Caravanistan improvements: suggestions?

Talk about the forum & website, off-topic chatter, etc.
steven
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Caravanistan improvements: suggestions?

Post by steven »

Hello all,

I am looking for feedback: if you have a moment, please let me know about what you would change about Caravanistan.

What do you find most annoying/frustrating about Caravanistan?

What feature are you missing? Which could you live without?

What do you like best/least about the site?

Any other inputs welcome! Thank you! :P
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steven
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Re: Caravanistan improvements: suggestions?

Post by steven »

I recently changed a lot of things on the website that had gotten outdated, including the design. If you notice things stop working, please let me know, I am sure there are still some bugs to be worked out.

Thank you.
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bwv812
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Re: Caravanistan improvements: suggestions?

Post by bwv812 »

On the coding side, I'm not able to navigate to my "control panel" or make changes to my avatar, etc. as I keep getting a PHP error. (E.g., "Fatal error: Cannot redeclare sitesplat_user_avatar() (previously declared in /home2/hopper00/public_html/forum/includes/functions_sitesplat.php:16) in /home2/hopper00/public_html/forum/includes/functions_sitesplat.php on line 55")

On the content side, one thing that I would have found useful when I was traveling was a place where I could find information on black-market or unofficial exchange rates for places like Uzbekistan and Iran. I know you can't keep on top of these things by yourself, but even a general idea with information that might be few months out of date would be helpful.
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steven
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Re: Caravanistan improvements: suggestions?

Post by steven »

Thank you for the suggestions! I am working on the control panel issue, I moticed it myself just before I left for travel, so it will be another 2 weeks before I can fix it.

About the exchange rates, i made a topic for Uzbek sum juqst 2 minutes ago, all updates can be posted there, it is under the uzbekistan forum. I did not think about the Iran exchange yet, i will make a topic right now under other places.

Also thank you very much for sharing all your knowledge on the forum, really nice to have someone else commenting, this way it starts to look more like a real community. I am lookong to implement a medal system so people can see who is a frequent contributor or an expert at something.
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bwv812
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Re: Caravanistan improvements: suggestions?

Post by bwv812 »

Also, I think maybe more information on China would be a good idea, not least given its significance to the Silk Road. This came up because of the recent query about the Urumqi-Almaty crossing, which I mistakenly thought was about the Sost-Tashkurgan crossing... which isn't covered here, even though it would probably make sense for it to be here. Of course covering all of China would be a bit much, but there's lots of stuff that would be relevant. (And maybe it would give you a good excuse to finally visit China and Xinjiang, even if you can't drive there.)
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Re: Caravanistan improvements: suggestions?

Post by steven »

Would love to have that, and it's definitely in the plan. Main issue here is time, just not enough hours in a day. What do you think are the priorities here? Which info is most important? I might allocate some time to China if it does not become another sprawling project. If someone is keen on putting up some info (you?), I would be happy to relinquish some editorial control to make sure we can cover it all.

Also, I recently added border crossing support for a much larger section of the Silk Road. Sost-Tashkurgan now covered here: http://caravanistan.com/border-crossings/pakistan/ That was on my list for about 2 years though :-)
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bwv812
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Re: Caravanistan improvements: suggestions?

Post by bwv812 »

Unfortunately I won't be able to help out in a substantive way, but I think some coverage of at least western China and Xinjiang is a good idea, especially since this is an under-served and under-covered region (in contrast to China proper). I'm not sure, but perhaps having China (as well as Tajikistan, which is a more glaring omission) added as separate forum entries under "Places" would help get more discussion and information?

I don't think the Tashkurgan-Sost border is up on the border map, though (it wasn't a couple of days ago).
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Re: Caravanistan improvements: suggestions?

Post by steven »

Thanks for pointing out, I did forget it on the map: another glaring omission!

My strategy with the forum is to only create new forums when people start posting about the topic - otherwise, you get a lot of sad, empty forums. I will make a forum for China, though, I looked and there are some posts. But would like to get it to 20 quickly!

Nobody is posting about China, Iran, Pakistan, Caucasus - most likely because there is no info on the site for these regions yet. For Tajikistan, just not enough people going there. It might seem so because everybody blogs who goes to Tajikistan, but the main tourism country for Central Asia is Kazakhstan, as witnessed by the forum posts. In general, we haven't come to a point yet where the conversation is about something else than visas. When that time comes, the forum will adapt.

About China on the site, I am not so rushed to do more, since there already is a great online travel guide to Xinjiang with farwestchina, so people find what they need there. Do you think farwestchina is lacking? In what way?
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bwv812
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Re: Caravanistan improvements: suggestions?

Post by bwv812 »

Farwestchina is an attractive site that is aggressively monetized, but it doesn't have great practical information, in my opinion. It reads like a frothy travel-inspiration blog with buzzfeedy listicles but little in the way of detailed practical advice (maybe if you buy his travel guide you can get better information?), and I wasn't that impressed with the sociopolitical insight of the author given that he's lived there since 2006.

Everything tends to be easier in China, so that's probably also a big part of why there are fewer questions and comments in the forum (though the lack of posts on visa extensions is surprising, though it may be because most people enter through Xinjiang as opposed to exiting there).
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IndianGuy
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Re: Caravanistan improvements: suggestions?

Post by IndianGuy »

You can count me as someone who will reply to topics involving "India" though I would not like to commit much at this point of time. I will do my best. But, I do not feel we need to create forum/sub-forum for India.
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