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Author Topic: Help UKAI !  (Read 2288 times)

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Offline swashy

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Help UKAI !
« on: 01:00:57, 31 January, 2016 »
The Team here at UKAI would like your feedback, we need to know what you think of the forum, what you like, and more importantly what you dont like!  Do you enjoy our competitions?  should we do more or less of them? do we engage you? do we offer what you want, or expect ?  How can we adapt to help you?  and where can we improve to meet todays modern astro-photographers expectations?

We like to think that as an astroimaging forum, UKAI offer what you would expect.. somewhere to upload your astro images and get meaningful responses and helpful comments from like minded people, and on the whole we believe this is what UKAI does best, we are not afterall, a commercially backed forum, and we do not have any interest in promoting any specific commercial goods, we do however have our sponsors, who help to fund the costs of the forum's existance,  and we hope to remain that way forever.  We do of course wish to keep UKAI online, and that requires members, old and new, and regular interaction to the forum bloodstream, as this is where our interest lies, so please, if you love UKAI as we the team do, let us know how we are doing, and possibly how we can do better, for you, in the future

The UKAI Team

Ade

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Offline Starlight

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #1 on: 18:35:59, 31 January, 2016 »
Ade
Firstly - this is a really great forum that I have always enjoyed posting on and reading - well done to all of the Team
 :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

Secondly - whatever you do don't change the format to a scrolling type (modern ?) format.
There are many of us who like the page by page format.
There are other forums (believe it or not ) who have recently changed and they seem to have upset a large number of people - hopefully some of them may pop in here more often

Thirdly- I like the "homely" feel to the forum - difficult to explain in any other way

Fourthly - I wish I had something more helpful to say

Keep up the good work

May UKAI continue till the end of the universe !!

Don
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Offline swashy

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #2 on: 21:11:20, 31 January, 2016 »
Thanks Don  :thumbup:
Ade

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Offline Roger B

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #3 on: 21:15:37, 31 January, 2016 »
50 views and only one input.  I'' make it two ( even though I am a part of the team )

I second Don's first comment,  If it wasn't for this forum I wouldn't have got into Astro imaging I would have jacked it in ages ago & wouldn't be typing this.   

The competitions are a good thing ( Thanks to the Sponsors )  & does drive a bit more activity,  although I'd like to see more people enter these.   You have to be in it to win it..    And you have a chance   :D   please don't think you can't win it because your a beginner or you think that other pictures may (to you) look better. 
 
The layout to me is just fine,  easy to navigate & follow certain topics,  I have been on some other forums where you can ask a question & a day later it's 2 pages back, to me that's just too fast & hard to follow.
We know this is a primary ASTRO IMAGING forum & we do see it get more active when we have a clear spell,  but we have a bar & can talk about almost anything (within reason, lol   :vomit:)

so give us your input on what you like/dislike,  what you want/don't want,  we won't bite.     

TBH there is nothing I don't dislike about this forum,  I wish more would comment on some of the wonderful images that we have taken & put on here for all to see,  Personally I'd prefer 10 "Nice image" to 1 " that's outstanding"

EDIT :   Ade jumped in with a comment.    so this is the third lol

Rog


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Offline Phillyo

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #4 on: 08:46:09, 01 February, 2016 »
I'll add my input even though I'm no longer imaging.

1. UKAI was the first forum I came to when I knew nothing about observing or imaging or which end to look through etc. It and the wonderfully helpful people here have taught me everything I know (still very little) about imaging. Even though I am a member on other forums, it is UKAI that I come back to and respond to far more often than anything.

2. As Don has commented on, there's a very friendly homely feel to UKAI that keeps me coming back. I feel like I'm talking to a bunch of mates at the pub rather than avid imagers at a society meet where I'd feel like I'm not quite good enough to comment, not quite knowledgeable enough to give my input etc.

3. I like the layout. I don't think it really 'needs' to change.

5. Perhaps the only thing I would change if possible would be the upload limit, but I'm sure that's more a server/host issue than anything else and 500kb per picture is enough to get the image up for viewing. If people want greater resolution then it can be hosted somewhere else for viewing.

6. You're now wondering where point 4 has gone?

7. You just looked back up to confirm there is no point 4 :)

Phil
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Offline Einari

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #5 on: 08:58:23, 01 February, 2016 »
I'd like to add my 2cents here.
Just checked that I've been here since 2004 and I've stayed here because of the same reason which Don described as a "homely" feel.
I know I'm a bit of an outsider here (coming from Finland), but it has been nice to know UK astro imaging genre - and that we share same passion and same difficulties (weather, technical problems, light pollution etc).
Could this forum improve ? Maybe (I agree could comment more on many outstanding images - but sometimes my poor English skills lets me down I'm afraid...).
And one thing that comes to mind - could the All other astro images be divided (comets, aurora, NLC) ?
Tapio

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Offline tomhow

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #6 on: 10:18:19, 01 February, 2016 »
Appearance-wise I would not change much. Personally I'd do something to compact the header a bit, but i always complain about poorly used vertical space. i.e. everything in the hdr-l div could take up half the vertical space that it uses. I'd also do something more with this page (main link from google) http://ukastroimaging.co.uk/forums/ so it is a bit more engaging (perhaps mention the competition) and doesnt say "no title" above recent posts. I'd also trying and think of a way of making this page http://ukastroimaging.co.uk/forums/index.php?action=forum a bit less daunting and a bit more welcoming.

You want to increase new visitors and encourage participation....

It is tempting to suggest something akin to a "LIKE" button. But I know what happens. Everybody just presses it on everything and you're no further forward. You might as well relabel the Views column to "likes" for all the good it will do. We need something more creative, even if it is as simple as limiting everybody to 1 like a day. Or asking a more complex question, or a 1 to 10 rating.

The competitions are a superb idea. I would do a lot more to promote them to new visitors.  E.g. that post by Ade can be targetted via facebook at hundreds of UK Astronomers for the cost of a few quid of advertising. And it could well say "Win a CCD Camera by imaging Orion!" if you want to hook people in.

Another thing to bear in mind with competitions is to have a couple of "guest judges" that change for each competition.

Make it easier for people to log in perhaps by offering log in with your Google ID or Facebook ID. Or have a small area of the forum where guests can post.

Which brings me onto that final point, the old chestnut of donations. I know we've had this argument a zillion times before, but I would still request an easy method of making donations. I know this opens a can of worms, but i can't be any bigger than the one opened by having sponsors. Just a simple "donate" button discreetly placed in the profile area, or limited to only users over a certain length of service.



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Offline tomhow

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #7 on: 10:39:51, 01 February, 2016 »
oh, and do something about the "guests can't see any images" thing....

e.g. go here (not logged in) http://ukastroimaging.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=63891.0

I can't see Chris' image, and I can't see anything telling me that guests can't see images.  So I loose interest and move along.

I think guests should be able to see images. At least test that policy for a month and see if it makes any difference.
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Offline ChrisLX200

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #8 on: 12:15:10, 01 February, 2016 »
I like the well-mannered (!) banter on here, you never see the flame wars to be found on other sites. So it's fun to be here and no-one's ashamed to voice daft ideas and risk being laughed at ;-) Might be an idea to have a simple Help forum where _all_ help requests can go because they can pop up anywhere, whether software, hardware, imaging techniques, observing issues - and they might be missed by those that could help because they don't see it. Just everything could go in one section then there's no problem deciding where's the best place to ask for help.

Competitions I'm in 2 minds about, it's never going to be a level playing field is it? Both in terms of the kit being used and experience in processing. The difficulty of course lies with the judges who have to make a decision, but an otherwise rather lamentable image can still represent a real achievement for a newcomer who's had to overcome all sorts of initial difficulties, often using low-end kit, but after a lot of hard work they come out the other end with an image they are proud of. That image may often pass without comment because it doesn't compare favourably with those from our experienced imagers. So how about we have some Images of The Month Galeries - for both beginners and experienced imagers (either seperately or together in one gallery, doesn't matter so long as ALL get a chance to be aired), new imagers get to see the fruits of their labours shown in the gallery for a full month rather than being immediately lost in a old posting. At least it's some reward for their efforts.

ChrisH
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Offline tomhow

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #9 on: 08:38:49, 12 February, 2016 »
Another one for the suggestion box:a bigger and more obvious new message notification.
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Offline chris.bailey

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #10 on: 09:18:31, 12 February, 2016 »
Another one for the suggestion box:a bigger and more obvious new message notification.

You can turn on email notification of new private messages under your profile.
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Offline jhughe22

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #11 on: 09:52:12, 12 February, 2016 »
I'd like to say if it's not broken don't fix it.  :duh:  Perfection takes time and I think this forum is pretty well perfect.  :big_clap:  I can find my way around, I can ask any number of stupid questions and get an honest and patient answer.  :canadian:   I enjoy looking at the wonderful images captured by our members and they inspire me to try harder to capture images to a level my equipment will allow.. :D

A competition for noobies maybe?

Keep up the good work..John..
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Offline Annie

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #12 on: 11:35:48, 12 February, 2016 »
I agree entirely with the last comments.  The technical side of astro-imaging is something I've found very challenging and I couldn't have made the progress I feel I have made without the help of this forum - long may it continue with the same fundamental structure that manages to provide interest and help for all levels.

Annie

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Offline chris.bailey

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Re: Help UKAI !
« Reply #13 on: 07:45:33, 27 April, 2016 »
Thank you to everyone who responded to this thread. It may seem we have been a little tardy in responding but waited for the Kelling Heath Star Party to be able to discuss the suggestions face to face over a beer or ten.

To start is is great to hear we are doing most things right and that everyone still likes the relaxed atmosphere on here. There were some great suggestions and will try and update you on where we are with them below.

Q. could the All other astro images be divided (comets, aurora, NLC) ?

Its tricky to balance a confusing number of boards with ease of finding things. Having reviewed the "All other Images" board, there does seem some logic to separate out comet images so that has been actioned and more recent comet images moved over.

Q. Perhaps the only thing I would change if possible would be the upload limit, but I'm sure that's more a server/host issue than anything else and 500kb per picture is enough to get the image up for viewing.

The 500kb limit allows a 1000x800 colour image at a jpg quality of 90%. This is a reasonable compromise of image quality vs screen estate, server storage and download speed. The option remains to link to images hosted externally.

Q. The competitions are a superb idea. I would do a lot more to promote them to new visitors.  E.g. that post by Ade can be targetted via facebook at hundreds of UK Astronomers for the cost of a few quid of advertising. And it could well say "Win a CCD Camera by imaging Orion!" if you want to hook people in.

We have tried wider advertisement of competitions in the past and have had a significant number of entries from new members with only the single post as a result. We will continue to advertise competitions on here and on our Facebook page.

Q. do something about the "guests can't see any images" thing....

We are somewhat divided on this issue and there are equally good arguments for and against. It is likely that guests will be able to see images in the future.

Q. Another thing to bear in mind with competitions is to have a couple of "guest judges" that change for each competition

When a prize has been donated by a sponsor we invite them to join the judging panel. In future we will also invite the winners of the last competition to join in.

Q. Make it easier for people to log in perhaps by offering log in with your Google ID or Facebook ID. Or have a small area of the forum where guests can post

The current forum software does not have this facility. We do run the continuous gauntlet of spammers trying to gain access (often kitchen fitters from Essex for some reason) and have been quite successful of late in preventing spam postings. Again its a tricky balance but we do feel we have it about right.

Q. Might be an idea to have a simple Help forum where _all_ help requests can go because they can pop up anywhere, whether software, hardware, imaging techniques, observing issues - and they might be missed by those that could help because they don't see it. Just everything could go in one section then there's no problem deciding where's the best place to ask for help.

We have moved a lot of things around in the Q&A/T&T section so that the boards are a little more topic specific. We will monitor this over the next few months and see how it has worked out.

Q. Image of the month type gallery.

It would be nice to have a few more images on the front page but having run an image of the month type of thing in the past, it has caused a number of issues and is a bit of an administrative nightmare.

Turning the tables a little. Reviews and Tutorials may not get many responses but they get an incredible number of hits and lead to a fair few new members as a result. If anyone feels able to contribute please do let us know. We don't expect flowing prose or fantastic detail but a short review based on real user experience is very much appreciated and helps influence the buying decisions of others.

Thanks very much again for the input and heres to another decade of UKAI

The UKAI team
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