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Chuck

'Refreshing' PlanetChristmas for 2018?

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20+ years ago the original PlanetChristmas chatroom was born.  Let's just say it was lonely for the longest time.  The chatroom evolved into forums as traffic increased and over the years we've used several different packages with more and more features.

Then along came social networking. I thought Facebook and Twitter would be a flash in the pan.  I'm thinking I got that wrong.

The goal is to keep PlanetChristmas relevant but I need your help. 

What would you like to see added/changed/jettisoned in the PlanetChristmas community for 2018?

 

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Something that I think would be helpful is a way to organize the threads that you have participated in. For example if i comment on this post like i am, then on my profile or via a link on the home page I can see at once if the thread i engage in have new content posted on them. No just a list of all the comments I've posted or threads I've started. Hopefully that made sense

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I love planet Christmas, I understand how Facebook is more convenient in ways, but I definitely think forums are a more efficient way to share and store information.
My suggestion isn't very you, but advertise what's here, come up with ways to show how this forum is better than social media

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Hi all, possibly making the "for sale " section easier to navigate.  Also, make tap talk go away and make posting pics easier,by not having to "cropp" the pics to a size that will upload. 

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Big J:  you must be reading my mind!  Just thinking the same about `having to crop` your pix.  Wondered if some people who may have wanted to advertise gave up because it is so cumbersome. Also agree with mwalz above about making the forum easier to navigate.  Lastly, forums like this need to evolve/refresh since not everybody uses Twitter or FB, including me.

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Chuck, I love this place and thanks for all of our long hours and hard work.  Wish I had more time to be here.  have not ever looked, but maybe a tab with links to some of the more helpful post regarding repairs, etc,  one that helped me most has been repair and painting of blowmolds, something I hope to tackle this next year.  building a pvc ferris wheel is on my bucket list 

maybe links could be submitted for review before being added

my only concern with some external links if these might take folk away for here

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Hi all, possibly making the "for sale " section easier to navigate.  Also, make tap talk go away and make posting pics easier,by not having to "cropp" the pics to a size that will upload. 

Why do away with tapatalk? I probably wouldn't be on here much without that. I assume that is what your meant?

Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk

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My biggest frustration here is there's just way too many sub-forums. That's my singular biggest gripe. Years ago when the daily posts were in the hundreds if not thousands, all the forums made sense. On Facebook, I'm a member of 4 lighting groups, and I can scroll through the days activity in a whim. Today, weeding through all the PC subforums to find activity I'm interested in is a task - yes, I see that so-and-so forum is bold, thus has a new post. But is it a thread I care about? I have to click it to find out. I'm just not going to do that. The organization of this forum is simply not useful for efficient scanning of topics for posts of interest. (The "Other/All Activity feed is actually the best way to view this site, IMO - but I don't think it's promoted well enough as I only just found it in the past month).

For instance, why is there a separate forum for Mega Trees and Mega Poles? Or separate forums for Movers and Motorized Contraptions? All of that DIY stuff (which I like a lot) should get combined into maybe just a couple of forums. RGB-based Lights & Pixel world? The whole lights area should simply be "Classic Lighting" and "RGB Lighting". Plus eliminate/archive forums that simply arn't used anymore... Cooking recipes... business opportunities... The entire Think Tank section... basically consolidation is what is needed. I'm thinking, and I know this is tough, but the forum count needs to be at least halved, if not more. 

Next, I see the opportunity to create some kind of curated wiki-like information system. Different ways to create a mega-tree, lists of vendor sales, controller types, etc. Guides for creating arches, trains, etc. This couldn't be a free-for-all, but with submissions from the community and a moderating staff to put it all together could be very beneficial. Back in the day this site had a pretty decent list of vendors and some pretty good tutorials. That sort of thing could/should make a comeback. (Yes, I'd be willing to help.)

A curated map of displays should be a part of this site, perhaps sortable by light count, display type, etc. Would need to be kept up to date every year unlike places like ChristmasLightFinder and TackyLightTour, which are essentially worthless because they don't remove non-updated display listings. (Yes, I'd be willing to help with this too.)

I've always been a fan of a real-name requirement (one reason I like Facebook groups), but I don't know how that'd fly. If you say something, your name should stand behind it, not some internet pseudo name. But that's just me.

Can a theme option to be plain green forums a la early 2000? :-D :-D Just kidding... mostly ;)

Just my 2 cents. 

On 12/27/2017 at 12:54 PM, mwalz said:

Something that I think would be helpful is a way to organize the threads that you have participated in. For example if i comment on this post like i am, then on my profile or via a link on the home page I can see at once if the thread i engage in have new content posted on them. No just a list of all the comments I've posted or threads I've started. Hopefully that made sense

Like this? 

http://www.planetchristmas.com/index.php?/discover/content-posted/

Edited by Stephen Blue

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Every few years I attempt to consolidate some of the similar categories and end up getting blasted behind the scenes.  Now that I think about it, some of the current categories originated with the original 1996 forums.

I'm currently leaning towards archiving everything and starting with fresh categories in 2018.  Would also modernize the classified ads section and simplify how we share videos and images.  Also, add a few more social networking/Facebook-like features.

What would you suggest for major categories?

I'm open to any/all suggestions.

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Something that I think would be helpful is a way to organize the threads that you have participated in. For example if i comment on this post like i am, then on my profile or via a link on the home page I can see at once if the thread i engage in have new content posted on them. No just a list of all the comments I've posted or threads I've started. Hopefully that made sense

If you are using a mobile device, tapatalk does this for you. Very handy app.

Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk

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14 hours ago, Chuck said:

Every few years I attempt to consolidate some of the similar categories and end up getting blasted behind the scenes.  Now that I think about it, some of the current categories originated with the original 1996 forums.

I'm currently leaning towards archiving everything and starting with fresh categories in 2018.  Would also modernize the classified ads section and simplify how we share videos and images.  Also, add a few more social networking/Facebook-like features.

What would you suggest for major categories?

I'm open to any/all suggestions.

Just a first pass... 20 categories plus the regional/state subforums (cuts down from the current 84 categories + regional/state subforums) - I still feel like this is too many, but, it's far less segmented than the current setup. (The 3 in red could possibly be combined into one forum.)

One thing a very popular college basketball forum I'm a part of does is have threads for popular topics, like a "2018 recruits thread" and a game thread for each opponent. People are (strongly) encouraged to post in existing relevant threads, instead of starting new threads that clutter up the place. It takes some moderation, and can seem a bit heavy handed at times to new people who's threads suddenly disappear as they are merged into an existing thread, but it makes it a very efficient online  community to keep up with. An analogy here could be a single thread dedicated to say, tomato cage trees... another could be the "Ray Wu Pixel Thread" or "The Mega Tree Thread" - Both as a point of organizing information in a single searchable area and preventing duplicate posts from coming up time and time again.

Announcements from Evil Management (Every board needs one of these)
Classic Lights & LEDs (Obvious category)
RGB/Pixel Lighting (Obvious category)
Blow Molds (Obvious category)
 - With showing Off subforum (because the existing one seems to be very popular)
Inflatables (Obvious category)
Show Elements (Arches, Mega Trees, Mini Trees, etc) (Combines a large number of existing subforums)
DIY Display Elements (Cutouts, Trains, PVC, Wireframe, etc) (Combines a large number of existing subforums)
Other Show Technologies (Audio/Broadcasting, DMX, Projection Mapping, Pyrotechnics, Water Displays, etc) (Combines a large number of existing subforums)

LOR World (Existing category, or should it just link to existing LOR forums? Perhaps a pinned post at the top to hint people there's another place to go?)
 - Sequence Exchange subforum (Move existing forum to subforum of software)
xLights World -  (Existing category - or should it just link to existing xLights Forums? Perhaps a pinned post at the top to hint people there's another place to go?) 
 - Sequence exchange subforum (Move existing forum to subforum of software)
DIY/Custom Light Control (Don't want to leave out the non off the shelf stuff)
Halloween Decorating (Existing Category)
Indoor Decorating (Trees, Ornaments, Villages, etc) (Combines a number of existing subforums)
Showing Off (Obvious existing category)
Dasher's Diner (Obvious existing category)
Forum Tips & Tricks (Obvious existing category)
Regional Groups (Obvious existing category)
 - With existing regional/state subforums

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On 12/27/2017 at 11:54 AM, mwalz said:

Something that I think would be helpful is a way to organize the threads that you have participated in. For example if i comment on this post like i am, then on my profile or via a link on the home page I can see at once if the thread i engage in have new content posted on them. No just a list of all the comments I've posted or threads I've started. Hopefully that made sense

You can already do this from your profile page.

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I have been an active member for over 10 years, and a lurker since 2002.  Some thing I would like to see;  Instead of quoting somebody, maybe a comment box to reply to that comment. 

I use the DIY Do It Yourself section the most and have made many friends and contacts from there.  But, there are a bunch of things in the DIY Motorized Contraptions section that need to be consolidated (Hamberger Display items) into their own sub category, or moved to the indoor section and add a sub category for the Gemmy stuff.  

 Also maybe the ability to have a photo section on your profile. 

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I watch ABC's Great Christmas Light Fight to get inspired and to pick up on trends.  In my humble opinion the TV decorating world seems to be segmenting itself.

  • Air Blown displays
  • Blow Mold displays
  • Computerized displays
  • DIY displays
  • Quirky displays

(note I listed these in alphabetical order to be politically correct)

I'm wondering if these should be natural groupings in the PlanetChristmas world?

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I generally use the "All Activity" button to see what new information is being shared. Then I just click on whichever thread looks interesting.    For instance, anything about Municipal pieces, or of them being used in  display I take the time to check out.  However since I'm not into the computerized shows, I generally scroll past those post.  But several times I see a photo or video is included and I still click on it to enjoy the poster's display.     So, maybe a thumbnail can be added to the post if there are attachments.    Also,  can you make the "All Activity" button little more prominent ?  That fine, light grey font is sometimes hard to spot.

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Chuck,  I’ve really enjoyed the PlanetChristmas forums for many years and have gained inspiration and wisdom from many of the posts and forums.  However, like many others who have commented, it is at times hard to find info and use.  Given all the newer social platforms, it may be time to add as an option a newer technogy to augment this site.  Given the fact that this craft is a very visual medium, it makes sense most of the forums share video and pics.  To that end I might suggest PlanetChristmas creating a Pinterest business account and then create the group boards given the 20 or so categories you think relevant.  Pinterest is second only to Facebook in market influence and is the more visual of the platforms.  Also, if you wish to reach a newer younger audience. Simply go to Pinterest and type in DIY Christmas to see the thousands of fresh new ideas are being added.  Most of my inspiration for props and display design has come from Pinterest pins the past year.   The audience can then create their own boards and follow any boards they wish.  It will allow the audience who have been with you a while to coexist with younger decorators who have never been on a Planet Christmas.  

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Is there a way to save the photos and create a photo “gallery”?   Then archive the text....   

I agree with the idea of making this a “how to” forum.   

 

Also, need to make it easier to navigate.

when I log in... I should see a few buttons at the top. 1) forums 2) Classifiess 3) how to

its not very intuitive....

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23 hours ago, Chuck said:

I watch ABC's Great Christmas Light Fight to get inspired and to pick up on trends.  In my humble opinion the TV decorating world seems to be segmenting itself.

  • Air Blown displays
  • Blow Mold displays
  • Computerized displays
  • DIY displays
  • Quirky displays

(note I listed these in alphabetical order to be politically correct)

I'm wondering if these should be natural groupings in the PlanetChristmas world?

I like the massively shortened list. I'm not sure what "Quirky" displays are... Well, OK, the one I saw featuring a Santa blow mold riding a toilet being pulled by 9 pink flamingos probably would fit there. 

Probably should have a "Traditional" display category - the display that's a bit of a mishmash of everything ("Traditionally Tacky"? :-D ). I wouldn't consider many of the top GCLF displays DIY's... DIY's in my mind are the ones with lots of homemade motorized contraptions, custom cutouts, etc - hardly anything you'd pick up off the shelf at your decorating retailer of choice. 

I still think an "Indoor" category wouldn't be a bad idea. I know it's not widely used, but I think there's a lot of potential there. 

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I to think, that, a DYI section is a great choice. Also, a contact list (email, phone numbers ect) would be a great choice. The PM is good and have many numbers from people on here, but is very slow responce time.  The vendor list is total crap...many of them charge, in my opinion ,to much. There are a few,whom should stay, but the rest are rip off artists..just my thoughts. I am good with buying from Walmart, HD,Lowes Farm amd Fleet ect. I have looked at the vendors and there prices are through the roof in price. Sometime 5 times the cost..anyone??

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On 12/31/2017 at 10:28 AM, Big J Illinois said:

I to think, that, a DYI section is a great choice. Also, a contact list (email, phone numbers ect) would be a great choice. The PM is good and have many numbers from people on here, but is very slow responce time.  The vendor list is total crap...many of them charge, in my opinion ,to much. There are a few,whom should stay, but the rest are rip off artists..just my thoughts. I am good with buying from Walmart, HD,Lowes Farm amd Fleet ect. I have looked at the vendors and there prices are through the roof in price. Sometime 5 times the cost..anyone??

Well this isn't the thread for the commercial grade vs big box store value debate - We've had that one many times over the years (you've been in on some of them as I recall :)) but suffice to say there's more than enough popularity with the commercial grade vendors that they absolutely should not be cut out of any list. Give people the choices and then let everyone make their own decision on which way they go. 

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8 hours ago, JeffCarter said:

The ability to edit your post and comments for the life of the post.

I get this request regularly.

As I remember, you can edit your text for an hour after the original posting but then it's locked. 

Why? 

Troublemakers have been known to say something inflammatory, get everyone all worked up, change their original post and then claim 'it wasn't me!'

The stories I can tell after 20 years...

But, I'm looking into a different way of handling this.  You can make edits but the original text remains available to be read.

What would you like to see added/changed/jettisoned in the PlanetChristmas community for 2018?

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Chuck,

I know it would be virtually impossible but to be able to see all the old pictures that we used to could see and the pics posted before I became a member. Or the folks who have web pages that don't work.  Blasted 404 not found just irks me.

All in all a GREAT site though. Totally enjoy it.

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Chuck you always are looking to keep this fresh. More on that in a second. I agree with the ease of search, embedding pics needs to be simpler and more up to date. Videos are getting to be a must. 

I had to chuckle at Jeff Carter's post and your response, but that too should be considered. Most of the problem children are blowing up Facebook these days. 

You can scratch your head about how to streamline the categories, but as soon as you do that, someone will come up with a new must have category. 

IMHO there are Animated Displays, and Static Displays. Animated is either Plug and Play, or DIY. Static covers BM's and Puffers, cut outs etc...

I leverage the New Content view mostly. I dont get a chance to hang out here as much as I used to, that nasty time budget... I like the ability to quickly scan topics and peruse the ones I am interested in. 

Now, for the most important part, keeping this forum fresh. Please, please, no matter what you do, make sure that historic posts are still available.  I look forward to seeing reviewing ideas.....

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