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What happened to the forums?

The forums were an important element to the voice of the community, however they were also complicated and daunting to many users in their old format. Often finding the answer you needed was like finding a needle in a haystack. This is probably why visitor numbers to the forums were so low. 

The 'Community' area is the new system we have that will host all of the communities’ questions and feedback. This collaborative area will be the “go-to” place for when you have a query, want to ask a question or suggest an idea to the Blipfoto community.

 

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  • Avatar
    DawnP

    "Blipfoto help". Is perhaps not the best name for links into the community pages - it took a while to realise that was where they were. Some clearly labelled links from/to the main site are needed

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    bygjohn

    The reason i didn't engage in the forums was simply that the iOS apps didn't include them, absolutely nothing to do with them being "daunting".

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    skiesnsunsets

    I had no idea 'Bipfoto help' was a 'community' area. Very confusing title for it. Mixing in questions with the usual community features like challenges is also very confusing and frustrating.

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    Missycat3

    I didn't find the forums daunting or hard to use!

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    Eej

    I think it's kind of funny that I find THESE help pages/forums/community much, much more complicated/harder to navigate than before.
    Ah.
    Oh well.

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    TontoMcDuff

    "Blipchat" perhaps?

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    Veronica

    The old forums were about the simplest implementation of forums I have ever seen. Anyone who could comment on a blip could understand how to use the forums, so they were hardly "daunting".

    I find the choice of helpdesk software for a community forum baffling, frankly. It's far more daunting than the old forums. I hope it's just a stopgap until you have time to provide something better.

  • Avatar
    sylviacebula

    In my opinion, the old forums were not in the least complicated or daunting and at least they were easily acccessible not hidden away where it is almost impossible to find them!

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    GrahamColling

    I agree with Veronica. The new forums are confusing for people. We don't understand the voting buttons and now that 'answers' are not in chronological order, conversations are very difficult. So many things have changed, it is hardly surprising people are disconcerted with the new site.

  • Avatar
    Missycat3

    As I've said before, I never had a problem with the old forums.
    Re the voting thing - I tried to 'vote up' a comment - didn't work and just sent me spinning back to the first page/comment!

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    cate1

    I didn't find the forums daunting,and I really enjoyed the monoMonday challenge, but now can't really find what the monoMonday challenge is or who is hosting - help?

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    grace

    Daunting? Inscrutable is how I'd describe the new 'Community' set-up. There is no continuity to any of the threads, little sense of exchange and reciprocation. Every place where a usernaname does not link back to their journal hinders the communication that develops community. I'm currently copying usernames and using them to search for the journals people who share my concerns in order to continue the conversation. THAT'S daunting, discouraging.

    I too agree with everything Veronica says, her technical expertise gives her an insight into the source of what I just feel as disappointment and dissatisfaction. The Zendesk set-up chops up the narrative of people's concerns as does the lack of topic. I've trawled through the whole thing more than once just to glean some insight as to what's going on.

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    Arachne

    I'm barely using Zendesk because everything feels so muddled. I don't know where the community-based discussions are - it all seems to be comments on the new site and the same subjects come up under 'questions', 'open questions', 'general discussion' and 'website feedback'. Perhaps that's all that concerns any of us any more but I used to like visiting the forums every week or so to catch up with what blippers were talking about and to find out interesting links people had posted. I think a proper place for that again would be great. I never found them complicated or daunting. At the moment I'm posting images but really don't feel part of a community, even with the people I used to relate to most.

  • Avatar
    grace

    With the disappearance of the forums the racial memory of Blip is gone. I DID see the notification that they would not be carried over to the new platform but I did not foresee their significance. That shared history conferred a depth of meaning, a place where the values that constitute ‘excellence’ were expressed, articulated, worked out by individual members of the community.

    Whether it was the outpouring of sadness at out first big shared death - Amalarian, or the serendipities of Blip Paparazzi, or the collective wisdom about photographic equipment, the recurrent debates about Spotlight or the eccentricities (forgive me) of Take 3 Words - a huge chunk of shared history has gone. Who knew this archive of heartfelt engagement could have been so important? Not me. Boy do I miss them now they are gone.

    On the new site I find myself perpetually lost between the Zendesk, the General Discussions and Website Feedback, the FAQ and the Established Users Support just trying to figure out what in God’s name is going on. People are even posting their questions about the website under CHALLENGES - which brings a smile, lets me know I'm not the only one who is confused.

    As Arachne says there is at present no shared place for the community to express itself. I do wonder if a community can exist or flourish without it. Is such a space likely to be part of Blip’s future? A place where Blippers can bring their own agendas and be found by others who share those interests or concerns.

  • Avatar
    Missycat3

    Well said Grace. I can only agree with you. Let's hope Blipcentral pays some heed! Tonto McDuff's suggestion of 'Blipchat' is a good one.

  • Avatar
    gennepher

    It is annoying, I have already signed into blip, yet I come to this forum and I have to re sign in again. So many more clicks needed in lots of aspects of this new blip. It is time wasting in a world where our most valuble resource is time. I have written some stuff in these questions in zendesk, but there is no continuity or follow-up (or so little that it is almost negligble), and I have to come back to the original question to find if anyone replied or commented. Again, last night I spent an hour trying to do something simple on here to no avail...time wasting again...the old blip was good and simple enough so you could scoot all over the place and it was efficient.
    But, I think this might be the same with a lot of social network type sites. In the early days of Twitter, 2009, the sense of interconnectedness and community was fanatastic. But with changes, tweaks and lots more, that original sense of community and the ease conversations and connectedness we used to have on Twitter have gone. Yes we still talk on Twitter but something valuable was lost, and to survive on there (because it is an important part of me with my poetry) I had to start to learn to detach from it so I could survive still using it, without it doing my head in. I still love Twitter, but a little hate relationship was sneaking in too...so I had to learn to detach emotionally from it because I wanted to continue using it.
    I have exactly the same kinds of emotions and feeling over Blipfoto, and what they are doing/have done here. I am now going on to Grace's post with all the goldeness in her photo and I am going to insert this piece in the comment box, with some addtions. I did write in the comment box in her post last night, but blip went funny on me, the page corrupted and I lost my comment I had spent a long time putting a lot of thought in. I cannot remember my original reply to Grace's post. I was disgusted that I had wasted so much time and the page went wierd and I had lost what I had written, SO, it looks like I will go back to making a comment in some other word processing in this iPad and copy and paste it back into the comment/reply box.

  • Avatar
    Vodkaman

    The old forums may have been scathing and brutal at times due to the lack of moderation, but hardly complicated and daunting. How does hiding the forum in the help section actually help. There is no logic here.

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    andmoff

    Scathing and brutal? A few spats that were usually sorted by blip central but hardly the bear pit you'll find anywhere else on the web. What they were good for was questions from people that were usually answered politely and without the ego driven nonsense of other photo forums; they were actually quite useful. They have been buried, why I'm not sure, big corporation decision probably.

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    Vodkaman

    Andmoff - I want them back, believe me :)

    Dave

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    andmoff

    Same here Dave, it was a reasonable place for a chat and a few boys (myself included) put up some cracking links to some great photography. I was turned onto the work of some great photographers from there. Most other sites tend to be people gibbering about the latest Canikon lens and arguing about edge to edge sharpness rather than sharing good photography.

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    revenant

    I've just returned to the site after a long hiatus and was unpleasantly surprised to see that blipfoto had been sold to Polaroid. The enthusiastic blurb from its erstwhile owners may sound sincere, but all you have to do is look at the logo positions on the masthead. BTW, I have nothing against Polaroid, but this isn't for me. It could just as well have been Canon, Nikon or Durex.

    I had hoped that non-visual member content (i.e., the forums) would survive, as they were my favourite part after looking at my friends' blips. They were "not* complicated to use, but I suspect that they were a drag to administer and host. So, another fudged issue.

    I'm going to delete my account tomorrow, once I've discovered how to do so in the easy and user-friendly "community area".

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    dublinshooter

    What BlipCentral have done is sign up to Zendesk [https://www.zendesk.com, since links can't be used here], which is described on their web site as "software for better customer service". It describes its services as "customer support", "customer self-service" and "customer engagement". The fundamental problem here is that we, the members, surely are not "customers". No, we're part of a community (or, at least, that's what we used to be).

    The notion of ordering "answers" on the basis of "upvoting" is utterly repugnant to the former ethos of Blipfoto. Furthermore, it is obvious that members who contribute here see it as a FORUM, and not as a self-help system or a question-and-answer facility. In my opinion, signing up to Zendesk was an inappropriate and misguided thing to do.

  • Avatar
    GrahamColling

    Only a thought but a quick look on the WWW and you can find lots of services providing free hosting of forum sites. I know it takes organisation (e.g. design, moderation, etc) but is there any merit in setting up an independent forum for Blipfoto users?

  • Avatar
    Vodkaman

    Graham - I have started work on a forum site for my own use, as I have some 8000 images that I would like to see the light of day, though it is going to take a long time to upload them all.

    The big problem is that you only get a small allocation of memory for uploading and if you want more, you have to pay.

    The other alternative is to upload onto a host site like Photobucket and link across to your site. This works very well and gives you a good gallery view. But, no one is going to want to upload twice every time.

    Here is my site, if you want to check out what is possible:

    http://bandungbugs.freeforums.net/

    Dave

  • Avatar
    grace

    There is now a book of Molly's images which I only stumbled upon in a comment. More info on this post https://www.polaroidblipfoto.com/entry/2013264531739903854. I imagine a lot of folks would want to know about this. It really highlights the lack of a fit for purpose community space on the new Blip. I can't think how else to let people know - any ideas?

  • Avatar
    grace

    I asked BC what the situation was regarding forums:

    Then sent this off to Blipcentral by email.

    I'm wondering if there are any plans in the pipeline to restore a more useful community space as the old forums were. There are many complaints about this scattered across the 'help desks.' This lack of a 'community centre' really undermines the community aspect of Blipping. It's impossible to share anything that might be of community-wide interest - like the posthumous publication of Molly/Amalarian's book that I've flagged up in several places as a last resort. Please could you let me know if this is under consideration? Many thanks.

  • Avatar
    grace

    This was the very prompt reply ...
    Hi Grace,

    Thanks for getting in touch.

    The community area is indeed mostly designed for users to help other user out, and not as a forum space, therefore we do hope to bring back a more elegant system in the future. Unfortunately I don't have a timeframe for this at the moment as there are other features that need to be addressed first.

    Apologies I can't be more help,

    Andy

  • Avatar
    GrahamColling

    #grace, well done for sharing your conversation with BC. It's a shame that a more useful forum is some way off. It is, as you say, a great place for community interaction.

    I've only occasionally been on here recently but have the voting buttons disappeared? Are all comments now in chronological order?

  • Avatar
    grace

    Thanks Graham - I think the voting buttons, and hence disruption to the flow of comments, was only ever over on the Zendesk. Impossible to keep track of which features are where and it seems to me people have mostly given up bringing stuff up both here and on the Zendesk. So ongoing dissatisfaction is expressed only within journal posts and comments or in private exchanges between individual Blippers and Blip Central, only occasionally shared more publicly here. Putting up and shutting up is not really my idea of community or excellence.

  • Avatar
    Vodkaman

    I am sure the boys and girls back at central are working their little socks off, bless-em’. But, it might be a bit selfish of me, but I am not seeing any of the proceeds of this intense labour. It seems to me, to be all about pods and bricks and pads and all the rest of the hi-tech toys, people, paying customers who sit in front of computers with proper sized screens, no longer count.

    I haven’t had a whinge for quite a while. Blip is all about community and it just doesn’t feel community spirited whinging all the time. Every time I have a scathing whinge, I can feel the atmosphere change around my journal, it is not nice. I guess the thick skins back at Polaroid central are winning, or at least they think they are with everything quietening down on the hostile front. But, I am no less pissed off than when all this shit came in ten weeks ago.

    Blip is just not working. Every time I click on Blip, I can feel the anger simmering. Every time I have to press a button that I shouldn’t have to my blood pressure rises. It feels as if the software is being written by people who have never actually used the software, at least on a computer. I am sure it works fine on a PDA or whatever they’re called, people like swishing left and right, up and down, in and out. In fact, the less efficient the programming, the happier PDA users are, they get to swish more. Not so on a computer, we have to aim that little pointer and click. Computers are about efficiency and minimalist of movement.

    Lots of things are good about the new Polaroid, but there is no point talking about that. So, what’s wrong:

    1 – the white screen still sucks really badly. I have programmed it out of my system, but I switch it on occasionally just to see – nah, still sucks.

    2 – from anywhere in the system, no matter how deep I go, I should only have to press one button to get back to my home page, my journal. Try this; hit browse. You cannot get back to your journal in one click. You actually have to get creative by pressing ‘ME’ and then clicking the first image or clicking the comments page and finding a comment on your latest entry to click. This, to me, is a huge oversight and fundamental to any web software – a home page, namely my journal.

    3 – and probably the biggest stupidity of the development of the new Polaroid, the commenting system. The developers were given the space to come up with something new and original, something better, something to push the boundaries and change web design forever, something that was going to bring polaroid huge accolades from the fraternity of developers, bring developer Oscars and Grammies – WELL, YOU FAILED! Comments sucks really badly. You should accept that you screwed up and switch it back to the traditional, tried and tested method. The comments system you had before had been refined several times and it worked perfectly, better than most websites out there. I have been using it for ten weeks now and it is no better than the first day. It is a joke, except it is just not funny. I am not even sure if the joke is on us or on you.

    We would like our community back please. Sort out the commenting and bring back the forums. Look after your membership and stop playing with your PDA’s.