Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Redbridge-i (Beta version)

Hello, boys and girls! Lots of familiar 'faces' here, I see! I also see that the Town Hall Clowns have failed miserably in their efforts to give R-i a makeover!

Just when it looked as if they might just be getting somewhere (several days behind schedule) it all fell over again! Now, I wasn't surprised by this as it was the subject of the post I wanted to submit anyway. Of course, it is very likely that the post will fail to see the light of day there in any case, but I did an off-line draft anyway so, waste not, want not, I'll post it here for all to see.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!

I tried to quote a short phrase from my previous post and got:

Access Denied
You tried to enter a area (sic) where you didn't have access,if you are not logged in please click the Login button on the top right of the page.

So, I'll have to do it the hard way, then! (This relates to doing it in Notepad without the useful right-click gizmo I have for entering bold/italic etc. formatting commands. I am now going back over it and taking them out to suit this format!)

If Redbridge-i (beta version) ever struggles back to life, this might get posted ...

Quote: 'I notice the home page says that it is the beta version ...'

... for those not familiar with the term, here is an extract from Wikipedia (my emphasis) ...



"Beta" is a nickname for software which has passed the alpha testing stage of development and has been released to users for software testing before its official release. It is the prototype of the software that is released to the public. Beta testing allows the software to undergo usability testing with users who provide feedback, so that any malfunctions these users find in the software can be reported to the developers and fixed. Beta software can be unstable and could cause crashes or data loss.

A "beta version" is the first version released outside the organization or community that develops the software, for the purpose of evaluation or real-world black/grey-box testing. The process of delivering a beta version to the users is called beta release. Beta level software generally includes all features, but may also include known issues and bugs of a less serious variety ...

...Beta version software is likely to be useful for internal demonstrations and previews to select customers, but unstable and not yet ready for release ...'

Famous last words! Anybody who attempted to follow its promised birth over the (extended) weekend and its total failure on Monday evening will entirely agree with that!

To quote something from my last post on the old site, I would love to see Redbridge Council's official definition of 'fit for purpose' ...


  1. "Beta" - the name of the second letter in the Greek alphabet; not to be confused with the English adjective "better" - as the Redi experience shows beyond any doubt!

  2. Welcome Knowsie, there is also "Perpetual Beta"
    where it never gets beyond the "Beta" version

  3. I trust that's not a vote in favour of the goings on over at R-i!

    I do know what you mean but it only works if the beta release is of sufficiently high quality.

    I think Windows Defender is in that category - the beta release was originally intended to expire at the end of three months IIRC but it carries on to this day.

    (I fully expected Microsoft not only to pull the plug on it after three months but that they would replace it with a shiny new version that you would have to pay for - it came as a bit of a shock to actually get something from Bill Gates for free!)

  4. I think I know why Redi's Beta Version may not be working properly. Perhaps Redimanager is on betablockers......

  5. Redbridgei site is 'down' yet again, i'm getting the error message..

    Problem Loading The Page

    Shame as I needed access to a document.

    Why oh Why do these I'T bods continue to 'fix' something when it is not broke?

  6. I have also noticed on the Beta version that if answers to any question go on to a second page then the number of answers is correctly stated but you cannot read the latter ones because it won't access the second page!!

  7. So far it seems even more "crappy" than the previous version. Certainly pretty clear evidence of the old maxim "if it ain't broke don't fix it", but I suspect their hope was to impose even greater control. All they've achieved is the "great switch-off "!


    Below are some of the statements by Roger Hampson, the Chief Executive

    "It's about giving the resident a voice,
    but in particular it's about changing the balance of power between residents and the council"

    "Redbridge i offers a host of features, to increase the dialogue Redbridge has with the community and the Council."

    ‘Who owns the local authority? It should be the public. We should be able to say to them, “this belongs to you, and you don’t need to go to another website to make us do something”.’

    “it aims to get residents more interested in the Council and its services”.

    “The online forums are a popular feature of the new website, with over 1,000 forum messages posted in the last quarter of 2007”

    "One concern was that increased public engagement through the forums might diminish the role of councilors as the representatives of their wards. However, members have been given training on contributing to discussion forums and many contribute regularly to debates. In this way Redbridge-i is beginning to facilitate increased engagement between councilors and the public."

    "An important ingredient for the success of the forums is that relevant officers respond quickly, when appropriate, and members frequently participate in discussions. This means questions are answered effectively, positions clarified and a more productive dialogue can be held."

    "This has required a culture that is prepared to accept criticism and engage in debate in real time."

    "The discussion forums are another key component of Redbridge i, attracting several hundred postings each month"

    One might be mistaken for thinking that he was extremely enthusiastic about hosting the Forums, however he masterminded the retrograde step of V2 of RedbridgeI,"
    A return to the Dark Ages, when you only had news from the next village and what happens on the other side of the Borough is an unknown world, this is the effect of removing the borough wide forums to be replaced by “ask your Neighbor “ or “Your Neighbor hood,” cutting off communication.

    Although there were not a lot of contributors (now excommunicated)
    There was a vast interest, very nearly 7.5 MILLION VIEWS (that’s 30 each for every man, woman and child in the borough) where people made a deliberate effort to enter the site and view the threads. This is ENGAGEMENT! Compare this to the 461 people who attended full council meetings and the 2.5 million copies of Redbridge Life, most councils would give both arms to have that degree of residents engagement, but apparently not Redbridge .

    Has the Chief Executive lived up to his public statements?

    "many contribute regularly to debates. In this way Redbridge-i is beginning to facilitate increased engagement between councilors and the public”.

    “An important ingredient for the success of the forums is that relevant officers respond quickly, when appropriate, and members frequently participate in discussions. This means questions are answered effectively, This has required a culture that is prepared to accept criticism and engage in debate in real time.”

    But for an extremely heavy-handed, slow inconsistent moderation process, a process of getting answers which was more like pulling teeth from an elephant, when indeed questions were actually answered at all, and what can only be described as a concerted effort of councilors to avoid the forums at any cost, despite their training, the views could have easily doubled and the contributors greatly enlarged.
    The council as a whole FAILED in every respect to build upon this enormous base of engagement, it should have been educating us, telling us how the council worked, instead continuing the process of local government secrecy.
    Will the Council now build on the largest engagement process the borough has ever seen, realize what it has lost and relaunch it with its full support.

  9. [Hungry shoppers who want to expand their pallet can take advantage of the International Food Fare which will be serving up Peruvian food in the Town Centre from December 16 to 24.}
    The above bracketed thing has been extracted from a news release by the rediwebsite regarding the switching on of the Christmas lights in Ilford,
    Expanding my pallet?
    Expanding my palette?
    Expanding my palate?
    Non, none of these for me: at Christmas I want to increase my waistline!
    And, right now, my ribs are aching from evil laughter.
    Who on earth is writing the blurb for their events and who on earth is editing?

  10. And I do hope they are not going to put Guinea pigs on the menu!

  11. Copy and paste of a recent question posted on the forum 'tell us about bugs on our website':

    [Why am I allowed only quick reply?
    Can anybody use the reply facility and what is the difference?
    And why are my frank open and honest questions dealt with via PMs?
    So as not to put out newbies?]

  12. I understand that there remain major problems - even 12 days after 31 October when this wonderful "all-singing, all-dancing" new system was due to be launched.

    The "quick reply" facility has been brought into use, but I understand they are no longer even guessing when "reply" and "quote" will be available. In the meantime the on-going remedial work must be costing money, and the "quick reply" allows neither preview nor checking of a post the is larger than the quite small area visible in the box for the "quick reply".

    Time for one or two council officers to be awarded P45s urgently; and if Redbridge-i is an award-winning site, then it must be the booby prize surely?

  13. oh why oh why was my post concerning 7.5 million views on the old forum, which was posted to redi came up as posted by "guest"
    which also attracted the fastest reply from Roger Hampson of all time, shame he did not answer all the other questions still outstanding!

  14. Better guest than ghost - ask Lady MacBeth.

  15. A post of mine in the bugs thread earlier today seems to have failed to have materialised on RiV2, so here goes ...

    There is either a bug in the page found by following the "Monitor your bugs here" link, as it comes up with no entries, or there is no intention of taking any action, which makes this thread a total fraud.

    To add to Anne's "Why am I allowed only quick reply?", we have "You cannot post new topics in this forum."

    Now, as this did work for a short time, is this restriction a bug? Or grossly heavy handed censorship?

    ... Ah! Perhaps that's the reason ...


  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. (Oops! I only wanted to edit it ...!)

    Morris commented earlier that the quote function is not available but there is a workaround using copy and paste.

    Surround the pasted copy with [quote] and [/unquote] commands and you will generate a quote box. You will have to add the name of the person you're quoting manually.


    [quote][b]Morris said:[/b] then pasted quote[/unquote]

    will generate a quote box with 'Morris said:' in bold type at the beginning, followed by the quote in plain text.

  18. Oh dear! I will get this right ...
    ... eventually!

    The correct command is [quote][/quote] (not [/unquote])

    Apologies for any confusion. To make things simpler, copy this

    [quote][b] said:[/b] [/quote]

    and keep it handy. Then copy into your RiV2 post and fill in the blanks ...

  19. yes, Knowsie, you can't amend comments, but you can remove or delete them, but only your own.
    Posts can be amended by the post author or Admin.

    An alternative BBCode for quotes is:

    This comes out as "Name wrote" in the heading bar.

  20. Quote An alternative BBCode for quotes is:


    Possibly. I've noticed that there is no uniform syntax for this (I tried the one you suggested in another forum to see what would happen and it didn't work - just left the plain text with all the code and made the result incomprehensible!)

    Without a preview facility, it's impossible to know which syntax works with RiV2 - unless you are absolutely certain - are you?

    For example, this forum uses HTML but underline and blockquote tags are not allowed. But I can only see that because I can pre-view my posts (and they are not accepted, anyway!)

  21. That was the syntax used on the old Redi. I played around with it changing peoples names and adding time and date.
    I have used it on RiV2 but the post was not published. However it was sent back to me via PM and it worked.

    Yes HTML in blogger comments is quite limited. But its better in the posts.

  22. morris hickey said...
    Better guest than ghost - ask Lady MacBeth.

    does that mean that Roger Hampson is washing his hands of it or just wringing them?

  23. Instead of beta should they have renamed the website dodo?
    Perhaps not because there are still a few signs of life!
    Not squashed out of existence yet.
    (as posted on the redi Forum , 30, 11, 09 )