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UER Forum > Archived Forum Announcements > Forum Read States Change (those little circles) (Viewed 3006 times)
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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 40 on 12/6/2010 8:11 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I was intially disgruntled with the read state changes upon seeing the notification this morning, but I've thought about it and have decided that Av has been successfully operating this site for about 8 years so he probably knows the best direction to take the site for the next 8 years.

I would be curious to see some stats on the number of donations now compared to the usual number per month. Not that it's my business, I'm just curious.

Personally, I'm still undecided. I have no problem with the idea of donations, but I'm not sure about donating an amount each month for the read state feature.

Now, a quick question:

If we were previously using the Advanced mode, have our old read states been deleted? Also, if you were to lapse in donating a few days between a month, would the read states be reset as soon as your donation period expires?

And a general question:

Is this the start of providing donating users with more advanced features or new functions on UER? I'd surely donate for some form of AvChat for smartphone platforms... I don't know how feasible that is from a programming standpoint but I bet it would be a popular feature.



Anyway... TL;DR - I got mad but then I decided I wasn't in any place to get mad.

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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 41 on 12/6/2010 8:16 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by kowalski
TL; but I did read.


I actually really like kowalski's view on this and I agree with him.



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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 42 on 12/6/2010 8:23 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by -MisfitStyle-
It blows my mind how often people think someone else's time and effort should be free.


Yeah - and it blows my mind when people completely discount the value of the posts on a forum and act like its only value is in the software written for it and money spent on hosting. Lots of mutual mind-blowing here, guy!

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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 43 on 12/6/2010 8:36 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by EatsTooMuchJam
You're right. I know absolutely nothing about profitability of websites and/or scaling therein. It has nothing to do with my daily job.


Yeah, because that's what I said.

I'm not going to debate the technical merits of your argument (you bring up a number of good points)


I don't claim that the posts on a forum have no value, you're putting words in my mouth.

People are also forgetting that $5/month gets you more than the old readstates system. It's in addition to the already-existing premium membership benefits.

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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 44 on 12/6/2010 8:54 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by -MisfitStyle-
Yeah, because that's what I said.


It's what you implied. You're suggesting that it's ludicrous to say that flickr is a profitable division of Yahoo!. Do you think Yahoo! continue to operate flickr out of the goodness of their hearts? Granted, Yahoo! don't usually have the greatest business acumen, but given that flickr was on the cusp of profitability when acquired, it's not at all unreasonable to think that flickr both provides its own operating budget and is profitable on top of that.


I don't claim that the posts on a forum have no value, you're putting words in my mouth.


Again, it was implied. You suggest that people should have no problem paying for a feature that used to be for free so that they can continue enjoying this site in the way to which they have become accustomed so that Av can turn a profit.
Bear in mind that this is after a history of him complaining about hosting fees, others offering to host for him for free, and him turning them down because he insists on control. There's nothing wrong with him wanting control of the forum - but that doesn't mean that everybody else should be obligated to pay.

My main point is that crippling usability of the site will result in decreased user interest and usage - that is, unless Av is hoping for the facebook effect where everybody hates things for a while and then just keeps using the hobbled system.


People are also forgetting that $5/month gets you more than the old readstates system. It's in addition to the already-existing premium membership benefits.


... benefits that, if people cared about them, they were already enjoying. I have never cared about any of the other premium benefits and if I had, I would have spent money on them already. If I spent money now, I wouldn't bother turning them on.

"The large print giveth and the small print taketh away."
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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 45 on 12/6/2010 9:03 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
So all we really need here is a system that costs nothing and that everyone can use in exactly the way they want, with no drawbacks or system resource cost?

Well that shouldn't be too hard.

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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 46 on 12/6/2010 9:09 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
It's what you implied. You're suggesting that it's ludicrous to say that flickr is a profitable division of Yahoo!. Do you think Yahoo! continue to operate flickr out of the goodness of their hearts? Granted, Yahoo! don't usually have the greatest business acumen, but given that flickr was on the cusp of profitability when acquired, it's not at all unreasonable to think that flickr both provides its own operating budget and is profitable on top of that.


No, I'm suggesting that it's ludicrous to compare UER and Flickr. One was/is profitable and was bought up by a large company. The other is offered (more or less) for free and is run by one guy and a team of volunteers.

My main point is that crippling usability of the site will result in decreased user interest and usage - that is, unless Av is hoping for the facebook effect where everybody hates things for a while and then just keeps using the hobbled system.


It's like complaining that you want more cheese on your free cheese pizza. I get why people are upset about the change, but I'm not really arguing about the price (or even Av's current plan). I'm arguing that enjoying the benefits of someone's time and effort -- for free -- is fine, but don't complain when they decide they need to make a change/charge for something. I've heard the whole "people will leave!" argument a million times. I'm sure you have too.

You aren't obligated to pay anything. If the new system upsets you and you don't want to pay for it, I don't really know what to tell you.

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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 47 on 12/6/2010 9:10 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by TurboZutek
So all we really need here is a system that costs nothing and that everyone can use in exactly the way they want, with no drawbacks or system resource cost?

Well that shouldn't be too hard.


I hate arguments like this. The web has made everyone think everything should be free forever.

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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 48 on 12/6/2010 9:16 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I'm going to respond to specific comments:


The new system is clunky, ineffective, and $5/month...


I disagree. I have given four options, each of which fits certain users a certain way. Most forums out there have a readstates system similar to one of these four options. They are only "ineffective" as compared to UER's "advanced" system.


There are a number of relatively simple ways to re-engineer a read state system...


I don't have days and days of time to dedicate to this site anymore, to come up with some kind of caching system or whatever. Even for one user, the amount of data being stored is immense. It is impractical for a single, combined web/DB server to handle that much data. I'm not a DBA, and there is probably a better way to do it, but I don't know it. If someone wants to volunteer their time coding and implementing a new system that they guarantee is faster, I wouldn't be against it. Send me a message.


Otherwise, you risk (and probably will discover) that your traffic problems resolve themselves a different way in that fewer people will use your forum.


I highly doubt it. New users won't know what they are missing, and many older users don't like the 'advanced' readstates system anyway. People will get used to it.


36,000 accounts, and let's say that 1/4 of these are active - so 9,000 active accounts.

Picking a random low number, let's say that 2% of these are willing to pony up five bucks a month for their readstates. I'd bet 180 people care enough.


You can find all sorts of interesting statistics about UER at www.uer.ca/forum_stats.asp . But suffice to say that less than 0.1% of UER's current members are premium members. I highly doubt this initiative will bring in lots of money, but if it does, it might be enough to buy a new server. The monthly "donation drive", after all, only covers the hosting costs. I recently had to buy a new power supply for the server ($300) and that money came out of my pocket.


and I do think that $60/year is pretty steep for the privilege of being able to visually separate what you have read and cared about from what you haven't.


I would not be averse to changing the fee structure for Premium membership -- maybe $5 gets you 60 days instead of 30, or maybe make it $2.50. I'd prefer the higher amount for more time since PayPal eats too much of the money otherwise.


As an alternative, another suggestion could very well be to have an ad-supported variant of uer.ca using non-obtrusive google adsense-type ads tucked discretely away into a not-often-used corner of the screen. I could tolerate that.


I hate internet ads, and I use an adblocker on my browser. I feel it would be hypocritical to place ads on UER. So, you'll never find one on UER as long as I continue to receive enough donations to cover server costs. I don't feel it is fair to subject all users to ads to pay for the small percentage of people who want Advanced Readstates.


If we were previously using the Advanced mode, have our old read states been deleted? Also, if you were to lapse in donating a few days between a month, would the read states be reset as soon as your donation period expires?


No, they haven't. I will probably allow a 30-day grace period during which your readstates will not be deleted. That means that all of the readstates for all users are still there now, and the real speed increases won't be felt until 30 days from now, when all of that cruft is deleted from the database.


Is this the start of providing donating users with more advanced features or new functions on UER? I'd surely donate for some form of AvChat for smartphone platforms... I don't know how feasible that is from a programming standpoint but I bet it would be a popular feature.


No it isn't -- Premium Membership has been around for years, and gives you benefits such as WatchWords, bio in your profile, a linkable profile pic, and a few other small features.

I don't really have the time to work on a smartphone chat client. But if anyone wants to develop one, I will gladly share the AvChat protocol data.


...others offering to host for him for free, and him turning them down because he insists on control. There's nothing wrong with him wanting control of the forum - but that doesn't mean that everybody else should be obligated to pay.


I don't think wanting to control my own site is an unreasonable request. Also, none of the offers of free hosting were the correct type of hosting (usually they were the wrong OS or the wrong amount of B/W, or some kind of murky deal involving a server in a basement somewhere)

Nobody is obligated to pay. Paying merely gets you a few bonuses. None of the content on this site is (or will ever be) hidden behind a paywall. In an earlier post, you pointed out that the content has value -- I agree, and I'm not charging to access the content.


Thanks for your honest comments, everyone. So far, the best idea I've heard is adding more value to Premium Membership by reducing the cost to time ratio. So the question I put to Kowalski, ETMJ, Ian, et. al, is: Since $5 a month is too steep, what would you consider fair and reasonable?

Thanks,
-av


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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 49 on 12/6/2010 9:50 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Avatar-X
I'm going to respond to specific comments:

I disagree. I have given four options, each of which fits certain users a certain way. Most forums out there have a readstates system similar to one of these four options. They are only "ineffective" as compared to UER's "advanced" system.


I agree that they are similar to other pieces of forum software which exist in the world at large and that's precisely the problem. One of the main things which has separated uer from a phpbb is the nice read state system.


I don't have days and days of time to dedicate to this site anymore, to come up with some kind of caching system or whatever. Even for one user, the amount of data being stored is immense. It is impractical for a single, combined web/DB server to handle that much data. I'm not a DBA, and there is probably a better way to do it, but I don't know it. If someone wants to volunteer their time coding and implementing a new system that they guarantee is faster, I wouldn't be against it. Send me a message.


I might be willing to take a crack at this - what language are you using for codebehind in your asp? I'm OK with VB and pretty good with C#. I would also agree that with every page view making several real-time db requests that there is probably no way to scale up your site - even adding a second server would provide only a modest increase in responsiveness.


I highly doubt it. New users won't know what they are missing, and many older users don't like the 'advanced' readstates system anyway. People will get used to it.


Ah, the facebook effect.


I hate internet ads, and I use an adblocker on my browser. I feel it would be hypocritical to place ads on UER. So, you'll never find one on UER as long as I continue to receive enough donations to cover server costs. I don't feel it is fair to subject all users to ads to pay for the small percentage of people who want Advanced Readstates.


I was thinking of a structure more like that used by livejournal for a while (and maybe still used) in which you can opt to have premium member status, but with the fee of having to view ads. I tend to hate them too, but google text ads are not completely offensive to me and if the ads are opt-in, they shouldn't be offensive to the people viewing them either.


I don't really have the time to work on a smartphone chat client. But if anyone wants to develop one, I will gladly share the AvChat protocol data.


That might be fun too!


I don't think wanting to control my own site is an unreasonable request. Also, none of the offers of free hosting were the correct type of hosting (usually they were the wrong OS or the wrong amount of B/W, or some kind of murky deal involving a server in a basement somewhere)


Just to be clear, I already said that I didn't think your desire to control your server was unreasonable. It isn't.
Though as a thought, I wonder what it would cost to host uer.ca on Azure... probably a lot given the db size, but it's also a thought.


Thanks for your honest comments, everyone. So far, the best idea I've heard is adding more value to Premium Membership by reducing the cost to time ratio. So the question I put to Kowalski, ETMJ, Ian, et. al, is: Since $5 a month is too steep, what would you consider fair and reasonable?


If it were $10/year, I would consider this a non-issue and pay.

That's right. I would pay.

"The large print giveth and the small print taketh away."
-Tom Waits
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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 50 on 12/6/2010 9:53 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I think $5-10 / year is a reasonable price for read states on the forums. Anything more than that, or any more frequent demand for payment just isn't going to interest me. There's a lot of things I'd like to be spending $20-60 on, and UER is well down that list. But for $5-10, I'd probably do it. I'm not interested in the other perks of premium membership, but I would like the effective read states.

I think there may be a far more limited (but more dedicated) market for read states on the LDB, and if you separate those two services you could probably get away with charging a lot more for those LDB privileges from people who really care about it.

---

Or you could simply implement a Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) model. I think you've hit on something with the costs of Paypal, and you'd probably much rather get more from users in a single payment once a year, than a small amount every month when Paypal is going to take 10% or whatever.

So with PWYC, you could make read states available for an annual fee, say the minimum payment is $5 but users can pay you whatever beyond that they'd like to pay and think it's worth, and you'll give full premium membership for x number of months to those who contribute beyond the minimum (where the number of months is for each $5 they paid beyond the minimum).

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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 51 on 12/6/2010 10:11 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 

So with PWYC, you could make read states available for an annual fee, say the minimum payment is $5 but users can pay you whatever beyond that they'd like to pay and think it's worth, and you'll give full premium membership for x number of months to those who contribute beyond the minimum (where the number of months is for each $5 they paid beyond the minimum).


So, hold on -- this sounds like you are saying $5 should be the minimum and would get you one month, and $10 gets you 2 months, $15 three months... how is this different from what the system costs now?

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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 52 on 12/6/2010 10:12 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I've created a private board where I will be posting some more details about what makes the readstates system so "advanced" and why it is slow, for any DB-heads that want to stick their fingers into it.

http://www.uer.ca/...id=1&catid=1000589



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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 53 on 12/6/2010 10:51 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I read Av's first message and his replies so forgive me if I missed a bit and am repeating points already made.

I think part of the problem with the fee increase is that there are rumours “out there” about the amount of profit UER makes.

As UER was up until now, once you raised enough $$$ you’d stop collecting. Maybe if you get ahead you could have something like, "All premium members get the next month (or 3 months or whatever) free".

You might be able to increase the prices of your products by a few cents to subsidise your website overheads.

I think it has been suggested, but maybe if you made it $10 a year then more people may pay the fee which would spread the costs across more people (share the burden).

You could become a location scout and sell info

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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 54 on 12/6/2010 11:37 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I like read states and this website so I will probably pay. I'm just wondering if we can get something set up where I can just pay once annually and have them active for a whole year instead of having to donate once a month. What do you say Av? I don't need another monthly bill regardless of how small.

Also maybe a discount for prepaying the whole year?

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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 55 on 12/6/2010 11:38 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Avatar-X
So, hold on -- this sounds like you are saying $5 should be the minimum and would get you one month, and $10 gets you 2 months, $15 three months... how is this different from what the system costs now?

Sorry I wasn't clear.

The PWYC idea I suggested would be:

Pay What You Choose for 1 Year of Advanced Read States (Minimum $5): ____
For each additional $5 you pay, you will receive 1 month of Premium Membership




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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 56 on 12/6/2010 11:50 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I haven't really looked at the HTML5 spec (and the related specs), but I understand there's supposed to be local datastores as part of it. I wonder if this could be implemented through them. That way the storage costs would be offloaded to each user. This being entirely client-side, I might try to implement this if I have time over christmas- could just tack it on as a greasemonkey script or chrome extension.

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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 57 on 12/7/2010 12:30 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
i sent the $5.

we fear change.


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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 58 on 12/7/2010 12:32 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by makman
I haven't really looked at the HTML5 spec (and the related specs), but I understand there's supposed to be local datastores as part of it. I wonder if this could be implemented through them. That way the storage costs would be offloaded to each user. This being entirely client-side, I might try to implement this if I have time over christmas- could just tack it on as a greasemonkey script or chrome extension.


That would mean every time you switch systems, your read states would be erased. For those of us who use at least 4 systems on a daily basis, that would be awful.

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Re: Forum Read States Change (those little circles)
<Reply # 59 on 12/7/2010 12:34 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I don't know if it's supposed to work this way, but read states haven't updated for me in the past 2 days. Something seems broken here.

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UER Forum > Archived Forum Announcements > Forum Read States Change (those little circles) (Viewed 3006 times)
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