View Full Version : The Influence We Wield

09-08-2004, 10:22 PM
As I've been around the message board for a couple weeks now, I see that we are all like-minded in the fact that we want good things to happen for OKC. And in many cases, we initiate those things. We are, we're Visionaries. We have big ideas for OKC and most of the time we have a way to implement them. OKC has a bright future in our eyes. And you probably know this, but people like us have great influence on others.

Imagine all of us meeting together and having organized plans of action targeting different aspects of bettering OKC. An OKC Civic Action Committee (or something) could be organized where we all meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis in order to try to achieve a common goal. Obviously, we have many goals. For example, several have voiced disapproval with the Airport Trust. The Civic Action Committee could set up a meeting with whoever's in charge over there and just ask some very simple, yet pointed questions, and challenge them to be more aggressive to attract other airlines so that OKC can be more of a destination without the airport hindering our growth. Another goal could be to approach the city with plans on making the bridges spanning the tributaries of the Oklahoma River more decorative. We could brainstorm ideas and present them to restaurants or retailers that WE want to see here in OKC. We could contact city leaders, district council people, and prominent business owners with whom we could share our ideas. And of course, we would have to figure out how to get the Summer Olympics here someday. :)

Obviously, there's a ton of potential we have. I can't imagine what all the visionary juice in one room would be like! :)

What do you guys think? Downtownguy HAS to be involved... ;)


Edited to add: Writing letters, sending emails, making phone calls and having meetings with people would be the "action" part of what we do (among other things). The dreaming part is where we come up with the cool ideas in the meetings we hold. Or something like that...

09-14-2004, 07:14 PM
Luke, I think you guys there should jump on this. I don't know if the Airport Trust would be as receptive, but I think a collective body to design add-ons to the bridges is very realistic idea. We ought to patch the arts and design community as well as some civil engineers to put together some proposals for the Centennial Commission or other funding source. Our passion plus the expertise of the design professionals should be enough for the Commission. If you add a decent proposal writer, you can seek other funding sources. I don't know if the body who is in charge would be the Riverfront Authority, but it would be useful to get them informed of if not involved in our efforts.

09-14-2004, 07:49 PM
I think following up on what downtownguy suggested is a good start. Having learned from OCART, I think before we form a group, we should try to attract more people. For those of you who may not be familiar, OCART, better known as Oklahoma City Area Rapid Transit, was formed a few years ago by several members on this forum (and other forums) to try to lobby city hall for funding for commuter rail. Unfortunately, we really never had enough support to get anywhere, and we had a mayor that didn't care to listen to us.
Anyways, I learned from that group that you probably need at least 10 to 15 dedicated people to keep going. That group had about 5, although we had as many as 25 come to a meeting.

09-14-2004, 08:49 PM
As dedicated as I have been to making Oklahoma City a better city, perhaps one of the best, just tell me when and where if a meeting is planned. Hopefully, since I now have professional publishing software, I can show off the raw copy of my Oklahoma City vacation book, and contribute to all of our growing ideas!

Continue the Renaissance!!!

09-14-2004, 09:01 PM
I'm really curious about your OKC vacation book. Could you tell me more about it? What is it?



09-15-2004, 11:54 PM
I'll be glad to share more with you about my book Luke, however I must keep the details under the lid until the book has a registered copyright. That will be close to the end of this year. Once I secure the copyright, I will give OKCTalk details on all of the book's features.
I hope you understand!

Joe Schmoe
09-16-2004, 08:31 AM
Having learned from OCART, I think before we form a group, we should try to attract more people.

I think that this is the crux of the biscuit, Think of what gives people or groups influence. If you don't have money, guns or lawyers, then bigger numbers are a good start.

So, to set this forum up to become more of a voice, we should think in two directions.
1.) Acquiring more good voices here
2.) Amplifying those voices.

These are both interrelated in that the better number 2 is achieved, then the more successful we will be at achieving the first goal. More people will spout off here if they felt that their ideas & gripes were being seen by the PtB. (Powers that Be.)

Forums are often like coffee house talk, but like with OCART, I've seen forums facilitate the organic development of focus groups in the real world (meatspace.) I suggest that for the time being, this potential focus group remain cyber, so that missed meetings or agreeing on the mundane aspects of physical meetings doesn't bog down the early efforts.

Let's exploit our available networking technology.

I think that a few selected blogs would be a good addition to this portal. I don't know DowntownGuy, (or maybe I do... & if I do, I take all of this back. :p ) but linking to his page or even hilighting a little RSS summary feed of his latest blog, would be a good thing & help stimulate conversations and provide a cohesive focus to the front page.

My background in web & publication design makes me a bit dissatisfied with the standard forum thread layout that is used here. there's too much scrolling to easily see every thing that is happening. Plus there is almost no hierarchy of the info except vertical scrolling. I think newspaper inspired layouts like CBS, NBC, FOX, etc. use would be beneficial to inducing participation. Focus the layout to start topic conversations with the blogs, & make more teasers appear "above the fold." (full screen visible in a browser window without scrolling.)

Totally open forums would of course still exist within topic headings, but making the front page more like a place to get & voice news & views of OKC would make it more immediately digestible & therefore enticing. Check out how uses summaries to make a very enticing front page.

Make room for pictures, (like the ones on FOX, CNN, USAtoday, etc.) Divide the page into three general columns instead of two. I haven't looked closely at the code that this software produces for web pages, & I know that there are certain templates built into them. But I wonder if there is not a way to capture that data & pour it into some new XHTML containers & display it in a totally custom layout. If not, then ever mind. *& he skulks away...*

But if you can capture that data as it is being spit out by the php, then you can do more than specify header & type colors. I have to say Todd, that this is some of the most feature rich forum software that I have seen. It's sweet.

The front page needs more punch & consolidation of information above the fold.

So as not to digress totally into a design opinion, I think that the kind of information presented here & the way it is displayed will help draw in more users. Make the forum more than a forum by making it a more organized platform for views & information.

We have no reporters so its not a newspaper, but we do have activists, insiders & of course, pundits. Exploit those assets to amplify the sound that this forum generates.

It can be noise & complaints but it will get more consideration if there is a potential for influence beyond the vision. That influence comes from being a good gage & even shaper of public opinion. If we have a wide range of civil participants then we have more credibility as a an organised & broad voice.

It has to be vital enough to come off as more than a circle j*rk of dreamers & complainers. It can be an instrument to coalesce, & even inform public opinion of OKC cyber citizens.

09-16-2004, 10:25 AM
Hey Joe Schmoe. I think you should definitely mention your ideas to Todd. With you knowledge in web design and message board design, I know you would be an asset to his team! In the meantime, I'll make him aware of your post here.

By the way, did he ever send you a PM?

Also, you might check out the Tulsa Now forum site.
I think it may be similar in nature to what you're describing.

09-16-2004, 10:28 AM
WOW! IT really looks great. I think we should copy it.

09-16-2004, 10:39 AM
Yeah, the only think I really dislike about Tulsa Now is that it's a little confusing actually getting to the page where the forums are listed out. From the first page, you click on forums, and it takes you to a page similar to what Joe Schmoe was describing......basically a summary page with three columns. But after that, getting to the page to view the forums is challenging. Of course, I know how to do it now, but it seemed a little like I was searching around the first time I tried to use it.

09-16-2004, 11:14 AM
Joe Schmoe,

Those are all fantastic suggestions. Early on in the development stages of OKCTALK I considered going with a design much like Tulsanow. I wrestled with the idea for several days and finally decided to stick with the standard forum layout. I based my decision on the fact that being a brand new forum there really was no content to speak of, plus I calculated that most of the members signing up would be newbie's to the forum scene. Thus my decision to keep things simple and straight forward.

Since things have started heating up though there is much more content to keep track of and visually take in. Plus, most of the users of the site are veterans not newbie's. Most if not all of your suggestions are very do-able. I'll start working on a proto-type index page using your suggestions.

Speaking of scrolling I'll throw out another change I have been pondering. It really anoys me the amount of usable screen space that is taken up on the index page by the dark blue forum catagory bars like 'community', 'Lifestyle, Culture & Entertainment', etc. I can remove all of them and just leave the forums themselves listed to save space. What do you guys think?

Joe Schmoe
09-16-2004, 11:24 AM
Yes Todd PM'd me, I haven't responded yet, but I think my last forum post actually did. is a better example than tulsanow of using a forum summary like you would a news story to pull in readers. I think it needs a better graphic sense like has, but is better at teasing the content.

OKCtalk can use both to make a nice, easy to look at & quickly digested front page.

Todd I think you are doing a great job & my suggestions are definately not complaints.

I think that maybe setting up a few selected blogs for rants by several cyber-pundits would be good copy for the front page.

Plus a three column layout would give you room for more vertically oriented ads. ;)

09-16-2004, 11:30 AM
Hey Todd, removing the category bars would be okay with me. I don't think most of us really pay attention to them anyways.

Thanks again for all of your hard work on this site.

Joe Schmoe
09-16-2004, 11:36 AM
Keep the headings but make them smaller, color code them & break the content into boxes with modular placement to spread out across a 3 column layout.

09-16-2004, 12:00 PM
Yeah, I just took a look at the home page. If we took out the headings completely it probably wouldn't be as organized.

Here's another idea:

To limit the amount of scrolling you have to do, maybe you can make the headings links that open up that group of forums. Similar to if you click all of the "up arrows" on the headers. When you do that, it hides all of the indivdual forum names......all of the header names appear on one page without having to scroll. Then you can select the category/header you want, and the forums will open just for that category.

For example, you open up the main page, and on it appears the main headers: Community; Lifestyle Culture and Entertainment; Oklahoma City General Chat Forums; Oklahoma City Business Bureau; Sports Talk; Current Affairs & Politics; Education Faith & Value; Other Forums.

You can click on one header, and it will open up the forums associate with it....I believe you call them "sub-forums".

For example, you click on the Oklahoma City General Chat forums and you come up with this page:

That's just a suggestion.

09-16-2004, 12:09 PM
Actually Todd, I noticed that you already have links set up on the headers, so hiding the individual sub-forums on the home page probably wouldn't be hard to do. Then one can click on the heading they want, and view just the sub-forums under that header. That would limit the scrolling.

09-16-2004, 01:21 PM
I've been looking at other message boards, and this one actually doesn't seem too different from most I've come across. Most of the health message boards I participate in require a lot of scrolling because they have many health forums. I think they make them that way, because everything is on one page, and for the newbies it's easier and simpler to understand, like Todd said. So maybe keeping things simple is the best way to go. Afterall, we want to try to attract as many new people as we can.