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Layout idea for Discussion Forum

RS 01 Jul 97 - 12:30 PM
Bill D 01 Jul 97 - 07:57 PM
bo 02 Jul 97 - 08:08 PM
Max D. Spiegel (Mudcat Publisher) 02 Jul 97 - 08:55 PM
RS 02 Jul 97 - 11:29 PM
gargoyle 03 Jul 97 - 12:10 AM
03 Jul 97 - 12:00 PM
Rick 03 Jul 97 - 12:22 PM
Max D. Spiegel 03 Jul 97 - 12:49 PM
Rick 08 Jul 97 - 01:31 PM
suzy 08 Jul 97 - 03:31 PM
Rick 10 Jul 97 - 04:15 AM
15 Jul 97 - 12:43 PM
ron k 15 Jul 97 - 09:27 PM
Frank in the swamps 15 Jul 97 - 09:32 PM
SLATTS3 TT 15 Jul 97 - 10:03 PM
RS 17 Jul 97 - 05:44 PM
Bert Hansell 21 Jul 97 - 04:13 PM
Jon W. 21 Jul 97 - 05:46 PM
suzy 21 Jul 97 - 10:21 PM
Bill D 22 Jul 97 - 09:45 AM
Jack 22 Jul 97 - 10:11 AM
Bert Hansell 22 Jul 97 - 10:17 AM
Wolfgang 22 Jul 97 - 10:19 AM
suzy 22 Jul 97 - 10:55 AM
Jon W. 22 Jul 97 - 12:10 PM
Whippoorwill 22 Jul 97 - 12:23 PM
Bert Hansell 22 Jul 97 - 12:32 PM
Max D. Spiegel 22 Jul 97 - 03:34 PM
suzy 22 Jul 97 - 07:56 PM
Max 23 Jul 97 - 10:41 PM
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Subject: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: RS
Date: 01 Jul 97 - 12:30 PM

Most of the threads in this forum seem to fall into three categories: Lyric/Music requests; other information requests (books, resources, festivals, ideas); and technical discussions, e.g. about funding the site, or news about upgrades.

But there isn't a consistent naming format for the threads, & sometimes there isn't enough room for the full title of the songs requested.

An idea: Suppose the "Create Initial Message for Thread" form (that I am currently typing on) had three (or more?) slots to choose from for "Subject" - with a standard naming format - something like "Lyr/Mus Req", "Website News", and (open topic).

For archive & access purposes, this could facilitate (a)searches for specific topics and (b) searches for particular song threads! - particularly if an alphabetical retrieval could be set up - i.e. searching by name of the thread rather than by date of its posting!

BTW, is there any way of searching for a thread at the present time, other than manually?


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Jul 97 - 07:57 PM

I often just use the 'find' button of the browser (In Netscape that's under 'edit'...or just hit 'ctrl F) as long as you know a useful word in the thread's title..you can often pick up subjects which you hope might be already discussed ....set the 'age' window to 90 or 365 and do something like "ctrl F...celtic"...

Hope this was what you were looking for...


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: bo
Date: 02 Jul 97 - 08:08 PM

I think the current system is a reasonable compromise. If the thread name was longer the message list would be that much longer too.

You can use the filter command fairly effectively if you know a word that was in an older message.

In a way your two requests are mutually exclusive, the individual titles would be more informative but the list would loose meaning because the space taken up by each thread would push titles off the screen.

Simple conventions like, using ? for all questions and A: for all responses or answers might make the smaller thread title more meaningful.

bo


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Max D. Spiegel (Mudcat Publisher)
Date: 02 Jul 97 - 08:55 PM

We have been thinking a lot about enhancing the discussion forum. One thing we do not want to do is create seperate forums based on catagory. We are afraid that this will just create confusion and extra steps to read and post.

We are currently working on several things. One that is almost ready is the integration of a chat room with the forum. One can make appointments with others or just go in to see what is going on. This is written and uses Java, so it will require a java capable browser.

Another feature soon to be added is the ability to trace threads. When registered as a member (free), you may choose threads that you would like to follow. They will appear as usual on the forum, but you will also have your own personal view of the forum, designed by you, with the threads you create or ones that you are just interested in. Soon, you will log on to your personal page, and it will say "There are 3 new messages in your thread THE MUDCAT IS GREAT." Multiple threads are just as easy as one. This is all part of our new membership features that add some personallity to this community.

We are also working on a more comprehensive search ability. This is a technically tough idea, but we think we can pull it off. Now you can search just the thread names, but we are working on being able to search the bodies of the messages.

A few minor changes are in the works to speed things up and better the organization.

As soon as the membership deal is ready, the forum will benefit greatly.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: RS
Date: 02 Jul 97 - 11:29 PM

Well here's another idea (with credit to my son): on the page listing all the threads, there are at present three columns: Thread Name, Number of Messages, and Last Message Date. How about simply adding a fourth column for Message Type, with a simple code system of one, two, or three letters, with an explanation at the top of the page - e.g. L or Lyr=lyric request; A or Art=artist information request; T or Tch=technical discussion about the website; O or Oth=other topics; or some such system. On the "create a new thread" page, there could be a simple check box system, to choose the correct category.

Then all the threads would still show in order, but searching by category would be easier. (especially as the size of the archive continues to grow).


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: gargoyle
Date: 03 Jul 97 - 12:10 AM

After registering as a "free-member" will this permit the Jerome Kern family to supeona the Digital Traditions data base and bring me to court for posting the lyrics to "Old Man River?" (or actually any future postings)

With membership/regulation/control/profits I fear that you may loose that mystic element which has made the MudCat what it is today.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From:
Date: 03 Jul 97 - 12:00 PM

hmmm-Max, I seem to remember reading that 74% or so PC users have NOT upgraded to WIN95 (like me!) and cannot use Java browsers. I know that progress cannot be stopped, but there is more to getting Java-capable than just overcoming lethargy-it can be expensive-sometimes requiring new computers etc.(We heard from those recently who do not yet have modems faster than 14400!).
As much as I like better ways to do this, I would really whine if there was a chat room running which I am a couple of years away from being able to enter.Technological progress is like folk music in some ways; if it changes TOO fast, the very process distracts from the purpose. I really admire your goals and inititative, but do consider what the practical result will be before instituting too many changes and additions.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Rick
Date: 03 Jul 97 - 12:22 PM

whoever replied to Max

I think that you can use the win32s extension to Windows to get Netscape Communicator to work, which would then give you Java capability. win32s works with most PCs, just happens that the one I use here is one of those where it doesn't work :-(((

Rick.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Max D. Spiegel
Date: 03 Jul 97 - 12:49 PM

The chat cannot be done without Java. We will do it, and if you cannot take part, I am sorry, but I cannot stop advancing the site. I will make sure any new features don't interfere with the old features and will try not to go "too fast". Also, when possible, I will use universal technology or server side programming.

Our survey showed that 60% of our viewers have connections at least or better than 28.8 modems. Also, between 54% and 73% of people have Java capable Browsers. This tells me to keep pushing.

RS: I like the category idea, lets kick that one around to hash out the best categories and codes.

gargoyle: I do not feel that membership will change a thing. I will certainly keep my files away from the FBI, so not to worry about me handing you over. The Mudcat Café is federally registered and recognized as a non-profit corporation as The Mudcat Café Music Foundation, with tax-exempt status pending, so be sure that there is no profit here. Dick and I and others have been putting very large amounts of time and money into our ideas here for years, and are so far from breaking even it ceases to be funny. The warm and fuzzy feelings we get from the kind words of our audience feeds our passions and our souls but unfortunately not our families.

We are recognized as an educational resource used by over 30 educational institutions including the Library of Congress. The changes and additions to the site only serve that. We have created a global community that converses about an art form that sheds light on humanity, happiness, and meaning to name but a few. I'll be damned if I am going to stop any progress for fear of being sued. The membership idea serves to enhance the community and create a discussion with identity. I will include support for everyone to have code names to protect the weary. It also helps me help you. Once you are a member, you can build your own personal Mudcat, choose which elements you want, track threads, be alerted to changes since your last visit, as well as be included in an email newsletter and possibly get discounts from participating companies.

Dick and I (et al) made the Mudcat what it is today. Do you no longer trust us?


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Rick
Date: 08 Jul 97 - 01:31 PM

Max

Now that I seem to spend a lot of time in this forum, I've come up across one or two limitations (God - there's always at least one critic out there...)

First limitation is my recall span - I can't remember from one day to the next which threads I'm involved with - so, the idea of tracing threads is great (although just a filter on From: as well as subject would probably do the trick for me)

Second limitation is an apparent lack of a FAQ or similar. I'm sure I've seen one in past years (e.g. details of where to submit lyrics, tunes, etc, acceptable use policies....) - have I just gone temporarily blind?

And finally I've noticed that you guys at DT seem to post interesting information in obscure threads - i.e. your ideas in this thread might have been better submitted in a thread called "Great new advances at the DT" or somesuch, which you (or somebody else) could update regularly - say every three days just to make sure anyone who joins for the first time will get it.

Anyway, just a few ideas - it's really a great site.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: suzy
Date: 08 Jul 97 - 03:31 PM

I love Mudcat the way it is... Some of the other folkie sites are too complicated for a computer-illiterate such as myself. If you make changes, please help us new folks along.... Stupid question, I'm sure - but, what is Java? (told you I'm illiterate!!}


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Rick
Date: 10 Jul 97 - 04:15 AM

suzy

don't worry about it - I've been working with the damn thinks for 25 years and there's also some new buzzword around to confuse a person.

Java is a programming language - all great stuff, it's going to change the world, computers will walk on water and pigs will fly. What it means to most of us is that we have to have Netscape or Internet Explorer versions which are capable of running Java programs - in other words, more money to Netscape Corpse or Billy Gates :-(

HTH (which is newsgroup-speak for hope this helps)

Rick.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From:
Date: 15 Jul 97 - 12:43 PM


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: ron k
Date: 15 Jul 97 - 09:27 PM

I would certainly like to thank Max and Dick (et al) for the work they put into this forum. It has allowed me to meet and communicate with people from virtually every part of the world with an interest in folk music. I am personally looking forward to the changes which I think are another good idea from the creators.

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 15 Jul 97 - 09:32 PM

Max, I appreciate your unwillingness to create seperate categories, but the current thread "What is a folk song?" indicates to me that perhaps there should be a "looking for lyrics/music" directory. This may sound a bit devious, but really I don't think it is. What if people could select a musical type, and those who chose "Traditional" were sent to the discussion forum, and those who select Rock, country, whatever, were given links to more appropriate web sites?

If the categories for other music types were clear cut, we would err on the side of liberality in the folk vein, and probably be providing a service to the folks who wander into the Mudcat looking for ZZ top, or whatever.

Yours,

Frank


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: SLATTS3 TT
Date: 15 Jul 97 - 10:03 PM

SEARCHING ROUTE 61 FOR BLUES STOP OFFS


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: RS
Date: 17 Jul 97 - 05:44 PM

Aaaaaaggggghhhhhh!!!!! Just on the three-day listing, today we have the following thread titles: "Looking for lyrics to songs"; "Searching for lyrics with their tunes"; "Heard a haunting song"; "Sad country song"; "Help! I'm looking for song"; and "Help, I'm looking for a song" (yes, these last two are two separate threads with barely distinguishable titles).

Also I have come across several requests for songs in the middle of a completely different thread.

While I have written (on the "What is Folk Music" thread) that I *don't* think there should be strict regulations on what songs are requested, I *DO* wish that there were some posted guidelines about only requesting one song per thread, and on how to title a thread! - preferably right at the top of the Discussion Forum page! ... since it's invariably newcomers who don't use the conventional (and convenient) title format.

Then I could actually put into play my theory that "I only click on threads with songs that are of interest to me"!


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Bert Hansell
Date: 21 Jul 97 - 04:13 PM

I really hate to contribute to this thread in case it is taken as criticism. As Suzy says.... 'I love Mudcat the way it is'

But, there's always a but isn't there, a suggestion for a very minor change.

How about listing the threads in reverse date order so that the latest contributions appear first.

This would speed things up considerably for those who visit regularly.

It shouldn't hinder newcomers too much, it would just seem a little strange at first but visitors would soon get used to it.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Jon W.
Date: 21 Jul 97 - 05:46 PM

Unless my eyes are playing tricks on me, Bert, the threads ARE in reverse order by date/time.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: suzy
Date: 21 Jul 97 - 10:21 PM

Jon - But after ;you get into the thread, then you have to scroll down and down and down and down sometimes, to see what is new and ;you haven't yet read. I agree with Bert. I'd like the new listings at the top.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 09:45 AM

But each new post brings the thread it is in to the top! And each new post pushes something else down. If the new posts are to remain with the threads, I can't see any other way to do it. (If you use Agent to read newsgroups, you know that they have spent 3 years writing a VERY complex program that allows you to customize how the threads of articles are displayed-by date, author,subject, reverse order, etc..) I doubt Mudcat/Digitrad is about to do anything like THAT soon!

If you use Netscape in here, you can at least use the feature that lets you specify a color change to threads you have read....it tells you whether there have been any new postings since you last checked.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Jack
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 10:11 AM

I don't know if its just a feature that netscape and my computer allow, but you can jump to any entry of a thread by clicking on the entry's listing in the table of contents. I never have to scroll.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Bert Hansell
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 10:17 AM

Sorry my mistake. I meant to say the listing 'within' the thread.

One of these days I'll learn to speak English.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Wolfgang
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 10:19 AM

Your eyes don't deceive you, the words do.

- the threads are displayed in reverse order - the messages within any thread aren't.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: suzy
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 10:55 AM

Thanks Wolfgang. That's what I was trying to say.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Jon W.
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 12:10 PM

Oh, right. I agree, post the latest message in the thread at the top of the page. Or do I agree? I can see if they were reversed, the continuity of the thread (for those threads that have any) would be more difficult to follow. I guess it depends on whether the thread is a discussion or just a simple question/answer which way to post it. Since that is impossible to predict, either way is a toss up. Oh well.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Whippoorwill
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 12:23 PM

I'm not sure just how much extra programming would be involved, but it seems like we're asking Max to do quite a bit of work just to save us a couple of seconds. After all, how long does it take to scroll down the page? Besides, I like to refresh my memory about what's been said. It ain't broke....


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Bert Hansell
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 12:32 PM

Hey! I did say it was a very minor change. Not very important. If it involves too much work then it's not worth messing with.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Max D. Spiegel
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 03:34 PM

No problem here. We did the reverse date thing for one of our paying pages, so we'll just use the code from that. Give us a few days, and there will be a whole new set of changes to please us all. And nobody worry, we creators habitat these pages just as all of you do, and it is clear that we like and dislike most of the same things.

Love the feedback, keep it coming.


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: suzy
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 07:56 PM

Max. thanx for being so sweet and helpful. You do a super job and we love you


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Subject: RE: Layout idea for Discussion Forum
From: Max
Date: 23 Jul 97 - 10:41 PM

Check out some of the threads now that I did it. I'm getting beat up here.


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