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Revisiting the Purpose of the Sites

As you are most likely aware there are several sites in the Survival UK group. The main site, (this one) ‘SurvivalUK.net‘, the forum on ‘Forum.SurvivalUK.net‘ and the download site on ‘Files.SurvivalUK.net‘. Each is for a particular area of prepping. The main site for articles and information relevant to prepping, the forum for members to discuss issues relevant to prepping and then the download site for document storage of prepping articles and files useful to prepping.

As you know from previous articles I decided at the start of the year to finish off the long delayed download site, to refurbish the main site and to relook at the forum as part of my prepping in 2014. This download site is finished and running so that is complete.

This is the start of the process to refurbish the main site and revisit the forum.

I originally started SurvivalUK with the intention to help people who have opened their eyes to the looming economic crisis to prepare for an uncertain future. To share information, to provide guidance and to facilitate them meeting like minded people with a view to help each other and if possible build bonds. I am also doing that out of the goodness of my heart and am doing it without any help financial or otherwise, excluding those few who write articles. It is a thankless task and takes up a lot of my free time. Especially the forum.

I think I have succeeded in helping people as from what I can read there are a lot of people out there that are beginning in prepping that have come a long way from their initial enquiries. There are also a few more people in contact with others to their mutual benefit. Many are helping each other out and sharing and working together to improve their preps. There is a cliché that is used by the namby pamby PC brigade to justify their intrusion into others lives and that is ‘if it saves even one life it is worth it’. I usually laugh at that but in this case it is true. Nobody gets their rights trodden on and it has helped several people improve their chances of survival after an event.

And the key word there is ‘several’. It seems that very few people actually get involved in the sharing of data just in its acquisition. They come on the sites, download whatever interests them and don’t contribute. I’m hoping they get something from that because we don’t. I can understand that some people have to start somewhere and this may be all they have. That is not usually the case though, we all have skills and knowledge that can be shared. If everyone who visited the site that got something from that visit asked a question or replied to a question then we would all get something from it. At the moment except for a very small group it is all take. It looks to me, from the system statistics, that for everyone who has written an article we have several thousand people who read it and move on.

The forum is completely different. There were a few, about 15, regular users and since the ISP issue that has dropped to about 6. Sporadic posting and very little real value. Northern Raider has struggled to keep the forum going when it has gone quiet as it has now. He is dedicated, knowledgeable and a valuable friend. The articles he has written, the input and help he has given to all of us have been invaluable even if he does throw his toys out of his pram when he gets frustrated. He has been providing advice a lot longer than I have and he also has experience with his own forums. His experience indicates that I limit the access on these sites to registered users which makes people contribute.

It is times like these that I shoot myself in the foot. I’m being advised by someone I respect to restrict access to people leeching off the files but I can’t achieve my goals if I do. Many beginners can’t contribute in the way I want so I would be removing them from access to a valuable resource right when they need it most. OK, most won’t go on to contribute but some may.

I’m going to monitor the sites and consider the options. Currently though here are some facts around the sites.

I put in;
Money. Sites, Meets.
Time. Sites, Articles, Reading.
Experience and articles.
I get out of it;
The warm glow of satisfaction in helping people. (Not insignificant)
I get to meet people and build relationships.
I get to see other peoples views and input.
I get to see other peoples knowledge in articles.

Currently there are over 1400 visitors to the main site every day. This is lower than it was last year prior to the ISP issue where there were about 1900 visitors per day.

There have been approx 12 contributors over the years. Four with more than 1 article and a total of 77 articles out of 725 articles.

The forum has 550 registered users with about 50 visitors and 6 contributors per day, the same people with an occasional swap as people move on. This also is lower than it was last year where it was approx. 100 visitors with 15 contributors.

The files site has started with 5,337 files available to download making a total download of 32Gb. More files are ready and will be loaded on when I have the time. Another time consuming task.

If I make changes to restrict access this means I will have to spend some time configuring the systems and more time managing the systems day to day, I will see less people on the site as visitors will be put off by having to register and follow the new rules, although those that do should all be contributors in one way or another but what will they be contributing in order to stay on the sites? My own experience is that there are few people that actually deliver on their promises and I see the site being filled with posts about a shortage of bananas in Croydon and other newsy type articles which I don’t want as people struggle to fill quotas.

I’m going to monitor usage and contributions over the next few weeks and see what happens. My only thought so far about any changes are to restrict the files to those that provide valuable contributions, one point off for anything found in the news, two points off if that is the guardian.

I’m open to suggestions on the way forward. Feel free to email me or leave a comment below whichever side of the discussion you fall under.

6 comments to Revisiting the Purpose of the Sites

  • Northern Raider

    I was going to post my views but as I typed I realised the futility so I just hope SUK does adapt and thrive.

  • iaaems

    “…as I typed I realised the futility…”
    Not sure that I know what this means. I do not wish to start an online argument but some clarification might be useful here.
    This site is my main port of call every day just to read the comments and articles and to glean a little knowledge and perspective for the future. I have to admit that for some six months or so I did not visit on a regular basis – this was due to local and personal problems which I had to deal with, it took some time to fix. I can therefore sympathise with SD, and NR, that sometimes life can give very little return for the efforts involved and the very great frustrations that go with it all as well.
    My main observation here is that it is all to do with the ebb and flow of life in general. As the economy hits a trough the interest in the site increases, as the economy starts to improve the interest in the site fades a little. However there will be those who choose to be followers and contribute now and again and there will always be those who visit once and never return. That’s life. Press on regardless.

  • Northern Raider

    iaaems
    22 March 2014 at 09:31 · Reply
    “…as I typed I realised the futility…”
    Not sure that I know what this means.

    Why spend days researching, sourcing confirming articles and news reports, reviews etc year in year out only to find my efforts more often than not deleted, ridiculed or simply consumed without any positive feedback contributions. Why research current global news issues that DO directly or indirectly affect our future preps and plans only to constantly find them deleted, one simply reaches a point where you ask yourself why bother.

    (How can you assess a possible threat scenario or risk without access to MULTIPLE NEWS SOURCES and intel reports from media sources and other preppers? WITHOUT discussing issues in depth with other like minded people? )

    On the forum SD has asked the community to tell him honestly what they think about the forum, what’s good and bad about it, over 150 people have viewed the thread and only five regulars have responded, That level of apathy not only disgusts me but proves the point that the online forums are not working when people just take, take, take and never add in any positive way.

    I am fortunate that I got invited the closed circuit prepper E mail groups are thriving with those who are on them sharing information willingly among each other (though I’m baffled as to why they invited such a poorly prepared amateur like me?) I feel personally most UK forums are bland, boring, utterly repetitive chat shops for exchanging recipes, knitting patterns, domestic tales of bliss and act simply act as personal fiefdoms for the owners (Not SUK). And even after over ten years many in the UK still cannot distinguish between BUSHCRAFT / WILDERNESS SURVIVAL, HOME ECONOMICS and PREPPING / SURVIVALISM :)

    People often say I’m anti American, far from it I love the US and its people, its the birthplace of prepping and my idols are guys like Mel Tappan and Ragnar Benson, BUT whilst the US is well served with dynamic ,thriving active forums that constantly push boundaries, there are groups like Live Free and the IPN constantly pushing and developing prepping to new levels. The American CAN DO, WILL DO attitude is truly amazing as I found in my time in the Midwest.

    That attitude is almost but not totally absent in the UK.( Our mantra should be EXCUSES< EXCUSES< EXCUSES.)

    In summary I believe the forums are getting flatter, more mundane, more politically correct, dumbed down uninspiring, DEFINATELY more repressive, there is no pioneering work being done on the forums cept for an absolute TINY minority of people like Light Speed, Wet & Dry, River Song, Tartar Horde etc

  • iaaems

    Thank you very much for your clarification. I share your sense of frustration/anger. It is extremely difficult to understand that not everyone shares your passion and commitment to a particular subject/cause. Having spent most of my working life in the self employed environment not only working just for myself but employing other people I also found it totally irksome that other peoples’ commitment to the job in hand was sometimes non existent. I learned to accept that this is life and to be more careful about employee selection in the future.
    In this scenario it has to be different. To engage the continuous interest of the visitors so that they come back for more time and time again this is a selling job – do you believe that there is going to be an economic event so disastrous that your current way of life would, at best be threatened, at worst be destroyed? If the answer to that is Yes – then stick around for some answers and lively debate and stop watching pointless t.v. programmes. Possibly this has to become a one stop facilities shop, perhaps SD has to monetise the site and engage others to help with the load. Surviving can become a full time job and it is lonely at the top of the tree.
    Once again – thank you for your reply.

  • Northern Raider

    Your welcome :)

  • lightspeed

    Hi SD,

    Frankly I’m not surprised at the low level of engagement on either the main site or the forum.

    Its a sad fact that a majority in society are consumers, not creators, not contributors.

    Attitudes are made worse by Television. An addiction that requires absolutely no interaction whatsoever, and which also renders imagination useless.

    It is a shame that so many see the sites that you work so hard to maintain, simply as a source of information for harvesting.

    Personally I have gained and continue to gain knowledge. And knowledge is what I am seeking, not information. I thank all those who have taken the time to interact with me.

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