Site housekeeping - a progress report

14 Sep 2006 by JR
If you visit this site at all frequently you may have noticed some radical changes in the last week. Some of them, the new items in the left hand menu for example, were spelt out in Major changes to the site, especially the forum.
 
Last Friday the site was moved to a new, bigger and better platform by Subhub who run the technical side of things. The purpose is to make it work more efficiently, reliably and faster but of course it was quite an undertaking, particularly by Matt Williams and Chyrelle Rayman-Bacchus who are responsible for the day-to-day running of the site.
 
Fortunately, while all this was happening, I was hard at work on a big blind tasting of left bank 1996 red bordeaux so was somewhat anaesthetised to what was going on and, fortunately perhaps, unable to log on.
 
By late afternoon Friday it seemed as though everything had gone as planned but by early evening a considerable number of members were having difficulty logging in. Matt was duly run to earth and spent the small hours of Saturday fixing this problem. Then on that lovely sunny Sunday afternoon we had last weekend he had to do the same thing for another, smaller group of members. By Sunday night I had received a few emails from diligent wine students who had discovered that only part of the 900,000 words of reference that constitute the Oxford Companion to Wine had made it over the new platform, so the rest had to be corralled and transferred early in this week.  Please do let us know via the Contact button below if you spot any other omissions.
 
As an editor and manager of the site, I can already see benefits and I hope very much that as a visitor you do too. As always, feedback is always very much appreciated, choosing General Enquiries in the dropdown menu please.
 
Perhaps the biggest change for purple pagers has been a shift from the old, stately, mediated your turn to the much more immediate, unmediated members’ forum. Whereas in the old days there were a handful of posts each day, there are now dozens, and members are able to communicate much more directly with each other. Martin Nettleton of Yorkshire, one of our most enthusiastic wine tourists for example, was able on Sunday to get advice on whom to visit in Chablis from as far afield as California, Cannes, Dublin and Oslo. A few days later in Sancerre he needed advice on which Cotat he should be visiting and both Rodrigo of São Paulo and Loire resident Wendy Barbellion were able to help. I’m thrilled that this seems to be working so well, and that the forum still seems to be a haven of good sense, good information and good manners.  
 
In the meantime, we (by which I mean mainly Matt and Chyrelle) have managed to address most of the very useful suggestions people have made about how the forum should be presented. I’ve been asked how I see the forum’s future. Here’s what Robert Ross of New Jersey has to say:
 
One thing that would help me, Jancis, is what you envision as the strategic direction for the Members' Forum.

Is this another wine discussion group, made up of people who are chatting with other wine lovers, led by Jancis and her aides, ala eBob, Cananavan, WLDG, Therapy and a dozen or more others?

Or is it the blog sort of site that Eric Asimov runs for the
New York Times (The Pour), where all of the posts are initially made by Asimov and folks chime in on his topic freely, with Asimov chiming in or even starting a new thread from time to time.

My own personal preference would be for you follow the Asimov model for Purple Pages. What makes this site unique is your presence and leadership. If you are the one establishing the threads with the excellent titles you've trained us to expect, many of these questions become irrelevant.

For what it's worth - one reader's opinion.
 
I’d welcome others’ opinions on this. My own vague sense is that it might be rather restrictive to allow only me to start posts, and I’m happy to keep my interpolations in other purple pagers’ posts at a fairly intrusive level, but I’d be very interested to know how others feel about this. To feed back your opinion, please add to the Order of posts? thread
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