Home Forums General waterloocyclingclub.org undergoing maintenance

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Craig N 1 day, 23 hours ago.

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  • #41140

    bill2012
    Participant

    Hi,

    Just a heads up that we will be doing some maintenance on the waterloocyclingclub.org this weekend. For the new website go to waterloocyclingclub.com, for the old website waterloocyclingclub.ca.

    We’re sorry for any inconvenience.

    Cheers,
    Bill

    #41143

    Mark W
    Participant

    Quick question, and you’re probably the best person to ask, is all the information from the current forums being saved or transferred? It would be a huge shame to lose all the stories and history contained within these forums.

    #41158

    bill2012
    Participant

    Hi Mark,

    We are considering so options to save the content.

    We likely won’t be transferring it.

    After the switch, this means it likely only be publicly available as long as the internet caching services hold it.

    The big challenge is there is no easy way to transfer from WordPress to a format that we can publish. It is not impossible, but would take a fair bit of work. If there were a volunteer who wanted to take this on, we would be happy to talk.

    We did some some analytics, and the main focus was on ride planning. Since we see the same discussions like tire pressure, drive trains, etc happen over and over again, it was looking like most are interested in new discussions.

    I know some like Alain and myself point back to old articles, but that is rare.

    With that said, if there is a lot of interest, we can see what we can do. If anyone has thoughts, please share.

    Thanks for the feedback!

    Bill

    #41161

    francqlife
    Moderator

    Hi Bill,

    I was going to email you off-line to discuss the new forums and website, but I noticed the link to this discussion post, so started tapping on the keyboard.

    Ironically, this form post is a good way to illustrate and help define the way ahead for those of us who are content generators in the WCC forum community.

    Let me start with content generation. I’m certainly not the only one who spends a few hours a week generating original content for this site in the summer. For example, I recently posted a long article on Velodromes, mostly pulling on several old forum posts. And my Vintage Bike Post was revisited this week by someone who was browsing the forums. I just realized that Vintage Bike post is the only place where I detail my build for my own future reference.

    Coincidentally, I was writing a “long-time-coming” WCC Race Report this week about AltriMan France from last summer. I was going to post it here in the RACE forum, but now, I’m not so sure?

    In case I don’t get the chance. Giles and I did AltriMan France this summer. We trained for 7 months. AltriMan France is the second hardest IronMan on earth. I was 48 years old. It was the hardest physical and mental thing that I have ever done in my life. I finished in 18hrs:19:min:36secs. It will be one of the last times racing in the WCC colours.

    The 4km open water swim started at 5:30am in the pitch dark. You can’t imagine it, swimming across a lake at night, with hundreds of people swimming over you and pushing you to the bottom, for an hour and 20 mins. This picture below, is me right after the swim, sitting in the transition area, putting on my WCC kit at 6:50am in the morning, in the first light of the day, to start the 200km bike leg through the Pyrenees, with over 15,000 feet of climbing. In this picture, I am looking at the top of the mountain where I’ll have to run in about 12hrs from now, to start the 42km marathon leg.

    Avery Picture of Dad AltriMan

    THIS IS WHERE THE FULL RACE REPORT WOULD HAVE GONE IN THE WCC FORUM.

    This is me, just before midnight, having run the marathon. In the moment, I found out who I was, and what I cared most about in life.
    AltriMan Finish

    It’s this kind of story telling, that I fear will be lost if you don’t archive, link and allow future search of the 4109 distinct topics with 20,456 posts in this forum. Personally, I’ve spent years building content for this site, writing and posting images as stories and reference documents for the club. And, I’ve always considered them the property of the club once posted. So, indeed, you can do with them what you want.

    But they are a digital archive for me, and I hope others. Velodrome excursions, CX Skills, TimeTrial Tales, Charity Rides (all the way back to Centurion and Tour de Norfolk), Vintage Bike Builds, and also our in depth ride and two abreast policy debates and showcasing of our volunteer activity and trail building events, our entire club history of race reports and collective ride experiences, our vaults of technical and nutrition analysis and advice, and perhaps my favourite…”where to get the best tarts on a ride!”

    If you are not making any provision for accessing these forums in the future, then may I request that I be able to copy all of my writings and digital history to a new forum host. Tom and I addressed this issue initially when we built this current WCC site, by putting the Archive Forum button (from the previous website at the bottom, right, corner of the current website. Though I suspect that it has rarely, if ever, been accessed. But, this current forum is magnitudes larger.

    Regarding membership and access, I remember when Tom and I built this site, one of the important guiding principles was that WCC forums are for the entire cycling community at large, and not for just members. That is how you become recognized as one of the top clubs in Ontario. I am biased for sure, but I believe one of our greatest assets is that this site and its forums are recognized as a destination of choice for information about cycling in Ontario. All you have to do is search “KelsoCX”, or “Velodromes” or “P2A” and our forum pages are at the top of the search engine for generations to come. That’s now part of our brand.

    Bill, you are far more technical than me, and I will defer to your assessments about usage and group policy, but last time I looked our Google Analytics said we have over 1500 registered users on this website and over half a million page views from 20K unique visitors.

    Are you restricting the forums to members only? And if so, how much loss of community are you expecting? Also, I have no evidence, but I would speculate that there are WCC members who have the technical ability, but not the interest in switching, and will not be forced. I’m not saying don’t migrate…I’m saying don’t leave those of us behind who are not digital natives or care for the new format. I suspect you’ve already thought of this.

    Further along the lines of using technology to make things easier, I worked in a highly technical world of quantum physics and nanotechnology. I bike to make my life simple and disconnect from the world and reconnect with people and nature. For me (and I know I am very rare, these days) technology gets in the way of enjoying my ride. That is why I stripped it all from my bike 4 years ago. I don’t use Strava or RideWithGPS. Though I’ll still carry a phone to take pics and post them for the community at large to see what a great club we have here in Ontario.

    An old school attitude for sure. Just saying, hopefully, all rides and other WCC communication doesn’t go exclusively mobile or use 3rd party apps and platforms, like Google. I will continue to glance at the WCC website for ride information.

    A final comment. Always keep your eye on what the community wants. Not what is good for the operations of the club. Serve the community. Ask what people want, and give it to them.

    Re-reading this, it all sounds kind of harsh and sort of “anti-technology”. But, that’s not why I started picking at the keyboard today. I’ve worked in a University environment for well over a decade where passionate, even-keeled, evidence-based, public debate about important issues is what we do all day. Time to get off my high-horse, that is standing on the soap box and say, I’ll support what you do. But, ask that you think it through thoroughly and communicate the plan (as you are doing, here).

    Bill, you are probably one of my most cherished members of this club. So, thoughtful. So, inclusive. So, authentic. I know that you are thinking of all these issues and will come out with a balanced solution. I’ll add, that I support Jason and the Board, as I know they are trying to optimize communications channels and deal the expensive, hard-to-maintain system that we built. I know very well how difficult it is to introduce a new order of things. And that you can’t satisfy everyone. Even, old cranks, like me.

    Good luck. 😉

    Alain

    #41162

    Mark W
    Participant

    Well, I don’t have much to say after Alain’s post. Maybe more of the same.

    I hope the old forum content can be saved at the very least. Given time and effort I’m sure a group of people will figure out how to keep it alive online in some form. The content is very useful for me, and others, when writing race reports or pitching a ride/race to others. It gives us an easy link to past events and others a glimpse of why we do what we do.

    Most importantly, the forums showcase our history and bring the cycling community, not just WCC members, together.

    Here’s a prime example from last year. The race report for the E4 race at the KW Classic. Near the bottom of the first page, under Robb, Scott and others great posts, AndrewB created an account just to write to us one time. He raced for another team against us all season. Go ahead, read the whole thread.

    http://waterloocyclingclub.ca/forums/topic/road-2017-o-cup-6-provincials-kw-classic

    Maybe I’m one of the few, but I find it great to go back on occasion and read through past forum threads.

    Please save the forum content. We’ll figure something out for it.

    Thanks for all your hard work on the new site. It’s coming along nicely.

    #41164

    jparkin
    Participant

    Hi all
    Invaluable reference for all things cycling and wcc history
    Save the Forum
    James

    #41166

    Joel
    Participant

    I visited the forum as a quiet observer for years before joining the club last year. I know of a coworker who’s not a member who pops by periodically.

    It’s definitely not only members viewing the forum.

    My personal thought is that saving the entire forum content would be best, but saving the text at least (and losing the images) would be a mediocre compromise.

    Looking at web.archive.org, the forums are cached but the posts are inaccessible (see http://web.archive.org/web/20150823071055/http://waterloocyclingclub.ca:80/forums/forum/general for example).

    Even if the archive worked, the SEO (search engine optimization) is lost (e.g. people wouldn’t find posts via Google). Often what I’ve seen done in similar situations is the old forum is left online, with a final post linking to the new forum, then it’s locked down (read-only).

    My $0.02

    #41168

    bill2012
    Participant

    Alain, Thanks for your kind words. And thank-you for your so many contributions to the club including all the inspiration and sharing in the forums, cycling, and the community as a whole.

    Much consideration and some investigation has already gone into the topic of what to do for our wonderful collection of history and cycling knowledge. We are definitely planning to archive the forums. The challenge is to figure our how to make it sufficiently accessible.

    That is too bad about archive.org. That was one option on my list to investigate.

    If anyone has viable solutions please share by email at info at waterloocyclingclub dot ca.

    #41170

    tcauduro
    Keymaster

    I’d happily host archived content if a solution can’t be found.

    -Tom

    #41173

    Craig N
    Participant

    With regards to the use of old content, I think some of what discouraged use (for me at least) was the search function. Having the search result return entire posts on each hit (instead of just thread title and hit snippit), made it cumbersome to wade through the results to find what I was looking for. Google groups appears much better in this regard (search, after all, is their bread and butter).

    Also, you mentioned that the same discussions are had repeatedly. This might be because new members can’t easily find this established tribal knowledge, and so will ask for it again. If we were to compile the best of our knowledge and make it accessible, then everyone new and old would benefit. I believe there was some discussion about this that I was involved in, but I can’t find the post in the search (lol, case in point)!

    The easiest option, is just to ‘Sticky’ posts with great information. Google groups appears to give us this ability. A more comprehensive option, is to start a wiki. This could allow us to better collect and organize information, but requires more dedicated effort from members, and probably a champion or two to keep things moving.

    Off the top of my head, topics that would make some great stickies / wiki articles (mostly because they’re things I’ve been thinking about lately):

    – Tire selection for CX events, based on conditions
    – Tire pressures for different tires / widths / rider weights / conditions
    – Clothing selection for different temperatures / ride conditions
    – How to get started in racing
    – Structured training programs that members have found useful, based on time available, fitness level, and goals.
    – Favourite riding routes for gravel/road/MTB (short, med, long). I know that the ride leaders are building a good library on RideWithGPS, but there should be some discussion to go along with it.
    – Best bakeries / coffee shops to hit on a ride. I know there is a thread on this somewhere…
    – Favourite bike fitters
    – etc, etc, etc. The list is long.

    Thanks for all your work on this transition, Bill!

    Craig

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