State of the Forum Report: Our First 30 Days

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Danica Swanson

  • CEO (Creative Endarkenment Overseer) at Black Stone Abbey
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State of the Forum Report: Our First 30 Days
« on: June 04, 2019, 08:26:07 PM »
Greetings! Co-admin WeepingCrow and I will post occasional State of the Forum Reports to keep everyone up to date on notable news items, technical issues, questions we've received, reminders, and administrative changes. Here's the report for our first month!

We launched to the public on May 5, 2019, and we've received great feedback so far. Thank you.

* Forum Membership: We have 41 registered members as of this writing. 20 members have posted introductions so far. Welcome! We are loving the introductions. It's great to have a chance to get to know you all this way.

* Registration Approval Notifications: In the first couple of weeks, we ran into a few errors as we were getting the admins and moderators up to speed with the quirks of the forum software. As a result, there were some members among our early sign-ups who didn't receive email notifications that their registrations had been approved. We sent out follow-ups and apologies to these members, and we're up to date now.

* Compose Posts Off-Forum: We had an unexpected server downtime of about an hour on Saturday, June 1. Especially while we're ramping up, we recommend that members always compose posts in a text editor (e.g., Google Docs) and save frequently. Then cut-and-paste them into the field on the forum. Don't risk losing a long post!

* Forum Search Function: Clicking on the magnifying glass will provide a quick way to search your posting history for keywords or topics. There's also an advanced search feature that allows searching of the forum by user, message or topic age, and size of topic. So if you're wondering if a topic of interest has been covered, we encourage you to try to find it using the search function.

* Knowledge Base: The knowledge base area is sparsely populated at the moment - especially the Master Resource List pages under the Resources tab. We've got a lengthy list of links we intend to add there; it's just a matter of finding time to enter them all, as we must do that manually. We'll do that work incrementally as time permits. There are also a few "placeholder" posts on various boards that we posted before we officially launched that we haven't fleshed out yet; those too will be completed eventually.

* Gallery: We plan to improve the gallery area and upload more photos. Our goal is to set up dedicated sections for our members' shrine photos, monastic garb experiments, and so on. Again, we'll tackle this as time permits.

* Votary Membership Option Reminder: To switch from the Laity membership category to the Votary category, simply pay the USD $5 sign-up fee through PayPal (Profile → Actions → Paid Subscriptions → Order) and you'll receive immediate access to the Inner Hall boards. We trust our members to decide between Laity and Votary membership levels. For more information, see question #18 of our FAQ.

* Donations: All donations go directly into the account we use to help us pay forum costs such as tech support, domain registration, and web hosting. We are entirely community-owned and self-supporting, with no advertising. The admins and moderators provide many hours of professional-level service labor to build and maintain the forum. We gratefully receive donations to support this work.

You can donate an amount of your choice through PayPal at any time by clicking on the yellow Donate button at the bottom of the Information box. For information about other ways to donate, please contact us at polytheistmonastic [at] gmail dot com.

* Automatic Billing Subscription Option: We appreciate the offers we've received to support the forum monthly, and we're working to set up an automatic-billing monthly subscription option. We'll have more news in future State of the Forum updates.

* Commenting On Old Threads: We encourage our members to revisit old threads by adding new comments whenever they have additional thoughts to add or a new person joins who takes an interest in that topic. Threads can be revived at any time even after they've lain dormant for months or years. Even if the original poster doesn't see the new responses, someone else certainly will. That's one of the many reasons we started this forum: to permit us time and space to read and ponder new and old topics in ways that popular social media platforms do not.

Old threads also provide a way to help us avoid the need to continually re-explain the basics over and over whenever someone new joins. With Facebook groups there's no easy way for the new folks to find and review what's already been discussed, but here we can simply point them to existing threads that address the topics of interest in an organized way.

* Forum History: If you've wondered how we decided to start this forum, we've told a bit of that story in another thread.

* First Regional Member Meetup: Our first regional meetup for forum members is scheduled for June 30 in Portland, OR. Five members will be attending. We're looking forward to it!

* Avatar Images: If you haven't yet uploaded an image to use for your avatar, we encourage you to do so. It helps us quickly identify profiles when we're scanning for specific posts.

* Black Stone Abbey newsletter: WeepingCrow and I plan to launch a newsletter for Black Stone Abbey and our recently announced contemplative Norse polytheist-animist religious Order in the autumn. We'll both be writing for the newsletter regularly. In the meantime, if you'd like to receive the first issue as soon as it's released, feel free to sign up on Substack where we've set up a placeholder page.

That's all for now. Thanks to all our early members for joining us and making our first month so successful. We look forward to many more fruitful years of great discussions!

- The Admins