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December 19, 2017
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December 30, 2017

Why doesn’t Trail…
Wouldn’t it be good if…
Who thought this nonsense up…?

Hi. I’m Greg. I’m part of the small team that have worked pretty hard over the last six months to bring this new Trail website to life. The aim of the site it to be a tool that helps the TRF in it’s mission to conserve Green Roads. This is multifaceted and incorporates lots of initiatives and features, some of which are here on the website now, some of which may be coming later and some of which we probably haven’t thought of yet.

One of the good things about this new website is that we can build on it as we go. If you have an idea about how the site could develop in the future please feel free to leave a comment below this post. After a period of reflection the Trail team will be reviewing where we are at, what is working well, what isn’t, and how the site might evolve to help conserve Green Roads.

I’ve added this post to the menu at the top of the page so you can easily find it in the future.

Thanks.

37 Comments

  1. opinions are like bums. Everyone has them and they all stink!
    It’s not very inviting as a website, either as a newcomer or old viewer

  2. Lots of decent stuff. Looks good. However…
    I don’t want to be emailed notifications, can I just see them when I visit? A bit like on FB. If not (assuming I use this incarnation) I’ll have to set up an email address just for the TRF. I’d really rather not have to do this.
    I can see threads getting “lost” or just plain not seen by occasional visitors. Perhaps a “follow” option on conversations so we can track down ones we have not commented on but are interested in?
    Sections for a few themes might help. Perhaps:
    Technical help needed.
    Trail guide needed.
    Clothing.
    For sale/ wanted.

    In my mind this should be a one stop shop for the many members who, for one reason or another, are not active “group meeting” members. I’m happy to show new and visiting riders around my patch. I could easily miss such a request as things stand.

    Also, it can.be monumentally slow at times.
    Thanks for your hard work. The emailed notifications is a big one for me. I won’t put up with that clutter.
    Cheers.

  3. Kevin Coates says:

    Hi Greg, I know you and a lot of others do a lot of good hard work for the TRF. Many of use really do appreciate it but we already have a facebook page for national and a facebook page for local groups. Why are we trying to recreate another facebook page here? We need a national forum. The old one was a great source of info for new starter or seasoned veteran.

  4. Hi Greg. I would like to say a big thank you to you and the team behind this great new initiative. Well done. It is another way the TRF can demonstrate professionalism and forward thinking in our mission to Conserve Green Roads. These are challenging times for our sport and hobby and this is a great platform and will no doubt go on to be an even greater platform with the help, encouragement and input from our membership.

    Well done and Seasons Greetings.

  5. Hi Greg, I think I’m right in saying the ‘available discounts’ page is open to anyone, shouldn’t it be available only when logged on as a current member ?

    New pages look great but I’m hoping they will somehow develop into more modern version of the old forum, where you can look up reports, for sale and in particular technical discussions with lots of knowledgeable points of view.

    All the best and thanks for all the hard work.

  6. Rob Keep says:

    A thread function to allow topics and activities to be posted, searched for and commented upon would be good. (If it exists already please add access instructions to the FAQs. )
    Thanks.

  7. Hi Greg,
    I’d like to be able to do things that require a conversation; such as asking for technical advice. This requires a thread to stay visible so it can be responded to by someone who may not log in until a few days after the OP.
    I would also like to be able to buy and sell items on the forum please.
    And to have a discussion that is not over with pretty much instantaneously (if any of those things are possible with this format? – I don’t know!)
    Cheers. Colin B

  8. Also, the membership discounts and codes appear to be freely available to anyone who logs onto the site, regardless of whether they are a TRF member. Is that the case?

  9. Hi Andrew sillence, the forum is not intended to be used for rights of road enquiries.

  10. It appears that this is publicly viewable. In addition members names are viewable. There may be members who have totally valid reasons for not wanting their full name viewable on a publicly viewable website. For example personal security in some professions. Personally, I’m not that bothered but I’d like the option to have a “nickname”. Of course, full names are available to the web maestro’s.
    As we have what appears to be a secure sign in procedure surely it is possible to have a private area. Here we could discuss access issues, even some club business perhaps. This would help the many members who are unable to attend regional meetings. Perhaps this would be appropriate for posting runs, sale items etc. too.

    • Hi Paul, the intention of keeping the content publicly viewable is to reinforce the fact that private forums are not private in the sense that the content is secure from being extracted by trailriding’s opponents and used against TRF interests. This is precisely what happened with the TRF forum in the run up to NERC. A major factor in the backdating of NERC was TRF forum content that was shown to MP’s.
      The old TRF forum was still being scraped and used against us in legal cases, for example the Monks Trod case that was resolved as recently as November 2017.
      None of the forum contentions would be an issue if TRF were just a riding club. TRF is much much more than that and we have to approach forum facilities with caution.

  11. Point taken and agreed with. So, somehow, we need a secure place for genuine discussion. There must be a way.

  12. Tony Ferrari says:

    Paul, it’s impossible to make a forum secure as anyone can pay their money and join the TRF, unless we introduce some kind of postive vetting process it’ll never eliminate those who wish to oppose our pastime.

  13. Tony Ferrari says:

    Some constructive feedback from a potential member…..

    My wife has just ordered her first trail bike, so wants to know more.

    Her first comment on the old website was

    “Where does it tell me what the TRF is all about?”

    With my guidance she found what she wanted eventually by clicking on “join” and then “about” so the emphasis was basically “join before we tell you anything” she wouldn’t click on “join” intuitively before she knew what she was joining, so “about” should have come first.

    Once she found what she wanted she agreed it was useful but felt a great number of people would be put off before they found this information.

    So to the new Trail website…. this is even worse as there is no obvious title to click on to find out what we are all about, it seems to assume you have already decided to become a member!

    Clicking on FAQ is a case in point, you straight away get text about passwords, no sign of any FAQs?

    Then you are asked if you are a member or not, if you go to NO there’s a link for you to join; this is just wrong it should tell you why first.

    The actual FAQs are right at the bottom of the page only visible after scrolling down a fair way but don’t address any of the issues a potential member might want to know…

    What is the TRF

    What do we do?

    Why should I join?

    The new site seems to assume you are already a member or know exactly what the TRF is and is all about and already want to join.

    Giving it a snazzy new “social media” style alone will not attract new members, you need the right information easily accessible on the front page, although we are not actually sure which that is as “home” is not that just a conversation thread, “Stories” is more like a home page???

    And I should mention my wife used to be an IT Consultant so is not a noob to websites or computers, only to trail riding, she got fed up and gave up on the new site after only a few minutes.

    Hope that is useful

  14. Dave Carling says:

    Tony,
    Trail is the new site for members where they manage their membership etc, the TRF website [trf.org.uk] is the public facing site where anybody can see what the TRF is about and this will not change. Hopefully if somebody Googled TRF they will find trf.org.uk and not the members trail site. We will take on board your comments as this site will evolve over time.
    Rgds
    Dave

  15. Tony Ferrari says:

    Dave, OK that is not clear as the publicity implies this is the new TRF website.

    And the FAQs do state:

    “What is this Trail website for?

    This new Trail website is designed to help new members join the TRF…”

    I think that needs revising.

    Her comments about the other site still apply, it is still geared towards existing members or those with a good prior knowledge of the TRF. as far as she can see. It does not draw in the potential member who just wants to know some background on us, our aims and what the TRF is all about.

    When working in IT she always applied the 15 second rule; if you haven’t engaged the attention of your reader in 15 seconds you will in all likelihood fail to engage them at all.

    She is more than happy to offer further advice from a trail newbie’s point of view as well as the view of a potential female member.

  16. To pick up on Tony’s point above I think it would be helpful to new users (and maybe some older members) arriving at this website if there was a brief description under each of the main headings at the top, explaining what you will find if you click them. For a new user I don’t think they would automatically know how much useful information is in the TRF.org.uk button for instance.

  17. Phil Tiernan says:

    I was quite taken with the story about Loddon Vale sorting out Pidham Lane in an EMail from the TRF dated 01/01/2018. Clicking on the EMail story took me to what I assume is now the old TRF website. By hook or by crook, I’ve ended up here. Having read about the Pidham Lane repair, I actually felt like making a donation. However, I couldn’t find anywhere on the old or new website to do so. Given how important income is to the TRF, this should be a bloody great box on the home page saying ‘Donate’, that even non-members could use (long shot, but hey….).

  18. Dave Carling says:

    Phil,, what great idea, I will look into it, thanks…

  19. Edward Evans says:

    A section for GPS navigation would be good, perhaps a section for Garmin including using basecamp
    Another for using other stuff like phones and satmaps, memory map, viewranger, google earth etc.
    No doubt a section for parchments, sextants etc. should be included to keep everyone happy.
    I know some groups have done guides in the past so there may be lots of stuff ready to go. It would be great for members to see what tools are out there and how to get the best from them.

  20. David Scott says:

    While I and many many others feel the loss of the forum is a seriously retrograde step, I have pleasure in submitting some thoughts that might mitigate the situation if a forum will not be provided.

    1. Each topic to have a title so that can be searched for.
    2. Each topic is compressed so it is in more of a list form so relatively recent posts don’t disappear down the pages.
    3. Any new post automatically brings the topic to the top if the list and there is a flagging system so viewers can be aware of updates.

    In some respects, this is a combination of Facebook and forum attributes but cherry picking ideas that may make it more workable and user friendly. At the moment, the poor guy trying to sell his bike hasn’t a hope of getting many views.

    There is also confusion by having this site, Facebook and the mag all called Trail so extra differentiation is needed.

    Others have covered concerns about Group sections and For sale/wanted so I won’t go over those again.

  21. David Scott says:

    Just thought of some more.

    Can the side bars be shrunk by, say 25 – 30%, so the discussion strip reads better in wider format?
    It would also reduce the depth of each topic and therefore the number of pages.

    A page go to option at the top as well as the bottom?

    At the moment some lists start at the original and some at the latest. A tad confusing? At the moment it implies the last Wishlist post was December 19th.

  22. I am unable to locate a search function anywhere on the Trail site. Is there one?

  23. Any plans to add a ‘for sale/wanted ‘ button ! Really popular on the old forum.

  24. I’m again having a problem with the search icon displaying.

    I’ve got to the bottom of the problem, but it’s too boring to go into detail on here!

    Have you got an email contact for your web developer/maintainer, then I can let them know what the issue is?

    Many thanks

    Andy

  25. I find this new trail difficult & awkward to use too much faffing about.. can’t we just have a well constructed forum incorporating all.. there seems to be too much reliance on Facebook which I am not a member of & never will be…ps love your your you tube trips greg

  26. Thanks again to the Trail team for their work on this.

    Can you consider the following?

    A like button on posts

    The ability to include multiple URLs in a post – currently the limit is one

    Many thanks again.

  27. My local group (Kent) have a local regular-type forum for all the communication we do, but it’s about to hit a size increment with increased cost, so reconsideration is underway. I really wanted to say that we should join the national TRF forum and increase our integration with the whole TRF community, but it’s gone. This new site, as slick as it is, doesn’t help in our local communications like it could, and, I believe, it should. I feel something important has been lost. Any thoughts about resurrection of a ‘proper’ forum? If it were there and we were to use it then it would certainly help make our local members feel part of the larger organisation rather than just a local, isolated club. There’s no sign of the local members using the current national TRF site at the moment…

    Or have I just become a grumpy old man who hates change and doesn’t see the wonderfulness of this ‘new’ TRF members’ site? Is there part of this I’m missing? Always happy to be wrong!

    Cheers,

    Ian

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