As many of you know, we were going to try a few new things out on a couple of discussion boards. We were then going to discuss these changes and decide how we could best move forward. This was clearly a mistake and will only keep the discussion area in a heightened state of turmoil. It has been pointed out by many users that if we think that changes are needed, it would be better to do what we think is best Further, we should make any changes quickly. So that is what we are doing today. This post discusses all of the changes that we will be making. A few of the added features will take a week to activate.
The reason for the changes is that the discussion area needs to be more user friendly and welcoming to all users. The boards currently seem unfriendly to newbies, as-well-as to those who express a view other than the most popular. There are simply a lot of very interesting voices that are simply not given a chance to be heard. We are now changing the way that we approach discussion to fix these problems.
We will now cover the changes that are taking place.
1.TER will internally moderate all boards.
The volunteer moderators have worked really hard, but we need to move forward. Customer Support will now handle the moderation function. We are by no means driving any one off the boards. We truly hope that the volunteers remain huge contributors in daily discussions on the boards.
2. We will add board Hosts and/or Hostesses in the boards where it makes sense to do so.
We are the first to admit that we are not experts in every city. In order to address this point, we are asking for people to help us out by being a Host or Hostess on boards where it is needed. We will rotate the hosts and hostesses on a preset schedule in order to give all users who want to help us in a positive way a chance to do so. The hosts and hostesses will help welcome newbies, keep the discussion interesting, and keep a watch for any unneeded drama. We also believe that this will help the boards take on a much more positive feel.
3. We will discontinue the ‘Discussion Board Alias’ feature.
When we added the Alias feature, it was a fun way to express each user’s individuality. It is currently just as often used to post mean spirited comments. Each user’s one review alias will still be able to be used in the discussion area. So we are going from an unlimited number of aliases to one alias that is unchangeable.
4. We will add a ‘Like/Dislike’ feature to board posts.
This is a feature that has been asked for for a while. Hopefully it will help everyone find the most interesting topics while not needing to dig through the ones that are boring.
5. We will extend the ‘Block This User’ feature into the discussion boards.
Just like in the real world, some people simply do not get along. We have a ‘Block This User’ feature in private messaging. We will bring it into the discussion area. Since it is new, we will release a first version and then modify it a couple of times so that it achieves the desired affect, which is that people that both you don’t any more.
6. We have added a ‘Report This Post’ feature to each post.
We have added this feature several days ago. This is not a way to have any post that you do not agree with pulled from a board. We want more points of view, not fewer. ‘Report This Post’ is a tool that users can uses to report posts that are created in order to be mean for meanness sake, or to start trouble.
In summary, we are making these changes to improve the site, to create boards that are not mean, boards that are welcoming to all and boards that have a much lighter, happier feel.
Like in any community, there is simply no way to make every single person happy every single time. We do hope that you hang around and continue being important members of TER.