Need some feedback on the way forward for WABD (and old UKA). I've not taken to this WordPress install at all. At first, it seems fab with loads of bells/whistles and security. Lots of addons and modern browser/mobile compatibility. But it's turned out to be not 'all that'. It's quite fiddley to use and we've had issues with security holes and, lately (this week) lots of spam accounts getting through despite all this 'security'. Add to it that Andrea just cannot get to grips with the new 'backend' (hence her reduced activity on the site) which does require a big learning curve and the fact that members and active users have dwindled to a tiny percentage and we've got to consider the site's future/direction.
Would like some feedback and suggestions, please. What should we do? what have we done wrong since moving from UKA (which was broken) to WABD?
What would be the best way forward?
Should we call it a day or persevere?
I think that the current incarnation of WABD (using Wordpress) has to be scrapped as I just don't like it.
The other night I tried a couple of FORUM only installs over at ukauthors.com to test if it would be viable to have just an active forum as the website where members could use the forum to post writing AND create normal forum threads. But within a few hours of the install being active, I was already having to delete tons of effing spam and bot accounts - so we will need proper and active moderators if we are to continue.
So, what to do and where to go?
Even though I am a computer illiterate I have created a website on Wix.com and I am very pleased with it.
I don't know if this website builder would be suitable for WABD but I found a review which might give you useful information. This is the link to that review https://www.websitetooltester.com/en/reviews/wix-review/
I would like to see it simplified, perhaps a centre placement with an option to move the whole poem or just chosen lines to the left. Also I find the strong blue and white theme everywhere is a bit aggressive and as they say 'in your face' it seems rather mundane, workaday, and doesn't invite further investigation of the whole site, whereas the UKA pages were brighter and made one feel relaxed and wanting to see more. I would hate to lose this group altogether as I think it is the best one, with a great 'behind the scenes' team, amazingly talented and knowledgeable contributors, and the yearly publication to look forward to, and perhaps work towards. I for one would feel lost without it now.
I'm certainly no IT expert and can't offer any suggestions in that sense. I've normally been able to surmount any technical problems I've encountered, and the advice I've had has normally helped me function/contribute to the site Ok.
I honestly think the biggest problem is the relatively small number of people who enjoy posting/commenting/interacting. I'm not sure if it will ever improve. I contribute to a couple of Facebook poetry/literary sites. They seem to start off vibrant and lively with lots of interaction, but inevitably end up a bit flat with quite a few submissions, but very little commenting.
Not sure what the answer is. I'm personally enjoying posting, commenting, etc to WABD. Glad to be here. Enjoying it all.
Although I haven't been as active on WABD, compared to the old UKA, I still very much enjoy the site and count it as one of the must-visit sites I visit whenever I go online. We've invested too much (time, money, talent) to just call it a day. I think we should leave no stone unturned in our effort to find a workable solution. I've nothing to suggest at the moment, but I'm sure we, as a team, can come up with something. Questions: just how broken is the old UKA? Is it beyond any semblance of being workable if fixes/workarounds could be applied to extend its life, even if just on a temporary basis?
PS - For what it's worth, I don't think we've done anything wrong moving from the old UKA to WABD. It was a necessary, bold 'experiment' that's just not working out like we hoped. It's brought us to a minor fork in the road where a decision has to be made, that's all.
PPS - I, for one, want to be part of the solution and would be willing to participate in any way that I can, to bring about the continuation of UKA/WABD well into the future.
I agree with Shywolf in everything he said.
I have joined deviantart and I find the site too huge and I would have to invest a lot of time in interacting with hundreds of unknown people over there which frankly gave me an idea of what I want from a writer's site. It must not be huge, the initial members must be known to me to a certain extent, the platform must be as easy as the old UKA's. This one is good but I never had any problem with old uka's format and I never use a smart phone to visit any site.
I think that the experiment is over and if the administrator no longer likes the new format then it's not too late to change it as wabd and it is certainly not too late to try and save old uka. I don't want anyone feeling awkward about the site not Andrea not Richard. I want them to feel content as the basic mojo (positive energy which brings luck and success) of the site stems from their disposition. Then ours.
The site is wordpress basically - It was very weird for me the spam the abusing comments when I dared to use wordpress to create my own site back in 06. They always find a way to sneak in somehow. Hackers or bots or spam bots or whatever. I am not an expert but the database seemed a mess back then, you cleaned it and after a few days it was full of crap again. I had a site which was php too, a writers site for Greeks. Database was much easier and 'clean' from unpleasant traces of bots or hackers.
Just visited the new platform/forum ukauthors.com, it is nice, now I may have the backup of the database of a version of php that was novawriting.com a hidden site I experimented with back then. If you want it I can try to retrieve it as it is in old files of an external disc. No cost whatsoever. I will try to find the file only if you are interested in having a look. It has the forums we used to have too!
I have just visited the new forum and I believe it will take a little time to get to grips with it. I had to register anew and show I was not a robot in order to navigate. I have posted a little ditty to see how it looks.
Give it a go, guys - your input is so valuable (invaluable!). We want to make this work. Me and Richard have now been working on this writing site lark together for 17 years (!!), we would be gutted if it fell apart. We have a wonderful community here - let's make it work!
I noticed that you have separated the Prose and Poetry forums from the general. It would be better if they were at the top perhaps with different coloured bands.
The proposed change might appeal to some but I am with Trevor that it doesn't look like a proper showcasing website.
It is a pity that you want to abandon the current format now that we are getting used to it.
I've managed to register Ok on the new site. Seems very user friendly to me. The forums are basically the same, but the concept of showcasing member's work is radically different.
Thinking about the comments by Trevor and Luigi concerning showcasing a member's work. Instead of sub-dividing 'Poetry' into 'Haiku', 'Humour', 'Serious', etc... could you sub-divide into member's names. For instance... 'otreasaigh', ionicus', 'gothicman', 'ifyouplease', etc, etc, etc. Each poet could then submit their poems in sub-sub-divisions which they would produce and administer. That way, each member could showcase their work under their own name. There would need to be the ability to rotate the sub-divisions (poet's names) so that everybody ends up at the top and bottom of the list at different times. Perhaps every time a poet created a new sub-sub-division (submitted a poem), their sub-division (name) would go to the top of the list. Likewise when a comment is left. They'd then slip back down the board as/when other poet's submitted their own sub-sub-divisions or received comments. A member could self-moderate their own threads with help from a big-boss-super-moderator when required.
Same set-up for the 'Prose' section.
Does that make sense? The concept seems exciting to me. Members could submit links to their own UKA collection anywhere in cyberspace to improve visitor numbers and hopefully attract others to join. Wot u fink?
You wouldn't need to see sub-divisions (poet's names) on the UKA front page. Just 'Poetry' or 'Prose'. Clicking on these could get you to a second page which displays the names.
I think I need a lie down now.
Useful suggestions, Mick.
Just dropped in and registered. Early days yet, I'm sure it'll be great after a bit of fine tuning. Thanks to everyone in the engine room. Gotta say that I like the return of the UKauthors site name.
I'm still having trouble with page reloading and page-changing on WABD; the only solution for navigating is to right click and open the desired page in a new tab. Tried everything from changing browser to flushing the DNS but the problem persists. Everything is fine on the new site.