Suggesting use of a Forum was RE: People - please do not reply to "everyone".

Allen Repashy
Sun, 31 May 2009 10:14:49 PDT
Hello Everyone,

I have been lurking on here a long time, and enjoy the mailing list, but 
I thought I would just jump in here because I know quite a bit about 
forums, or, as better described, "Online Communities" I have owned and 
run a gecko related community for six years, and recently started an 
online community focused on Xeric Plants using the best available 
software and features... What is nice about this kind of forum is the 
additional features such as personal member profiles, photo galleries, 
blogs, tutorials, reviews, calendars, classifieds. and topics of 
discussion can be broke off into separate "forums" for specific 
interests. Each" forum" can be subscribed to separately, based on your 
interests. One thing that is really nice is the ability to incorporate 
images into discussions directly. Chit chat can be controlled just as 
easily, if not more, than an email based system. Also, many members 
share unrelated interests, and often, an "Off Topic" forum is a great 
way for plant lovers to discuss other interests. It is great to talk 
about a common passion, but for many, a hobby like this is also an 
avenue for friendships that extend beyond the specialized topics. I 
think that for many, it is as much about establishing new friendships as 
it is learning about plants.

Anyways, creating this style of "Forum" isn't as difficult as it looks, 
It seems to be a natural evolution for mailing list type forums to go 
this route. I don't mean to come on here and say there is anything at 
all wrong with the format here, I really enjoy my pbs emails.... but I 
just thought I would present what I think is a good example of the 
options available, and volunteer to answer any questions, public, or 
private, about a system like this. It does have it's learning curve for 
newbies, but offers a much richer environment if that is of interest.

Here is a link to my Plant Community that I have had up and running for 
only a few months:

The top menu bar has links to the many features.

Another view is the member home page that gives a summary of all the 
recent posts across all the forums, as well as recent blogs, polls etc. :

Here is my established Gecko Related Community.

Allen Repashy

Jim McKenney wrote:
> One of the things I like a lot about the way things happen on the PBS forum
> is that I see all messages at one place. That makes it really easy to decide
> right away which ones I want to read and which I want to ignore. It also
> means that should one of the ones I ignored turn hot, I’m likely to notice
> the volume of responses and then check out what the excitement is all about.
> If we were to break down into smaller groups focused on specialized topics,
> it would be a lot harder to keep up with it. 
> Chit chat responses posted to the entire group drive me crazy; if people
> have to do it, why can’t they respond privately to the party in question? 
> Another thing I like very much about the current way things happen on the
> PBS list is the way a topic will begin focused on one thing and then wander
> over a wide range of usually very interesting other topics. I’ve been very
> pleasantly surprised over the years at what different perspectives bring to
> these discussions. I think Mary Sue has taken just the right approach  when
> it comes to discussions wandering off topic - mostly hands off except in
> those rare occasions  when things are about to ignite.
> I wish more people would post more often about the things which are
> happening in their gardening lives. I’ve often posted on the blooming of
> particular plants, mundane plants, just to get the ball rolling and prod
> others into giving their versions. The discussions which grew out of
> mentioning the blooming of Eranthis hyemalis or Sternbergia lutea, for
> instance, were varied and interesting. Neither of those is a rare plant, no
> expertise was involved in growing them, and I learned a thing or two from
> the many responses. 
> If it’s true that there over 400 people who receive the PBS postings, then
> it would be nice to hear something about what those of you who don’t post
> regularly – and that’s the majority of the group -  are growing. I’m
> particularly interested in what young people who might still be in
> university and who don’t have a real garden are growing. When I was that
> age, I was sharply focused on certain unusual plants which I could grow
> under lights indoors. What went on in real gardens was largely irrelevant to
> me. 
> One simple thing which I wish more people would do is to post brief messages
> about what is blooming for them: if everyone posted once a week on this
> topic it would provide lots of entertainment. 
> I don’t care a bit about the quality of your English prose, but do please
> make an effort to spell the names of the plants correctly.    
> Jim McKenney
> Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
> 7, where we are trying to dry out from yet another down pour. 
> My Virtual Maryland Garden
> Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
> Editor PVC Bulletin 
> Webmaster Potomac Lily Society
> _______________________________________________
> pbs mailing list

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