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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:20 am 
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The Garden Forums-time to renew-We need input

The two years I paid for is up and if we are to continue someone needs to step up.
Our great webmaster Josiah has done more than his fair share and is stepping down.
A new webmaster is needed also.

Katie do you still have the domains and are they do also?

Post your ideas,

ArizonaEd

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:25 am 
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Ed, does TGF need a financial support for the next period for domain name and hosting? I am ready to donate, just need your directions on how to do it.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:15 am 
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Ed,

I'm right behind Andrey - I'd like to donate some $, too, if that's what is needed for some of the requirements.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:23 am 
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Hi, Ed. Is there a reason we need to move to another location? We already have this domain...is the price unreasonable to renew?

I am happy to donate money, too...I wish I were in a position to give more time, too.

I think a lot of the folks here will be willing to help out a little bit financially, and that will take us a long way.

Katie

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:40 pm 
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Thanks all,
I am trying to figure a way to have a skilled webmaster offer to take the helm for the technical running of the site.

Katie,
I don't know what you thought I said. There is no reason to move anywhere that I know of.
Keep the domains you have please.

Let me get together with Josiah and see what we can figure out.

more to come,
Ed Bartlett

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:51 am 
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Just bumping this up.

Wanted:
Site administrator
Easy chores
Lots of appreciation
Compensation=lots of good Karma
A great way to work for the gardening community.

Ideas Please,
ArizonaEd

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 Post subject: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:23 pm 
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As Ed mentioned in a previous thread, the time has come to make some changes here at The Garden Forums. Sorry for being so abrupt, but the renewal notice really forced my hand in terms of deciding the future involvement in The Garden Forums.

First and foremost, we need to raise some money to pay Ed for the hosting costs. He graciously paid for the first two years out of his pocket, never once asking to be paid back, and refusing any offers to split it with me. Our hosting company has already charged Ed for another two years (takes us through 2013). The total charges were $190, and I really believe that we could put that much together here on the forum to pay Ed back. We'd appreciate any suggestions on how to organize the fund raiser in a transparent way that everyone is comfortable with. If we are unable to raise a sufficient amount, we will ask our hosting company to cancel the renewal, and that will be the end of The Garden Forums.

If we are able to raise enough money to pay back Ed, we will need to find a new administrator to replace me, and also a new moderator to replace Ed my mistake, Ed is planning to stick around as a mod. The duties are roughly as follows:

Admin:
-> Some experience with PHPbb software would be a real plus. If you are good at following directions and using Google search, most people could learn PHPbb by jumping in and just running the site.
-> The biggest responsibility is monitoring the registration emails, and approving those new members that are actual people. On average, we get about 50 registrations per day, with only about 1% of them being real people, not just spam-bots. I use gmail to sort these emails out, and spend about five minutes a day going through them. Easy work, but a bit of a time requirement.
-> The forum software needs basic tending to maintain the current set-up. It would be great to find an admin who might be willing to go a little farther, to update the software and do things like change the graphics occasionally.
-> The least frequent, but most difficult task is handling technical problems and site crashes. Most of this ends up being handled through technical support, but it occasionally requires being able to go through the forum software's control panel and adjust some settings.

Moderator (this is an optional position, to help make Ed's job easier):
-> This person basically needs to read through the forums, and deal with any problems. These problems are exceedingly rare, and are usually unambiguous spam that can be promptly deleted. Only on a few occasions have we had to moderate people for being rude or uncivil.
-> Having two or more moderators would be helpful, but not necessary.


Questions, comments, and suggestions are all welcome!


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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:29 pm 
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Katie,

If you get a renewal notice for the domain name registration, please let us know. We might just have to pay for the renewal while we try to get everything with the hosting company sorted out if it looks like we can raise the money and find some new people to run the site.


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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:36 pm 
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Josh,
1) thanks for all your work!
2) the money shouldn't be a problem at all!
3) I can't become an administrator because I don't have any skills in computer soft- or hardware.
4) But I would be ready to act as a moderator. I think it shouldn't be a problem that English is not my mother language and that I am a pretty old guy.

Jordi

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:09 pm 
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Will do. I haven't received anything yet, and it's possible that it's just an automatic renewal, like the hosting. I will let y'all know.

Ed - why have you decided to step down as moderator?

Katie

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:12 pm 
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cactus_kate wrote:
....Ed - why have you decided to step down as moderator? Katie

That's a good question.

Jordi

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:30 pm 
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Josiah wrote:
-> The biggest responsibility is monitoring the registration emails, and approving those new members that are actual people. On average, we get about 50 registrations per day, with only about 1% of them being real people, not just spam-bots. I use gmail to sort these emails out, and spend about five minutes a day going through them. Easy work, but a bit of a time requirement.

One of the sites I administer (the smallest, thankfully) was under continuous and vicious attack from spammers, which included dozens of fraudulent registrations each day. Administrator approval was an effective, if time-consuming avenue to pursue, but the issue was ultimately resolved by requiring registrants to answer a simple question. If you haven't implemented that tack, I strongly suggest you give it a try. In our case, it proved 100% effective, such that we were able to return to registrant email approval.


Last edited by GermanStar on Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:17 pm 
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Katie and all,
I didn't know I was stepping down as a moderator. Josiah might have missunderstood something I wrote but knowing me I probably wrote it. Not so though. It would be cool to have a few other eyes to simply scan the forums to monitor behavior that adversly affects the other members.

If a reembursment to me is in the mix I don't want any more than I paid. However the funds come we will need a third party to manage it. If for any reason I receive more than 190 US it will be donated to families in dire financal situations- the homeless or hungry.

mininal duty webmaster is needed very soon. The forums members will be very greatful.
BioBlitz2011 took up our day. Thousands of students at Saguaro National Park West. Wow!
Public invited tomorrow and it is cool! Well 1960's cool and 2011 sunny and warm. Stop by the Tucson Cactus and Succulent booths and say hi. 9-1pm is our shift open until 4pm.

Thanks,
Ed

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:21 pm 
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I saw a site that used that simple question trick.

Their question is "what is *username*s name", WRT the site owner who made about half the posts and ended every post with "-Frank" If you'd read the question and more than 5 posts you'd know the answer.

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:41 pm 
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It could be anything, just something that requires the registrant to type an obvious answer (i.e. What color is grass?). In our case, it stopped the bots cold, which captcha did not.


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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:43 pm 
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Isn't there some sort of Paypal arrangement that can be used for contributions toward the cost for the site? Not sure if Ed has a paypal account that can receive funds, but maybe someone else could collect and then send on to him. Are there tax issues involved?

$10 from 19 people is $190?? Doesn't seem like a big challenge to me... and that would cover 2 years?

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:20 pm 
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Sorry Ed, from an email you sent, it definitely sounded like you wanted to end the obligation of having to monitor the site. Certainly makes things a bit easier to keep you around!

GermanStar and Promethium: You are absolutely correct that there are solutions available other than paging through registration emails manually. The problem is that I am not interested in taking the time and effort (however trivial it may seem) required to update the forum software so I can use some pre-made phpBB-mod to automatically examine the "what color is grass" question. I certainly don't have the skills to code that myself. Both of you seem to have some knowledge in this area, perhaps one of you would be willing to serve as the admin?


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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:42 pm 
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Few technical skills here (still learning to not kill my cacti). Willingly I'd consider a monetary donation to assist with domain costs. Have Paypal. Have pick up truck - love to travel and camp; am looking for an excuse to go to the Big Bend area in the next 2-3 weeks. Mick - West Texas

Josiah wrote:
Sorry Ed, from an email you sent, it definitely sounded like you wanted to end the obligation of having to monitor the site. Certainly makes things a bit easier to keep you around!

GermanStar and Promethium: You are absolutely correct that there are solutions available other than paging through registration emails manually. The problem is that I am not interested in taking the time and effort (however trivial it may seem) required to update the forum software so I can use some pre-made phpBB-mod to automatically examine the "what color is grass" question. I certainly don't have the skills to code that myself. Both of you seem to have some knowledge in this area, perhaps one of you would be willing to serve as the admin?


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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:46 pm 
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i had no idea that ed footed the bill!! shame on you, ed! we would all have contributed something! i certainly have no problem sending something now - and would have done so two years ago (wow! i can't believe it's been that long already!)

i always thought there were a few mods floating around? all this time it's been just ed doing it all? wow. i had no idea!

i have both mod experience and php knowledge (rusty tho it is). i do not have sufficient time available - i'm just about to get into the year-end stuff at work and wouldn't want to take on the stuff here without being fully updated on php first. how quickly to you want someone to take over, josiah?


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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:02 pm 
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joclyn wrote:
i had no idea that ed footed the bill!! shame on you, ed! we would all have contributed something! ...

To finally nail down the money thing I open my PayPal account for donations. Send me a PM for the e-mail address.
Mark the donation 'AZED' and don't send more than $ 10.- per person, please! If possible I'll deny receipt or return bu PP your donation if the sum amounts already to more than $ 190.-
I'll then send a check to ED.

Jordi

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:55 pm 
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Josiah wrote:
Sorry Ed, from an email you sent, it definitely sounded like you wanted to end the obligation of having to monitor the site. Certainly makes things a bit easier to keep you around!

GermanStar and Promethium: You are absolutely correct that there are solutions available other than paging through registration emails manually. The problem is that I am not interested in taking the time and effort (however trivial it may seem) required to update the forum software so I can use some pre-made phpBB-mod to automatically examine the "what color is grass" question. I certainly don't have the skills to code that myself. Both of you seem to have some knowledge in this area, perhaps one of you would be willing to serve as the admin?

Thanks, but I'll have to pass on that. I already administer three forums, one quite large, and work with vBulletin and SimpleMachines, so I have no real phpBB experience. But in truth, the main reason is that there aren't many like-minded members here for me to learn from and converse with. From my small experience here to date, I seem to be the only Agave collector on the entire site, and my gardening interests don't extend too far beyond that.


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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:19 pm 
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GermanStar wrote:
....From my small experience here to date, I seem to be the only Agave collector on the entire site,....

Well that's not quite right. Several members also grow Agaves and THE Agave expert Greg Starr also is a member of this forum.
I for example grow A. parryi v. couesii, stricta v. nana, gypsophila, polyantiflora, shawii, attenuata, ferdinandsis regis, vilmoriniana, americana mediopicta alba, decipiens, isthmensis, geminiflora, dasylirioides, cupreta, bracteosa, angustifolia, ovatifolia and titanota.

Jordi

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:37 pm 
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Good to know, now I don't feel quite so lonely here as I did. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:49 pm 
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GermanStar wrote:
One of the sites I administer (the smallest, thankfully) was under continuous and vicious attack from spammers, which included dozens of fraudulent registrations each day. Administrator approval was an effective, if time-consuming avenue to pursue, but the issue was ultimately resolved by requiring registrants to answer a simple question. If you haven't implemented that tack, I strongly suggest you give it a try. In our case, it proved 100% effective, such that we were able to return to registrant email approval.

This also worked on a phpBB forum I moderate on. I'd be glad to help out with moderating if need be but don't really have enough experience with the phpBB software to be the sole administrator.

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:49 am 
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GS,
Linda and I grow many Agaves from the biggest to the smallest. I also Bonsai some A. americana alba-picta in the house.

BW,
Well with several folks with some experience and me with none but willing to learn some it might work out as a group effort with one at the helm and a reserve of several with knowledge.
Josiah said that needing to know the phpBB stuff is only required 1% of the time.

Car broke and Dryer died today tomorrow will not be cheap for us. Oh well,
Happy Day,
AZED

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:00 pm 
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I appreciate the suggestions on improving our registration process. However, that isn't the part of the job that I am really trying to get away from. To be entirely honest, I just don't want to be responsible for keeping a site I don't actually use running. While infrequent, site crashes are big distraction to "real life," and whether or not it actually exists, I feel pressure to work as hard and as fast as possible to get things restored.

As to specialized knowledge, I actually know very little about phpBB. I ran one, small phpBB forum before I volunteered to take over here when Dan decided to step down. I am, however, comfortable using google to search the phpBB forums, where I can find answers to almost everything. Our host also makes pretty frequent backups, so it is easy enough to have them restore the site when something goes really wrong. We don't need an expert, we just need someone willing to do some basics, and maybe learn a few new things when something goes wrong...


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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:40 pm 
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I don't know how it was done, I just saw it once. Maybe there's a 'plugin' or something that does it? I do some programming, but only at the command line level.

I just got my camera charger back after it was 'lost' at my brothers house for a few months, so hopefully I'll contribute more. This forum is a lot more fun when you can share pics that weren't taken with a phone...

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:14 pm 
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Actually, I own the domains still. Muuuhahaha! :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:12 pm 
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Dan, I'm glad you posted that, because I have been wracking my brain and rifling through my information trying to find out when and how I got involved with that. Thanks!

Also, good to hear from you!!

Katie

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 Post subject: Re: Changing of the helm
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:46 am 
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Yes, I kept them in the end. At the time, the only willing party would have had total control of everything had I passed them to him. I think that's unwise. Not that I mistrusted him, I just didn't know him and still felt protective of this project.
Let me ask you this: Does anyone still feel the need to keep the .com domain? I hold both the .org and .com
If we can dispense with the .com version, my cost is cut in half and I could be convinced to keep paying for the .org much longer. It isn't expensive. I just don't see any real use for me beyond nostalgia and pride that it is still thriving. I guess it's also good Karma.

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