PayPal seriously stinks. I set up an account some months ago on my email address to give to the andrewsullivan.com blog. Tried to activate it yesterday, no dice. Not there. So I set up a new one. However PayJerk did have a record of the credit card number I used then and would not allow me to use the same card for the new account (even though it had lost the old one). I thought It worked. Today PayPal wanted me to remove my cookie protection so it could work. The other problem I have with PayJerk is a conflicting view of what this is all about. I want to make a purchase or a donation. PayJerk wants to have a relationship with me.... But I don't want to screw on the first date, I'm not that kind of girl!
We want our forum sotware to do new things that the current forum software doesn't do. The people at Jive have offered us a free license. I've paid big heaps of money for the UBB software we're using now. Plus, Jive would be an all Java solution. The people that make UBB also have a Java version of their product, but it sounds like pretty serious money. We've done some exploring down the Jive path and Thomas got a version of it running for us. It then came down to the matter of getting all of our old threads mashed into the Jive database. We also have some concerns about the hardward needs of Jive. We want to do some stress testing.
Having watched forums change software more than once, I have one primary suggestion: Find a group of "core users" who use the software regularly, and then turn them loose on a practice copy of the new software well in advance of cutover. And whatever you do, LISTEN to them. They're likely going to find one or two things that you didn't even think of that they think is crucial to the board. It could be something as simple as seeing who was the last person who posted on a thread. But whatever those features are, you'll need to either find a workaround or set the expectation level of your users BEFORE the cutover. One of the most popular online forums in my niche did a switchover and ignored a couple of the suggestions of the user base, and it cost them a whole lot of membership. They're slowly recovering, and there were other issues, but at one point I'd estimate they lost as much as 50% of their daily activity due to a simple issue: their new software, while it supported a ton of forums, didn't show all messages by date, and that was pretty important for the users of that particular database. Now, for you that's not an issue, because your users don't user that particular feature (and given your volume it would be virtually impossible). However, if there is a feature your users take advantage of regularly that goes away with new software, that will be perceived as a loss, and users don't take kindly to losing something (even though they're getting it for free - go figure ). So anyway, my take is to grab some users who are regulars, (and include a semi-newbie or two, for good measure) and let them loose on a pilot version of whatever new software you plan to run. Personal observation, free of charge Joe
Thanks for the input, Joe. We actually did ask for input from the (then current) users here. At that time we didn't get very much participation (that I'm aware of) from people other than Bartenders and Sheriffs. Of course, now, a few more might be interested in participating. [ August 03, 2003: Message edited by: Marilyn de Queiroz ]
JavaBeginnersFaq "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that's why they call it the present." Eleanor Roosevelt
Note that the Jive installation referenced in that old post is no longer active; we ran into some technical snags and lost our momentum on that project. However we're now seriously looking at getting that project restarted, especially as our new memory should enable us to support some full-size test forums. We'll be sure to let people know when we're ready for new test subjects , and will certainly pay careful attention to their feedback before we try to switch everyone over to the new software.
"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Interestingly, I never saw that particular post. One thing about UBB is that it's relatively easy to miss a post if it doesn't get much traffic. Especially if it's in a forum you don't always check, it can get lost in the shuffle pretty quickly. I wonder what percentage of your users regularly check the ranch? If you're looking for volunteers, maybe it would make sense to have a link to the volunteer thread right at the top of the forums, just like you have the banner for the donations thread. You might also want to solicit a few folks. Who do you think spends a lot of time on the forums? Who really makes use of the features? See if they're interested in a little karma building exercise . And then perhaps randomly pick some poor unsuspecting newbie - say the next poor sap (er... "lucky cowpoke") to make their 10th post. Just thinking of ways to find a cross section of folks to whack on the new software. Joe
Don't worry, Joe, that post asking for volunteers was more than a year old. We did end up getting lots of good input. The end result was that Jive looked almost exactly like UBB but it had a few extra cool things added.
Thanks, Joe. The post Marilyn referenced was a while ago; you probably weren't a ranch regular back then. (Or do you have another ID?) We'll definitely make a concerted effort to let people know when we need more user input. Last time, we had enough user input along the way, but we ran into other snags before we got to final user acceptance testing, so it wasn't so imperative that we draft more people at the time. This time, if we get far enough along and can't get enough users to participate otherwise, I'm thinking we might just shut off Meaningless Drivel on the main forum, and direct everyone to the new forum, just for MD at least. You know people will want to keep posting MD, so we'll have a group of captive users to do testing for us. [ August 03, 2003: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Originally posted by Jim Yingst: Thanks, Joe. The post Marilyn referenced was a while ago; you probably weren't a ranch regular back then. (Or do you have another ID?)
Nope, not a regular. Then again, I'm not sure I'm exactly a "regular" now... more of an "irregular" .
This time, if we get far enough along and can't get enough users to participate otherwise, I'm thinking we might just shut off Meaningless Drivel on the main forum, and direct everyone to the new forum, just for MD at least. You know people will want to keep posting MD, so we'll have a group of captive users to do testing for us.
Uh yeah. I naively drifted into one of those conversations! Two days and ten posts later, I was wondering what the heck I was doing spending several hours a day trying to convince people I didn't know of opinions I didn't know I had :roll: . Hijacking MD is a very clever way to pound the heck out of the new software. Joe
We did it! We raised over $1100 !!! We're all set for those upgrades with a little cash left over for the regular ole server bill. Or, if we can't get some big company to donate a server, we have a small start on getting a new server. Thanks everybody for chipping in! I'll post a message here when the new hardware comes in.