What about the idea of a Regional Forum

@moderators I would be interesting in a Forum to have regional discussions to meet people in my area, discuss regional issues and events, and possibly do meetups.

My idea is a “Regional Topics” Forum with a pre-set topics that are based on geographic regions (US states/regions plus other countries as needed). To prevent sprawl, I would recommend to no allow members to create a new topic/region but do that on request to the admin/moderator.

I would be willing to do the work if the Admins don’t want to add to their load - I have experience. I moderate a >20,000 member FB group I created years ago.

What do you think?

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Its a good idea but i dont think it will work. Not in todays time.

In my area i know around 25 farmers/small orchard/gardeners and no way do they share the same ideas or outlooks. They do it the way that they want and its set in stone. If a guy stood up and talked about permaculture or no spray or composting…he would be an outcast. And vice versa… the permaculture or organic guys would not want to talk about sprays or fertilizers.

Personally i see it on FB and everywhere… someone asks how do i do this… and the answers will vary to infinity and the quarrels will begin.

Post an ad locally to help build a barn and nobody will show… i almost bet.

Post an ad to u-pick and you will get 100s of replies about meeting at Sheetz or delivering.

I have tried to be a good neighbor and share plants and share knowlege…but its impossible for the most part…

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I don’t think that it will work, people have tried to do that on facebook in many many parts of the country, maybe some areas would work out okay yet a lot of areas won’t. There are people that I know locally that I have great difficulty reaching anymore, there is already Nextdoor, and that is not much of a success either, A lot of people don’t use it much, and it’s very hard to moderate that sort of thing, much harder to moderate than this forum.

I don’t think it would work well on this forum which is mostly US but increasingly worldwide. Worldwide equals thousands of regions. Nextdoor or Facebook would be more appropriate.

With the old GardenNet that was the predecessor of this forum there were regional divisions. I enjoyed the Far North division with postings from Konrad.

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I think GF was created after the demise of the old GardenWeb (now Houzz). So I think the core members are still that era. We have had some new members. But I still like this small community.

I think for regional or local group. there are plenty much larger FB groups. Certainly we can create some regional groups. We do have a PA/NJ local board around Philly area. But there has not been much activities.

So I do not know. If we create those groups and there is no activity, then those boards will just die down.

In Western Oregon / SW Washington, there is/was the Home Orchard Society. I thought it was wonderful. The meetings were too distant for me, first with a demanding work schedule, then with illness, and the distance for me to drive which meant braving Portland Traffic, which I enjoy almost as much as a root canal but it takes longer and no anesthesia.

Then declining membership, as older members declined, and younger members have different life situations and generational preferences, then fallout from that virus situation (I don’t mean Fig Mosaic Virus), and the Home Orchard Society closed down. The forum continues to exist and I find the archives especially useful. I read it regularly and feel a kind of connection to those few remaining stalwarts. However, they are few in number and I wonder how long that will last.

HOS members here please feel free to correct me / expand as you like (@Murky and @JohnS come to mind).

As for me, I would love to see HOS rise like a Phoenix from the ashes, and see a more active forum there too. However, if it did, I’m still not getting younger, Portland traffic will continue to worsen, and I don’t know any more about the fallout from that other thing and how that will affect how humans gather over the next who knows how long. Sorry to mention that, if it causes a ruckus -not my intention - then moderators can edit or moderate my post.

Also, there actually are some regional groups. I dont know how active they are or any of the details - I think one in Midwest and there is CRFG too.

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No, I like to here opinion from everyone since the trees I grow can also be grown in other regions I’m worried people might only look at there region and miss out from other people questions or answers. Zone 8A in Florida is still 8A all across the world, might be differences but still like to here from everyone. I think Facebook is where you can find local people to meet up with that have your same interest.

I would like to hear about upcoming events like fairs, festivals, fruit and wine tastings and such (but not discussion). I always want to go to food festivals like the Vidalia Onion and peanut but always forget when they are. I would drive up to 3 hours for a good festival and good food.

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Logistically it is easy to make other sub-forums here if there is interest. We wouldn’t want to make too many regions though as there would not be enough activity. GW/Houzz had tons of regions.

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I wonder if, rather than having a sub-forum, we couldn’t just indicate in the thread title when something is of regional interest. Like the thread about the cold weather near Seattle. I imagine lots of folks from other regions skip over that one, but many probably are interested enough to drop in.

I’m sure you aren’t looking for exclusivity, but rather some focus and energy. I don’t have a good answer for that. I suspect that the size of the PNW contingent here, and on the remaining HOS forum are comparable - not that big - in the 10s of people.

Thanks for bringing the topic up. We are entering into the 2nd of its 2 years of endowment there, so I’ll initiate a conversation on the HOS forum in the next several months to figure out what we’re going to do there going into 2023. I don’t want to wait until the last minute.

As we all have experienced, this board is the gold standard for interest forums, as far as I’m concerned. Thanks Scott for making this available to all of us!

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I think having region subforums could be useful. I am not sure how much traffic each would have and I agree with Scott that having too many regions could be counter productive.

However, the concept I think is sound and having say a half dozen regions could be helpful. The Colorado Front Range thread gives you a good idea of what could be possible.

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On GardenWeb the zone was indicated next to a name, which I found very helpful in deciding what posts to read. Many popular fruits are out of the question in northern Wisconsin.

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Perhaps the Member Map topic could be permanently linked to at the top of the page (like “Introducing Myself to Scott’s Forum”). That would allow viewers to familiarize themselves with usernames in their region. If the Map can be regionalized, an alphabetical list of usernames per region could be shown below the map.

The Avatars already provide a visual clue; perhaps a secondary avatar could color-indicate the user’s region.

Any drawing of regions will create various users “just across the border from each other” and cause their postings to be separated.

If the whole point of regionalizing is to reduce hunting/scrolling, it may be better to paginate lengthy topics with starting and ending timestamps per page number (but that could require a lot of coding).

Reducing images to thumbnail size (clickable to full size) when a topic exceeds a certain image count would greatly reduce bandwidth and scrolling.

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This site has a map where you can identify where you live and see where other forum members live I don’t know how to tell you to get on there but that might be something you’re interested in to see who lives near you

@Bear_with_me I live in the Portland area (Tigard) and I started getting interested in grafting in 2019 and I was interested in starting in 2020 then COVID hit. By the time I found out about HOS, it had closed.

@murky @JohnS @DennisD Would you be interested in a PNW regional group?

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Very few members are on the map

Yeah not many down in Florida either where I live most of the advice I get comes from Texas or where you live. I’m a still a newbie and still are not really able to answer a lot of questions yet but I’ve got a ton to ask

It would be nice if the map was more integrated into the site.
I saw it on the New Member FAQ (the only place it is mentioned) and I am not sure how many people know about it. It was cool to see how many members there were outside the USA but when I looked in my area there was only one, but I know there are lots more. @Speedster1 @scottfsmith @moderators I would be willing to help with that.
Here are some ideas:

  1. Add the map add to the signup process (may be as simple as a note that adding your location adds you to the map or just a checkbox that says it is OK to do that). That could trigger a mailto
  2. Make the map more visible (as @LarryGene mentioned)
  3. Look to see if there is a map plugin that would do the add automatically rather than manually.
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There is in fact a nice map plugin, but I am reluctant to use third-party plugins as they break routinely. Here it is if you are interested in checking it out:

I have to say I don’t really mind keeping the map a bit out of the way, there is a privacy aspect to it. This plugin putting the locations on the home page I don’t really like.

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@scottfsmith The Locations Plugin looks interesting. It also allows you to tag a topic with a location so it would integrate well with regional forums. It might be a better solutions that the idea of regional forums as it would allow members to associate a location with a topic so it there was a local event, they could just tag it.

I get the privacy concern but if only members can see the map and member location information as already optional and you can see it now by clicking on a name so it doesn’t seem to be an added risk.