Author Topic: Future of the Forum  (Read 2676 times)

Offline David

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Future of the Forum
« on: October 04, 2015, 08:47:51 PM »
Since the sad passing of our friend Alan it's been fairly quiet around here in terms of postings.

It has got me wondering whether now women's football has "hit the big time" so to speak with mainstream media coverage is there a need for a forum like this anymore ?

I started this site in December 2006 to try and offer some support to the sport and a place for people to talk about the sport and have run it at my cost ever since...There are no ads and I receive no income for running it out of my own time and money. I have discovered that this forum software is now end of life and will start to play up soon as hosts move to more recent versions of the underlying softwares like PHP and MySQL.

So I am trying to determine if there is still interest and a need for the forum and I will look into options to move to another software...Or has everyone moved on to Facebook and Twitter etc and there is no demand for the site anymore and I can can get some of my time and money spend back lol ;-)

Let me know what you think

Regards

David

Offline Mackem Steve

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Re: Future of the Forum
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2015, 08:59:49 PM »
I've always used all three (facebook, twitter and this forum) so still think there's a place for a forum like this, think we just have to try and get it active again. Don't know why it's gone as quiet as it has but would be a shame to see it go completely.

Of course it's your time and money though so ultimately it's up to you. Maybe people would donate a little money, i certainly would.
"Sunderland have got a girl up front who is clinical - Beth Mead is one of the best strikers in the country, let alone our division - and it showed today." - Aston Villa Ladies Head Coach Joe Hunt

Offline pat51

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Re: Future of the Forum
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2015, 06:25:19 PM »
As one of the elder...in all senses...members of the forum since Dec 2006, I would be saddened by its  demise. Standing in a crowd of 2710 at Staines last night, it felt like the game had grown way beyond the situation that existed back at the start , when we were genuinely a small bunch of like minded individuals doing our best to share and promote our enjoyment of an undervalued sport.

However, the afternoon match in the FAWPL had an attendance of 5 ...yes really...I spoke to them all !!

The match was just as enjoyable, the people outstandingly friendly...for me there is so much more than the elite level worth promoting, but I wonder if things like Twitter Instagram and blogging etc are now the way forward.

I guess the level of response to your original post will help you decide

If this forum doesn't continue, I would thank David for his outstanding contribution. If a financial contribution would help ensure its survival, I , as Steve said, would be happy to chip in....
 

Offline law10

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Re: Future of the Forum
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2015, 07:00:27 PM »
Have wondered a few times if there was a way to merge with something like womenssoccerunited.  Kind of like a best of both worlds.  You could possibly merge the forums UI with their wrapper.  Possibly even offset cost.  It may not work out but might be worth a conversation.

Offline sylvain

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Re: Future of the Forum
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2015, 01:49:52 PM »
WSU are not inclusive people, they banned a lot including me ...

Offline law10

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Re: Future of the Forum
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2015, 02:19:00 AM »
That's unfortunate.  I feared that might be the case.  Good to know, thanks for the tip.

Offline Turfy Topper

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Re: Future of the Forum
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2015, 09:28:20 PM »
For what it is worth , I read the forum on a daily basis and have contributed in the past and would be sorry to see it go but a forum is only as good as the quality of people that post regularly. Certainly, the numbers seem to have dropped off but if people want it to remain, then they should post here more often to keep it alive.There was a time when the banter was well thought out and provoking and in good humor but one or two posters allowed bad taste to creep in and hence I withdrew.

I don't do Facebook or twitter , so divide my time between she kicks and womensoccerscene and here and while the other sites do a grand job at covering the football aspect, this site is the best for banter but folk need to work at it to keep,it going.

David has done a tremendous job over the years for what can sometimes seem a thankless task and if he decided to pull it, I would certainly understand that but miss it. Hats off to you David, for sticking with it and I am sure you will make the best decision for women's football and yourself.

All the best

Offline WFA

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Re: Future of the Forum
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2015, 08:36:16 PM »
WFA Verdict: Sad that it's come to this, but even if the forum is mothballed it would be a disaster if the stuff didn't stay online in some shape or form.

I've spent this morning nursing a monster hangover and using my latest Wikipedia nom de guerre to make a Laura Coombs article. Laura is newly "notable" (in the eyes of Wikipedia's ludicrous inclusion criteria) having made a one-minute sub appearance for England yesterday.

I couldn't find a report of her 2011 transfer from Arsenal to Chelsea anywhere except one copy-pasted on here. Chelsea shortsightedly bin all their news articles from before this year and even hide them behind infernal robots.txt, so they can't be archived at the wayback machine. The FA seem to have had a similar online funeral pyre recently.

Even She Kicks/Fair Game hit the reset button every now and again, sending years of great coverage up in smoke. It's maddening. While this goes on women's football will always be a snake eating its own tail.

The BBC don't seem to have reported Coombs' transfer at the time, as they only upped their game in terms of quality coverage after the London Olympics.

So losing the accumulated treasure trove of info off here would be a big blow, especially from the Norwegian section which was once quite active it seems.

The forum as I see it is now at a crossroads. At one stage there was a preponderance of Arsenal Ladies supporters on here, including the guys who very sadly passed away.

One or two others seemed happy enough with endless crowing, but then suddenly picked up their ball and ran home with dewy eyes and petted lips. Around the same time, revised WSL salary cap rules finally stopped Arsenal hoarding all the best players and making a tedious mockery of the competition.

Purely co-incidental, I'm sure...  ::)

I've thought for a while that women's football - in a wider sense - needs to cut out the paranoia and snobbery about its fans. At its best this forum did just that: bringing together on an equal footing a spectrum of people who found their own winding path to the game we all know and love.

No less a figure than U2's Bono once memorably said that fans coming to bop along to Larry Mullen Jr's drumming were just as welcome as those chewing over 'meaningful' lyrics.

In the same way, for example, if fans want to take a prurient interest in football players: so what? They're still paying their way in and have as much right to be there as anyone else.

Behind the goal at England's 4-0 demolition of Sweden in Hartlepool last year, four or five local teenage boys loudly worked themselves into a lather over Karen Bardsley's derrière.

Instead of lofty idealism or nervy conservatism we should adopt a realistic approach when confronted with this. Clearly the boys paid a fiver each for the titillation, or, more accurately in this case, ass-illation. Why pretend otherwise? As for putting a stop to it - we would be as well asking the sun not to rise in the morning! 

To be fair, one of the sweaty-palmed youths later opined that Jordan Nobbs was good enough to "pleh fer pyewls", which I took as quite a heartfelt compliment on her ability.

Women's football also accrues to itself Über-fans who affect support for trendy teams like Turbine Potsdam (pronounced: "Tur-been-ah"). Invariably, they obsess over youth soccer, hoping to win hipster points by spotting the next Asisat Oshoala or a budding Vivienne Miedema. They bark dementedly that time-served players, who've done the business for years, must be dropped for the latest starlet.

There is also a related sub-genus of delusional wannabe coaches, journalists and photographers who, out for themselves, see women's football as a leg-up to the glamour and big bucks of the men's game. These days it is even possible to parlay your esoteric women's football knowledge into a high-flying academic career. But you have to be as good as Jean Williams, and not many are.

Then there's the army of cosseting dads, secretly terrified that their little Talula (the next Kelly Smith, he thinks) might be pawed at by a 30-year-old dressing room vamp and "turned gay".

And then the lesbians themselves, with their proclivity for what might be subsumed under the euphemism: Drama. Then virtuous Guardian writers and their imitators, social justice warriors who do everything to 'fight the corner' of women in football. Apart from, y'know, going to the games.

I'm sure we all recognise these stereotypes from our interactions on here, in the Twitterverse and our experiences at matches. Even from this very roughly-sketched typology, we can see that women's football supporters in 2015 are a disparate bunch and must make for uneasy bedfellows at times.

Anyone with any involvement whatsoever in women's football will be acquainted with that 'walking on eggshells' feeling, as it remains virtually impossible to do or say anything without somebody, somewhere being offended.

Growing numbers of fans and booming coverage means much more of all this, not less. Is it now time to embrace it in all of its crazy, sometimes ugly, wacky completeness? I think we must, or risk being left behind.

Look, we were all here for different reasons and for a while it was a unique melting pot of different ideas. After all the game is about opinions and we are a nation of 60m football managers. Disagreements are good, healthy, inevitable.

For me the problems arose when a few thin-skinned, passive-aggressive types flagged down then clambered aboard the mock-offence bus. Trying to put a chilling effect on the debate and often threatening to flounce if they didn't get their way. No, no, no. Be an adult: have your say by all means, but stand your ground and let others have theirs too.

What about creating a dedicated sub-forum? So delicate flowers like Turfy Topper can keep out and won't have their moral sensibilities outraged. Perhaps entitled #RealTalk or similar, it could be passworded or clearly marked: "not for the easily-offended" or: "if you must goad eachother, do it in here".

That way the WUMs, trolls, sock-puppets, keyboard-clatterers and genuine nutcases (all the lifeblood of successful fora the world over) can return, banish the tumbleweed and get things up-and-running again.

Another serious point I'd like to make is about is the forum rules/code of conduct: Instead of being clickable up at the top as a reminder, it is apparently only visible as a one-off when applying to register.

Apart from the question about whether such rules are necessary - we're signing up to post on a football forum, not Mumsnet - it might be the case that well-intentioned posters simply forget months or years down the line that they are contractually obliged to post in the genteel style of an Anglican vicar.

Who could forget when the place went into meltdown after one poster used a vulgar colloquialism for urination? The 'victim' of the post hadn't even noticed the heinous crime visited upon them. Still, wild hissy-fits erupted amidst swinging handbags, accompanied I think by deleted posts, warnings and bans. Halcyon days! :D

I hope that you will take this rambling missive in the spirit of critical friendship in which it was intended, David, and allow it to stay on your peerless site for many years to come.

Offline Turfy Topper

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Re: Future of the Forum
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2015, 06:34:40 PM »
That crack pot rant by WTF just confirms it - this site has no future and we should all just go home and turn the lights out. All the best David, you did a great job and deserve better support.

Offline SSFC

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Re: Future of the Forum
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2016, 09:09:19 AM »
The people who have been here a while, is it possible to promote the site via twitter (pinned tweet) or on Facebook? is it worth tweeting Clubs/fans with a come join the conversation tweet?

Perhaps all that is required is a bit of self promotion? if that doesn't work then perhaps the era of the forum is over.