Bill44's picture

This is not aimed at the regular contributors to this forum, or those new members that haven't had time to settle in.

First let me state that it costs our host Graham, real money to supply you with this forum, the only one on this subject hosted in Australia.

I have always been of the opinion that a Forum was a place where people with a common interest gathered to discuss their favourite subject.
If what I have seen, or better still [i]not seen,[/i] is the reality, then I am obviously mistaken. Understanding that some of the figures may be guests that are just looking I quote the following two random examples.
First a post from Sourdom, one of the regular contributors, about Rounder Loaves, 156 readers, 0 comments or replies, not even a "Thanks for the tip mate".
Second, a post from SourYumMum "Sourdough Disaster" where her husband threw her started down the drain, a topic that [i]could[/i] have been worth a lot of friendly banter and jokes, what happened was that there was only 4 people who bothered to respond.

Have a look at the following figures. 115 members. Over half, 58, have never made a post. 15 have made 1. 20 have made between 2 & 10. 7 have made between 11 & 20.
There are 15 people who have made more than 20 posts. 1 is the forum owner, 1 is the forum administrator, [i]7 are from overseas[/i]. That leaves 6 Aussie members.

If you have a look at all of the above you may understand why one of the top 15 has stated to me in private that they will not waste their time any more because they are so disheartened at the lack of response.

And you will also understand why, with due apologies to Graham and the regulars, that until such time as there is a [i]demonstrated [/i]interest in the contributions from some very worthy people, I will not be contributing anything more to this forum. 260 posts, I've tried!

212 users have voted.


Croc 2006 July 17

well i just discovered this forums today and almost wet my pants

will see me posting with million questions

Croc 2006 July 18

got bit more time now to post some more

!!! WARNING !!! highly buchered english !!! WARNING !!!

i been looking everywhere for couple of years and never managed to find forum that smell so nice

i know the frustration of running forums on internet and what is going on here (from my quick look only so far) is all good.

lurkers are always somewhere there in a dark, some might never show up some might jump in after few weeks, months or even years. (i'm lurker myself on some forums/sites)

anyway to cut it short, every time you think forum isn't as big as you wish it was just think how bad it would be if it got very big and popular (and it will with time), nonstop whinging, stupid smart arse posts and so on all of which needs time to moderate and it isn't so fun than.

enjoy it how it is and see it grow (it just did today gain another member, me)

leaving forums issues behind few words about me.

computer geek, 32yo, polish born moved to downunder 10 years ago.
When i got to australia the only thing i knew how to make in a kitchen was how boil water for coffee (no joke)

after few years of mauritian cooking (what the hell with rice all the time?) i needed to do something so i ask my mum to tell me over the phone few things and send some notes with her recipes (great cook she is)
so i was set doing all the polish things in a kitchen (wife: "not potatoes again")

there was one thing still missing and in poland i would NEVER think about doing it myself because BREAD in shopps was great.
here on other hand i didn't know if i should laugh or cry after eating (aussie bread). I know there are some bakeries that make quite good bread but the every day shops near myplace didn't have any.
so my baking days started.
it wasn't easy road and still not even close to where i wanted to be.
first frustration due to flour in shops being processed crap striped from all the gluten/proteins which took me quite a while to figure out and many bad bakes later i managed to find out the truth behind aussie flour.

all of my baking is yeast based but i know that polish bread was sourdough based but till today i couldn't find the classic polish bread recipe and i'm willing to kill for it so look out.
you could almost say that we had only 1 type of bread in poland but it was so bloody good i could swap all the aussie bread choices for just that one, than we had those great white rolls that when fresh it was god's food.
all you need in my books is those rolls and bread.
there was few other options in small private bakeries and even better sort of that classic sourdough bread but you just had no need to search for better because what it was more less a perfection.

i'm still on search for this recipes (hope there is some polish lurker that can help) but i think that sourdough is the main switch i need from yeast to find what i'm looking for.

at the end of my long boring story let me ask a question.
where can i buy baking products, like good flour and so on in SE part of melbourne?

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 June 30

Oh Bill ... don't do it!

I don't always get time to post comments ... I don't always get time to look!! But I just love the 'atmosphere' of this site and forums. And YOU KNOW how much I've learnt in just a few months!

Maybe it's the cooler weather, slower cultures, not as much bread-making going on. I was a little disappointed that there were so few responses to my 'sourdough disaster' - but that's only because I'm a show-off! I don't respond to every new post or every new thread ... or I'd be here all day.

BUT ... as you can see by the 'views' of my disaster, and other threads, there are plenty of people looking and 'lurking', and even if they're too shy to get involved, if they're keen on sourdough you can bet they're taking notes and trying YOUR suggestions.

My bread wouldn't have gotten to where it had (before the tragic incident) if it hadn't been for the forum writers and their generosity.

And it takes time ...

I, for one, very much appreciate the effort that folk like you and SourDom make in telling your tales, posting your photos ... it's how the rest of us learn.


carla's picture
carla 2006 July 19

On the German Sourdough Forum I read, I have seen people make the statement, that they don't have the time to go to the search function and work through the hits, they rather ask. I consider THAT approach rude.
I am definitely enjoying this forum, the passion and the experimenting that goes with it.
The Germans have much more of a 'This is the way it works, we have done it like this for centuries' approach. Not so enlightening.

Have to laugh a bit about FlourGirls approach here. Certainly in the two forums I have seen you frequent FlourGirl, there are fully trained masterbakers who have learned baking from scratch and are able to answer any questions about sourdough be it rye or wheat doughs.

I must admit that I DO find it VERY enlightening if somebody at the other end of the world takes time out to answer all my questions or (as happened in the case of another Aussie woman) to develop a special recipe for her that she can bake easily with a 3 day-old sourdough.

The forums all have a stock of about 10 to 20 people who will check in each day and answer questions, show off breads and share some banter and have a good time. And some which will contribute when they have time. More than 50% of users will just "use" the forums, often only once or twice. That is normal with all forums.

All young forums that I have joined have taken a bit to get off the ground and this here looks very promising to me.
It is a fact that in Australia and NZ there are not too many people who are concerned about what they eat or the quality of bread simply because they grew up with square fluffy white stuff in plastic bags.

So the answer is to keep posting. The more you post here the more will end up in google and the more people will find the forum. That is how i got here! So keep it up!

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 July 2

When it comes to posting on a new forum ............I tend to get very self conscious when posting on a forum full of people I don't know... I kinda feel like I'm intruding...

Hey, Nina! You're doing just fine. I can tell you're infected with the same virus...lol...picturing you sniffing bread...lol!

forno 2006 June 25


It will get going eventually

I would have been here more often of late, but i have been very busy at work and i am a site admin on another forum, Ill be back soon and i hope that the regulars like you have not left


forno 2006 June 25


On the forum I reffered to above we have a section open to advertisers that can take up 3 different levels of subscription from a simple alphabetic listing to one where they have their own room on the forum wher they can be a moderator. We didnt do this to make money merely to cover hosting and domain registration etc. PM me if you want any more info

Maedi's picture
Maedi 2006 June 25

I'm so sorry to hear that Bill. I'm kind of speechless, its so sad.

I would like to thanks those people that have contributed. It would be really sad to see you go Bill. At least pop your head in occasionally..please.

Ratio of users that have made at least one post:

Sourdough.com.au | DanLepard.com

56:115 | 136:247
48.7% | 55%

It is a bit lower than dans for example, but thats part of growing.

Ratio of users to posts:

Sourdough.com.au | DanLepard.com

115:1497 | 494:3974
(roughly) 1:15 | 1:11.5

We have more posts per users.....but...you have contributed over 250 posts Bill, and that is truly appreciated.

I'm sorry you feal that way Bill. Maybe if everyone posts in this thread...


Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2006 June 25

Hi Guys!
Wow Bill you are gonna kill us! I remember when I first posted and said where are all the other people, and boom it started to happen, don't give up!
I also have been busy and sometimes my bread, well it hasn't been perfect, ask Chembake! Besides it is so hot and humid here in NYC that my wife throws a fit when I crank on the oven and flour is all over the place!

Please Bill don't go, we love your input and I'm sure when Graham starts showing off his own loaves will all be inspired as we have been with your really great loaves!

Integrally yours,

Maedi's picture
Maedi 2006 June 25

You dont know what you got till its gone...etcetera, dont go Bill!
I promise I'll spend more time in the forums.

SourDom 2006 June 25

It has been great to watch this forum grow over a fairly short period of time.

I suspect that there is a critical mass of active members needed to keep a forum ticking over. When there are regular enough posts people will feel inspired to keep checking to see what is happening, and encouraged to add in their own comments and questions.
While this forum has got to the stage of having posts almost every day (and usually multiple), that is largely the effect of a couple of super users. Only a handful of users are 'active' as Bill points out.

I know that you have felt like you needed to keep things ticking over Bill, and I am sad that this has left you feeling frustrated or burnt out with the forum. You have been a fount of wisdom and encouragement, and I hope that you will continue to contribute. However at the end of the day both the baking and the forum-writing are about enjoying yourself, and if either becomes a chore then it is time to take a break.

Hopefully some of the silent members out there will feel encouraged to contribute. If they have been reading for a while, they will know that we are very friendly and don't bite. (One member has been know to 'bark' occasionally, but he has been very well behaved in recent months )

I for one would be interested to hear from some of the professionals. When the forum was just starting there were a number of them who gave me some useful advice. However perhaps they have been scared off by all of the amateurs like myself...


Graham's picture
Graham 2006 June 25

Bill. Please don't go!

This forum is a big inspiration to me. It is the first forum I have made more than a couple of posts to, and the first as an administrator. I actually thought it was humming along nicely. What the numbers show is that the rate of participation is in-line with other forums, like Dan's, but that our membership could be bigger.

What a lot of people like about this forum is that no-one is out to prove they are the greatest at anything. I have had PM's from people who joined because ours was a 'friendly' forum.

A few months ago i sent Dan an email, and he responded quite quickly from a beach in Italy. Or perhaps he was simply in Italy, and not on a beach. My point is that with a forum like Dan's it can be more difficult to take a breather. You need to be rigorous about keeping up to date and staying involved, wherever you are.

On our forum you can take a breath whenever you feel like. You should not have to feel compelled to post or reply. I read SourYumMum's "Sourdough Disastar" and just laughed. I am certain that Carol heard my laughter without me having to write a thing.

I do appreciate you going into battle for me and the site, Bill. Thank you.

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2006 June 26

As I write I am converting a straight dough to sour with sauerkraut in your honor, come back soon, don't believe the hype, this is a great forum because of you and all the others! Graham is fortunate to have that name, reminds me of the concert promoter "Bill Graham" who got so many great bands together, (I know I was trying for a metaphor or something to tie the two together, oh well!) well I say we got it all here, just some are not so intuned!
and as Timothy Leary once said ""Turn on, tune in, drop out" just come back soon!

P.S. if the sauerkraut landbrot comes out I'll send a pic!

Maedi's picture
Maedi 2006 June 26

Maybe I should send a re-invite email to every user that hasn't made a post yet , to mean?


bethesdabakers's picture
bethesdabakers 2006 June 26

Blimey Bill,

I only just scrape in as an overseas contributor with 25 posts and I've been trying to update my basic recipe for my little beginners series but I've been busy.

The problem is, Bill, you're prolific! I couldn't keep up with you. As someone who's just been checking in for the last few weeks I would have said this forum was really healthy and, in fact, if you are going to compare it with Dan's site which I regard as being my home forum, I would have said his has been downright sluggish of late. I feel really fustrated at the lack of response to the disussion on British baking and how many responses to my post on Bara Planc? Zip.

As an overseas outsider I would like to see you continuing to contribute. Just stop publishing those photos of perfect loaves!! It's not fair.

Best wishes,


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 June 26

[size=18]NO WAY![/size] Sunday is family time, so I don't get to log in too often....but when I do, I see this???

Frankly, where Bread Action is concerned, this forum certainly is comparatively more active than many. Reasons why people don't post:

1. They're involved in other forums too...reading a bit here and there takes time. True, it just takes a second to post a note, but to some it adds up to too much time. I'm one of them. I've had my finger in too many pies but I've forced myself to pick just:

one Photography Forum;
one Cake Forum (which I post only when I've made a cake or chip in to help with any questions if/when I can. I've apologised to everyone there that I can't put in good words about their creations because there are just too many and I don't want anybody to feel slighted;

This is because my interests have now shifted to Bread. I subscribe to one baking list and visit 3 forums (here, Dan's and eG). I post the most here because I find it the friendliest...much thanks to you, Bill.

2. Shyness. LOL, not everyone is a show-off like me.

3. Ability/lack of ability to contribute knowledge. Since we've got this thread going, I'd like to encourage those of you who are still doubtful to just take the plunge. There are bakers of all levels here; those who are more experienced LOVE to help. If those in need of help do not ask, how are you going to learn? Those who are in the position to help...the more info the better.

4. Battle Scars. Some has been hurt in other forums. I know I have. That's why I, too, am a bit cautious when I post. Criticisms can be softened by words like IMHO and the like. On the other hand, let's not get too sensitive by criticisms. I know...they are talking about our babies, who look BEAUTIFUL to us. Thing is, "Will the world end if there's a harsh word about our bread?", "Shouldn't that challenge us to improve?".

5. Nothing to say. Now, c'on! If you don't feel like bread today, there's other stuff you can interest others in. There's an area for just that....under Open Talk.

6. Language problems. No problem...bread language is universal. Just show your bread and everyone understands what you're saying.

That's about all I can think off my head at the moment. I'm sure there are other reasons why people don't post, but there certainly are many more reasons why you should. For instance, Graham and team are so proactive, I get surprised almost every week, by something new or something to look forward to in the horizon. But they do need encouragement and that's where posters come in. Let's make this forum a great one....together.

jacklang 2006 June 26

I'd post more if I thought
a) This forum was global rather than specifically Australia. I think a world sourdough forum really interesting
b) I had anything useful to say

Meantime here is some bread I made yesterday. I was rather pleased with the texture for a sourdough wholemeal.


Its a wholemeal (Doves Farm) made with a stiff preferment.
200g flour
100g water
10g mother starter (chef)
Mix and ferment at 30C for 8 hours (then overnight in the fridge)

400g flour
320g water
1g Vitamin C
Mix together and leave for an hour.
Mix intensively (food processor for 2 mins) with the preferment and 12g salt
1 hour floor time bulk ferment; shape and put into banneton; 3 hour proof at 30C; bake 40 mins with lots of bottom heat and steam for the first minute.

chembake 2006 June 26

And you will also understand why, with due apologies to Graham and the regulars, that until such time as there is a demonstrated interest in the contributions from some very worthy people, I will not be contributing anything more to this forum. 260 posts, I've tried

Bill its sad to say that when you leave a lot of people will be missing you!

If those other members refuse to past as the say that there is no response,,,if I happen to find their post to be interesting I will surely not ignore it!

I am just lurking around watching for some interesting development

Yes, there is a declining number of post.. If you look at the different sections of this forum many of it are stagnating....
Not the fault of the members,,,but there is nothing interesting to talk about then I

Look in the technical department?there is not post at all for almost a month?.therefore I came to believe that not many in this group really relishes technical discussion?nor are interested in anything that they can barely understand.

BTW ?.Teck poh,,,thanks for your message !

Normbake 2006 June 26

I have to agree with Bill a lot of people just view the forum and do't bother to give something back.
Surely these other members must have some sort of feedback they can add, they must be interersted in sourdough otherwise why bother going though the process of signing up......
I'm sure some of them must've tried at some stage of creating a starter or even baking yeast bread.............

nina 2006 June 26

I've only made a few posts on the forum but even so I'll surely miss your contributions Bill.
What attracted me to this forum is not only the before mentioned friendlyness, but also the obvious interest and passion for baking with sourdough combined with experience and knowledge. And the fact that this is a living active forum.
I can understand your frustration, especially since this forum has such a big potential, but for an outsider (me) the forum looks far from dead or in vain. Reading all the posts have been an enormous help and inspiration to me.

When it comes to posting on a new forum I can of course only speak for myself. I tend to get very self conscious when posting on a forum full of people I don't know... I kinda feel like I'm intruding and I don't want to seem pushy or meddling. He, I'm like that in RL too I guess. I'm only pushy and meddling with people I know

SourDom 2006 June 26

I'd post more if I thought
a) This forum was global rather than specifically Australia. I think a world sourdough forum really interesting
b) I had anything useful to say

It is great to hear from you Jack.
I think that with a 1/3 of our members declaring themselves from overseas, this forum could well claim to be a 'world sourdough forum', even if the name would suggest otherwise.
Your suggestions and contributions are always interesting and useful (and your bread always looks fantastic!), but don't feel obliged. I know that you spread yourself between a number of different fora.


Maedi's picture
Maedi 2006 June 26

The forums are quite international, being on the www and all. You could say that the .com.au filters the people that join this forum, creating this unique "spirit", that I should bottle up and sell.

Maedi's picture
Maedi 2006 June 26

OMG, I forgot my anniversary........of the forums that is. This month last year my father Graham. Started this little o'l board.

This board is now 1 year and 22 days old.

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2006 June 26

I made the sauerkraut, bread! Gonna try it tommorow. maybe by then you will be back!
Oh yeah made a Levain de campagne as well!Still on the first ferment!

Let us know what your baking. sure it's fab!


P.S. Chembake I see you flirting!

gt 2006 June 26


Your bread looks great but I especially like the format for your recipe. Very simple, concise, and leaves no questions as to what you did.

Thanks Gary

FlourGirl 2006 June 26

Hi Bill and all,

I guess I am one of the people you are addressing, haven't posted much, but do regular reading.

I feel that I can't contribute much. I am 'stuck in the middle' not the absolute beginner who asks lots of questions - but not experienced enough show off my breads either. Developing some knowledge, but don't feel I 'know' it yet.

Also if I do have a question I tend to find an answer by reading old stuff and searching rather than asking and having people spend their valuable time. On the German Sourdough Forum I read, I have seen people make the statement, that they don't have the time to go to the search function and work through the hits, they rather ask. I consider THAT approach rude.

I am definitely enjoying this forum, the passion and the experimenting that goes with it.
The Germans have much more of a 'This is the way it works, we have done it like this for centuries' approach. Not so enlightening.
Bill, I would hate to see you leave this forum, however at the same time, post when you feel like it and not because you think you should.

BTW, recently I have been suspicious that I am actually Gluten-intolerant and tried gluten-free baking. I would have posted if anything resonable had resulted - but it SUCKS! Not sure whether I am or not yet, but I can't imagine having to give up bread and baking ....

cheers, -FlourGirl

BTW. Add me to the international community, I am a German who happens to live in Sydney.

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