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  • Tim Wilson

    April 27, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    Hi Rich,

    I’m doing some forum cleanup, and got interrupted in the midst of it. I promise that all the posts are still up, but making their way to a new consolidated Storage forum, taking shape here. I hope to have this wrapped up by the end of the week, with my apologies for having to step away mid-task.

    There was definitely a time when the COW was in practice a storage community. We had a dozen or more forums related to storage, and they were our busiest and most intense. This reflects the reality in the early days that storage was make-or-break, and most of it didn’t actually work as well as advertised. And the conversations in all the forums were deep enough that we really NEEDED to keep things like SAN and NAS conversations separate, and very few solutions for one vendor applied to another.

    Nowadays, this is much less true, so we’re consolidating all the storage forums into one. We had definitely seen some conversations orphaned before their time because there weren’t enough people around.

    btw, this is a critical observation for how we’ve built the COW. In general, general forums work better. Most forum organizers split things up into sub-forums because they can, or because it SEEMS like a good idea to split up FCP Editing, FCP Titling, FCP Plug-ins, etc, and when the forums wither on the vine, harumph about “forums don’t work, so we’re going to Facebook.” Well, I’m here to tell anyone asking, 25 years later, that forums DO work if you don’t choke them by over-sorting.

    That said, we really did have a reason for splitting up things like RAID Set-up into their own forums, and if we do again, we will again. We change forum configurations all the time, but most people don’t notice, at least partly because I finish the tasks soon after I start them. ☺

    Thinking some more about how forum organization reflects the COW as a whole, as storage started receding a little bit in the conversation, in the early days of HD, we became in practice a camera community. Choosing a camera meant choosing a format, and the workflow implications were massive. This includes implications for storage, too, of course! But really, cameras and formats were THE thing keeping the lights on here.

    By around 2010, that was very much calming down, but along the way, we had four forums each for Sony and Panasonic at one point, all with very different cameras and use cases, but honestly, there’s really just not that kind of fever to sort out which is which anymore. Pretty much every camera works with pretty much every workflow. We’ve consolidated Sony and Panasonic into a total of two forums (one each), rather than eight….but I’m honestly wondering if one forum for ALL cameras might be more useful right now. I would think that most people work with more than one anyway, right?

    This how we’ve come to today, when most conversations are around software. That is, there’s not much need to talk about RED cameras as cameras. We’re a decade past anybody needing to prove to themselves whether or not RED is “for real” or not, but LOTS of people are asking things like how to get RED camera files from Media Composer to Resolve and back.

    So for maybe our first 20 years, our busiest forums were for hardware — storage, followed cameras….and now that I think about it, computers were HUGE back in the days when Apple and others had something new pretty much every single year — but in the past few years, it’s mostly been software.

    The one software two-fer that still feels worthwhile is a general After Effects forum with a separate forum for AE Expressions. The latter features pretty hardcore coding conversations that may not have anything to do with core AE functions at all. I’m under the impressions that some of those folks don’t actually do VFX and mograph per se as their primary jobs, so the two forums don’t have much to do with each other at all. In fact, it’s rare to see people who post in both forums.

    This is obviously a longer answer than anyone needs, but that’s why I’m here. LOL I’ve also been thinking a lot about how and why we do the things we do, as this month does in fact mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the first incarnation of the COW back in 1995. The two reasons we’re still around are: 1) Ron and Kathlyn Lindeboom got an awful lot of things right that nobody else did, even if they got beat up for it for years (things like moderating content and requiring real names — we STILL get beat up for those every week), and 2) we keep refining the specifics of what we’re doing based on what we’re seeing from the 800,000+ people still passing through the site every month.

    Lots of good stuff still ahead of us, too!

    Apologies again for the temporary misplacement of some posts, Rich. All will be set right in the next few days.


    Tim Wilson
    Creative COW

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