This message board is dead. Long live the message board
There’s been a steady decrease in message board participation. It seems that the spam posts equal the non-spam posts.
Any ideas for making things better?
My only thought is that this has been a victim of benign neglect by BikePGH. Only one member of BikePGH posts on this board (Erok) and it is very infrequent. I think that members of the BikePGH staff should be regular contributors to the message board. That would (hopefully) spur ongoing discussion and make it not look like an abandoned mall parking lot.
Then again, reddit subthreads such as bicycling412 are pretty dead too, so maybe there just isn’t a market for this in Pittsburgh?
yes, the interface is terrible and the server is extremely slow, but I think that could be overcome by getting rid of the benign neglect by the sponsoring institution.
I could start posting again, but that would likely require a move back to #PGH. That is unlikely.
I’m a long timer, posting regularly since 2006. I lament the drop in participation as well. I know from experience there’s a pile of good info on here about cycling, and while some might have been temporal to the occasion at hand a large amount is timeless. It’s too easy to jump on Twitter or Facebook or whatever instead of here, and I am just as guilty as anyone else.
I’m on here now to look up a thread from five or more years ago about the Labor Day bike tour I started. It’s still relevant.
Speaking for myself, I used to be quite active here, but other internet formats have just taken over this kind of specific interest message board format. I bet this is common.
Also, my biking has been down too, unfortunately, so many of the topics I don’t have anything to contribute. Hopefully that is not so common. :)
As I’ve noted previously, e.g.
(read these!) messageboard traffic went down markedly when changes were made in 2016 or 2017 that resulted in web page loading getting many times (5 to 10?) times slower. Pages load so slowly now that it’s a turnoff to potential new users. Fix that and you’ll be most of the way toward breathing life back into the messageboard!
I think the board died when they “upgraded” the site a few years ago & made it very phone unfriendly. I still cannot log in using my phone. Plus you can’t post photos without a four step third-party work around…. in 2019!
I think the biggest problem is too much idiotic and judgmental bullshit over the years either drove people away, or dissuaded them from participating in the first place. I have been told as much by a number of people. And as commenters moved away or moved on, no one replaced them. Frankly there was far too much negative commentary over the years that vilified people for living in the suburbs, for driving a truck or SUV, for not biking to work all the time, for not using public transit, for what kind of bike they owned and how they rode it, and various other lifestyle judgments made by people who should have been examining their own lives, rather than judging others.
The current problem is that there’s virtually no relevant content here for me and a lot of people like me, regardless of how well or poorly the board functions. Maybe it’s all on Instagram, or facebook, or reddit, of whatever the social media platform du jour is – I don’t know. But it’s not here.
I’m open to discussing this in person with people to see what we could do.
honestly, another factor is facebook.
Erok- can bikepgh staff start using the message board regularly? Maybe to start promoting bike PGH activities. Bonus points for following other threads? Hopefully that would bump us up to a critical mass of users.
I think part of it is that the main Bike Pittsburgh home page no longer mentions the message board, except as an entry on its menu. If they added another box below the “More from the blog”, like “Interact with other cyclists on our message board”, that would help a lot. Or maybe include the message board occasionally among the nine photo links on the home page.
I looked at the long menu the main website displays on mobile devices. There are 33 items (far too many; they should be organized into hierarchical groups) and the message board is number 31. Among the pages with a higher priority in the menu than the message board is a direct link for “Women & Non-Binary Forum”, an event that happened last April.
Make the main web site treat the message board as an important resource, not an afterthought, and more cyclists would use it.
I used to post here now and again. I stopped reading and posting because it is too negative. If I was new to cycling in Pittsburgh and read this forum, I wouldn’t ride a bike in Pittsburgh at all. Too many complainers. I have been riding a bike in Pittsburgh since the 80’s. A lot has changed to the point it is almost unbelievable to me for the better. Riding up the zoo hill with a bike lane? WOW! Bike lanes all over the place and even car lanes going away? Never would believe that would have happened. Pittsburgh is a great place to ride a bike due to the wonderful hills and now pretty good infrastructure considering we are a very old narrow street city.
Of course this is a generalization because there have been great messages and things have gotten done from posts on here, like the Highland Park Bridge sidewalk mess that is and has been great for years now. Thank you for that.
Anyway, I enjoy some posters on here. Stu of course. Have a nice ride out there and enjoy. If there was more good news and positive stuff on here, I would visit more.
Aw, gee, shucks. Thanks for that.
I do agree there hasn’t been much promotion of the MB since the last site revamp. I don’t have to find it, since the browsers on my devices need little more than my typing “b” to suggest the site. But finding it from scratch? Not intuitive. That’s fixable.
I really used to enjoy this board. I don’t recall as well as some others when or how that changed, but it sure did. I can say that it is not easy to find, and it is not easy to sign-in.
I can also say the analogy to an abandoned mall parking lot is kind of apt. Although I know I will see comments and posts from the folks who have already commented on this thread (hello, everybody…) it’s basically unheard-of for an “outsider” to chime-in.
This *used to be* a great resource for practical cycling info: best LBS recommendations, route tips, strategies and advice. I legitimately learned a lot here. At it’s best it was even inspirational.
The cycling *community* in Pittsburgh is still strong, and a more easily accessible, useful medium (whether it is a message board or some other form) could strengthen that community, and it seems to me BikePgh as an org and we as individual cyclists would all benefit.
I wish I had practical answers, but I’m just a washed-up former English major. Everyone here is smarter than me. But I do hope somebody figures it out, because it feels like a great opportunity to provide the *thing* that helps knit the community together is being lost.
Honestly I had to dig around to find out you didnt have to pay for a membership to register and make posts. There is no direct link to register when you click on the message board button that tells you in order to post you have to sign in. It was sort of confusing. (I am using my phone to access the site.)
This is a very well made site, I like it, maybe making it more obvious and easier to register would help bring some life into your forum. ✌️ 🚲 <span style=”-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0);”>❤️ </span>
I like the unintentionally irony of the “well made site” comment followed by the site improperly spewing HTML code into the comment. (grin)
…and that our new poster is named Chime, since s/he just chimed in here.
Those pop-up windows that say “STAY UP-TO-DATE. Sign up for our newsletter” are very annoying – get rid of them!
I emailed bike pgh last week. No response. That seems to be their mo. The message board is pretty much unsupported both in terms of fixing UI experience and with bikepgh not using it
I mostly lurk here — been doing it, off and on, for a few years. I’m sure there are others.
I don’t bike a ton, but I do live on the new portion of the Westmoreland Heritage Trail. So I mostly follow that thread. And finally made an account to post a bit.
That said, it *would* help if someone from BikePGH did at least *seem* to give a hoot about this board, IMO…
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