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Thread: "Ask a Planner" subforum: your thoughts

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    "Ask a Planner" subforum: your thoughts

    Through the years, the Cyburbia Forums regularly receives posts from laypeople asking about planning-related issues that may affect them; variances, special/conditional uses, how a rezoning may affect their property, and so on. Regular Cyburbians are usually great about answering such questions.

    I was considering creating a subforum for such questions called "Ask a Planner". While I'm confident that such a forum would be popular, there are some issues:

    * Just how enthusiastic would you be about offering the equivalent of free advice? A question every week or so seems fine, based on what's currently posted, but what if it's a question a day?

    * There would be the usual disclaimers: don't depend on or make decisions based solely on what's offered here; it's best to consult local authorities for zoning code interpretations, and so on. Disclaimers from similar forums for law, medicine and so on could probably be adapted.

    * What types of questions or subjects would be considered on-topic? I'm thinking it should just be limited to laypeople asking about everyday planning and zoning-related issues. Planning 101-type questions that are more general would probably be more appropriate in the other subforums. Also, we would have to look out for people who just want to start an argument or debate with a "damn commie planner", under the guise of what seems like a legitimate question.

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cal_Planner's avatar
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    i think this is a great idea. But I think new planners may be more likely to post questions than "laypersons" (i.e., non-planners) but I guess that depends on how you market it to the layperson/outside world.
    Cheers!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    While not a big deal. I would worry somewhat about getting sued. Even with the disclaimers people have been known to sue anyway. But it is a good idea no matter who is asking the questions.

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    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    I'm not sure I see how we aren't already serving that need. What say the citizen planners "on board?"
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  5. #5
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SGB View post
    I'm not sure I see how we aren't already serving that need.
    Dittos. I think this is already happening in the various professional subforums such as Land Use and Planning, Design, No Small Plans, etc.

    But making a separate subforum could make it easier for newbies to post. But it may take away good traffic from the current forums.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by SGB View post
    What say the citizen planners "on board?"
    I just post my questions in the appropriate sub-forum. I think the need is being served already.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    Is this suppose to elict serious responses? Or will it deteriorate into Ask A Ninja type stuff?

    Probably the biggest problem I see is that either A) you'll get conflicting responses to the question (more like Ask A Bunch of Planners Who All Disagree) or B) you'll only get one side of a response that really deserves two or more points of view.

    Without some kind of a moderator to separate out joke responses, and provide some kind of balanced, comprehensive answer, it won't work.
    JOE ILIFF
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    "Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think."
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    I agree with mendelman and SGB in that we are already answering a lot of questions. Actually, I don't think we should encourage it anymore because it detracts from better posts that aren't so elementary.

  9. #9
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Thanks for your comments, everyone. You brought up a lot of excellent points.

    I decided not to create the subforum.

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