The BK Forums User Guide and FAQ
Darlings, in less than 48 hours after its unveiling, over 600 Kittens registered for the BK forums and posted 44 new topics with 700 responses. We'd call that a SUCCESS!
But of course, any new site unveiling is going to be met with confusion, requests and even complaints. We'll try to address some of the ones that have come up so far and explain a few of the functions here. First, the forum software we chose is Vanilla, because of its ease of use, streamlined design, and commitment to promoting as much discussion as possible. Because of that commitment, there are some choices and functions you may need to get used to. Second, if you've registered and didn't get a confirmation email, CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER.
Now, let's address a few things that have come up already:
* When you choose the "Discussions" view or you're in an individual forum, you can now see who originated a thread, how many new responses have been posted in that thread since you last stopped by, and who the latest respondent is.
* Users now have up to a day after posting to edit a comment. We're not too keen on unlimited editing because it can easily be abused when arguments pop up, in a "I never said that" kind of way or when someone goes back into a debate later and edits in some sort of insult or inflammatory comment that the moderator won't notice.
* No nested or threaded comments. As we've said, Vanilla is designed to promote as much discussion as possible and the thinking behind the lack of nested comments is that they tend to limit conversation, rather than promote it. A threaded discussion with nested comments will inevitably, if it goes on long, turn into a long thread with a bunch of side conversations, many of them wildly off topic. A non-threaded discussion tends to stay on point. If anyone in that discussion wants to start some side conversation, or if one starts developing naturally, that's the point at which you say "Hey, this is turning into an interesting topic. I started a new thread where we can talk about it." In other words, non-nested comments allow for and encourage the posting of new threads and topics. A T Lounge post on the Tom and Lorenzo site will get roughly 500 comments in about 3 days. In less than two, this site has spawned 700 comments and 44 separate discussions - and the fact that comments don't nest is at least partially responsible for that. In addition, a nested thread can quite easily encourage "last-word-ism" in a debate, forcing it to go on much longer than it has to, because someone will inevitably need to have that last, final, nested comment.*Regarding requests for up-voting and other functions: Please understand that we're in early days and have to find a balance between what the users want and what this site can support. If we load up on bells and whistles now, in the first week, we may run into a TON of problems weeks or months down the road, when there are (theoretically) thousands of users and posts on the site. If you want to tell someone you like what they said, instead of reaching for a button, why not post a short comment telling them so? Upvoting actively discourages discussion because agreement is relegated to pushing a button instead of engaging. Be patient on this one.Regarding requests for additional forum categories: As we said in our intro post on the T Lo site, we'll put up a forum for just about any (non-political) topic, so long as there's an active community large enough to support it. The way to demonstrate that is to start a thread on that topic, in the nearest appropriate forum. In other words, if you want a Project Runway forum, start a Project Runway thread in the TV & Film forum and encourage people to post on it or get new users to come here and sign up for it. When the thread gets active enough, and enough users have requested a dedicated forum, we'll open one up for y'all.