In the US, one of the cable channels is currently running a series about people who live in the State of Alaska.
Recently, the channel devoted an entire episode (copiously interleaved with advertising, as is their practice) to a couple who had to move an outhouse.
The challenge of moving the outhouse was met using logs as rollers and a compound pulley rope hoist to tip it over.
The photography included a shot from the hole UNDER the outhouse. I had to admire the creativity of the photographer who agreed to tackle that shot. No doubt the producer who requested the shot was safely out of range of the effluent from the privy.
However, upon reflection, it occurred to me that persons dealing with a disaster situation are going to be living like those Alaskan citizens, and periodically moving the outhouse is going to be part of the routine of living.
Then, it occurred to me that the vacated site would be a good place to plant a tree.
With this post, I am experimenting with a new concept for this forum, which has not performed well as a "traditional" forum, which pre-supposes a community of people who want to interact with each other.
Clearly the community which came to this site are not finding motivation to maintain a connection to the site.
An alternative that I will try to demonstrate is to use the forum as a site for knowledge which would be searchable by anyone, using existing search tools on the site.
As of today, the Knowledge forum is not yet delivering content to search engines. Why that is the case is a mystery.
As a test, forum member maurice goldsmith set up a forum on his site, theluciferbug.com.
I stored "avuncular pumpkin" on the site, and maurice made adjustments to try to induce the search engines to examine his site.]
To my amazement, "avuncular pumpkin" showed up in Google today, with theluciferbug.com as the primary citation.
The Knowledge forum does not yet deliver content to search engines, but it can be searched with local tools.
Thus, a member who would like to create a packet of knowledge over a period of time can do so, and all the user has to know is the URL of Dr. Dartnell's web site forum.
There is a feature of the software Dr. Dartnell chose for his site that allows the concept I am describing to work: A member can edit his or her own message!
This is a powerful capability, because it means that with feedback from other members via private email, a member can refine and extend and perfect the topic, without having to create an additional topic.
I invite anyone who is interested in developing this alternative forum to keep his or her topic active in the Recent Posts button at the top left of the main page.
If none of the topics already created by a member are in need of adjustment in a given week, an alternative is to create a new topic as I have done this week.
In private email conversation with a very experienced forum operator, I have gained some additional insight into the nature of the Internet, and the people who use it.
One concept that is becoming increasingly clear to me is that: No one wants to receive a reply from an Internet Troll.
Thus, a rule-of-thumb I am proposing for the alternate forum structure described above, is to NEVER reply publicly to a post by someone.
Instead, use private email to give the poster encouragement and support, or, if necessary, to provide constructive feedback in case of an error that might have crept into the posting.
The originator of the posting "owns" that posting, and thanks to the forum software, the owner can edit the posting if he or she is convinced that a change is appropriate.
This is a civilized way of managing interactions between community members.
It allows persons who consider themselves experts to help persons they consider novices to gain knowledge or skill or insight or perspective, without publicly humiliating the person.
If someone wants me to improve this post, I would appreciate private email rather than a reply on the public board.
If you want to start a thread of your own, you are most welcome to do that, since Dr. Dartnell has already accepted you as a member of the forum.
The place to start a new thread is at one of the primary topics Dr. Dartnell has defined.