View Full Version : scottish-fencing.com website is a disgrace

-26th April 2003, 12:05
The state of the Scottish Fencing website (http://www.scottish-fencing.com) is a disgrace. It used to be just very poor but since SF made the decision to improve it - it has got worse rather than better. It is an empty shell of a site. In its current state it is more likely to put people off rather than encourage them to take up the sport. You cant even get a list of all the clubs in Scotland.

Should we just ignore it or should we start pestering SF to get their act (and the website) together. Would it have any effect even if we did?

-26th April 2003, 12:34
Oh dear!! I don't think I've seen a worse website all year!!!

It's pathetic.

-26th April 2003, 12:53
i think we should mention it...there are no results up theres nothing!

-26th April 2003, 12:55
"Details for this page to follow shortly." Hmmmm. I love it when websites have that message everywhere.

It does have a pretty border though:)

-26th April 2003, 13:50
Well, it is Scottish after all :tongue:

-26th April 2003, 16:19
Do you think the phrases "details to follow" and "awaiting content" refer solely to the website or do they have some deeper meaning for Scottish Fencing?

-26th April 2003, 16:43
Lol, I think you may have a point.

-26th April 2003, 21:23
I've heard rumours that part of the problem is that the domain name was taken up by an Edinburgh fencer before Scottish Fencing could get their hands on it. Scottish Fencing doesn't have control of the site and it only gets updated by the fencer when he feels like it, i.e. hardly ever by the looks of it. Just a rumour maybe but it would explain why the SF site is undoubtedly one of the worst, least informative sites out there:(

-26th April 2003, 21:39
I also heard that Scottish Fencing were slow off the mark registering a domain name and ended up with scottish-fencing.com as last choice. i.e they wanted scottishfencing.com (without the hyphen) but that was already taken so had to settle for scottish-fencing.com (with a hyphen).

I believe (hot from rumour control) that the problem has been two-fold. Firstly, they keep getting mates to do the site in their spare time. Secondly, SF cant make their minds up what they want. The result is that the "mates" get fed up with being mucked about and so jack it in - which means of course that another "mate" has to be found. And so just like in the Lion King, the circle of life goes round and round and the website gets worse and worse.

-27th April 2003, 11:08
You havent seen the AFF website... www.ausfencing.org Talk about hard to navigate. Trust me with this, the scottish one AINT SO BAD!;)

-27th April 2003, 11:37
I agree that that the AFF website is prety bad. Just had a quick look and it only took a couple of minutes (6 pages or so) before I got bored. But at least it has some content. The SF site may be visually OK and quite easy to navigate - but there is no excuse for page after page of emptiness. If content is King then the Scottish Fencing website is the poorest commoner in the kingdom and desperately in need of a "watery tart" to throw it a sword - or even better throw it some content.

-27th April 2003, 11:58
Yea the Sf web site is bad, as is Aus one. Maybe a poll for worst web site could be done!:o

-28th April 2003, 06:53
Haggis, www.scottishfencing.com has the same page as the Glagow Open tournament home page. It is entirely possible that a Scottish Fencer got the domain name before SF did. If SF had enough money, and the will, they could argue that this is a case of cyber squatting and an infringement of brand indentity, copywrite theft etc. That is assuming that SF have an established brand and name...

Having said all that there is no excuse for them not to have their current domain updated. I know that the guy who used to do it got hacked off with SF's lack of support and provision of content. Who is currently in charge of it iI couldn't say but it has reached a delporable state. I sent an email to them recently asking what was up and even offering to donate some time to them but I have so far haven't received any reply.

-28th April 2003, 07:54
What, you mean you offered some time too? That makes three people that I know of.
The story as I know it is as follows:

Three years ago, website set up, hosted by Britsport, and costing a fair bit, but providing actual professional support and some hired journos to gather content - they even had a video camera at the Glasgow A-Grade gathering footage.

(AFAIK) SF decided they didn't want to pay for the service, and trashed it two years ago. The current (www.scottish-fencing.com) domain was registered for free (see the ad banner at the site foot?) as they didn't have the scottishfencing.com name (more on this in a minute). Site maintenance and design was taken on by a student fencer from the Edinburgh area, who I've been told wasn't doing a satisfactory job, and was told to stop (or maybe gave up, not sure on this).

The site is now being maintained by a parent from the West Fife club (see http://www.westfifefencingclub.co.uk/ for another example) who appears to have no time to do it.

Aboput a week ago I sent Lorraine an email explaining the problems I see with the site (and yes, I DO do web design for a living :-) and offering a free redesign; my only conditions being that I can redesign it so it doesn't make me vomit every time I look at it, and that they actually PAY for the hosting (40 a year-ish, my God!!!) so we get a decent quality of service.
No reply.

I know of at least one other professional designer (and well-known fencer) who's offered SF the same kind of thing and been ignored too.

Oh, and the www.scottishfencing.com name? I know who's got that too. He offered to pass it on to SF at no charge and they never got back to him - he's still waiting, and is willing to pass it on.

Conclusion: SF has no interest in this matter.

(Anyone think maybe this has got on my nerves? :-)

-28th April 2003, 08:28
If it wasnt our sport this would all be very funny.
- the SF website is awful
- SF recognise that its awful but dont seem to be bothered about fixing it.
- people are queing up to help them (I also know somebody who offered to manage the site for them).
- SF are surprised they cant get sponsorship. Would you sponsor a sport whose national body cant even organise a website.

So what do we do about it? How do we apply pressure to get the site sorted?
The "nuclear" :eek: option would be to call an EGM to discuss the matter and get it resolved - you need 3 clubs or 20 members to call an EGM so it wouldnt be difficult to acheive and maybe just the threat of such an action would be sufficient to galvanise SF into action.

-28th April 2003, 08:35
Hi Rory

Only one correction to make - Britsport went bust not SF pulled out of their service.

-28th April 2003, 08:43

I can see that this has p****d you off as well. We could all start writing in and complaining and maybe someone somewhere would take notice. Then again maybe they wouldn't.

Why not write an article for the Point [if it ever reappears] - I'll co-author if you wish. I happen to know the student who "wasn't doing a good job". He complained that SF wasn't doing a good job and also wouldn't give him any content for the site. Knowing the person involved it may have been a personality clash.

AS far as an EGM is concerned. I could probably vouch for our club putting their hat in the ring to get something - anything - done.

-28th April 2003, 08:53
I'd certainly show for an EGM but I might have more problems getting my club to join in calling it (those of you who know my club will probably understand why). Perhaps we can make a concerted approach to SF first and continue to pester them until progress is made. The EGM can always be held as a trump card if nothing happens.

-28th April 2003, 09:33
I could probably get two clubs to join the call for an EGM. But I agree that the best option is to start by pestering SF with emails and letters requesting that something be done about the website - and hold the EGM up our sleeve as an implicit rather than explicit threat.

I am not sure if this will work though, for a reason that GAV mentioned. One of the biggest problems is always going to be getting the content from SF. I get the feeling that SF will want to be the "content police" and insist on approving everything before it gets onto the site. If that is the case there will always be a bottle-neck in the SF office and the site will always be behind the curve.

The site will only work well if SF bite the bullet and give responsibility for the site to somebody (or some group) and allow them a free hand in running the site - and not keep looking over their shoulder and censoring the content. Obviously the person/group running the site would have to stay within broad guidelines - no bringing fencing into disepute, no rudeness, no personal attacks, no pornography etc etc but apart from that, freedom to the SF webmaster(s).

What do you think?

-28th April 2003, 09:46
Two ways of doing it. One is to give total responsibility to the webmaster(s): the other is to implement a solution where Lorraine/someone can 'log in' to the site and upload articles/entry forms/news etc.
Not too complicated to do, actually.

Giving responsibiliy to the webmaster is a bad plan - they're then lumbered with phoning up competition organisers, bugging people for biographical info or whatever.

Someone on the Board needs to shoulder the responsibility for collecting content and information and ensuring it goes live. I seem to recall that there is an elected Media Manager (or something) on the board - surely this is their responsibility.
(isn't it Ken Rose?)

-28th April 2003, 10:47
I agree that making the webmaster responsible for both maintenance and content of the site would mean a lot of work - which is why I was suggesting a group approach to running the site. It would be too much for one peson but a group of 3 or 4 people could manage it.

I also agree that, in an ideal world, it would be fine to seperate the reponsibilities. One person is the webmaster and one person is the contentmaster. Its just that this is what we have at the moment - and it aint working. Spectacularly not working in fact.

I also agree that it would be a simple matter to have password access to the site so that SF can update the content themselves. Simple for us maybe but I frequently get the feeling that many of the SF hierarchy are "computer shy" and uncomfortable with the prospect of actually doing this. Lets face it, there are still people who consider putting paper in the printer as a major acheivement.

You are also right that somebody - or some group - needs to take or be given responsibility for sorting it out. And double quick. But how is that person (or group) going to be chosen and empowered to actually get it done.

-28th April 2003, 11:00
If people are computer shy then they need to be helped. If we want SF to provide the majority of content AND we want a nice looking informative [and up to date] website then there must be some responisibility taken to ensure that the content provider is able provide content.

Who has responsibilty and how do they take control is up to them.

-28th April 2003, 11:41
OK - so when we all write our letters and emails to SF about the website what are we going to say. We musnt just complain, we must make constructive suggestions as to how the situation can be remedied.

From what everybody says it appears that there is no shortage of volunteers to design, build and run the website. That is not the problem. The real problem is that SF is failing to provide content. To sort this problem they need to:
a. Have the skills to update the site themselves (which probably means that someone from SF needs to go on a training course - or to spend an afternoon in a locked room with Gav.
b. Give a specific individual the reponsibility for getting/providing the new content on a regular and timely basis.

I can imagine many people shying away from the latter because it will require some real work which might be why at this moment in time nobody appears to showing much effort in this department. Maybe everybody is hoping that somebody else will rise to the challenge and take on board the responsibility for acquiring and collating the regular information updates. Maybe some gentle (or not so gentle) prodding is required to get the ball rolling.

-28th April 2003, 11:43
Ok, so I may be going off topic a little here, but I do like a good gossip!

As far as the Media officer for SF, whoever they might be, SF put out an advert in the Point for people to help with this. I know of one person who put themselves forward, who happened to work in advertising, and specialised in wesites. SF just didn't bother to get back to them. <sigh> sounds like a familiar story...

-28th April 2003, 11:46
Originally posted by bydande
a. Have the skills to update the site themselves (which probably means that someone from SF needs to go on a training course - or to spend an afternoon in a locked room with Gav.

I don't think I could do that to anyone....not even the SF board!:eek:

-29th April 2003, 09:14
I have received a reply from the SF office administrator to some other questions that I recently asked. I have pointed out that this discussion has started here and I hope that someone from the SF hierarchy will be able to join in the debate.

-29th April 2003, 10:10

Scottish Fencing bashing. How we love it. One of these days we may as well all dress up in peasant clothing, wipe grime into our
faces and surround the SF office, waving flaming brands and tearing at the bricks with our bloody nails.

Alternatively, Gav could lead us in a bloody rebellion against the powers that be (he does have that mutinous sailor look about him). Of course, once we've installed him, it won't be long before he too has to hang from the gibbet.

-29th April 2003, 10:54
Originally posted by Arturo

Scottish Fencing bashing. How we love it. One of these days we may as well all dress up in peasant clothing, wipe grime into our
faces and surround the SF office, waving flaming brands and tearing at the bricks with our bloody nails.

Alternatively, Gav could lead us in a bloody rebellion against the powers that be (he does have that mutinous sailor look about him). Of course, once we've installed him, it won't be long before he too has to hang from the gibbet.

Hang on a sec' who made me head rebel! ;)

-29th April 2003, 10:59
Arturo by the sounds of it, but for what it's worth, you have my vote!:grin:

-29th April 2003, 11:17
Gav needs a second in command, someone to help him wipe his bum, and wax his beard while he hatches evil plans to torment SF. Since Sasori has a surfeit of beard wax, after losing his in a terrible Charleston-related incident, I think he should be the man to aid and abet Gav.

All hail the new order!

-29th April 2003, 11:52
I think the new world order has found its new minister for information <cough>propaganda<cough>......


-29th April 2003, 11:58
Buy me a funky beret and I'm in.

There are no American fencers here, and if there were we would cut off their heads, hollow them out and use them as masks. Filthy pig-dog oppressors!

-29th April 2003, 17:00
OK in the finest traditions of popular rebellion I have my wife knitting the names of the SF board into a jumper and have commissioned my local carpenter to build a guillotine in time for the next AGM. So when does the revolution start and who will be first against the wall - bagsy in charge of the firing squad.

-29th April 2003, 17:15
Play nice ;)
and when you said Americans did you mean north or south as America is the name for the whole place. (general knowledge we love it>)

-29th April 2003, 17:20
Surely you should just run them through with broken epees/foils/sabres?

I'm not a member of SF, but I know many Scots who are increasingly disillusioned, particularly those outside of Scotland. (I understand I knew you had a new President in Iain Stewart before some of them....).

Might I suggest that you address the content issue by writing some stuff, at least in outline, yourselves, maybe even do a 'dry run' as a collective on some web space that I'm sure you have between you all?

Just a suggestion.

-29th April 2003, 21:39

If you're going to be in charge of the firing squad, who would you like to have in your sights first. You could merely use their titles (left-handed junior epeeist manager, etc.) rather than their names since there's nothing on the website to tell everyone else who does what.

Don't be shy. If you plan a revolution we need to know who the enemy is. ;)



-29th April 2003, 21:50
The great thing about being in charge of the firing squad is that you dont make the decisions about who gets shot. You just turn up shout "ready, aim, fire" and then step forward with your trusty webley pistol to deliver the coup de grace if necessary. Then, when the revolution is over you take up the position of treasurer and proceed to fiddle your way to a holday home in the Bahamas.

However, as you seem so keen to name names, here are some handy tips for identifying and dealing with the enemy that I picked up in the army. Some, all or none of them may be true.
1. The enemy are the people firing at you.
2. There is no such thing as an innocent bystander.
3. Teamwork is essential, it gives the enemy somebody else to shoot at.
4. If your attack is going better than expected, then its an ambush.

-30th April 2003, 12:13
Hey no fair! How come Gav gets 'evildoer' under his name instead of member!?!

I wouldn't mind, but evilsmeller would be more like it...


-30th April 2003, 16:06
All Johnny-big nose Americans die hard and fast, though they not in my country. I don't care north or south. If they buy McDonalds, they die! I go to America with big sword and chop up all yankee.
Long live Saddam!

-30th April 2003, 19:42
I'm just waiting for guys dressed in black with machine guns and funny accents to come crashing thru the windows of the Inverclyde open now!!

-14th May 2003, 12:38
If you're going to start a revolution Can I help ?

after a couple of years got a SF membership- with voucher for cheap entry into competition. (except opens)

sadly , they don't run any competitions which aren't opens.

also only hear about competitions (and changes to dates) through word-of-mouth, SF don't have a clue.

If they held a piss-up for us in a brewery we'd go thirsty.

-14th May 2003, 13:18
They have no shame

In today's copy of the Point, El President Stewart says we should be using the scottish fencing website more but when I looked to today - it still had no content. A few more graphics and links but no actual content just application forms for March competitions.

On the positive side, the number of volunteers offering to help make tea and scones for the revolution does appear to be growing.

-14th May 2003, 13:34
El Pres has appointed someone to update and complete the SF website. A deadline has been set - two weeks. If the work hasn't been completed to Iain's satisfaction, he's going to look into employing someone to do it professionally. Apparently there have been several offers to redesign the SF website (the glamorous bit) but none to service and update it (the boring bit). The skeleton of the site is OK it just needs updating regularly and nobody wants to do that.


Age group competition from U-12 to U-20s. Juniors, intermediates, beginners, Section championships, Scottish championships. Sure there's some others but I can't remember.

-14th May 2003, 13:57
And when was this 2 week ultimatum given?
- 3 weeks ago????

-14th May 2003, 13:59
If your that worried, why don't you contact Iain and ask him.

-14th May 2003, 14:02
I'll even PM you his phone number and e-mail address, if you want.

-14th May 2003, 14:21
Yes please
- how come you have his telephone No & email. Are you his brother or something?

-14th May 2003, 14:25

Can't tell you that:grin:

PM on it's way to you in a couple of minutes.

Vive la revolution!


-14th May 2003, 14:30
FYI (for everyone who's not privy to PMs from haggis!) Ian's email address is in the president's piece at the start of the new edition of The Point.

-14th May 2003, 14:36
Just when I was about to say thanks for the info - rory lets the cat out of the bag. Dooh! I read the first half of the article but got bored beore I got to the bit with email adress. I have a short attention sp

Apart from that,
-When you talk about Vive La revolution do you see yourself as Che Gevara, Fidel Castro, Joan of Arc or Citizen Robespiere?

-14th May 2003, 14:53
I think haggis bears more resemblance to Chairman Mao.

-14th May 2003, 15:03
I'd go for Robespierre - a Reign of Terror followed by my country emerging as the world's strongest fencing nation. During my Reign of Terror rory will, of course, be guillotined.:bash:

-14th May 2003, 15:16
Like so, haggis?

-14th May 2003, 15:16
Pretty much.

-14th May 2003, 15:19
What's black, white and red?
a guillotined penguin.

-14th May 2003, 15:24
A revolution within the revolution, this could get very complcated, i'll sit on the fence and wait to see who wins.

-14th May 2003, 15:34
Never trust your friends. They know too much.;)

-14th May 2003, 15:53
Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer. That way you always know where they are.

-15th May 2003, 05:59
Got my copy of The Point yesterday [along with the last 2 copies of The Sword]. Great! Fencing stuff to read - more reason for my girlfriend to accuse of me of "much geekery".

I read, with interest, the introduction by Iain Stewart as our new SF President. I've seen the guy about and he seems a fairly straight guy - I've never had the opportunity to talk with him. I think he made several pertinent comments:

That he took on the role because noone else wanted it. Come on Scottish Fencers show some enthusiasm!
That he can only really afford to do it for 1 year. According to the editorial he is involved in Modern Pentathlon and has a family. What's this? A person involved in Fencing who has a life! I only bring mine out on special occasions the rest of the time it's in a shoebox under the bed.
If we [Scottish Fencers] do not take an interest in Sport then we will lose the representation through our own governing body. This is inferred from his comments about SportScotland. I agree with his sentiment.

I also note that SF have appointed 2 people to update the website. That's a positive step. Lets hope that these guys have the time and energy to follow through on their offer, I wish them the best.

I also note the lack of any articles on The Point [compare it with The Sword]. When I forst joined SF their used to be a few interesting articles printed in it as well as anecdotes from the Fencers themselves - come on guys [you know who you are] put your money where your mouth is and write something for the Point. I intend to - I just need something worthwile to write! I don't think a digest of 'Gav's online blethering' count!

-15th May 2003, 07:30
1. I read the article but didnt really like it - because the first two paragraphs were all about himself and the sacrifice he was making etc etc. Now this is just personal taste but I dont like articles that start like that - probably something to do with my military experience where we were frequently told to just get on with it and stop moaning. Stiff upper lip and all that.

2. However, I do agree that we should all volunteer more - whether it is to write articles or to help with competitions. I know that many people are planning to do the refereeing course at the Inverclyde Open which will be a start at least.

3. Articles for the Point. We must do better. I am arranging an end of season childrens competition for my club and I commit to taking some photographs and writing an article about it. There are some good girl fencers in our club so should be a good comp. Do you think that is the sort of thing that should be in the Point?

-15th May 2003, 07:34
Do you think that is the sort of thing that should be in the Point?


I'm thinking of writing an article about the lack of facilities and resources available to my club despite sheltering under the wing of a local governemt leisure authority. Despite this, we've started to see some competition success [notably Epee] of late. These are the sort of articles that provide inspriration to other clubs out there. Even if nobody out there is particularly intrested it would at least give the Point's editor something to print.

Recently, the most interesting articles I've read [in the Sword] where historical articles and those to do with encouraging grass roots membership. I was particularly interested in an article written by a teacher who introduced Fencing as a mainsstream activity in England.

-15th May 2003, 13:25
No Fair! I didn't get any copies of the sword! :(

Maybe next time....whenever that'll be!

-16th May 2003, 10:44
I have followed the forum discussions with interest and agree with most of the sentiments posted.
The web site is dreadfull and has been for years.Everyone wants to set it up with pretty graphics etc but no one seems prepared to give the commitment required to maintain the site and keep information up to date.(There may be good reasons for this relating to the relationships with the office!)
It's supposed to be vastly better in the next few weeks but if it's not it needs to get pulled and put into professional hands.It has to be a SF priority.
The Point. Is there a point!
Bit like an out of date telephone directory.It needs to be current with much more input from the general membership and clubs.
All full members should receive a copy of the Sword,but again there is no point in posting it out months late!!
I know BF have problems with the Sword finances.
Should we have one GB mag with a Scottish section?
Any thoughts or great ideas?Maybe we should open a new discussion on ways to help SF deliver to its membership.

-16th May 2003, 10:48
Go for it zoro I think a thread about the mags would be good.
Also the escrime mag and welsh news letter?

-16th May 2003, 11:36

I think that you raise some interesting points re The Point. Is it obsolete? The point wasn't always the way it is now. When I first started Fencing the Point regularly had interesting articles on a number of different subjects and it's only been relatively recently that there has been nothing of note within it. Every issue I've seen has contained, somwhere within it, a demand for more articles. SF cannot force its membership to write articles for it. The Point has always been late.

It's supposed to be vastly better in the next few weeks but if it's not it needs to get pulled and put into professional hands.It has to be a SF priority.

I beleieve this is the intent. According to the editorial this is certainly what Iain Stewart has suggested as the way forward. There is a deadline and if this is not met then the website will be proffesionally maintained - at more cost to SF [possible us] but that at least would ensure that we end up with a website we could use.

The question whether we retain the Point or only revceive the Sword is a matter of choice. Do we want to receive a smaller section in a primarily English magazine? Don't forget that not everbody has access to the web. Yes it should, therefore, be a priority.

The BFA [and this will affect how SF will have to interact with us] is undergoing modernisation. Have you read the articles on this subject on the BFA website? Have a read there's plenty of food for thought there.

-16th May 2003, 13:55
I'm so tempted to say "What's the Point?" but I know laurence would shout at me.

However I am confused as to why we have so many "official" mags, surely keeping all the info in one place would provide everyone with a focal point of information.

-27th May 2003, 08:35
The last post on this thread was 11days ago and the SF website is still a disgrace. Anyone know anything?

-27th May 2003, 08:43
I had a brief chat with El Presidente about the website at the weekend (AllStar Youth Series). The conversation was cut short by me having to go and watch my daughter compete in the U14 Semi-final, but he confirmed that a cut off date had been set and if the site was not operational by then, the plug would be pulled on the site. I think he meant "pulled" as in - no site is better than a cr**y site.