Forum Membership two year evaluation

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Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  brian on Sun Jan 31, 2016 4:38 pm

We are coming up to the end of our second year of having a subscription fee to access to the full forum and I think its time for an evaluation of how it has gone since its introduction before the next run of payments begin, for most users, next month.

The reason it was introduced was to raise funds for the forum, and to add a layer of protection so people collections were not completely open to the public.

We currently have a few hundred euros/pounds in the account so need ideas on what to use that for. Any ideas please mention them in your comments. Forum running costs are very small, something Im willing to pay out myself as they are not worth collecting money over so that leaves the entire fund to be put towards something.

We do still get a new registrations each month but I feel they register, see only two sections to comment in and dont come back. We are at a stage where we need some new blood posting on the forum and the membership being completely abolished, or opening up the forum a lot more may help that.

So im asking for some feed back on 2 topics.

1. Should we completely get rid of the membership fee and open up the entire forum to as it was. Or open up some more of the sections and keep only one or two behind the pay wall.

2. Ideas on what to do with the money that has already been gathered. Im getting uneasy with that amount of money sitting in a paypal account so it needs to be spent on something.

I have a few ideas on these two questions myself, but will hold off a few days as Id like to hear your opinions

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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  reeft1 on Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:18 pm

Not going to be much help, but im relaxed with whatever you decide Brian. Im just grateful that the forum exists and whatever is needed to be done to keep it going is fine im sure. Relaxed if you want to send the excess funds to a charity of your choice and appreciate as i know many do the role you play in the forum.

Best regards

Paul
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  Zeus on Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:52 pm

Open up all bar the forsale section I'd say.
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  Speedy on Sun Jan 31, 2016 6:09 pm

Maybe open it up a bit more but keep the Model Collections, New Arrivals, Models n Progress and For Sale sections hidden
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  newt5550 on Sun Jan 31, 2016 6:16 pm

Speedy wrote:Maybe open it up a bit more but keep the Model Collections, New Arrivals, Models n Progress and For Sale sections hidden

Agree with Peter on that part. As far as the money goes I ain't a clue but as Paul says maybe a charity.
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  Hampton Caught on Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:22 am

newt5550 wrote:
Speedy wrote:Maybe open it up a bit more but keep the Model Collections, New Arrivals, Models n Progress and For Sale sections hidden

Agree with Peter on that part. As far as the money goes I ain't a clue but as Paul says maybe a charity.

I also agree with Peter, seems the right balance to me.

As far as the funds are concerned, I'd like to have some more Forum flyers, please, as I'll be displaying at Race Retro and this year's British Rallycross Championship (including the Belgian rounds) this year and have very few left. sunny

Many thanks again, Brian. Whilst I'm not here as much as I was in the past, mostly due to being slef-employed now and working at a distance from home, which leaves me with much less free time than before, it's still excellent to come on here, see what's going on and have some banter with mates. Long may that continue! cheers

Cheers, Steve
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  brian on Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:17 pm

Hampton Caught wrote:
As far as the funds are concerned, I'd like to have some more Forum flyers, please, as I'll be displaying at Race Retro and this year's British Rallycross Championship (including the Belgian rounds) this year and have very few left.  sunny

Thanks Steve. That would be great.

I still have loads of the flyers left so can you PM me your address and ill post you over more

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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  jimb on Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:02 pm

Happy with Peter's proposal, sounds about right to me. Thank you Brian for all of your efforts in keeping this forum going. I am another who is not on here as much as I used to be due to balancing my time between work and caring for my mum and with the latter becoming more intensive there is little time left.

That is why this forum is always special to me, to see what's going on and enjoy the banter. I endorse Steve's comments - long may it continue !.
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  mconboy on Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:01 pm

I would also like to thank Brian for all his hard work and patience in running this forum. I know whatever happens it will be in the best interest of the forum.
It is a great community as I found out last year, the support I got was unexpected.
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  CDM on Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:07 pm

Echoing what otheres have said above - thank you Brian for managing the forumn in a proper manner. Without people like you who stand up to the plate, things dont happen.

As for what to do with any monies can i make a suggestion that it goes to your local air ambulance. We all have our own family charity but the air ambulance is used by everyone, and on the sport we all love.

Like Hampton Caught I have some of the DRM flyers. Although I have handed many out, I am not sure many have joined. All clubs have difficulty getting new members. If they want to join they will, but dont forget those that are already here.

Whether to open up the forum? Not sure, at the moment there is some control over what is said and more how its said. Personally I would leave it as it is and perhaps make it easier to join. Free membership for their first year?

Just my six penny worth...

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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  bmd on Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:51 am

much the same thoughts as above lads....like many ive not been on as much lately, again due to changing personal circumstances, as Brian and a couple of others know....atm i havent even got access to my collection or my tools and decals, but i still pop in almost daily to see whats going on....firstly, as said above, a huge thankyou to Brian for all your work and organisation over the last two years...very much appreciated!
re the fee, i wouldn't mind if one or two more sections were opened up, but would def not include the 'for sale' section..
re the current balance, no probs with it going to charity....
Brian, apart from the flyers, is there a possibility of advertising the forum in rally and/or model magazines or websites? if this is out of the question, sorry m8, i have no idea at all if this would incure too high costs...anyway, like most, i'm happy with whatever the forum as a whole decides...

cheers guys
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  brian on Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:45 pm

Forum basically runs itself with very little input behind the scenes, just enough to keep it ticking over. I think about 3 times since I took over running the place have I had to step in and close/delete threads due to disagreements etc so a credit to you all. We are all adults at the end of the day no matter how many 'toys' we have.

bmd wrote:
Brian, apart from the flyers, is there a possibility of advertising the forum in rally and/or model magazines or websites? if this is out of the question, sorry m8, i have no idea at all if this would incure too high costs...anyway, like most, i'm happy with whatever the forum as a whole decides...

Have something in mind about this, just have to give them a call tomorrow to see how much it will cost.

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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  brian on Wed Feb 03, 2016 4:19 pm

Ive been in touch with an advertiser and have got some costs. Its expensive but it should hit a market directly associated with rally models that will hopefully result in a more members joining up. However, as its so expensive, its not a decision I will be making on my own.

So tomorrow evening, between 8pm and 9pm, I will be temporarily opening up a new feature on the forum called a chatbox. That feature will allow us to chat in real time to discuss this as a group. Id like as many members as possible who can to be able to have their say on this since it is your money going into this. I am hoping by doing it this way, we can come to a decision tomorrow night instead of putting up a poll, and have some banter while we are at it

I will be sending out a mass PM later to all members for those that dont look in every day.

The chatbox will be located under the DRM logo, you wont miss it. Its all tested, working and ready to go

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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  143models.com on Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:35 pm

Brian well done on keeping it going
Maybe making it more open will bring in new blood
I will just go with the flow on whatever new ideas come along
And same goes for the funds accumulated.
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  Ted Creedon on Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:53 am

Firstly, let me concur with the thanks to Brian.  I think sometimes we forget that we have someone at the helm - what Brian considers 'very little input behind the scenes, just enough to keep it ticking over' may seem little to him but provides the likes of me, and others, with a damn good forum and contact with other good people who have the same illness as myself Very Happy Thanks, again, Brian.

TBH, I've never really though about what 'non-payers' get, when they look on site, and it may be a good idea to make more of the site available.  We must remember that there are many, many other free sites available, (just look at what's there on BookFace) but few can offer the service that we, as paying forum members, have the pleasure of in the realms of assistance, problem solving, selling, access to special builds, collections and even the odd bit of banter to keep us amused and abused!

I'm a firm believer of 'if it's not broken, don't fix it' but also very much open to change if it helps feeds our addiction.

As for the money that's there, I'm quite partial to a bottle of Jameson 12 Year Old Smile
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  bmd on Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:56 pm

lol ted!
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  David Napier on Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:58 pm

I'm another glad to see the forum continuing to exist, thanks Brian for you efforts to do this. I have to go out and may not be back in time for the open discussion and give I'm more of a lurker than comtributor please feel free to ignore my thoughts!

In my opinion this forum is too strict in what it gives to the casual visitor, without being registered and logged in you can see nothing, IMO this should be changed and let anyone see what is available to people who dont pay whether they are registered or not, most of the diehards on here came because of the forum that came before, we knew pretty well what we were signing up for. I know thats why I came and I also know that when I have came across limited access forums anywhere else I have moved on, why go through the whole registering with out some knowledge of what you are registering for?

I also think collections should be able to be open or restricted at the choice of the individual.

I really hope that the 'for sale' section is opened up freely, I cannot think of any sound reason to not, perhaps if it can be done have two for sale sections or something that gives paid users full access and the non payers ads once they become a week old or something, but really they more that the sellers can sell then the more that will be produced and the collector wins, smothering sale ads in an invisible section only makes sellers go else where. Its interesting the stance many have voiced on sales, I really would love to know their reasons, I know of a couple of forums where little other than the for sale is available with out registering/logging in!

I love how this place manages to keep peaceful, hopefully if changes are made the current balance can stay. Given that forums are increasingly being ignored by trolls in favour of more frequented places like FB/Twitter I'm confident all will be ok.

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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  brian on Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:58 pm

My own thoughts on opening up the forum are posted below.

While it might be an idea to have some topics open without having to register at all, the limits of the forum software mean its either all open all the time, or closed off and in control of who see what.

New Members - To remain open to all forum users
General Chat - To remain open to all forum users
Rally news and Events - To remain open to all forum users
Look What I Found - To be opened up to all forum users. This will allow all users to post things they find thus benefiting the paid members. More eyes out there mean more models for the rest of us
For Sale - To remain closed off. Members should have first dibs on anything other members have for sale. I know personally I much prefer to sell to people I know. If I buy from any member here, I know I can trust them to fulfill there side and post it correctly packed
Wanted - To be opened up to all forum users. Will help all users to find that model they are looking for
Model collections - To remain closed off. We all have valuable collections built up and while we may like to show it off to each other, Id rather not have just anybody able to see it and know whats in my house
New Arrivals - To remain closed off for the same reasons as above
Models in Progress - Not sure on this one. Would be helpful to have it open so anyone new to the hobby can see hows its things are built as part of an over model build
Tutorials - To be opened up to all users. Would be a great benifit for all to be opened.
Decals - To be opened up
Model building help/advice - To be opened up
Picture gallery/videos - To be opened up
Links - To be opened up

I think this will give far more to the general users while at the same time, still giving extra for the paid members. While a lot of sections would be free, the sections that would have to be paid for are still the best on the forum and the £3 fee is not a whole lot for that access

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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  Juha on Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:03 pm

brian wrote:Models in Progress - Not sure on this one. Would be helpful to have it open so anyone new to the hobby can see hows its things are built as part of an over model build
I'd open it up, I find it more interesting then just photos of built or finished models.
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  Sal on Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:31 pm

Am kind of in the same mind. I too have reservations about showing my collection off to all and sundry however feel that we need to encourage more posting rather than just from the same few members.

I'm hoping that there will be an increase in interest in rallying in general this that will filter down into collecting as the sport has been in the doldrums a bit in the UK for the last couple of years.

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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  newt5550 on Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:19 pm

Im happy with the suggestions. Just my view. Very Happy
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  bmd on Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:33 pm

like chris, i would be happy with these wee mods.....
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  reeft1 on Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:51 pm

I will go with the flow. Just call me Kofi Annan. Ive never really grasped the risk of how someone can see your collection and then locate your house from the forum and then steal it, but im very respectful of the fact that a lot of forum members feel that way, so despite it being our biggest advertising opportunity, im happy to keep that and "for sale" closed to non members and everything else open. Unless Brian there is some way to post an annonymous version of the collection section to draw additional interest?
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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  David Napier on Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:46 am

I'm aware that I'm different to the masses in my opinion here, but I really feel that if the 1st forum had the approach that the current one has then the group here would never have existed! This place has olst a number of high profil members, they aren't being replaced. Again all this is IMHO but I feel strongly that a continuing of the inward/protection thinking is ultimately self destructive for the health of the forum. This is the only forum I've ever had to pay to have access to, and I don't begrudge it but am aware that I knew what I was getting for my money before I paid while new members are not.

Would Brian and the other members consider two forsale section and let the sellers decide? Are sellers important? Personally I feel they are and that when they are doing well it is better for the hobby. Brians point of the safety of selling among who you know is very true.

I missed the discussion the other night and dont know what was said, but I'm surprised how little participation this thread has seen

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Re: Forum Membership two year evaluation

Post  brian on Sat Feb 06, 2016 6:51 pm

I had written out this reply and before posting, when I re-red the post, it came across as having a go at you David but its not meant in that manner at all, Im just trying to reply to each segment with my own views. I hope thats how you will read it.

While its true we have lost some high profile members, I know of only one that was as a result of the fees. The fees didnt just appear over night, there was a thread open about it for weeks before they were introduced but that member didnt contribute to that, so their objection wasnt known until they left. Peoples interests in the hobby come and go, its something that has really become noticable that when the economy crashed, the money that was there during the boom was gone. Most people simple cant afford to buy new models. Ive only been working part time hours for the last few years, where I can only afford to buy a couple of models per year for my own collection.

We also have to compete with several model groups on facebook. In this area the comunity spirit we have here can never be equalled on facebook. Where there it is very much of the moment, its been great to be able to see peoples builds progress, their skills develop and see their long term goals realised. Billys collection epitomises this. His early models to later models have seen a huge increase in the standard and quality of the finished work. This is something facebook struggles to achieve.  

Two for sale sections wont work in my opinion, it would be too messy. It either needs to be open or members only. Selling on the forum was never intended to used by traders to sell their products. It was for members to sell off unwanted models. Another problem with selling the last few years is the exchange rate euro:sterling. It is nearly impossible to buy anything from UK sellers as when its converted to euro its far cheaper to buy direct from europe.

Majority has always ruled on the forum. My thoughts on how we run the forum are exactly that, my thoughts. Im a member first and an admin second. If the majority wanted to completely scrap the membership and have a completely open forum then thats what will happen. Its the reason for opening the thread now before the next run of payments happen towards the end of the month.

reeft1 wrote:Unless Brian there is some way to post an annonymous version of the collection section to draw additional interest?

The chat we had the other night was about advertising in a magazine and whether the costs could be justified. In the end, while the magazine would have a very specific target market, the costs v how long the ad would in the magazine was too high. Ive been looking at facebook advertising instead where the amount spent can be controlled. If we were to set up a facebook page, the admin of that page could ad a picture of a build and link it back to forum to see more. Anonymously posted on facebook, and only members can see whos model it is when they link to the forum. Non members would still have to become members to view the remaining images. Of course, if they didnt have to become members (and pay the fee) they would see the all the forum right away, but then we would have no budget to advertise on facebook in the first place. Just a thought but its still something im looking into.

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