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Where did everyone go?


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I am home now and my point still stands. This site is hard to navigate, the way the subfourms are split under the topics and yet the topic has posts under it also. Sure you may have been using computers sence I was little and no I haven't been able to help anyone on this site but I'm here to lern, not teach. I know very little about blacksmithing but I do know alot about finding info on the net. I am a member of more forums than I can count and I am not exaggerating when I say this has been the worst experience yet. I'm trying to point out what is my reasons for not liking it here and one of the vets jump down my throat? That's messed up. Go to iboats, hottrodders, auto geek, the ranger station... all have a format very different than this and all have been around for years and are still growing. If you want suggestions on how to improve the site, listen without judgment and follow what works. This will likely be my last post here and that's a shame bc this place has/had potential....

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I'll just throw this out there. I am practically computer illiterate. And have found most anything I have looked for here. Seems fine to me. Also I knew squat before coming here just a few bits and pieces, and have been learning "Good" information here Continuously.  As Glenn has mentioned before, this site is self correcting.  I might not know what a "good" format is but I "with no "real" forum experience" can find the info I need here just fine. 

I'm not paying the bills for this forum yet I've gained so much from it. Don't run away because someone got offended by what you said.  Do what Glenn said and offer suggestions to him in a pm or via email.  Many people gain a lot from this site as it is. If you have ideas to improve it state them, don't just insult it and walk away. 



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You posted in public so I will answer in public. 

As you suggested I went to iboats and was hit in the face with advertising for Boat Parts & Accessories and buy this. There were lists of categories down the left side so I chose the top category and the first choice on the list, Bimini tops. That opened Browse Boat Manufacturers, 2 pages of 85 or so boat dealers. Clicking the first option AB Inflatables 10 ALX Bimini Tops, it wanted to know the year, make, and model of my boat. Again clicking the first option, it presented two options, so I clicked the first option. Finally some information: Westland 42 Series Bimini Top - 2 Bow Frame 47" - 53" Width x 42" Height x 5' 6" Length on sale for $237. No real discussion just sales. That is 6 levels deep before I got any information. To be fair let's click on the first tab, of 9 tabs, at the top of the page. Let's click the first of 25 or so options and we get more advertisements that have that has nothing to do with propellers. 3 levels deep from a speciality tab before it ask for MY information on year, make, and model. No information, just advertising and sales so far. No forum that I found.

As you suggested I went to hottrodders and was presented with 9 tabs, I clicked on forums and got the following: Your search is in progress and you will be taken to the results in a moment. Thank you for your patience.  Click here if your browser does not automatically redirect you. A couple of seconds of white screen and I get the forum. First post had no answers so I clicked on the second post. One simple question, 3 ads, and an answer. 3 levels deep and I got information. Useful information to me as I have a similar situation here. Thank You. Scroll down to the bottom of the forum page and get advertisements for stuff trending on the internet, 8 large ads taking up the whole page.

As you suggested I went to auto geek and was hit in the face with a cartoon drawing for a couple of seconds before seeing the actual site. 9 tabs across the top and a list of 39 choices down the left side. All this was overshadowed by the advertising on the page.Let  us click on forum and we get advertisement, another advertisement, and finally a choice of threads. First thread has advertisement, a question, an reference to another site, and a reply using cuss words not allowed on IForgeIron.

Ok I see what you like as far as a web site and forum go.


Let us try IForgeIron. Site opens straight to the forum page. First choice is Blacksmithing, General Discussion. That page lists stickies sub forum, references sub forum and 7,811 topics in the main forum. The first thread has 599 replies. 3 levels deep and you get information. Yes there are small ads at the top of a thread that help pay the bills but NOT full or HALF page ads as well as smaller ads that are in the sites you suggested.

Let us try Anvils and Swage Blocks section. You get Anvil Reviews by Brand sub forum, Swage blocks sub forum, and 4,404 topics in the main forum. 3 levels deep and you get information. Yes there are small ads at the top of a thread that help pay the bills but NOT full or HALF page ads as in the sites you suggested.

We brake down the forums into sections such as blacksmithing general discussions, machinery and power tools, bladesmithing, non-ferrous metalworking, welding, general discussion, the IFI store, safety, and blacksmithing groups. Those sections can have additional sub-sections. Anvils are discussed in the anvil section, welding in the welding section, etc

Conclusion? You do not like IForgeIron because we do not hit you in the face with advertising, have lists of 30 or more non related categories on the left column and right columns of the page to choose from, and do not ask for, and or require, the year, make, and model of your anvil, or forge, before you actually get information?


I got in on the rec.crafts.metalworking in the old ascii news group days.  Then as the internet came on line and progressed, web pages were developed using a chronological posting order, with no divisions. You had to read everything posted every day just to keep up. Research was nonexistent as it was all arranged by post time not subject.

Actually, early on, IForgeIron did have categories listed down the left column. That system became too detailed and to cumbersome to navigate so we went to the section and sub-section format. Now you simply choose a subject of interest and go to that section, anvils in the anvil section for instance, vises are in the vise section, and knives in the bladesmithing section. We do suggest that you pack a lunch and a cold drink before you visit the section. Change your mind or remember that you were interested in a forge? We have a section on forges. 

We encourage folks to contact the admins with suggestions to improve the site. In fact I ask that you contact me PM or by email. We do listen and give due consideration to the suggestions. In fact several new sections and sub sections were started by those suggestions. 

Each site has it's own flavor and way of doing things. IForgeIron is like a book with different chapters. Pack a lunch and a cold drink, choose the chapter that is of interest to you, and start reading.

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RobertThoreson, I started to not get into the fray here, but just couldn't restrain myself...

I think Steve Sells and Glenn really summed things up pretty well for you.  Glenn's evaluations of your "forums" was very informative, to say the least.   We have an international following who seem to be content with IFI, despite some minor problems which you will find on ANY forum.  If you don't care to be constructive and only want to be condemning; using the myriad of other forums that you frequent as poor examples of how a forum should be run, maybe you should spent your time on your favorite forums.

Off soapbox......

Mod edit: wording

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1 hour ago, Judson Yaggy said:

recently when discussions like this have come up I haven't found an easy way to send a few bucks.  Is there still a donate button somewhere that I am missing?  

We usually request donations for a specific purpose and specific amount. Once that need has been reached we remove the link. It is fair that way and folks have been very generous and very quick to assist us when it is needed.

The sales of t-shirts through the store click here puts a shirt on your back, gets the word out about the site, and puts a bit of money into the kitty. I need to update the store with the new material. Check your PM.

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Different forums have different strength and weakness. People get used to one forum's format and when trying another it feels "wrong".

I have been of computer conferencing, later message boards then bulletin boards and forums since the eighties. Must have posted 30 or 40k post and seen almost everything that can happen on a forum.

The disgruntled member that leaves making a scene is rather common but usually not in the early stages. Unfortunate but part of our own human nature. Considering that a forum is ultimately a conversation among a group of people, in writing instead of verbal, the setting or the background is more or less irrelevant and it is the content that matters.

I find the content on this site of very high value and I get way more than I contribute.

Let's find 10 more people that are interested for each one that is not. :)

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Again, the site is self correcting. Bad information is corrected by good or proper information. Leave it to Glenn to go through the other sites and give detailed examples, not just throw out that they are garbage. I try to keep my mouth shut and listen ( or read ) to learn more. This site works. This site helps many people in good ways. Don't bash it, suggest improvements.  I don't know where I would be ( in many ways) without it. And I'm constantly learning more. If you can't learn something here every day just by new posts and the replies, you are not paying attention. You would have to try to be that ignorant. 

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As to where is everyone, FB pages may have had some effect, but I got tired of the one quickly, and rarely check it now. FB is also a horrible platform to do research with. IFI on the other hand has been fairly easy to get information when I needed it. 

The biggest difference for me is that the people posting here are more civil, and are more like a community than just a bunch of people at a meeting.

When I see someone on a FB page trying to get information, and the related posts are not that good I will refer them to here. 

We have had some of the more active posters pass away over the years, people move, get new jobs, etc....in other words, life can get in the way. I try to visit here every day to see what everyone is up to. It never fails to show me just how talented a group of craftsmen-and women that we have here. The sharing of ideas, and how one person's work will inspire another to do something are some of the reasons I think this is the best smithing website out there..

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13 hours ago, Marc1 said:

It's up to the members to keep the site in the swing of things. :)

And I agree with my fellow Australian. It's up to us to keep the site a place where we want to be. Be kind to one another. :)

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I have to say since joining this forum I check it multiple times through out the day, I think it is well run and that Glenn does well to deal with the technical issues that have effected the site very quickly. I have found the site to be intuitive to use and have never had any problems finding what I am looking for. I think the issue with some new users is they don't want to read the easily identified stickies which are standard for all forums and provide a wealth of information on how to use the site effectively.

I think like any forum there are a core group of very knowledgeable posters who give a lot of their time dealing with questions. Also the comradery of this forum makes it very accessible and means that I have never felt embarrassed to ask silly questions or post my pieces for critique.


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11 hours ago, arkie said:

I think Steve Sells and Glenn really summed things up pretty well for you

They do  a heck of a job offering for FREE this site and for Nothing as do a number of other administrators around the world.

this is the only site I look at any  longer, can't stand FB and it's allowed language or stupidity.  Youtube gives as much bad info as good and no one to point out the difference.

I have had no trouble learning to get around this site.  I X it a number of times a day because of the world wide members in different time zones  and have for 3 1/2 yrs.  I'm not a Techy but have been dealing with computers since college in 1964. 

Not a site for instant gratification as it might take a while to find what you want to see, but you just might learn something else along the way.  As said 100s of times here looking for something or new to  the site get a comfy chair, pack a lunch and a drink and settle down for  some good reading. 

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I'm with Thomas on surfing the unread content.  Works great for me, and I love this site and all the great info I've gleaned from frequenting it.

Only issue I have with the format is the irritation of having to refresh the page every time I try to follow a thread onto the following page (i.e. going from page 1 of 2 onto 2 of 2).  This is minor, and most likely related to my using Windows Internet Explorer on a Windows 7 machine, but don't have that issue with other forums I frequent.  Note that one of the other "good ones" is Bladesmith'sforum.com and it has an apparent similar structure to this one.

I've also participated in some Facebook blacksmithing sites but found them extremely poorly structured, impossible to search adequately and full of misinformation, some dangerous.  Might be my inexperience with Facebook though.

Many thanks to the moderators and owner for setting up and maintaining such an excellent site.

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IMHO, IFI is a wonderfully organized forum. The sections and sub-sections are just the right size, not too broad nor too narrow.  Sometimes forums organized like this have too many sub-sections or not enough, but IFI is about perfect. Also, when someone posts a new reply to a thread, that thread goes to the top of the list of topics in that sub-section. I've seen some forums without this feature, and they are aggravating if you're a regular and want to read mainly new content like Thomas and Latticino.

True, the search function isn't the best, and the refresh page bug is slightly annoying, but I usually don't need to use the search function to find what I want anyway. IFI seems a lot easier to find information relevant to what I'm looking for, even compared to other forums who appear to be using the same software system. I'm not computer literate by any stretch of the imagination, but I think the difference is that IFI is run by competent people who really care about the information they present.

The content and collaboration that goes on here is utterly epic, so I doubt we have to worry about losing IFI anytime soon, at least not until the internet becomes outdated :) . I have seen one or two forums die or go dormant, but that is usually only when the people lose interest in the topic of the forum, and/or when the regular posters stop posting. I doubt this will ever happen here because blacksmithing is an addiction, and we have some very committed members!

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IFI Citizens,

I have recently encountered loss of the refresh "circle" button.

For example, when I am reading the one or two posts of page two, I can no longer bring up page one.

This bug has only arisen in the last two or three days.

What am I doing wrong.

HELP !!!


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48 minutes ago, Andrew Martin said:

The content and collaboration that goes on here is utterly epic, so I doubt we have to worry about losing IFI anytime soon, at least not until the internet becomes outdated.

I despise all of this electronica and website architecture, so bah.

What Andrew Martin said.

But Glenn, Steve, Dale, and all the other awesome people who ARE I Forge Iron, if my house is on fire, if I am grieving, or if I want REAL CONTENT about this craft, IFI is where the REAL People hang out.

In the real world, this is where the people who have my back hang out.

With Gratitude,

Robert Taylor

Sorry SLAG, I encounter that glitch from time to time. Get out your bag of runes (I use chicken bones) and seek out the answer.




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Since a key element of the scientific method is repeated observations by independent researchers, I attempted to duplicate Glenn's experiences with iboats, hotrodders, and autogeek. I won't bore you with the statistics of how many clicks it took me to get to real information (other than to say that they were practically identical with Glenn's results), but I would like to both (A) reiterate the startling difference between IFI and forums that are deluged with advertisements and trending articles and (B)celebrate how straightforward and readable IFI's web design is. When you don't have to deal with bright lettering on a black background (people still do that?!?!?) or force your brain to ignore the flashy graphics that are trying to take your attention off the forum and put it on their product other clickbait, you can simply focus on why we're all here in the first place: lousy puns, and teasing Frosty about his inexplicable preference for cast steel anvils.

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