Greetings Painter Community.
Change is certain and one thing that has drastically changed is community. I have noted the Painter Factory has been filling with spammers very rapidly over the past year. The underlying software we use is dated and in need of an upgrade that takes time and resources away from building better software. As a consequence, we are faced with some options, one of which I would like to share and get your feedback on.
Start a New Factory Forum using Google +Plus
Google Plus is a very powerful, free and well thought out framework for personal, public or group communications and collaboration. Over the past six months, I have noted more and more functionality, flexibility and user privacy options. The likes of Google, Facebook and Yahoo are in business to build communities and happily, they are competing to keep it compelling and in most cases, respectful of people's privacy.
Since Google is free and it has a very long track record around user privacy, I believe it is the logical place to consider for a new and improved community use. I realize there are downsides, but in my opinion, the benefits far outweigh them. Consider these points:
- Google Plus it is free, open and available 7x24, not to mention, it is maintained by a focused group of developers. Since it is highly integrated across more and more Google properties, it has long term staying power in the market
- it has tremendous new communications capabilities that our current software does not have. You can actually Hang Out with Forum members, connect over video and even share your desktop if you choose to
- it has the perceived upper hand over Facebook as it relates to user privacy. But then again, you could sign up and call yourself Bill the Cat... not that you heard that suggestion here.
I could go on with the upside and downsides, but the world has really moved to more open, scalable community frameworks. It is likely, some of you may refuse to join in if we end up proceeding with Google Plus as our new home for the Painter Factory Forum. We cannot please everyone, but if I do get considerable push-back, then I am more than willing to look at other options.
I have created a working prototype you can join...please don't assume the decision is final. This is simply a placeholder to help you visualize and try it out. Note, you will need a Google Account.
Check it out here:
You are welcome to comment on this thread, or within the Google Plus community.
Happy New Year to all!
Looks great Andy. Smart move!
Thanks for the feedback Skip. I am concerned about social media fatique since many find Facebook a challenge to keep up with or even use. Since google properties continue to integrate Plus, I think it is the winner. If we do close this community and switch to Google, it is one less network you need to actually log into.
Andy, many of us have absolutely no interest in a Facebook type Forum (Google+) and everything attached to them. Personally, I find Facebook to be one of the biggest time wasters ever. Dedicated forum software such as IP Board is straight and to the point without all the superfluous Facebook type features.
What is wrong with using software that what many, many Forums use without major problems such as IP Board. Karen Bonnaker has used IP Board for years on Painter Talk without major problems and practically no spam.
I don't know how old Painter Factory Forum's software is, but it seems prehistoric compared to most other forums that I visit regularly. As for spam, maybe you just need more moderators to trim the spam. Ginny is a fount of Painter knowledge, but her talents and time are wasted tweezing out spam. Try getting IP Board and a few volunteers and users should see a HUGE improvement in Painter Factory.
I am not in the least interested in Google+ or any other so called 'social media'. Dedicated forum software is focused and to the point. In all probability, I will consider stopping my reading of Painter Factory if you go to Facebook or similar such as Google +
Sorry, but you did ask!!!
Thanks for that viewpoint Doug. It is evident we need a migration to new and improved forum framework. We are spending 10 days per month weeding and ferreting out the trolls. I am looking at the options including open source, paid software and mainstream portals that millions of people are using.
Convincing anyone to join social media that has not already is up there with selling an alternative religion or the upside of full verus term life insurance. That said, I believe Google is taking its ques from all the mistakes Facebook have made.
It is highly unlikely we will host our own software on our own servers. The world has simply moved on to software as a service and hosted options that are cheaper, better and more secure.
Wasn't implying that you should host your own forum software, just find a hosting company that you like and host an IP Board or whatever software there. For starters, contact Karen Bonnaker of Painter Talk and ask how she does it.
If one or two persons can run Painter Talk, surely Corel could run a similar setup; could they not?
Will this vast Forum discussion resource continue to exist for looking up terms to find past solutions to problems that are solved in the Forum user archieves? Many times I have found these discussions find ways to describe methods or work-arounds that simply don't work when looking within Painter Help
On the "Plus" side, so to speak, the general migration idea does sound good.
However, there are privacy issues with Google+ just as there are with Facebook and other such sites.
A simple example is the Google+ Sign Up form I attempted to use in order to help test the site you propose.
It asked for information I don't choose to share. Not being the worst examples, I could probably manage those parts of the form.
The one I literally can't manage and think is ridiculous for Google to require is a Mobile Phone number. The problems with this are:
I do not currently have a working mobile phone and may never have one.
I can't make up a phone number using all zeros as the form won't accept that solution.
If I make up a phone number using real numbers, I run the risk of using someone else's number, which I have no right to do... and, for obvious reasons, do not choose to do.
So, I'm left not being able to complete the form even if I do divulge other information I would prefer not divulge.
Wake up, Google. Not every human being has a mobile phone, even if some of them might not mind sharing the number if they did have one.
All I want is a reasonable amount of privacy and I know for a fact many people feel as I do about this.
Another issue is Google's demonstrated interest in using copyrighted art without the knowledge or agreement of the copyright holder. Or, their interest in profiting from copyright holders registering their copyrights via commercial sites owned by companies such as Google.
If you're not aware of these issues and want to learn about them, information on the subject is available on the Illustrator's Partnership website at:
American Society of Illustrators Partnership
Also, posted at The PainterFactory, a two-page thread containing issues of the Illustrators Partnership newsletter. Do a search for the word Google and read the article on page two of this thread. That newsletter is yellow and was posted on Wed, Oct 1 2008 9:41 AM Pacific:
An Urgent Matter for All Artists - New Orphan Works Act of 2008
Privacy and protection of copyrights are both very serious issues and are taken seriously by many of The PainterFactory's members and members of other forum sites as well.
Just ask on sites like Conceptart.org and (though it's not as active as it used to be), Sijun forums, to learn what their members think.
I'd strongly advise not moving ahead too quickly whether or not we all want a better forum site... we do, I do, and we'd all enjoy it if the price doesn't turn out to be too high.
In Any case, take plenty of time to read, re-read, understand, ask questions about, then read again regularly as they'll change every so often....
The Google Terms of Service