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Vic2

CPS committee changes debate

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Hi Vic

I've been a committee now for 3 years. Neither Phil nor anyone else has been stalinist or has the power to be dictatorial. All, repeat, all, decisions made by the committee are arrived at by consensus. I know you will contest this Vic but it is true.

I don't know of any other non member who has been given the opportunity to come along and put their views to the AGM. If you can't make it Vic, surely you can find a member prepared to come along and put your views to the AGM.

For years now some of us have been responding to your attacks on the society and individual committee members. All it has acheived is to continue the attacks. Some of your proposals have had some merit. It is a pity that you didn't raise them when you were a committee member.

I've now had enough and will not respond again. Members can contact me direct to [email protected] I usually respond withiin a couple of days.

No doubt Vic you will now add me to the list of committee members you disapprove of. It will be an honour. I look forward to joining the Vic-2 hate list sub group of the committee. We could even have club T-shirts made.

Best regards to the rest of you.

Dennis

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Vic, I totally agree about what you say,the membership should tell the elected what to do.

But they are elected by the membership to do the best for the society as they see it at the time.They can't write or e-mail every body with every tiny little detail can they?

Phil has invited you to the AGM Personally as his guest.

If i was you and said what you have,i would be there come hell or high water,to defend what i had said and prove myself right in front of those who can be bothered to turn up for the AGM.If you feel so strongly about the CPS i'm sure your friends would understand your cancelling at the last minute.

All the issues you have raised could be sorted out then instead of simmering on for another year.

I don't have all the info you claim to have,but take Phils offer/challenge up and lets get this sorted and finished and move on.

ada.

Thanks to you ada for talking sense and being impartial.

Flick

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I've now had enough and will not respond again. Members can contact me direct to [email protected] I usually respond withiin a couple of days.

Dennis and other committee members, I would like to ask you to not abandon this thread. There are many suggestions being made by a number of CPS members and I fear that they will not be so keen on sending emails. Plus it is always best to 'bounce' ideas around several people, which the main purpose of a forum. Please don't let one person de-rail the whole process of debate for the rest of us.

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Dennis and other committee members, I would like to ask you to not abandon this thread. There are many suggestions being made by a number of CPS members and I fear that they will not be so keen on sending emails. Plus it is always best to 'bounce' ideas around several people, which the main purpose of a forum. Please don't let one person de-rail the whole process of debate for the rest of us.

Thanks. As a part of those being 'attacked' by the few, it is very hard to stay here and stay positive. I have been on the committee since 2001 ish and I have personally been on the receiving end of Vic's poison since he joined and left us. Not just what you have all seen here, but at home. The committee (me included) have tried to stay positive and professional and only critiscised when we can stand it no longer. No-one but us knows exactly what has gone on. We are damned if we answer and damned if we don't.

I joined the committee and became a Trustee because I care. I still care, but I am getting tired with all this. I certainly hope to see those that have critiscised the most volunteer to be on the committee. They need not stand for a specific role if they feel they have no special skills - general committee member will do just fine and they will be very welcome.

If the committee (whoever stands and is elected by whatever means is decided) are approved by the membership - can this stop please - once and for all?

Flick

Still present Treasurer, CPS

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Well, let me be one who says thank you to you and the other members of the committee who have taken the time to read and respond to this thread. Sure, I have criticised some things myself but I have tried to balance this with suggestions and have also offered assistance, should it be wanted. I do not feel that I can offer enough time to be provide the commitment required to be a committee member, as I am the type of person who likes to do things with full commitment or not at all. However, this does not mean that I can't help in other ways.

We need the committee members in this thread to listen to members suggestions and drive changes through. Without this we will be back to 'square one', which would be a great shame.

:sweat:

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Well, let me be one who says thank you to you and the other members of the committee who have taken the time to read and respond to this thread. Sure, I have criticised some things myself but I have tried to balance this with suggestions and have also offered assistance, should it be wanted. I do not feel that I can offer enough time to be provide the commitment required to be a committee member, as I am the type of person who likes to do things with full commitment or not at all. However, this does not mean that I can't help in other ways.

We need the committee members in this thread to listen to members suggestions and drive changes through. Without this we will be back to 'square one', which would be a great shame.

:sweat:

Thanks to you too for your backing. Believe me when I say that the committee are at the moment working very hard to resolve the issues that have been raised. We don't want or need conflict.

Flick

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Vic, The insults and personal attacks stop tonight. If you continue to break the forum rules you will have to go. If you can't continue with this debate without repeating the same thing over and over and insulting the same people then do not post at all. It's getting a bit much now. We know you don't like half the committee, we have heard it enough times. The only way to improve things is to get the voting system changed so all the members can get a vote and not just a few. The way you are going about it is not helping at all, so that's it no more.

I hope all the committee don't leave this thread or the whole lot will have been a waste of time.

Cheers Andy

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Dianne, 193 miles to Chester, is that all ?

Hi David

The AGM is in Surrey at East Horsley Village Hall which is 193 miles for us. Chester is 141 miles for us which is not as many as a lot of people who will be travelling there for the EEE.

I hope that you will be joining us for the AGM.

Regards Dianne Riddiford

Carnivorous Plant Society

Meetings Organiser

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Vic, The insults and personal attacks stop tonight. If you continue to break the forum rules you will have to go. If you can't continue with this debate without repeating the same thing over and over and insulting the same people then do not post at all. It's getting a bit much now. We know you don't like half the committee, we have heard it enough times. The only way to improve things is to get the voting system changed so all the members can get a vote and not just a few. The way you are going about it is not helping at all, so that's it no more.

I hope all the committee don't leave this thread or the whole lot will have been a waste of time.

Cheers Andy

I don't know why this this is being made personal:

It's certainly never been the case on my side.

Is this the only way the Trustees and Committee can find to discredit me and the truth?

Andy,

I'll happily accept your censure, if it's applied equally and fairly.

I note that you have not mentioned the personal attacks and insults made on me by Phil, Flick and others, nor censured them.

I have been described - amongst other epithets - as "deceitful and duplicitous" (Phil) and "poison" (Flick).

To which I have not responded. (For starters, 'cos it's not true).

Please remain even-handed, as you have been up to now.

(Perhaps this was a senior moment, like the ones I'm prone to?) :ohmy:

Vic

Edited by Vic2

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Hi

I am not abandoning the thread, I'm just not going to respond to Vic2's rants anymore.

Regards

Dennis

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Well thanks for the positive comments and if we can have a reasoned debate then I'll carry on here. :smile:

Phil

Excellent! :ohmy:

Your straw poll shows that over half of the voters - 12 of 23 so far - want an online vote.

Admittedly, the poll isn't reaching those who aren't online, like Viv Topham.

An online and postal vote seems to be fair and in keeping with the wishes of the membership, don't you think?

I'll help with the workload, if that's allowed and doesn't cause anyone a heart attack... :wink:

Cheers,

Dr-Evil of Letchworth :wink:

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Hi

I am not abandoning the thread, I'm just not going to respond to Vic2's rants anymore.

Regards

Dennis

Aaaah, but I luv you too, Dennis! :smile:

I still think you're the best Membership Secretary the Society's had for a long time. :wink:

Glad to see you, Flick Phil and Dianne are still responding for the CPS,

'cos your Chairman and de facto Vice-Chairman still aren't bothering... :wink:

Where-oh-where-are-They? of Letchworth :ohmy:

Edited by Vic2

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Hi David

The AGM is in Surrey at East Horsley Village Hall which is 193 miles for us. Chester is 141 miles for us which is not as many as a lot of people who will be travelling there for the EEE.

I hope that you will be joining us for the AGM.

Regards Dianne Riddiford

Carnivorous Plant Society

Meetings Organiser

216 miles according to Google Maps from my place to Sunny Chester but a mere 139 miles to the AGM!

Phil

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I don't know why this this is being made personal:

It's certainly never been the case on my side.

Is this the only way the Trustees and Committee can find to discredit me and the truth?

Andy,

I'll happily accept your censure, if it's applied equally and fairly.

I note that you have not mentioned the personal attacks and insults made on me by Phil, Flick and others, nor censured them.

I have been described - amongst other epithets - as "deceitful and duplicitous" and "poison".

To which I have not responded. (For starters, 'cos it's not true).

Please remain even-handed, as you have been up to now.

(Perhaps this was a senior moment, like the ones I'm prone to?) :smile:

Vic

Yes the rules apply to everyone.

Just keep it nice please :ohmy:

Andy

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

I've had some interesting news:

For the first time I've ever heard of, Paul McKeown is personally asking around for people to man the stand at Chelsea this year. And it's still only April! :smile:

Apart from the brief ad. in the newsletter, this normally happens about a week before Chelsea.

(In response to a gripe from Paul that the CPS often had trouble getting people to man the Chelsea stand, I organised for my friend Helen to man the stand in 2008 (I think that's the right year). This was highly successful - for one reason, Helen is a charming, intelligent cutie, and the rest of 'em were blokes :wink: - and Helen wanted to do it again the following year.

So I organised a bevy of lovely, intelligent, keen, gardener lady friends of mine to fill in the vacant slots on the stand at Chelsea in 2009. They were all volunteers who would join the CPS and pay their own costs, of course, as Helen did the previous year.

But I couldn't get any response from Paul despite several months of asking for dates and times for the ladies, and they all had to drop out, one by one, including a regretful Helen. I had to apologise to each and every one and eat humble pie on behalf of the Society. All because Paul would not communicate by email, call or even letter. (I covered up the real reason why I couldn't get anything done, of course)).

Good changes happening, perhaps? :ohmy: That would be excellent news! :tu:

On the flip side, however...

Sadly, we've been down this road before.

History and experience have shown that Steve and Paul have a brief flurry of activity in 3 situations:

(i) When there has been sustained criticism of their contribution as leaders of the Society;

(ii) It's about a week before the AGM and voting time;

(iii) It's about a week before the Chelsea Flower Show or Gardener's World Live at the NEC.

Within one month, this welcome flurry of activity will settle back down to the usual state where Steve and Paul ignore and neglect the Society and its membership once again.

Great for Show Secretaries, but as Chairman and de facto Vice-Chairman and Trustees?

You decide...

Caveat emptor, voters!!

Vic :wink:

Edited by Vic2

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Guest dpalmer

Hello everybody,

As the current CPS Internet Officer, I thought it time I stuck my own head above the parapet. And it's a quarter past time, I know, but there has been a lot to keep up with, both on the forum here and behind the scenes - my swollen inbox stands as testament to the seriousness with which your comments are being taken, and the eagerness of the committee to make improvements. Anyway, that is by-the-by. I've popped in, initially, to address concerns raised about the website.

So firstly, thanks to everyone for your suggestions and opinions, and particular thanks to Mobile and Jerry for offering assistance. This is much appreciated, and I'd like to talk about that later, but for now I want to explain my situation and why I'm here, and then give you a brief overview of the way the website works. Before I go any further though, I'd like to apologise: whatever justifications I give below, the fact remains that the website is ultimately my responsibility, and I have no intention of shirking the blame.

I stepped in as Internet Officer for one reason and one reason only - there wasn't one. I was going through a strange period back then where I started to think that rather than complaining about the state things were in, I should maybe lend a hand to make things better. So halfway through complaining to (a very patient) Dennis, when he explained that the problem I'd had was down to a missing Internet Officer I asked 'So what does that job entail?'

Since that time my personal situation has changed considerably: my workload has doubled, and there is only so much time one can spend staring at a screen. If I'd known this would happen, I'd have declined the role in the first place, but now I'm caught between not having sufficient time to do a good job, and not wanting to leave the society in the lurch. Neither option is good, but the latter has the advantage of at least taking me out of the firing line :)

So, the website. When Andy set up the website he did a very good job, thoughtfully employing a content management system with online WYSIWYG editing to theoretically enable anybody to edit and update the website. In practice, this has been a success because it has allowed the site to keep going while there was nobody with the experience to update it. But it also has some drawbacks.

For one it means that significant changes are very difficult to enact. The interface is not intuitive, and has become less so as content has been uploaded into different places. The software is out of date (1.0, I think, whereas it's now on 1.6) and knowing little about the back-end processes that tie it all together I'd not like to take the risk of trying to update it. It doesn't play well with current browsers and host security settings, in ways which are often unpredictable and irreproducible. The WYSIWYG editor is a bit random, and while it is possible to edit the code directly, the editor for that puts it all in one big chunk without spaces or line breaks.

I'm not a big fan of proprietary systems, coming as I do from the Notepad school of coding, and as a few committee members know some basic HTML we decided a while ago that it would be a good idea to rebuild the site from scratch, along with a manual explaining how it works. That way anybody with some basic skills would be able to alter it, and with full access to the database and server-side code I could build in extra features at any time. But as you can imagine, this is a significant undertaking, and I have not yet found the time to take it on.

Another option, as has been mentioned, is to employ someone else to create a new site. But as I say, it's a big job, and I've no idea how much that would cost. And you still need a means of updating it without paying the developer every time. And presumably, someone to take responsibility for that.

Anyway, that's all I have time for, but I hope it gives you an initial overview of some of the things to be borne in mind as we move this forward. I'll post more later, and I'll try to address some specific points from earlier in the thread, which I'm still trying to digest after gulping down in one sitting last night.

Cheers,

Darren

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Good luck, Darren! :yes:

FWIW, as a first step to get round some of the limitations in Joomla!, I was going to make up complete Web pages inside Dreamweaver, then paste them into the appropriate fields in Joomla!

Flick, I think, got the CPS' copy of Dreamweaver when I returned it, but you probably have it now?

I was also going to move the hosting service to something quicker and more responsive than Fasthosts.

Hope this is of some use,

Vic

Former Internet Officer, CPS :smile:

Edited by Vic2

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Phil,

I don't understand why committee members took offense to the suggestion of independent counting being required. I pointed out the reason many posts ago

Nothing about personal trust of them - just being above reproach. After all, MP's are 'trusted' to run the country - but imagine if they wanted to count their own votes :smile:

Suppose we've taken a bit of a bashing here already and it was one comment too far. But fair enough. I suppose the problem is just how far do you take the accountability. As ever, it's a balance between a few amateurs fitting all this in with their spare time but trying to appear professional, versus, wanting to appear whiter than white. We are of course all sparkly clean if anyone feels the need to check! For instance, if we ask another organisation to count the votes, should we not make sure that none of us lot on the committee have any personal connection with them? See where I'm going to.

1) - it seems generally agreed that the CPS web site leaves much to be desired. It needs to be kept up to date AND as importantly, the CPS committee needs to actually use it to put important information on and so inform ITS MEMBERS - preferably as the FIRST place they put information, rather than the last - if anyone can be bothered and after people have complained that it isn't on there.

Darren, our Internet officer will post himself here on the website so I won't speak too much for him. I think the main problem has been the interface, which is quite tricky to get through. It certainly beat me when I tried anyway! I'm not making excuses for Darren but I guess that when you are trying to balance a busy life and work with something that isn't that intuitive to use, then it suddenly becomes a burden rather than a little job to fit in. My opinion (not the opinion of the CPS) is that we need to start something new from scratch and that it needs to have a content management system built in so that we can all update our bit of the site. Even then, having an updated site doesn't mean that it will get lots of hits. We've had the same thing with our running club website where we have a nice new spangly site with lots of up to date info on it, but still it's not visited much. Needs some thought...

Also we may have to pay for this to be done professionally. If we did I'd want to wait until after the dust has settled on the EEE just so we know how much money we have. I know there have been offers of help here of course and I'm not rejecting these outright. The main advantange of using a professional is that it would get done and we could demand rightly some sort of timescales and deadlines.

2) - voting for committee posts. I think it is already quite clear (feel free to disagree), that most members are voting for online voting, with (quite rightly) the option of postal voting for those who can't use the internet. This shows that the membership is fair and want an inclusive voting system, rather than just the few able to attend AGM's.

The thing to get round with a combination of voting methods is how to make sure that a member doesn't vote postal and online. Online votes are anonymous so we can't actually check this. The only way I can think to so this is for members to select an option at the time of renewal (though not neccessarily then) whether they want online voting or postal and then mark them accordingly in the database. Fortunately Dennis is a whiz at Access so he can do this easily enough. We'd have to make sure that each ballot paper was unique so it would have to have a unique identifier number or something similar. Whether that number is traceable back to the member to whom it's sent is another question. There's a need to check there but also a potential lack of anonymity.

I'm not sure that we can have voting via this forum anyway because of data protection implications. We are allowed to hold a record of members but we would have to check, probably with the Charities Commission, whether any member details could be transfered to this forum, not matter how secure it is. Also it would have to be a committee post that managed the voting database and system, again because of data protection. It might be possible to host the database on our own hosting company though even this may have similar implications. Again, I'm not rejecting outright, just trying to work out all the implications.

Whatever, it needs careful thought because it's not that straightforward, or not to me anyway. Also, bear in mind that the poll here is hardly representative of the CPS members. So far there have been 23 votes out of a membership of about 400. As I've already said, I think the next step is to have a full ballot of the membership, which of course brings out the same questions and pointers as before! We have canvassed the membership before when we were considering e-membership and the way we did that was simply to put the question with several tick box options on the renewal form. It's not a vote as such but just a way of seeing what the majority of the membership think and I reckon it probably worked for the question of e-membership, which when we introduced it was quite contraversial. Now everyone is doing it! I even had a few members who expressed their opinions extremely firmly in writing. One member scrawled something to the effect that he doesn't have the Internet and intends NEVER to get it, all in capitals. :yes:

However, it has been made quite clear by the committee, that any voting will likely be irrelevant, as there would be no vote unless two people contested the same post. And I don't believe that most members have any issue what so ever, with MOST of the current committee.

That was my personal thoughts not those of the committee. And I didn't say that there wouldn't be no vote, just that I can't see the point of having a vote unless you just turn it into a popularity contest, quite apart from any other potential dangers (albeit unlikely) to the management structure of the CPS.

Now Phil pointed out the consequence of 'voting out' certain committee members, but neatly avoided the posts of most concern Steve & Paul. But much earlier he said

Sorry - I wasn't intending to avoid the issue. I suppose the only way to vote off any committee member is to find someone else to vote for. That's the way it works with pretty much all electoral systems. I suppose if there a substantial number of members backing it we could ask for a vote of confidence but there are no structures set for this in the constitution and it's never been done before.

So it looks as though there would actually no consequence of 'deselecting them'.

According to accounts we make enough profit from Chelsea to subsidise the membership by approximately £3 so there's one immediate consequence of deselecting Steve and Paul. Gardener's World Live makes a very small profit apparently. To be absolutely frank, show secretary is one of the hardest jobs on the committee so I'm not saying that it would be impossible to replace Steve or Paul (and we will eventually have to of course) but it's not going to be easy and we may have to consider whether the CPS can have a precence at these shows. I'm not trying to sound too negative but just show that there are consequences of deselection.

Which seems to be the 3rd point.

3) - a vote of confidence in Steve and Paul. And their absence in this debate has been very obvious, even though there are several CPS members raising issues here, the CPS Chairman has said not one word.

These are reasons not excuses but I know that Paul has virtually no Internet prescence due to working away and and very often out of the country. Steve has had a number of issues too which I have no intention of elaborating on. Rest assured that he will state his case here when he has the time and stomach for it, though personally I wouldn't want to.

But again - no one seems to really be questioning Steve and Paul being Show organisers - it has already been said they do a good job. It is just the Chairman's post and 'apparent' vice Chairman.

Sigh! How can you question Paul as 'apparent' 'defacto' or any other term you want to use - vice chairman. He is not the vice chairman and while I think that we ought to have a vice-chairman's post, you can't suggest that Paul stands down from a post that he doesn't occupy! As for Steve, I expect I'll be accused of collusoin, jackbooted Stalinism or something simlar but I happen to think that he's done a pretty good job. Steve has a very hands-off approach which I know Vic could not handle but I think that this is exactly the way to handle the CPS management. Steve (and Paul) are often working behind the scenes takling problems and issues and just because they don't make themselves visble very often doesn't mean they aren't doing their jobs. For instance, most of the current members of the committee were recruited by Steve and Paul. Often it's not what you do but how you do it.

And it does seem to me that CPS members are now calling for a vote of confidence.

You do need to be careful there because while opinion has been quite vociferous it has come from a very tiny majority of the CPS membership. I haven't gone through this thread and others to count the numbers but let's just say there are ten who have expressed disatisfaction. That is hardly even representative of the society membership. It's not something to be ignored either but just needs to be put into perspective.

Also a general plea to remember that I'm speaking as myself here and not as a committee member and none of this is neccessarily CPS policy or even policy in the making.

Phil

Edited by pwilson

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Yes, as all the thread turns into is an argument between the two of you, in which no one will win and it detracts from the positives in the thread.

We've tried ignoring him but then we are accused of not responding - see the various comments about Steve ad nauseam.

Phil

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Hello everybody,

As the current CPS Internet Officer, I thought it time I stuck my own head above the parapet. And it's a quarter past time, I know, but there has been a lot to keep up with, both on the forum here and behind the scenes - my swollen inbox stands as testament to the seriousness with which your comments are being taken, and the eagerness of the committee to make improvements. Anyway, that is by-the-by. I've popped in, initially, to address concerns raised about the website.

Hi Darren,

First of all, welcome to the forum. It is good to see that this is being taken seriously, as it is very important thate the CPS has a good storefront - it's website. I downloaded the complete site the other day and I appreciate the enormousy of the task of updating the whole site, especially given the tools you currently have to use. But perhaps a cosmetic and content overhaul would suffice while considering the structure and coding of a new site. The sites header banner looks a little 90's and could perhaps do with a refresh. How about starting a thread on this forum asking people for designs. You would need to provide the specifications and make it clear on the intent of the design, so as to avoid copyright issues. Some of the pages that I have previously mentioned, such as the events and promotions page just need updating with current details, i.e. a 2011 events calendar, list of current merchandise and update the form to the current promotions officer etc. Do you have to use the Joomla software, or can you edit it offline in either HTML or WYSIWYG editor and then re-upload the whole page?

Carl

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We've tried ignoring him but then we are accused of not responding - see the various comments about Steve ad nauseam.

Phil

Sometimes it's necessary to just hold back and not 'bite the bate'. Your responses to other members comments and suggestions are always very detailed and thorough, which I'm sure most appreciate.

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I stepped in as Internet Officer for one reason and one reason only - there wasn't one. I was going through a strange period back then where I started to think that rather than complaining about the state things were in, I should maybe lend a hand to make things better. So halfway through complaining to (a very patient) Dennis, when he explained that the problem I'd had was down to a missing Internet Officer I asked 'So what does that job entail?'

Since that time my personal situation has changed considerably: my workload has doubled, and there is only so much time one can spend staring at a screen. If I'd known this would happen, I'd have declined the role in the first place, but now I'm caught between not having sufficient time to do a good job, and not wanting to leave the society in the lurch. Neither option is good, but the latter has the advantage of at least taking me out of the firing line :)

Darren expresses very well one of the connudrums of serving on a committee. There is often pressure from other quarters which mean that you can't do the committee job as well as you'd like but there is a contrary feeling of not wanting to let your fellow committee members and indeed your club or society down by jumping ship and leaving them in the lurch. I've been there several times on the CPS committee. My second tenure as journal editor and the last few years of membership secretary were not happy times for me. I'd taken too much committee responsiblity on (not just the CPS) and my full time job had got a lot more pressurised. But it is very hard to say enough is enough and just let go. In the end I confessed all to Steve and Flick I think and eventually the Dennis and Tim arrived on the scene - thank goodness!

That's why I feel quite strongly that we have to make it clear that serving on the committee isn't a perk and it certainly isn't a power trip. Strangely it's less so for trustees though as ever I speak for myself here. Although as trustees we have overal legal responsibility for the society (in other words the buck stops with us) I feel that it's more of a hands off approach. In other words we are there if needed but the day to day stuff is handled by committee. I'm not even sure if that makes sense but it does to me - sort of. Lol!

Phil

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These are reasons not excuses but I know that Paul has virtually no Internet prescence due to working away and and very often out of the country. Steve has had a number of issues too which I have no intention of elaborating on. Rest assured that he will state his case here when he has the time and stomach for it, though personally I wouldn't want to stick my head over the line to be drubbed by Mr Inzani.

Phil

Andy,

This is clearly a personal gibe from Phil Wilson, CPS Secretary.

After your comments about being nice.

I thought you wanted the thread to be free of this?

Or is it one rule for myself, and carte blanche for the CPS to attack me?

Vic

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Guest dpalmer

Hi Carl,

Thanks for the response. When you say you downloaded the entire site, how did you do that? I'm not sure what your background is or how much you've worked with dynamic sites, so forgive me if I oversimplify my response, but what you would see if you looked at the files on the server is not the same as what you would see if you looked at the source code in your browser. That isn't 100% true, of course - user-generated content is stored as discreet HTML files - but other information, such as menus and layout, are generated dynamically on the server using PHP and MySQL. In short, if I saved the page from my browser, edited it and uploaded it as index.html, it would display fine but it wouldn't interact with the rest of the content, links, logins, other pages etc. I'm far from an expert in Joomla, but I do know my PHP, and I'm pretty sure that if I tinkered with the site offline it would either fall down, or need to be done in a way that was more onerous than simply recoding from scratch.

Like I say, apologies if you know this stuff already, but if so it might still be useful to somebody.

I think it is a very good idea to ask for suggestions and designs from the forum. It is clearly a good place for people to give feedback on them too. I'll put that on my to-do list...

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