What's changing between now and July 2018
|Screen grab of the Brookmans Park Newsletter front page taken on 26 April 2018|
It was announced at the start of the year that the Brookmans Park Newsletter is changing. This is an update on how those changes are progressing, and what can be expected in the two months leading up to the introduction of a new arrangement with our hosting company.
On the face of it, not a lot will appear to have changed. There will still be a Brookmans Park Newsletter home page, accessed via the usual web address of www.brookmans.com.
Updated, refreshed, and enhanced
The majority of the content on the Brookmans Park Newsletter has been revised, improved, and given new homes. All the history content has been moved to the North Mymms History Project, all the walks to Hertfordshire Walker, and much of the local information is now on this site, North Mymms News. New information is being added all the time.
Daily email updates
All three sites mentioned above offer daily email updates. Simply go to the sites, click on the 'free email updates' link on the top right of any page, and sign up to be alerted when new history features, new local walks, or local news and information is added. The daily digest for the site you sign up for will be sent out between 5pm and 7pm each day, but only if new content has been added. So instead of having to check the sites, you will receive notifications once a day if there is any new information to share.
Comment on everything
You have the option to comment on any of the posts on the history, walks, or news & information sites. At the moment, those comments can be made anonymously, although it's always nice if those offering feedback introduce themselves. Because anonymous posts are allowed there will be a delay in the publication of those comments while they are checked. This policy might change to registered members only if the anonymous option causes problems.
Any old links to a page in the former history, walks, or news sections will automatically redirect to the new sites. So nothing of any value has been lost. There will still be prominent links to all three sites on the Brookmans Park Newsletter home page.
Weather, trains, and discussions
The Brookmans Park Newsletter home page will continue to display the local weather and train updates, but the future of the forum is unclear, other than it will continue until the end of June. At that point it will have either been taken over by a new community group, or it will disappear. If someone offers to take over the discussion forum it will probably move to a new home. Whether or not the discussions continue to be showcased on the front page of the Brookmans Park Newsletter will depend on the editorial ethics adopted by those running the forum.
Privacy and forum membership
For privacy reasons, any changes to the forum ownership will be posted in the forum. This is so that registered members can decide whether they want to retain their accounts. The forum has a database of more than 1,000 registered members going back to 2005. All members will be notified of any changes to the forum ownership and status.
Have your say
As mentioned above, anyone will still have the opportunity to comment on material posted on the new sites. So discussions about local issues can continue on North Mymms News, Hertfordshire Walker, or the North Mymms History Project.
Further down the front page of the Brookmans Park Newsletter you will find the Twitter feeds for the three new sites. They are @NorthMymmsPast, @NorthMymmsNews, and @HertsWalker. There you will find the latest tweets and links so that you can follow the feeds you want.
The former Brookmans Park Newsletter Facebook page has a new admin, and has been given a new name. It's now called Brookmans Park Local News and Events. Again, registered Facebook members should make sure that they are happy with the change. The Brookmans Park Newsletter is no longer on Facebook and has nothing to do with the new Facebook page.
The slogan for the Brookmans Park Newsletter has always been "content created by the community for the community", and that will continue. There are contact forms for the three new sites (bottom right of every page). Please get in touch if you have a history feature to suggest, a local walk you would like to comment on, or a news item you would like to suggest, publish, or discuss.
All content on North Mymms News and Hertfordshire Walker is published under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0. Which means anyone is free to use, adapt, and publish the content on condition that they:
- Offer attribution and a link to the original source of the material
- That the material they produce is shared under the same Creative Commons license
- That the material is used for non-commercial purposes only.
So why the changes?
The are two main reasons for these changes. One is costs, the other is forward planning.
The old hosting arrangement with The Positive Internet Company was costing around £200 a year - the new arrangement costs about £20 a year.
Positive, who hosted the Brookmans Park Newsletter free-of-charge from 1998 to 2010, would have continued to do so, but I took the decision in 2010 to cover the costs by displaying Google adverts. I thought Positive had been generous enough, and I became aware that the site had grown to five times the size of the originally agreed free space allocated to the project.
At first, the revenue from the Google ads more than covered the costs of hosting and domain renewal, so much so that we were able to loan money to the Kiva project that helps support sustainable businesses in the majority world. But by late 2017 it became clear that a fall in forum usage, and the resulting drop in Google income, meant that the site was no longer self-sustainable.
The old site is registered in my name so if anything happens to me everything is lost. Now all the content is on platforms that will continue long after I am history.
I hope you continue to find the Brookmans Park Newsletter and the three associated new sites useful. Please do consider signing up for email updates, and please add any comments to the pieces you read, or suggest stories, history features, or local walks that should be covered.
In the meantime, the team behind the North Mymms History Project, and the two of us who keep adding new routes to Hertfordshire Walker, as well as those who update North Mymms News, will continue to upload new content specifically designed to try to enrich the experience of living in the local area.