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Changes afoot ... Classifieds

Posted by wimg , in Board Talk 12 March 2011 · 435 views

Dearest members and visitors of this little fountain pen nut house on the digital prairie,

The last couple of months we have been working away at making some changes, hopefully for the better :D, here at FPN. You will have noticed undoubtedly the Blog, Downloads and Upload tabs already. Soon there will be a new Tab here, which will also make for a slight restructuring of the board. This is all about the Classifieds part of the Classifieds and Market Watch Section. We've had many requests regarding the limited functionality of the current format, limited mostly due to the restrictions imposed by the actual forum format in which it is embedded.

Well, we can now announce that we are in the final stages of testing an entirely new subsystem for the board, which will allow for a variety of the wishes everybody had, including the moderators of the marketplace forums.

First of all, posters of a Classified will be able to edit their classified(s) until the end of the run for a classified. Comments, questions, remarks etc. added by people interested in the item(s) on offer, will only be visible after the original poster has approved them, or he or she may even choose to keep a message or request private. He can also choose to re-edit the classified, and add any extra info based on questions other members may have, lowering the price, etc. This also means that any people posting a classified, will have to actively monitor them. Effectively, every member here will become the moderator of their own classifieds, although FPN still retains the right to moderate as well, of course.

Also, several of the rules for posting a classified, have been incorporated in this add-on application. Let me mention a few here for starters :D .

Addition of one or more pictures is mandatory. This is now controlled by the software. Everybody posting a classified has to attach at least 1 image. A thumbnail of this image will be created automatically, and this thumbnail will also be visible in the general or overall listing. Clicking on the thumbnail in the lisiting whill show the actual classified, and clicking on the thumbnail in the classified itself will then bring up the entire image in its full glory.

Will this affect my overall storage here on FPN I can hear many people ask already?

The good news is that it won't. Storage for pictures in Classifieds essentially is unlimited, the reason being that the number of classifieds is limited anyway for any time period, so this unlimited option is not going to pose any problems at all. This is another advantage of making this available as a separate piece of functionality rather than a part of the existing forum structure. It also allows one to save an image back to one's harddisk, for reuse, if necessary. And it also is still possible to add pictures via the image button in the editor too.

In short, an old option stays, another old option now becomes mandatory, be it for a minimum of 1 image. You can add more if you like or prefer. Links to images are still not allowed. However, you can convert a link to an image to an actual image here by using Upload, although that will still only work for images which are not attached. And as mentioned, you always have to attach at least 1 image.

One of the older rules was that people who make it a habit or profession to sell pens and related items, were really supposed to post in the professional FS forum. There were a lot of complaints about this, so we have more or less allowed for pros and semi-pros alike to post in both and set a limit to the maximum number of posts per day to help the occasional sellers a little. However, with the new classifieds system that is no longer allowed, and we will rigorously act on this. A pure hobbyist who sells in the Low Volume category, is allowed to post three classifieds a week, with a maximum of 100 classifieds a year. Any more, and they will be removed. Anybody who starts posting in the Higher Volume category, is not allowed to post anymore in the Low Volume category. All of this to prevent swamping of the much fewer posts people add who are buying or selling pens to add to their collection, rather than for profit or as a business. However, it is possible to either view the individual category listings, or a combined one, so the same functionality as before has been maintained effectively, if so required. It really is even better from this POV.

Furthermore, a poster will have to select from a "Shipping from:" dropdown list to indicate where the item is located, and this list includes all countries in the world, in principle anyway. Similarly, there is a "Shipping to" dropdown, although this is much more compact, and one of the options will be along the lines of "Other, to be described in the post itself". Payment options is another dropdown box, listing such possibilities as PayPal, etc., and again there will be an option for "Other".

Obviously, there will also be a box for the price, and since we don't all use the same currency, all currencies of the world as far as we know, have been added to another dropdown list, with the most commonly used currencies on this board right at the top of the list. Do note that not filling in a price will result in the listing showing FREE in large bold capitals - best to be avoided IOW, unless that was the intention :D.

All of these fields are mandatory fields so far. There are a few more however. Let me deal with those in the next episode of this likely three part article describing this new option, and maybe even accompanied with a preview or two :D .

Next episode more....

Warm regards, Wim


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Some More Useful Stuff....

Posted by wimg , in Board Talk 19 February 2011 · 74 views

Playing with several more options we now have, we found a few quite useful. First of all there is a new "Upload" tab, and we also added a "Downloads" tab. :D

Upload - it does exactly what it says and then some. It allows you to upload a file (picture) here, and provides you with the actual code to insert into a post in order to display the image too :D. Not only does it allow you to upload a picture from your PC, but also by entering a link. The latter feature is extremely useful for, e.g., reviews with photographs, because by using the Upload feature, any pictures can be uploaded here, and be preserved with the review rather than having to depend on allocation space available, etc.  The Upload option will create a new tab or window, depending on your browser settings, when you open it, so it is easy to switch between a reply or post you are creating and the image(s) you want to add to your post or reply, and copy the code created for your image. We do hope this will make life a lot easier for many of our members here when it comes to attaching and inserting images in a post.

There is 1 caveat with this option however, namely a limit to the size of the file uploaded. We've set it to 1 MB, but would prefer smaller files. This means resizing, in many cases, something which for now anyway, you will have to do yourself. A 1200 pixels wide by 800 pixels high picture (or vice versa), or 1000 X 1000 square should easily fit within this 1 MB limit, so resize to that size, and you should be fine.
There are no limits on uploads currently, other than the 1 MB file size, but we would like to ask you to be considerate in the number of files you do upload, and the size you use, as the space here is limited :D. IOW, don't upload your last set of holiday photographs, but try to keep it limited to photographs or images which are relevant to a post you create or reply to.

Do note that this option is only available to Gold Members, IOW, those members who were registered prior to January 23, 2010, and those who registered after that date who are registered for more than 30 days, and have more than 30 posts in relevant forums (i.e., not in Chatter) to their name.

Downloads again implies what it does, namely the downloading of files from this site. What files? Quite simply, those handy files that people donated to FPN and its community, free for personal use. For now, you'll find here corienb's font files, a Seyes rules file, a nib size measuring chart, a link to Jonro's now famous fountain pen database, and a link to the iPhone/iPad app created by Invision to view FPN from iPhone or iPad. Note that in order to download any of these files, you have to be signed in to FPN.

If you feel you do have something worthwhile to contribute in this regard, and want to share this with our members here, do feel free to contact us and discuss this, via PM or via email.

Anyway, the admin team does hope you will enjoy these new additions to the site :D.

Warm regards, Wim


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Yes, An Admin Blog, You Did See Correctly After All....

Posted by wimg , in Board Talk 19 February 2011 · 70 views

Some of you may remember we actually were down for about 14 hours on January 8 or thereabouts. That was all necessary in order to make sure we could upgrade to the latest version of the entire software suite Invision provides for boards like our own Fountain Pen Network.

One of the first benefits we got as a result is a very good Invision Community spam filter. And we got it just in time, too. On January 15 the internet was hit with a new deluge of spammers, and we certainly did and do get our share. The number of spammers increased very sharply from about 8-10 per day, to an average of over 120 a day! Fortunately we now get actually fewer who manage to get through than before we had the spam filter, so we uttered a big sigh of relief when we saw this filter in action :D.

The great cleanup and reinstall also means that once we are familiar with some of the parts of the system, we will add an enhancement, and maybe even two, to the possibilities the board, and hence this site, has to offer, with a view to propel the Fountain Pen Network nicely and squarely into the modern age this new decade is promising us. :D We may even convince a few young newbies to come and join us that way, who knows :D.

Anyway, as you can see, the admin blog is the first of some of the ideas we had. We are currently inventing stuff as we go, so there may be many more ideas which pop up and which may also disappear again, who knows.

In the mean time, we do think this is a nicer way for communication between admins and members than the News forum, so personally, I reckon this may well be an option that will stay.

Besides adding this blog, we also upgraded the system software, with an upgrade for better security, and there also is an upgrade for the iPhone and iPad App, which can be gotten at the Apple AppStore, for free: iPhone + iPad App for IP.Board.

I do hope you will all enjoy these new developments.

Warm regards,
Wim

aka the Mad Dutchman :D






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