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GaryD

What makes for a good online community?

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Hi,

When this forum was established, I drafted the rules.....since we had to get started somehow.

With the current discussion, however, about how Practical Aquaponics is a good example of how not to run a forum, I thought it would be a good idea to canvass ideas for what a really good online community might look like.

What are the rules by which we should all abide? What should happen when those rules are breached? What are the features of the best online communities?

Should there be a different governance structure to the current benevolent dictatorship?

Your suggestions would be appreciated.

Gary

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Hi Gary,

Thanks for the opportunity to comment on the rules....For what it's worth, I think it is a good Idea to take a step back occasionally have a look and ask for comments about the rules and adjust if you think is necessary..I think at the moment you should keep running your forum the same way you have been..You have been reasonably successful till now no need to change it. Having said that and having a foot in both camps, so to speak..If I think we could benefit from any changes I'll post the ideas here...Thanks for the flexibility of asking your valued members for their ideas.

Cheers.

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no more witch hunts generated by anyone for any reason other than political and religious views... (last part was a joke...)

let the people in other forums get chewed up, questioned, praised, blindly followed, applauded, or any other combination of verbs and adjectives on their own forums. if you say that they are already being questioned by the very people that populate the other forums, then what really is the point?

if something you've learned somewhere else goes wrong in your system, chalk it up as that. if many people have something going wrong in their systems that they've learned from a single source, that alone speaks volumes about the teacher.

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Hi Damon,

While your suggestions have the flavour of a lecture rather than ideas for a good online community, I'll accept them in the spirit in which they probably weren't intended.:wink:

When I look at what politics and religion has done for the world at large (much less a particular forum), I'd be very happy if we didn't discuss those here either. Either subject would generate enough bull**** to power the world forever.

Just one question though.....

if something you've learned somewhere else goes wrong in your system, chalk it up as that. if many people have something going wrong in their systems that they've learned from a single source, that alone speaks volumes about the teacher.

But, if we're not all talking, how will we know that many of us have had the same problem.....and that the problem is with the one "teacher?"

BD....thanks for the acknowledgment.

I've operated this forum since 2007 when it was only the second one of its type in the world.

Other than my Online Urban Aquaponics Manual (and the occasional course), I have nothing to sell the members.....and I don't push those very hard here anyway.

In that time, I've met the operating costs for the forum.....and provided thousands of hours of my time......and that's been my contribution to aquaponics.

If I could wave a magic wand, all I'd want for APHQ is for it to be a very good online community.

All my members have to do is tell me what that looks like......and we can go there.

If they can provide examples of the sort of forums that they judge to be good examples of best practice, so much the better.

Gary

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I think keeping politics out aquaponics forums is a good idea. I visit all forums looking for information about peoples systems and how they are progressing. I also look for good ideas that I may use in changes to my system.

Society consists of diverse political loyalties and I believe the same mix can be found in all the forums. Some members are vocal about politics but most are like me and do not wish to comment on politics in public, this distorts how others may view the overall membership of a particular forum.

Cheers

Joey

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I think keeping politics out aquaponics forums is a good idea. I visit all forums looking for information about peoples systems and how they are progressing. I also look for good ideas that I may use in changes to my system.

Society consists of diverse political loyalties and I believe the same mix can be found in all the forums. Some members are vocal about politics but most are like me and do not wish to comment on politics in public, this distorts how others may view the overall membership of a particular forum.

Cheers

Joey

Hi Joey.

On the PAP forum it is OK to discuss politics. As long as you agree with Murray and his right wing mates.

It is also OK to make a racist remark, misogynist joke or attack other members of the forum, insult former prime ministers, etc. As long as you agree with Murray.

In fact there's a folder where you can discuss anything. It's part of the lounge folder. Trouble is if you post something Murray doesn't agree with then you will get a nasty PM telling you to shut up, find another forum or just a pleasant little insulting personal remark. Posts are frequently deleted, if Murray doesn't like them. No other moderators will ever contact you to warn you or suggest modifying your posts because moderation on Murray's forum is a big lie. There are moderators but they don't. Some of them are just attack dogs who will hurl insults at you on the forum while Murray looks on with a schoolboy bully's delight.

dave

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dave,

give it a rest. we get it, you're butt hurt because murry hurt your feelings... this thread is meant as a way to figure out how to over come a problem that you seem content of perpetuating. you acted belligerent on PAP, and now you're pulling from incidents that are nearly irrelevant because this thread is how to make this forum work, not PAP. so just drop it.

Christ, if i sounded like this guy i can see how you all got annoyed with me about the FAP drama... point taken, i now see clearly.

but for the love of god, let what happens on one forum stay in the forum. instigation of a topic that has no place on this forum to begin with leads to no where.

Dave, all you're doing i tracking mud into this house. let the two forum operate as separate entities, because that's exactly what they are.

and dave... you have a little brown on the tip of your nose... (=

and eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. it's a phrase that is extremely over used and extremely cliched, and yet, it still seems to fit perfectly. also there's "two wrongs don't make a right", and "just because they deserve it, that doesn't mean you have to be the one to give it to 'em," if you didn't like the first one.

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... this thread is meant as a way to figure out how to over come a problem that you seem content of perpetuating.

and dave... you have a little brown on the tip of your nose.

So what is this thread about figuring out again Damon ?...want to run that past us all again ?

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you're right, just couldn't resist the friendly rib.

but i guess thats where the hard part comes in. what differentiates ribbing and throwing real blows? because the smiley face at the end of the sentence (that was mysteriously not part of the quoted material even though it was only 3 characters after the part that was quoted) didn't seem to cut it...

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What makes a good online forum is good moderation. The specific examples I have posted are an excellent illustration of what can happen in a forum where there is no moderation.

People should be allowed to have their say and express their opinions. That is what a forum is for, open discussion. When the owner or moderator uses that power over others to prevent them expressing their views that is unethical.

As for Damon's previous post. Well I'll let his words speak for themselves. I am not trying to perpetuate the problem. This thread is about suggesting solutions I thought. Or at least expressing opinions on what makes a good online forum.

And as for your immature personal comments towards me, perhaps you are best posting those kinds of comments on the other forum, where I am sure you will be right at home.

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So Damon, what would you characterize as "real blows" on an online forum?

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On the PAP forum it is OK to discuss politics. As long as you agree with Murray and his right wing mates.

It is also OK to make a racist remark, misogynist joke or attack other members of the forum, insult former prime ministers, etc. As long as you agree with Murray.

dave

because that's going to end the senseless fighting?

by coming down too hard on what people can and cannot say turns into grinding and brain mashing game of extreme political correctness. there has to be balance. if it's not enjoyable for people to keep the conversation going, conversation will cease. yes, people come to the forums to look for knowledge. people also come to the forums for a sense of belonging. the social aspect is in the same realm as a "free to all" club.

by restricting everything down to being completely politically correct, people will drift to the forums where it is more fun and relaxing to chat about AP. being able to rib and poke fun (to a certain extent) make conversing enjoyable. yes, there is a limit that can be reached where it goes from fun and games to hurting ones feelings. if you can take it in stride, do so. if you can't, let the person know that it hurt your feelings. if that person openly apologizes, end of story. if they don't, refer to the moderator for action. simple as that.

granted, people become really thin skinned due to the past arguments, but it will be left up to the moderator as to what was across the line and what was simply someone making something of nothing.

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Hi folks, back again.....

I don't think you should stop people talking abut politics, religion, or what ever presses your buttons...I think most of that type of talk like that should be confined to the lounge section...But when we talk about whatever floats your boat and the discussion becomes boringly circular, some circular discussion OK, even a lot, but when it becomes excessively circular boring and achieving nothing but anx, then I think, guidance should come from the moderators and if it continues, lock up the thread or the like....

I think Gary started some threads and has asked for comments and the like...I think that's good...I think the lounge section on this forum has always been run that way..

Cheers.

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dave,

you just asked the same question i was proposing. in the circles i talk in a smiley face normally suggest good will if the statement preceding it wasn't too derogatory... there are plenty of worse ways the statement i made could have been said, but as nicely as it was said, and also being followed by a smiley, that should have been enough to come of as light hearted...

it should't have to come down to having to use the "j/k" after every rib. but if that's what it takes to get people to not take things so literally and hurtfully, then i guess those are the steps that need to be made.

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Its pretty simple really,

If any member of the forum disagrees with a certain post, by all means point out what you disagree with & debate it with them.

Strangely....this can actually be done with a level of reasonable politeness with no difficulty at all !

....its called...Attacking the post....NOT the poster

Obligatory smiley------>:smile:

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sorry for a second post in succession... brain fart...

when we read the comments back and forth we read them with the voice in our minds. it's easy to put things in a hurtful tone when you read a comment form someone you've previously had an argument with... this turns things that were meant in good fun into being misconstrued as hurtful... just as the statement i made and how it's now in question...

but like i said... if it has to come down to over clarifying that it's just in harmless good fun, then that's the way it has to be...

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Its pretty simple really,

If any member of the forum disagrees with a certain post, by all means point out what you disagree with & debate it with them.

Strangely....this can actually be done with a level of reasonable politeness with no difficulty at all !

....its called...Attacking the post....NOT the poster

Obligatory smiley------>:smile:

Well said and I think a good guideline for the forum.

There are many comments, advice and discussion which needs to be challenged, questioned or at least explained. We're not blind sheep - it's healthy to question. For me, a little clarification goes a long way, particulalry when we all communicate differently and we all speak a different brand of English :smile:

In the main body of the site, the threads deal with the "meat and potatoes" of AP and it's pretty cut and dry. People learn quickly to have their facts in order if you want to challenge or present an alternative idea. We all know those guys on this site and others, who will bury you with facts, science and personal experience. In my opinion, these folks keep us on track and resolve the challenge quickly.

The area where things get a bit tricky are the "free form" threads where random thoughts can be posted. The "lounge" concept, for instance, is a good one in theory. When it works, it gives members the option to go off-topic and kick around things like politics. It should be a place where guys can have a little fun with controversial topics. The challenge is how do you differentiate between the playful poke and a rude attack. Sometimes the line dividing them gets gray. I believe there needs to be an understanding when you post on this type of thread - put on your big-boy pants and your thick skin if you want to play here. If members police themselves well, great. If not, I guess that's where the administrator needs to go with his gut. Sometimes that might mean flushing the thread, I don't know. This also means it's possible that the administrator himself (or herself) might have a controversial position at times...

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Hi Gary,

If I could wave a magic wand, all I'd want for APHQ is for it to be a very good online community. All my members have to do is tell me what that looks like......and we can go there. If they can provide examples of the sort of forums that they judge to be good examples of best practice, so much the better. Gary

Though as I mentioned in another thread I have been a forum admin for 10 years, I dont wish to quote the forum's addy.

It is an IT & gaming forum where gaming geeks & freaks unite to do our thing. The general essence & tone of gaming is that of 'bravado & oneupmanship' where the english language is stretched into its most colourful & graphic. Gaming forums conduct them selves more akin to 'the hood' .... As such, not a great public example.... bad language proliferates, but on that forum - personal attacks are nipped in the bud & are non existent.

On the other hand, the basic forum ingredients, ethos, forum rules, administration, structure & membership keep that forum held in the highest respect & esteem of its peers ... as it has been for 20 years.

The forum basically consists of,

Forum Rules & Values - Clear rules of conduct & respect with clear, fair penalties for breach's

Administration Team is made up of 2 levels

Forum Admin / Owner, The forum has 1 individual owner, like Gary here .... they as the forum owner always remain with forum owner position - they administer & moderate the forum & admin team. Forum owners also must be voted into admin team.

Forum Admin / Leaders, are voted into admin positions by the forum members 6 monthly or yearly. Admin / Leaders moderate forum threads as per the forum rules.

... and those looking for faults in that process, Yes - in a worst case senario, a forum owner can be voted out of an admin / moderation role.... he would have to be a nasty left wing nazi to get voted off the admin team of his own forum !

Nothing overly complex and definitely will not suit all forum's.

We have found over 20 years that a forum etiquette of respect is a reflection of fair & even moderation and enforcement of forum rules & values.

Cheers

Toga

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Hi,

Thanks Toga......that's the sort of thing that I had in mind.

Let's confine the input into this thread to ideas for a great online community.

You come up with the good stuff and I'll take us there.

I'm going to bed.......and our moderators are requested to dump anything which is not a positive suggestion.

Gary

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Ow Gary,

I forgot to mention the most valued aspect of that forum to the gaming forum members ...

The members them selves.

Everyone enjoys the freedom to broach any topic on any level. Even the most outrageous one eyed trains of thought and opinions of individuals are treated with respect and generate passionate interesting threads. After all, even if someones opinion or belief is based on a false fact... attacking them personally with disrespect will only see degeneration into kaos and hate.

There is one thread that was started in 1999 that still runs current. An open topic thread about life, the universe, global politics, religion, evolutionism v's creationism.... that has seen over 12,800 heated and passionate replies from every small factionalist from every conflicting tangent of life, religion and viewpoint. Many many times members have been warned to tone down their comments of personal aim towards another members view or belief.. no posts have ever been deleted or edited/moderated and no member has been banned for expressing any level of radical view as long as it doesnt instigate or perpetuate an illegal activity, racism nor disrespect a fellow member.

This all occurs on a forum where 'ego domination & intimidation' is the edge over a competitor in a game.... & like 1st grade sportsmen, the members generally have a very high level of personal respect for each others views & belief's.

Cheers

Toga

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Hi,

OK.....so let's see what we have here.

  • Attack the post....not the person who makes the post. There are comments, advice and discussion which needs to be challenged, questioned or at least explained - it's healthy to question.
  • Forum Rules & Values - Clear rules of conduct & respect with clear, fair penalties for breaches.
  • Forum Leaders are voted into admin positions by the forum members 6 monthly or yearly.
  • Forum Leaders moderate forum threads as per the forum rules.
  • Fair & even moderation and enforcement of forum rules & values.

This is a mixed gender, international forum so I'd like to avoid racism and misogyny.....and I think that the language should be tempered.....at least to the standard required by the language editor in the forum software. As a former sailor, I have a colourful vocabulary myself, but bad language should appear as asterisks as is currently the case.

While I'm open to the idea that the Lounge should be somewhere that you can discuss anything - including religion and politics - it should subject to the avoidance of racism or sexism.

As for the role of the Forum owner, I'd be happy to leave the day-to-day management of the forum to elected moderators/leaders. I'm happy to be respondent to the same rules as anyone else.

My role would be to meet the forum costs and to provide for maintenance, for which I would have the right to promote my products and services - for as much as they exist. I'll also look after the structure of the forum.

How are we going so far? What else do we need to do?

Outside of the rules, what other practices need to be encouraged if we are to achieve the goal of becoming a best practice online community?

Gary

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Hi All

Honesty and supportive facts. There is no need to slam some one. Recommendations to consider for improvement will go a lot further.

Cut out the gossip. I can get that at the donut shop.

Give positive input as being helpful.

Sharing your mistakes helps others from making the same mistake. It is hard to be humble but in the end it will look good on you.

Some times their are pics and/or facts related to a subject such as filtration or fish tank information, or pics of members AP systems.

How can this type of info. get put in a glossary or photo album for easer access or quick referencing to all?

These are just my thoughts and questions and are not directed towards anyone.

Wayne L.

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Hi

How do I make the list of new posts list more then the last 12 hours? I would like it to show me the last 24 hours at least or maybe even 48.

Needing help, cant seem to find it in the settings any where.

Wayne L.

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Hi Wayne,

How do I make the list of new posts list more then the last 12 hours? I would like it to show me the last 24 hours at least or maybe even 48. Needing help, cant seem to find it in the settings any where.

You can't make the changes to which you refer.......but that's the benefits of being on a forum operated by a benevolent dictator.....'cos I've made it for you. In fact, I've opened the "What's New?" thing out to 5 days.

Enjoy!

Gary

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