Hi y’all-- just registered and rebranded. I’m 30 and decidedly no longer a girl so TreeTownGirl is no longer. The Billfold’s closing is poorly timed for me because I’m struggling with figuring out my housing situation at the moment (nothing dire, just weighing rent vs. own)-- so I’m glad to have this new community!
Jumping in to say hi and show myself here as well. Still reeling from the news and not sure what do to with myself, so here I am. I’m sure I’ll get used to this, but I think we all know I hate change and new things (unless it was my idea!).
I was just talking to a friend about that- change can be so wonderful and empowering when you choose it. But it just SUCKS when life forces it on you
I have three places in my life I would hate to have ripped out from under me: The Billfold (oh no), The MMM forums (but mostly my community there, the forums themselves suck), and this internet fandom I’m part of that I won’t admit here, attached to my real name.
I knew with a tiny bit of notice about The Billfold so I’ve had a tiny bit of time to process, and I was such a lurker there (compared to the MMM forums) but…it was just such a safe space to go.
I learned so much from other commenters, I gained so much empathy from reading posts and comments. I LOVE reading people’s numbers, and The Billfold was the only place where you could read people’s numbers that weren’t like rich people’s money diaries or promotional business marketing content. Just real people’s money.
And if you click to see replies, that’s all nice, but the same reply also appears as part of the main “stream” of comments. It’s incredibly hard to follow; I have no idea who thought that would be a good idea. Unthreaded kinda sux (but can work with quoting), but displaying it both ways is just bizarre.
awww sirwired. and all my billfold friends. so happy to see you on this here new website.
Hello, I am still in gradschool craziness, but saying HI to all of you and sending many squeezes.
I was a Billfold regular at my old (terrible) job and have been a Patreon sponsor and irregular lurker since starting a new, wonderful, actually-needs-my-focus job a year and a half ago. I’m so distraught at the news, but also reassured that Nicole is being pragmatic about it in a very true-to-form way. Still though.
Something about the aesthetics/functionality isn’t doing it for me… I’ll lurk for a while and see if I can become acclimatised.
This is a bit how I feel. I don’t want to lose the community but this system is a hot mess.
Comment/Reply Structure - Nested Comments?
Oof! This is more of a transition than I thought. Like, I set up the forum (with the help of @aaronpk) and I’m still confused about how exactly things work. I do like the look and there’s a lot of great back-end parts about this forum software, over, say phpBB or like Slack (which is impossible to follow a lot of threads and search and really expensive to maintain over a certain size) or google groups (which is just one big long thread and also comes into your inbox.)
This is also an experiment, I’m still trying to figure out the best way of doing this! I need your help. Here’s some of the options I’ve thought through:
Option 1: I can make Disqus work on the OMD website.
The downside of this is that even though I’m planning on running more written content on OMD (in addition to the weekly podcast with full transcript), I won’t be making 20 posts a week like Nicole did.
Like I’m not going to reproduce The Billfold. It’s irreplacable and it would be in bad taste to run the exact same kind of content. What’s more I simply currently can’t run the content schedule that The Billfold was running as I have a radio show to produce and a lot less financial resources than the Billfold did to pay myself or freelancers (here’s my full monthly post on how much I make since you are nerds and like that.)
If I enable Disqus, and people just move over to Disqus, there will be less opportunities to engage with folks, and it also means you’ll miss out on the unique things the forum has like personal money journals or starting threads about random questions. (Personally, I think forums are actually a better place for things like weekend estimates.) I suspect that means that people from MMM/OMD will stay on the forums, and people from The Billfold will hang on Disqus. I hoped mixing the communities could be fun!
I have some ethical issues with Disqus* in terms of software, but the main thing here is cost- unless I want to pay $9+ a month (on top of the ~$50 of other server and software costs I incur) - Disqus will display ads to users, and I won’t be able to choose those ads. Thus far OMD has been ad-free, and I specifically want to be able to block certain kinds of ads (homophobic companies, pay day lenders, etc). Additionally, their software collects more data on users, and install that software into my website on my server. Which is pretty ick.
(For backup/web ethics nerds, they display ads to users but hide them from you on your own domain. They also sell user comment data for machine learning. Every comment is stored on their servers and there’s no way for me to back it up to my servers or create a nice searchable database! This is one of the many reasons I really didn’t want to create a facebook group, to avoid those things, but Disqus does a lot of the same things.)
Option 2: I can make some changes to the forum software, and we can use more threads and see who grows to adapt.
I can do a few things in the admin settings and we can see what feels right:
- Increase the amount of replies visible so it’s closer to a full threaded comment system similar to disqus.
- With a tiny bit of hacking, we may be able to get rid of the reply function all together, so it’s just a regular forum. We can use quotes like normal forums do.
The big things I’ve noticed is that:
- The reply threading but also traditional forum all-posts-in-order is awkward for folks coming from forums (folks coming from MMM)
- The transition to the forum after being used to comments with threading and everything being on one page is hard (AKA folks from The Billfold)
One note this is that folks should feel empowered to make new forum topics (go ham!) to discuss specific issues. On The Billfold we’re used to doing everything on one page, no matter how wide-ranging the topics, but on a forum, you can make as many new topics as you like. This is great because you can have a long discussion over months, not days, on say, Budgeting & Anxiety.
Anyway, thoughts? I can make a poll. This is what I’m trying to figure out. I want to make a good system! I’m just not sure there is a perfect one.
I like the forum on the whole and have no experience with Disqus. I think if we get in the habit of using quotes it could be totally workable. Quotes make it clear what people are responding to, even though it’s not nested.
If you want to do something more back-endy, I would vote for Option 2.
ETA: I also think with more dedicated/specific threads it will be much clearer who is talking to whom and about what.
I’m glad this is a brand new forum, because it means we get to shape it a little instead of coming into an existing infrastructure. I think @Oro has a good point about using quotes, and if we get in that habit it will make things easier to follow. It might also be good to have a link to the forum post that discusses each podcast episode/blog post right after the podcast/blog, so that it’s easy to go to the right place and kind of like the commenting system that Billfolders are used to.
We have that set up! I’ll make the button more prominent (the CSS just makes it look regular right now) but for every post going forward there’s an automatic link to the forums. This is what it looks like currently, under the related posts: I can make it bigger and more colorful and even make it a button with a cat on it:
I appreciate you trying to help us continue the Billfold community over here at OMD.
Curious if you’re open to changing your Patreon a bit? I’m interested in supporting OMD but don’t necessarily want a biweekly video chat, which is the next level of support. It sounds like there are certain things you could do to create a more Billfold-y type of experience with more financial support, so I’m curious as to what those are and how much you’d need to raise.
Anyway I’m willing to throw in but would like to know more about your plans!
I prefer Option 2 but I think either one would be an improvement on the threading as it exists now. Like, right now I’m replying to the thread as a whole, but the content of my post is a reply to yours. I prefer to read the whole thread before replying, so I’m always going to scroll down to the bottom before replying, so unless I scroll back up my reply isn’t necessarily going to be linked to the post I’m replying to. However, if the replies were more visually threaded like on Disqus, it would be obvious where the replies were that were relevant to the specific part of the topic I want to reply to, so I would stay with the individual thread.
Long story short, I prefer forum-esque but blog-comment-esque is also better than this confusing in-between state!
I’m definitely interested in opening the patreon to more possible goals, but I don’t want that to increase costs yet.
As it is, running a freelance article every week ($160 per month) plus paying for business expenses (server, transcription, course software, email management, phone, design software) and paying my editor ($100 per month) is going to wipe out the current patreon ($390/month) before I personally get paid anything, so I’d probably need to get it higher than $444 per month (the next tier) in order to add anything that costs me actual money (like increasing the amount of freelance writers). But I am open other ideas! I haven’t altered anything on the patreon since The Billfold announced it was shutting down.
From a personal level, the vast majority of my business income still comes from grants for teaching low-income youth and selling books so I have to balance those priorities since I only make about $1500 per month on a good month right now.
Blockquote I’m definitely interested in opening the patreon to more possible goals, but I don’t want that to increase costs yet.
Totally get it. Honestly I am ready to contribute, but under the current tiers you’re close to the level with the video chats. I feel like that would be taking away resources from the new projects like freelance articles and forums etc, all of which I’m happy to support.
Your roadmap seems to have changed since you first set it up, so I just wanted more clarity on the current plans so I can decide how much to give. I’d like to see you get paid too! That is a worthy cause.
Lol also I am struggling with the forum. I don’t know how to use the blockquotes so if someone can help let me know.
You can just highlight the text in the post above and then a “quote” button appears and it works like magic!