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2019 MSO Ideas Thread

_brooke

Administrator
Admodistrator
Hey all,

Ive come on board to assist get a few MSO ideas and initiatives off the ground.
If you have any MSO ideas/initiates/feedback, feel free to post them in this thread, as we will endeavour to make them happen (if appropriate, and/or possible ;) )

Cheers,

Brooke
 

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Cathay

Train Driver
Emeritus
This one is more feedback but... Is the blog section still being worked on? The Blog section went away after the site upgrade, and the one that subsequently appeared doesn't seem to be quite fully restored.

The latest blog in there is from 2017, and being that I've recently published a long post about my story (from medicine to trains) to save myself having to explain it over and over, I'm kind of missing my post :p (I haven't been able to refer people to the blog post hahaha)

Also when visiting the Blog section, the log in function doesn't seem to work - the "log in" and "register" buttons show up as though I've logged out, and clicking either of the buttons results in an error.
 

isuru

Administrator
Admodistrator
Hi Cathay - thanks - yes there was no easily available user blogs add on for the upgraded forum.
Although, as you point out though - there weren't a lot of users utilising the blogs previously.

Instead, there is a WordPress add-on / bridge for articles.

Would it be okay if we featured your blog post as an article instead?

(and yes, will fix up the bugs and labelling of the section - I will ask our tech team todo10 to help with this please)
 

Cathay

Train Driver
Emeritus
Hi Cathay - thanks - yes there was no easily available user blogs add on for the upgraded forum.
Although, as you point out though - there weren't a lot of users utilising the blogs previously.

Instead, there is a WordPress add-on / bridge for articles.

Would it be okay if we featured your blog post as an article instead?

(and yes, will fix up the bugs and labelling of the section - I will ask our tech team todo10 to help with this please)
Hi Isuru! Yes the Blog section was a bit under-used (in fact Yamster has a blog competition going on atm to try and revive it) - and quite often misused by new members who thought that was where to post questions etc (rather than in the forums where they're meant to go.)

Yup that's fine to have my post as an article - I guess as long as it ends up somewhere so I can be lazy and direct people to the post rather than answer 50 questions. :lol:

Thanks for taking the time!
 

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isuru

Administrator
Admodistrator
Hi Isuru! Yes the Blog section was a bit under-used (in fact Yamster has a blog competition going on atm to try and revive it) - and quite often misused by new members who thought that was where to post questions etc (rather than in the forums where they're meant to go.)

Yup that's fine to have my post as an article - I guess as long as it ends up somewhere so I can be lazy and direct people to the post rather than answer 50 questions. :lol:

Thanks for taking the time!
Thanks Cathay - and yes - having the Blog comp where the submissions are anonymous (as much as possible!) through submission to LMG! - is a good way to keep it fair.

Thank you - will get on to it!
 

Sherlock

Regular Member
Hi _brooke, welcome to MSO and thanks for putting in effort to make this great community even better.

A few ideas in my mind and thought I’d write them here.

1. I think it would be great to have more forum participation and increase members base. From experience, one way of achieving this is through competitions. I think it’s more likely that people will stick around if competitions run over longer periods of time so that the users also get to interact with other parts of the forum and other users in the process, or if we provide enough incentive for the users to stay. With competitions, I think a realistic chance for participants but also something that requires a bit of effort over time works in retaining members. I’ll suggest two ideas.

Firstly, 5 (could be 4, 3, or 2 just an example) mini-essay writing competition - with perhaps a topic every two weeks for example. Short essays and users who submit quality essays and get overall highest marks (will probably require judging panel or voting) over those 5 essays and win prizes, maybe the top 3 users win.
Secondly, I think different contests also work well to retain members, (is it possible to have another seperate sub-forum for contests as currently the sub-forum general discussion is used?), monthly activities such as art works - digital or otherwise with a particular theme, and trivia and users collect points (quality of art can have points system and similarly, also points for number of correct answers in trivias and these points increase for users over time. They can claim prizes with certain number of points. Perhaps something like 50 points for MSO mug, 20 points for MSO pen etc.

Obviously, for participation, competitions and contests require incentives that have some value. Promoting these competitions once they start via MSO’s Facebook page could help bring new users.

2. Have a new usergroup something like “VIP members”, active and valued contributors assigned to a different usergroup identified by a colour. I think this is a nice touch of appreciation for the contributors but it also validates what these contributors post on forums and provides some authenticity.

3. Silver stars. Adding to the current reward of gold stars which are rare and difficult to earn, silver stars can be new form of incentive which are easier to get. For example, if people participate on competitions and write blog posts or helpful threads, users earn silver stars. These silver stars can be exchanged for little things such as adding a notice on hatbox for a certain period, access to hatbox or change username. When a user is able to collect 10 silver stars, it can then be converted to a gold star. So there’s a greater value if users decide to collect silver stars over time. These stars can be donated to other users if desired.

4. Currently, users with good contribution have overall user reaction scores but these reaction scores do not have any value, perhaps these can be converted to certain prizes after certain score which can be decided at staff’s discretion.

Obviously all these things may not be feasible but I thought I’d write them anyway.


Cheers,
Sherlock.
 

LMG!

Moderator
Admodistrator
2. Have a new usergroup something like “VIP members”, active and valued contributors assigned to a different usergroup identified by a colour. I think this is a nice touch of appreciation for the contributors but it also validates what these contributors post on forums and provides some authenticity.
I definitely like this idea and think it would be really useful for new members who are looking for reliable information, but I'm also mindful of the fact we already have so much (often crap, tbh!) under people's usernames that it'll just get lost in all the 'noise' and not actually appear to be all that meaningful. If we were to go with this, the only way I think it could be useful to the site would be to scrap everything else.

For example:

Sherlock
VIP Member

rather than

Sherlock
Breaker of order (??? ;) )
VIP Member
 

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TKAO

crossed fingers for ATAR
Gold star winner
I have a suggestion: a dedicated guides area on the forums page, or a dedicated guides/archives/useful information page on each of the subforums. I've definitely spent more time that I should have digging up old links to UCAT calculators from DotWingz or the percentile table from FunTimes in the UCAT subforum, and probably a whole bunch more about other things I don't seem to remember. I just remember being slightly annoyed every time I had to look for something that was deep within a thread. I feel like this could be solved by having a completely separate thing dedicated to files and documents that are open access to all. I imagine this place to be more long form posts than short comments, just to keep the quality up and to ensure that you don't have unnecessary noise when you are trying to find something crucial. If you found something useful, like it rather than leave a comment sort of thing - keep it clean.
For example, UCAT could have the UCAT calculators, guides, tables and collated data from there, as well as user made guides about how to study for it and mistakes and things that they have learnt from. Maybe collated free prep material (Down with those for profit companies!) might be useful too.
Interviews can have useful links to perhaps the calendars for when the universities hold interviews, interview prep material (like trying to find Skarzin's material), any useful tables and other information like that.
Med Entrance (and similarly dent entrance) can have the criteria table made by A1, as well as guides on how one should order their TAC preferences as both local/interstate people and all that other stuff that you might need like info on EAS schemes and stuff like that. Maybe even a basic guide on how to estimate your chances at a particular university? In-depth university guides might even be useful from people who are already in their final years there.
I'm just spitballing but it would really be nice to have a set aside place for all this stuff.

Potential problems that could arise:
- what happens if there are multiple guides on the same thing with different perspectives?
- how to ensure quality?
- Who is allowed to write guides and what are they allowed to upload? (I noticed Excel docs aren't allowed to be uploaded)
- what to do with old guides or wrong guides, do newer guides have precedent?

Sorry if it sounds a bit incoherent.
 

LMG!

Moderator
Admodistrator
I have a suggestion: a dedicated guides area on the forums page, or a dedicated guides/archives/useful information page on each of the subforums. I've definitely spent more time that I should have digging up old links to UCAT calculators from DotWingz or the percentile table from FunTimes in the UCAT subforum, and probably a whole bunch more about other things I don't seem to remember. I just remember being slightly annoyed every time I had to look for something that was deep within a thread. I feel like this could be solved by having a completely separate thing dedicated to files and documents that are open access to all. I imagine this place to be more long form posts than short comments, just to keep the quality up and to ensure that you don't have unnecessary noise when you are trying to find something crucial. If you found something useful, like it rather than leave a comment sort of thing - keep it clean.
For example, UCAT could have the UCAT calculators, guides, tables and collated data from there, as well as user made guides about how to study for it and mistakes and things that they have learnt from. Maybe collated free prep material (Down with those for profit companies!) might be useful too.
Interviews can have useful links to perhaps the calendars for when the universities hold interviews, interview prep material (like trying to find Skarzin's material), any useful tables and other information like that.
Med Entrance (and similarly dent entrance) can have the criteria table made by A1, as well as guides on how one should order their TAC preferences as both local/interstate people and all that other stuff that you might need like info on EAS schemes and stuff like that. Maybe even a basic guide on how to estimate your chances at a particular university? In-depth university guides might even be useful from people who are already in their final years there.
I'm just spitballing but it would really be nice to have a set aside place for all this stuff.

Potential problems that could arise:
- what happens if there are multiple guides on the same thing with different perspectives?
- how to ensure quality?
- Who is allowed to write guides and what are they allowed to upload? (I noticed Excel docs aren't allowed to be uploaded)
- what to do with old guides or wrong guides, do newer guides have precedent?

Sorry if it sounds a bit incoherent.
I did these for the UMAT and UCAT subforums (And was planning it for more) but the recent forum upgrade removed all the formatting and they are not currently functional.

I’ve asked a couple of times for alternative coding but haven’t heard back, so I’m also keen for a reply on this.
 

TKAO

crossed fingers for ATAR
Gold star winner
I did these for the UMAT and UCAT subforums (And was planning it for more) but the recent forum upgrade removed all the formatting and they are not currently functional.

I’ve asked a couple of times for alternative coding but haven’t heard back, so I’m also keen for a reply on this.
Ah so it has been done before. Well hopefully it can be implemented again. I don't really remember the old forum because I didn't really use my account on MSO until after the website change.
 

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LMG!

Moderator
Admodistrator
Ah so it has been done before. Well hopefully it can be implemented again. I don't really remember the old forum because I didn't really use my account on MSO until after the website change.
If you know anything about coding (I don’t really! I can use it once someone else gives it to me, but that’s it!), then we can work together on this if you’re interested/able?
 

TKAO

crossed fingers for ATAR
Gold star winner
If you know anything about coding (I don’t really! I can use it once someone else gives it to me, but that’s it!), then we can work together on this if you’re interested/able?
Unfortunately not. I have only very rudimentary understanding of python and CSS from year 10 computer science class. Surely the software that you use - Xenforo would have some backend admin tools that require less coding knowledge? Maybe I'll try to pick it back up later on, once I get into med that is :^)
 

LMG!

Moderator
Admodistrator
Unfortunately not. I have only very rudimentary understanding of python and CSS from year 10 computer science class. Surely the software that you use - Xenforo would have some backend admin tools that require less coding knowledge? Maybe I'll try to pick it back up later on, once I get into med that is :^)
Possibly. Indeed, probably! I just have no idea what those backend admin tools are (hence me replying above that I’ve already asked for help a couple of times). I will keep plugging away, though!
 

TKAO

crossed fingers for ATAR
Gold star winner
Possibly. Indeed, probably! I just have no idea what those backend admin tools are (hence me replying above that I’ve already asked for help a couple of times). I will keep plugging away, though!
Worst comes to worst, you can makes a separate subforum dedicated to this sort of guide/archival stuff, then pin a thread at the top of each subforum that has links to each of the relevant guides/archival stuff as well as maybe a FAQ. I've noticed that A1 has had to answer the same question of 'how does QTAC know my UCAT ID' like at least 5 times now, and if he isn't annoyed seeing it, I certainly am! XD
 

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