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Community and Q&A

How are we doing?

Daniel Morrison | Posted in General Questions on

We’ve been up and running for almost six months now. Many of you have signed up for GBA PRO membership, many are un-paid members lurking through the free content. Regardless of your membership status, we’re very interested in your feedback.

How are we satisfying your needs?
What can we do better?
What are we doing well?

For the GBA PROs, What features would you like us to develop?
Do you use My GBA?
What about the Construction Detail library, is it useful?
Same question for the Strategy Generator, is it useful?
How could all of this stuff be better?

For the unpaid users of the site, What would it take to get you to become members?

Thanks for supporting!

Daniel Morrison
Managing Editor

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  1. homedesign | | #1

    I think that the blogs and the content are great and getting better all the time.

    1. Maybe I am just not using the site correctly.
    It is very difficult for me to notice new comments on blogs that were started many weeks ago... any advice?
    2. Is there a way for us users to upload cad files or photos or pdf's into My GBA?
    3. Have you thought about creating sketch-up 3-d models of that pro members could take the details and then modify them and then post them and discuss them? many of us own autocad but anyone can download free sketchup. Maybe that would be a way for more of us to share ideas.

  2. user-669103 | | #2

    1) Being able to edit the answers we've posted would be nice. Possibly for some period like 24 hours? Or until there is a subsequent reply.
    2) Traffic is slow, but it will build over time.

  3. user-669103 | | #3

    I second John's idea of supporting Google Sketchup.
    The site claims to be useful for knowledgeable home owner, even I don't have AutoCAD, and I'm a software engineer. But I do have Sketchup and it only took me like 10 minutes to learn the basics of using it.

  4. Riversong | | #4

    You might consider not dismissing unpaid members as "lurkers". I have little interest in paying for what should be open access information, but I've been very active in answering questions. Hardly "lurking".

    I agree that the Q&A forum needs improvements. Editing capability, thread views, and an index of new responses would make it far more user-friendly and useful.

  5. Daniel Morrison | | #5

    Thanks for the input.

    The added utility to the forum is on the list.
    We've looooooong been trying to figure out how to get SketchUp into the site. Currently, there is no viewer that we can embed into a web page which would allow people to goof around with a SketchUp drawing right there on the site. To look at a flashing detail sideways, for example.

    I've got a few really good leads on how I can 'almost' do this, so keep your eyes peeled in the future. In the short term, there's a little bit of good news: you can import a .dwg file into SketchUp to play with.

    I just learned this the other day when my associate editor showed me.

    Choose Import from the File menu; (file type Auto CAD, .dwg).
    The file will be dropped to the floor of the 3-d view if that's your default view.

    (Bear with me because I know very little about SketchUp.)

    Camera>Standard views>Top will orient the drawing properly. The labels don't seem to import, but the arrows do (FWIW).

    Maybe we should set up a 'SketchUp users' folder?

    Robert, I didn't mean to imply that I was dismissing unpaid members. We're a new site, I'm not dismissing anyone -- Jump in, the water's fine!

    Your comment about paying for content though, brings up an interesting point -- what information, 'should' be free?

    Thanks again,

  6. homedesign | | #6

    The sketchup files do not need to be interactive or imbedded.
    That would be nice...
    It seems like you could provide .skp files in the same way as you do the .dwg files
    Should be easy to print sketchup to pdf files too
    Some kind of sharing folder would be nice.
    Seems like we could start sharing blocks or assemblies of blocks that your staff architect builds...and then modify them...and then upload them to a sharing folder.
    I am thinking about printing my floor plans and elevations on large format sheets and printing my details in color on 8-1/2 x 11 pdf format.
    I think the combination of color and 3d sketchup would really help to communicate the complicated assemblies

  7. EJ Palma | | #7

    I agree, the blogs are great. I personally like the Q & A because of the community forum appeal. It is very interesting and informative to read the questions and answers from building professionals and people seeking general knowledge of green building. This site is informative, relevant and full of useful information for every level of expertise, and the sharing of ideas aids all users. All websites need improvment at first but after reading the other comments it will only be a short time before the bugs get worked out. There is a wealth of knowledge in the comments above, and the sharing of these concepts will only benefit this site and everyone who uses it. I am not versatile with Sketchup. Although I have the program I have not really spent any time learning it. The architectural software that I use for design is Softplan because it is compatible with Autocad and has technical sun studies incorporated into the system for site design and analysis with the ability to add technical data to the studies. It is much more user friendly than Autocad, and has beautiful 3D modeling capabilities. There is a module in Softplan that can convert dwg. drawings to spd. so that I can import the drawings that you provide. I have not used this module yet so I will let you know if it works. Does anyone else have experience with Softplan on this site? I could use some advice on the conversion module from someone with experience that uses GBA Pro. Keep up the good work everyone, and keep those constructive comments coming. I am a builder and building official in the State of Connecticut. GBA Pro is an excellent learning tool and resource for everyone in the industry, whether involved in green building or conventional building.
    Edward J. Palma,SUNBUILDERS, June 16/09

  8. pderas | | #8

    I would like the option of an email notification checkbox at the bottom of Q&A's. That way we can be tickled when there are further answers to questions of interest.

  9. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #9

    Email notification, or some other way of tracking Q+A posts that you have already read, would be helpful, as would the ability to edit posts. Some of us suffer from foot in mouth disease, or just plain poor spelling.

    The details and strategy generator are great. Several times they have provided an idea for a tricky situation in our design office. Keep adding more though. The last one I searched for, on options for insulating a new crawlspace with recessed floor, in a cold climate, did not turn up any options.

    As a blogger, I would like to be able to embed photos in each post in addition to the main image.

    All in all though, great job, and the site's come a long way in a short length of time.

  10. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #10

    I also like John Brooks' idea of a file sharing folder. The existing one contains GBA's officially sanctioned ideas. The user-supplied details would generate endless debate, but debate is good. Details that achieved group approval could be included in the officially sanctioned folder.

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