg*n world is recipes, and since many people now find recipes on individual blogs, it may be worthwhile exploring arrangements pursuant to which traffic from here can direct people to various popular veg*n blogs and from such blogs to here. Likewise with commercial sites that cater to veg*n needs.

And I know that this is a sensitive subject, but it appears that a sizeable part of the market for veg*n food products are people who aren't veg*n, but who occasionally cook veg*n meals or want to accommodate veg*n friends or family members. It might be worthwhile to have a discussion about ways in which we might open membership up to such people without getting the trolls.

I think it's also worth remembering that a sizable portion of the population doesn't want to be serious all the time, that some people come to discussion boards for some frivolity, or for the online equivalent of comfort food, the kind of stuff that you probably wouldn't characterize as "quality content." If you look at the LSG group on Ravelry, you'll see how prevalent that is on a thriving board.

Edited to correct typos.
 

shyvas

Deity
Forum Moderator
Apparently not, since there appears to have been quite a bit of confusion.
Let me rephrase that ; to my mind his original post, plus the following ones where he develops and clarifies his thoughts, are crystal clear.

Being confused and just asking questions aren't necessarily the same thing.
 
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beancounter

The Fire That Burns Within
I think there may be several issues. First, younger people are moving away from forums and toward Twitter, Instagram, etc (not so much FB though). I think people motivated by community migrate to those platforms.

Vegetarianism (and to a lesser extent veganism) has become more mainstream than it used to be. It's been years since anyone (with a college education) has given me a weird look when they find out that I'm a vegetarian.

If people want specific questions answered, all they have to do is use Google. Communicating with real people has become unnecessary.

Also, there seems to be a sense of impatience, at best, and hostility, at worse for newbie questions.

VV is insular, and that is by design, as we all remember the fun times at VB. Maybe it would be helpful to open VV up more?

Just some random thoughts.
 

shyvas

Deity
Forum Moderator
I think there may be several issues. First, younger people are moving away from forums and toward Twitter, Instagram, etc (not so much FB though). I think people motivated by community migrate to those platforms.

Vegetarianism (and to a lesser extent veganism) has become more mainstream than it used to be. It's been years since anyone (with a college education) has given me a weird look when they find out that I'm a vegetarian.

If people want specific questions answered, all they have to do is use Google. Communicating with real people has become unnecessary.

Also, there seems to be a sense of impatience, at best, and hostility, at worse for newbie questions.

VV is insular, and that is by design, as we all remember the fun times at VB. Maybe it would be helpful to open VV up more?

Just some random thoughts.
What are your suggestions ?
 

beancounter

The Fire That Burns Within
What are your suggestions ?
Well I think we shouldn't be so hostile to Omnis. Over the years, I believe 2 or 3 Omnis slipped through the cracks and asked some questions that were met with certain levels of hostility. I'm not idealistic or naive enough to believe that it would be easy, or even possible to convert them, but the last thing we should be doing is solidifying their confirmation bias. "Yea those vegetarians/vegans really are a bunch of angry, hostile and crazy militants".

If one of our objectives is to educate, then that should include everyone, not just those who are already part of the club.

I'm not suggesting that we invite a forum full of of duck hunters here, just to be open to the possibility of talking with omnis occasionally, as if they are normal human beings and not the enemy.

Traffic to this site is currently slow enough that the team of mods and admins can quickly deal with someone who is an obvious troll. If it ever gets to the point where we are being flooded with trolls, the policy could be re-evaluated, but in a perverse sort of way, all that traffic would be beneficial.

The dynamics of the internet have changed since the heyday of VB, and I doubt it would ever get that bad here.

Having a safe space is nice, but being insular can have a long term negative impact.
 
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