Author Topic: How to Get More People Involved?  (Read 12023 times)

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Offline Matthew Schenker

  • Posts: 2619
How to Get More People Involved?
« on: April 10, 2007, 03:19 PM »
Everyone,
All online forums have a similar issue: a relatively small number of members do the majority of the posting.  I have access to a dizzying array of statistics about traffic in this forum, and some of it gets me thinking...

Here are just a few relevant facts:
As of this writing, we have about 1,270 members, and about 5,700 total posts.

The top 20 posters account for about 2,900 (50%) of total posts.

The average visit to this forum lasts about 48 minutes.

Although 1,212 members (95%) have never posted, 1,150 members (91%) have visited the group about 10 times since joining.

This last figure makes me think that we are on the threshold of greater member involvement.  Members are coming to the forum, searching, reading posts, spending time here.

I hear from people who run other forums that our figures are actually better than average.  But still, how can we get even more people posting regularly?

We have a terrific subject, great members, and relevant discussions.  Now we just need to figure out how to involve more members in all that we do here.

What's your opinion?

Let's hear from everyone!

Stay in touch,
Matthew
« Last Edit: April 10, 2007, 05:14 PM by Matthew Schenker »
FOG Designer and Creator

Offline Daniel Platt

  • Posts: 28
Re: Hot to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2007, 04:13 PM »
Matthew,
As a regular visitor and infrequent poster, I can offer some of my thoughts:
  • First and foremost, you are correct, this is a great forum with a wealth of knowledge, welcoming atmosphere, engaging content, and a wide range of ideas.
  • I've never been a huge fan of "me too" posts. I'll take quality over quantity any day so I find myself resisting a post unless I think I'm providing value (which I may or may not be doing at the moment  ??? ).
  • Because I'm fairly new to Festool, I often don't have a great deal of insight to offer. This should cause me to post more questions. However, you've just plain made the site too user friendly. There have been several times that I was going to post a question, only to do a quick search and find that it has already been asked and answered.
But I'm interested in what other folks are thinking, so I'll keep hitting that 'Show unread posts since last visit.' link :)
Keep up the good work,
- Daniel

Offline Brent b

  • Posts: 89
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2007, 09:41 PM »
Hi Matthew,  I'm just shy.
There are vastly superior woodworkers than myself here, so I'm content to bask in their glow.
I guess I'm lazy too.

For more involvement I would either offer a reward, say a years supply of domino's; perhaps just a year supply of festool.  Or a punishment such as forum membership revocation, or festool membership revocation.  Anyhow, seems to work for my kid.

By the way, thank you for this great forum.  I hope festool is giving you some kickback cuz surely you, Mr Work, and a slew of you others (you know who you are) have cost me more than I'd like to admit.
Brent

i bought in
it's paid off
i'm going home

Offline Daviddubya

  • Posts: 704
  • Arizona, USA
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2007, 10:27 PM »
Matthew - I'm not sure there is a whole lot you can proactively do to get people involved in an on-line forum, other than what you are already doing.  This is a specialty forum, so the traffic here is limited to those people interested in our main topic - Festool.  Sawmill Creek is a good example of a well-run forum.  No off-topic posts except in the off-topic forum.  No profanity, out-of-hand arguments - everybody is expected to simply get along.  No advertising outside of the Classifieds forum.  Lots of moderation to keep things in line and people operating within the rules.  I think you already do most of those things - so just keep doing what you are doing, and people will participate as their interest is piqued.
David W. Falkenstein
in Cave Creek, AZ, USA

Offline Terry Fogarty

  • Posts: 402
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2007, 10:43 AM »
Not wanting to speak out of turn as a new member, but I know from other forums alot of new members feel a bit intimidated by posting thinking they are not experienced enough to add a useful contribution.

Encouraging ALL new and senior members to post a short reply to threads, even if its a "Howdy, great idea" or "well done," or "Hows the weather today" a bit of trivial banter etc will help them feel more part of the community.

Look at my domidovetail thread. It was quickly hijacked with some great banter and i loved it. I wasnt put of by it veering "off topic" one bit. The main topic was still there to discuss, but the thread was great fun. We got to learn something new and have a great laugh ;D. That thread for such a basic topic had 969 views and 39 replies. I wish all my posts degenerated into knowledge, fun and banter like that did :P

SMC is a good example of a stuck up board. I find it terribly dull and over moderated to the extream. Everyone is way to serious. Woodwork is both serious AND fun. A welcoming light hearted aproach where everyone is encouraged to participate no matter how small is how i would love to see this forum go  8)
« Last Edit: May 06, 2007, 10:47 AM by Tezzer »
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Offline Jeff Wright

  • Posts: 33
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2007, 10:59 AM »
Hesitant posters do themselves a disservice not being comfortable with their own lack of woodworking experience. I'm sure there is a tendency to appear knowledgeable and experienced when posting . . . one's ego often demands it. But if participants could be encouraged to be honest about their lack of knowledge/experience, it takes a lot of pressure off them as they are then free to approach the forum openly and ready and willing to both share what experiences they do have, and to risk asking those questions that many others no doubt have as well. While I did quite a bit of woodworking 1000 years ago, most of what I did was self-taught from reading books and owners' manuals. I'm sure a lot of bad habits were built back in the late 60's and 70's. Now, as a reborn woodworker as a retiree, I have the time (and patience) to practice my skills and come to forums such as this to learn as much as I can from others, regardless of their experience. In fact, I'm willing to bet that the new woodworker is able to offer a unique perspective often not possible for those with years of experience.

Perhaps an additional topic area labeled "Rookie Woodworker's Corner" could encourage those hesitant to post?

Offline Len C

  • Posts: 87
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2007, 03:23 PM »
 ;D

Thoughts from a lurker.   Since I am a dummy.

In response to this thread and another titles "WHY"  Jeff Wrights thoughts on a "Rookie Corner" is an excellent idea.

I would post more but, I am still learning. I don't want to post DUMB questions all the time.

I started experimenting with woodworking a few years ago after a series of layoffs. ( IT) I figured I needed something to do after my morning of sending out resumes.  After landing work again now the problem was time, I could afford the tools and discovered Festools. To me they were safer and, to me appreared to help my learning curve.   I have no other extravagant hobbies and find it too expensive and hot to golf in Arizona  >:(

I also find most of the woodworking shops locally to be fairly intolerant and impatient with rookie questions............so I don't bother.

A rookie corner would be a good idea. All dumb questions allowed. I would love to contribute more and hopefully work load wil ease a bit where I can spend more time on my hobby!.

Len

Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1907
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2007, 03:58 PM »
;D

Thoughts from a lurker.   Since I am a dummy.

In response to this thread and another titles "WHY"  Jeff Wrights thoughts on a "Rookie Corner" is an excellent idea.

I would post more but, I am still learning. I don't want to post DUMB questions all the time.

I started experimenting with woodworking a few years ago after a series of layoffs. ( IT) I figured I needed something to do after my morning of sending out resumes.  After landing work again now the problem was time, I could afford the tools and discovered Festools. To me they were safer and, to me appreared to help my learning curve.   I have no other extravagant hobbies and find it too expensive and hot to golf in Arizona  >:(

I also find most of the woodworking shops locally to be fairly intolerant and impatient with rookie questions............so I don't bother.

A rookie corner would be a good idea. All dumb questions allowed. I would love to contribute more and hopefully work load wil ease a bit where I can spend more time on my hobby!.

Len

Len,

Give yourself more credit. You are on a Festool forum which, by definition, proves you are not dumb.
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Jeff Wright

  • Posts: 33
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2007, 04:05 PM »
;D

Thoughts from a lurker.   Since I am a dummy.

In response to this thread and another titles "WHY"  Jeff Wrights thoughts on a "Rookie Corner" is an excellent idea.

I would post more but, I am still learning. I don't want to post DUMB questions all the time.

I started experimenting with woodworking a few years ago after a series of layoffs. ( IT) I figured I needed something to do after my morning of sending out resumes.  After landing work again now the problem was time, I could afford the tools and discovered Festools. To me they were safer and, to me appreared to help my learning curve.   I have no other extravagant hobbies and find it too expensive and hot to golf in Arizona  >:(

I also find most of the woodworking shops locally to be fairly intolerant and impatient with rookie questions............so I don't bother.

A rookie corner would be a good idea. All dumb questions allowed. I would love to contribute more and hopefully work load wil ease a bit where I can spend more time on my hobby!.

Len

Len,

Thanks for coming out . . . . of the wood bin! Ask away of the group. You'll see alot of questions from me that demonstrate my lack of knowledge, such as:

1] When should you glue an inset panel in the back of a cabinet or door, or
2] When do I use a router bushing instead of a bearing, or
3] How do I put a good edge on my hand tools (plane, chisels), or
4] How do I know when to use one chisel versus another, or
5] How do I put a finish on that doesn't end up looking like my grandson did the work, or
6] What's an impact driver versus a cordless drill.

NO question, in earnest, is dumb. Anyone who would respond/believe otherwise is still dealing with child/parent issues. ;-)

Jeff

Offline Rob McGilp

  • Posts: 430
  • Curmudgeon
    • Damn Fine Furniture
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2007, 05:50 PM »
Hi Len et al,

The dumbest question is the one you don't ask. I suggest that, like me, f you are unsure about info you see in a thread, just post and ask for clarification, or refer to amethod you might use and ask if this is similar or appropriate.
But it doesn't help when peope say, "most of us only want info from experienced ww's so the newbies should sit in the corner and watch with reverence for a while. Nothing like having your ego bashed. Personally I find it very, very rewarding to be able to help someone new to woodwork with their project.

Albie

Offline Fred West

  • Inactive Member
  • *
  • Posts: 652
  • Festool Junkie Banner :o)
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2007, 12:09 PM »
Matthew, Just as Daviddubya pointed out a well run forum like Saw Mill Creek or Wood Central can greatly enhance the experience and willingness of newer members to post. The lack of rudeness from expert woodworkers to novices and up can literally make or break a forum. The FOG is well on its way to becoming a great site.

On the other hand offering a free tool in exchange for posting would probably work even better.  ;) I will post my needs later.  ;D Fred
Domino,TS 75, Trion PS 300, RO 150, ETS 150/5, DTS 400, RS 400, LS 130, RS 2, Deltex 93, CT 33 CT 22, CT Midi & 3 MFT 1080s, OF 1400, C 12, RAS 115, MFK 700, MFT/3 :o)

Offline iggy07

  • Posts: 77
  • Hillsboro, Oregon (NW USA)
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2007, 01:29 PM »
Threads wandering off topic --

I have to disagree somewhat with Tezzer on this one. A recent thread began with a question of backing pads for auto detailing, and evolved into a discussion of Canadian vs U.S. availability of Festools, accessories, etc. This digression was interesting, and I even posted to it, but for several days there was no more discussion about the tools, techniques, and accessories required for using the Rotex for auto detailing.

If search routines are going to be helpful in the long run, they will be diluted when threads wander off onto other topics. As a relative newcomer I'm not too familiar with the policies, or the technical details of moving threads, or messages from one place to the other.

I do think the issue of Canadian dealers, availability is an important one (for those so afflicted), but such a discussion should have its own thread. This will make the topic more obvious to those who are concerned with the topic, and easier to find in the future.

ATTITUDE:

I belong to a boating site (http://www.c-brats.com/), and one of the members there pointed me towards Festools about a year ago.  C-Brats is a very informative site, with much the same look and feel as this one. The C-Brat site is older, bigger, and much more active, but the FOG site is heading in the same direction.

The only C-Brat 'rule' is "Just Be Nice", and this comment is posted on their home page. It is amazing how effective this simple rule can be. There have been a number of disagreements and controversies, as with all on-line forums, but this simple rule keeps everything under control. There have been very few 'flame wars', and those that have occurred have been very mild, and brief. Any discussions that drift toward attacks or insults aimed at a particular individual are quickly identified, and toned down, BY OTHER MEMBERS, very rarely by the moderators. These comments are almost always met with an apology, and everything goes back to normal. As I said, these issues are few and far between, and quite mild.

As with this site, there are some extremely experienced boat builders, world travelers, and so on, and many enthusiastic (and totally naive) newbies. Again, the interactions among these individuals could not be better.

In contrast, I have belonged to a Honda Goldwing site. You might expect a similar degree of respect, comaraderie, experience vs. newbie, but the flame wars at times have become very bitter and personal. A crying shame!

As described above, this site appears to maturing into one with much the same look and feel as the C-Brat site. Some experienced woodworkers may not be too interested, or may not have the time to help beginners, That's OK -- just stay out of the conversation and don't harass them! (Just an example; I don't see this as a problem.)

Keep up the good work! This site will take some time to develop and mature -- no need to rush, it will happen. It IS happening!

Ed Gallaher
TS-55 EQ; MFT-1080; Rotex RO 150 FEQ; CT-22-E

Offline jonny round boy

  • Posts: 3227
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2007, 01:34 PM »
I agree partially with Ed - a bit of OT wandering is fine, and does (IMHO) encourage others to join in. Having said that, there are a few posts at the moment (including the one Ed mentions) that have wandered so far off topic that they could easily, and without any detrimental effect, be separated into 2 posts.

Just my 2p's worth... ;D
Festoolian since February 2006

TS55R EBQ saw - CTL26 - CTL Mini - OF1400EBQ router - KS120 Kapex SCMS - ETS150/3 sander - RO90 sander - DF500 Domino - PDC18/4 drill - PSC420 jigsaw - OFK500 trimmer

Wish list (in no particular order!): Anything not listed above....

Offline Dave Ronyak

  • Posts: 2234
  • Flyin' from NE Ohio
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2007, 10:14 PM »
Threads wandering off topic --

As described above, this site appears to maturing into one with much the same look and feel as the C-Brat site. Some experienced woodworkers may not be too interested, or may not have the time to help beginners, That's OK -- just stay out of the conversation and don't harass them! (Just an example; I don't see this as a problem.)

Keep up the good work! This site will take some time to develop and mature -- no need to rush, it will happen. It IS happening!

Ed Gallaher

Ed,

I have participated in this site for quite some time, and have found that the true experts and professionals (I am neither) are very willing to give of their time to share their knowledge, as are nearly all others.  FOG has been the best woodworking [and somewhat beyond] resource I have ever found.  Several of these experts have even taken the time to respond directly to me on some issues which I wasn't certain of being a good fit on this site.  I just hope that I will occasionally have something to contribute to help someone else.

Dave R.
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline iggy07

  • Posts: 77
  • Hillsboro, Oregon (NW USA)
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2007, 10:43 PM »
I probably should not have used this example -- it was really an academic comment, not a reaction to anything I've seen happening here. Quite the contrary, I have seen many examples of experts helping beginners. My point is simply that we should all just stay out of the discussion if we don't have the time or inclination to answer constructively. I'm reacting more to bad examples I have seen on other sites, not this one, and not the C-Brats.

To increase participation, perhaps newcomers should be encouraged to post a brief introduction within perhaps a week of joining. Sometimes the reluctance is due to feeling 'dumb', but other times it is due to simple technical hurdle of learning how to post a message, or respond to a thread. A simple into would get newbies over this hurdle.

Ed
TS-55 EQ; MFT-1080; Rotex RO 150 FEQ; CT-22-E

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2644
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2007, 11:34 PM »
Hey Ed,

So glad any Festool related comments I may have made on the C-Brat side brought you here!  And YES, that site certainly is a nice place for information on those boats.  For me, the research on that board alone gave me the confidence to order a 22' site unseen.  Only a couple days after ordering did I go for a test ride.  The content along with the photo albums certainly do provide a wealth of information.

Didn't have this board when I researched Festool after seeing their ad.  But there were a couple  absolutely great articles on the products.  And, like the C-Dory, I purchased these products site unseen -- and still do, again and again.  Now, someone interested in these tools can particape here on the FOG prior to actually purchasing a Festool (or before buying another brand).

Anyway, I hope you enjoy your Festools as much as you must enjoy that little cruiser.

Corwin

Offline Remodelboy

  • Posts: 35
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2007, 11:41 AM »
I didn't read all of the messages, so forgive me if this has been covered, but:

Any chance of getting a link with festool USA or any of your favorite distributors (or maybe all the distributors that you can persuade?

Judging from the number of replies that suggested some level of intimidation from the more experienced woodworkers, how about adding a couple of categories - General woodworking and Woodworking 101.  I know that you can find these categories at other forums, but remember, they are forums with a higher membership.  I think that what makes a lot of members visit a particular forum is the idea that they can find help or give help.  By adding these categories, it would make the site more woodworker friendly instead of what might be percieved as an elitist chatfest by experienced and wealthy tool owners-ouch!

With these categories, you will get more people directed here after a browser search.  I think that even some of our existing members who might not have as much woodworking seniority would be willing to offer their general woodworking experiences or help a newby.

As shown by your poll, even in this forum, woodworkers don't come here with the whole Festool line in their shops.  That means that they are still using the more conventional techniques and tools for much of their woodworking.  I can continue offering support for these new categories, but I think the idea is that if you make this forum, less exclusive, then you will have less of the same 20 guys discussing the latest tool not available in the USA and more woodworkers asking how to glue up panels or shape an edge.  Obviously, this being a Festool site, Festool techniques will permeate the discussion, but the idea is to attract more woodworkers - isn't it?

Offline Matthew Schenker

  • Posts: 2619
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2007, 03:23 PM »
Roland,
You have put your finger on one of the basic elements of this forum, something I've thought about over and over again since this forum was born.  I'll lay out a few of my thoughts on this, and then leave it open for you and others to comment...

Here's the balance I'm always trying to strike:
  • Appeal to those who already own Festool tools by discussing techniques that allow owners to get even more from their Festool tools.  In other words, make the forum exclusive enough that it has its unique Festool-oriented goals.
  • Appeal to those who don't yet own Festool tools but who are potential owners.  In other words, have the forum be generally open, so it attracts all smart woodworkers.  We never know which of them may one day become Festool owners!
  • Appeal to those who have never even heard of Festool tools but while wandering through the Web come across these strange green tools, then end up here, and then...

Appealing to all these different audiences, and striking the right balance, is what this is all about.  I'm wary of any approach that would alienate our core audience by going too far in reaching an expanded general audience. 

I believe this kind of question is important for any forum, or any organization for that matter.

Honestly, I'm satisfied with this forum having slowly growing membership.  That way, we have time and space to make intelligent changes.

As always, I'm open to hearing suggestions from members on how to move forward.

Matthew
« Last Edit: September 23, 2007, 03:44 PM by Matthew Schenker »
FOG Designer and Creator

Offline PatR

  • Posts: 190
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2007, 06:07 PM »
Matthew

I believe that your forum is the most balanced, informative and fun tool forum on the net so I was rather bemused at Rolands post and very impressed with your reasoned response and bullet points which so clearly characterise and identify the ethos and direction of the forum.

I know that I am a relative newcomer to the FOG, live in a far away place where it rains a lot and have a Rottweiler as an apprentice but here is my two pennyworth:

This is a Festool forum, not a general woodwork forum, and though other brands do figure in many of the posts, I do not log on to read about PC or DeWalt or general woodworking stuff. They have their own forums and SMC, for example, has a very wide ranging portfolio of post headings covering a plethora of woodwork related subjects.

Plus it is a bonus to post about Festool products without being dammed and ridiculed for your choice of powertool or being accused of having more money than sense. I have neither as it is my childrens money I am (dis)gracefully spending and I am the first to admit to being absent having a pee when the  'Get your brains here!'  line was opened.

I was at first reluctant to join the FOG having experienced a less than welcoming tone from another US based forum when responding to a question. But I am glad I did as I have learned so much in a short space of time. I doff my hat in reverence to the many expert FOG contributors who have answered my inane questions with patience, eloquence and an inordinate degree of understanding. I have never felt demeaned, dismissed or written off as an intruder or a simpleton. On the contrary, I and the mutt have been generously welcomed and have been the recipients of sage advice and some bloody clever ideas.

I have searched high and low for the members of the  'elitist chatfest by experienced and wealthy tool owners'  without success. Ouch indeed!  What I did find though was a common thread, throughout the forum, of a sincere bunch of folks willing to ask questions and an equally sincere bunch ready to reply with an answer or a nudge in the general direction. ( I once worked for a 3 Star General called Direction - honest!).

As for the 'same 20 guys discussing the latest tool not available in the USA!' Well my gast was truly flabbered at that comment.  :o The FOG is an (increasingly) international and cosmopolitan site. Some tools are not available in the USA for marketing or UL reasons or have been pre-released in Europe or Australia. But that should not dissuade people from posting or from discussing. As a result of such discussions, Festool USA may decide to import that tool to meet demand or it may be that folk are just interested in the tool. I cannot fathom what is wrong with that and feel it to be a very blinkered and isolationist view on the exchange of information, tool development and techniques.

I believe that the balance that has been struck by Matthew is spot on and I fully concur with the three bullet points in his post. I hope that the flavour of the forum will remain whilst encouraging those who, like me, were initially reluctant to post. I thank those who have answered my questions, suffered my pathetic attempts at humor (note spelling) and have the good manners and breeding not to tell me to stick it where the sun don't shine.

Pat

Offline Dave Rudy

  • Posts: 771
  • Coloroda Front Range, in the lee of Pikes Peak
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2007, 09:36 AM »
Matthew,

All things considered I'd say you are "spot on".  The forum will continue to grow by itself because it is a friendly place to visit.  Although some of the less experienced crowd (among which I number myself) may be more cautious about entering the discussion, it is not because they are made fun of when they do.  Au contraire!   The people on this site (including some of the most outstanding professionals) are just willing to help and encourage whenever they can.

And the international flavor of this forum simply puts it over the top.  I have even commented to my wife and others who don't know woodworking what a pleasure it is at the stroke of a key to be able to chat with others from around the globe on subjects of mutual interest.  Wouldn't trade it!  I probably look forward to posts from my Australian and Welch buddies more than any others.

First thing I look forward to catching up on when I get to my computer is the FOG.  Don't change a thing.

(And keep those taunts of NAINA Festools coming, guys -- it's the news you love to hate!)

Dave

Offline Remodelboy

  • Posts: 35
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2007, 02:13 AM »
Sorry if I ruffled anyone's feathers.  Just to be clear, this is one of my favorite forums.  I too enjoy the tone and experience found in this forum.  I also enjoy the international participation and I personally participate in forums originating in other countries.  I can't wait to get my hands on a Kapex - one of those tools that I wouldn't have known to wait for (like the Domino) had it not been for the members of this forum.

My point was not to bait anyone, but to address the question posed by Matthew: "How to get more people involved?"  Matt appears to be perfectly capable of doing that all by himself, just by posing an innocent (albeit controversial) question.

Members and regular visitors to this forum would not consider the messages here to be evidence of "elitism".  It's when we get hammered in some other forums just for bringing up the subject of Festools that I think others sometimes have that perception of us.  I have personally seen hostile exchanges commence in other forums, when a Festool enthusiast offers up a "better" way to do things.  I believe that there are large numbers of people who will never buy into the idea that our $430 router does a 10x better job of rounding over an edge than their $43 router.  I think that it doesn't help matters when the Festool enthusiast defends his position by offering that the superior dust collection is worth the extra $387. 

Look at these excerpts from Matt's original message. 

Quote
The top 20 posters account for about 2,900 (50%) of total posts.

1,212 members (95%) have never posted

Do the other 95% have nothing to offer?  Are they afraid that they might get their toes stepped on? Are they afraid that they will be hammered for dissent?

I offered an idea that might generate more involvement - feel free to disagree.  I know that Matthew enjoys the free flow of ideas.  I just think that it couldn't hurt to have one or two more categories.  Right now, I only visit about 2 of the 17 categories that I just counted.  It's not like the extra traffic is going to get in the way of our discussion on large MFT ideas - you'll be able to avoid the general woodworking or Len's Rookie Corner category the same way that I avoid the Sales Related Discussions.   If you have too many categories, you have my permission to remove any of the categories that I don't use. The extra categories might help some people discover Festools when they are doing browser searches for general woodworking subjects, because there would be general woodworking discussions happening here.  Festools were around for a long time before I discovered them - let's make it easier to find out about this better way of working with wood.



Offline Eli

  • Posts: 2501
  • A Yankee in Kangaroo Court
    • Metafizix
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2007, 05:40 AM »
I waited a while so the crown of off-topic king couldn't be pinned on me. But I don't have anything off-topic to say because I waited so long.

I absolutely love this forum, to the exclusion of all other online pursuits. Well, almost all. Anyway, first thing in the morning and last thing at night, all day long, whatever time it is everywhere else, I like to check out what everybody's up to here. One of the main reasons I've felt so successful at shifting countries is because a big part of my socializing is done here, in Festooland. It seems to me like the people who come here have a good reason for it and not only enjoy it, but enjoy themselves and add to it. I've got pretty limited experience with online forums, there's only one other I visit and increasingly less than this one.

Again thank you Matthew for doing a spectacular job, and to everyone else for adding the community to the great enjoyment I get from the tools.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled NAINA taunting.......

What kind of p*rn you guys want first, Kapex, belt sander, laminate trimmer? Have you seen the weed-wacker? How 'bout the juicemaker?

« Last Edit: September 25, 2007, 05:10 PM by Eli »
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Matthew Schenker

  • Posts: 2619
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2007, 10:22 PM »
Sorry if I ruffled anyone's feathers....

No need to apologize.  Your questions were fine and I'm pretty sure everyone understands you were honestly trying to understand something and propose new ideas with the intent to improve our forum.  That's always welcome here! 

My point was not to bait anyone, but to address the question posed by Matthew: "How to get more people involved?"  Matt appears to be perfectly capable of doing that all by himself, just by posing an innocent (albeit controversial) question.

When I formed the Yahoo group, I had an idea for a forum whose shape and voice was defined by its members.  I had some theories on how to do this, but it was untested.  In the beginning I wasn't at all sure what would happen.  I wasn't even sure anyone would join!  Now, here we are at this point in time, and the experiment has worked very well.  I have come to deeply trust members to help me address major issues, from technical matters all the way to more subtle questions about the very nature of the forum.  I believe what makes the FOG so strong is that it is a member-driven and member-shaped forum.  One of the most central questions is how to get more people to transition from observers to active participants.  It's a difficult issue to address, so I invited members to offer their opinions.  (Over the past few months, actually, I'm happy to report that the number of people becoming active participants has increased.  I believe that in itself creates a beneficial cycle that encourages even more new members to join and contribute.) 

I offered an idea that might generate more involvement - feel free to disagree.  I know that Matthew enjoys the free flow of ideas.  I just think that it couldn't hurt to have one or two more categories.  Right now, I only visit about 2 of the 17 categories that I just counted...

Please don't take disagreement here as a personal criticism.  I try to be very careful about all new categories.  There is this question of balance again -- having the board be as complete as possible, and yet keeping it under control as well.

Back when this forum was being created, a core group of "founders" toyed with several different ways to form the boards.  Several ideas, from various members, were presented and rejected before we got to the arrangement of boards you see today.  In the approximately eight months following this foundation stage, the structure has gone through several more iterations.  We try things, and if they don't work we change it.  My point here is, your proposal needs to fit into that kind of process.  The nature of a democratic forum like this is that it does change -- it must change -- but in order for those changes to occur an idea must appeal to a good number of people.

You are making a proposal for an idea.  People should listen to your ideas, and either agree or disagree respectfully.  In the end, I believe the process we have in place for discussing forum changes works well.

Please feel free to continue making the case for your ideas.  All are welcome!

If you are interested, take a look at the "foundation" discussion we had to get an idea of the process we worked out: http://festoolownersgroup.com/index.php?topic=5.0

Stay in touch,
Matthew
FOG Designer and Creator

Offline Dan Clark

  • Posts: 540
    • talkFestool
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2007, 12:06 AM »
...
And now, back to our regularly scheduled NAINA taunting.......

What kind of p*rn you guys want first, Kapex, belt sander, laminate trimmer? Have you seen the weed-wacker? How 'bout the juicemaker?
I'll take a little Kapex with a dash of laminate trimmer on top, please.   Hold the belt sander!    8)

Dan.

Offline Dave Ronyak

  • Posts: 2234
  • Flyin' from NE Ohio
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2007, 12:10 AM »
The question and goal of how to get more people to participate is certainly a good one.  I don't have any answers to add to those already given by others, but I note that in most groups of people there are a relatively few who act as leaders, a greater number who actively participate in response to ideas tossed out by those leaders and the vast majority who remain silent most of the time for various reasons.  Long ago I learned that the best way to rapidly gain information of interest to me is to ask questions, and that it is worth the risk of asking even if others with more experience may think negatively of people who ask such basic questions.  I have also learned that members of this forum are very willing to help one another, and to repeated answer repeatedly asked questions (including many that are arguably well off topic), and that Matthew does a great job of reorganizing this forum as it evolves.  I used to visit other sites, but rarely do so any more.

My advice to anyone "lurking" out there who has been reluctant to post to FOG is to not be afraid.  No one will bite you, and you will likely learn a lot and make some new friends from around the world. 

Dave R.
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline permont

  • Posts: 11
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2007, 02:15 PM »
Let me put my 2 "crowns" worth of input here:
The very nice and generous ways of answering my questions as a newcomer, as well as other people new to the forum seeing this, will in itself slowly but surely generate new posters.
A kind of perpetum mobile or chain reaction.  :)

Myself I am in the IT industry and want a hobby doing something with my hands that I can actually use, smell and see instead of just producing emails, documents etc.

As time goes I hope to eventually transform from an "asker" to a "answerer".

/per

Offline Dave Ronyak

  • Posts: 2234
  • Flyin' from NE Ohio
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2007, 04:34 PM »
Permont,

If you read the chains that relate to software, posting photos and such, you'll know you aren't the only IT person participating in FOG.  Although I am not in IT, my regular work requires me to spend most of my working time at a PC and also leaves me wanting to do something with my hands that produces a physical and easily understand utility.

My personal plan is to keep on asking, keep on experimenting, keep on learning, and to have some fun and the satisfaction of knowing I made something useful, and ultimately, to help some others get answers to some of their questions.

Note there is another person on this forum whose name is Per (as in Swenson).  You can learn a lot from him!!

Dave R.
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline Qwas

  • Retailer
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    • Qwas Products
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2007, 02:58 AM »
I'm a newbie that has been reluctant to post. First being shy and a novice woodworker, I wanted to gather ideas from your existing users before doing any posting. Many great ideas on this board and kudos to all of you on here. You've given me some ideas that I have already started to use.

I'm getting ready to post my modifications to the MFT in the next week or so. I don't think any of ideas are "award winning" ideas but maybe my ideas will give other newbies (and old timers) a new train of thought. Who knows, maybe Festool will use them and send weekly royalty checks to me. :) :) :)

I like somebody else's idea of a rookie area. It can be less intimidating to the newcomer and encourage more postings. I would like a give a warning to the old timers wanting to post here - No one liners - it's hard to understand if you are being sarcastic. And give feedback but do so in a friendly way.

Thanks for the forum. I have really enjoyed it. Where else can my post be answered by a CEO, THE best customer service department, dealers, professionals, experienced users, and novices? Many thanks.

Offline Dave Rudy

  • Posts: 771
  • Coloroda Front Range, in the lee of Pikes Peak
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2007, 05:39 PM »
I'm a newbie that has been reluctant to post. First being shy and a novice woodworker, I wanted to gather ideas from your existing users before doing any posting. Many great ideas on this board and kudos to all of you on here. You've given me some ideas that I have already started to use.

I'm getting ready to post my modifications to the MFT in the next week or so. I don't think any of ideas are "award winning" ideas but maybe my ideas will give other newbies (and old timers) a new train of thought. Who knows, maybe Festool will use them and send weekly royalty checks to me. :) :) :)

Warmest welcome, Qwas.  With or without a newbie corner, please, PLEASE post your ideas for discussion.  A fertile imagination and great ideas are not only the product of the most experienced.  Sometimes a new person brings a fresh perspective an his ideas are always welcome here.


I like somebody else's idea of a rookie area. It can be less intimidating to the newcomer and encourage more postings. I would like a give a warning to the old timers wanting to post here - No one liners - it's hard to understand if you are being sarcastic. And give feedback but do so in a friendly way.

My experience is that there is no friendly or more collegial forum on the internet (I sure haven't seen one).  I dont recall ever seeing a sincere question mocked by this group.  The one liners can be really good, though -- there is some genuinely funny stuff on here.  I think it is safe to assume that any one-liner you see will be laughing with someone rather than at them.

I look forward to seeing some of your ideas in "print".

Dave

Offline Bob Childress

  • Posts: 121
  • South Carolina, USA
Re: How to Get More People Involved?
« Reply #29 on: October 06, 2007, 07:42 AM »
Welcome Qwas. Don't be reluctant to post. I'm a relative newbie myself, but hanging around here considerably flattens the learning curve.

One reason we seem so collegial is that we share a passion for Festo, which is a fairly narrowly-defined topic. Therefore, no arguments over this saw vs that saw, but only over which Festo saw will do the job best. Same with other tools.

Another reason is that some of us have been "persecuted" ( ;D ) on other forums for our Festool devotion. This is our safe harbour.  :D We know we can ask a question here without fear that a group of otherwise sane persons will suddenly decide that people who buy Festools are idiots or worse.

I don't post here as much as I will in future because I'm still learning, learning, learning. But I'm slowly re-organising my entire approach to projects based around the Festo system. As the folks around here know, the darn thing works.  :)
TS-55, RO-150, ETS-150/3, DX-93, LS-130, CT-22, OF-1000, DF-500Q, C-12