Marie Antoinette Online Forum

Tidying up
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Author:  baron de batz [ Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tidying up

That's true and what discussions!! :lol:

Author:  Adrienne [ Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tidying up

Interesting discussion and thoughts everyone. I guess I should answer a few of your questions. Firstly I hope you'll understand the lateness of the response, I've moved house in the past week and been preoccupied with other personal matters of late that have kept me away from the forum and the internet more generally. I'll get on with some answers, probably not in the exact order they have been posed but if I miss anything please do follow up.

First cab off the rank then. I don't post here often because that has not been my role on the site at any stage, and while I am generally interested in history, this period and Marie Antoinette are not an area of expertise for me. Why create the forum and the site then? A little history is in order I think because none of you were here at the birth of the site and that story has been lost. I built the site to help a friend (who has always wished to maintain his privacy and identity and who I only ever knew by the pseudonym "Axel von Fersen") and Marie Antoinette enthusiast over 10 years ago. In its earliest incarnation the site was a user generated section of another website and community called "The History Vine". Some of you may remember Axel was a member of this forum, but he has not visited in a long time as far as I am aware.

Back to the history of this site and forum. The History Vine was primarily a role playing community, but also a space where people interested in discussing history could gather and explore their shared interested. This online venture went out of business and we decided to maintain the material we had generated about Marie Antoinette in this website. The project was intended to bring a more sympathetic and positive view of Marie Antoinette to greater prominence and give a permanent home to some of the material that had been written for the old community. I added this forum some years later to facilitate discussion amongst those who were visiting the site and I have maintained it since.

So, to answer the question am I not interested in Marie Antoinette? I am interested, in so far as I am curious about the history, but I am not as engaged as the rest of you who have searched for and found the site. I see my role here as a facilitator of the discussion - I provide the meeting room if you will. Axel was always the driving force of the content on this site, now for his own reasons he no longer participates, I won't speak for him or his reasons here. I keep things going because it seems to me that you all enjoy having the space.

Is it important that I post? I'm not sure that it is. I have asked over the years for help in administrating the forum and attempted to include as many of you as possible in leadership roles to keep the discussion going. Sometimes this has been successful, sometimes not. I'm very grateful at present for the high level of involvement form both Fleur and Lilly who have taken on those roles with gusto and great commitment. If you would like me to be more involved I can certainly try, but I am not confident that my contributions will add anything of great value to the forum or the site in general.

Second item. I have regularly cleared out non-contributing members. I think you would be surprised at the number who have come and gone over the years. Like some of you have mentioned already, I don't think this in itself has an effect on the conversation which does go on. I think if you are genuinely interested in the discussion or you have a burning question or point to make then you will post. There is an issue of intimidation for anyone new to an established forum. If anyone has suggestions about how this can be overcome please offer them up and we can talk about how to be more welcoming to new comers. There has been a constant divide in the discussions to date about whether to encourage everyone or to try and be more selective about who comes here to post and efforts to raise the standard of discussion. I think you can either be welcoming of everyone, or you can try to be more selective, but we must choose a strategy and run with it. Personally I'm all for being as open as possible but once again if you disagree speak up and we'll come to a decision that will work best for the community. I've tried to be as open about how this forum is run as possible and I've always encouraged members to get involved but I can't force people to take up a baton and run with it.

Third item. We can call the site anything you like. I'm not wedded to the title, it is simply the one that Axel and I came up with all those years ago. Have at it with the suggestions, I'm willing to work with whatever you come up with.

Fourth item. The website does generate some revenue from advertising and affiliate sales for and (on the main site, not on the forum). It is currently not enough to cover the cost of the annual hosting bill. In the past where the revenue exceeded the costs of hosting the site I donated those excess funds to UNICEF (there are some old posts here on the forum where what to do with the available money was discussed). If we ever get back to a position where the site is generating more advertising income than it costs to run I would be happy to experiment with incentives for those who provide quality content to the site. If funds were available I would be happy to commission longer form articles for the main site also or as the baron suggests, reward some of the quality posting in the forum. I have always tried to keep the advertising as unobtrusive as possible and I will maintain this policy unless there is strong reason to suggest that it would be of benefit to the site to generate more money and use that money to pay for contributions or improvements to the site as a whole.

I think that is everything (thus far) but before I finish this enormous response though (and I hope you are still reading!) I hope you all know that the forum is here primarily because you all use it. I maintain it because I enjoy giving you all the space to talk about a subject that you are interested in and I'm sentimental about the role I played in creating it. The forum is sluggish sometimes, the number of visitors to the site as a whole ebbs and flows. It has crossed my mind numerous times over the past 10 years that I should just give it away and close everything down but I have always continued it because there has always been one or two or more people who appreciate it. I hope that continues, and while it does I'm happy to keep this corner of the internet alive, even if I'm not the most visible contributor. I guess what I'm saying is, I'm happy to keep contributing behind the scenes and financially, if you all keep contributing your thoughts, ideas and enthusiasm. And I hope that if any of you feel you can make a contribution here, whether by sharing your thoughts, taking on a role in moderation, contributing longer form writing to the main site, I'm always happy to talk to you about what you can do and how we can make things better for everyone.

Thanks everyone for your patience in getting to the end!

Author:  Lilly [ Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tidying up

Adrienne wrote:
I hope you all know that the forum is here primarily because you all use it. I maintain it because I enjoy giving you all the space to talk about a subject that you are interested in and I'm sentimental about the role I played in creating it.

Nice to see you Adrienne! Hope the move went well and you're all settled in. Thanks for sharing the origins of the Forum - that is interesting. Also, a big Thank you for keeping the forum up and running. Even though we have highs and lows here, there is a dedicated "core" group who have remained. We are grateful and do appreciate that we have been allowed the space to discuss a mutual interest.

Author:  Ludy [ Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tidying up

Thnak you Adrienne for your informative post, which I did read till the end.) I was unaware of the site's history. Thank you as well for not taking amiss our questions with regard to your personal involvement.

I realize that it must take a lot of time to run this forum, so I think that you, Fleur and Lilly are doing a great job.

I am personnally fond of this forum, though I did have my ups and downs as well. I do not wish to leave it. I'd rather we had more regular members tough. But indeed, a few well informed and well-read members than a lot of members that never read anything on the subject -though I believe that by and large, there should be a place of everyone and all type of discussions, from Paris Hilton to African politics. But that is an utopia, I am afraid.

Author:  Adrienne [ Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tidying up

Thank you both for getting to the end of that lengthy and unwieldy post back there!

After a few days mulling over all the things that have been said, I think the last thing I'd like to say is that people have interests that move from place to place, never more so than since the advent on the internet I would say. I don't expect everyone to stay. I'm the only "original" left and I'm confident that I'm the last only because I host the thing,

My goal is to make it as friendly and usable as possible for the people who have searched for "Marie Antoinette" and have decided to join us here. What you all as members of the forum do is entirely up to you - join in, argue with each other, find another place, explore some other interest, leave for six months or a year and then pop back - all up to you. I am at your service to the extent that I can commit my time and my now limited skills allow. Any help offered or suggestions are gratefully received and open for discussion - always.

Author:  Ludy [ Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tidying up

That's fine, I enjoyed reading your post -sort of a break between two homeworks and besides it was very well written (yes, the board is also meant to help improve my English after all). Plus you are correct on all points. I do believe in free will, and I did not always take part in the forum discussion that regularly either. It all depends on the time I am compelled to spend on the Internet -I've been spending most of my time on the Internet lately because school + work required it, and it was the only hobby available, lol. I merely pointed out that I would personnally like to have more regular members on here. And I agree about members showing up now and then -that was the reason why I objected to deleting inactive memberships originally.

Author:  baron de batz [ Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tidying up

I have just returned from a week away, which explains my absence.

Thanks for your very informative and interesting post Adrienne, which for me basically clears up a lot of misunderstandings. :)

So thanks for keeping this going so long. I will think of a possible alternative title for the site and encourage others too if they think it a good idea too. However we don't want to lose the Google ranking.

Author:  Adrienne [ Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:59 am ]
Post subject:  Tidying up

Good to see you back Baron. I look forward to hearing your name suggestions! Don't worry too much about the google ranking, we are quite well established and provided I don't change the domain name it should stay high.

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