Does the FFN understand what is happening to the FFN site?

Without "reinventing the wheel here", one of the seasoned FFN members posted the following:

"The discussions on the events in Japan are buried. There were some great discussions on Building Construction and many on tactics and equipment but they are 10's of pages back.

Between FFN 
CONSTANTLY adding *news* posts and the assorted games, caption-this and meaningless posts, anything good just gets quickly buried. I guess it could be compared to a tsunami of that crap just rolls in every day and buries the good stuff.

On the other hand, there's way more things to take serious than the slow and inevitable decline of FFN into a facebook clone. Probably only a matter of time before there's pillow fights, mafia wars and farms here on FFN."

What is causing the decline of some of the brightest minds participating on the FFN? Possibly, as the FFN staff redesign and change the format, you can see from the below example that the FFN is really trying to keep the topics varied and interesting. One key thing that you can see below is that once upon a time, there were more than just five forum choices. Is less really better?

Personally, I don't think having five choices is a good thing. As mentioned above, information and articles for important issues such as the Japan earthquake and nuclear threat are buried. 

Perhaps it's time to change the categories to enable informative posts to not get buried. Out of sight equals out of mind... Perhaps a separate window component for the games might be a good solution. Regardless, having more than five choices prevents the minimal five choices from taking up what little room the FFN provides for intelligent forum posts.

The existing format consistently has two of the five spots, sometimes more taking up the minimum (5) forum posts that are displayed. What is even more scary is that there are 22,220 replies for a forum post on Word Association and 1,018 replies to another word game. What are our priorities? 

Am I alone here? I don't think so... This profession is just that, a profession. I challenge others to raise the bar and support posts that have minimal comments. Use this site to learn more than play. Your life and others could depend on it


I could be missing the obvious fact that this site is moving more toward the social side. Silly me for thinking that the FFN statement on the bottom of the page means what it says...

This site is intended for use by current and former fire, rescue & EMS professionals. 


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What's even more scary is that reactor number three is a MOX reactor, many times more toxic than anyone expects. I sure hope they can keep things contained. You have to know that the firefighters spraying down the reactors for cooling know they are going to die. This is so sad and potentially very serious should things continue the way they are. This is an atomic bomb that has gone off, in slow motion... And no one cares. Very sad commentary for the fire service, or at least the folks who are posting here on the FFN.
Mike, as we discussed in our phone conversation the other day, I agree completely.

The physics of a containment leak from a MOX reactor really are scary.

The majority of the direct radiation deaths from the Chernobyl accident were reportedly firefighters. Unfortunately, it looks as if the Fukashima accident statistics might follow that grim pattern.

For those people who think that firefighter pensions should fit the same format as other public pensions, maybe it's time to recognized that regardless of the day-to-day hazards or the extraordinary ones, firefighters often take the brunt of poisoning themselves in order to reduce the danger to everyone else.

That goes for the poisong in smoke, everyday hazmat, EMS biohazards, or the occasional major nuclear power accident.
Just for the record here, things don't seem to be getting any better...

We've had this conversation a couple of times before since I've been on FFN, going back to 2005.

You know, one of the Terms of Service for FFN states: "Post irrelevant content."

Since the Web Chief has not been booting people for posting "Word Association" and "caption this" threads, so those must fall within the TOS for FFN.

Which once again leads me to conclude that there is room for both the "Serious Side" where we exchange ideas, opinions and information in order to help each other do our jobs in a better and more professional manner, but there is also room for Firefighting Professionals to relax, socialize, and have fun together.

Just like at "real life" gatherings of Firefighting Professionals, like FDIC, there are serious areas and moments, like HAZMAT and other classes, but there are also purely social moments and areas where Firefighting professionals gather just to get to know each other, have fun and just relax among other Firefighting Professionals. To pretend there aren't banquets, parties and evening gatherings at pubs is disingenuous.

Why do some people have such peptic reactions to FFN being a virtual analog to a large gathering of Firefighting professionals "in real life?" Why can't we have BOTH professional discussions, learning and training AND fun in one "Social Network for Firefighters?"

Next time you attend a training class, I dare you to tell me that nobody cracks a joke or tells a tall tale during the breaks.

I like to think of it(my ADHD) as "multi-tasking."
Perhaps we can convince the Web Team to arrange the forums by broad subject and give each heading an arrow, much like the Mac operating system uses. "Tactics, Fire Science, EMS," etc. Members could select a subject area they are interested in and expand their choices while not affecting the main subject listing --- and without going through the search process. I agree that it's good to have both serious posts and light posts like "caption this." I spend enough time on FFN that I get plenty of variety, which I like. Thanks, CB!
Very nice Mike.
A lot has already been mentioned here regarding your post, so I'll keep this brief.
My opinion is that it would be nice to log into FFN and come to a "home" page that gives you options to where you would like to navigate to. Click on "ffn news" if you want to read news articles of events around the world. Or click on the gaming section if you would like to participate in word games and such. etc. etc. etc. Get rid of the "latest posts" tab.

I joined FFN a while back for the sole purpose of hoping to learn and share valuable information in regards to firefighting and ems. And, with thanks to many of you, I have. But, the numbers of "seasoned" veterans with all the knowledge seem to be flaking away, taking their information with them. And with that, I find myself not contributing in the threads as much. Most of the time I don't even log in because I know there won't be much to respond to. So, I'll pop in and take a quick look around then leave again.

Anyway, yeah. Good post, Mike.
take care
i have to agree with you cap, the topics are getting a little weird and off kilter. i know i'm gonna piss off some readers but we really ought to try to cut back on the helmet color posts and do Jr's need to cut school when the pager goes off and how many lights we have on our POV's. Mike Dugan hit it on the head because he said alot of what i try to preach to the youngsters we have comming into the fire service today. this job has changed so much since i came in and not for the easier. we have a responsibility to pass on our knowlodge to the younger folks comming up and i get laughed at for being so passionate. i have had only 2 "kids" come back to me and say, " mr R i ran into a situation like you told us about and it was everything you said it would be, thanks for what you told us, it helped me". that was all i needed to hear because most of what i spout is stuff "I" was told comming up. just passin it on.

i'm redy to take my beating now
Cap your post reminds me of the saturday night live skit where pres. bush is talking about illegal immigration and in the backround was scrambeling mexicans across the lawn-LOL but not too far from the point is the president has alredy said that no radiation is commin to the US....maybie thats why he's going on TV on monday to tell us that we really do have "boots on the ground in libya" AND (some) radiation is comming here. maybie thats the reason for the complacency
perhaps your research also yielded discssions about a lot of FFs having ADHD... in their adulthood...

and the need to find jobs that permit that aspect of their life to be well-served and still complete tasks

in addition to what you said... the ability to rapidly change tasks and keep excitement plays well into the pattern of ADHD brain functioning.. so perhaps FFN knows who their audience really is...

I'm just sayin...

and thanks for naked... you are always proud to say...


We're adding an entirely new component of the site in April that will break out the news, features, training, etc. SEPARATE from the forums. The limitation until now has been the software...that will change shortly and the forums will be "discussions" only.

Great post Greenman and completely where things are :) However, with the new site we'll be breaking out the 'Social' site (the Ning Powered site) with an entirely new content site filled with even more news, training, education and more ... so stay tuned! There is definitely room for both and we'll post a few 'teaser' images here later this week!

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