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I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone)

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I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone)

Posted by Helping You on May 05, 2002 at 15:09:43:

I often read through the archives just to do so. I notice that the information IS there, but it does take some rummeging through old posting to get it. For example, in the Leaky Gut Archives, there are some links to follow which are helpful, then the postings are below. I thought, that in addition to the general archives, if possible, there could be a general "questions and answers" page where the reader could learn a little more general background info on that particular subject, THEN search further through the archives for more specifics. Below is a crude example of what I mean. If this is just going to take up too much space or cost more money, forget I mentioned it. It's just an idea. So far, I have seen this type of explaination with only a few subjects.

LEAKY GUT ARCHIVES

Q: What is Leaky Gut?
A: Leaky gut is a condition that results from storage of chronic stress in the hypothalamus gland.

Q: How does Leaky Gut Develop?
A: Chronic storage of stress leaves the bodyu in a constant "fight or flight" mode. This moves blood away from the intestinal tract and into the muscles. As blood flow is reduced to the intestinal tract, nutrient status is hindered which results in incompete regeneration of the intestinal lining.

And it could continue in that fasion giving a general overview and general treatment as discussed on this board. It isn't necessary to be ultra specific as these ideas are already located in the archives. It just seems that people see all of these different posts and different opinions and just get confused or discouraged to continue. Why else would the same questions be posted over and over again? Anyway, that is my idea. What do you think?

-HY



Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone)

Posted by Barb on May 05, 2002 at 16:08:20:

In Reply to: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Helping You on May 05, 2002 at 15:09:43:

Hi HY,
This seems like a good suggestion, especially for the newbies.

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Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone)

Posted by Naya on May 05, 2002 at 16:38:57:

In Reply to: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Helping You on May 05, 2002 at 15:09:43:

Hi, HY. This seems to be a great idea. Part of this IS covered in the glossary, but not in the format that you suggest. The only problem I see here is that somebody is going to have to do a big editing job of compiling the appropriate questions and putting them and the answers together into the format you suggest. Maybe some of those people who wanted to redo the archives could do it. Do you think Bill would want to do it? I doubt it.
The example you gave in your post is a perfect one. When I first came on the board, it took me forever to figure out what exactly leaky gut was, its ramifications, causes and what to do about curing it, so your point is very well taken, at least in my mind. Big undertaking, though!



Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone)

Posted by Raisa on May 05, 2002 at 17:42:23:

In Reply to: Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Naya on May 05, 2002 at 16:38:57:

Hi -
I have learned that for me the best way to find out about anything in the archives is to first look in the glossary because there it tells whether Walt has an article about it, which articles are extremely helpful in explaining just what the illness or disease, etc. is. While the question and answer idea is great, I think it would be repetitive in many ways. Just my thoughts. Raisa



Re: an idea for improving the archives: R? an XML Database?

Posted by Gregory on May 05, 2002 at 19:03:37:

In Reply to: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Helping You on May 05, 2002 at 15:09:43:


R.

These are all good suggestions. A lot to do for one person, and I figure Bill is doing
whatever Bill does to make a living. As a developer, maybe you have some insight on this.
Can these archives be converted to either a database or a more cohesive knowledgebase
and a XML front end be built to make the information more accessible and easier to
query for specific information?

Lightwalking,
Gregory

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Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone)

Posted by Naya to Raisa on May 05, 2002 at 19:54:14:

In Reply to: Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Raisa on May 05, 2002 at 17:42:23:

Hi! Yes, I know, that's the way I learned to do it, too. That's why I wonder about the viability of such a complicated project as revamping the whole system. However, if someone wants to do it, what the heck. More power to them.

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Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone)

Posted by Raisa on May 05, 2002 at 20:07:38:

In Reply to: Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Naya on May 05, 2002 at 16:38:57:

Hi, Naya -
And I realize that it would be a great idea for newcomers.
Maybe there is a way for Bill to say at the top of all pages to look in the Glossary first or to look on the Home Page. The thing is that people sometimes are referred to this website from others, and the link brings them directly to the message board, which probably confuses them, right? Raisa

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Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone)

Posted by Walt Stoll on May 06, 2002 at 10:23:21:

In Reply to: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Helping You on May 05, 2002 at 15:09:43:

Thanks, HY, et al.

I must admit that I started doing this a couple of years ago and got too busy to continue it. That is why some subjects have this initial summary and others do not.

Bill has suggested I do this one each day..........

Any and all help is appreciated.

Namaste`

Walt



Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone)

Posted by Lex on May 06, 2002 at 14:26:22:

In Reply to: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Helping You on May 05, 2002 at 15:09:43:

Thank you HY for your invaluable feedback - you are right on target. The site is just going through some temporary growing pains. Since I am a healing computer guy who used to be in the web business and just happens to be out of work, I am more than willing to donate some time to the project because I really believe in what we do here.

I would concentrate on improving the educational function first and then come back to the community aspect, since all new visitors are instructed to "take a look at the archives" and then do some posting. Valuable information is located in Dr. Stoll’s articles (good detail and in-depth), the glossary (mostly short and sweet but cross-linked), and the archives that are dated, flagged threads, some of which have a brief topic description (time-consuming but invaluable for showing the personal healing process and community feedback).

The site can be fairly overwhelming for new users and it makes sense not only to present one place to learn about a particular disorder, but also to stress even more the interconnectedness of all patient symptoms/conditions, how most of what we talk about here originates from chronic-hypothalamic stress storage, and how our ailments are signals which, if unheeded, are a progression to more serious states of ill-health.

First, I believe the site’s purpose should be spelled out in no uncertain terms for first timers as the driving principle on the home page. Why not post a condensed mission statement about the perils of modern living, its disastrous effects on health and the antidote of the “three-legged-stool” consisting of a PWFD diet, exercise and skilled relaxation? I think the current description is woefully inadequate but I am aware that there may be a political decision for not being more explicit thus far. The concept of “re-payment” in the form of giving back to the community could be addressed as well.

Second, and following HY’s lead, I would settle on a global format for each condition/disease category integrating the articles, glossary and archives. This will go a long way for a “unified user experience,” since people will come to expect the delivery of information in the same way regardless of what topic they are researching. It will also serve as a prototype for moving the site to a database (XML or otherwise) should the decision be made. I would abandon the language of “archives” and concentrate on directing people to research conditions/disease topics, which could have the following format (with multiple interconnected links):

Definition (use the same glossary text or re-edit using the articles)
Origination, progression and related conditions and its place in the mind/body sphere
Effects of Healing with long-term SR, diet and exercise (the 3-legged stool)
Other proven nutritional/supplemental recommendations
Links to Walt’s longer articles (bandwidth considerations limit their use here)
Links to experts in the field, studies and scientific background
Lab testing (good labs, results interpretation, which tests if appropriate)
Book recommendations (if appropriate)
Links to other good sites
“Archived posts” on the same page or linked to save bandwidth

In writing this, I am realizing what a big issue bandwidth cost is, so the above may be ambitious. However, the information exists and it could be condensed into a brief, central “condition” page where a person can start researching, then dive in for more in-depth articles and archived postings.

These two initiatives would go a long way toward teaching people “how to fish” rather than constantly answering the same questions or directing them to the “archives,” which can be time-consuming.

Lastly, and I’m just thinking out loud, I would re-evaluate and prioritize the sections of the site, how to navigate to them from the home page, and how they cross-link. The main pieces (most of which are present) are:

Mission statement of the site/guiding principles/theory of disease/mind-body-spirit
Walt Stoll, M.D. credentials, book and non-profit org (why should I listen to this guy?)
Welcome and Help – new user guide, site map, glossary
News (Walt messages, headlines, research, legislation, newsletter a la Dr. Mercola?)
Centralized Condition/disease pages (mentioned above and with archives)
Community BB (current postings)
Health Coaching Protocol and Book
Misc. links (books, other sites, labs, etc.)

I didn’t expect to write so much, so feel free to tell me to take a hike, but know that it was done with good wishes. I look forward to helping if I am needed.

Cheers.





Lex, Take A Hike!

Posted by
Gregory on May 06, 2002 at 16:47:45:

In Reply to: Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Lex on May 06, 2002 at 14:26:22:


Then have a PWFD snack. Then some SR. You should then be ready to tackle this project.

Off to a good start. Bandwidth usage will probably go up if you try to implement all your suggestions.

On the other hand I have put in a suggestion to turn either the glossary or the archives into an XML database.

A prime concern is to lower the volume of information flowing to/from the BB. Maybe along those same
lines the site as a whole can be "load balanced." If more questions can be answered in the
archives, then maybe less will be continuously reposted on the BB.

Lightwalking,
Gregory




Improving the site

Posted by Bill on May 06, 2002 at 17:58:57:

In Reply to: Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Lex on May 06, 2002 at 14:26:22:

Hi Lex,

Wow! Great post! Some general comments...

We used to be a very very basic html site. Pamela Jayawardena donated her time a few years ago to add the frames and create the graphic design you see on the home page. We're very open to discussing a change of layout. Personally I have come to dislike frames - they are difficult to maintain and negotiate.

I have a full time job and a lot of other interests - if you want to take on the redesign, then let us know when you are ready to replace our site with your version, that might work - it's what we did with Pamela. I'd integrate the bulletin board, but frankly would not be willing to devote a lot of time to assisting. It would pretty much be your baby. Of course, you could use the site as a reference for your next job :)

I assume we'd start small to be sure we are all in alignment as to direction before you spent too much effort. There may be others here that would like to contribute content, scour the web for useful "links to experts in the field", etc, or help build pages. My only request would be to avoid too much dependence on html-generating software that is too hard to maintain with a plain text editor.

If you need new content, or summaries of archive subjects (as some of your bullets suggest), you would have to negotiate that with my father.

I wouldn't want to discard the archives completely since most of us learn best by reading other people's stories.

Thanks again for your interest!
Bill



Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone)

Posted by Helping You on May 06, 2002 at 18:45:15:

In Reply to: Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Walt Stoll on May 06, 2002 at 10:23:21:

I admit, It's not something that will take a day to put together, however, in time, it may free up your time not having to answer the same questions over and over again. I would be more than willing to compile the questions/answers on subjects I am qualified to assist with. Just food for thought!

-HY



Re: Lex, Take A Hike!

Posted by Lex on May 06, 2002 at 18:56:15:

In Reply to: Lex, Take A Hike! posted by Gregory on May 06, 2002 at 16:47:45:

On the one hand, I must be crazy for volunteering - what are the chances in pleasing everyone ;)? However, I think this site can vastly improve in the process of educating people, even with very minor content adjustments.

At the very least, I believe the archived topics need a preamble description and basic summary information (which could just include the glossary definition). This is needed precisely because the existing archives are not clear enough and/or well organized for new users. Why else does Dr. Stoll keep answering the same questions over and over? The information is there, it is just not presented in a unified manner.

I agree that bandwidth cost is the prime consideration – at lease initially. By having a summary condition page (which could be very brief at first) it may actually save bandwidth and people from loading each and every archive message, hunting for an answer. I would also not load the glossary all in one go either.

Why not think outside the box? Could Dr. Stoll accept donations for site maintenance/bandwidth? Absolutely. Could he find a better hosting deal? It’s definitely possible.

If you’re worried about bandwidth costs, then moving right now to an XML/database could really be expensive monetarily (you would need an application server or some software to present the data to the browser) and resource wise (it would change the backups, requiring scripted dumping and learning upkeep using xml or a db). As for “load balancing,” I had a lot of nice load balancing equipment in my last job and those switches are around $60k a piece, not really what we’re after here.

I guess the best points to concentrate on are: how best to improve the site, with as little initial effort as possible, keeping bandwidth costs down, but with an eye toward the future while pleasing the majority of current users.

My offer still stands (and I had better develop a thicker skin, huh? ;)

Peace,
Lex



Re: Improving the site

Posted by Lex on May 06, 2002 at 19:24:26:

In Reply to: Improving the site posted by Bill on May 06, 2002 at 17:58:57:

Bill,

I don't want to rock any boats or take charge or exercise an ego trip. I just feel obligated to your father to "help out" and pay back the community.

I'm a big fan of the KISS principle myself - html pages without frames work the best as far as I'm concerned. (Don't get me started about dragging data from Oracle through JRun and Apache to a browser!) You can do a lot with simple UI and some server-side includes if processing allows it. Later on, however it may be a good idea to look into using some sort of central database, but not for a while.

To reiterate - I also do NOT want to discard any material - especially the archives - but want to help in summarizing the information for new users within the acceptable costs of hosting the site. HY had some good thoughts on a standard archive summary page (I know mine are more involved and for down-the-road). I think you will agree that it will go a long way to helping new users.

I think the main problems will be determining who is on the "project," not leaving those out who want to participate, while satisfying the rest of the community. I would then proceed gradually, as you suggested, making incremental changes with feedback. We could also post proposed changes to a parallel staging directory “site” for review. At the very least, your father would need to write the archive summaries or OK submitted material from the “team”.

Glad to help,
Lex






Re: Improving the site

Posted by Bill on May 06, 2002 at 20:18:50:

In Reply to: Re: Improving the site posted by Lex on May 06, 2002 at 19:24:26:

Hi Lex,

Here's one idea...

If you would like to throw together a new splash page that incorporates your ideas about structure, I can create a folder under the main site to hold it, and create links to it from strategic locations so people can comment.

Some folks may want to contribute pages as well, once they see the new flow and style beginning to happen.

If you like this idea, suggest you keep all links either absolute, or relative to the new folder. Unless you have a better idea, let's call the new area:

http://askwaltstollmd.com/newsite

You can email me a tarball or zip archive, then I can install your work quickly and easily. Please credit yourself on any work you do.

Thanks for your interest!
Bill



Re: Improving the site

Posted by Lex on May 06, 2002 at 22:43:32:

In Reply to: Re: Improving the site posted by Bill on May 06, 2002 at 20:18:50:

I am going away for a few days and will let it settle in, then start on some ideas.

I do agree with HY, that in the short term, the archives may be better served with a simple preamble - even if it is content taken from the glossary. Walt should approve the content of course. The rest can be a work-in-progress.

Looking forward to helping,
Lex

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All In Jest - Thicker Skin Not Required

Posted by
Gregory on May 06, 2002 at 22:44:27:

In Reply to: Re: Lex, Take A Hike! posted by Lex on May 06, 2002 at 18:56:15:


Lex,

When I mentioned "load balancing" before what I had in mind was balancing how the board is
utilized, not balancing of the server itself. My thinking is that if the archives are optimized
then BB usage would go down as people, especially newcomers would be able to find what information
they sought in the archives. XML displays direct in most browsers (at least mine does,
using Netscape 4.7 & I.E 5.5) on the server side it might well be a major undertaking
mainly because it would be a refit rather than a "ground up" project. I don't see an
elegant way of organizing this ad-hoc knowledgebase without some sort of unifying structure
(in or out the box) which is why I held out XML in the first place.

I'm all for donation although many people won't bother, or will grumble about free vs. paid.
Perhaps a "Friends Of Walt Stoll" arrangement might be the answer.

I agree that whatever changes be made, they be done incrementally, and be
implemented by one or two people (mostly Bill should he be up to it) and easily
understood by whomever is currently engaged in supporting the board.


Lightwalking,
Gregory




Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) Archive in archive.

Posted by Walt Stoll on May 07, 2002 at 11:52:16:

In Reply to: Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Lex on May 06, 2002 at 14:26:22:

WOW! Lex, Bill [Even Gregory :o)].

I am humbled by the offers! The level of participation suggested for me, personally, sound like something I could do and actually contribute to the general goal at the same time.

Certainly what Lex, Bill & Gregory have suggested seem to me to be ways to materially improve the purpose of the website: something really needed.

I hope this can be done. The job is much larger than any one person can do. However, by each person contributing what he or she does best, I think it IS possible.

As Bill has suggested, each contribution should have that person's name attached.

Namaste` to us all........

Walt

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Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone)

Posted by Walt Stoll on May 07, 2002 at 12:06:07:

In Reply to: Re: I have an idea for improving the archives (For everyone) posted by Helping You on May 06, 2002 at 18:45:15:

Thanks, HY!

See the notes today from Lex, Bill & Gregory. Sounds like. perhaps, many hands make the job go quicker.

Namaste`

Walt

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Re: All In Jest - Thicker Skin Not Required

Posted by Lex on May 07, 2002 at 12:54:15:

In Reply to: All In Jest - Thicker Skin Not Required posted by Gregory on May 06, 2002 at 22:44:27:

We're on the same page - I agree 100%. Even Walt seems willing and open to these ideas, so this may actually work out ;)

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