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iSpot Forum

New Categories needed?

It seems to me that some topic headings here - like Dejay M’s topics on Shrubs and trees, Marine organisms and so on, should be Categories. Perhaps all categories we use for organisms - Birds, Mammals, etc, should be Categories with sub-categories for more specialised topic groups. Otherwise topics are likely to be irretrievably lost.

How does one go about starting a new category?

I asked that as well, and tried to look it up.
Seems you have to be a site adminstrator to be able to do that.

But it seems that this Forum site does not allow a heirarchical or deeply nested structure. it is a chatshop, not a structured set of many forum topics that can be easily navigated. Is horrible: stuff just goes missing here.

Even so, broad categories based on taxonomy would help a bit. But I agree, it’s a mess.

Yeh? HOPELESS.
@Joe_Fogey @Tony_Rebelo (I still don’t know what sort of notification the @ gives - tell me please).
I have asked two members of he Moderator team the same question “help please” and “topic headings” and for either of them to delete my hopeless attempts.
The prime idea of the forum here is to ask for help and somehow get it. This site is very s{l}ick isn’t it? I have just received a summary of all my activity here! How reassuring is that.
How nice it would be to have a test team reporting on its strengths and failings of the forum format. We had TWO for the main site and where did it get us? Deep into the Anger Pit.
This is such an unwieldy format that one can only blunder along. I tried ‘my way’ and failed so sorry for the mess which I cannot delete.

@dejayM Does that do anything?

There is now a way of seeing a list of one’s own obs with pictures and with info on comments. so that’s something to be thankful for. I guess it means they are listening. I think I can just about cope with that, and by using favourites to list other people’s posts I’ve commented on or ideed.

The window next to this which mirrors what I’m typing is a bit disconcerting. What’s it for?

did they really do anything.
This is just the community observation with a filter = user. No why did it take so long, and why did they not replace the silly mySpot>Observations with this instead: at least it will be useful: map and gallery as well, like on the old site.
What I liked about the old site, especially regarding teaching the site, is that the MySPot and the COmmunity were mirror images: on the one you did it for you, and on the other you did exactly the same for the Community. Why did they change it?

I quite liked my iSpot Observations. I could scroll down it quickly and see what had changed, Sometimes the Your ispot lists changed so fast I missed stuff, A variety of possible ways of finding stuff works best which is why Windows is better than Mac (risking a war here :wink: There’s so much redundancy.

Thank but @Joe_Fogey and @Tony_Rebelo does nothing - looks pretty impressive Worthless?

Totally Worthless

According to the supplier’s web site it allows categories and subcategories, which is as much as the old iSpot did. I think that we can live with that. On the other hand 3 or more layers would not go amiss, e.g.

*Regional Forums
** UK & Ireland Forums
*** Scotland
**** Orkney
***Nature Reserves
**** Dungeness
** South African Forums
*** Botswana
*** Provinces
**** Northern Cape
*** Biomes
**** Succulent Karoo

Any idea how we can restore this? Or can only the site adminstators do this?
The problem is that the old site really requires 3 levels:

  • categories
    ** subcategories
    *** topics

The old ZA structure was (this includes the title and header):

  • MAIN
    ** Dictionary Errors, omissions, suggestions. The dictionary drives the taxonomy
    ** Ideas for future iSpot developments To explore ideas for future developments that would benefit iSpot users in southern Africa.
    ** FAQ Frequently asked questions
    ** Feedback Tell us what you think here
    ** Creative Commons and copyright issues It has been suggested that perhaps iSpot should be a creative commons site. What do you think?
    ** Keys Electronic Keys & ID tools
    ** Map Filter A powerful way to access observations in Map Form.
    ** Newsworthy Items Things worthy as news!
    ** Observation of the Month Nominations for best Obs & Pics
    ** Progress Statistics updated weekly
    ** Quiz Take Part in our new Quiz
    ** Species interactions Webs of life
    ** Species Surfer Surf Species on iSpot
    ** Tracks signs and scats interested in scatology or tracking?
    ** WANTED Data, information & pictures
    ** Cellphone Apps iSpot cellphone App
    ** Equipment and software >Getting and processing observations
    ** Did you know? >Useful and fascinating information
    ** Experts Experts" please read this!
    ** Links Links to associated societies and schemes
    ** Family and Topic Leader Pages Banner pages for Search and Tag topics
    ** Software Issues Issues relating to problems with iSpot software and forms.
  • GROUPS
    ** Amphibians and Reptiles
    ** Birds
    ** Fish
    ** Fungi and Lichens
    ** Invertebrates
    ** Mammals
    ** Other organisms
    ** Plants
  • COMMUNITIES
    ** Aliens Anything about Invasive Aliens
    ** Bioblitzes
    ** Climate Change Recording climate change observations
    ** Threatened Red List Taxa Threatened Species Issues
    ** Botswana
    ** Cape Peninsula For Peninsula-wide information
    ** Eastern Cape
    ** Free State
    ** Gauteng
    ** Kalahari
    ** Knersvlakte & Hantam Featuring conservation and management of this special area
    ** Kogelberg From the core of the Cape Flora
    ** KwaZulu-Natal
    ** Lesotho
    ** Marine Marine organisms & the Sea
    ** Mozambique
    ** Mpumalanga Forum for Mpumalanga region
    ** Namibia
    ** Southern Cape Garden Route and surrounds
    ** Swaziland
    ** West Coast centred on WC NP & Biosphere R
    ** Wetlands destruction conservation & issues
    ** Zimbabwe
    ** Competitions and Challenges
    ** CREW Information about CREW
    ** Reference Books, website & stuff

It would be nice to get it back. I would even volunteer to repopulate it with our old pages: there was tons of useful data there for identification, using the site and for access to other links.

Sorry: if we are to have community forums, it would have to be four levels!

I wonder what the real reason is that they dumped the fora on iSPot and moved here?

Not Totally Worthless…if you are subscribed fully (Tracking) in notifications the mere addition of @dejay (for example!) will send an email to you - I find!
But you need to be fully subscribed meaning you will get a lot of email (I have found!)
M[quote=“dejayM, post:8, topic:146, full:true”]
Thank but @Joe_Fogey and @Tony_Rebelo does nothing - looks pretty impressive Worthless?
[/quote]

China Shop

Yes, notice that @MikeD has closed a Thread** and linked it to another. But this needs GREAT consideration and some study before producing a Forum Tree that might need a long Index. Certainly the idea of Overview/Level/Categories/Subjects/Thread is worth considering but I think we might need external advice before going into the China Shop
** https://forum.ispotnature.org/t/welcome-to-ispot-forums/8/11

Having looked around discourse.org, it looks as if it should be relatively easy to get the old forums over. There’s an import script for Drupal, so the biggest obstacle would be setting up a sandboxed system to do a dry run to make sure that there aren’t unforeseen problems. On the other hand the OU have been told that it would prohibitively expensive.

Categories and subcategories can be set up by administrators. (There’s 4 levels of trust for users - see the badges. But as far as I can tell - which is not very far - none of them allow setting up categories and subcategories.) If there is a record of what the categories and subcategories on the old system were it should be possible to set them up in an hour or so.

Getting an active forum (the old UK forums, at least, had died) is a different and more difficult problem.

topics = threads (such as this one)

Do you think there is a possibility that the discourse layout with the long list of categories might still work to get people using the forums since there will almost always be some activity to see even if it is not in their specific area of interest. Most people using ispot have a similar interest on one level e.g. interest in wildlife so even if there has not been a response to your posting on Proteas there might still be an interesting item on polar bears that has just come in and which you will see on this system but you are unlikely to have seen on the Drupal system.
On the other hand if you set the system to only show a very restrictive list of categories then you could still miss posts in other areas.

One other thing recommended on discourse.org is NOT to have a long list of categories but perhaps this applies to the more general social network sites that it has been used in.

I really think we need to wait. This forum is currently more a vehicle for us ‘oldies’ to vent our wrath. A new one (which WILL be needed) should be here to guide and help the newer generation find out out how to set Changes Filters or which books to buy - sort of thing.
Importing the old system here will probably make a MESS
@miked perhaps you could add a big Category Banner to suggest that a new Forum Structure will begin after Changes and Track have been reinstated. (ever hopeful)

To be honest to old UK forums were not that active either. I suspect in part that is because they were not adding much value to the vast array of wildlife discussion forums that already exist for the UK, whereas the iSpot site itself brought something nowhere else had. So from my point of view I don’t see discussion forum as a priority, if you’ve got a fixed pot of resource to use on developing iSpot spend it on the core site (restoring the Changes function being the first priority) rather than here.

Of course I appreciate other countries may not have the established natural history community (and online spinoffs) that we have in the UK so it may be that other users feel that more of the limited resource should be dedicated to these forums (at the expense of the core site).

So what you are saying is that as resources becoming limited iSpot should shed off components that are expensive and become less functional around core UK needs.

Fair enough: but then why did iSpot come cap in hand with many promises to many countries, of which southern Africa, Chile and Hong Kong responded, only now to be sidelined and declared irrelevant?