Lotus Elan

Next Version of LotusElan.net

PostPost by: jcocking » Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:17 pm

Thank you for everyone's feedback. I will try to respond to the various comments/questions......

How does everyone use the forum?
Most regular members use Active Topics or New Posts. In addition, they use the global search. Based on this usage, a way to simplify the forum is to move all topics into several broad categories. i.e. Elan, Plus2, General Lotus, Classified sections. This change would make the forums easier to post new topics. We would remove the technical classification.

How would the tagging work?
The creator of a topic would be responsible for tagging the topic. We would use a predefined list of tags. The member would enter the title and then click on the tags. This would assign the tags to the topic. The tagging could be used for search refinement.

How would the tagging be placed on older posts?
By individual review one topic at a time. It is only about 15K topics that would have to be reviewed and classified.

What about the Wiki?
After performance testing with the wiki, It started crashing the server. After implementing the wiki, it was going to require anyone who used it to learn a special language to use it. With the performance issues and the learning curve, I have had to place the current implementation on hold. We are looking at another software tool that will allow a simple editing tool and easier to use.

What about Search?
We currently have one of the better search tools, but when you have over 240K posts, the best isn't good enough. I have tested google site search, but google does not include all the pages on a website. Google controls the algorithms and what gets indexed. The Google Site Index is not a viable solution. I have been testing an alternate solution, but it would require adding another server dedicated to search. Another server adds complexity and costs. It is something we have been exploring.

Other Questions/Comments
Automated Home Page? We have been looking into this. It is about 120 hours with of work. It is on the list for the next version.

I think I covered everyone's questions. If I missed one, let me know.

General Feedback:
1. We don't use all the forums to find things, so simpler is better (less number of forums)
2. Find a better search function.
3. Make the first page more interactive.
4. Get the wiki up.

Jeff Cocking
1970 S4 SE
"Someday I will spend more time on the Elan and less time on the website."
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PostPost by: PeterK » Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:13 am

I see two broad categories of users - new and 'less new'
New users will probably arrive from a Google search. If there are just a few big buckets of posts, will that be seen as a rich in content site, with many active users, or muddled and confusing. If there are many subdivided categories, is that focused and logical or scattered and confusing. What will encourage more people to stay and to contribute ?

For the 'less new' users, most will be using the 'New Posts' approach for a view on what's changed, or search for a specific topic. I like the idea of tagging to address the latter need, but would suggest that we need moderators to play s bigger roll, becoming extremely important in helping the tagging be meaningful, complete and accurate.
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PostPost by: jimj » Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:16 am

Like many, I suspect, I just click on new posts and view those of interest. I don`t look, or notice, which section they`re in and I don`t imagine that I would look for tags. It`s just the search facility which is too non-specific.
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PostPost by: UAB807F » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:27 am

As I posted earlier, I'm a "new posts only" guy but after reading everyone's contributions I thought I'd take another look and try to see the forum through new eyes.

My conclusions were that if I came here looking for advice, it's pretty good. There are sections for most of the restoration problems, all neatly sub divided almost like the workshop manual, so that's easy enough.

There are chatty sections for Lotus and off-topics where the social side comes into play. Again, that's good.

And actually, it is simple to use. The only things I could nit-pick at were the separation of Elan & +2, because I think there's a helpful overlap between the models. Some sections I never read but should I ever want to go racing, I can see where to look.

So you go back to the search function and how it could be improved because, like others, I've also waded through pages which didn't provide the answer I needed. It's a tough one and I understand the idea of tagging to make it more specific.

But I'm not sure if getting a poster to manually tag a post would work. For example, if I wrote about a gearbox or differential then basically it's the same for all Elans and most +2's and as of now would go into the relevant technical section. If I specifically tagged "S3" & "Differential" and it disappeared into a large bucket of other posts in a section for "2 seater Elans" then that might preclude the answer being found or even attracting replies.

I guess the other niggle is that I'm not sure all manual tagging would be right/accurate and having something wrongly tagged is worse than no tags at all - it's either completely lost or just irritating spam in someones results. With manual tagging I could see a definite need for moderation/cross checking on posts to ensure everything stayed on track.

Trying to be more positive, a post could be automatically tagged according to the section for search purposes, or is this already done behind the scenes ?

Or maybe a "Detailed Search" option which goes to a page where the user can filter out (or in) Archive posts, posts older than 5 years, specific models, etc ? Like you can do on Ebay for example.


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