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Posts: 43
Location: Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
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I'm suspicious about the site and weather people are seeing my posts. My settings are such that I chose not to get emails. The way I usually view a topic is by clicking on "recent topics". Do more people see threads in the "rocket mass heaters" forum?

Site changes I recommend (and am not demanding):

1. Ideally it should be easy to know how the site works. I like the post probation feature because you're told what went wrong.
2. Describe how "best topics" are calculated
3. Add a view counter to threads
 
pollinator
Posts: 324
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Hi David!

1. Take a peek at this thread titled...  drum-roll please... "How Permies Works".
https://permies.com/wiki/34193/permies-works-links-threads

2. I dunno. Maybe Paul waves his magic wand?

3. If you are signed in, there is a thread view count at the bottom of the page, just above the "Boost This Thread" button. Again, to see it you must be signed in.
 
garden master
Posts: 2874
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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David Smolinski:

I remember reading your posts about treatment free queen bees. You are a braver beekeeper than I am! I never open a colony without full protective gear, and sometimes I even put on a bee-suit while weeding the garden in the vicinity of the apiary. Sucks in that way to have a bit of Africanized DNA in the apiary, but the pissy colonies sure are productive.

I am aware that you started a few threads about soil health, mulch, etc, but that's a topic that I don't like to read about, so I didn't visit those threads. I'm likewise not interested in threads about "climate", so I didn't read the posts you made recently to that thread. There are vast sections of this site that I am not even the slightest bit interested in, so I don't read them. It's a big site with a lot going on. Too much for one person to read. There are more than 3 dozen staff, so between us, there is enough neuro-diversity to keep track of everything.

I read  the True Potato Seed thread that you started.  I didn't participate because even though I grow true potato seeds, and might even list them in my seed catalog next month, I don't currently have  seeds to sell or trade, and the sellers I know are in the same situation. Don't have this year's seed catalog ready yet.

I'm reading and replying to this thread about "Forum Visibility", because I tend to read the "Tinkering With This Site" forum as one of my self-assigned duties as a moderator. 

Some ideas about how to increase your readership...

  • Write about a topic that is highly interesting to a lot of people.
  • Tell stories or anecdotes that are tinged with emotion, or that are inspirational.
  • Teach us how to do something better, faster, smarter, cheaper, easier, etc.
  • Give us a plausible promise and/or example of how to improve our lives without too much effort.
  • Include some sharp, well composed photos that hit right at the heart of the topic.
  • Keep posts of moderate length so that the readers don't get bored.
  • Start a thread about a project that you are working on, and post regular (quarterly?) updates about the project for the next 10 years.


  • As an example, if the potato seed thread included a photo, a thumbnail of the photo would be included in the description in the recently updated posts list, and might attract more clicks. As a moderator, I have the power to grant apples to posts that I think are exceptional.  I tend to give apples more frequently to posts that include great, on-topic photographs. Threads with more apples receive higher scores, and tend to get visited more often. Threads that attract more readers, and more responses receive higher scores and tend to be read more often.

    Threads with great titles, on hot topics, containing great photographs with descriptive names tend to attract search engine visitors. As an example, I just changed the name of the photo in the Queens for Sale thread from: "KIMG0098.jpg" to "treatment-free-beekeeper-holding-frame-of-brood.jpg". That'll bring more traffic from the search engines.


    claret-cup.jpg
    [Thumbnail for claret-cup.jpg]
    Claret cup cactus: An eye-catching photo to attract attention to this thread
     
    steward
    Posts: 2376
    Location: Pacific Northwest
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    I think thread score is based on some algorithm that considers how many apples a thread has in it, how many thumbs-up a thread has in it, how much PIE was given in the thread, how many views a thread has gotten, how many flags it was given, if it got a thread boost, and probably other stuff that I don't know about.

    When I come to permies, I go to the Recent Topics list at the top. I look at the topics posted. If it's in Cascadia, or about Ducks, or Hugelkulture, I generally will read it. If someone I know has posted in it, I'll generally click on it. Sometimes I'll click on something just cause it has zero replies and I'll try to find a reply for it. But, I don't always have time to do that. Right now, I should actually be sleeping...

    Like other's have said, sometimes people are reading your posts, but they don't have anything to contribute, and so they don't. One way you can see if people are reading it is to look at the "This thread has been viewed ___ times." down at the bottom. It's just above the "BOOST THIS THREAD" button. Sometimes there's some really amazing threads full of information that just have very few replies, because people came, read, learned a bunch, but had nothing to contribute.

    Also, if it's been a day and your post has dropped off the "Recent Topics" list, it might be a good idea to "bump" it. Add another comment--preferably something more than "bump", LOL!---and it'll bring it to the top of the recent topic list, and thereby increase the chance that someone who knows something about your topic will see it and click on it. Sometimes, when I start a new topic, I'll post some information, but not all of it. Then, if a day goes by and no one replies, I'll add a bit more info, to bump it to the top. Or, I'll make another post and add a useful link or a picture of what I'm talking about. It not only gives more info, but it BUMPS it to the top of the recent topics.

    Honestly, I rarely visit specific forum pages. I only go there if I'm going to make a post there, or if I'm just reeeeeally bored and can't think of anything else to do. Since the only place I look at is Recent Topics, the "Thread Score" of a particular thread really has very little impact on which threads I click on...

    I don't know if that helps, but I'm glad you're here on permies sharing your knowledge with us!
     
    Mother Tree
    Posts: 10249
    Location: Portugal
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    Sometimes tweaking the titles to grab people's interest helps too, rather than just stating the general subject area.

    I changed the title of your True potato seed thread to True potato seed - buy, sell and trade - maybe it will help people know exactly what the thread is offering.

    I'm still trying to think what might work for 'my soil health strategy' and 'polkadot mulch' - maybe they need rewording but I can't quite figure out what might work. 
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 916
    Location: USDA Zone 8a
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    I always click the "Forum" button at the top to read.  I just clicked the "Recent Topics" button and the view is so different.  There is no index to the different forums.  No "Best Ever", No "Best This Year".

    I think folks who just use the "Resent Topic" button are missing out on a lot of the great features. Especially the fact that it doesn't show which posts have pictures.
     
    David Smolinski
    Posts: 43
    Location: Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
    bee forest garden
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    The boost and view counter features don't exist in the standard Android mobile phone view, so I wasn't aware of them. Thanks.
     
    Posts: 6213
    Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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    Anne Miller wrote:I always click the "Forum" button at the top to read.  I just clicked the "Recent Topics" button and the view is so different.  There is no index to the different forums.  No "Best Ever", No "Best This Year".

    I think folks who just use the "Resent Topic" button are missing out on a lot of the great features. Especially the fact that it doesn't show which posts have pictures.



    My 'view' in 'Forum' is similar to my view in Recent Topics' because I have the 'forum' view set to 'recent topics as table' or something like that.  There are many choices of 'view' in the forum heading where Recent Topics has just the one (I think!)

    For me I like the view without the pictures...sometimes all of the lists (best of, hot topics, etc) seems too repetitive and my ADD gets a little overwhelmed

    So many options...everyone can explore and find what works for them...I don't know about mobile views at all though...I've got the full screen home computer on a desk arrangement.

    ...in recent view there is a plus or minus button on the upper left to show or not show the forum listings.
     
    Anne Miller
    pollinator
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    Judith Browning wrote:[ So many options...everyone can explore and find what works for them...I don't know about mobile views at all though...I've got the full screen home computer on a desk arrangement.

    ...in recent view there is a plus or minus button on the upper left to show or not show the forum listings.



    Judith, thanks.  I'm still learning all the ins/outs of the forum.  I see when I hit the plus button that I get the simplified index.

    Which view people prefer may have something to do with how they started using permies or most likely if they are using the mobile app.  I only have a desk top.
     
    garden master
    Posts: 7086
    Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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    I almost always go directly to recent topics, or to my posts, if I have posted things recently. Like Joseph, there are huge areas of the site that I don't bother with anymore. Some of it, like the rocket stove stuff, I've just read such a quantity, that there's no point, until I'm ready to build something else of my own. Then there are areas that I don't consider science, like biodynamics, or anti-vaccination stuff . Rather than getting into disagreements, I choose to not look at it.

    Another area that I generally leave alone are grievance threads. This could be anything from someone complaining about their neighbor, about the government , about various laws, or about how just about everybody else on Earth, is not as evolved as the writer.

    I probably do click into half of the recent topics, whenever I visit. If the initial post is poorly written, which would include large amounts misspelled words, lack of punctuation or confusion between the words then and than, or other red flags for me, I will stop reading. The internet is full of interesting, well written material, so I choose to not put myself through it.

    When deciding weather to continue, one of the chief criteria would be, am I likely to learn something, by reading this thread. So often, it is quite apparent, that this would not be the case.
     
    master steward
    Posts: 7269
    Location: Left Coast Canada
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    Welcome to permies.

    Best topics are a combination of many factors: including but not limited to the number of views, apples given, pie given, thumbs up, the number of images, and about 40 other factors.  If a thread isn't as visible as desired, one can always purchase thread boost which helps fund this site.

    One can earn apples by writing quality content that impresses either the staff or pollinators.  PIE can be earned also by contributing quality content or purchased.  By giving out pie to posts, it gives that thread a big boost.  One can also highlight a thread (one thread per person) with PIE for higher visibility. 


    I don't have the celebrity pull like some of the other writers here, but by posting quality content, quite a few of my threads have staggering view counts - far more than I would ever get on my blog.  It all seems to come down to content - posts with a combination of theory and personal experience seem to get the best results.  Even when my personal experience doesn't match what the theory tells us will happen, we can still learn a lot. 

    Another way you can get more visibility is to do a little bit of SEO - search engine optimization - so that your thread receives more google-love.  Something as simple as having a detailed subject like like "how do I make my threads more visible?" or something containing keywords you might type into google when seeking similar information.  Using file names with words for one's photos also increases a thread's SEO. 

    Hope this help.  Sometimes it's just down to luck - who's online when the thread is at the top of the most recent list.  If I have a thread that isn't getting any replies, I usually wait 2 to 5 days, then add a new post with more content - like a photo of what I'm up to, or maybe a video/link to something on the same topic.  This usually gets the ball rolling. 
     
    Anne Miller
    pollinator
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    I feel that photos help a lot with forum visibility. 

    I'm suspicious about the site and weather people are seeing my posts



    In my humble opinion, there is a small window of opportunity to catch peoples' interest.  Your title is the most important way of getting their attention. Next would be the fact that the post has a picture attached. 

    I don't have a way to make and post original photos so I use "google images" to find what would help my posts.  Unfortunately, I forget to do that sometimes.

    I also do this like

    R Ranson says "If I have a thread that isn't getting any replies, I usually wait 2 to 5 days, then add a new post with more content - like a photo of what I'm up to"

     
    Posts: 1128
    Location: Toronto, Ontario
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    I might be odd, but I am on several times a day, and can be on constantly depending on the nature of the day. I tend to keep up with recent postings, and like others, I sort through and ignore ones not to my immediate interest, usually purple stuff, but I actively respond to unsupportable claims and misinformation about controversial topics.

    I also look out for questions and requests for help and information that I can answer, usually things on mulching, buried wood beds, hugelkultur, and permacultural approaches and best practices for development of edible landscapes.

    Usually, there are also a number of posters that I look out for, as I acknowledge their wisdom on numerous topics, and/or really appreciate advice from practical experience I might lack.

    All in all, I think it's going well. I sometimes wonder if perhaps it would be a good idea to give Paul his own special token to award to whichever threads, posts, or posters he thinks especially worthy of attention, a rarer thing than an apple, and permanent, and so you can't get them any other way. So maybe a consistently good poster gets recognised and receives Paul's Gold Star, or something, which stays with the poster, and flags with a gold star any thread that poster contributes to.

    It may be an unnecessary layer on top of an already pretty loaded cake. Stars, sparkles, whipped cream, cherries, or bacon may not be necessary additions at this point.

    -CK
     
    r ranson
    master steward
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    David Smolinski wrote:
    3. Add a view counter to threads



    Thanks for your suggestion.  The counter is already in the regular view and now you should be able to see it in mobile view.
     
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