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Conversational Threads

What do you like/dislike in a forum?

VictoriaNorth | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello All,

In just a few weeks we are hoping to upgrade our Gatherings forum to make it better for the community. It should be better organized, be more searchable, and hopefully make it be easier for all of us to communicate with each other.

We would love to hear your feedback as we begin to shape how the new forum will work. What do you like about our current forum? What do you dislike? What features would you add if given the chance? We can’t promise every suggestion will be included, but we want to create a great place for community discussion and we need your input.

Thank You,



  1. Ckbklady | | #1


    Thanks for the chance to make suggestions. Since sewing is such a visual medium, it would be wonderful if we had the ability to insert photos into our posts instead of clicking on links to members' offsite photo storage. I don't know the ownership implications of posting personal sewing pics, but if it suited the majority, that would be super.



    1. Crazy K | | #6

      Maybe I'm missing something here but I have posted pix often......I don't have a website or online photo storage so what you see is what you get on mine!

      The picture here is the full length veil I made for my DD's recent wedding....thanks for looking........

      I know this is off subject but wanted to show that pictures can be posted singularly..


      1. Ckbklady | | #7


        Gorgeous dress! Thanks for posting it. Your post wasn't off-topic at all - it showed me that I hadn't quite explained what I meant. Thanks for that, too.

        What I meant was asking for the ability to embed the pics right in the post, not simply to attach a JPG or other link at the bottom of the post. I'm really tech-challenged, so the fewer steps I have to go through, the more likely I am to get access to things. I also have a slow computer, so the fewer steps, the better.

        Also, while I know there's been a big resurgence in youth sewing in a demographic that is very tech-savvy, I know that there are lots of users here who are my age (40-something) and better, who have less reason and desire to jump into all things techie.


        1. Crazy K | | #8

          Hi!  Thanks!  Yes, it is a gorgeous dress.......she bought the dress but I made the long veil.......saved big bucks on that!

          I know what you mean about being technically-challenged.  I'm 62 and often feel that I'm left in the dirt.  My DH is a computer-phobic (ha ha....well, almost.....he plays games and reads emails but he won't even try to turn the computer on/off or do anything else!)  I wanted to learn machine embroidery so I've had to learn the software, etc..........a challenge but rewarding when I finally wrap my head around it!

          I belong to another forum where the photos are embedded in the picture.  That is nice.  It takes about the same amount of skill to upload them but once I learned to follow their instructions, it worked fine!  ha



          1. Ckbklady | | #10

            You're "62...and left in the dirt"? I'm in my early 40s and very much like being in the dirt, LOL! It's so nice living in this modern day in the wealthy Western world with the conveniences we have like central heating, good food and clean running water. I also like that we have choices and can keep a foot in the 18th century if we want!

            I use and collect vintage sewing machines. My most "modern" machine is a 1973 Bernina, and my oldest is a Singer handcrank from 1887. I run to them for solace after using this computer (although I will admit that the Gatherings forum and email are two wonderful modern conveniences and I'm grateful for both).

            Happy 21st century sewing with your software (my heavens! LOL)



          2. Crazy K | | #12

            Hi again,  I must admit that I do often yearn for the slower pace of yesteryear but I, like most, like the modern conveniences that come with all the technology.  I can't hear on the phone so email is my lifeline... my washer and dryer surely beat the old wringer washes or years past .....and hanging on the line when the weather is bad.  I love to hang some things out in summer when I can......but in winter I stick with the dryer!  The dishwasher is nice.....altho' I still often do dishes by hand if just a few........the vacuum beats the old carpet sweeper hands down but I truly LOVE my new state of the art sewing machines and sergers........

            The internet is a wealth of information and the forums are wonderful sources of tips and tricks of the trade........

            As for Gatherings........ I like it.....maybe making it easier to navigate would be o.k.  One forum that I frequent has a section where you can Private Message a person....that feature is nice....you can send a message without having to do the whole email thing......and you don't have to give out your email if you don't want to...something to consider.


      2. MaryinColorado | | #28

        oooooooooh!  ahhhhhh! thanks for sharing!  You did a beautiful job on dd elegant veil.  Are there more photos on here that I missed? Mary

        1. Crazy K | | #30

          nope, I didn't post any others.........you didn't miss a thing!

          Hope all is well with you!


          1. MaryinColorado | | #33

            Thanks for letting me know.  It's a busy time of year with all the back to school activities for the grandkids.  I'm finally getting back to the High School Daze Crazy quilt, embroidering designs and trying to decide whether to add photos or make a seperate wallhanging for that.  Mary

  2. sewelegant | | #2

    I can't count the times I have clicked on someones name and came away disappointed to see nothing noted. I think, when signing up to be included in the forum, one must place a pin on a map to idicate which area of the world he is coming from.  I know everyone is concerned with privacy, etc. but would that be asking too much?

    1. Sancin | | #3

      I agree with sewelegant - When receiving or giving advice/direction it is nice to know if one is hearing from the same country or hemisphere. Perhaps make it a condition of registering. I am not sure that age is relevant but years sewing may be, but shouldn't be interpreted as degree of skill, unless member wants it to be. Perhaps there could be more options in occupation.I regularly check another forum which has a wonderful feature-when you see the topic if you put your cursor on the topic the first line of the original message is displayed. Often topics change as more people comment and the original intent is forgotten.

      Edited 8/25/2009 5:58 pm ET by Sancin

      1. kbalinski | | #4

        Can you add a subtitle below the main topic name, where one can elaborate?  For example:

        Pants Fitting Problem, (then below) Tips to alter too big waist?

        It helps to know exactly what the question is, and really hard when trying to describe with a single title.

        Kristine in Michigan

    2. sewslow67 | | #41

      I too, agree with sewelegant, i.e. more information should be required when registering for Gatherings ...esp. where the person is from (a general location would be just fine).  I also agree that age is not so important than # of year sewing OR what that member considers her/his level of sewing.  After all, it is helpful to know when trying to help someone.  That said, one can be very knowledgeable in one are of sewing but not another, so level doesn't necessarily "tell all".

      1. Stillsewing | | #42

        I love this forum and although I do not contribute to it very often I do follow most of the threads on it. I have also got some good advice here too. I do hope that the "powers that be" do not make any drastic changes to it. Having got used to it and how to navigate it, it would be a shame if we have to start on a learning curve once again.I agree with many of the other contributors that posters should indicate what part of the world that that they are mailing from. I see this site as a Stateside one and most of the posters as either US (as is the mag!) or Canadian, but it is very helpful to know which side of the "pond" contributors are based. Not their nationality but where they do their sewing -- and their shopping. It is also nice to associate people with a location so that you can form a mental picture of them if that helps one to remember them.Long may it last and the many friendships that I am sure that have ensued from it.

        1. ljb2115 | | #43

          This is the easiest forum that I navigate.  No muss or fuss to log on and when through, leave.  I have a mantra:  "If it "ain't" broke, don't fix it".  Enough said.

          1. sewfar | | #44

            Amen !! New and improved is always NEW but not always IMPROVED

        2. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #45

          I agree with your point about liking to know the area a person is from. I often click on a person's name to bring up their general info, and am disappointed to find they have not filled out even the most basic stuff. It is hard to figure out how much information to put in an answer, and which terms to use, when you have no idea of a person's skill level, or where in the world they are from. Sewing and knitting terms can be different on different continents, as can the names of products. There are even big differences across the American/Canadian border, as close as we are. Cathy

    3. lou19 | | #55

      Sorry, really hadn't thought about this before ............but agree with you . Would be great to have more details.

       Have updated  my profile to give more information.

      Best wishes


  3. Ralphetta | | #5

    When a topic hasn't been discussed for a while, I wish the option to go to the new message on the last page were available at the TOP of the first page. If I've missed a way to go to the latest message w/o scrolling clear to the bottom of page 1, please let me know.

  4. Palady | | #9

    >> ... hoping to upgrade our Gatherings Forum ... <<  

     "Upgrade" being the operative word, my hope is to keeping the left menu format as it is.  Some other needlearts boards "upgraded" & going through the posts changed dramatically.  Eventually members fell away because navigating became a real test of patience.


  5. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #11

    Vicky, I like the simplicity and clean look of our current forum. It is easy to read and use. Downloading the pics is another matter. That could be made simpler. I like the idea of it being put right on the post, so you do not have to click a link to open it. Slow computers take forever to download them.
    We need a better and broader search for both our issues and the past posts. They are not very intuitive. Cathy

  6. gailete | | #13

    At first I thought you were meaning the other forum Threads has where people post pictures and have a discussion. I'm sorry, I don't know what it is called, but I hate having to remember my log in for it. By the time I log in, the thought in my brain that I wanted to communicate is gone. That being said, if I don't post here for awhile, I have trouble finding this forum again. Could it be all the Morphine I'm on??? My brain gets cloudy. Anyhow I find the constant need to log in to chat about zippers, etc. annoying.

    As someone on dial up, I'm rather cautious about the thought of embedding pictures right in the notes. Fortunately, here the pictures load pretty fast for me, but if they were embedded in the notes, I can see me falling asleep just waiting for the forum to load. Many of us out in computer land are still on slow dial up and have no way other than at huge expense to get a faster connection.

    Personally I'm happy with how things are and I hate change just for change's sake.

    1. Cityoflostsouls | | #23

      I got so disgusted trying to remember how to log on different sites that now if I can't use my same password I just don't bother with the site.  It's just too much trouble.  Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky-but memory anyway is not what it was!

      1. Katina | | #29

        Yes!! Me too - I just don't bother. It's the same principle at work, for example, with appliances. If they're not easy to use, owners don't bother with them.


      2. gailete | | #31

        Having user names and passwords is incredibly silly on many sites, yet they insist and of course, those ones are the ones that won't take your 'usual' password or user name, so since you can't remember them, you end up never using that site. I can understand passwords etc. for bank accounts, but some places it just seems to be a detriment to using the the site. I have too many meds on board that mess with my mind to want to have to shove unnecessary stuff into my head. I do like sites that will remember who you are and automatically sign you in like here, assuming you can remember how to get here. I try really hard to book mark everything, but I miss the boat at times.

        1. Cityoflostsouls | | #32

          I agree with you entirely but I have never understood "bookmarks" or how to use them.  I really haven't played around with it.  I can't find what I have!

        2. starzoe | | #34

          For all my passwords, I use a small rolodex. I don't do anything on the computer that could compromise my life, if some hacker wants to snoop into the sites I access, welcome to it, he doesn't need my password to do that.The small cards also hold brief notes of the quirks of some sites and other little bits of info to jog my memory.

          1. gailete | | #35

            I have most of mine in an old recipe file box, but that doesn't mean I still don't remember to write them down. LOL

          2. Katina | | #37

            Rolodex? excellent idea - thanks!


          3. starzoe | | #38

            Thanks, I always wanted one of my own, not related to work! Want another hint: messages to myself, banking passwords, etc. I write in shorthand. Shorthand is as dead as a doornail now, hardly anyone can read it and the hieroglyphics will pass as mere scribbling.

          4. Katina | | #39

            Shorthand - never did learn the official version (Pitman's??) but invented a weird one of my own for note-taking at Uni. Good reminder - will use it again. Last Saturday we had to attend a dinner in a supposedly 'good' restaurant, but the music was so loud I said to the group that we might have to communicate in semaphore signals. Nobody except DH knew what I was talking about!!!


          5. starzoe | | #40

            Ah semaphore - those good old days in the Girl Guides!

        3. Sancin | | #36

          Re Passwords
          I keep a small text file on my desktop inside another folder labeled ....to store my passwords (usually called Stuff). I am not particularly nervous about people scanning my computer, so do have it labeled as 'passwords', but one could call the little file anything. I seem to have umpteen dozen passwords for umpteen things so I keep them simple. I separate the types of sites that need passwords - eg. sewing and quilting (forms), finances, services, etc. I did try writing them out but kept loosing the paper, card, etc, even when I 'put them where I would be sure to find them'. My biggest problem is changing them or removing inactive ones. I do like having my computer remembering my passwords when I sign in, but also appreciate those sites that require signing in - usually secure sites.I do write out my passwords on an index file I keep in my wallet when I am traveling and think I may want to access sites, also the email addresses I think I may use. My problem is I sometimes make mistakes in transcribing them - ask the 3 people I got today while trying to phone a business, using one wrong number!

  7. User avater
    VKStitcher | | #14

    I really like the Gatherings forum. I agree with Gail, you shouldn't make change just for change sake. If it works, don't monkey with it!My thoughts:
    ~ This forum is easy to navigate and well organized.
    ~ I like having all the discussion topics listed in the left column at all times. It makes it easy to jump from topic to topic without having to go back to the main page. It would be nice to see who started the topic, but it's not a necessity.
    ~ When I click on a topic, I like having all the responses shown at once so I can scroll down and read them all, instead of having to click on each one separately to read it.
    ~ I like that there are no ads between each post or popping up for me to click through before I can read a post. (A while ago there was an experiment with ads like this, which was NOT well received by the "Gatherings" readers!) If there is an absolute need for ads, they should be unobtrusive (perhaps along the right side of the page), not flashy or moving, and not slow down the loading of the page. I realize that the sponsors of the ads want them to be seen, but if the ads are annoying, you will lose readers.
    ~ The search function could be improved. When I try to find a post from a specific person, I can't type in their forum name. Most of the time, the list box doesn't show the name I want.
    ~ The best thing about this forum is the friendship, knowledge and expertise that is shared here!

    1. betsyb2 | | #15

      On some other forums I visit you can have an avatar picture, which shows up near your name. It's a nice way to put a face, project, personal logo, or whatever, with a name. It makes the online community seem a bit more personal to me.

      I'd also enjoy embedded pictures.

      I do like having the list of subjects listed to the left. Very nice.

      And having been part of one online community that underwent huge changes, it's best to keep them small and not change too much at once. In the other case, the changes were so big, the group got really fractured and most of us no longer frequent that site. Not that the changes were bad, for I think they were good. Just that most people are creatures of habit and don't like things to change much. So tweaks rather than redrafting the original.

  8. Jacquie09 | | #16

    Greetings Vicky,

    I am new to the forum, and I love what I see.

    Good luck.


  9. diday | | #17

    I like being able to preview/edit before posting; having JPG files as attachments as they currently are because I can see the size and determine whether or not to click on them. Having pictures imbedded in the post would slow loading on my otherwise slow dialup service. Also, it's easier and faster to read through text posts without having to scroll beyond a photo. Also like the links to other forums above.I miss the original format of the Threads home page though.

  10. sewluving | | #18

    I like the fact that if someone puts a link on here that it takes you to a whole new internet opening.  That way we are not 'booted' off the site and have to get back on.  Please keep this feature. 

    Thanks,  Heather in Calgary

  11. sewfar | | #19

    I appreciate your asking for our opinions on the gatherings forum. 

    I agree with those who like the present forum.  I like the fact that you can share how long you have been sewing or where you live but I feel that it should remain as it is now, not a requirement.  If someone wants to add weight to their posting by citing their professional experience fine but we all have something to add in the manner of "take what you. want and leave the rest". 

    As for years sewing being a requirement, it reminds me of my 98 year old mother in law telling everyone  that she has cooked since she was 10 when her mother died but that she has never liked eating her own food.  After saying this she would proceed to give you detailed instructions on how to cook.  She was right her food was not good so my habit is to judge less  on years and more on does it sound reasonable. 

      I also  feel that knowing whether someone posting is in my country or hemisphere is not needed and should continue to be voluntary.  All knowledge is equal and if you are curious about a term or measurement, do as we do now, ask the poster.  It adds to the discussion.  Besides as an American military wife, I lived on three continents and various countries and had the Internet been available to me I would have been posting on Gatherings.  I would find it strange to have my  posts labeled as from a Turk, German, etc as rather than from plain old traveling me. 

    I really agree with those who want consideration for those  with dial up service in regards to moving ads and pictures that open with the post, avatars, logos etc.  our screen names identify us and need no enhancement. 

    This is by far the best sewing forum that I visit and hope that its simplicity and quality are maintained in addition to the improvements you feel necessary.

    Edited 8/28/2009 4:39 pm ET by sewfar

    1. Sancin | | #20

      When I suggested on possibly indicate what country they are from it was not to button hole people. It was because often people are referred to resources or use names of products that are different than used in North America. Yes, we can ask, but a personal email, may cut down on everyone having to read about what they already know. So now you know the rest of the story!!Got giggle about the cooking. When I was in my teens (back in the dark ages) there was a woman in my church community who baked up a storm for every event and for everyone who needed support - her cakes and pies were almost inedible! She was also very thrifty and made all her 2 daughters clothes from old patterns - from what decade one was never sure of as not only were they very old fashioned they screamed home made. I often wondered how one could bake and sew so much without learning how to do it better?!Vicky - I don't know if it is worth it or not, but being able to highlight text in some way may be helpful. As far as registering and putting in personal information, I think people should be encouraged to add something about themselves (whatever) as it makes the forum friendly (not that it isn't) but also helps when so many names are similar and one wants to quickly recall who is who and what previous information they have posted. Saves the time of a search. I don't know about the rest of you but I seem to spend too much time on the computer. I do love this forum and if it doesn't change that is OK too, you just asked for suggestions.

    2. Katina | | #21

      I second everything you've said. In my case, for example, I've posted from several different countries over the years I've being enjoying Gatherings. I'm in regular email and telephone contact with some of the fine ladies I've met on this site. I hope any changes which are made are subtle ones, so why do I have a nagging suspicion that advertising is going to play a part here?

      Thanks for your input - Katina

    3. rbjohn | | #22

      I love the forum the way it is. Easy to navigate, nicely organized.

      I also love the input the computer/internet world has on the sewing world. I love reading and seeing what others are doing.


      brenda in MI

  12. KharminJ | | #24

    Hi Vicky!Thanks so much for the warning! And for asking for input from us *actual users*!!Could one of you editorial-types show us some samples of the forum styles you're looking at? (Links to examples, ideally)There's lots of forum-programs out there, and pluses and minuses for each one. (I hope you're not thinking of re-building from scratch!)Thanks again for asking - I'm still working on my "Love It/Hate It" list...

    Bright Blessings ~ Kharmin

  13. User avater
    JunkQueen | | #25

    Vicky --  I find this forum easily navigable and user friendly, which is one of the reasons I keep coming back.  I really don't understand WHY you want to change it.  Perhaps if you could elaborate the staff's thoughts along those line, it would help us to help you.  And , as someone else pointed out, tell us what styles and layouts you are considering.

    That said, I like the index on  the left.  I like no embedded pictures --- even though I have a high speed satellite connection, I did not always, so I sympathize with the dial up users, and short of costly satellite connections (big upfront cost plus about $70/month), high speed is NOT available to everyone. 

    The personal information is not important to me.  If one frequents the board, they will eventuallyget to know everyone as we share personal information about outselves that we are comfortable in sharing --- much like good friends.

  14. Ceeayche | | #26

    Unlike some others I work for a high tech company and enjoy both the technological advancements, and the best of the way we used to do. 

    However, I agree with many of their points.  I like the fact that you can pop in and out quickly and that the screens are not cluttered with ads (click through revenue is highly over rated-- and IMHO not worth the negative impact). 

    I share the opinion that it would be a lot easier if the Threads site and the Gatherings site shared a common login-- navigating between the two like they are separate sites seems counter intuitive.

    Although I belive you CAN post pictures into the messages.  I am also conscious that many of our users are on Dial up or on wireless connections that are not at broadband capacity.  I'd hate to degredade their user experience.

    Anything that helps us find the old postings on the issue we need now is a great enhancement.   And, grouping them together so that new users don't end up posting redundent questions would be a nice touch.

    Finally, please keep the personal touch a coming from Threads staff.  I think it greatly enhances our experience when we observe you listening.

  15. MaryinColorado | | #27

    I love this forum so hope you don't change it too much so it's unfamiliar.  It would be nice if the photos we post could be automatically sized appropriately.  I'd post more photos if I could get them the right size.  Mary

  16. rodezzy | | #46

    I love this forum and even though I have been away for a few months, I'm back and receiving all the help I need.  These ladies here are wonderfully helpful and nurishing.  They fill my spirit with the will to learn and create.  Also I like the way it is constructed.  I can't explain it but other forums are hard to access, comment to and get answers from.  I like the titles you can choose to get to a group that is interested in what you are talking about at the time.  I like that you allow for all forms of needle art as well as equipment discussions.  I love that it has a worldwide access because I've met women from all over the globe and I feel priviledged to be in their company.  I've met some ladies that have become confidants and friends.  They have shared their families, traditions and hardships. 

    And being able to post pictures of our creations in progress and otherwise, is a hugh bonus in the format that you have here, because it gives us the opportunity to show people what we are talking about, and what we have accomplished.  And it is good because after someone has helped you through a creative process, it is gratifying to them also to see how it turned out.  I love the photo thread. 

    And, as we know, this world can be a lonely place for people who are creative in our type of needle arts.  It's hard to find people who can converse with you on thread choices, what knitting needles to use, how to make a quilt, how to work an inseam, is my shoulder seam aligned, etc.....and we can live in a vacuum of fabric and notions.  Sometimes, you just want to "talk shop."  But here, we find answers to our questions, empathy for our trials and errors, information that makes our lives untangle, and friendships to die for. 

    Again, I thank the folks at Threads for allowing me to be a part of this great forum.  Everything has pros and cons, the pros (for me) outway any cons.  We should discuss problems and get results, but all in all.....I love Gatherings!

  17. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #47

    Unlike other forums, which are purely technique or help based, this is a true Gathering place of like minded people who have a common interest in all forms of textile arts. We gather here to share our interest, expertise, knowledge, thoughts, muses, ideas, support.
    We get to learn and exchange ideas freely amongst other posters, and share links we have found to other places to learn from.
    We challenge each other, in a friendly, non competitive way. Threads Magazine provides the competition for those that want more.
    For some of us "regular" Gatherers, it is a social network to share with people of similar interests, that we do not have otherwise.
    I know that Threads has been building onto the main magazine page, a comment posting type of thing. I have not had any reason or need to post on it. I prefer the conversational tone here. I do look at it once in a while, but find it hard to navigate, and the page too busy. I prefer the clean look here. Cathy

    1. MaryinColorado | | #48

      I agree with ThreadKoe!  Mary

    2. Katina | | #49

      I second every word you've said - thanks Cathy


  18. User avater
    Sewista | | #50

    I now have satellite internet but having had dial up for some time, a few suggestions. If pictures are allowed, please limit their size or have a program that will automatically resized them as some sites do. It is also easy to resize your own and I would be glad to tell how to do that. I cannot tell you the number of times I gave up and left the size because I clicked on a picture that would honestly take 20 minutes or not at all to load with dial up. It does not make visiting a site fun. Also, for our dial up guests, please no avatars or sparklies. These things are ridiculous and I gave up on one sewing site that I really like because loading a thread took forever with all the sparkly avatars, ridiculous. But if you paid for premium membership, you didn't get the avatars, very bad PR. I just left and haven't gone back. One thing I do like is being able to post a SMALL picture next to your post, as you can see on this thread on another forum: http://everythingsewingforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=13262These small photos are totally voluntary. Some are self photos, some are flowers from one's garden, some are garment details, one is a great photo of a self portrait. For a while I used one that was just a pretty hat sitting on a table. Some are family members in garments sewn by the poster. Some have no photo and that is fine too. But, it is really nice to put a face to a picture and I think it adds cohesion to the group. It's much harder to flame someone whose photo you see almost every day and have come to know. Those are my suggestions, mostly for our sisters and gents with dial up. Thanks for the opportunity to suggest. Bunny

    1. gailete | | #51

      Thank you for thinking of us out here in dial up country! It is frustrating but the budget doesn't allow the close to $100/month for satellite, or whatever it would take to get faster internet. Think of all the thread, fabric, notions books and magazines you could buy in a year with that money. Or also think of the food and medication and mortgages where it already goes :( .

      Edited 9/20/2009 8:47 am ET by gailete

      1. pc3 | | #53

        I also to have dial up internet, and get very frustrated with most of the sites out there because they just take way to long to load. I hope you don't change it to much because its right now I can come in and read the threads, without to much trouble.


        Pams 3D Designs

    2. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #52

      We can put up a pic in our profiles, but hardly anyone fills them out. It is nice to be able to just click on the profile, to learn a few basics about the people we chat with, like where in the world they live, and the level of experience. It makes it a lot easier to frame your reply. Putting the info on the forum page makes the page messy. It would be great if just that were required info in the profile. Cathy

  19. Palady | | #54

    Reading through, I trust the most recents, addressing dial-up, are noted.  As Gail posted, budget comes into play.  With the current trend of going video for so much, us dial-uppers can be wanting in a sense.  Yet, the cost of upgrading still takes priority.


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