How can we make this community better?

Thanks for joining our little community here. We hope you're finding everything easy to use. Let us know if something doesn't make sense, or if there's something you think would make this site even better. Please don't hesitate to use this forum to let us know what's missing or confusing, or even what you'd like to see more of. Cheers!
I'm on Google Chrome and I have no problems with uploading or watching videos.
Just a note...I'm having a hard time uploading any videos while using Safari. I need to jump over to Firefox in order for the embed codes to work. Anybody else with this situation?
Thanks. I will give it a go. I agree the embed works well but so far as I know it's a link to youtube and that's what David was commenting on the performance of above.
RPN10 This CD/DVD reviews list only list reviews that were on the frontpage, not individual CD reviews JIm
People rarely choose a category for the forum discussions that they create so Kim has been trying to go back and categorize them, but it's a big job and she's already working more than she should helping to manage the site! If anyone wants to suggest additional forum categories that would be great and beyond that, anyone is welcome to send Kim the URL link to discussions along with the categories you think they should reside under. That would help us towards the goal of getting as many as possible categorized.
Also, if anyone wants to volunteer to help categorize the forum discussions that have already been created that would be helpful.
I agree with Ten layers, I don't think a large number of boxes, tages, names and divisions are desirable. The search function is effective. Perhaps a few more category choices for forum discussions would be useful. Seems that most people do not select a category for their discussion, which may be part of why some people think the forum is disorganized. Here's the current forum discussiion category choices and the number of discussions in each as of this morning: UNCATEGORIZED 455, RADIO 10, RECOMMENDATIONS 36, GEAR 2, GREAT SONGS 24, INDIE ARTISTS 15. That's 6 categories, 542 discussions, of which 455 or about 84% of forum discussions aren't categorized when started. I'm ok with the existing category choices, perhaps people should suggest additional categories. I do think that using groups is an effective means of starting off topic discussions and would not want to see non-music discussions featured or placed in places of prominence on the site. While I do chip in on political tangents in some discussions, and do enjoy when music and political discussions merge for appropriate reasons, mostly I enjoy the lack of political discussion on this site. I'd hate for ND to turn into a music/books/politics/food/restaurant/movie/sports one size fits all site. It's great when some discussions do off on tangents, but as Ten Layers notes, they all seem to come back on topic pretty nicely.
There are some categories established for the forum, but so many forum discussions that not every single one has been categorized yet. This is a time-consuming task, but I'm working on it. Any additional suggestions about forum categories are welcome. You can currently sort the forums by category when you land on that page, if you click on the "view" menu. If you're starting a new forum discussion, you can designate the category using the drop-down menu directly under the main text box.
To expand on what Kyla said, in case anyone reading this doesn't know how to start a new group...mouse over "Members" in the top nav, and select "Groups." (Or just go here.) Then click "Add a group." Because Ning doesn't have any super intuitive way to organize groups so far - though we have separated the city/regional groups - I'd recommend naming the group something very intuitive, like "Off-topic discussion." Then you can start forums in there to discuss anything you want, or discuss it on the wall of the group.
It looks like they accept that kind now. According to the note on the video page: You can add up to 30 videos at a time, and each video may be up to 100MB in size. We support videos in the .mov, .mp4, .mpg, .avi, .wmv, .3gp, and .3g2 file formats. But, I think the best way to add YouTube videos here that I've found is to click on the YouTube link on the videos page, and then paste the embed code into the box that comes up. It works pretty much instantly.
I tend to download videos from youtube in MP4 format. The ning doesn't (or didn't last time I tried) accept an upload in this format.
Jim If you go the Blogs tab there is a drop down for CD/DVD reviews. If youwant to find something specific then just use the Search bar. It's never taken me long to find anything. Perhaps because I've been here from Day 1 so I learned it as it developed.
Thanks for the feedback David. I've been noticing that myself and wasn't sure if it was my internet connection or the site in general. Sometimes it seems fine and other times not so much. The ND site is built on the Ning platform so we have no control over the back end programming, page load times, etc. It's mostly great to be on Ning as we can't generate enough revenue to pay developers so ND couldn't exist without Ning, but it's also frustrating to not have any control over the things that we deem important for the site.
Anyone is welcome to start a group on any topic where community members can congregate to discuss that if it doesn't seem the need is already being filled elsewhere on the site. No problem with that so feel free if you'd like to do so.
Youtube videos load WAAAY too slow from this website. So much so that I don't come here as often as I would otherwise. The paper version of "No Depression" is (was?) my favorite music mag of all time.
I agree, pretty much. All I'm saying is that if three or four community members wanted to discuss college basketball or the best Marlon Brando film, for example, I don't think they should have to build their own site to do so. Not saying we should divide blog posts, videos, or things of that nature into categories, just designate an area where we may wish to discuss certain things not normally found on a music site.
A beginning to the end, I think. Let it remain free of boxes, tags, names, divisions. I have seen very few things that are not on topic somehow. This site remains a site where divergent views are welcomed without the discussions falling apart. Let it be.
I like Michael's idea of an area for general conversation. Maybe an "off-topic conversation" group or something would work.
I agree, it would be nice for a place for all of the album reviews, besides the regulars and I understand why you want to have your featured bloggers on the frontpage, but maybe another place for all members to share their CD reviews.
Robin G hit on my only real problem with the site so far. I was an avid reader of the magazine while it was in circulation, and finding this community has been great. My problem is that the forums aren't categorized much at all. It'd work so much better if there were basic categories for the postings to fall under, such as Announcements, Music by Users, Album Reviews by Users, maybe a Lounge type area for just general conversation, an area for Recommendations, and so on. If the forum link opened to a page that just had those categories, and all new content was filtered through them, it'd be way easier to find discussions going on that someone might want to join. Otherwise, the site is developing great in terms of a community of americana and roots lovers, if the forums were more accessible I think the depth of the community would come out.
Welcome Robin, This is pretty much thw way it has been ,I don't think the ning type blog is very changeable or has many options. I know they can set who their premier bloggers are, and they do ask ning for help, but not much changes. You have some good ideas. It seems recently there has been more arguing and cursing going on, if that continues, I don't think I can stay, God Bless Jim
I don't know how NO categorizes your postings, or topics; it seems like one big free-for-all in the forums. Perhaps some organization in the forums would be a big help. I.e. Music we're listening to; announcements by members; topics organized alphabetically even would work.
Hi Kyla, I read it on a forum post on this site, tried to find it , but can't now Jim
Yeah, analytics would be awesome! I look forward to the "like" feature as well. Thanks for the reply!
Dustin - We have very little direct control over that sort of thing, since the folks at Ning develop the features, but it's definitely a great idea! I can tell you Ning is planning to implement a "like" feature for blog posts, so that people can show their appreciation without necessarily having to comment. Hopefully this will increase your feedback and be able to reassure you that people are in fact reading. I'm not sure when they'll be implementing that, but it is in the works and I'll keep you posted. I think it would be great if folks could add Google analytics to their individual blogs on this site, much the same as you'd do if you created a blog through blogspot, tumblr, or other networks. I'll pass that on to the folks at Ning. Thanks!
I apologize if this has already been mentioned. I didn't read every single post, to be honest. I think it would be beneficial for people to know the number of pageviews their blog posts receive. I can understand why you might not want to necessarily make this public, but it might help contributors know what type of content is most interesting to the community if they had private access to their stats. Admittedly, it can also be demoralizing to realize your stuff isn't getting many hits which could be a deterrent to people posting. I know it can be demoralizing on my personal blog when I work hard on a piece and it gets very little attention. So, it's a balancing act, but I would be curious to hear what others think.
Where did you get the impression that we are getting 3 million hits a day?!! That would be incredible. We receive between 75,000 and 80,000 unique visitors per month (around 125,000 total visits).
If the blog is getting 3 million hits a day, don't you get a lot of requests for advertising on your site, that is a remarkable amount of hits Jm
Hey, you are a featured Blogger, That is good!! Jim
Good answer Ed
I just uploaded about 6 videos and was poking around the other videos. I was surprised at the relatively small number of views most videos (even those of famous and somewhat famous artists) are receiving. Have you given much thought as to why this is and what can be done to create more views. It's not because of the quality. I just watched the video of the Young Evils and it was great. I noticed that although you have a fine looking Youtube page not much is being done with it. I would suggest favoriting every video (or at least start with the ones you think are the best). Youtube has a tremendous audience and if they are looking for an Americana artist and find them through the No Depression's Youtube page maybe you can convert them into No Depression members (and eventually viewers on No Depression). I realize that this is a lot of work and it appears that this is for the most part a work of passion. For your work I say thank you. Dennis
I'd love to help with an upcoming releases page, but ... my schedule is so unpredictable that, while I often could be available, I can't guarantee my regular availability. Maybe the best bet would be a small team consisting of two or three folks (I'd be happy to be one of them). Currently, I use the upcoming releases pages of Twangville and Freight Train Boogie. They're both good and there's some overlap but they each often include releases not included by the other. Unless we could do better, I agree with Easy Ed that a box with links would be easier and just as much of a service to ND readers.
Hi Dennis - It looks like nobody responded to that! So sorry! There are a couple of forums on this site for radio stations (this one from radio DJs and this one for the best online radio stations). But, these are difficult to find on a quick search of this site. There's also this group here for artists sharing resources. There used to be a site called Hidden Water, which had all of that information. Now the closest thing I know of is musi-cal.com, but that's really just a monster calendar of live shows searchable by artist or venue. The database you speak of would definitely be a remarkable contribution, and a very big job that I don't think we have the manpower to create here yet. It could be something that starts with a forum discussion, and then you could compile that information if you wish on your site. Not a bad idea at all...
I posted the following back in July. When I go to My Discussions I see 84 Replies but can't find any replies to what I wrote. Are the 84 replies meant to indicate how many posts have been made to the "How can we make this community better" or what does it mean? If there have been actual responses to my post where would I see them? Sorry if this all seems obvious to my fellow users but I am a little confused. Here's my original post: Has anyone compiled or aware of a resource for lists of things such as clubs, radio stations, press, indie labels, festivals, etc that are open or friendly to roots music. If there is not such a thing I would be willing to start putting one together. Each person could contribute what they know and then I would compile the info. I could create a page with a form on my website http://www.singerandasong.com
-Regarding upcoming releases, I know that there are many sites that already do this and the thought comes to mind that creating a box with a link to those might have some value. In order to craft it more to the tastes of the ND crowd, someone could perhaps pull five titles out every week to highlight with an "and more" button below. -As a blog poster , I enjoy reading comments that people leave, but I've also learned over time that it's not necessarily a gauge of popularity. Some of my own favorite posts, the ones I believe to be better crafted or researched, can get almost no feedback here, but they turn out to be ones friends will mention to me over time. Although sometimes I get a little frustrated that my posts only last on the front page for a day or so, it's the constant flow of new ones that I find compelling to keep me coming back. I think the "greatest hits" is a happy medium. -Regarding adding the "like" buttons, I get the cultural relevance of the Facebook generation but am not sure it should be applied here. Had this been an option when No Depression was in paper format, I doubt that it would have been the same publication. Same for this community. I just don't see it as necessary or improving the experience.
We've discussed the notion of an "upcoming releases" list on this site from the beginning, but there's just not enough time in the day for me to maintain that. It would have to be something a volunteer maintains...interested? And, yes, the ordering of blog posts is one of the Ning limitations. Currently there's no option to change the order of listing for blogs. There has been some discussion from Ning about implementing a star-rating or "like" option on blog posts, and I'd hope that if/when that is implemented, we'll be able to order the blogs in some way by those that have the highest rating or the most "likes". But time will tell. We'll keep you posted. Currently, our work-around is the weekly update to that box on the left side of the homepage that's marked "Greatest Hits". I populate that manually with the five best-written and most-discussed posts from the past week. You can find the Greatest Hits archive here.
I'd like to echo some of the kind words others have spoken -- this community has developed beautifully. The tenor, tone and quality of the contributions and discussions has been delightful. Like most folks, I really miss the print publication, particularly the in-depth features and quantity of reviews. But in some ways, this site is more satisfying since so many people who have loved this music for so long are contributing. Congratulations, Kyla, Kim and everybody else who puts so much energy into this site. Well done! I do have a couple of minor suggestions. First, is there any way we could have a page with new and upcoming releases? Reading the posts, it is clear that there is much interest in that sort of weekly information. I see two problems with this: a) Somebody (or bodies) would need to manage it and; b) This sort of thing wouldn't work well as a series of forum posts -- the info needs to be concentrated in one place. Does Ning allow static pages, which would be necessary for a page like this? My second suggestion is truly trivial and is probably another Ning limitation, but I thought I'd mention it anyway. The Forum page is automatically ordered on the basis of the most recent reply. For example, this reply will automatically put this forum at the top of the list of discussions on the Forums page. That's fine, but is there any way to do the same thing on the blogs page? It's more than just a matter of consistency -- it would be helpful to see which blogs are being discussed the most. Anyway, I understand that may be a Ning limitation, but I thought I'd ask.
Thank you, Jack, for the rather kind words. There are a couple of things we're doing to lessen (if not completely obliterate) those types of spam activities. In addition to the new screening techniques Ning implemented this summer (captcha IDing when you create a profile, email confirmation, etc.), we have a volunteer who greets every single "person" who joins this site - to create a sense of genuine welcome, as well as to ensure we have someone looking at every single profile once it's been created, to make sure it's not a spambot. Unfortunately, some of the spammers wait til they've been welcomed before they cover their profile with spam. So, I keep as much vigilance as is possible for one person - spot checking our membership every day, suspending members who would spam folks, deleting blogs that are irrelevant, etc. Since messages like that don't show up on the sender's profile, the only thing we can do to head off that sort of thing is ask folks like you to let us know when you receive them. It takes almost no time to deal with that if we hear people are receiving those types of messages, so feel free to drop us an email next time that happens. Thanks again! And we're glad to have you here!
This website is, overall, excellent. It is nicely managed - featured blogs generally deserve to be featured, blogs are rotated through as discussion inevitably wanes, and the occasional bogus posts seemed to be removed quickly. The screens are visually appealing and navigation is easy. While nothing online can replace the tactile experience of holding a magazine and stretching out on the couch with it for a few hours, I admit some surprise that this website might actually cover a greater breadth of roots music than did the magazine, so that is a nice tradeoff. The magazine was invariably well written, well edited, and so far nothing online seems to have replaced the long feature articles, but all in all there are some fine writers contributing blogs (Easy Ed and Adam Sheets in particular come to mind, among others) and many of the comments are exceptionally well thought out and well written (David Haskin and Jack Williams come to mind, among others). In short, this is a great site to visit to learn more about music, pick up tips, trade ideas and have discussions that one might not have with friends less interested in music. It's the next best thing to the mag, so kudos to Kyla, Kim, and whomever else is keeping this humming on a daily basis. My one comment on improvements: EVERY time I venture onto this site, I receive spam from various addresses with a subject line of "Good Morning" or "Good Evening" or links to on line pharmacy services. I'm sure stopping this kind of thing is impossible, hopefully periodic preventative measures are used to minimize this kind of thing?
Adam, I'm with you, a negative review never did good for anyone. I know in some mags , they are big, i used to do that and I said to myself, I don't like it. Too much music around, I got a CD in the mail that blew me away the other day. I must admit, when I wrote for countrystarsonline, my reviews were better, I had a great editor in Jim Weaver. I have to work harder though. Jim
Thanks for the positive feedback. Nice to hear! Always appreciate your comments on discussions so thanks for contributing in that way and being a part of creating an intelligent discourse here.
Really feeling good about the form, structure and texture of No Depression. In the past couple days the commentary and resultant replies have not only encompassed the music but how society in a larger sense ties together. One of the best things about the site is the replies are honestly accepted and embraced. Good form everybody.
I was a ND subscriber for years. When it hit my mail box, it was like getting a mini vacation. So of course, I was not happy with the mag. ending. I later got hooked up on the e-mail Updates which I like very much and have been following for maybe nine months. It was not real clear to me that this web site and web community was here or I would have been messing with it earlier. You might want to make the path here clearer for us old dogs who are not the sharpest knives in the draw, to mix a few met-a-fores. Some of us are pretty focused on the content and not the machinery behind it.
Kyla: If you are still looking for volunteers to help with phase 2 (or even phase 1), I'd really like to help. I will email you...
Wow! Many thanks to Adam and to the editorial for the replies. That was quick! Thanks for the tips. I'll join in. I enjoyed the Amy Allison/ Iris DeMent archives very much - so thanks for that! All the best to you and I'm glad I found you.
Hi Chaz- Glad you found us here! Welcome. The archive section of the site consists of content that appeared in our 75 print issues and nothing new is added to that part of the website. The blogs that appear in the "blog" section of the site are all contributed by members of the community. No Depression doesn't assign or edit any of the content on the site. Members are free to blog about whatever artists they are interested in interviewing or reviewing and we then choose what to feature on the home page from that pool of content. Hope that answers your question. You are welcome to post a review of John Miller if you are interested in doing so!
I can't give you the "official" answer to that, but what I review are the CDs that I am sent by record companies and PR people and occasionally even one that I purchase myself. And last but not least, it has to be something that appeals to me and that I think others would like. I usually stay away from writing negative reviews.
I came on here to read an old review/interview with Iris DeMent and then read a little about another favourite : Amy Allison. Then I started looking for a review of John Miller and His Country Casuals, but there was nothing - shame! Great singer, lyricist and band! All a matter of opinion of course. So how do you review cds - do they just happen to be the ones that drop through your door, or what?? The archives on Iris and Amy were easy to find and so congrats from someone who finds difficulty getting from A to B on most sites...
Has anyone compiled or aware of a resource for lists of things such as clubs, radio stations, press, indie labels, festivals, etc that are open or friendly to roots music. If there is not such a thing I would be willing to start putting one together. Each person could contribute what they know and then I would compile the info. I could create a page with a form on my website http://www.singerandasong.com
Just to clarify, Rod, there are no subscribers to this site; it doesn't operate on a paid-subscription basis. (There is an e-mail list, of course, though that's different than subscriptions.) And the total number of eyes that gaze this site can in fact be very accurately counted. That's a big part of what web-technology is capable of doing. As for the difference between ND in print and ND as a community website -- as previously noted, they're really very different things. Not just because of the format, but because of the people involved behind the name. The magazine was editorially driven primarily by Grant and I, to some extent by a dozen or so senior editors and contributing editors, and to a smaller degree by many other occasional contributors. (All of whom were paid.) The website is driven primarily by Kyla and Kim, and to a significant degree by anyone and everyone who chooses to post stuff here for free. (I have essentially no presence here, by choice; Grant does, as a blogger, by choice.)
One other thing. I am in constant contact with several record companies, artists, distributors, and artist's agencies. This site is very well regarded and respected. Folks get excited to have their records written about here. I don't think we want to discount that. Maybe there is something there that can help to generate revenue. I'm not sure. I'm not a business guy. I tried that once and went "belly-up" in 3 months. I can tell you what not to do! Seriously though, this site is looked at by a lot of different people, many of which may not actually subscribe. Even though there may be a 1000 subscribers, there are many more eyes that gaze this site we probably can never accurately count.
I've been a frequent flier on this site for around a year now and find it very easy to navigate. I don't have the time as much anymore to post articles and reviews like I did when I first discovered the site, but when I do have the time, it's very easy to get something posted.Kyla and Kim are wonderful, l and whenever I've had questions, they've always been right there with help or my question answered. Even though I worked in information systems for over 20 yrs I would not consider myself a techie due to the fact that when I was in the field, we still called it "Data Processing" and the hardware filled thousands of square feet! So, I guess maybe I'm not the guy to ask how to make improvements. What I'm saying is if an old fart like me can figure this out so easily, it must be very user friendly, and I think I'll just leave the improvements to the techies. I've read some great suggestions that I guarantee you, I would never in a million years ever thought of. Again, a great-big-huge hug and thank you to Kyla and Kim for keeping this beautiful part of the WWW alive and apparently doing very well. Rod
I'll reiterate that there's no rule about what gets covered here. If you're not seeing enough bluegrass coverage, you can post some. Personally, I love bluegrass. I haven't heard a lot of really terrific new bluegrass albums this year, aside from that Crooked Still disc (which I know bluegrass traditionalists will definitely poopoo if/when anyone classifies it as bluegrass). Splitting the forum into musical categories isn't a bad idea. Currently, as far as I've figured out the categorizing of forums using Ning's tools, I think a category can't be created until there's a discussion to designate in that category. If that makes sense. I'll look into it further, though, and get that going. No reason that can't be done. Also, another option for discussing bluegrass with bluegrass lovers is to start a group (go here and click on "add a group"). If you create that, I'll post it to our Twitter and Facebook to help you get some people joining.
Couldn't have said it better myself. I've always felt the biggest wall we run up against here is some imaginary presumption that a magazine should be online what it was in print. I think ND tried to cater to that for a minute with the old editorial site, before seeing the forest for the trees and moving into the wild west of social media. Print and the internet have about as much in common as a television show and a phone conversation with your cousin. This site will never be what No Depression, the magazine, was. And I don't think that's a suitable goal for us to even focus on. The more of us that focus together on setting a bar for intelligent discourse online, the sooner we can create that here. In fact, I think that's what we've been building together here. Proof positive: almost zero trolls/angry commenters. Among other things.
In the short time N/D has gone from a newstand publication to a webzine I think you've done a great job. I particularly like the reader reviews of new cds, shows and the eclectic mix of music covered. The blogs about the best songs, best records for the first half of the year, a group where your opinion changed over the years....those kinds of topics... have resulted in some good writing and some profoundly interesting insights. I've actually gone out and sampled some music because of the passion expressed by N/D readers & bloggers.
Kyla...I believe that is a question without an answer yet. Sites that get three million views per day still can't figure out how to generate revenue to pay for the elusive "better content". And when they try to charge for services, as Murdoch is doing, people find other places to go to get what they need. I don't think that the magazine was a "more focused piece" as Jim describes because there was a huge range of different types of music and artists that were featured. What I do believe is that in many cases the quality of writing was much better on paper than it is on the screen. Which, relying by and large on the readers to provide the content, is what will happen. The trap we fall into is thinking that this site could possibly be a replacement for the magazine. It's not and won't be. A completely different animal (for reasons too long to go into with only one cup of coffee ingested so far). But if you can just accept that it's not the same thing, you can move forward with what you want it to be and get away from the discussion of what it's not. With a community site where you rely on the members to provide the content or bring content over from other sites, I believe the expectation (I have) is that sometimes you'll get something well written and thought out, and other times you won't. Without editors who can proofread, fact check, make assignments and set the editorial platform and overall tone, it's an ever-changing landscape. For some people, that's the charm of hanging out here. For others, I imagine it can drive you crazy.
Any idea how we generate the revenue to pay the costs associated with creating "better content"? I'm all ears!
You do not need more traffic, but better content, it is all over the place, a bloggers' delight. The Magazine was a much more focused piece.
This is a great idea Adam. I've been soliciting for volunteers to help out with some things that will drive traffic and spread the word about the ND site but I'd not thought of this. I'll see if I can find some volunteers who would be willing to work on it.
This one will take some time, but a way to increase traffic to the site would be to include links to reviews (especially from the magazine archives, but possibly from the blog as well) in the Wikipedia articles for those albums.
What kind of people listen to No Depression Music? I was thinking about that. There are a lot of artists that I like that are popular here, like Shelby Lynne, Allison Moorer, Grateful Dead, but mostly, I am into bluegrass type music, I do not see much interest in that here, groups like Lonesome River Band, Grascals, Mountain Heart, Audey Haynie and Redline, Josh Williams. I see alot of the same mags except for "No Depression " still on the Shelves. I loved "No Depression" as a mag, but as a blog, to me it just does not come off quite as well. Paste, American Song Writer , Relix are what I read now, they are decent, still selling, but not "No Depression". The magazine was a delight to read, but what is available now, lots of times, I just can't relate to.
That's a good idea. Thanks Craig! We'll pass it on to the folks at Ning.
Because so many people blog here, it's obviously not realistic to feature everything that's added. We try to keep the homepage updated around five times each day, with the featured items as well-rounded as possible. Basic things like good grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, etc., matter a lot. A solid critical voice, a review that engages folks (i.e. something people might want to comment on), and other inexplicable qualities that make them stand out. Sometimes it's difficult to explain precisely what it is about a post that I (the Community Manager) feel will connect with the audience, but I'd recommend making a habit of reading through the reviews that get featured - how they're formatted and voiced - for examples. Every blog that's ever posted here doesn't just get stuck on your page - it also feeds into the community blog digest, which many people RSS. So, just because it doesn't wind up on the homepage doesn't mean nobody reads it. Hope that helps. I'd encourage you to keep posting here. Every blog posted - whether featured or not - adds great value to the site.
Concerning blogs and discussions, I would like the replies listed newest to oldest instead of the other way around. Maybe have an option (sort by) menu to let the reader decide.
I stopped putting my reviews here , because they would just stay on my page or my blog and not make it to the front page, I'm sure there are others who review music too. How do you pick the few people who put reviews on the main ND blog? Jim Moulton
I don't know why. I just tested the commenting function and it worked fine. Maybe log out and back in again? Let me know if that doesn't work and I'll get in touch with the folks at Ning...
I would like to post on the Peter Wolf contest but it won't allow me. My add comment button does not work. Do you know why?
There are no rules about posting links to reviews. If you find a bunch of reviews you think people on this community would benefit from reading about, you can feel free to write a blog post with those links. Go for it. Although, in the interest of not making it just a list of links (which, to summarize, search engines don't like), try to say a little bit about what you're linking to and why. Not a bad idea with the music thing. Obviously the whole free music thing is up to each individual artist (and/or their handlers), but I like the idea of there being some kind of receptacle for those who want to go that route. I don't know if we have that capability on Ning, but it's one for the thinking cap. Maybe it's something we can build into the podcast? Maybe...
Couple of thoughts... I've seen a few folks requesting more reviews and I understand that you're dependent on the community to post them. However, what are the rules about posting links to reviews that are on other sites (or cutting/pasting them)...be it community, fan, commercial or whatever? I seem to spend quite a bit of time each day zipping all over the net reading about new music, and sometimes I just want to gather up a bunch of them I think ND readers would want to hear about and drop them into a post. The music thing...I'm still hoping for a page where artists (who are willing) can drop mp3 files for free downloading. I'm not a huge fan of streaming...I prefer to hear music on my iPod. There are so many artists on this site and sometimes I get tired of having to go to their websites to get a taste of what they're up to. In this new world, free downloads are pretty important to get the word out about an artist. Plus free = more traffic.
We've pondered having more profile questions but don't want to make the "sign up" process too intimidating and likely most of those spammers have pat answers to any questions anyhow. When we "ban" (that's what they call it at Ning) a member for spamming their profile disappears along with any posts they have made so there is no dead profile or any sign on the site that they ever existed.
I have been meaning to solicit for volunteers to post links from this community site and the ND archives far and wide across the internet but haven't had a chance to get around to that yet. Anyone out there interested?? It will help our Google rankings so this site is more easily found by search engines and also help get the word out that we are here to other like minded music fans. I'm not looking for annoying plastering of ND links but rather thoughtful considerate postings to others who would be interested and excited to be made aware of this community and the archives. My thoughts are posting comments on band/artist facebook fan pages, artist forums, and any other blogs related to artists we have covered in the archives or are blogging about in the community. It also helps to click on the "share" icon below each post and share blogs and articles from the archives you enjoy that way. Anyone can do this at any time! You don't need permission or instructions but if you have questions or would like suggestions just let me know. p.s. If someone wanted to post a link and information about the Willie Nelson blogging contest on any Willie related sites or pages that would be a great place to start!
Unicorns would be nice - plus a few dragons! Huh, huh, can we? Seriously, I've found this website to be pretty good - easy to navigate, easy to update and add to your profile, etc. No complaints here. We may just need an effort of some sort to grow our membership and increase our importance. But, yeah, dragons! Whoo Hoo!
She definitely knows how to get the word out! Sorry for the spam. Kim banned that member page right away so hopefully that'll be the end of that. Always let us know immediately if you receive any suspicious messages or spam and we'll take it down right away.
Hire Valerie Green.
If you go to any rockabilly shows or Viva Las Veegas, etc., definitely feel free to blog about them on this site! What gets covered here is all up to folks like you, so bring it on - we'll be happy to have it!
Needs more 'hard' americana, such as rockabilly - have yet to see coverage of the Viva Las Vegas phenom which sells out every year - and a bit less folk music (aka 'singer-songwriter').
That's a good point. We don't control the way members are listed - that's a Ning proprietary design, but I can pass on the request to include things like that in future updates to them. Right now there's the music player on the main page, but we've only been keeping a few songs in there at a time. Would you rather see that player auto-populate with whatever music is added to the site (even if it's not the very best of the community)?
I'd like to see members' music play a bigger role on the site. I have a uploaded a few songs, but as far as I can tell no one has listened to them. I looked around to find others who had music, and it was difficult to find. The only way I could find was to look through the member page at random and click on musicians who looked like they might have music. I found a few, and enjoyed some music. But it's not as easy as it should be. One useful addition would be some indication in the member list of whether that member has music. Another idea is to add a MUSIC item on the main menu that has member music as well as any free music provided by artists (such as the Willie Nelson video). Since we all share an interest in this kind of music, it would be nice if the site made it easier to find each others music. Bruce
Hi Jim - We did try that and it didn't work out. Here's Kyla's blog about why. What would you be willing to see go away from the homepage? How would you unclutter it if you had your druthers? We are definitely open to simplifying but unsure of what people wouldn't miss if we took it off. Any thoughts?
Honestly, I was a big fan of "No Depression Magazine", This is Too crowded, too much info crammed into a little spot, why don't you just try to do a web mag instead of everything else, There are plenty of good forums on the web, but not good Webmags, I don't like the design either Thanks Jim
Glad to hear it! Thanks for sticking with us, Jerry! Let us know if you run into any problems, or hear of any artists you'd like to know more about.
Thanks Jim - unfortunately that's something we had to cut when the editorial budget went away. But upcoming releases is one thing that will be part of the upcoming ND podcast (starting this fall).
Because of this new format, we're no longer assigning reviews and are at the mercy of our membership for the reviews that are posted. So far it's been a fairly healthy blend of indie and major label releases. You can check out all the reviews here (or get there by mousing over "blogs" in the top nav and then click on "reviews"). Also planning on including new releases and new artist profiles in our podcast, which we're launching this fall. If you hear of any unknown artists who blow your mind and about whom you'd like to know more, definitely let us know and I'll do what I can to add them to the podcast schedule. Thanks for chiming in! Keep it coming!
How about more information and reviews of Indie recordings? Sure, there are some, but does Tanya Tucker really need your support? Don't get me wrong, I am a long time fan, but I would like to hear more about less known artists.
Hello--I am one of those folks who is still in mourning at the loss of the No Depression magazine. One feature that I always liked was the calendar listing of recordings coming out by various artists--it was helpful for me to be updated on new/on the way albums so that I knew what was in my musical pipeline. I wonder if that could be a part of the online postings--a friendly suggestion. Thanks for what you do. Jim
If you click too high on the top nav, it registers as you clicking on the logo, which opens a new tab of the homepage. Just click a smidge lower :)
Not sure if its just me. Alot of times when I click on my page link or forum link, it just opens another tab of the home page, and I end up having to try 3 or 4 times till it will actually open the correct page. Again not sure if its just me. Not sure if this will help but Im using firefox 3.5 and windows vista ultimate.
I heard from Ning about the chat function this morning and they're working on it. We're not the only network who's requested that, so hopefully it'll come soon. I'll keep you posted!
I passed this on to Ning and they're taking a look at it. In the meantime, I've switched the order comments will appear on blog posts, so that if you're new to the discussion, you don't have to go to the last page and read comments backwards. Hopefully that'll help with confusing reading at least a little bit until the next fix is made.
Yep, saw it right away. Thanks for being so adaptive.
Thanks for these recommendations - just wanted to make sure you knew I added a Reviews page (mouse over Blogs and click on Reviews) and a Reviews box on the homepage. Cheers!
Okay, I'll include that in the email I'm sending now. In the meantime, once you've posted a response to a forum, you have 15 minutes to edit what you've posted. All you need to do to change it (if a link appears broken, etc.) is to click on the text you added and a text-editor will open. I understand that's not completely intuitive. I'll add it to the FAQ.
In a recent "upgrade", Ning seems to have reversed the order of comments on blog posts so that the most current comment is at the top. If you're just tuning in, you have to go all the way to the last page and read backwards, basically, on that Merle post. Given it was a conversation starter, it may have been better served in a forum discussion, but alas. We'd rather let people start discussions however they see fit - whether in blog comments, groups, forums, or in the comments on a video if they want to. I definitely share your p.o.v. on this and am sending an email to the Ning folks. Thanks yall! Keep it coming!
I agree. At the present moment, the discussion going on re: Merle vs Dylan vs Parton etc for best songwriter is a mess. The discussion isn't; it's probably the best discussion so far on ND. The visual chaos of the replies is a mess. One almost has to become a forensic thread doctor and slowly piece together the replies to get a sense of who is talking to whom and when.
Thanks for the feedback, Moondog! The chat function is a comparatively new feature that the Ning folks added a couple of months ago. It could use some better functionality and we can pass that request on to them. Any thoughts on what you think would make it better? Thanks again, so much, for the note!
I would suggest a better "chat room" design. I have posted stuff the past couple of days and never get a response. Also, The Devil Made Smokes thread "everyone post your music here was a gteat idea. I was excited to get some feedback from people with similar music tastes, but again not one single response. Although, that seems to be the case with most songwriter feedback forums.
Yes, a preview for image and link pastes, formatting, etc. This is minor issue, the nesting of the replies is much more of an issue for me personally, but probably also one that cannot (at this point) be changed . . . oh, well.
Glad to hear it, and thanks for the feedback! We don't have a whole lot of control over how the forum formats, since that's on Ning's end, but it's definitely a good point. Do you mean previewing what you've written before you post it in response to a forum?
I find the threading on the forum a little cumbersome. I would prefer being able to quote previous posts and have all posts sequentially displayed (rather than nested). I realize the nested replies in some ways make tangents easier to follow (or ignore). But I usually find it easy to breeze through such things in forums that display posts sequentially (such as phpBB). Being able to preview posts would be nice. That said, I enjoy the quality of discussion on the forum. Cheers, all!
That's not a bad idea. Thanks! We definitely hear you guys on wanting reviews and recommendations more accessible. We're trying to figure out how best to present it since there's no reliable flow of updated reviews from the community. Once we add the archives feature, there'll be no more room on the homepage to add any more boxes, so if we add something, something else has to go away. It may just be a question of requiring new reviews to be formatted a certain way so that they feed into an RSS box on the homepage. Anyway, just wanted to let you know I'm working on making reviews and recommendations more visible and intuitive to find. Once the archives are live, there will be a featured archive piece every day. Maybe part of that box will be a link to all reviews from the print days. Thanks for the feedback! Keep it coming!
You've got boxes for everything all over the site. I miss CD reviews. I miss CD reviews in one place, all together, one right after another. How about a box for reviews and linked to the old reviews from the archived original site as well?
Can I make a suggestion regarding the house player on the main page, If you drag that into the body of the site it will open up bigger and alow users to access the artists links from their songs,. Fraternally Rob Ellen
The "official" ND site will be eliminated as soon as I can get the archives processed and the new site to house them and the store built. At that time, hopefully by early May, this will become the official ND home page with a link out to the archives from the main navigation here.
I've worked around technology doe 15 years and I have to say except for the odd navigation schema between "community" and "official" ND worlds this place runs very well. Thanks for the work!
Re: Used to be hundreds online, now just a few.....When I first signed up, the site kept me logged in....after quitting Safari, after turning off and restarting the computer. Then the site went down for awhile and afterwards, I can not stay logged in without relogging onto it each time I visit. I'm here all time reading stuff but don't bother to log in for each visit.
I agree, Chris! I moved the Latest Activity piece up and some other things around a bit. Thanks for your suggestions. Keep em coming!
Speaking of interns/volunteers I'm gathering them now to help process the archival content! The final touches are being put on the database that was built to house the archives which have been imported into the database from the original MS Word files Grant used to create each issue. All the content for each article is in the body text field for the article so volunteers are needed to cut and paste the headline, author, artist, etc. into the appropriate fields for each article. It's not difficult just time consuming, and slightly addictive I'm finding as I've been working through the first few issues myself to work the bugs out of the database! I have 17 people signed up and ready to help so far but could use a few more. The second phase will be skimming each article and tagging it so the search engines can find it. That will be slightly more time consuming so I could definitely use more volunteers to help when we get to that stage, which should be in the next couple weeks. If you're interested in helping out please email me at kyla@nodepression.com
Wish I could say this in "techie" talk but I'll try plain English and see where it goes. My little issue with scrolling might make more sense if I compare ND to my Yahoo home page. On that site I quickly scroll and scan the news headlines from about a dozen sources, then click on the story that I want to read and boom: there it is. Here, it just seems to take a lot longer to go from top to bottom, and when I click on a post it takes an extra second or two to load up the graphics and frames. So I guess it's really not a problem per se, but it's the delay to instant gratification that bugs me. Great to hear about the traffic increasing. My only gauge is the "8 Online" notation at the bottom of the screen. I like it better when it says "567 Online". For artist chats, I really don't have any particular suggestions. I just think in the new model we need more artist/fan connections and this is one way to facilitate it. I know all about the care and feeding of unicorns, but I could never imagine being responsible for a swath of interns.
Hey Ed - I've never had problems with scrolling unless there's a blip in Clearwire, so maybe that's something that's different for different ISPs? Has anyone else had that problem? Our traffic has actually been on a steady incline. We now have over 1,000 members and this site is far stickier than the old ND site. More and more people are finding us on Google searches and via Twitter and Facebook. So it hasn't fizzled. It may just be that not a ton of people are online all at once, but have faith. I've seen the stats and it's on the upswing. Your points about the archives site are heard and noted. All things we've discussed on our end as well. Yes, indeedy, there are some chats with artists in the works. The trick of course is scheduling, etc., but that is something that I have been excited about since I realized we had the chat function. It's coming. Hang in there. If there's any specific artist you'd like to chat with, I welcome suggestions. I'll look into the area with free samples. You can listen to our imeem player on the main page. I've been trading out tracks in there about once a week or so. There's some new stuff in there as of Wednesday this week. And the unicorns are still being gathered. Kyla has a swath of interns roaming the hills of West Virginia and Kentucky collecting them as we speak. Keep this on the DL, but they may make their debut at the No Depression Festival this summer in Seattle. So...you won't want to miss that!
I suggest making 'latest activity' front and center since that is where the action is. Front page loading might speed up if the photos, videos and music player were moved as well.
Just a couple of thoughts: -This might just be me, but the navigation on both the ND and Community sites drive me a little crazy at times. The scrolling is slow, and after leaving a page to view a discussion or story, it takes me back to the top when I come back home...instead of to the spot where I jumped off. I thought it might be Firefox playing tricks but it's that way with Explorer. -After over two hundred people were online at the same time two Fridays ago, and a flurry of activity during SXSW, we've seemed to have cooled off here. Wouldn't expect this to be Facebook II, but I'm not sure why it's trailed off. Perhaps it's just the nature of a new site. As someone who always has the page up both at home and at work, I find that there is a wealth of information being posted each day that I want to know about but I guess others don't see it as that critical. -Once the archives are posted and tagged, I can see a much larger audience finding their way here. Not sure how you're planning to lay it out, but a robust search feature and navigation tool would seem essential. For example, I want to be able to view and search every single record review for stuff I've missed. Or I might want to read everything ever written about one of the Millers. -I'm sure you're on this, but "chat with artists" on a consistent basis would be hot. -An area with free MP3 downloads and samples. -And then there are always the unicorns...
Yep, if you mouse over "Members" in the top nav, you'll see an option for groups. Another way to get there is from the main community.nodepression.com page. If you scroll down, you'll see a list of groups in the middle of the page. Or you can just go here.
On the myspace page there is a reference to a SF bay americana "group" that is discussing upcoming shows. Is there a place here for groups that I haven't found yet?
There is an FAQ here. To become someone's friend, you go to their member page and, underneath their photo, there should be an option to make them your friend. Just click on it and voila! I'll add that to the FAQ. Thanks for the feedback! Keep it coming.
tbh.. i'm finding the whole thing a lil' overwhelming. i don;t know how to become one's friend. there's a LOT of info on each page... it may start to make sense after a while, but probably best if such determination wasn;t needed. is there a FAQ? also, the badge looks dicky on my site due to the rounded edges.... otherwise... i'm enjoying it and looking fwd to getting involved.
unicorns, yeah a few unicorns would be great.