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Newbie Thanks!

Discussion in 'ECF InfoZone Discussion' started by ab357, Jul 3, 2010.

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  1. ab357

    ab357 Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    May 22, 2010
    Chgo., IL.
    As a relative newbie I can't emphasis what a difference CMS will make. I'm still discovering new vital threads, usually after reading where someone refers to it.

    Joining the vaping world is a daunting experience. So much to learn; equipment, techniques, etc. I still recall my headache May 23, 2010 when in the wee hours I discovered ECF.

    I spent hours here reading, learning, being depressed by the aspect of so much to learn, finding inspiration from DonDaBoomVape's extensive tutorial, discovering reputable vendors, etc.

    Many of us would have saved a couple hundreds bucks and hours of frustration had we found ECF before being lured by those phony e-cig review sites.

    So as an actual noob, I thank the staff of ECF for creating the new section. I'm sure I for one will discover threads I am not currently aware of.
  2. Lyndagayle

    Lyndagayle Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 1, 2010
    As a newbie myself, I've experienced first hand the frustration of trying to find information and then after finding it, wanting to pull out my hair because I failed to bookmark it and couldn't seem to go back to it. I have a suggestion but more than likely, it's already been discussed and I missed it...

    How about putting a "Quick Hits Page" in this section where, at a glance, links are listed according to topic i.e. "Getting Started" with a link from the ECF Library with Don's six part series. Other helpful quick hits would be a link that would list suppliers by country and then sub dividing by those who carry liquid only and those who carry kits, parts etc. and maybe a "Troubleshooting" link (how to test attys etc.). Of course there are many other important things that need to be captured "at a glance" but this is just a suggestion and I know it would take a lot of grueling work putting it together.

    I guess what I'm saying in a nutshell is, prioritizing the most helpful topics of the most important forums and organizing a page of "one click and you're there" links. I hope all of this made sense.
  3. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers
    AB - yes, this new section will enable people to find the information easier. The basic facts will be 'at the front' if you like, then more and more is available should people want to go further. When we start, the Reviews section won't be that big as we'll build it live, it's better that way. And there is always the choice of diving in to the thousand-foot deep pool that the forum is :)

    Good ideas LG. What will happen is that some of the more obvious needs will be addressed by direct links from the front page, such as a Beginners' Tutorial, a Best E-cigarette for New Users review, and so on.

    A 'most valuable links' page is a good idea, we'll do that. Also we will try to get the various supplier lists onto the new section, to fulfill the need you mentioned for suppliers listed by country etc.

    The main thing is to enable basic information to be found immediately, and to enable more in-depth info to be found easily as it will be grouped logically.
  4. StDoodle

    StDoodle Full Member

    Jul 10, 2010
    Kalamazoo, MI USA
    I don't know if this is the best place to post this (which is part of what I'm commenting on), so please forgive me if it's not. (I wanted to go to the CMS Discussion, but that's locked... and the CMS thread elsewhere doesn't point to anything else...)

    First, before getting into criticism, I want to make it clear that I've found this site to be an invaluable resource for someone like myself who's trying to get into vaping. There's a TON of info on here.

    The problems, from my point of view, are mostly organizational. For one, there are WAY too many categories, sub-categories... etc. In fact, I'm pretty sure (but not 100%) that I've even seen a couple of sub-fora in different places that seemed to be (essentially) for the same purpose. Kind of an "information overload" situation.

    Also, I tend to think (again, just trying to be helpful ;)) that the restrictions on posting to the New Member forum do more harm than good when it comes to topic fragmentation. I think encourages (and has in my case) fairly trivial "postcount++" posts, which just make things worse.

    I DO think a CMS will help with a decent chunk of this; master informational topics & new user guides are much better suited to a CMS format than a forum one, IMO. But I think some additional reorganization may still be in order of the forums themselves.

    Sorry I don't have much in the way of solutions to go with my complaints; I'm really not trying to b*** & moan, just want to make the experience better for everyone.
  5. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers

    No problems there, don't worry about criticism or whatever - if we didn't want comments we wouldn't have this section.

    The new member post thing: this is always a big topic for new users but they can't see it from our point of view. This is a huge and very busy forum, there are over 100,000 posts a month. When new members were allowed to post anywhere, the entire site was spammed to hell, and it was impossible to locate much of that spam / trolling / obscenity because of the size of the problem. For the Moderators it was like looking for a needle in a haystack; so members would see it first of course and complain. The problem got so bad, we introduced a 15-post requirement in the New Members forum. That worked OK and stopped 99.9% of the spam, but it was over the top.

    Now, we've backed off to 5 posts and it works brilliantly: it deters most spammers, keeps any spam contained and easily found, and best of all you can get out of the NM board if you want to in about 15 minutes, you only have to make 5 posts. However some people like it there so much we actually have to kick them out eventually...

    As regards the forum / organisation thing, you may be right - it depends. There are some things we can do soon, such as pulling out some good info that can be reformatted for standard website publication, and placing it on the CMS. This will make it much easier to find certain types of info. There is a basic dilemma with board content though:

    • Have very few boards - but each has thousands of threads each with hundreds of pages, in order to cover the full topic range. Finding anything is virtually impossible.
    • Have dozens or even hundreds of boards. Because the pressure is off, each board has fewer threads, each with fewer pages. It's much easier to locate something - but the site looks 'larger' from the front page.
    But the core issue of the forum, that you are basically talking about, is that it's huge. There are hundreds of thousands of pages, there are over 3 million URLs on the sitemap. It's just enormous. There simply isn't any way to make something so huge, easily navigated.

    We are always working on it and every week boards are moved, things are reorganised, new boards are opened. Yesterday, for example:
    • About 60 boards were re-ordered
    • 3 new boards were opened
    • There were two separate DDOS attacks that shut the site for a few minutes each time
    • Our server tech and host's tech support fought to keep the site up
    • We liaised with 3rd party organisations on extortion threats / hacking attempts against the site
    So: it's on-going, all the time - just one day on ECF.

    ECF is vast, we have 15 staff now for example. What has happened over time is:

    • The forum exploded in size
    • A couple of months back it was the second-fastest growing large forum in the world
    • It has become the world's largest ecigarette website, with over 3 million URLs and 100,000 posts a month
    • People stopped thinking of it as 'a community', ECF now hosts hundreds of communities
    • It is Alexa ranked as one of the top sites in the world
    • ECF has thousands (yes thousands) of Google #1 search results - so many, in fact, it's impossible to count them
    • ECF has about 25,000 links, all purely organic as we certainly don't have any need to create them
    • It has the most complex trade-community interaction system of any site we are aware of
    So what you are basically talking about is a huge affair with no simple solutions to any single issue. In a way, the fact that people don't see something like the giant dinosaur of the Microsoft website for example, means in a way we're doing our job, if it looks 'simple' or like a 'normal website'. The fact is, it's so huge that the task of sorting anything out is not easy.

    What we especially like to see are focused suggestions that target one single problem - it's far easier for us to address that type of issue. But keep 'em coming anyway :)

  6. Youthful313

    Youthful313 Super Member ECF Veteran

    thank you for the stats they're amazing.
  7. JerryRM

    JerryRM ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 10, 2009
    Rhode Island
    It is going to be a huge undertaking, if you look at the whole picture. I say take it one step at a time, one sub-forum at a time, then on to the next one, etc. I believe that's the only way.

    Then again, I think Roly-"Harry Potter"-gate is a wizard, he will probably have the whole forum organized in a couple of hours. :D
  8. leannebug

    leannebug Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Mar 5, 2010
    the deep south
    Is the new CMS page/intro/site open yet?

    Would that be our little PIF community? :D

    BTW: thank you for the stats (as Youts said), they are amazing, inspiring, and intimidating! We don't realize how big the site actually is; nor do we see how much work goes into running it. It is nice to be reminded.
  9. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers

    We're about 2 weeks or so behind schedule because our coder was off sick.

    When the CMS goes online the front page of ECF will change so there's no way you'll miss it :)

    As regards the statement:

    • It has the most complex trade-community interaction system of any site we are aware of
    ...this refers to the Member / Supplier system we have on ECF. Hundreds of Suppliers and thousands of Members, whose agendas don't always line up.

    The stats: yes, they are impressive. Because ECF is in effect the global voice of the ecigarette community and trade, it just keeps growing, and will continue to do so. Logically, ecig use is at about 1% of its eventual size, so you can guess how things are likely to go. It's my opinion that ecigs will eventually replace tobacco cigs, although that might take fifty years as there are so many vested interests that want to stop that happening.
  10. hova

    hova Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 27, 2010
    The YO
    i have always liked forums where you can give karma to people for good posts , or bad karma for negative (trolling). this lets you know if the person youre talking to knows his stuff , or is some spammer.

    i also like those "this post was helpful" options.

    still dontknow what cms means ,but if it makes a newb life easier , im all for it.

    ok im done spamming...
  11. hova

    hova Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 27, 2010
    The YO
    i hope the server is in a location where ddos are prosecuted. i noticed the server was crippled for a while last night , and wondered if it was just getting that big , or if some foul play was amiss....

    good to hear you guys are on top of anything. if you need some spam crawling , im off for at least 4 months with a broken leg...heres the sign i thought about making my says it all...


  12. leannebug

    leannebug Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Mar 5, 2010
    the deep south
    Ah, that would explain it.. I hope he feels better. I (almost always) access the forums from favorite links, so I wasn't sure if I had missed it.

    That is quite impressive in itself. It's inspiring to be on the ground floor of our future AND be aware of it.

    The forum shuts down every night (about 12 central) for a few minutes. Could have been that..?
  13. hova

    hova Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 27, 2010
    The YO
    no this was from like 8pm EST it was down for around an hour that i couldnt access it , it wouldnt even load. once it finally did , it just said "server is too busy try again later"

    that usually means attack or hacking when it wont load at all , then its too busy cause everyone comes back on to do everything

    it was probably big tobacco sending out script kiddies trying to shut down information.

    i just hope there are some redundancy measures in the future. a whole lot of info would be lost if someone fried our server...

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