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Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?

Paul Reade 09 Apr 10 - 03:08 PM
Midchuck 09 Apr 10 - 03:28 PM
buddhuu 09 Apr 10 - 03:38 PM
Bettynh 09 Apr 10 - 03:39 PM
Bernard 09 Apr 10 - 03:52 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 09 Apr 10 - 03:56 PM
mikesamwild 09 Apr 10 - 03:58 PM
Goose Gander 09 Apr 10 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,CS 09 Apr 10 - 04:12 PM
Charley Noble 09 Apr 10 - 04:17 PM
PoppaGator 09 Apr 10 - 04:19 PM
olddude 09 Apr 10 - 04:36 PM
beeliner 09 Apr 10 - 04:47 PM
GUEST,Doc John 09 Apr 10 - 04:53 PM
Melissa 09 Apr 10 - 04:53 PM
Chris Partington 09 Apr 10 - 04:54 PM
VirginiaTam 09 Apr 10 - 04:56 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Apr 10 - 04:57 PM
katlaughing 09 Apr 10 - 05:01 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 09 Apr 10 - 05:06 PM
Bill D 09 Apr 10 - 05:13 PM
Richie 09 Apr 10 - 05:14 PM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 10 - 05:24 PM
Grampus 09 Apr 10 - 05:45 PM
Joe_F 09 Apr 10 - 05:50 PM
Greg F. 09 Apr 10 - 05:56 PM
Jeri 09 Apr 10 - 06:01 PM
Sorcha 09 Apr 10 - 06:05 PM
Murray MacLeod 09 Apr 10 - 06:07 PM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 10 - 06:11 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Apr 10 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Russ 09 Apr 10 - 06:22 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Apr 10 - 06:29 PM
Sorcha 09 Apr 10 - 06:32 PM
Leadfingers 09 Apr 10 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Richard Bridge on the other browser 09 Apr 10 - 06:47 PM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 10 - 06:49 PM
Jeri 09 Apr 10 - 07:05 PM
olddude 09 Apr 10 - 07:12 PM
Sorcha 09 Apr 10 - 07:12 PM
Sorcha 09 Apr 10 - 07:15 PM
Dave Hanson 09 Apr 10 - 07:20 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 09 Apr 10 - 07:25 PM
Bill D 09 Apr 10 - 07:41 PM
Paul Reade 09 Apr 10 - 07:48 PM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 10 - 07:53 PM
Jeri 09 Apr 10 - 08:20 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 09 Apr 10 - 08:21 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 09 Apr 10 - 08:25 PM
catspaw49 09 Apr 10 - 08:31 PM
Sorcha 09 Apr 10 - 08:35 PM
ranger1 09 Apr 10 - 08:39 PM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 10 - 08:43 PM
melodeonboy 09 Apr 10 - 08:56 PM
Bill D 09 Apr 10 - 09:01 PM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 10 - 09:31 PM
Alice 09 Apr 10 - 09:43 PM
artbrooks 09 Apr 10 - 09:44 PM
katlaughing 09 Apr 10 - 09:49 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Apr 10 - 09:49 PM
Artful Codger 09 Apr 10 - 10:39 PM
catspaw49 09 Apr 10 - 10:51 PM
Bill D 09 Apr 10 - 11:10 PM
Bill D 09 Apr 10 - 11:13 PM
Mooh 09 Apr 10 - 11:28 PM
Kampervan 10 Apr 10 - 01:09 AM
treewind 10 Apr 10 - 01:52 AM
Rowan 10 Apr 10 - 02:09 AM
Haruo 10 Apr 10 - 02:12 AM
Mr Red 10 Apr 10 - 06:43 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 10 Apr 10 - 07:12 AM
Susanne (skw) 10 Apr 10 - 02:09 PM
Dave the Gnome 10 Apr 10 - 03:45 PM
katlaughing 10 Apr 10 - 03:46 PM
Sorcha 10 Apr 10 - 03:53 PM
Geoff the Duck 10 Apr 10 - 03:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Apr 10 - 03:56 PM
Geoff the Duck 10 Apr 10 - 04:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Apr 10 - 04:15 PM
Mooh 10 Apr 10 - 04:19 PM
artbrooks 10 Apr 10 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,CS 10 Apr 10 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,CS 10 Apr 10 - 04:45 PM
Geoff the Duck 10 Apr 10 - 05:56 PM
Haruo 10 Apr 10 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,CS 10 Apr 10 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,CS 10 Apr 10 - 06:20 PM
Geoff the Duck 10 Apr 10 - 06:29 PM
Geoff the Duck 10 Apr 10 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,CS 10 Apr 10 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,CS 10 Apr 10 - 06:41 PM
Suegorgeous 10 Apr 10 - 07:29 PM
catspaw49 10 Apr 10 - 10:19 PM
katlaughing 10 Apr 10 - 11:34 PM
GUEST,Tom F 11 Apr 10 - 12:50 AM
Gurney 11 Apr 10 - 01:31 AM
Paul Reade 11 Apr 10 - 05:12 AM
Rob Naylor 11 Apr 10 - 06:42 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Apr 10 - 07:01 AM
Suegorgeous 11 Apr 10 - 07:02 AM
Suegorgeous 11 Apr 10 - 07:04 AM
Rob Naylor 11 Apr 10 - 07:30 AM
Suegorgeous 11 Apr 10 - 07:38 AM
Uncle_DaveO 11 Apr 10 - 03:27 PM
Rob Naylor 11 Apr 10 - 05:02 PM
Paul Reade 11 Apr 10 - 05:21 PM
bobad 11 Apr 10 - 06:02 PM
Joe_F 11 Apr 10 - 06:15 PM
Bill D 11 Apr 10 - 07:24 PM
catspaw49 11 Apr 10 - 08:14 PM
Artful Codger 11 Apr 10 - 08:46 PM
GUEST,Tom F 11 Apr 10 - 08:54 PM
Beer 11 Apr 10 - 09:11 PM
Melissa 11 Apr 10 - 09:53 PM
Maryrrf 11 Apr 10 - 10:21 PM
Beer 11 Apr 10 - 10:35 PM
GUEST,CS 12 Apr 10 - 02:10 AM
Rob Naylor 12 Apr 10 - 03:35 AM
Melissa 12 Apr 10 - 04:52 AM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Apr 10 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 12 Apr 10 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 12 Apr 10 - 05:55 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 12 Apr 10 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,CS 12 Apr 10 - 06:33 AM
GUEST 12 Apr 10 - 07:03 AM
GUEST 12 Apr 10 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,Rob Naylor 12 Apr 10 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,CS 12 Apr 10 - 08:46 AM
Mr Red 12 Apr 10 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,Rob Naylor 12 Apr 10 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,Rob Naylor 12 Apr 10 - 10:11 AM
dick greenhaus 12 Apr 10 - 10:12 AM
MMario 12 Apr 10 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,CS 12 Apr 10 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,CS 12 Apr 10 - 12:02 PM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Apr 10 - 12:34 PM
Marilyn 12 Apr 10 - 12:48 PM
Bill D 12 Apr 10 - 12:52 PM
MMario 12 Apr 10 - 01:08 PM
Rob Naylor 12 Apr 10 - 02:07 PM
dick greenhaus 12 Apr 10 - 02:40 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 12 Apr 10 - 04:03 PM
catspaw49 12 Apr 10 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 12 Apr 10 - 04:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Apr 10 - 05:49 PM
gnu 12 Apr 10 - 05:56 PM
catspaw49 12 Apr 10 - 06:08 PM
gnu 12 Apr 10 - 06:12 PM
catspaw49 12 Apr 10 - 06:21 PM
ragdall 12 Apr 10 - 06:36 PM
Joe Offer 12 Apr 10 - 08:07 PM
Max 12 Apr 10 - 10:31 PM
Richie 12 Apr 10 - 11:05 PM
GUEST,Sheila 12 Apr 10 - 11:17 PM
Max 12 Apr 10 - 11:28 PM
catspaw49 13 Apr 10 - 12:29 AM
Max 13 Apr 10 - 12:31 AM
Gurney 13 Apr 10 - 01:48 AM
GUEST,nickp (cookieless) & I will login this pc on 13 Apr 10 - 04:01 AM
Will Fly 13 Apr 10 - 04:57 AM
Richard Bridge 13 Apr 10 - 07:05 AM
Leadfingers 13 Apr 10 - 07:23 AM
Sandra in Sydney 13 Apr 10 - 08:11 AM
MMario 13 Apr 10 - 09:32 AM
Tootler 13 Apr 10 - 05:21 PM
Paul Reade 13 Apr 10 - 05:31 PM
Max 13 Apr 10 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,Mr Red 14 Apr 10 - 07:13 AM
Max 14 Apr 10 - 07:45 PM
Claire M 25 Aug 13 - 09:47 AM
Joe Offer 26 Aug 13 - 01:48 AM
Sandra in Sydney 26 Aug 13 - 10:46 AM
GUEST 27 Aug 13 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Peter 27 Aug 13 - 10:14 AM
Haruo 27 Aug 13 - 03:46 PM
artbrooks 27 Aug 13 - 05:24 PM
Tootler 27 Aug 13 - 06:29 PM
Claire M 28 Aug 13 - 12:45 PM
Joe Offer 28 Aug 13 - 01:00 PM
Rob Naylor 28 Aug 13 - 09:23 PM
Joe Offer 29 Aug 13 - 01:02 AM
jacko@nz 29 Aug 13 - 01:55 AM
GUEST 29 Aug 13 - 02:02 AM
Rob Naylor 29 Aug 13 - 04:13 AM
GUEST,Grishka 29 Aug 13 - 09:17 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 29 Aug 13 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,Grishka 29 Aug 13 - 10:58 AM
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Subject: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Paul Reade
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 03:08 PM

Mudcat is great for a lot of things, but the forum in particular looks very dated because of the "text only" format. How about a few updates to bring it into the 21st century, like:-

- ability to post recordings of songs, videos, music scores etc.

- simpler method of entering links ("blue clickies")

- better text formatting without having to enter HTML code

- show pictures / thumbnails of Mudcatters, like on Facebook. A Mudcatter came up to me at Sale Folk Club last week and said it was nice to put a face to the name

- a spel chekker!!

Any thoughts?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Midchuck
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 03:28 PM

IF IT WORKS, DON'T FIX IT!



Peter


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: buddhuu
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 03:38 PM

IMH newbie O, what Peter said.

I have run forums that use more up-to-date software, and I currently help to moderate on an 'ukulele forum that uses vBulletin. The "modern" stuff involves untold complication and loss of sleep for the site admin every time they have to update the installation.

All the bells and whistles cause arguments too. Should we use the member ranking system? Should we show post counts? Blah blah blah.

The new stuff is also huge and bloated. Uses loads of server space and bandwidth.

Mudcat is great. The stone-age technology is in keeping with the traditional subject matter. Good grief, the place has been going longer than most forums that have updated their back end stuff.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bettynh
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 03:39 PM

I like this format. It's a relief from all that multimedia stuff, and folks with slower connections can join. I would like a search function for the discussions, though.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bernard
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 03:52 PM

There are plenty of those sorts of sites around... Mudcat is unique, and long may it stay that way!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 03:56 PM

Nothing to stop anyone linking to media pages, Myspace, Youtube etc. And what's un-simple about the blue-clickifier?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: mikesamwild
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 03:58 PM

If the didcussion is good it's very good. Natter is better than twitter. As a relative newcommer I found it complicated but I'm getting used to it.

A better search facility for past topics would help, bt maybe I'm not using it properly.


It's nice to have one archaic site like The Times letters page!.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 04:01 PM

The search function needs to be fixed, otherwise the format works for what we do.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 04:12 PM

Should Mudcat be updated? Yes, about ten years ago.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 04:17 PM

It would be nice to post small images.

But it would be more exciting if the search function worked better.

Maybe we should donate more money to Max, along with our recommendations.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 04:19 PM

I vote for letting well enough alone.

The "blue clicky" generator is EASY, and can be used to link to just about anything. This allows the actual Mudcat Forum site to remain clean, mean, and lean, while still providing access to whatever additional bells and whistles that your little heart might desire.

If you can't figure out how to POST a clickable link, you can still type in a URL, and anyone who is really motivated to check out your link can copy-and-paste it to their browser address box very easily.

And, of course, you should certainly be able to USE a clickable link ~ just freakin' click on it!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: olddude
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 04:36 PM

Ok, here is the kicker, photos, video, music ... they take space. Max would have to pay a much higher rate then he does right now to house all of that stuff. Would it be nice sure, but I doubt anyone can run a free website with the volume of information the cat has stored over the last 15 or so years ... things like youtube, and myspace. They sell lots of ads, even with their revenue generating machine if you look at their bottom line they are always losing money and they are huge corps. An individual running a forum on his own cannot do that with $$ or saturating this place with ads that would kill our dialup users ...

bad idea


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: beeliner
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 04:47 PM

For the user, vBulletin is hard to beat.

Never having used it as an administrator, I cannot comment from that end.

To me, one of the biggest shortcomings of the current setup is the inability to correct typos once the comment is posted, and I'm not the only one. Look through most any thread and you'll see "My last post should have read.....". Needless and confusing.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 04:53 PM

Ok it looks old fashioned in this 10 minute culture time but some of these sites which look so good and sophisticated are so damn difficult to use. The Mudcat's easy to use, fast and there are links if you want them to all you need. Put a 'top of page' at the bottom of the page though, please!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Melissa
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 04:53 PM

I like it as it is (except the part about Forum Search being tricky now)

I like being able to read black type in standard font.
I like having to click to look at pictures/stuff.
I like the low-tech look.

There are plenty of other places to write in various colors and design little display pictures and blather ourselves silly with gadgets and junk that slows things down.

Mostly, I like it that we have a Max who is willing to put the effort into keeping us running and I think it's especially nice that he chooses to give us an easy forum to navigate.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Chris Partington
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 04:54 PM

I like it as it is. It never even occurred to me that it was old-fashioned, it does what it does. I don't have an accent checker on my vocal chords and I don't want a spell checker.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 04:56 PM

more stuff on it means more to break down

i like it the way it is


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 04:57 PM

This is an old Folk Song - to an even older tune

"Should the Mudcat be updated
Lala la la la la la"


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 05:01 PM

Mudcat is trad as it is, and should be left alone for posterity and us old folkies. Tarting it up to be more like FB and the others would be like adding on to the original house that Woody grew up in or somesuch (I think Art Thieme has a picture of it.)

The Super Search will get fixed, eventually. IN the meantime, you can use google search by putting this in: "mudcat cafe: search terms of whatever you are looking for." Generally that will turn things up. You many also go to the drop down menu for Quick Links, scroll down to Old Adv. Forum Search and use that.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 05:06 PM

mudcat works fine its the DT that needs renovation and updating.

I have been less motivated to add songs here because the lack of DT updates.

We should produce in the DT something that has life beyond server maintenance.

Otherwise things here are very user friendly and effective as anything with more features could be.

Conrad
    Hi, Conrad - we've gone to updating the Digital Tradition about once a year, and that has happened regularly for about three years. There should be an update coming fairly soon. There are lots of corrections and lots of new songs every year. We just don't bother to list what's new, because the new stuff has already been posted in the forum.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 05:13 PM

blue clickies are easy...and the are several guides in the FAQ showing exactly how.

Other HTML is almost as easy, and there are programs which will do them for you (at least Windows programs that I know of) and spellcheckers are built into most decent browsers.(Mine just objected to spellcheckers, but okayed spell checkers).)

We do have pictures of many Mudcatters and events...look under quick links.

When we began, we could link to pics and show them in threads, but that slows things down.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Richie
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 05:14 PM

I think the "search" should be fixed so that old threads can be easy to find.

The problem with links is after several years most of them don't work anymore.

Unless the info is very long it might be best to include (copy and paste) and reference where the link came from.

I'm for adding pics and MP3's but this is no biggie.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 05:24 PM

I usually close threads like this, because we generally don't allow discussion of Mudcat policy. Most often, these discussions end up being gripe sessions about how outdated Mudcat technology is, and how arbitrary and dictatorial the moderators are. We all know how outdated Mudcat's technology is - most things have been more-or-less the same here since about 2000. We all know that some people think our moderators are arbitrary and dictatorial because they slavishly adhere to Mudcat's free-speech policy and refuse to delete all kinds of offensive stuff. As long as this thread doesn't turn into a gripe session about things we can't fix, I'll leave it open.


We do get some complaints about posts being deleted arbitrarily, and we take those complaints seriously. Most times when I investigate, I find that there is no deleted post (I can see deleted posts) - and all I can figure is that the post didn't "take." This is most often a problem with the user's browser, and sometimes a glitch in Mudcat. Best to be safe - before you submit a post you've worked hard on, highlight [CTRL-A] and copy [CTRL-C] what you've typed, so you have a copy on your computer's "clipboard" in case the message doesn't "take." Then if you need to, you can paste [CTRL-V] the post into a message again, or save it in a word processor until Mudcat is working better.

And yes, we all know the search engine "needs fixed," as Max and his compatriots say in Pennsylvania - but do take a look at the alternative search engines explained in the FAQ. With a little ingenuity, you can search for and find almost anything here.


In answer to Paul's post, let me say that although it has disadvantages, one of the best qualities about Mudcat is its simplicity. Maybe it's partly because I'm used to it, but I think Mudcat's forum menu is easier to read and more colorful than vBulletin and most other discussion forum indexes, and it contains more relevant information. The simplicity and lack of features of Mudcat have motivated Mudcatters to be inventive, and to use outside sources to provide what Mudcat hasn't provided. It even motivated one Mudcatter, Jon Freeman, to create an ideal forum for folk music information, http://www.folkinfo.org.

There was a time when we had a technician, Jeff, working on Mudcat almost full-time. He and I would chat into the wee hours of the morning, and we'd try all sorts of new features he'd develop and he often permanently added several features overnight. And at the beginning of Mudcat, we had an entire company, Onstagemedia, available to work on Mudcat. Alas, our technical staff has dwindled to one person, Mudcat's owner, Max, who has to take time out to make a living and care for children. So, our main technical priority these days is simply to keep things running.

Still, Paul has some good suggestions, and many of them can be done with just a little bit of help. You'll find that we have many talented Mudcatters who are very willing to help. And if you can't find something, contact me by personal message or e-mail (joe@mudcat.org) - I'm the contact person and I can direct your request to the right place.

So, let's look at Paul's list and see what we can do:

    - ability to post recordings of songs, videos, music scores etc.
    People post recordings on MySpace and videos on YouTube, and music scores and photos on a huge number of free online services - and then they post links to that stuff in the Forum. And if you can't do it yourself, contact me and I'm happy to find somebody to help you.


    - simpler method of entering links ("blue clickies")
    Try the Make a link ("blue clicky") tool at the bottom of the message entry box. It works quite well. And if you have trouble, just post the URL you want people to see. Oftentimes, Mudcatters will come along and post a link in the next message, or a moderator will change your URL to a link. Note that we've recently had a problem with clickable links within the texts of personal messages. Probably best not to try links there unless you test them with the "preview" function.

    - better text formatting without having to enter HTML code
    Our biggest HTML problem was lack of line breaks, so Max did put in automatic line breaks (which you can switch off if you need to do something fancy). The automatic line breaks do cause a problem with links in personal messages. I have notified Max about that.
    You can use most HTML functions within Mudcat messages - but you have to learn the functions. They're not all that hard, and many of us have learned a lot of HTML here. I learned all the HTML I know, right here, and now I use it to maintain three different Websites. There's a Mudcat HTML guide listed in the PermaThread Index, and you can experiment with HTML all day using the "preview" function in any thread.



    - show pictures / thumbnails of Mudcatters, like on Facebook. A Mudcatter came up to me at Sale Folk Club last week and said it was nice to put a face to the name
    Our regular Mudcat photos section is not being updated, due to database corruption problems, but it has photos of lots of Mudcatters. You'll find it in the QuickLinks dropdown menu on most Mudcat pages. Katlaughing worked up a temporary Mudcat Photos page on MyOpera, and you can send photos to her or to me for posting - details in this thread. You may not be able to post your picture in every message, but you can post a link to your photo wherever you want.

    - a spel chekker!!
    Well, this once would have been a very good idea, and we did experiment with some options. But nowadays, why bother? If you have almost any browser other than Internet Explorer, there's a spellchecker built in. So why should Mudcat bog itself down with a spellchecker, when browsers have them built in?


Oh, and the search function, which is a perennial problem - and which Max keeps fixing and it still keeps going haywire. BUT let me tell you that I worked very hard to explain all our search tools in the FAQ, and I think we have NINE different search tools, of varying levels of effectiveness. But if you experiment with them, you will find that you can locate almost anything without using our bug-ridden, index-based search engine.

I suppose my "do-it-yourself" answers won't satisfy some people, but there's something to be said for working with the reality that confronts you. If you take the time to learn a few things, or if you take the time to ask how something can be done, you can do almost anything here. That's always been the greatest benefit of Mudcat - you have the freedom to do whatever your ingenuity will allow you to do. Want some examples of what people have done with Mudcat? - take a look at the PermaThread Index.



-Joe-
joe@mudcat.org

P.S. That being said, I acknowledge that there are a number of functions like photos and the search engine that need to be fixed, and we should fix it so people can't post no-name Guest messages.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Grampus
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 05:45 PM

As Midchuck said above

If it ain't brok DON'T fix it



G.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Joe_F
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 05:50 PM

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I wish the Mudcat Forum were even *more* archaic: like Usenet. My chief annoyance is that every comment goes at the end of the thread, not as an appendage to the comment to which it is a reply.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Greg F.
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 05:56 PM

Please- do not "update" it. Please.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:01 PM

Joe F, I agree about the pluses of Usenet style threading. If somebody wants to introduce a thread shift/drift, the thread branches off with replies to that post and the original topic can continue on. You can choose which sub-parts to follow instead of having to read everything.

I don't think there a way Max could do that, though.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:05 PM

Well, it is 'sorta' broke. Where is the auction? Where are the old Member and Photo info? Let alone the new ones.....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:07 PM

nothing, but nothing whatsoever, wrong with the Mudcat format, although the thin edge of the wedge manifested itself some years ago with the introduction of the idiot-friendly automatic blue clicky system.

if you want to post a link, learn some basic HTML imho.

if I can do it, anybody can do it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:11 PM

Mudcat Photos are here (click). They're a members-only feature, so you have to be logged in to see them.

I really miss our intercontinental song circles. We used to gather singers from Europe, North America, and Australia, and sing all night. I was living in a duplex at the time and my next-door neighbor didn't always like it, but I thought it was wonderful. We used PalTalk for our singarounds, and I don't think PalTalk is available anymore. Is there an other service that would allow a singaround, and is there somebody who'd like to organize it?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:14 PM

Google is your friend, Joe! It's still out there...

I stopped playing with it when they updated so it would not work with Win98SE ... :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:22 PM

Mudcat is fine just the way it is.

Russ (still Permanent GUEST after all these years)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:29 PM

Seem to remember Paltalk would not work with Linux either.

While minor mods may help Mudcat - it works fine for it's puprose !!! PURPOSE - an 'ignore' button that would mean one would not have to see any posts from certain Trolls in BS threads would be a bonus! :-0


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:32 PM

Well, I couldn't get to the Members Photo page from the quick links...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:45 PM

Sorcha hasa point ! The stuff IS there , but the selector is blank until you run the cursor alomng to find the headings !


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge on the other browser
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:47 PM

Mudcat is the easiest simplest to use chatsite that I have ever seen.

The only thing that would make a big improvement would be better access for the visually impaired: mudcat is not so great with acoustic readers, so I am told.

Other than that - LEAVE IT ALONE.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:49 PM

Oh, I like Google just fine, Foolestroupe - but I still say that the Filter is my bestest friend...


For years, the Filter was our only search engine.....well, I thought it was years, but this thread indicates the old Forum Search was already working in July, 1997.

...but I still like the Filter best.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 07:05 PM

On the photos page, there's a blank bar where the menu bar used to be. If you mouse over it, you can see where the links go and clicking on them (except for profiles) still works.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: olddude
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 07:12 PM

Try using one of the more advanced forums on a dialup, you could die, have the service, and get cremated before your info got there. One of the nice features about this forum is that our dialup users can still access it and post ...

There is an elegant beauty in simplicity.   I develop pretty robust java web applications for business. They are great for business use but not for the general user.   I would not change a thing other than maybe fix the search when time permits ...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 07:12 PM

Well, whoopee. How are we supposed to know that? Can't it be FIXED???


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 07:15 PM

Auction?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 07:20 PM

As the man said, if it 'aint broke, don't fix it !

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 07:25 PM

Mudcat ain't old enough to go through the change.

No need for HRT.

It is what it is, and it does what it does because we all like it that way.

This subject comes up a couple of times a year, and the vast majority say "We don't give change".

If eveything on my PC were as lean, and mean, it would work at ten times the speed.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 07:41 PM

PalTalk? When I used the shared singing, it was HearMe. I did see something that might work for singing awhile back... I'll see if I can find it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Paul Reade
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 07:48 PM

Thanks for your responses. A few points in reply:-

Apologies - I wasn't aware of the existence of Member Photos. It seems a good facility, but I would suggest that it could be highlighted when new members join, and that a link could be set up from the "From" line, similar to the "PM" link. There don't seem to be many of the "Mudcat regulars" on there though.

I personally do not have a problem with "blue clickies", but from the number of postings with URLs in that do not link, a lot of people do.

Similarly, I don't have a problem with HTML, but others seem to, judging by some of the comments I have seen.

As for spell checking, for long postings, I usually do them in Word first, spell check, read them, post, and then preview. There's always the odd one that gets through though!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 07:53 PM

How are you supposed to know, Sorcha? ASK!

Yeah, I suppose given time and money, most everything that's broken can be fixed. But griping about it just makes for an unpleasant atmosphere. It appears to me that Max just doesn't have the time to fix certain features. HOWEVER, there are several of us who can figure out a workaround for just about any problem. Just ASK!

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 08:20 PM

You're welcome, Sorcha.

I hadn't realized people didn't know about the 'mouse over' thing.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 08:21 PM

Thanks Joe-

I guess not being here for a while I have not noticed. For a while I kept coming back and finding the same version of the dt.

Glad to hear of its annual updates.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 08:25 PM

Joe-
Cant seem to find where the DT can be downloaded.
Is there a link?

Conrad
    The downloadable DT is a problem. The online DT gets updated regularly, but we've had technical problems with Windows version of the database and haven't seen much interest in the DOS version.
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 08:31 PM

I think the DT needs far more songs of Nazis and WhiteSupremacist as well as ones about people with B.O.

I have recently learned in a thread that we all need to be be more open and that we need to share with those we disagree with. I think Ron Olesko and Don Firth will back me up on this.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 08:35 PM

Well, thank you, I'm sorry, etc, but a LOT of times when we ask we are just totally shut down. It seems to be more and more of a don't ask place.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: ranger1
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 08:39 PM

I think it depends on how politely the question is phrased.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 08:43 PM

Sorcha, you don't ask - you condemn. If you ask HOW to do something, we can figure out a way. If you ask WHY the search engine isn't fixed or why the graphic is missing for the photo buttons, what answer can we give you?

Basically, the answer to your "why" question is always the same - Max is overburdened with a lot of things and doesn't have the time he once had, and Jeff is gone completely. So yeah, things get broke and we can't fix 'em - but we CAN figure out workarounds, and we like doing that.

Maybe Jeri or somebody will have time to put photo buttons in the FAQ or somewhere. I'm tied up this weekend. Maybe we should have a PermaThread of Mudcat workarounds. You'd be amazed at the things that have been posted over the years. Hint: many are in the FAQ, particularly in the first ten messages.


-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 08:56 PM

Mudcat works for me as it is.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 09:01 PM

"I personally do not have a problem with "blue clickies", but from the number of postings with URLs in that do not link, a lot of people do.
Similarly, I don't have a problem with HTML, but others seem to, judging by some of the comments I have seen.
"

I see the ones you refer to, but I doubt that the solution is to 'automate' everything...I don't even know how much of the necessary HTML could BE automated. I know 'programs' which can do a lot of it (like Word...or even free programs like some of these... and clever little programs that will colorize your text
like hfc font colorizer ....and the wonderful live spell checker TinySpell ...or even sHTML for step saving.)

And.. I DO understand that some with learning problems like dyslexia do have real difficulties with spelling and related areas, but it makes me sad when folks will not even BOTHER with things like normal punctuation and capital letters...(OR WHO USE CAPS FOR EVERYTHING)...but Mudcat already does more than some sites.

...(and, as a side note, Max did experiment very early on with the idea of allowing folks to edit their own posts...for about a week. Then it became obvious that it would lead to various abuses. There are moderators who will correct serious errors...or, one can just C&P their post and correct it, and a mod will delete the bad one soon.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 09:31 PM

If we made HTML so easy that everyone could do it, how could Bill D show off?

Er....sorry, Bill.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Alice
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 09:43 PM

Don't mess with success!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: artbrooks
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 09:44 PM

I have no problems with it as it is...it fits Luddites like me quite well.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 09:49 PM

Joe, the only thing with all caps is some visually impaired such as my sister find it much easier to read than upper and lower case.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 09:49 PM

"...but I still like the Filter best."

It's Filter Tips for you then!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 10:39 PM

All the new-fangled features tend to increase load times--usually without any appreciable benefit. You, with the lastest and fastest teen toys, may not see much difference, but a great number of us would.

Furthermore, glitz features invite abuse. For the most part, I'm quite happy reading messages that consist only of text, without gratuitous "personalization" or foofiness that serves primarily to gratify the poster's need for attention--attention which is usually undeserved--not to assist the reader. If the latter were a priority to posters, they might take more care with their spelling, punctuation and capitalization, and avoid the trendy-but-distracting textese abbreviations.


There are only a few features that I would find desirable here:

* Allow one to upload/archive scans of scores. This should be a moderated feature, and messages should contain only links, not embedded images, so message load times remain unaffected and messages remain uncluttered. You usually only need to see an image once (if at all), or on demand.

* Similarly for sound recordings/MIDIs. As others have said, there are other services which support this and which can be linked. But there are folks (like me) who don't care to set up an account on these other venues just to post a sound clip now and then. One can email a MIDI to Joe, but it would be nice to have more automated support, and lots of folks don't know how to properly create ABCs or MIDIs of the tunes they know.

* Allow one to specify the input encoding for message text, so that text posted in foreign languages or from word processed text appears more reliably as intended.

* Have the 1-day message listing actually encompass a full 24-hour period (better still, 27). I nearly always have to switch the default search to 3-day to reliably see the new messages. Really, I'd like a 2-day setting, and for the time period setting to be sticky from session to session. It would also be handy to have a marker indicating the dividing point since your last listing.

* Provide a link in the message header or footer to the message itself, so one can more easily copy the link location of a message one is viewing for cross-linking in a new post. Currently, one can note the sender and date, scroll to the top, and copy the link from the date field of the corresponding entry in the list of messages, but a more direct means would be appreciated. (In fact, I only just figured this out this moment--doh!) One can also copy the "Printer Friendly" link, but it's more useful to others to have the message in the thread context, not in isolation (without even a link back to the thread).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 10:51 PM

I still think we need more equality for all sides.   We don't have a special section for those with BO and we need one for at least one member. How else can we grow if all sides are not given a voice....or a stench?   I think we need to supply little Anne Frank Drums for the humor impaired and an additional translator for Brits and Americans.

Or we could just leave things alone except for trying to fix what's broke whenever da' Max lad gets a chance..................

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 11:10 PM

"...some visually impaired ... find it much easier to read than upper and lower case."

The better solution to that is either enlarging the entire font size (in Opera, you can specify size & font for every area of the browser!), or using an area magnifier.... after all, most folks are not going to type in caps, and reading your own typing won't help much....unless I misunderstand the issue.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 11:13 PM

ummm... "how could Bill D show off?"

I show off by singing "The Key of R" ... ☺ ... offering HTML tips and clever programs is a 'public service'


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Mooh
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 11:28 PM

It's like this amazing public park, meeting place, and library where there are no worldly worries. I like it here a lot.

I do wish it did automatic blue clickies, and the forum search never works for me, but my Mum always said beggars can't be choosers, and Max is like a prince among commoners.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Kampervan
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 01:09 AM

Leave it alone.
Mudcat works cos it's run on a shoestring.

I don't know how Max and his helpers do it but they do.

There's hardly any advertising or pushy pop-ups; it's a nice (commercially) clean site.

Sure it's quirky, but all the more interesting for that. I don't want another Face book or Twitter or Bebo.

Mudcat is easy to understand and like it.

k/van


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: treewind
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 01:52 AM

"here is the kicker, photos, video, music ... they take space. Max would have to pay a much higher rate then he does right now to house all of that stuff."

Correct in principle, but it's usually bandwith, rather than storage, that's the dominating cost factor.

I'm with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" brigade, with a couple of qualifications/comments:

  • A project as old as Mudcat can wind up with code so complex, because of all the tweaks and additions made over the years, that it becomes difficult to maintain.
  • Whereas CMS (Content Management Systems) were quite hard to use a few years ago, they are becoming easier to use and more reliable and functional than they were, and many of the are free.
  • Some desirable new features might be easier to do (available ready-made) with a CMS.
  • For the DT, freely available web-linked database technology is possibly far better that whatever is being used now, which I believe is quite old software.
Against that is the enormous overhead of converting everything to a new system...
Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 02:09 AM

Before I joined Mudcat I knew nothing about HTML but I got onto the various HTML practice threads and learned heaps. I even made a Word document with them all in it to sit in a very accessible place and have sent it (along with the URL to the Blickyfier) to others with similar voids in their knowledge and I am still experimenting along lines that Joe once suggested.

I was taught to be careful with anything I composed for public attention and have learned to live with my errors. By and large, the current Mudcat does what I ask of it.

K.I.S.S. is a wonderful principle.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Haruo
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 02:12 AM

I would like to see it Unicode compliant, but other than that have no desire to see change. Face it, these are acoustic folks here.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 06:43 AM

Of course it should change, and evolve. But who can afford the equipment, the time, and would we complain that it was no longer traditional?

It serves a need, and is well served by the membership. While Max keeps it going, that is sufficient. IMNSHO.

Thankyou Max.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 07:12 AM

Thanks Joe!
Thats the Issue with me- I would feel better about contributing if there was a downloadable DT that operated independently of the servers.
I would have no problem using a dos version. Yes it may be archaic but getting it out there in any form even a large text file would accomplish an important function.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 02:09 PM

Being on dialup, and hating having to learn about new software and things all the time, I like things to be kept simple. Also, I know it makes life easier for Max. Into my fifteenth year with Mudcat I've never ever missed anything very much. It provides an easy way for folk enthusiasts to communicate. Everything else is extra - not quite superfluous, but extra.

Please don't mess with it!

Having said that, I of course second any and every of catspaw's suggestions ...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 03:45 PM

No! It's traditional...

:D (eG)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 03:46 PM

LOL..if we all fall into Spaw's, Susanne, maybe he'll quit scratching up the litter!**bg**

Artful Codger, thanks for "foofiness!" Love that term!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 03:53 PM

OK, ok...the format is fine. I don't think it needs to be 'upgraded' as much as just repaired.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 03:54 PM

I just spent 20 minutes (on and off) typing why I hate other forum formats and how incredibly annoying all the whistles and bells are, then clicked "send".
Blowed if I know where it's gone...


Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 03:56 PM

Echo- that old song with the line "It's good enough for me."

Fix Search, and no fancy stuff.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 04:13 PM

I've just been looking at another forum.
Every post is an individual entity opening in its own window. If somebody wants to reply to another posting, they end up quoting the whole content of the post, then make their "three word" comment.
What a waste of space!
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 04:15 PM

What's wrong with old-fashioned? Old-fashioned music, old-fashioned Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Mooh
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 04:19 PM

Ah..the Tao of Mudcat.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: artbrooks
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 04:22 PM

Well, if I win $150 million in the Powerball lottery tonight, I'll hire Max a gofer to help out....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 04:40 PM

Said this before: I'd like to see what you get everyplace else on interweb, and that's a PROFILE PAGE immediately accessible by simply *clicking on the posters name on any post they make in any thread.

The reasons this would be beneficial to all the folk musicians posting here on the biggest folk music forum on the web - with all it's Google and "share thread" stuff going on - aught to be utterly self evident. But just in-case it isn't, it equals instantaneous international advertising for anyone here who might want to include a link to their personal musical biography, their MySpace, or YouTube or their CD promotion site.

I really feel this site lets it's membership down here. Any other site on the interweb has a profile page offering such options as an *automatic default*. This is the only forum I know, that doesn't offer it as a standard feature, immediately accessible to any mildly curious party just happening to pass by.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 04:45 PM

EDIT:

Every other FREE site on the interweb I KNOW has a profile page offering such options as an *automatic default*. This is the only FREE forum I know, that doesn't offer it as a standard feature, immediately accessible to any mildly curious party just happening to pass by.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 05:56 PM

CS - any mudcatters who want to use the site for gratuitous self-publication have never had problems doing so.
Some of it is up-front - SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION THREAD...
Others just use every posting they make as an advert for themself - Dick Miles is a current master of the technique.
Others on the forum welcome the security of relative obscurity, and the fact that we can tell people where we will be without also advertising to burglars, the fact that our home may be unoccupied on a specific date.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Haruo
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 05:58 PM

There is a profile page for each member, but it basically just shows a list of their posts, e.g. when I click on McGrath's I am confronted with almost 33,000 links. I agree with Guest CS that profile pages would be nice.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 06:04 PM

CS - any mudcatters who want to use the site for gratuitous self-publication have never had problems doing so.
Some of it is up-front - SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION THREAD...
Others just use every posting they make as an advert for themself - Dick Miles is a current master of the technique.
Others on the forum welcome the security of relative obscurity, and the fact that we can tell people where we will be without also advertising to burglars, the fact that our home may be unoccupied on a specific date.

Geoff,

a) Sure, long term regular users may know of the SHAMELESS thread which you have to choose to specifically access (not really the way advertising usually works). I've been here over a year and only recently noticed it, and probably won't avail myself of it too often. But casual passers by, interested by all the Google & Share Thread addititions stuff won't be aware of that thread.

b) The security comes in the free choice (available in all forums) not to divulge personal info!

Woof ;-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 06:20 PM

It's the difference between the fraction of a second's click of a mouse, and a passing Googler thinking "Hmm I wonder if there's a members page somewhere? Now, where would that be?" ... then them actively searching for a members page, discovering it and accessing the desired members info ... meanwhile most internet users are long gone off to somewhere more clickable.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 06:29 PM

But isn't that like waving a stick in front of a puppy. They only bite at it because you are waving it. Put it down in a corner and you prove they are really not interested...?
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 06:31 PM

It's the content of a thread that is interesting, not what unsubstantiated and invented rubbish a poster can put in a profile.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 06:37 PM

"But isn't that like waving a stick in front of a puppy. They only bite at it because you are waving it. Put it down in a corner and you prove they are really not interested...?"

Err, no. Advertising is all about encouraging folk who might be otherwise uncertain, to take a look!

All I'm saying is that every other internet forum on the web, has a Profile Page accessible at the click of a posters name, as standard.

So, here of all places (especially as Max has promoted the maximum internet exposure of 'Google Search' and 'Share Thread' elements) it aught to be appreciated by the numerous artists who are members & contribute regularly!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 06:41 PM

"not what unsubstantiated and invented rubbish a poster can put in a profile."

Sure, but crap gets posted all the time by GUESTS here. Personally I'd be in favour of Members only (CS = Crowsister in absence btw.) like you have at other forums.

I do sometimes wonder how much other stuff peeps do online here? It is indeed the land that the internet forgot.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 07:29 PM

I like the simplicity and accessibility of Mudcat. I sometimes wish there was just a little less tolerance of abusive/offensive material.

What I think is REALLY great is the complete lack of the annoying ads and pop-ups that have taken over so many sites.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 10:19 PM

I am still very concerned about our lack of outreach to all those out there who may need this folk forum. I am very troubled that the size of Mudcat has allowed a bully pulpit. So let's have more content for trans-sexual cross dressers and egg addicted necrophiliacs with a passion for English Concertinas.

And let's send the little Anne Frank Drum Kits to every poster who suggests that the meaning of folk has any meaning.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 11:34 PM

But it might not be appreciated, Spaw:

...it aught to be appreciated by the numerous artists who are members & contribute regularly!

??? Not sure what you meant, CS, as the artists members I know of seem to be very appreciative of Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Tom F
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 12:50 AM

In my occasional visits to this forum, I appreciate the information and especially the incredible, and sometimes esoteric, knowledge of the posters. None of that would be lost in a newer format. Neither does a newer format mean there would necessarily be pop-up ads. That is an independent decision.

In terms of ease of maintenance, one of the attractions of newer tools is that they have automated a lot of features as well as adding new ones. Generally speaking, with computer technology, maintaining old systems just gets harder over time as the external environment advances. In the production IT environments I work in, we generally find that being more than two versions behind current increases workload more than upgrading. What this means in terms of Mudcat would require specific analysis of the tool sets in use.

As far as the value of an update, I think embedding adds a lot to the newer sites. Being able to jump directly to a music or video example can enrich a post. I notice several posts say, "leave it alone, except for (insert poster's particular interest here)."

Possibly the biggest issue is whether the site wants to attract a new and younger audience. Based on many years of experience managing technology for university students, I can say with confidence that today's college-age generation (at least in the US) expects a certain level of graphics and a richer tool set. Creating rich media is second nature to many of them.

We are at the early stage of yet another major advance in web-based technology roughly equivalent to the development of the graphical user interface. Newer tools, such as wordpress, will probably adapt to these new developments. Sites built on older technology will be ill-equipped to adapt. As one example, think how visualizations based on geo-tagging and mapping could enrich discussions of folk tradition by graphically showing how lyric variations have spread. New tools are making visualization available to everyone. Text will remain important, but it will no longer be the nearly exclusive means for dialogue that it has been.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Gurney
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 01:31 AM

I like the status quo, and I don't want Mudcat so complicated that it goes down. I get withdrawal syndrome.
The only change I'd like is for the logic to be a bit furrier when I search for a thread or song.
If anyone wants a spellchecker, there is one on some browsers (Opera's is a bit simple, though)and the free download of Wordweb sits on the toolbar and is pretty complete, with both English and American spelling. It's a dictionary rather than a spellchecker.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Paul Reade
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 05:12 AM

Thanks Tom F. That's just the sort of thing I envisaged when I started this thread.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 06:42 AM

I'm really ambivalent about this, as a new Mudcatter.

On the one hand, the setup is very simple. So simple in fact that when I'm at work, the site isn't recognised by our corporate servers as a "social networking, discussion group or personal site" and is therefore not blocked.

So I can look at it at lunch times and when I take a coffee break, unlike almost all the other sites I use :-). And it's packed full of so much information (as long as you can find it)!

On the other hand, I do find the user interface antediluvian...even more so than, say, the Compuserve Forums I used to use back in the late 1980s. Therefore encouraging young people to use it may prove very difficult. My elder daughter took one look and said, "bleugh, I'm never going there again".

So I have this image of the user community here ageing and eventually dying out with little or no young blood coming in, which I think will be a great shame. Youngsters simply will not use the site in significant numbers. I fully agree with Tom F on that.

I appreciate the problems of operating and maintaining a resource/ discussion site like this on a voluntary basis as I ran sites for a "Learned Society" and for a climbing club myself for several years back in the mid 90s...but I do wonder how many people under 40, or even under 50, are members here, or use the site regulary?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 07:01 AM

Both Rob's and Tom F's excellent posts have given me a lot of food for thought. How much of our status-quo-ism could simply be hidden technophobia, or rather, techno-reluctance? It takes time to learn new stuff, and who has that to spare? My own computer skills are adequate for what I do, but they're basic. I don't push the boundaries of user-dom so probably don't know what I'm missing regarding the "richer tool set" that is second nature to the kids. (I'm a Baby-Boomer, like so many of us here.) It's a point to ponder.

Rob, when your daughter went "bleahhh" and said she wasn't coming back again, was it because of the website architecture itself, or something in the threads that she didn't like? Some of the "bully pulpit" ones (nice phrase, Spaw) would definitely put off newbies of any age. Also (if you don't mind telling us) how old is your daughter? Not trying to grill you, just curious. The age-gap is certainly a factor in folk music itself. Unfortunately.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 07:02 AM

Tom F

Sorry, but while I can see that you make what are probably good and useful points, I think you may have rather shot yourself in the foot! I'm very computer-literate, but I don't understand a lot of the terms you use, and others may not either(?). For example, I have no idea what this actually means:

"...think how visualizations based on geo-tagging and mapping could enrich discussions of folk tradition by graphically showing how lyric variations have spread...."

... so I have no idea if I want it or not!

Maybe if you could explain these benefits in more everyday non-jargon language, some of us non-programmer types might agree with some of what you suggest...

Thanks
Sue


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 07:04 AM

...I don't even know what "visualizations" in this context means...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 07:30 AM

Rob, when your daughter went "bleahhh" and said she wasn't coming back again, was it because of the website architecture itself, or something in the threads that she didn't like? Some of the "bully pulpit" ones (nice phrase, Spaw) would definitely put off newbies of any age. Also (if you don't mind telling us) how old is your daughter? Not trying to grill you, just curious. The age-gap is certainly a factor in folk music itself. Unfortunately.

It was definitely the website architecture. There's nothing in the threads on here that comes remotely close to the sort of stuff she sees on other forums. It was things like having to "make a blue clicky" to post a link, or use HTML to embolden or italicise something.

She's 21. Her generation (unless they're web developers) have never encountered HTML, and "expect" features like posting links directly just to "be there". Other sites I (and she) use just recognise a URL and make the link automatically, for example. Her generation don't necessarily have short attention spans (I've seen her working for hours, totally engrossed in book research, when writing History essays) but they are truly impatient, in spades, when it comes to technology. A lot of her mates won't even bother using a site if it takes more than a second or two to load...they'll just move on to something else. I've seen them gasp in frustration and move on to something else when it's barely registered with me that a load is in progress!

And there definitely seems to be a folk revival among more "musically discerning" youngsters...most of the bands her friends play in do quite "folky" stuff. More Fairport Convention than Copper Family, true, but they're leaning in the direction. More of them are ripe for "connecting with tradition" but if the tools available for doing it are too archaic (in their eyes) they simply won't.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 07:38 AM

Great and clear explanation, Rob, thanks.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 03:27 PM

Rob Naylor reported:

More of them (young adults) are ripe for "connecting with tradition" but if the tools available for doing it are too archaic (in their eyes) they simply won't.

Most of the modifications I've seen suggested in this thread (search improvements excepted), if I understand what's being advocated, would turn ME off, just like the interface at FaceBook and MySpace (neither of which I use any more, after a fairly short try) and a lot of other sites.

Most particularly, what I like at Mudcat is the immediate listing of current threads, and easy movement "downstream" within a given thread once I've opened it. In many other sites, it's difficult to find out what's available. And a given subject or post takes up too much screen space because of excess reliance on visual features, when what I want is just the text, like Mudcat.

If there were modifications a la many of the suggestions, I'm sure I would come on board Mudcat far less frequently, and with less pleasure.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 05:02 PM

I don't think it's an "either/ or". Some things could be improved without losing the essential "textiness" of the forum.

As I said above, how many Mudcatters are under 50? I know I'm not :-)

Certainly, the site could stay exactly as it is, but the number of new, younger, users would be very small, and eventually all we oldsters will disappear into the woodwork leaving a site with almost no users.

Just consider that my older daughter's boyfriend is in a folk band that were auditioned for the Glastonbury "Up & Coming" stage, 2 of her best friends at university are in a folk band auditioned for the same thing, and 2 of her best friends from school are in a folk-ish band that actually passed the audition for Glastonbury, and I think we can see that we're cutting off a significant potential new "constituency" by keeping it "not fixed". OK, what they're playing is not "strict" folk (some of it is folk-rock) but they're ripe for learning and developing in that direction.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Paul Reade
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 05:21 PM

"...but the number of new, younger, users would be very small, and eventually all we oldsters will disappear into the woodwork ..." . Bit like Folk Clubs really!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: bobad
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 06:02 PM

I must say that Rob Naylor makes some very good points.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 06:15 PM

I agree with Rob and/or his daughter in finding the blue-clicky routine rather a kluge. In fact, I have made a note of what it does, and I just key in the "...href..." stuff by hand. It would indeed be still nicer if -- as in (pardon the expression) Facebook -- the machinery itself recognized URLs & turned them into links.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 07:24 PM

"It would indeed be still nicer if .... the machinery itself recognized URLs & turned them into links."

That is the one change I'd be willing to see....sadly, there are 'some' who flatly refuse to TRY to learn to make one.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 08:14 PM

I would agree with Bill on that one but I think we need to address the needs of geriactric Albanian hat blockers who cannot stop whistling during intercourse and are fanatical about Morris Dancing naked while smeared with Marmite and yak dung.   

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 08:46 PM

Most of the people who post here, regardless of age or computer experience, are too casual in their posting to even embrace the techie features that already exist, or to learn the trivial HTML codes for simple formatting. So I seriously doubt they'd put in the extra intelligence needed to effectively support geo-tagging and other such fancy features.

Advocates of "progress" always cite the potential of new technologies, while ignoring that these wonder features seldom live up to the hype. Experience has shown time and again that these features are more likely to be used to ANNOY the user base, or to complicate the user interface with doohickies, abbreviations and techiespeak. Instead of enriching our lives, they tend to just waste our time.

Advocates also ignore that each site tends to implement the same features differently, and to change their interface with annoying frequency. Lack of consistency and interface thrashing are among the most frequent complaints I hear from mature users--those who have seen enough of these "advancements" unleashed to groan when a new one is touted.

The demographic here is influenced less by the "dated" presentation than by that fact that folkies do tend to be older people. Cater to the glitz-oriented younger crowd, and you'll mainly chase away the older folks who make this site a content-rich success. We LIKE the fact that the interface is straight-forward, uncluttered, content-focused and devoid of glitz. We like that you don't have to be a techno-nerd to understand most of the features. Let us have our little oasis of sanity amid a world gone berserk with meaningless "presentation".


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Tom F
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 08:54 PM

I apologize if I used unfamiliar terminology in my post. I guess being around technology so much of the time has taken its toll.   Basically, visualizations turn data into pictures. People are familiar with charts and graphs, which are common enough but were very time-consuming to produce before the computer. But new forms of visualizations are being created too. Here are a couple examples.

This first example is a word cloud, which is, in a sense, a picture of a concordance. This one is based on word frequencies in the sacred harp. I find it interesting that "sinner" is not more prominent.

http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/visualizations/sacred-harp-word-list

This next one is a chart but with time as an animated variable. I've often wondered with all the problems and disparities in the world if we are making any progress at all. This visualization shows that progress has occurred in life expectancy and that it is not limited to the wealthy countries, even though disparities exist throughout the decades presented.

http://www.gapminder.org/videos/200-years-that-changed-the-world/

I don't have access to a slow connection to test these, but I suspect they may not work well on dial-up.

Tools that create these visualizations do not need to be on discussion boards, but I think increasingly people on discussion boards will want to embed these graphical "arguments" (created elsewhere) into their posts. For Mudcat, the more pertinent examples probably would be to embed a music or video example in a note. This is routine at boards such as the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum.

I wanted to illustrate this point because I had not explained it well; however, my main point continues to center on the matter of whether MudCat wants to appeal to a younger, computer literate generation. There is a lot of information here that is worth preserving, I think.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Beer
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 09:11 PM

Very interesting thread. Happy to see it is still running.
No further comments.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Melissa
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 09:53 PM

It surprises me to see talk of prettying-up the site to look more appealing to younger folks. The info/discussion/music here isn't mainstream and I guess it strikes me as strange to think of Mudcat looking like a trendy mainstream site.

I don't know where/how the rest of you got your music, but my path wasn't mainstream or trendy and I'm not sure I'd appreciate the experience as much if it was handed to me without Me having to adjust myself to becoming absorbent.
Do you think making this look like other sites would enhance what we've got going here? Isn't it ok for youngers to go to some effort to learn how to learn/participate on a site that doesn't look like the ones they're used to seeing?

Those youngsters are hypothetical.
Is there anything wrong with having a site that's comfortable to most of the members who are here now?

Max will fancify it when the time comes and I'm content waiting until then. I'm in no hurry to see the discussions filled up with cute little smileys, flyby text-talk and teenage code. I prefer conversations that involve full words and complete sentences.


(probably not phrased clearly..but it's a sincere question)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 10:21 PM

Whether or not the technology is old, I don't see any problem with Mudcat. The layout is such that it is easy to view the current threads, and even though the search function is sporadic, I have no problem using the filter if I want to find something. Links aren't automatic, but it doesn't take a genius to do a blue clicky, and for those who can't manage it - it's rare that another catter doesn't step in and fix it for them. Mudcat isn't mainstream or trendy - so be it. I rather like our cozy little community, and I don't see why anybody would be deterred by the format. Do we really need profiles, emoticons, etc.?   I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Beer
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 10:35 PM

Melissa,Maryrrf, you two I agree with a hundred and fifty percent. Very, very well said.
ad.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 02:10 AM

Joe: I e-mailed you about my account, but you haven't replied - and from the tone of your comments I imagine that you either haven't seen it or read it.

RobN: "As I said above, how many Mudcatters are under 50? I know I'm not :-)"

I'm one, but I'm definitely in a minority.

"Certainly, the site could stay exactly as it is, but the number of new, younger, users would be very small, and eventually all we oldsters will disappear into the woodwork leaving a site with almost no users."

I think this is true.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 03:35 AM

Melissa: It surprises me to see talk of prettying-up the site to look more appealing to younger folks. The info/discussion/music here isn't mainstream and I guess it strikes me as strange to think of Mudcat looking like a trendy mainstream site.

Very few people are talking about prettying it up. It's the CLUNKINESS that's putting off young people (the young people who *aren't* into mainstream music but who nevertheless expect a certain level of performance from their technology...such as auto-linking and auto-quoting).

Those youngsters are hypothetical.
Is there anything wrong with having a site that's comfortable to most of the members who are here now?

.....I'm in no hurry to see the discussions filled up with cute little smileys, flyby text-talk and teenage code. I prefer conversations that involve full words and complete sentences.


Well there are loads of threads here bemoaning the fact that young people don't seem to appreciate folk music, or that very few youngsters attend sessions, etc. Some of my posts above point out that there *is* a constituency of youngsters that are into this type of music, but that they don't find the "scene" very welcoming (whether on-line or offline). So they're off doing their own thing, when with a *little* effort at welcome from those of us already there, they'd happily embrace the traditions.

And the ones I'm referring to aren't into text-talk, fly-bys etc anyway. In fact *I* used "txt spk" on my mobile phone many years ago, when there was no predictive text and you were limited to 128 characters in an SMS. I also used it in dial-up Bulletin Boards back in the 80s, again, to save time/ bandwidth. A lot of it derives from telex shorthand. My kids find it *quaint*...they use full words and sentences on their phones, for example, because predictive text makes it easier to do that than painstakingly enter, say, C U L8r!

Tom F: ...however, my main point continues to center on the matter of whether MudCat wants to appeal to a younger, computer literate generation.

In some ways, they're *less* computer literate than those of us who've been using computers for 30+ years. That's why they're looking for automated linking and auto-quoting (ie differentiating a quote from a previous message automatically rather than, as I've had to do here, go through putting in HTML tags). They mainly don't even know of HTML, for instance, whereas my generation of computer-users is generally quite comfortable with it, because we *had* to use it in the early days.

Maryrrf: Links aren't automatic, but it doesn't take a genius to do a blue clicky, and for those who can't manage it - it's rare that another catter doesn't step in and fix it for them. Mudcat isn't mainstream or trendy - so be it. I rather like our cozy little community, and I don't see why anybody would be deterred by the format.

That's a bit of an "argument from incredulity". My daughter is definitely deterred by the clunkiness and what she pervceives as "user unfriendliness". She simply finds things like embedding HTML tags, having to actually "make" a link, and the very crude search facilities extremely frustrating...I was just getting: "why? That's crazy....everywhere else in the universe just embeds links automatically".

Imagine yourself as a driver, used to getting into your car and turning a key to start it (or, often these days, putting a card in a slot and entering a code). Then you're faced with a car where, to get it to run, you have to open the bonnet (hood), prime the carburettor, position the exhaust valve lifter, manually set the piston locations then close the bonnet and go around to the front of the vehicle, insert a cranked handle into a slot and turn over the engine by hand to start it. All while it's raining hard. Fine for a laugh, but you wouldn't want to have to do it every time you wanted to make a journey, when every other car you know of starts with a simple key turn.

That's what using this site feels like to them. They're absolutely NOT after glitz,and I see poster after poster above making this "straw man" arument. I can't see anywhere where people above advocating change have suggested making the site "whizzy" or "trendy"...just useable to people who expect a certain level of automation in their technology.

The "cozy little community" is fine now, but if it doesn't attract younger people, it'll die, like all the Newsgroups I used to use did, as people drifted away. The Newsgroup "rec.climbing.uk" used to be a vibrant community...then the younger ones moved over to "ukclimbing.com" as it was easier to use the forums there. The middle-aged ones missed the youngsters and mainly followed, leaving a rump of "don't see why we need to change" people who eventually, one by one, abandoned the group as the traffic diminished to the level where it wasn't worth looking at more than once every couple of weeks. Then not at all. Very sad, as the thread histories there contained a wealth of useful information.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Melissa
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 04:52 AM

What's auto-quote, Rob?
Does it copy the entire text of the post you are responding to?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 05:16 AM

"predictive text makes it easier to do that"

Hahahaha! I find typing on my mobile in full easier (and faster) than trying to negotiate that interface...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 05:49 AM

Just to respond to the 'blue clicky' and other HTML-ish trouble some seem to find hard to overcome: there's an add-on for Firefox BBcode Xtra that makes it very easy to add either simple Bulletin Board code or HTML for use in different forum formats (I (over-) used a few above, only two mouse-clicks)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 05:55 AM

When used to 'regular' forum software Mudcat is indeed a bit bare and ponderous, with a non-functioning search function and all that.

There's a lot to be said for allowing (a limited) time to edit posts for typos, inserting images, easier to handle link insertion etc. Most forums allow you to see (more) quickly where and how many new posts have been made, how many people are actually reading the thread, which is useful.

It works as it is, yes, but that doesn't mean it can't move with the times and work a lot better.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:16 AM

Yes - limited editing time pleeeeeeasssee!! I keep seeing typo errors or word-repetitions, which magically only seem to appear to me AFTER I've submitted my eternal pearls of widsom.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:33 AM

"The "cozy little community" is fine now, but if it doesn't attract younger people, it'll die,"

Rob, I honestly don't know how many of the members here would like to attract a lot of younger members. There is definitely a seeming objection to anything being made less counterintuitive (and that's the main thing younger internet users expect - efficient technology which is neatly organised and simple to navigate in order to access exactly the information you want) especially when you consider the presumptions about what young people like or want to find on an internet site such-as "glitz", "bling", "fancy stuff" and so-on.

That's not intended to diss. the older members. As my interest is in traditional unaccompanied singing, I was interested specifically in learning *from* the older members who post (the old traddies here) - but I think I'm probably quite unusual for someone in their 30's/20's or younger, who might be generally curious about folk music and interested in joining a folk music forum.

I doubt I'd have bothered with the site myself if I was just looking to chat about 'folk music' in general, rather than speak specifically to people with experience and knowledge of traditional singing. If I was interested in 'folk music' and especially the stuff being put out by young artists today, I'd probably have looked elsewhere.

The site is very cumbersome and disjointed, it is something the average young punter will go "wtf?" at, and sail on by (I initially went "wtf?" at it, but didn't sail on by for reasons stated). But I think attracting younger members, is possibly not something that the folks here are too bothered about - it would inevitably change the feel of the place if the membership included lots more young people, and I imagine that might not be desired? And indeed, I guess that's fair enough.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 07:03 AM

Foolestroupe: "predictive text makes it easier to do that"

Hahahaha! I find typing on my mobile in full easier (and faster) than trying to negotiate that interface...


I used to find that was the case on my old Nokia 6310...the predictive text was truly appalling. However, for the last 4-5 years, the Nokia predictive text system has been excellent. Far quicker than trying to do txt spk shortcuts.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 07:16 AM

Crow sister: that's the main thing younger internet users expect - efficient technology which is neatly organised and simple to navigate in order to access exactly the information you want) especially when you consider the presumptions about what young people like or want to find on an internet site such-as "glitz", "bling", "fancy stuff" and so-on.

Exactly. All they want is hassle-free navigation/ use....I don't know where these "straw man" ideas that they want "bling" and "glitz" come from

Crow Sister: The site is very cumbersome and disjointed, it is something the average young punter will go "wtf?" at, and sail on by (I initially went "wtf?" at it, but didn't sail on by for reasons stated). But I think attracting younger members, is possibly not something that the folks here are too bothered about - it would inevitably change the feel of the place if the membership included lots more young people, and I imagine that might not be desired? And indeed, I guess that's fair enough.

You stuck with it because your motivation to learn from the older community overcame your "wtf-ness". My kids are probably a decade to a decade and a half younger than you, and consequently have even less patience than you in a site with a high level of "clunkiness". You probably at least came across HTML in your introduction to computing. My youngest (17) had never even heard of it until last night, though she spends hours on the computer every day. It's just a tool to her, and like a toaster or an oven, she expects it to work intuitively!

Maybe you're right about younger members not being particularly wanted (they're certainly not *understood* judging by some of the comments here)...but I find that a shame. I've always been against "age-group ghetto-isation". Most of my climbing and music companions are in their 20s and 30s and a look at my Facebook Friends list will show a broad range of (unrelated peoples') ages from early 20s to late 70s...which is the way I like it. Cross-generational fertilisation of knowledge and ideas (in both directions) is something very close to my heart.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Rob Naylor
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 07:22 AM

The two posts above are mine, too, sorry: I'm on a different computer and didn't remember!

Peter Laban: There's a lot to be said for allowing (a limited) time to edit posts for typos, inserting images, easier to handle link insertion etc. Most forums allow you to see (more) quickly where and how many new posts have been made, how many people are actually reading the thread, which is useful.

It works as it is, yes, but that doesn't mean it can't move with the times and work a lot better.


Exactly. and I believe that's ALL that most of those who are pro an update are looking for....and a simple, functional search facility, of course! I'm astounded that stuff I search for here, using several of the options, and often with very specific wording, doesn't show at all, yet a more general query on Google will often flag several Mudcat items at the top of the listing. In fact, I go to Google first now!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 08:46 AM

"You probably at least came across HTML in your introduction to computing. My youngest (17) had never even heard of it until last night, though she spends hours on the computer every day. It's just a tool to her, and like a toaster or an oven, she expects it to work intuitively!"

Rob, I'm not any different to your daughter - took some piccies with my DSLR the other day. Plugged it into the Mac. Photo's uploaded in nice orderly dated files all magically by themselves! No mess no fuss no hassle, job done. That's my idea of 'computing'!

"I've always been against "age-group ghetto-isation". Most of my climbing and music companions are in their 20s and 30s ... Cross-generational fertilisation of knowledge and ideas (in both directions) is something very close to my heart."

I'd agree with this too. And I certainly think a broader diversity in the age-range of regular posters would benefit the site overall.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Mr Red
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 09:03 AM

Ain't no-one (other than Max) heard the acronym KISS?

My contention after 40 years programming (is FORTRAN archaic enough for you?) that: "complexity" rises to the square of the number of lines (or elements).

The more you do, the even more (to the square law) you have to check. If you don't believe me - just look at Micro$oft's record on bug fixes.

There are those that disagree with the square law, and put it at cubic or quartic. All I would say in that respect is: the number of failure modes is exceedingly vast by comparison with the successful functionality you wanted in the first place. And you can't imagine all of the failure mechanisms in advance - it is people dependant and there are a lot of people out there!

Max does what he can based on resources, not ability (IMNSHO).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Rob Naylor
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 10:10 AM

I appreciate that this site is maintained on a voluntary basis, and that those involved with it also have to earn a living.

I also agree with keeping it simple... but not so simple that it actually becomes more complex for users who are perhaps patient with "clunkiness" than those of us who grew up when *everything* in the computer world was clunky.

And I too programmed in FORTRAN, once upon a time, so I know how complexity can mushroom. I also know that modern PLs can be a lot easier to use than FORTRAN, which is why I haven't touched it for 15 years.

These days there are a lot of standard routines and modules available which could be used for some of the suggested enhancements. It's not as if (despite the comments from some) anyone's suggesting an all-singing/ dancing Java-based site with animations, glitz and bling all over it.

A few robust mods would do it. Done whenever Max can fit them in...but not so far into the future that all we geriatrics have died off and there's only tumbleweed blowing amongst the headstones in here.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Rob Naylor
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 10:11 AM

EDIT: perhaps less patient with "clunkiness".....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 10:12 AM

I doubt that a slicker site would attract anyone to folk music. And I suspect that, if you are a folkie, the slickness (or lack of same) in a site makes much difference.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: MMario
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 11:04 AM

it was posted:
Every other FREE site on the interweb I KNOW has a profile page offering such options as an *automatic default*. This is the only FREE forum I know, that doesn't offer it as a standard feature, immediately accessible to any mildly curious party just happening to pass by.

IN my mind, the inability of the mildly curious to see profile pages is a benefit.

There are a lot of forum sites that I cannot view over the connection at home; it is just too slow (and at that it is much faster then the dial up we were limited to until recently)

Others that I used to visit have upgraded so that many of the features will not work with the versions of software I use.

And broken as it is, mudcatg search still turns up information for me mor consistantly then the searches on any other forum I frequent.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 11:21 AM

"Max does what he can based on resources, not ability (IMNSHO)."

Sure, I don't think anyone's knocking Max's abilities here! (Isn't he some kinda tech guru or something?) But while it's no doubt a big piss-off to hear dissenting voices from cocky newbs. like me, I also think Max is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the community's attachment to an antiquated format. An attachment that is arguably based on very long-term familiarity and personal comfort arising from that, rather than it's genuine user-friendliness.

A newcomer won't have that same sense of comfort from familiarity that members who've been here for a decade or more will have, and the same features that make them feel comfy and at home, arguably makes the site spiky and uncomfortable to anyone who hasn't already long ago settled in to their favourite arm-chair here.

I raised the profile thing earlier that MMario has just mentioned again above, that too makes a site friendly to newcomers because people don't have to wade through millions of links to get a handle on those personalities who regularly post - or indeed discover membership pages through trial & error. Though, in line to most forums, access to such pages is probably best kept as a membership perk. It took me a long time to find out who the people were that post here, and although some like Dick Miles do bung up the odd (and appreciated I might add) YouTube, I still don't really know what music most of them play.

Otherwise, I think Rob's right. If the formula isn't refreshed, the site will fade with the current membership (a bit like folk clubs someone else said - good analogy). I guess the bottom line is, whether or not that would bother anyone.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 12:02 PM

Another suggestion flagged up elsewhere by Kat I think? Was the idea of an (optional) small annual fee for members who could then take advantage of certain perks like no adverts etc.

I think she made a good suggestion there which could suit many all round - membership and management alike - including potentially eliminating the necessity for irregular donation drives.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 12:34 PM

Bonnie Shaljean, in an anguished mood, said:

Yes - limited editing time pleeeeeeasssee!! I keep seeing typo errors or word-repetitions, which magically only seem to appear to me AFTER I've submitted my eternal pearls of widsom.

The editing function is already there, if you care to use it. It's called "Preview".   Just check the box, and submit. You're shown exactly what will be on screen for readers.

I almost always use Preview, and quite commonly find things I want to clean up (like typos, word repetitions, and spellings, and including changing whole sections if I didn't say things clearly) before actually submitting.

Waddaya want, fergooneessakes?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Marilyn
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 12:48 PM

Please don't change Mudcat.

I subscribe to several other forums and find all the fancy graphics and gimmicks just get in the way.

Mudcat is such a refreshing change from all that nonsense.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 12:52 PM

"limited editing time"

I 'suspect' this would be difficult to code in this system. At present, it is much easier to just copy & paste a corrected post underneath, and someone can delete the original. This happens all the time with URLs...etc.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: MMario
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 01:08 PM

users being able to edit their posts is something that irratates the h*eck out of me on some other forums.

Becuase, no matter what people say, there is a high enough percentage of posters who remove or change enough content to derail the thread......and subsequent posts make no sense unless someone quoted the original.

And yes, I've seen this on "limited time edit" forums and also on one where you cannot edit after an answer (because cross posting occurs)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 02:07 PM

Marilyn: Please don't change Mudcat.

I subscribe to several other forums and find all the fancy graphics and gimmicks just get in the way.

Mudcat is such a refreshing change from all that nonsense.


People keep posting along thse lines DESPITE the fact that virtually no-one has suggested "fancy graphics and gimmicks".

I'm not sure where you're all getting the idea that fixing some of the clunkiness and improving the search engine would automatically require the addition of fancy graphics, gimmicks and bling. It simply wouldn't. I'm at a loss to know why so many people here are so intent on negating suggestions that simply HAVEN'T BEEN MADE on this thread.

Apologies for the "shouting", but it's becoming quite frustrating replying to comments that appear to have absolutely no basis in the direction the discussion's been going. Some people seem to be "hearing" only what they want to "hear".

That's me done on this thread, I think.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 02:40 PM

Those that wish an editing feature should try out PREVIEW. Works like a charm. Or, just compose your vital message on Wordpad or a word processing program, and just copy and paste.

I agree that the search could use some work (both in the threads and more particularly in the DT.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 04:03 PM

Yes, thank you Dave and Dick, I DO use Preview. Thanks all the same but there's no need to tell me what I already know. However, mistakes still get through and I would still like to have had a limited editing time, OK? Thats what I want fergooneessakes. But if it can't be done, it can't be done.

That's me done on this thread too.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 04:41 PM

I don't recall exactly when the Search went down but prior to that it was excellent. I haven't asked what or when but I miss it badly and the way it worked. I use several other forums and most are newer tech and yet the latest search function we had on the 'Cat was far superior to any of them. Fix the search and I'm a happy camper.........................except for my previous posts regarding trans-sexual cross dressing Albanian hat blockers doing nude Morris Dancing.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 04:50 PM

I 'suspect' this would be difficult to code in this system

Maybe it is in the present set up. It's a common feature of forum software though. You get a set time (or until your post is replied to) to edit your post .


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 05:49 PM

Being able to jump directly to a music or video example can enrich a post.

It's easy enough for the person posting to stick in links that do this if they wish.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: gnu
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 05:56 PM

I'm with Spaw... except for the yak dung.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:08 PM

Aw geeziz..............Now ain't that great? Gnu agrees with me..................gawd, I must be righteously and truly fucked up.................***sigh***..........................oh well.....................

Glad to have you aboard here gnu............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: gnu
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:12 PM

Glad? Glad? Any yet you would substitute lowly yak dung for far superior gnu dung. Are you shittin me? With freinds like you, who needs enemas?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:21 PM

Hey man....It ain't ME doing the substituting its the Morris Dancers.........So what would else would you expect of them?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: ragdall
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:36 PM

This format is great! It's fast, it's easy. Posters can provide clickies to access any photos, music, etc., which can easily be stored on other servers at someone else's expense. Mudcat users have the choice of accessing or ignoring. Choice is a good thing, imho.

rags


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 08:07 PM

Max built Mudcat and a number of other Websites in the late 1990s using a Website database package called Cold Fusion, which he used extensively every day - and he knows Cold Fusion very well. A major redesign in the layout of Mudcat would most probably require purchasing and learning the workings of a new package, which probably would take a lot of a lot of time that Max doesn't have.

Cold Fusion does have a nasty tendency to corrupt databases. The entire Forum had a crash in 2005, and every database we had was corrupted. Some databases, like member photos, were not repaired for years; and the search index has been corrupted and repaired over and over again over the years since 2005. The auction is another database that got corrupted, so it was taken out of service several months ago.

So, we're on a bit of a thin thread. Somehow, though, we keep on keepin' on. And we ARE able do develop workarounds for most problems when Max doesn't have time to fix something. If there's something that you'd like or something broken that you need help with, just ask. We're glad to help when people ask.

But the reality is that it will take a lot of money and a lot of time to do a major redesign. Max Spiegel is the owner and operator of Mudcat, and it's up to him to decide if and when to do a redesign. He's younger than most of us here (and young enough to be my kid), so he knows the priorities of young people. But    I    wouldn't ask him to do a redesign - that decision is up to him.

But if you need help with something, give a holler. If you want to edit a message, post a corrected copy under the bad one, and we more-or-less automatically will delete the earlier copy.

-Joe-
joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Max
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 10:31 PM

I've really been enjoying this thread. It is an excellent example of how things are. 154 messages, and I haven't even said anything yet. It's easy to see how things get beyond a reasonable level of...

Soon, all my time will be going to reading the next 154 messages. And if I made a single change, 500 more.

I didn't want to speak up until I fixed the SuperSearch, which I have been working on since this thread started. I just finished it. Give it a whirl. Still may have a bug or two yet, but I'll keep fiddling till it's good. It will index daily now (soon?) so new messages will be in the results as well.

As for all the other things, all I can say right now is that if new features were to be introduced, they would be in module form so that users could decide if they are present or not.

There is a push right now, in the internet industry, of social features like member photos and mp3 uploading and the "latest features" being modular and designed to plugin to existing sites. If you've seen the Google friend connect thing popup on mudcat, that is me experimenting. The technology is close, and will be available as soon as IT is ready.

Again, it won't change mudcat at all. No slowdown, nothing different, only features you can turn on if you want.

And the fact that we are light, that is, mostly text, is very purposeful. I intend to be even lighter soon. Being readily available to any bandwidth or aged platform is at the very core of our mission.

more later from the war...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Richie
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 11:05 PM

Hey Max,

The search is working TY.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Sheila
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 11:17 PM

Please, don't change a hair for me, not if you care for me.... stay, great Mudcat, stay. Each day is Mudcat Day.

Sheila


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Max
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 11:28 PM

Just reread the thread and would like to add the following.

Artful Codger makes some very good suggestions. I'd like to implement every damn one of them.

I agree, the blue-clicky thing bugs me too. I'll do something about that.

While I feel like I want to argue with Rob Naylor, his points are well stated and duly noted.

Sorcha, meet CS, CS meet Sorcha. You are both such rays of sunshine, it seems to me you should be fast friends.

Money is not that big of a limitation anymore. Thanks to hardware competition and open source software it is no longer a meaningful obstacle to goodness.

Time is the real commodity. I work a lot, and have kids, and occasionally get out to meet people (girls) and a bit less occasionally play my guitar, and almost never play my guitar IN FRONT OF people (girls). Good news is that if I get laid off, I'll have a whole lot more time for mudcat. However, if I ever get laid, I'll have less time again. ;)

It was unacceptable for me to have let the search be broken for as long as it was. I am sorry.

Instead of a contrived profile page, when one clicks to find out about a user, a compendium of their posts appears. Context. If you are legitimately interested in finding out about that person, you will read.

If you read my profile page, you would see my turn-ons, my favorite color, an inspirational quote and a picture of my dog. If you read my posts you will find that I am a single father of 3 kids and a beagle. That I like to live in the woods. (Bullets, Bait & Broadband is my new motto) That I'm straight-up nutty for Reverend Gary Davis and Leadbelly. And that I am thoughtful and open minded about all things that I bother doing or speaking of.

dick greenhaus is brief and wise. These are my 2 favorite things together next to warm cherry pie and cold vanilla ice cream.

We do have a Facebook group with 565 members, photos, videos, events, chat... You want bells and whistles, come on over.



that is all.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 12:29 AM

Hey! I asked for only one thing and I got it. I feel like its Christmas in April.

Thank Max and when you get time we need accessibility for trans-sexual cross dressing Albanian hat blockers doing nude Morris Dancing. Keep us posted on where that stands.......


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Max
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 12:31 AM

Spaw, chatroulette.com already has trans-sexual cross dressing Albanian hat blockers doing nude Morris Dancing.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Gurney
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 01:48 AM

I wonder WHY Spaw is so interested in nude cross-dressers (surely an oxymoron) and why they should be Albanian?
I've met a few morris dancers that I wouldn't mind seeing nude (since they went co-ed)but the nearest I ever came was Tool from Coventrya.Morris, in a loin-cloth. That should put anyone off the idea.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,nickp (cookieless) & I will login this pc on
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 04:01 AM

All hail the Mighty Max!!

Nick


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 04:57 AM

Given the number of members and GUESTs who use Mudcat, it's simplicity is a huge advantage. I run a little forum - just 63 members at the moment,but growing - which uses free Ning technology, and even with that small number of members, reading the latest interactions can be be hugely complex and time intensive. (You can see Ning in action at the Acoustic Guitar Community site).

The ability to post videos, music, pics, profiles, blogs, forum comments, etc., is great - for a small site - but it doesn't make for the immediacy and intimacy of Mudcat.

And let's face it, we all want to be intimate with 'Spaw, don't we?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 07:05 AM

I am puzzled by all this talk of clunkiness. When I first came here it was a ray of light to find clear words one below the other, without curious trees to find who had said what to whom. It still is.

I use a number of other fora, mostly about Volvos, and this is far easier to use - and I'm not a technophobe, I first wrote Atlas Autocode and KDF9 Algol in the 60s and I still build my own computers.

I don't see the point in flashing coloured text or emoticons. I don't see the point in pictures - and as said there is the Fakebook (real) Mudcat group for those who do want pix. And look how hard it is to find anything you want on, say, the Fakebook Group "1,000,000 united against the [you know which political party]".

It's perfectly easy to use the blickifier to link to anything.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 07:23 AM

If I can do a Clickie , any one should be able to ! Thanks max - I like The Cat just the way it is , and it SHOULD be noted that when Pene Azul was keeping the Members Profile up to date , very few people could be bothered to put a profile up !


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 08:11 AM

I also like Mudcat the way it is.

Now that Search is fixed, Max, what will you be doing with your spare time?

sandra


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: MMario
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 09:32 AM

Being readily available to any bandwidth or aged platform is at the very core of our mission.

Hallelulia!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 05:21 PM

I don't think the Mudcat interface is actually all that different from most other web based forums even though they all use more recent, bespoke software. The most common seems to be phpBB but there are a range of others and nearly all provide virtually the same information as Mudcat on their front page and they are all essentially text based. The difference is, I suspect, that the software makes it much easier to set everything up, whereas when Mudcat was first set up, you had to design it yourself.

While many forums allow you to upload files, not all do. Chip and Fipple, for example don't let you upload files, you have to provide a link. The Noteworthy Composer help forum allows limited upload, but only of fairly small files in a limited range of formats.

Most forums make something called BB Code available which is really just a subset of html with a slightly different syntax and the message box has buttons to enable you to input these with a mouse click rather than having to type them in. The button simply inserts the tag so once you have done it a few times you can see the syntax and input them by hand if you wish. Not really all that different from Mudcat.

One thing most of them do which would be an advantage on Mudcat is they automatically create a hyperlink from a url when you send your message.

I suspect that when people are complaining about the clunkiness of Mudcat it may be in comparison with the social networking sites, though I really don't know as I don't use them. I do use other discussion forums, though and I can't really say that Mudcat compares unfavourably with them and I feel that is a realistic comparison.

I do think that some of the comments and suggestion in relation to youngsters not having the patience to persist with Mudcat smacks of pandering to the kids and I don't think we should be doing that. If they are really interested as opposed to just browsing in passing out of idle curiosity, they will go beyond the interface to see the content and make the effort to find out how to use Mudcat.

How many sites have you come across which are full of fancy graphics, Flash animations etc. etc. but are actually very light on content? A great many commercial sites are like that. Surely what is important is content, ease of use and navigation and accessibility even if you are on dialup and Mudcat scores quite well on that score. I was on dialup when I started on Mudcat and the speed of loading was a real advantage. After all there are a lot of places where broadband is either not available or so poor as it might as well not be.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Paul Reade
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 05:31 PM

Tootler's comments above are more-or-less my thoughts when I started this thread. Any chance Max could have a look at them and see how feasible they are?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Max
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 05:55 PM

I'm on it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:13 AM

How many 'Catters does it take to change the 'Cat?














ALL OF THEM..............

I'll get my coat.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Max
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:45 PM

Making progress on the auction. Please help me test it. I will wipe the table clean Saturday night, so don't bother posting anything real or be prepared to repost it Sunday.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Claire M
Date: 25 Aug 13 - 09:47 AM

Hiya,

Not being able to edit what I write suits me cos it means I think about what I write before doing so, which might take a lot longer but it's less hassle in the end.
' Course this place'll die w/o new members but as much as it'll always have a place in my ♥ I'll be more likely to leave before that, & similar places'll spring up I'm sure, like when my fav shop closed. If/when I want bells & whistles I'll go to a gig.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Aug 13 - 01:48 AM

If you need help editing something you posted, contact a moderator. Don't know a moderator? I can put you in touch.
There are other forums that are full of LOLs and OMGs and little winky-smiley icons. At Mudcat, the main thing is discussion. And much of that discussion is worthwhile - the music stuff is particularly valuable, but I'm also learned a lot in the non-music section.
There are lots of special effects you can use if you want to here - it's just that you have to learn how to use them.
And for photos and sound files and whatnot that can't be posted directly at Mudcat, just ask. We have the ability to post just about anything you want posted. I handle that part, and my e-mail is joe@mudcat.org

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 26 Aug 13 - 10:46 AM

If/when I want bells & whistles I'll go to a gig. - well said, Claire


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 10:12 AM

Making the "from" field mandatory would be a trivial change


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 10:14 AM

which would stop people doing what I just did.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Haruo
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 03:46 PM

I just joined the FB group (which is up to more than double the membership Max mentioned) and am waiting to see how long it takes to be approved. (My name is Leland Bryant Ross on FB, not Haruo...)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: artbrooks
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 05:24 PM

You have been approved.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Tootler
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 06:29 PM

From: GUEST
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 10:12 AM

Making the "from" field mandatory would be a trivial change

From: GUEST,Peter - PM
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 10:14 AM

which would stop people doing what I just did.

As the man says.

I think that permitting Guest posts in the Music Forum is a strength of Mudcat. Most forums don't allow guest posts which can be frustrating when you are searching for the solution to some problem and you come across a forum thread which almost answers your question but you can't follow it up without joining a forum which you may never use again.

I do think the rule that guests should identify themselves in some way is a good one, but it needs enforcing and that should be possible as it is very common on websites with forms to fill in for you to be thrown back if you leave an essential field blank.

So please can we have something similar for guest posts. It would save Joe Offer having to post endless messages reminding guests to identify themselves in some meaningful way.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Claire M
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 12:45 PM

Hiya,

To Sandra: thanks!

To Joe: OK, what effects can you use?? & how do you do the big font thing again?? I love it here but I don't want to do me eyes in.......

It's not just websites that have that problem; magazines always squash the font up too, so I called a halt to them.

Even if this place does have a rule letting us id ourselves we still wouldn't know if we passed each other in the street.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 01:00 PM

Tootler, I think Max declared nameless posting acceptable about two years ago, and I haven't posted any of those messages since then. I disagree - I think all posters should use a consistent name - but I just work here. Max owns the place.

Claire, wanna have some fun with your Mudcat posts? There's a PermaThread called Mudcat HTML Guide that will teach you all sorts of fun things.

And if that's not enough, ask Bill D for lessons....

-Joe Offer-

    From Dan Mulligan, April 6, 1998 (edited by Joe Offer):

    There seem to be a lot of HTML questions being asked these days, so I thought I would try to help out.
    Here is a list of html tags. The word in the center is an example of what the tag does.
    Each tag begins with < (left angle bracket) and ends with > (right angle bracket).
    Style Tags modify the way your text looks. NOTE: In general, all HTML commands will take the form:
    <COMMAND> text </COMMAND>.

    • <B>bold</B>
    • <I>italics</I>
    • <STRONG>strong</STRONG>
    • <BLINK>blink</BLINK>
    • <CODE>code</CODE>
    • <EM>emphasize</EM>
    • <ADDRESS>
      address
      </ADDRESS>
    • <CITE>citation</CITE>
    • <SAMP>sample</SAMP>
    • <KBD>keyboard entry</KBD>
    • <TT>teletype</TT>
    • <BIG>big print</BIG>
    • <SMALL>small print</SMALL>
    • <SUB>subscript</SUB>
    • <SUP>superscript</SUP>
    • <STRIKE>strikeout</STRIKE>
    • <PRE>
      preformatted text
      </PRE>

    Heading Tags are very similar to style tags. Headings come in six sizes, 1-6. 1 is the largest. 6 is smallest. The heading tag also includes an implicit <BR> at the beginning and end. The format for the heading tags is <H#> with # being a number 1-6, and they look like this:

    <H1>

    This is a size 1 heading

    </H1>

    <H2>

    This is a size 2 heading

    </H2>

    <H5>

    This is a size 5 heading

    LINKS

    Links come in three basic varieties: links to other files, links to the same file and links to pictures.
    To link to another file on another server, use
    <A HREF="http://server/path/filename.html"> anchor text </A>. This is called absolute linking. The tag is called an anchor.

    Example: <A HREF="http://www.disney.com"> The Walt Disney Home Page </A>

    To link to another file on the same server, use <A HREF="path/filename.html"> anchor text </A>. That is called relative linking.

    Example: <A HREF="../auction/Auction.html"> The Auction Block</A>


    Click here for more HTML stuff


    Note: I copied most of this from a message Dan Mulligan posted in another thread. It's a great piece of work, and deserves its own thread.
    Thanks, Dan.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 09:23 PM

Well, this thread's revived after well over 3 years and it seems that people *still* don't get what was being said or asked for in the original discussion

we keep coming back to this idea of "bells, whistles and glitzy stuff" whereas from what I could see previously absolutely no-one has asked for those...just suggested that the format is clunky. So, to repeat: yes, it's easy to link to another web page or youtube performance by making a "blue clicky" for example, but every other forum I use just recognises the link string as a URL and auto-creates the link, without having to open a new window, cut and paste strings etc.

It's *this* level of clunkiness that I said 3 years ago was putting off younger people, not the lack of avatars, "like" buttons or similar bells and whistles. But people are still trotting out these "straw men".

Making the site a bit more streamlined isn't "pandering to the kids" but building for the future of the site.

A remark above dismisses the idea of youngsters liking folk...but I bet most of the users here were into folk back in the 60s when they were in their teens and 20s, and there are large numbers of youngsters out there involved in folk now. As one band I put in in Tunbridge Wells a couple of years back said, on seeing their young audience getting up and dancing: "this makes a change: usually most members of our audience are older than our combined ages, and they never dance". But I'd actually taken the trouble to market the gig at the places where youngsters hang out, rather than just the local folk clubs and sessions.

CS (who is a rare younger member) summed it up back in April 2010: Rob, I honestly don't know how many of the members here would like to attract a lot of younger members. There is definitely a seeming objection to anything being made less counterintuitive (and that's the main thing younger internet users expect - efficient technology which is neatly organised and simple to navigate in order to access exactly the information you want) especially when you consider the presumptions about what young people like or want to find on an internet site such-as "glitz", "bling", "fancy stuff" and so-on.

I had to copy and paste from his post then use HTML tags to do that...the current and coming generations who've grown up on line would just expect to be able to highlight what they wanted to quote and have it appear as an obvious quote! Having that facility, auto URL etc would NOT require people to "learn new stuff" to use the site, it would just reduce the number of clicks and actions needed to produce a result. I can't for the life of me see why people are objecting to such streamlining!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 01:02 AM

You know, Rob, I guess I just can't agree with you. You can say something here at Mudcat, and I can respond in plain English with no "bells and whistles," and the message get across just fine. If I want to post a quote, I can use quotation marks, or I can use italics with no effort at all because I know how to do that. But either way, I can type what I think, and people will understand what I'm saying. And if I want to share a link, I can just post the URL [https://play.spotify.com/]. Or, if I use the blickifier or have taken the to actually learn how to post links, I can post a link [https://play.spotify.com/] . Either way, I have conveyed the information and expressed my thoughts.

Yes, we can have all those other features - and all the glitches that come with them - but would it really make this place a more effective venue for the exchange of ideas? As I see it, the lack of "bells and whistles" forces people to communicate actual ideas in actual English. I realize that's a novel concept. Maybe you should try it sometime.

Another advantage of the lack of "bells and whistles," is that the fancy stuff has not overcome the original purpose of this Website, and we are still able to do serious folksong research without being crowded out by the mindless chit-chat.

If you want to know what Mudcat is all about, try studying a song sometime. You'll find no better place in the world for folk music research.

That being said, I have to say that the Mudcat has been abominably slow the last few weeks, and that makes it difficult to get productive work done. I don't care about the fancy stuff - I just want the darn thing to work.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: jacko@nz
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 01:55 AM

Like Midchuck said at the beginning :if it works, don't fix it !

Jack


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 02:02 AM

"I had to copy and paste from his post then use HTML tags to do that...the current and coming generations who've grown up on line would just expect to be able to highlight what they wanted to quote and have it appear as an obvious quote!"

Or you can highlight, right click, and select "Open Link in New Window". Most browsers already can recognise links, so Mudcat shouldn't need to. Why add technology just because you can?

g


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 04:13 AM

Joe, how many times do I have to say that I DON'T WANT "bells and whistles" or "glitz"...my original post here was I believe a comment on my daughter taking one look at the site and going "bleugh". I was asked whether that was content or structure and responded thast it was 100% structure, with explanations of why.

YES, as I've repeated ad infinitum, YOU can make a "blue clicky" , *I* can bake a "blue clicky". We can BOTH re-quote and hang a bit of HTML around it and italicise or embolden it, but most youngsters can't...they expect these things to be embedded. Back to my hand-cranked car analogy way up the thread there. My dad would happily use a starting handle every time on his early cars...I used one occasionally on my first car but was glad when I could dump it in favour of something that would start every time with a key turn, and if you told any of my kids they'd have to stand in the rain outside the car turning a handle to make it go they'd freak.

It's perfectly feasible for the site to continue working like this, but it'll inevitably go into long-term decline as those of us who can do this sort of thing die off and younger members are put off signing up by the clunkiness.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 09:17 AM

There are young "freaks" for oldtimer cars, and of course they know how to operate them. The only question is what people find worth the effort. Compared to writing well-reflected text in understandable English, learning some basic HTML is a negligible effort.

I would appreciate a mechanism that allows readers to distinguish important posts from mere chatting quickly, particularly in lengthy threads. A button similar to "Like", but labeled "Find important", could do the trick.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 09:33 AM

You should be able to "reply" to a specific post so that it shows up right under the post in question instead of miles down the thread.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Should Mudcat be updated?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 10:58 AM

Suzy (29 Aug 13 - 09:33 AM), some forum software products have that feature, but it is rarely found desirable for readers because usually the chronology is much more important.

There are cases in which a good discussion is interrupted by rather trivial considerations. This cannot be prevented by any administrative means, but it is perfectly legitimate to resume an older "subthread" without further comment. Serious and joking posts can well go together; readers have to learn how to switch quickly.

When I reply to a specific post, I refer to it initially, as in this one. (Often it suffices to mention the poster's nickname.) I would appreciate some sort of automatism for that, but it is far from top priority. Whenever we fear that readers may not bother to leaf "miles down the thread" (or up, as the case may be), the reply may not be worth submitting at all.


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