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Greg

What improvements would you like to see in this discussion forum?

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I'd like to have a sincere discussion about what type of improvements we can make to the MLW forums. I want to attract more members, and I think the best way to do that is to appeal to the existing membership for ideas and opinions on what we could do to make this forum the best in class.

I'm not just interested in new forum features, but modifications to existing forum features. This is an open thread, so lets hear from everyone, but PLEASE keep it on topic. The sky is the limit, I'm interested in all suggestions.

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Active moderators holding diverse perspectives is my suggestion. I can appreciate why you decided Charles Anthony would stop posting when he became a moderator, but it's my opinion that the nature of political discussion requires active participants to understand the context of forum transgressions.

Having said that, I really don't mind the way it is now because the community is relatively small. If this doesn't change, I'm fine with the way things are. I believe that this small issue will grow much larger as the forum becomes more populated though.

Edit: And now that I got the inevitable moderation comment out of the way, hopefully people can discuss more productive suggestions instead.

Edited by cybercoma

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Some ideas for consideration. Not necessarily sure if all of these would necessary be good ideas, but worth considering:

  1. Certainly more moderators will be needed if you want to significantly increase the number of members. Cybercoma's suggestion here to have them engaged in the discussions is a good one.
  2. To actually get more members, the surest bet is advertising. Consider using social media for this.
  3. An off topic discussion area. The current "off topic" categories aren't really off topic, but are valid discussion categories. What I mean is a truly off topic area where people can just chat. A lot of this happens in real threads right now where it shouldn't, so having just a totally off topic area would be nice.
  4. Forum search should be improved. I suggest a "powered by google" solution.
  5. The ability to like/dislike posts in threads, with the number of likes/dislikes shown under a post. A lot of times people will quote a post just to post a one sentence agreement or disagreement, and this would help to alleviate that.
  6. Improve the editing interface. Ever since the change, quoting is still difficult. Specifically, in the wysiwyg interface, as you crop text inside quote boxes, the quote boxes themselves are prone to disappearing if you delete excess white space near the start or end of the quote.
  7. Allow an easy way to resize posted images. For example, sometimes I want to post an embedded image, but the source image is way too big to display reasonably. There should be a quick %scale dropdown menu or something in the embedded image posting interface.
  8. Allow uploading attachment images and perhaps other file types. Sometimes I've wanted to graph some data or something and post it, and have to go through the annoying extra step of uploading it to a third party image site and then posting it as an embedded image. Uploading it directly with the post would be faster and more convenient.
Edited by Bonam

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If you're broadly advertising the website and trying to drive traffic here, you will also need a better solution for spambots. The site was flooded with porn the other day and Charles Anthony responded swiftly to it; however, the spambot traffic will increase dramatically if the site is advertised more broadly. Something else you may want to keep in mind.

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Moderators need to do a better job removing threads that are only designed for trolling purposes. Argus' thread of strawmen regarding Fox News is the most recent example.

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1. send ambassadors: members can go to the many other political boards out there and link to this place as much as possible. Many of the small boards won't mind, it is not uncommon to see signature links that will drive traffic and bump membership. If you wish to send actual physical ambassadors I think overthere would be the ideal Consul to The Bahamas.

2. Have a place on the main screen to quickly go to your own posts, so it is easy to quickly check in on threads you've been on recently

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Active moderators holding diverse perspectives is my suggestion. I can appreciate why you decided Charles Anthony would stop posting when he became a moderator, but it's my opinion that the nature of political discussion requires active participants to understand the context of forum transgressions.

I agree that on smaller boards like this it can be useful to have moderators able to comment. Actually I'm a bit surprised they can't here.

It does take a bit of oversight to make sure that a moderator does not become a feuderator.

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2. Have a place on the main screen to quickly go to your own posts, so it is easy to quickly check in on threads you've been on recently

Actually, that already exists. Look up in the sub-navigation and select New Content - Look on the lower left, select "Item I participate in" narrow the time period, and you've got a full list of the forums you been on recently.

It's not on the main screen, but once you set the specific setting on the New Content page, they should stay the same each time you return.

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Yes, there are a couple ways to get to my posts. What I'm sugesting is what is found on other boards, a main screen icon that says 'your posts'.

It's no biggie, just a convenience.

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What I'm sugesting is what is found on other boards, a main screen icon that says 'your posts'.

Ok, I'll take a closer look and see if that is actually possible with this forum.

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host on a Canadian server... if only to keep the post count down for 'that guy' who continually, over and over and over again, flogs the point that MLW is hosted in the U.S. (USA!, USA!, USA!)

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host on a Canadian server... if only to keep the post count down for 'that guy' who continually, over and over and over again, flogs the point that MLW is hosted in the U.S. (USA!, USA!, USA!)

Good idea. In return you could start using Canadian climate data! LOL!!!

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re: the suggestion to rate posts: i.e., the 'reputation' factor. I've seen this abused on boards that 'rep' members rather than posts. If I'm recalling correctly, I believe I've seen examples where post rep (also) gets indirectly applied to member rep..... in any case, I expect this to be tied to a particular boards software and what decisions admin personnel have made to open up all, or portions of 'reputation' functionality. So, yes... if rating is opened up, rate posts (on quality)... don't extend/apply it (directly or indirectly) to the member level as, invariably, members get too "repped" based on 'who they are', rather than their respective post quality.

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Good idea. In return you could start using Canadian climate data! LOL!!!

improvement request: provide a troll counter to a respective members profile... one that tallies from the post level and is clearly displayed under a member's avatar picture location.

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Moderators need to do a better job removing threads that are only designed for trolling purposes. Argus' thread of strawmen regarding Fox News is the most recent example.

You simply have no idea what a strawman is or what trolling is. That's your problem, not mine.

Here's a hint, though: Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's trolling.

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Actually, that already exists. Look up in the sub-navigation and select New Content - Look on the lower left, select "Item I participate in" narrow the time period, and you've got a full list of the forums you been on recently.

It's not on the main screen, but once you set the specific setting on the New Content page, they should stay the same each time you return.

Interesting, but I was looking more for a way to go quickly to where I left off last time around. This will point me to certain topics but not where I was in the topic. Perhaps there was four pages of new posts since I was last there yesterday. I have to page through them to get back to where I was. Some kind of color coding would be nice. Say, all the posts since you were last on a topic are slightly lighter in color, or slightly darker, much like links you have or have not clicked on are different colours.

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This forum would be improved if there were definitions provided for "strawman", "troll" and "bigot" so the terms would not be thrown about with careless disregard for what they mean.

But otherwise I think it's fine as is. Although what's with the ads on the pages since I changed my browser?

Edited by BubberMiley

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I think a general purpose "Social commentary" topic would probably be valid, and I'd replace "arts and culture" with "entertainment".

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Argus, other forum software like vBulletin will highlight the icon next to threads with a tag to indicate that you've posted in them. You can click on the icon to bring you to the last post you saw in the thread. This forum doesn't show you the threads you've posted in that way (I really wish it did), but if you click on the icon next to the thread title, it should bring you to the first new post since you last opened the thread.

Edit for clarity: You click the dark blue dot next to threads that have new posts, instead of clicking the title.

Edited by cybercoma

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Remember several years ago when you would click on the Report button, tell us what was wrong with the post, what rules were being broken and send it our way? We used to fire back a formalized PM of your report with a reply.

One of the major software updates removed the moderator's ability to reply to a report directly. I want that feature back even if it requires buying an extra plugin. I will pay for that myself.

A long time ago, every Report would auto-generate a formal Personal Message to every moderator that included the Reporter's complaint and a link to the offending post. This allowed the moderator to deal with the issue and immediately send a reply to the member who reported it. That way, the person who sent the report can get a good sense that we are onto it.

We can not do that anymore and we have not be able to do so for a long time. I believe this is the reason why people think I am not paying attention. I want to be able to reply directly to each person who reports a post with ease and the same automation as before.

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You simply have no idea what a strawman is or what trolling is. That's your problem, not mine.

Here's a hint, though: Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's trolling.

You're a pyromaniac in a field of strawmen. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it isn't true.

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- More integration with social media, like facebook. Allow people to post with their facebook/twitter accounts. This will definitely increase participants. Many people are turned away from posting because they have to go through registration.

- Add + / - or thumbs up and down, so every time I post, pro-Zionists can give me a (-) and the anti-Zionists can give me a (+).

- A point to better moderate the board: When posts between people become personal and someone accuses another posters of something, like lying or 'calling for genocide', the person accusing must be able to back up their claim by showing proof. Otherwise, they should receive a warning to edit their post and if the trend continues, they should be penalized.

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There are some great suggestion already, keep it up everyone!

One change however, I'm going to start a NEW thread on moderation and we can discuss that issue separately (let me start this thread, as there are a few things I want to announce first). Lets keep this thread going with non-moderation suggestions.

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Greg, have you considered switching over to vBulletin or some other forum software or are you pretty much married to IP.board?

edit: I ask because I think vBulletin, as an example, is more customizable with a lot more readily available expansions to make changes and customization easier.

Edited by cybercoma

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