Monica and Site administrators,
To do with forum participation. Since I'm new to the site, forgive me if I'm not understanding how this works, but looking at some of the recent submission posts in the Audition Room, it appears that some contain links to YouTube, others to some unspecified location where clicking on the link brings up an in-browser mp3 player (on my Mac, I think it's using Quicktime) and others have attachments from the submitter which have to be downloaded to my computer to be able to hear them. I assume these files exist on some ftp somewhere, and not on your server. This last is really impractical since after downloading it in order to hear it, I then have to go find and delete the file from my hard drive as well as delete the link to it that's automatically generated by iTunes. I don't have enough memory left on the hard drive to endlessly download files. If others have this same experience, it's not surprising that members don't take the time to comment on new submissions.
Once a submission has been accepted, it goes into your database, is officially posted on the site and a link appears on the "New Recordings" page so we site visitors can easily bring it up. That's great, but there is then no easy way to comment on it without manually navigating to the Audition Forum and hunting around for the initial submission posting so you can add a comment. Even then, it's hard to identify where the correct submission posting and string is for a particular "New Recording" because the artists real name is listed in the table, but their original submission was probably made under their "handle" which is what shows in the list of topics in the forum. Because the administrators can see what handle belongs to what member, it isn't an issue for them, but the rest of us don't have that access. Or am I missing something? I realize this is a site design issue, but it does go to the problem of why people aren't participating more in the forum. Again, maybe I'm not understanding how it's supposed to work.
One suggestion would be to add a column of links to the "New Recording's" table that would take the listener directly to the relevant forum string where he/she can more easily post a comment. This same link could also exist in the tables in the Composers category. That doesn't solve the problem of commenting on submissions not yet accepted, but maybe there could be a separate page or table for "submissions under review" with links to the initial entry in the forum, again to make commenting easy. That would unfortunately require that new submission files actually already exist in your database - maybe too problematic because you don't want the files on the main server before they have been scanned and reviewed - but it would save each forum participant from having to download the file to their computer.
Having built a few database driven websites myself, I realize that adding this kind of functionality isn't easy and would require a lot of additional coding and design changes. But, whatever the solution, it seems the process could be made a lot easier to encourage members to participate.
Another suggestion for the site administrator/designer - maybe for the next update - would be to make the links in the list of recordings on an artist's profile page go directly to that member's recording rather than just to the general page of all the works in a group. For some collections that include a lot of recordings by a lot of people (like the Chopin Preludes or Etudes), it's sort of frustrating to have to read through a long list to find a particular recording by a particular artist. But again, that may be impractical and require too many major changes to the code.
In any case, I'll continue to participate in the forums as much as time allows. Eventually, I'll be submitting some of my recordings - after I make them, or course...