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Our future

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default Our future

Post by Dandelion on 8th November 2014, 5:28 pm

I was going to all this 'The future of the forum', but as the Forum is us, I've called it 'our future'. I've PM'd the people who use the forum most, but for anyone who is just dropping in, this is the situation.
I have been caretaking as acting moderator of the Forum since Adrian became a dad, and needed some time and space. Adrian's other half has been paying for the domain name, the renewal of which is due. They want to know what we want to do as a group. He said 'Is there an interest, or should we let it lapse? It's only $15, and we're happy to transfer the domain over to someone or would members be interested in contributing to the renewal fee?'

It would be good and useful to have a bit of a discussion about what we would like to do.

To state my own position - I would be happy to mastermind a facebook group, but I don't really have the time to do anything more time consuming as family commitments have recently increased. I would value some way of keeping in touch though, as I love to hear what people have been doing and making.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by freebird on 8th November 2014, 7:09 pm

I would be so sorry to see the forum go, but realistically, there is probably not much point in continuing in its present form.

I have no idea how one attracts new, like-minded members. I found the forum whilst searching for information on drying chillies. Trouble is the lack of activity most likely puts people off, which is of course self perpetuating.

Like you Dandelion, I would really like to keep in touch with those that do post here regularly. Chilli Head very computer savvy, so maybe he will have some suggestion on how that might be done.

Those are my immediate thoughts, but if I come up with anything else, I will add to them.
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Post by Chilli-head on 9th November 2014, 9:52 pm

I have thought quite a lot about this.  I've not been in from the start of HML, but nearly.  It has been a great place, but only matter of months from the forum being created, Adrian began badgering his mods to do more to encorage participation outside the tea room.

I have tried all I can think of.  I've tried to post as much about ""doing" as I can.  I'm sure the other mods have too. Some lovely new members have joined, but more have drifted away.  I think it is time for a change, but we must be careful to decide what to do.

To my mind, HML has a number of problems.  It has a theme, but quite a wide one without a clear focus.  It has few feeds in from the outside to make it easy to find - Google is a fickle friend - once hits fall and you no longer make the first page of search results, the slope is slippery.  Finally, forums in general are not so popular as they once were.

Although the costs of maintaining the current HML are minimal (I assume the $15 is for a year, about the going rate), I do think Dandelion's idea of a FB group might be worth investgating.  No costs, and another route for people to find us - the old HML facebook page brought a lot of new members, but only for a look before they went back to FB.  Perhaps they might participate more in a FB group.  I think we should improve focus by trimming down the scope to the topics that interest us (if we can agree !).  

I would like to see a more vibrant group with more members, I would be happy to welcome any current members, and welcome back some who I wish were still here, and hope for new ones too

But what would you like to see ?
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Post by freebird on 10th November 2014, 8:55 am

I've never used FaceBook, so can't comment on whether it would be a good way forward. I'd be happy to participate if that is the way we go.

Since I've been a member, the forum members have seemed to fall roughly into two camps - those that do 'homemade' as crafts, and those that do 'homemade' as a life choice, including stock keeping. I've always enjoyed this diversity, although it could be hard for an outsider to see any connection between knitting and killing pigs! Although we have so few members left, those we do have still reach the far edges of our subject matter so I'm not sure how we could pare the topics down without excluding someone.

What would I like to see? Well, I guess a group of like-minded people who care about sustainable living, in whichever way they choose to do it. That's what it is all about for me. It's not just about the making - going out and buying loads of stuff, just so that you can have a 'homemade' something defeats the object in my view, adding to consumerism and waste. My 'homemade-ness' is much more of a make-do-and-mend type.

That's enough from me. Hope others will chip in too.
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Post by Dandelion on 11th November 2014, 10:09 pm

It's a very obvious thing to say (but that's never stopped me before...). but our wide parameters have been set by the individual interests of those who post on the forum most. So when I joined, there was a lot about raising animals for meat, and curing the meat, which those of us who are now on the forum don't discuss so much. So the parameters have constantly changed over the years - we have been interested in babies, depression, politics, caring for the elderly all from the point of view of sustainability and being creative. A lot of topics go 'cold', but the thread is still there to be accessed (recipes, brewing advice for instance) Whichever way we go, we need to be flexible so that we can talk about whatever comes up - the tea room is probably the most active area of the forum, I think because we can say whatever we need to, just as you would be able to do among friends.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head on 11th November 2014, 11:28 pm

True. I guess "Homemade life" as Adrian began it was in the context of trying to live a simpler, more sustainable life with their move to the backwoods of Canada. Perhaps it is worth looking at this post:

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Another idea I recall, and I think if could have come from Billy, was that the time for hoping to save the planet by changing lightbulbs or making your own hand cream was probably past, and that looking to self reliance as a way of reducing the impact of the now inevitable climate change etc was a better bet.

Now much as I love the idea of self reliance, not many people can or want to embrace it fully. So I guess we would welcome a range related topics.

I've been looking at FB though, and I'm now less convinced that FB groups do what we want. It all seems very superficial and short lived; it is all about the most recent posts, without any structure or way of finding old posts on interesting topics. So maybe an adequate replacement for the tea room, but not so good for things like the food and drink section. And then there is the issue of public/private groups - on the forum some areas are private, but most public. Useful, because you need most posts to be visible if you want to interest newcomers, but it is still nice to have members only topics.

Still pondering ...

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Post by freebird on 12th November 2014, 7:59 am

I do belong to a small gardening forum which is apparently a free one. I don't know what it's limitations are compared to one that is paid for, although I don't think there are any 'private' areas. I can find out more, if it is of any interest.
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Post by Adrian on 12th November 2014, 5:03 pm

Hey guys
I just wanted to pop in and add my 2 cents.
I sadly feel that the days of fora are over, they were great, but social media moves faster and even though it cannot act as a knowledge base the way forum threads can, it has won.

I had envisioned turning this into an ecommerce site for hand makers and a wiki of skills and experiences, but my own life took over and the demands of being a new parent and running what is now a successful business, meant that my time was limited and precious and there was none left for this forum.

If we stop paying for the domain name, the forum address will simply revert to a forumotion one, thats it, it will continue - what you chose to do with it is up to you - I leave it in your hands.

A

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Post by Jaded Green on 12th November 2014, 5:35 pm

I'm sorry to be slow responding to this, I'm a bit late on parade for a lot of things at present.

I would be sorry to see this forum go as I do enjoy the contact with those of us who are still here. I am not on Facebook and do not plan to join.

We seem to have lost a few members who were stalwart posters. some have gone altogether and others have drifted back to the Green Living forum from where many of us came.

Certainly a lot of the posts these days are more social, but that is not a criticism, the online friendship is important.
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Post by Ploshkin on 13th November 2014, 2:39 pm

Not having been on this forum for very long I'm not really aware of its evolution to the current state.
I can't really comment on Facebook either as I don't do it & never had any desire to do so as it seems to be one of those things that tries to invade your life & make assumptions about what you like / don't like, should be doing etc.  I hadn't thought about social media taking over from forums, perhaps that has come about because so many people access things via a phone these days rather than sit at a computer so their input is more instant & therefore briefer. Any forums I've dabbled in have covered a specific area like beekeeping, poultry or gardening and most new posters join to ask for advice or information (& they're very useful for searching old threads for answers to questions) there always seems to be just a small core of posters who stick around for a more social experience.  One that does spring to mind that covers wide ranging topics like HML is 'The Accidental Smallholder' but the very title would attract the people it is aimed at.
One of the things I have liked on this forum is seeing things that I wouldn't necessarily do myself - I've enjoyed seeing Chilli Head's wood projects & learning about the techniques he has used.  It's not something I would ever contemplate doing but I love to see someone else's talent and skill.  If the forum was too specific in subject matter that would be lost.
I haven't really said anything useful - just my ramblings.  I'm afraid I'm not much use with anything computery, I treat it the same as the washing machine - switch it on, use it to do what I want to do and switch off.  I don't expect to have to understand how it works or work out why it is not doing what it should.
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Post by Dandelion on 16th November 2014, 3:51 pm

Have emailed Adrian to ask for some clarification on the domain/forum situation as it's an area I'm quite lost in. I agree with what CH says about the forum allowing us to look back at previous posts and get information - I've never found the 'search' facility very helpful sadly, as this would make it even better. I also hear what people are saying about Facebook - it seems to be something (like Marmite) which you either love or hate, and no-one should be forced to join obviously.
Maybe when I get some more information/understanding the thing to do would be to look at the various options and see where our opinions broadly lie.

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head on 16th November 2014, 8:18 pm

I think we can go in one of two ways.

We can let the domain name lapse, but keep the forum and access it through the forumotion address. This is a free option, but it will make the forum even harder to find through google. OK if we just want to keep it as our private chat room.

If we want more than that, we should probably renew the domain name, one of us should take over charge of it from Adrian. We could re-instate a facebook page, but mainly as a signpost to make the forum easier for people to find, etc. Perhaps Adrian is right, and the age of the forum is over, or perhaps it is worth one last shot ?
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Post by Dandelion on 20th November 2014, 9:43 pm

OK - big question. Is there anyone who would like to take charge of the domain name from Adrian?

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Mike on 25th November 2014, 2:24 am

Well maybe I shouldn't say anything because I have become an infrequent viewer, commensurate with the decreased posting volume (it's just chance that I haven't commented for a while, I do look)

But if it went to "social media" I'd not look at all. None of those are usable for those of us lacking bandwidth at home. Penny tries to keep up with her Facebook, but that's sitting by the computer and reading a book, etc. while waiting for each page to come up (several minutes).

Mind you, these days many of the websites we visit (say to order things) we visit only when in town at the library, etc. They simply don't work at 28.8 KBaud. In some cases that's not just too slow but web designers not competent to do things like detect a slow connection and adjust timeouts (or to be fair, perhaps ordered by the bosses, "don't bother -- we aren't interested in customers who don't live in the more urban areas where there is cable"

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Post by Dandelion on 25th November 2014, 9:59 pm

I don't think you're alone, Mike - I don't think the social media idea has been popular for all kinds of reasons. Keep watching this space...

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head on 29th November 2014, 9:57 am

A quick note.   I am hoping to get the domain name sorted,  but if I don't manage it,  the forum won't disappear completely ..if you have problems getting on after 3rd December, you need to go to

"handmadelife.forumotion.net"

(The quotes are just to stop the forum software messing with it) Which will get you to the same place as forum.homemadelife.com
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Post by Dandelion on 29th November 2014, 4:33 pm

Thanks for the work you're doing on this CH - I've written the new address down (because I suddenly realised that if I can't access the forum, I won't be able to find the address). See? Firing on all cylinders today...

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by freebird on 29th November 2014, 6:12 pm

Thanks for that CH. I presume anyone who doesn't see your post before 3rd December won't be able to access the forum after then. Thinking in particular of GB, who is obviously pretty busy right now, but may want to come back at some point.
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Post by Chilli-head on 29th November 2014, 6:55 pm

I'll try to get it sorted seamlessly, but I'm relying on Adrian and his LSS to sort it out, and I'm afraid I dithered too lomg and left time a bit short. So if there is a glitch, it's my fault.

If we don't get it sorted, I thimk that if we send a pm, the notification email will probably have a working link in it. So hopefully we won't leave anyone behind. !
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Post by Dandelion on 30th November 2014, 3:36 pm

I think there's some way I can email everyone. Will investigate, because if I can do this it'll be belt and braces.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Adrian on 30th November 2014, 8:11 pm

Just a heads up
the long suffering spouse is renewing the domain and CH and LSS will liaise about the transfer to CH

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Post by Jaded Green on 30th November 2014, 9:28 pm

Thank you to everyone beavering away to keep this lovely forum going.
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Post by Chilli-head on 2nd December 2014, 12:13 pm

You can relax now. Domain name renewed (thanks to LSS) for another year. Hopefully we will get
the registration transferred so that it will be my problem from now on !
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Post by freebird on 2nd December 2014, 4:45 pm

Thank you CH and all those involved. Now we just need to see if we can drum up some support.
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Post by Chilli-head on 2nd December 2014, 4:59 pm

Thanks FB. Actually, there is a bit more to do yet of a practical sort, Adrian's LSS is being a great help - the good news is one of us understands how this all works, but the bad news is it is not me ! (yet).

But drumming up support is definitely something we will need to address soon. I have some ideas, though any other thoughts will be welcome.
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