Pros and cons of this forum app

Seems easy to use. Question is how to coax people to use it. Need some PR to get the word out. Having to register is good to keep it protected from outside trollers. I'd like to see what a dialog would be like.

Comments

  • edited March 29

    Pros

    • Embed-able: https://wp.buf.org/forum/
    • Bullet Points (and other formatting options)
    • Support for email notifications: Setting (gear icon)->Edit Profile->Notification Preferences
    • Emojis😁
    • You can come back and edit comments
    • You can see old discussions (unlike BUF-news)
    • Offloads tasks from Kathy to one or more volunteer moderators.

    Cons

    • Emojis 😜
    • User ID does not necessarily reflect a persons real name. Need to get the signature plug-in working.

    Other

    • Need someone (or two) in administrator role to accept/deny registration requests.
    • Needs a critical mass of BUF-sters to make it work.

    Issues

    • Signature plugin doesn't work?
    • Quote feature is broken
    • @ mentions broken.
    • Need to add the media plug-in so things link YouTube links will work.
  • There is a "signature" plugin, that members can use to automatically insert their real name at the bottom of each post. I'll see if I can get it installed and working.

  • The Quote feature is broken.

  • Question is how to coax people to use it. Need some PR to get the word out.

    We could embed the forum on a dedicated page on buf.org itself.

  • It's not as pretty as I'd like, but here it is: https://wp.buf.org/forum/

    Note: I had to change the theme to make it embedable.

  • I made the forum page on wp.buf.org private. It'll need some work.

  • It's now a private page, you need to be logged into WP to see it. There were a few issues that I'd rather not bother looking into at the moment.

  • This definitely has potential....but the fact that we have to create/save yet another password is a con for usability (but a pro for security).

    I think the biggest 'con' is that the use case(s) are not very clear. Which kinds of conversations should happen here on the forum? And why is the forum model better than an email thread or a zoom meeting? There are definitely good answers to those kinds of questions, but they aren't necessarily obvious or easy to explain in a sound bite.

    Also...if there is only a portion of the community active in the forum, it is less useful and less likely to be used.

    However, if there was ever a time to try to see if this works....now is the time. :)

  • Zoom fits a different communication niche. If you miss a zoom call, for whatever reason, you miss everything.

    Email threads are targeted at a specific group of people.

    This forum allows anyone (and everyone) to participate (or not) in a conversation. Except for PMs (private messages) all conversations are public. The problem with BUF-news is that you get emails on things you may not be interested in, and there is an overuse of reply-all, which multiplies the issue.

    I see this forum as a replacement for BUF-news.

  • Also...if there is only a portion of the community active in the forum, it is less useful and less likely to be used.

    This is true today. We have

    • BUF-news
    • MWU
    • Website
    • Facebook (Official & Members & Friends)

    My preference would be to:

    1. Eliminate BUF-news (and maybe some other listservs)
    2. Eliminate FB members & friends (though this may be impossible)
    3. Merge the MWU into the website - make it a post (or posts) rather than a PDF.


  • We have the option of making this forum entirely private. If we do that then you would need to register before you can view any discussions. I see no reason to do this while we are trying things out.

    I will put out an announcement on buf-news about the forum.

  • Another advantage is that BUF-news can often end up in one's spam folder. The one I just sent ended up there in Lauralee's. I wonder how many other spam folders it fell into...

  • Yes, this is better than but buf-news list. I really don't like news lists. No one ever learns to chop out the chat history.

  • Yes...I like the direction of trying to create a forum that aims to be a replacement for buf-news. Probably the direct approach would be best in that case....meaning, perhaps we should send out a little survey to buf-news, asking questions that help us figure out the requirements for a system to replace buf-news?

    What do people like about buf-news that we want to keep/re-create in a forum?

    What do people NOT like about buf-news that maybe we can keep in mind when creating a forum replacement?

    What are the barriers to switching from buf-news to a forum, for each particular user?


    Also....I just discovered a way in which I would like this forum platform to be better....I would like to be able to react to someone's post (thumbs up, etc). It doesn't look like that is possible here...?

  • I think there is a plug-in that enables reactions.

  • I'm fine with adding the forum, but I REALLY hope we don't eliminate BUF-News! The forum seems like a good place for people who want to discuss topics, but I like the list-serve because it functions more as a place for people to make timely announcements they want to be read by all. Thus the name "News". Not every announcement in BUF-News is relevant to me, but I like having them arrive in my email box so I can skim them and delete if not of interest. When I went to my notifications setting in this forum, I couldn't find any way of choosing what I would really want, which would be a daily digest of any new postings. I don't want to have to go to a forum web site every day to see if anyone posted anything new. I want it to arrive in my email box. I can easily get that from the Members & Friends Facebook group. I receive an email when there's a new post, then I can go to the group look at further comments if I'm interested, and then choose to follow the post if I want to be notified (by email) of further comments. Also, people can post photos and videos and links on the Facebook group very easily. It seems to have all the functionality of a forum like this one plus way more. So, please don't eliminate the Members & Friends Facebook group either! Maybe I haven't looked hard enough yet, but on this forum I can't seem to find a list of the forum members.

  • There are no plans to discontinue our current online community - BUF-News and Facebook will stay active.

    • BUF-News works great for announcements, but does not work well for on going discussions, as for example for the community Thanksgiving dinner planning.
    • Facebook Members and Friends is not controlled by BUF. I am the current administrator, giving permission for new FB members to join, but that's as far is it goes. There are many people who prefer not to use FB and do not have an account. This is especially true for young adults.
    • BUF does have an official FB page, but that is not for ongoing discussions.
    • I'm not sure either how to see a list of all forum members. I'll look into it.
    • We'll be working on ways to attach photos, and post links to things link YouTube videos so that the show as expected to forum posts.
    • For email notifications go to Home -> Account Options (gear icon) -> Dashboard -> Edit Profile -> Notification Preferences. There you can set options to be notified of new discussions in each category.
  • Good to know that BUF-News and BUF Members & Friends won't be discontinued. I was concerned about that because of the following comment:

    "My preference would be to:

    1. Eliminate BUF-news (and maybe some other listservs)
    2. Eliminate FB members & friends (though this may be impossible)
    3. Merge the MWU into the website - make it a post (or posts) rather than a PDF."

    I know everybody is different and prefers different platforms for different reasons. I just wanted my preferences noted. Thanks to Melissa for requesting user input.

    I have checked "email" for all the types of notifications, but there doesn't seem to be any check box for "When a new topic is posted" or "Send a daily digest". So it appears that I would still have to remember to visit the forum page on a daily basis to see if anyone posted anything new (rather than a comment in an existing discussion.)

    So, my suggestion is to leave the Facebook group, the list-serve and the forum all open and functioning because each actually serves a different purpose. And, of course, encourage people to join all 3.

  • Sorry about the concern I caused you. I wrote that preference list a while ago. Ultimately, what communication tools endure will be what the BUF community uses.

  • Agreed!

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