The Betty MacDonald Network™
A literary society and fan magazine
Welcome to our open, community supported fan site for American author and humorist Betty Bard MacDonald.
Inkubator: The Editor's Log
Symbols Remain in Bettyland
A recent business trip to Port Townsend ("Town" by consensus) took me inevitably through Chimacum, so after 30 years living nearby I took the detours needed to endure enjoy some local color. As usual there on the peninsula the color was mostly gray.
Experimental Member News Feature
To the membership: For those relatively new, I am the technical manager of this site. It has been a while since I posted. We are experimenting with a new personal "update" feature. Think of it as a personal newsletter, similar to Twitter or Facebook. You can post notes for other members. Notes are limited to about 250 characters. This feature is not intended to replace the Forums, which are intended to foment extended conversations. This is the place to post announcements, travel reports, and personal triumphs.
To post an update, sign in and navigate (back) to your profile. There you will find a form asking for news or comments. Type your message with an optional link to information on another site and save the form. It will appear both on your profile and in a summary elsewhere on the site. Registered members will be able to link to your profile for the full message; others will see only a teaser.
New FOBM site features installed
Our web host has enabled some modern web toys for us to play with. You can now interact with other fans in new and exciting ways. It all starts on your personal home page.
Update members on your activities with Updates. Just write a 200 character message, and it will appear on your personal home page, older updates are accessible with a click.
Link to your pictures and movies! Media sites like Flickr and YouTube have a way to capture so-called "embedding" code. Simply copy that code and paste it into a field on your edit form. In most cases a icon will be automatically constructed, either linking to an external resource or displaying the item right on your home page.
Finally you can write directly to another member on subjects of mutual interest. These messages are not displayed to other users.
Have fun! Feedback including suggestions and bug reports are encouraged as always.
Using Member Networking Features
We've added some new features to the site. A member who found the new Updates feature asked this question: Does anyone know anyone else who writes this kind of wit? Authors?
In fact that question should have been asked in the forums. Asking a question in the Updates limits its visibility, as readers must first find you and then see your updates.
So use the Updates for "Just got back from a tour of Bettyland." and the Forums for comments on matters of general interest or for questions you hope others will answer to inform the whole membership.
Registration Procedure Change Implemented
A new step has been added to the registration procedure. After an applicant fills out the form, the system will send an email message containing a link. The new member must click the link to confirm the submitted contact data before signing in for the first time.
Feedback is appreciated. Please let us know if you experience any issues while joining.
Member Profiles Expanded
Our web host, Clark Internet Publishing, has expanded its standard member list and profiles. To see the new content, sign in and click on List Members on the member control bar.
The list now distinguishes between posts in the News (blog) and in the Forum, listing the number of contributions in each. You can re-sort the list by username, real name (if you have opted to display it), or by the number of contributions.
To see your own profile, click your name in the list. You can edit your profile by clicking My Profile in the control bar and then Edit:Profile on your personal page. You can easily update your location, affiliation (e.g., your job), and other profile features.
FOBM Traffic Report
In the nine months since we converted to the new forum format we've had 111,698 page requests, plus an unknown number for News views, which are not separately tallied.
In the Forum about one reader in 26 adds a comment when reading a topic.
The "old forum" received 740,422 page views during its four years of activity. Unfortunately we cannot tell how many of those were related to spam attempts, as the software we were using was notoriously leaky and attack prone, which is why we had to abandon it. The two systems do not lend themselves to easy direct comparisons.
New Forum Feature
Forum users will enjoy a new feature added by our web host, Clark Internet Publishing. They can now click a [Latest] link to jump to the last page of a popular topic. This is especially useful when you add a post and want to see it without paging through all the previous comments.
Invite a Friend!
Our 100 plus members are just the tip of the Betty M iceberg. You can now easily invite a friend to participate in FOBM. Just follow the Invite... link at the upper right of the home page's main body. A form will ask for your name and email and those of your friend. All contact data are as always confidential and used only for FOBM purposes.
Fourm Conversion Set for January 12
The Forum system that has served us since 2001 is being retired on or about January 12 after a successful run. All FOBM participants should read this article and take the actions indicated below.
Forum Conversion Procedures Announced
The forum conversion is proceeding. Here is a to-do list for members.
New Forum Format Coming
We're testing a new system for the forum. It will be fully integrated with the rest of the site, and all activities that require registration will be unified. Old forum content will be migrated to the new system once we've thoroughly tested it all. You need take no action at this time; further notice will be posted in the News and the Forum.
Today we have made a few modest layout changes in preparation for some new features we will add this Spring. The new "horizontal" format lets us squeeze a bit more information upward on most pages. Some of the main menu links that were less frequently clicked have been moved inside onto related pages.
Registration Requirement Added
New Registration Requirement September 2006
UPDATE JAN 15, 2007: AS OF TODAY, ALL REGISTRATIONS ARE REVIEWED BY AN ADMINISTRATOR. WHEN YOU REGISTER, A NOTICE WILL BE SENT TO AN ADMINISTRATOR, WHO WILL NORMALLY REPLY WITHIN A DAY OR SO. WE REGRET ANY INCONVENIENCE AND HOPE THIS WILL NOT DETER YOU; THIS ACTION IS TAKEN IN RESPONSE TO ABUSE OF THE BOARD BY COMMERCIAL SPAMMERS AND OTHER POND SCUM. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING. FA
We are reconfiguring the Forum (1) to require confirmation of email address and (2) to hide the Memberlist feature. For already-registered users this will not require any great change. Use of the FOBM site and Forum remain free of charge, courtesy of Clark Internet Publishing.
This change will automatically link all new posts and comments to their author, and it will reduce our workload in support of this free service. Unfortunately, the Web is not as friendly a place as it once was, but we can keep FOBM as friendly as possible by a few adjustments.
We are making this change in response to an increase in the abuse of the Forum by people unrelated to your purpose. This is very similar to the sending of spam through email, but it puts the burden on the web host to support a lot of useless traffic. There are two typical gambits
1. posting a bogus user with a web address; this is done to increase traffic on the address by creating additional links in order fool search engines; by hiding the member list that objective is thwarted, because the robots will not find a link to "click" and the link(s) will not be indexed.
2. posting spurious messages in the topics; these include all links to commercial sites.
These changes will largely block the use of the forum by automated procedures. What this mainly does is to require a real, working email address to start adding content.
CONFIDENTIALITY: We strive to minimize public access to email addresses to reduce spam. Because the Forum uses third-party software we do not have an easy way to do this, so we cannot entirely hide addresses at this time. We ourselves make no use of your address except to inform you of Forum-related information.
FYI, our readers have seen just over 180,000 pages in the Forums and just over 20,000 here in the magazine.
Friends of Betty MacDonald is hosted by [url=http://www.clarkinternet.com/]Clark Internet Publishing[/url] using its [i]CIP Sitemaker[/i]™ and [i]Journalmaker[/i]™ systems. Thanks, and we look forward to your next post.
UPDATE NOV 15 - I just did a Google search on "betty macdonald" and after two years of your consistent support and participation the FOBM site came up fourth (page one) in the result, after a history site, the wikipedia entry, and one of the alter egos of a long-established commercial web site whose name includes hers and whose more familiar name appears on the [b]second[/b] page. No other member directed site shows up in the first several pages.
Among the results, a previously unknown pseudonym for said commercial site, one MacReview at [url=http://www.eclectica.org/v8n3/mondor_macdonald.html]eclectica.org[/url];
and a cool place to [url=http://www.librarything.com/author/macdonaldbetty]catalog your own library[/url] (caution: all such services should be approached with caution as they can become spam sources; if you try it, put in one book using an alias mailbox you can delete if it's a problem; look for a forthcoming article on spam).
A reminder: You can access the site with www.friendsofbettymacdonald.org OR www.bettymacdonald.net; the two domains are synonymous.