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  #11  
Old 12-09-2009, 04:43 PM
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nikkiana nikkiana is offline
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I feel like there are a few things that need to be defined in this discussion because I feel like there's some sort of disambiguation of terms being used to describe what people want... (Building online communities is part of my job, so... I can't help but interject here.)

Any online forum can be broken down into two main categories of people. Authenticated users (logged in) and non-authenticated users (logged out). Both of these groups have permissions of things they can do.

Authenticated users are participants in the community. They can be broken down into subcategories like administators, mods, categories of privledge based on post count, etc.

Non-authenticated users are not participants in the community, they're observers of the community thus when a user is logged out, all they can do is read the posts on the forum.... Unless of course, you've set up the forum to not allow non-authenticated users to read.

General terms defined, this is what I think...

I don't think it's a good idea to restrict certain sections of the site based on post count. This creates rifts in the community, and can discourage people from becoming active members in the community if the bar is set too high... and in a community that's got an active member base that's as small as this one, you don't want to add additional barriers to participate or else the community will die.

However, I do think it's a good idea to restrict certain sections of the site based on whether a user is logged in or logged out. This is not an offensive line to draw because a logged in user is part of your community, a logged out one is an observer of your community and it's perfectly acceptable to have 'private' areas that only your members can see.

I personally would draw the line between "public" can be read by all forums and "private" can be read by only members forums based on whether the section is prone to having general information threads or personal information threads... In the case of what we currently have on this forum, I'd say I'd leave most of it public and make "Life Stories and Blogs" a members only forum because that forum is most likely to have more personal information than just opinions.

To profile what our current community looks like... We have two main groups of people. A core group of people who are active posters who are fairly experienced (so far as i can tell) with polyamory, and a constant stream of new members who are often new to polyamory, looking for emergency guidence but are not necessarily interested in (at least at first) joining a community... and then there are some people who don't fit into either category... less active users... some of which may be experienced with poly but aren't feeling a connection to the community enough to post all the time, and some of which are new to poly and want to be part of a community but aren't experienced enough to feel comfortable answering other new to poly questions.

That defined I think the big question that we're trying to address is "How do we make this space an inclusive community?"

From my experience with forums in general, I have found that often times what really transforms a forum about a certain subject into a blossoming community is to introduce parts of the forum that are just about life in general. Yes, the focus of this board is polyamory, however when you're dealing with a community who are in varying stages how involved they are into that lifestyle, it can cause divisions between people who are experienced and not experienced... and I think life in general.... things like cooking, cleaning, entertainment, parenting, family issues, health, etc. are things that we ALL can bond over because regardless of you're experience level with poly... those are all things we're going to have in common.

Does that make sense?
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  #12  
Old 12-09-2009, 04:52 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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Thank you for your post, Nikki. By that reasoning, perhaps "The Fireplace" should be members-only too, in addition to "Life Stories and Blogs"?
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  #13  
Old 12-09-2009, 04:54 PM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikkiana View Post
I don't think it's a good idea to restrict certain sections of the site based on post count. This creates rifts in the community, and can discourage people from becoming active members in the community if the bar is set too high... and in a community that's got an active member base that's as small as this one, you don't want to add additional barriers to participate or else the community will die.

However, I do think it's a good idea to restrict certain sections of the site based on whether a user is logged in or logged out. This is not an offensive line to draw because a logged in user is part of your community, a logged out one is an observer of your community and it's perfectly acceptable to have 'private' areas that only your members can see.
I agree with this entirely. The value of a person's contributions does not lie in the number of posts they have made. However, it is entirely reasonable to restrict areas to logged in users. Anybody can register to become part of the forum to access such areas.
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  #14  
Old 12-09-2009, 05:09 PM
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nikkiana nikkiana is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YGirl View Post
Thank you for your post, Nikki. By that reasoning, perhaps "The Fireplace" should be members-only too, in addition to "Life Stories and Blogs"?
The Fireplace could be a good candidate as well, I think....

I have some additional comments about these two forums as well...

"Life Stories and Blogs" - I guess what kinda irks me a little about this forum is it doesn't have much structure... on the forums I've seen this done on, generally how it's handled is members who want to talk about their life in a "journal" style way are allowed to start one thread and then maintain a conversation within that thread about their life... I'm probably being irked by it because I really like that format, and feel like posting a new thread all the time is disorganized... but that's just me.

"The Fireplace" - I saw someone say in another thread that they had wanted to talk about something (was it a health issue or a health issue of family member or something... I can't remember...) but they felt hesitant to post it in "The Fireplace" because that area of the forum currently isn't very active and he/she wasn't sure anyone would want to hear about it.

I feel like this is the dilemma of having a free-for-all catch all section for everything not related to the main forum... unless it's actively being used by a lot of members, these types of forum usually remain fairly empty by comparison because people are afraid to post there because no one else is because they're unsure if what they want to talk about is something that's interesting to others.

There are two ways to combat that which I know of.... Either change the structure... Like, maybe create subforums under The Fireplace for various non-poly specific subjects like "Home Life", "Parenting", "Family", "Entertainment", etc. so people know those are totally acceptable thingsto be talking about here, OR the active members need to be more proactive about posting in the Fireplace on a regular basis.
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  #15  
Old 12-09-2009, 05:23 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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Quote:
"Life Stories and Blogs" - I guess what kinda irks me a little about this forum is it doesn't have much structure... on the forums I've seen this done on, generally how it's handled is members who want to talk about their life in a "journal" style way are allowed to start one thread and then maintain a conversation within that thread about their life... I'm probably being irked by it because I really like that format, and feel like posting a new thread all the time is disorganized... but that's just me.
Me too, this.

Quote:
"The Fireplace" - I saw someone say in another thread that they had wanted to talk about something (was it a health issue or a health issue of family member or something... I can't remember...) but they felt hesitant to post it in "The Fireplace" because that area of the forum currently isn't very active and he/she wasn't sure anyone would want to hear about it.
I get all the new messages by clicking on "New Posts" at the top of every page. If people choose not to utilize that feature, I'd say they're prob'ly missing out on some interesting stuff.

Quote:
I feel like this is the dilemma of having a free-for-all catch all section for everything not related to the main forum... unless it's actively being used by a lot of members, these types of forum usually remain fairly empty by comparison because people are afraid to post there because no one else is because they're unsure if what they want to talk about is something that's interesting to others.
I am pleased by the use that "The Fireplace" has gotten since it was put there. I think it has been quite successful.

Quote:
There are two ways to combat that which I know of.... Either change the structure... Like, maybe create subforums under The Fireplace for various non-poly specific subjects like "Home Life", "Parenting", "Family", "Entertainment", etc. so people know those are totally acceptable thingsto be talking about here, OR the active members need to be more proactive about posting in the Fireplace on a regular basis.
I hear what you are saying, but my personal feeling is that many forums are much too fragmented in that respect. It gets to the point where you can't decide whether your post belongs in one topic or another. This sounds like something that could be implemented down the road a bit if it looks like the Fireplace is getting SO many messages that it would be LESS confusing if it were subdivided. Right now, there is a thread for say "Outdoor Recreation" and folks have been reviving that thread and others when they have something to add. BUt for example, there is also a thread on "Nude Recreation" which sometimes overlaps with the material in "Outdoor". I do not feel that it is necessary to have a whole sub-FORUM for each type of recreation at this juncture.
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  #16  
Old 12-09-2009, 05:33 PM
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crisare crisare is offline
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Ah. To me it seems only reasonable to have areas of the board limited to registered members vs. open to anyone who stumbles along and wants to read.

OTOH, I was responding more based on this:
Quote:
a private/experienced/advanced part of the forum has been REQUESTED by some members
That sounds like (and I could be wrong - correct me if I am) that some members want an "advanced" area (although I'm not sure what counts as "advanced poly" ) that would be inaccessible by other registered members. I don't know what the criteria would be for that, but IMO if it becomes a "members vote" thing, then you're courting favoritism and cliques and so forth - and it's a sure thing that you'll get people feeling marginalized and excluded.

I honestly don't understand what would require having a "private" forum that some of the members have access to and others don't. If you have a group of friends who want to share more private sexual/personal information or photographs or something of that nature, then they can do that with each other via email or PM w/out creating an exclusionary part of the forum to grow personal friendships/connections.
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  #17  
Old 12-09-2009, 06:47 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YGirl View Post
Personally, I have no use for such a section, however, I like the idea of a FAQ section and/or sending out a "Welcome PM" listing basic definitions and resources to newly registered members.
I can build the FAQ board if folks want to identify the threads that should be moved there.

I don't find a way to send a welcoming PM. I may be able to post a special notice that new members can see on the boards (and will disappear after a set time), though I'm uncertain about how that works, exactly.
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When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
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  #18  
Old 12-09-2009, 07:00 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikkiana View Post
"Life Stories and Blogs" - I guess what kinda irks me a little about this forum is it doesn't have much structure... on the forums I've seen this done on, generally how it's handled is members who want to talk about their life in a "journal" style way are allowed to start one thread and then maintain a conversation within that thread about their life... I'm probably being irked by it because I really like that format, and feel like posting a new thread all the time is disorganized... but that's just me.
We can do that.

Quote:
"The Fireplace" - I saw someone say in another thread that they had wanted <snip>

There are two ways to combat that which I know of.... Either change the structure... Like, maybe create subforums under The Fireplace for various non-poly specific subjects like "Home Life", "Parenting", "Family", "Entertainment", etc. so people know those are totally acceptable thingsto be talking about here, OR the active members need to be more proactive about posting in the Fireplace on a regular basis.
Hmm. We could set it off as its own set of boards and offer three to five more boards. Or set it off as a general section with but one board until we have need for others.

And, yeah, I can set Life Stories and the Fireplace to be non-readable to guests.

(EDIT: Those boards have been set to non-readable by guests.)
__________________
When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.

Last edited by AutumnalTone; 12-09-2009 at 07:07 PM.
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  #19  
Old 12-09-2009, 07:02 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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Aw Mister Crow, you're such a people-pleaser!
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  #20  
Old 12-09-2009, 07:23 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Originally Posted by SeventhCrow View Post
Hmm. We could set it off as its own set of boards and offer three to five more boards. Or set it off as a general section with but one board until we have need for others.
Just had a thought: We could put the Life Stories and Fireplace boards together in their own section. I think they fit together.

Thoughts?
__________________
When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
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