Supply-Side Forum

This is a forum to discuss Supply Side Economics and related issues.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Forum Plans II

All,

I have been informed that that TalkShop computer will be indisposed for the foreseeable future. Therefore I am looking into cranking up a more standard discussion forum (one of the more web-based php-type packages: you may remember the one Poly had for a while during its shakeup a couple of years back).

I'll need a domain and a website as well, so if anyone already hosts their own sites I'll take any advice you wish to forward (and I'm soliciting advice from lots of other folks I know, too).

Specific questions for the group are: Do you have any suggestions for a domain name that the forum will be hosted under (I'm looking at packages of 3-5 domain names so I'll have a couple for my own use and one for this use), and do you have any desire to see other information posted in conjunction with the forum (RSS feeds of commodity prices, articles written by members or other interested/ing parties, links, downloads, and what-have-you)?

13 Comments:

Blogger David Wood said...

Thanks, Bob, for doing this. SupplySideForum.com is available, and would be appropriate. Just a suggestion.

Also, count me in for covering part of the cost.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Sean R. said...

I'm not technical enough to answer most of the question.

I do think setting up a real resource bank on Supply Side issues, especially monetary policy, is vital. If not us, who?

While it still exists I suggest a permanent link to wanniski.com. BTW, are we sure that in addition to shutting down Polyconomics, Pat Wanniski intends to end wanniski.com?

Also, if it's going to fly, this site should function as a helpful resource. To that end, no matter how frustrating many of us find other economic points of view, I think we should refrain from ad hominem attacks or name calling.

Good ideas unpleasantly delivered can be as unconvincing as the inverse. I mention this as I have forwarded a few threads from this page to writers like Jerry Bower, who is pretty widely read I believe. If we want him to take us seriously and maybe even link to us in response, tone (and substance) matters.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Dick Fox said...

Bob Churchill,

Count me in along with David concerning covering a portion of the cost of a new site. I believe there are enough of us who wish to continue this that we should be able to develop a top notch site with minimal indivitual cost.

Would others indicate their willingness to help defer the cost of a new site?

1:17 PM  
Blogger Robert P. Churchill said...

I'm actually planning to use software that's free so the only costs will be for the domain name, and the web hosting. That shouldn't be more than $15/month and possibly less. Since I'll be using the same resources myself and then dropping my long-time online service I'll actually be saving money. Therefore I'm thinking no additional funding will be needed.

That said, all kinds of stuff could happen so if any of that changes I'll let you know.

In the meantime thanks for your support and keep the suggestions coming: I like David's suggestion for a domain name ;-).

1:54 PM  
Blogger David Wood said...

I agree with Sean on having the site be a resource if at all possible.

I also agree on answering honestly interested people pleasantly, regardless of their philosophical point of view. Different points of view, honestly expressed and reasoned, are what makes the site interesting.

I don't, however, believe we should leave the site open to people who's only agenda is to cause trouble, without any intention of learning. There are plenty of places on the web where they can post all of the leftist propaganda they want. We should not feel obligated to provide another. I say give everybody a good solid chance, but if they are unwilling to engage in an honest exchange of ideas, then warn them and, if their behavior is unchanged, kick them off. Our group is, by and large, an amiable bunch. The attacks and name calling only appeared after a long, long unhandled situation.

2:11 PM  
Blogger David Wood said...

By the way, Bob, my chief requirement for the software package is that it has an easily used "new posts" function similar to that of WebBoard. That was what I used virtually 100% of the time.

I also prefer the setup where you can see the list of posts and responses with the authors' names, again as in WebBoard, so you don't have to shuffle through all the posts to see who has responded. That makes it easier to just read the ones you're interested in, which is especially useful when there are a lot of posts and you don't have a lot of time.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Henry Meers said...

What about taking up a collection for the software you might like?

5:35 PM  
Blogger Dick Fox said...

Bob,

I think we will all agree that the name should be SupplySideForum.com. If anyone disagrees speak now, and all that bull.

4:55 AM  
Blogger Robert P. Churchill said...

The WebBoard software itself ran about ~$1800 when I got a copy for my last company about five years ago. It has to be hosted on a local machine and then someone would have to maintain a public internet connection and ensure that service could be performed regularly. If I were to set something up from where I live but then went on vacation or a work trip for a couple of weeks and the thing tanked in a way that I couldn't fix remotely well, you see the problem. That’s a solution that’s mostly useful for ongoing businesses, though I know some private forums used the software.

That's why to my mind the thing has to be hosted remotely. I was thinking of using phpBB or something like that, which is both free and can be hosted remotely by services that provide MySQL and PHP support. 99% of the forums you see on the web work roughly that way this software does. The threads are all linear (i.e. no nesting of the kind WebBoard provided) but you can easily figure out what's new and what isn't with minimal hassle. I follow five such boards and it isn't a major problem, though of course the subjects of the postings is a bit less involved most of the time. Anyway, it won’t be as nice as TalkShop was as far as the power of the software goes, but it should be sufficient. Remember that it is the content of the postings that will ultimately be more important.

All of these boards can be set up with login permissions and sub-forums we choose (suggestions welcome, remembering those four that TalkShop used- we may choose to break things down differently), although Poly set theirs up to be open and additionally to allow anonymous posts. We might post a request that people simply use their real names as their handles but we should consider the value of allowing anonymity as a way of getting somewhat wider participation. A lot of people you would never suspect monitored the old board and while I'm guessing many did so because of Jude's involvement and may not continue to do so, others may be motivated to offer an odd comment here or there. Just something to think about.

The other thing to remember is that maintaining an online community is a difficult business. There are pros and cons to any methodology and there are lengthy discussions of all this stuff on the sample forums run by the various producers of such software. Suffice it to say none are without cons. When Jude was actively involved in discussions all he had to do was politely ask a poster to desist and his wishes were always respected. Later on the situation deteriorated. Whatever the method we choose, I'm pretty sure that few of us carry the kind of weight Jude did as a "presence" (goodness knows I'm a flaming nobody- and no web guru either, though I should be able to handle the basics) but the community will have to find a way to police itself and there will be some ultimate arbiters of how things should be simply by virtue of having access to the administrative functions of the board.

There is also the issue of posting and maintaining additional content. That's a whole 'nother can of worms, but one I'm willing to dig into. Bear in mind that it will have to be simple at first and may be able to grow in scope and complexity over time.

Plenty to chew on as we work through this process.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Jimi said...

I understand that you are in a due diligence phase, if you end up "passing a hat", count me in.

5:42 AM  
Blogger David Wood said...

Bob,

I think the phpBB is acceptable, if not optimum. I haven't seen anything hugely better within a reasonable price range.

Regarding posting discipline, I like both the idea of requesting people use their real names, and the allowing of pseudonyms/anonymous posting. As for who to have the ultimate decision about limiting someone's posting, I would suggest that Dick might be a good choice. He tends to be way more tolerant and willing to engage the oddballs than most of us. If Dick gets fed up with someone, you can bet I was fed up weeks or months ago. He's too nice, but that's a good thing. ;-) I would trust your judgement as well on this. Maybe you and Dick could share the job.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous mark kase said...

fyi, something very familiar about this.......http://brettonwoodsresearch.com/

7:34 PM  
Blogger ed hanson said...

Nice find, Mark

11:42 AM  

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