Posted by GoatWorld on January 17, 2003 at 07:37:15:
I have a situation that I need to discuss with every GoatWorld member simply because it directly affects everyone of us. As you know, we went to the "paid membership" format a little over a year ago for a number of reasons - primarily security. While the paid membership has moved ahead somewhat, I'm considering adding a second Message Forum that would be used for emergencies only, i.e. Goat 911. This would not be a general discussion forum and is in no way meant to replace this, the original Message Forum.
I am hesitant about doing this for a couple of reasons which I will detail and discuss here:
1) I feel that some of the GoatWorld members might feel sleighted by this - they are paying for a Message Forum while others are using one for free. - Yes. This would be the situation, but, EVERYONE, member or non-member alike is free to use the Goat 911 Message Forum for emergencies only.
2) It opens up the security issue where undesirables might appear, i.e., badmouthing, inappropriate content, foul language, etc. - Yes. The Goat 911 Message Forum would and must be ruled with a heavy hand and a quick delete key. There is a much greater chance of malicious and demented individuals posting non-related goat messages. Visitors to the Goat 911 Message Forum would have to understand that they "might" see inappropriate content from time to time until I am able to edit it out. Perhaps several people policing the situation will lessen the probability of this happening.
3) One might reason that it would be much simpler to do away with paid membership and merge the two forums into one. - Yes. Of course that would be the easiest solution, but I have given this alot of thought and am basing it upon my own logic; discussion for the purpose of learning and, discussion for the purpose of immediate help. If the two were combined, the possible amount of messages and help requests could easily become tangled and easily overlooked leaving the person seeking help in the same situation as they were.
Goat 911 has been a very successful feature that perhaps some of you have used from time to time. It basically works in that a person in need of help for their goat(s) can go to the Goat 911 Contact List at http://www.goatworld.com/911 and get the option of either calling a contact nearest to them, or, filling out an online request form that goes to a private list where the Goat 911 Capri-Medics will discuss and respond to the case. The Goat 911 list was made private to keep out unwanted email (spam and junk). The single problem of that list is that the person asking for help does not have access to that list and must write the Capri-Medic personally or refill the form with updated information.
The Goat 911 Message Forum would allow the person asking for help to further discuss and receive responses about their particular case without alot of email mumbo jumbo. In reality, well over 60% of the requests for help are accomplished through telephone support while the rest of the support is handled via the Goat 911 email list. I would expect that 20 to 30% of the email support would be handled by the Goat 911 Message Forum.
Also, what this would do is enable me to collect more data, not email addresses, but goat health data to be included in the GoatWorld search engines. That in itself is one of my biggest reasons for even considering this. There is a wealth of information that goes by the wayside simply because it is handled through email and not on an Internet page. I know that some of the Capri-Medics probably get tired of having to retype answers to questions they have answered many times over. Hopefully this would alleviate that as well. When a person can search and reference previously written material, then information can be isolated and presented much easier.
That is basically it in a nutshell. I do not want to act upon or implement this change until I have received unanimous support from both the Capri-Medics and GoatWorld members. I will do whatever it takes to make the program work for the benefit for all. While GoatWorld has grown by leaps and bounds since it began, I intend to take it as far as I can and continue to improve the features and services offered. Each of you has greatly contributed to GoatWorld and probably realize as do I that to be successful, you must continually revise and update things to keep it ahead of the game.
I ask that each of you please let me know your thoughts either through this Message Forum or by writing privately to me in email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Even if you are just a "lurker" and do not actively participate in the Mesage Forum, your opinion is important. Let's make this Year of the Goat, the true Year of the Goat!
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