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Jim McClain

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About Jim McClain

  • Birthday 09/17/1949

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  1. Can more than one forum use the Q&A feature? I have a consumer/DIY category of forums for different types of flooring - one for carpet, one for hardwood, etc. This feature might be good used in each of those forums, leaving the other categories and forums as regular forums.
  2. I'm worried that the ease of use from anywhere on the site will have a negative impact on content indexed by search engines. If it's too easy for a member to reply in private to another about a forum discussion or blog/article/gallery comments, they may do that rather than add their content to the the public discussion.
  3. I don't believe anyone has suggested we allow members to have an option to hide their avatar. You can control that by not having one or having one everyone can see. The admin might be able to control what user groups can see an avatar. If I could, I would hide it from all unregistered visitors to save bandwidth and improve page load speed. It's not important to SEO in my field. I might promote my site to visitors by offering avatars as one of the inducements (among other options). Says who? I agree that every profile should include a link to find that user's posts and threads - public content and even private content for those other users who have permission to view those content areas. But galleries aren't always public content on some sites. There might be a reason to have private pictures, as I described in a previous post, that you only want to share with certain other user groups. I'd like to see that option given to the member. Maybe a member doesn't want everyone to know who their friends are. Maybe they don't want everyone to know what files they have. Maybe, as in my niche, a member has a blog that he/she only wants to show to a specific user group and not to just anyone - an online "seminar" on pricing strategy, customer relations, how to beat the prices of the big box store. Other members might have a blog they specifically want consumers/DIYers to have access to - how to flatten your floor before installing the vinyl, 10 best vacuums, what to know before you ask the sales person how much. Privacy controls can help here. And on my site, if a consumer wants to have a blog, they might get redirected to WordPress.org. That would be an admin control. I agree that this is another area that should only be controlled by the member by either creating content viewable by all, or not. But I would prefer to have admin control to exclude or include visitors and search spiders from that content, based on the user group the content belongs to because of its SEO value. My pro members can supply that section with valuable keyword rich content. Consumers telling about their families and kids or their favorite hobbies, not so much. Registered members would enjoy it, but I don't want Google indexing it unless it's content from a pro. I agree with you here. It baffles me why IPS4 wouldn't have this basic privacy. I don't know what content that involves, so I can't speak to it. Another basic privacy option, in my opinion. I don't understand why it won't be in IPS4. Jim
  4. You complained about a bad analogy? THIS is bad. Maybe we shouldn't lock our doors because someone else will break in anyway. Why put up security lights if someone will just throw a rock at it? Why put a leash on my dog when he can chew through it and run away anyway? Please. We, as admins, do our best to protect the privacy of our members. That doesn't mean we tell everyone we lock it behind an impenetrable fortress. It just means we offer them controls to manage the levels of privacy they desire and we do our best to protect them from being violated. I have done that on my flooring forum for nearly 8 years without a breach. Pretty good record. I don't have a girlfriend right now. That means that every girlfriend I ever had has broken my heart. But that will not deter me from falling in love again. Lots of bad stuff happens every day on the net. We fix it as best we can and try to keep moving forward. I am not an advocate of no progress just to protect myself from disappointment. Jim
  5. I have not seen anyone here - at least no one hoping for more profile privacy control - ask for this feature for members. Admins, of course, can privatize certain forums, which would prevent anyone who doesn't have access to those forums from searching for that content and prevent it from being shown in the search results. The only people I have seen argue about blocking forum topics and posts by members is IPS staff. Those of us asking for privacy controls have not asked for it and (I can only speak for myself) I see no need to bring it into this discussion. Threads and posts is not something I want my members to block anyone from seeing. So, I wish we could stop even discussing that issue in this topic. It seems that most people appreciate that consideration. Many of us are asking for even more controls. I listed my wish list. It had nothing at all to do with members hiding their own threads and posts though. The more I learn about your software, the more that is revealed by the blogs featuring the upcoming IPS4, the more I like what I see. However, I do NOT want you or anyone else judging what content and features are attractive to MY visitors. I don't see where that is your business. My business is much different than your business. On the one hand, I have the majority of my unregistered visitors visitors coming to learn about flooring - how and where to buy, what types and styles to choose, how to find the best installers, an inspector or a cleaner, or how to do all of that themselves. We also get a lot of floorcovering industry visitors who see opportunity - not only to make a sale, but where they can learn new business information, training, the promise of access to private information they don't want consumers to be privy to. On the other hand, I have registered members. The majority are consumers and DIYers. They pop in, ask their questions, find solutions and usually leave a short time later. But while they are there, there is some information that pros might need to know in order to offer the best help. That information might best be provided in their profiles, which as an admin, I will prevent other visitors and non-pros from seeing. Some of that info is volunteered and isn't related to the flooring industry, so it doesn't do me any good SEO-wise anyway. Then there's the pro members. I would like everyone in my industry to work together, but the fact is, some pros, like the CEO of a major manufacturer, or a professional expert witness, do not want their presence known on the site, except in those private forums. Pros can find their information and they can discuss policy, ad campaigns, debate inspection findings, etc. without worry that consumers will become privy to that info or will try to contact them privately or even as participants in topics to "get a good deal" or a favorable inspection result. For those who demand the utmost privacy possible, I would offer them the ability to hide contact info, personal galleries of pictures (maybe of a not yet publicly introduced product or of inspection reports), limit who their feeds can be sent to and more. You don't understand that what makes MY site attractive is the level of professional courtesy and privacy I can offer them. If I treat them right, then they might also decide to share publicly to help that consumer or DIYer - and that is exactly what we promise those consumers and DIYers: the best information and guidance from the best of the best flooring professionals. So you see, I don't believe you know what's best for my community. I have worked 40 years in it and even I am still learning. What I am pretty sure about is that IPS could be the best software I can offer my members and visitors. YOU just don't know it yet. Jim
  6. If you want this to be constructive, then I won't bother to point out how you have seemed negative and resistant to the ideas presented here. But I wouldn't have posted that if I hadn't felt it. You ignored the premise of my statement. It can and is being done, just maybe not by this product. But you do offer other profile options available to the member and I assume to the administrator as well. So, my point is, if you can do it with some, you might consider doing it with more. That wasn't clearly pointed out. But forum posts/topics is what I consider not part of this discussion. Yes, I see that it is a feature available in the profile, but I don't see that as anything more than a convenience. I don't see a need to privatize forum posts or topics except those that are in forums and other areas kept private according to the member group. You shouldn't be able to search and read in the results any posts made by staff in a staff forum, or by contributors in their private forum, but you should be able to find their posts in open forums. Will that same forum search engine find information that might only be in a member's about page or album? Is there a sitemap sent out to the major Internet search engines that lets them know about new profile pages? All the more worrisome to me. I am the founder of my company too. It hurts sometimes, by my members and my staff tell me what I could do better, what I do wrong and occasionally what I do right. It's important for me to listen and sometimes do things I didn't think were all that important. I find out later they were. Maybe this will be the case for you. Or not. And sometimes you or other staff (and other member participants) forget that some of us have no clue what the software does because we don't use it yet. I am looking forward to that day and I am not one that is rushing you. It's unfortunate that more privacy options will not be available in 4 than are currently available in 3 though. I hoped that the importance of profiles to a community and its growth over the last several years would have prompted you to add a few profile privacy related items to the to-do list. Maybe our hashing these things out here will make you think more about it when it's time to plan for 4.1. And I am very grateful that some of the plugin/addon contributors are seeing the need. I'd like to see 2 different sets of privacy controls; one in admin and the other in member settings. Without any understanding of what is already available in admin, this is a bit of what I'd like to see: Select available contact methods based on member groups Visibility of contact info to selected member groups Select member group permissions to comment on profiles Select permissions to access profiles based on member group (keep visitors/search engines out of some, allow in others) Select member group permissions to access gallery (their own or others) Select member group permissions to access files(their own or others) Select member group permissions to access blogs(their own or others) Select member group permissions to customize profiles Select member group permissions to have signatures and restrict various options Visibility of "About Me" section to select member groups and visitors (unregistered) Restrict visibility of gallery, files and blogs to selected member groups All permissions and privacy options would be honored in the flyout when hovering over a member name anywhere on site Members should also have privacy controls available to them. Some of these might include the following. Limit access to entire profile to friends only, staff only, member group only or combinations Limit access to contact info to friends only, staff only, member group only or combinations Allow profile, gallery, files and blog comments from selected options (as above) Allow access to feed from selected options All permissions and privacy options would be honored in the flyout when hovering over a member name anywhere on site Others may want even more extensive options, but these are most of what I would like to have. I DO understand the nature of interaction on a public forum. I have been a member of hundreds of different types of forums since 1992. I got my first staff position in late 1993 and by the end of '94, I was staff on half a dozen various Compuserve boards (Time Warner, WUGNET, Quarterdeck, Playboy, McAfee and Cerious). After AOL ruined Compuserve, I worked on a variety of forums on the real Internet (it looked so different through Netscape then) and I concentrated on interior design, flooring and remodeling DIY forums. I've worked in administrative duties for 12 years, most of that in commercial oriented businesses for my industry, computer gear, hunting and adult entertainment. Each have their own needs and some require various levels and varieties of privacy options. No forum software to date has satisfied all of those needs. Partly because the developers do not fully understand or appreciate the power of the profile section. IPS has the ability. Many of us are hoping they will utilize it before some other community developer does. Thanks, Jim
  7. I am a little surprised at your take on this discussion and some of the negative remarks. Am I wrong in assuming that if you know how to make an email address field private, you prob'ly know how to make other fields private? If I remember right, this forum software allows me to decide whether my email is available to all or none (maybe it's another software, but it's done). What I see being discussed in this "Profile Privacy in IPB4" is privacy options. Apparently it has been discussed before, maybe more than once. It's an important issue to me and others. I've been told that what appears in that profile flyout when you hover over a member name is configurable. I don't know how you can say that all information in the profile is available elsewhere. We all know this can be changed. It is possible to block search spiders from certain areas and not block them from others. You can do that for certain member groups too. I am confident that if it is written in the code that I can block spiders from one group and allow them access to another group, then I should be able to block spiders from crawling useless, non-niche specific profiles and allow them to crawl keyword rich content in niche-specific profiles, as long as I put each in their own user group. Likewise, if simple permissions options were coded into some profile fields, then a member might be able to share their albums with friends or a specific user group and not others. If that is possible, how could search spiders gain access and index that content when they are being blocked? How is that content freely available to anyone who searches the forum for it? Most of the participants in this discussion that are interested in levels of profile privacy aren't really talking about moving blocks or customizing the profile. I agree that belongs in another topic and maybe should have been moved or asked to bring those issues up in a different topic. The rest of us are asking, hoping about some changes in the profile part of IPS4. I would like the ability, as an admin, to decide what user groups can see the profiles of certain other user groups. I would also like to offer some privacy options to my members, so, for instance, if they want to share albums or certain about-me info with one group or friends, they can and bar anyone else from seeing that info. Maybe we are not speaking with the right person in the development chain of command. Maybe you have a much different idea of what a profile is all about and we should be talking to someone who understands some of our hopes for this overlooked feature of a community package. Or maybe it's just that you are letting those few off-topic issues prevent you from seeing this topic really is about privacy options in IPS4 and their importance to the future of community development. Member profiles don't have to be what they have always been. They can be something great. I think IPS has the most potential and the best people to make it happen. Jim
  8. Because those who would join a support forum might not be as apt to join a social network for the same kind of support. I use another forum software and some major plugins and add-ons to make it a complete site and have been pretty happy with it up to now. But it's old and I don't like the upgrade path and it doesn't offer the modernization and features I believe my members would like going forward. IPS3.x is in that same category, but IPS4 is a whole new game. It has great potential. I may convert to it regardless of the lack of profile privacy, but I would be a LOT happier if it had more profile privacy and other options. Now, show us this social network software that will beat any of the top ranked forum software as a community/support based platform. I belong to a number of webmaster related websites and haven't heard much mention of any. Facebook, LinkedIn? Please.
  9. I don't agree. If something is private in the profile, it should be visible only to those who have permission to see it, whether that's on the profile page, or in the "hover card" (is that the official name?).
  10. Can a sidebar block be modified per content of the block? If I have a tower ad, can I put it in a block without having the block header, borders, etc. show? Can I change the color of the block header and background per block? Jim
  11. Am I wrong in thinking that flyout contains less information that what is available on the profile page? And can it be configured (I'm only concerned about IPS4) to show only specific portions of the profile information? Jim
  12. This can be done for calendar events?
  13. I do like that calendar items can be commented on, but I have noticed that the blog has some kind of synchronization going with forum posts. Every time there is a new blog entry, it seems like a new forum topic is started with the same content. That was my original hope for the calendar events and I wonder how difficult it would be to implement that kind of synch feature between calendar and forum? Jim
  14. Q2 is April, May & June. March is still in Q1. :smile:
  15. I appreciate you were trying to help. But providing help that is either a violation of search engine rules or unethical is not. :)
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