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Thread: Forum Merger Issues (was "Impending Forum Name Change")

  1. #361
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    Regarding ads, it wouldn't cover the costs. I think it made a few hundred a month, so maybe break even? But then there's the time associated with dealing with advertisers, blocking the non-related ads, and dealing the concerns that come up.

    And then there's the admin time. Running a webserver is really hard work. It's long periods of boredom, and then brief moments of stark screaming terror, when you're dealing with hackers, software incompatibilities, etc.

    I felt it was worth it to pay a few hundred a month + my own administration time to keep the community experience as frictionless as possible.

    To actually hire a webserver admin willing to take urgent calls, it's probably $1,000+ a month for a service contract. That means invasive advertising, donations, or some kind of membership system. Invasive advertising would be dealt with by massive resistance. Donations would get an initial boost of money from the goodwill momentum, but then it turns into NPR/PBS style begging. A membership system means running BAUT like a business, creating a compelling sales page, providing 30-day trials, and shedding a massive number of people who would be glad to move to some other community that doesn't charge for memberships.

    So, this was the math i went through, based on my experience running websites, etc.

    My role in BAUT is to keep the server going, moving it again and again to find the right location that could handle the performance needs, to deal with alerts when the site goes down, to install software upgrades, and to chase hackers. BAUT doesn't demand anyone do anything. This was the role I was able to play with my other responsibilities, and I believe it was a helpful contribution.

    Like I said, in my previous post, this merger made sense to me. Pamela is a PhD astrophysicist. The "Nicole" person who posted is Dr. Nicole Gugliucci, a PhD radio astronomer. They're trying to connect with researchers and figure out how communities can help participate in research.

    As I mentioned in the public forum, my intention is to essentially maintain BAUT in its current structure, and absorb Cosmoquest. The rebranding to Cosmoquest made sense because there are NASA grants, and lots of printed material. That name doesn't mean much to you, but it's very respected in the eyes of the space agencies and science foundations. Pamela has been making huge strides in citizen science and public outreach. BAUT doesn't even have business cards. So hopefully, it's a name that will carry forward and provide more momentum for the science outreach this community is already doing.

    We're going to have a test forum going in a few days you can play around with, kick the tires, etc.

  2. #362
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    Regarding ads...
    Thank you for explaining that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    We're going to have a test forum going in a few days you can play around with, kick the tires, etc.
    I'm not sure if that's really going to tell us much. To me, it seems like it's more impression, community and identity that are issues here.
    Whether it's this color, that layout, button locations or other options, I think it would be minor compared to the issues I see discussed.
    It is an appreciated gesture though.

    If it is more helpful than what I'm seeing, then maybe someone can enlighten me as to how.

  3. #363
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    That name doesn't mean much to you, but it's very respected in the eyes of the space agencies and science foundations.
    As we are all aware, we have no "say", so forget the rationalizations and just get it over with...
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  4. #364
    I question about a ceertain meme that is floated around here. Are Cosmoquesters going to become our overlords or the bauter going to be their overlords?

    As long as everything stills fairly closely to way it has been I am fine with whatever changes happens and when it happens,
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  5. #365
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F. View Post
    You sound as defeatist as some of the posters here. I simply do not believe that Pamela can not be reasoned out of a very bad name...

    ...and if the VAST majority of members are from BAUT, then don't you think the reputation of this board should be taken into account when deciding on a name? Like it or not, and as Gillianren posted a while back, CosmoQuest sounds like a "new age" site.
    Like I said above, the Cosmoquest name has respect with space agencies, science foundations and researchers. I'm not being defeatist, just looking at all the pros and cons.

    Here's the thing R.A.F., you're insinuating all kinds of ulterior motives here. Why don't you explain what you think is actually going on, and then I can deal with your concerns head on.

  6. #366
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    I've got another idea....(yeah, I'm full of it, ummm, I mean, I'm full of ideas . )

    Just call it BAUT/CosmoQuest.

    Pamela get's her name, and we keep our "branding".



    edit to add...or even CosmoQuest/BAUT...see, I can "bend".
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  7. #367
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    I'm not sure if that's really going to tell us much.
    We can at least see what it looks like, see if the links work right, etc.

    It is an appreciated gesture though.
    Yes, it is.

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  8. #368
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    Perhaps we can have some kind of name distinction in the naming of subsections, or perhaps the description of the subsections, maybe temporarily (one year?) until most people are used to the new surroundings.
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  9. #369
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    Why don't you explain what you think is actually going on...
    Like I would know?....this is all "guess work" because of the lack of communication.

    The only thing I "know" for sure, is that Pamela has chosen a name...and we have no say about it.


    What's stopping Pamela from coming to this board and at least "attempting" to persuade us that the name she chose, best represents the interests of the BAUT community?

    Just a "tad bit" of consideration would go a long way to making this transition easier.
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  10. #370
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOncomingStorm View Post
    I question about a ceertain meme that is floated around here. Are Cosmoquesters going to become our overlords or the bauter going to be their overlords?
    I don't understand this comment. There's no such thing as an overlord. There are only communities you wish to be associated with and ones you don't. So, either the newly merged forum turns into a place you trust and enjoy and want to hang out at, or you think it's a crappy place with stupid rules and would much rather go participate at another forum.

    What makes BAUT the perfect home for you makes it intolerable for other people. You appreciate the challenge to nonsense theories, while the woo-woos find this place confrontational and downright mean. They tough through it because they're trying to market their idea, but for no other reason.

    We don't control or command people, we can only make improvements to the environment and encourage the right kind of people to settle down here. If the vast majority of people don't like it, they'll leave.

    The admin/mod structure will remain essentially the same. Toseek and Antoniseb in charge with their existing responsibilities and mod team. A couple of mods from Cosmoquest will help out, but be largely concerned with the CQX portions right now. Many of them are working scientists, though, so they'll be able to give more definitive decisions about what is science and what is woowoo. Pamela will supply coders for support, upkeep and webmastering.

  11. #371
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    I have a concern. As I understand it, the grants that CQ get are targeted to support "citizen science." Very little discussion on BAUT has to do with that subject. In fact, there are large swaths of BAUT that have little or nothing to do with astronomy or cosmology at all.

    What happens when the people with the bucks say they don't want to pay for disk space and bandwidth for discussions of Apollo conspiracies, the latest half-baked ATM theory to challenge the Big Bang, the possibility of global economic collapse, electric car viability, limericks, etc?
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  12. #372
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    Many of them are working scientists, though, so they'll be able to give more definitive decisions about what is science and what is woowoo.
    I've read this a few times, and I'm not sure what it means.
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  13. #373
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    I have a concern. As I understand it, the grants that CQ get are targeted to support "citizen science."
    On a related note, I think it apparent to all that the "hope" is that BAUTians will join in the "citizen science" projects (which I have no problem with*)....that would justify the grant...

    ...but what happens "if" BAUTians don't?




    edit to add...*yes, my opinion has evolved, and I now wholeheartedly support the citizen science done on CosmoQuest.

    As I previously posted...I can bend.
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  14. #374
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    My role in BAUT is to keep the server going, moving it again and again to find the right location that could handle the performance needs, to deal with alerts when the site goes down, to install software upgrades, and to chase hackers. BAUT doesn't demand anyone do anything. This was the role I was able to play with my other responsibilities, and I believe it was a helpful contribution.
    Those of us who were aware of the reasons for the server moves and the fact that you were absorbing all the costs yourself genuinely appreciate what you've done. I know I do. The reasons behind the merger make perfect sense to me, and I think most of us will admit that having a paid staff will be better in the long run than one person running at a 100% loss for as long as you have.

    Like I said, in my previous post, this merger made sense to me. Pamela is a PhD astrophysicist. The "Nicole" person who posted is Dr. Nicole Gugliucci, a PhD radio astronomer. They're trying to connect with researchers and figure out how communities can help participate in research.

    As I mentioned in the public forum, my intention is to essentially maintain BAUT in its current structure, and absorb Cosmoquest. The rebranding to Cosmoquest made sense because there are NASA grants, and lots of printed material. That name doesn't mean much to you, but it's very respected in the eyes of the space agencies and science foundations. Pamela has been making huge strides in citizen science and public outreach. BAUT doesn't even have business cards. So hopefully, it's a name that will carry forward and provide more momentum for the science outreach this community is already doing.
    All of the above should have been put out BEFORE the notice to pack our bags. Explain the reason behind it, especially the name change. BAUT may not have business cards, but it has a name that is known in many other places on the Net. For many people here, I think it's safe to say that the first they ever heard of CosmoQuest was the notice that said, "Hey, guess where you're moving!"

    CQ may have a name among researchers, but BAUT has a name and reputation on the Net. Most of here knew about BAUT's reputation. Most here still don't have the faintest idea what CosmoQuest does.
    I'm Not Evil.
    An evil person would do the things that pop into my head.

  15. #375
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F. View Post
    The only thing I "know" for sure, is that Pamela has chosen a name...and we have no say about it.
    No, Pamela had already chosen a name a year ago. And then she got to work building all the software tools, and relationships with the various agencies. She never had any plans to merge with BAUT, instead she was going to be building an overlapping community. That didn't really make sense. In fact, I realized that the folks at BAUT would find it kind of insulting that we were building a science and astronomy education community when we were already associated with one of the largest ones on the internet. It made sense to merge them together. It was my idea, I pitched it to Phil and Pamela and they thought it made sense.

    So, in merging them together, there's the issue of the name. Here are the options.

    1. Absorb the Cosmoquest community into BAUT, but keep the BAUT name the same. People wouldn't understand why they were going from Cosmoquest over to BAUT. We'd constantly be explaining what was going on.

    2. Come up with a new merged name, like how BA+UT became BAUT. Perhaps CosmoBAUT, or BAUTQuest. That would help explain context, but I don't think it would really help out the community in any way. It would keep things at arms length. It would require further explanation of the history. Instead of just dealing with a quick name change, you'd have to continually explain the history - like you still do with BAUT. "What does BAUT mean?... well, there used to be two sites..."

    3. Rebrand Cosmoquest to match BAUT. In other words, get Pamela to rebrand everything to match this name. If it was just the community, that makes total sense, but Cosmoquest has all of these tools, research grants, and relationships with scientists, space agencies and science foundations. It would cost real money to rebrand everything, and would set the process back. If we had thought this through from the beginning, we could have definitely attached projects like Moonmappers to BAUT, and I think you would have loved that. Well, some of you would have loved that, and others would have been concerned that we were volunteering you for science research, and we would have explained that nobody is forced to do anything, and some would participate, and others wouldn't.

    4. Rebrand Cosmoquest and BAUT to something completely new. That would be the most difficult process, and would require everyone to agree on a new name. Which isn't possible.

    5. Absorb the Cosmoquest community into BAUT, but name the whole thing Cosmoquest. BAUT gets the existing admin/mod/community structure since it's already established, and Cosmoquest doesn't have to go through the impact of changing its brand with all the science/space agencies just at the moment that it's trying to establish itself.

    So, #5 made the most sense to me.

  16. #376
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    and Cosmoquest doesn't have to go through the impact of changing its brand with all the science/space agencies just at the moment that it's trying to establish itself. .
    As a matter of interest, has anybody outside of BAUT from these science/space agencies openly commented on the suitability of a name like Cosmoquest for something serious?

  17. #377
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F. View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    Many of them are working scientists, though, so they'll be able to give more definitive decisions about what is science and what is woowoo.
    I've read this a few times, and I'm not sure what it means.
    I think it means that those of the mods here with no strong scientific background will have more help in determining where moderator-action is required.
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  18. #378
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    Fraser....what was stopping you from explaining all this A WEEK AGO?


    I FINALLY understand (more or less) what's going on, and understand the reasoning behind the decision, but the process by which this has been "handled" was crappy, and does not inspire future confidence...


    Fortunately, I do have confidence in ToSeek, and Antoniseb, and the mods of this board...even if they'd like to be rid of me at times.


    So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm pretty much done complaining, but I reserve the right to comment if the mood strikes me...
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  19. #379
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F. View Post
    On a related note, I think it apparent to all that the "hope" is that BAUTians will join in the "citizen science" projects (which I have no problem with*)....that would justify the grant...

    ...but what happens "if" BAUTians don't?
    If BAUTians don't want to participate, they don't have to. How is that different from any other requirement on the forum? Mods step up and step down all the time when they feel like contributing. The only people required to do anything are the woowoos, who have to put up or shut up.

    And I run the server because that's the role I'm able to contribute right now. It needs doing, I've got the resources to do it, so I do it.

    Post or don't post, classify craters or don't, discover KBOs or don't.

    The only way this community makes sense is if improves the lives of the people involved. Otherwise people will leave and find some other place.

  20. #380
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    I think it means...
    Not sure, either, eh?


    Sounds reasonable, though....
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  21. #381
    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    I don't understand this comment. There's no such thing as an overlord. There are only communities you wish to be associated with and ones you don't. So, either the newly merged forum turns into a place you trust and enjoy and want to hang out at, or you think it's a crappy place with stupid rules and would much rather go participate at another forum.

    What makes BAUT the perfect home for you makes it intolerable for other people. You appreciate the challenge to nonsense theories, while the woo-woos find this place confrontational and downright mean. They tough through it because they're trying to market their idea, but for no other reason.

    We don't control or command people, we can only make improvements to the environment and encourage the right kind of people to settle down here. If the vast majority of people don't like it, they'll leave.

    The admin/mod structure will remain essentially the same. Toseek and Antoniseb in charge with their existing responsibilities and mod team. A couple of mods from Cosmoquest will help out, but be largely concerned with the CQX portions right now. Many of them are working scientists, though, so they'll be able to give more definitive decisions about what is science and what is woowoo. Pamela will supply coders for support, upkeep and webmastering.
    It is a joke usually by swift " Iwelcome our new ________ overlords.
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  22. #382
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    The only way this community makes sense is if improves the lives of the people involved. Otherwise people will leave and find some other place.
    I completely agree...
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  23. #383
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F. View Post
    Fraser....what was stopping you from explaining all this A WEEK AGO?
    I explained it to Antoniseb and Toseek. He posted the original thread, and then I jumped on board to explain. I thought it made more sense for the Admin team to present the idea, and me to provide my perspective. You'll see a few official explainers from me, but I didn't know what level of depth you wanted me to go. Clearly... all the way.

    So I'm here, explaining. We're delaying the move to give you more time to ask questions and consider the implications. I've encouraged Pamela to join this thread and say hi.

    Keep the questions coming.

  24. #384
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOncomingStorm View Post
    It is a joke usually by swift " Iwelcome our new ________ overlords.
    Let's make sure we get it right...

    I, for one, welcome our new CQ overlords.



    (what do you mean I'm one of the overlords?)
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  25. #385
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    I've encouraged Pamela to join this thread and say hi.
    That would be much appreciated...
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  26. #386
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOncomingStorm View Post
    It is a joke usually by swift " Iwelcome our new ________ overlords.
    And it's much older than that.

    *WARNING* Link is like TV Tropes lite.
    I'm Not Evil.
    An evil person would do the things that pop into my head.

  27. #387
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOncomingStorm View Post
    It is a joke usually by swift " Iwelcome our new ________ overlords.
    Actually, it goes back to the Simpson's episode Deep Space Homer.

    /Not sure if Fraser didn't get the reference, or didn't feel it is applicable to the current situation.

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  28. #388
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    Unfortunately I have to detach my sarcasm module during these communications.

  29. #389
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    Has no one considered the innocents who will be affected by this? If BAUT goes away, what happens to all those people who have staked their reputations on being Banned From BAUT?

    Fraser, thank you for starting this dialogue. It's a shame it couldn't have been started 9-1/2 pages ago, but better late than never. I think all anyone has truly wanted is the acknowledgement that we matter, that we have value, that someone cares how this affects us. No one likes to be ignored.

    Any change generates questions among the changees. It's good to be able to get answers.

    I look forward to seeing the test site. That may go a long way toward answering questions and calming nerves.

    BTW, I like BAUTQuest!
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  30. #390
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    BTW, I like BAUTQuest!
    you know, i wouldnt see the harm of simply placing something like that above the index, where it currently says "cosmoquest forum", just for the humor. Its hardly rebranding. And if it makes people ask why...good. isnt that how heritage is maintained?

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