You may have noticed some changes in the forums over the last couple weeks. This has been the result of collaboration between the Membership, Website, and Regional Nodes circles. Most of the grunt work has been done by Craig (OL of website) and me (Nick Info HQ). I’ll go through the details of the changes but first here is a little sneak peak at what is going on in the back room followed by some helpful hints for forum use.
Behind the Scenes
Due to how the website is set up the membership categories and the forums are being moved to a single tier with graduated permissions. What this means is that we are unable to offer private forums for each membership category. POCA tried to get around this set up with the punk and clinic memberships and that is why people who currently have a punk and clinic membership have to use two separate logins to access punk and clinic forums/ wikis. That setup has proven to be very cumbersome and help is on the way.
So here is an explanation of progression of the forums and their associated membership types. First come the public forums and they are visible by anyone who navigates to pocacoop.com. Next are the community forums which are accessible by any membership type (patients, clinics, punks, and orgs). After that are the punk forums and they can only be seen by acupunk members but will soon be visible by clinic members (clinic members MUST have an associated punk membership), the last member forums are the clinic forums. They are visible to clinic members only.
Helpful Hints for Forum Use
These tips have all been given out before but I thought I would bring them together and present them again as many of us are still getting comfortable with the new site.
For visual people– If you right click on this link to the forums and select “open in another tab” (ie and firefox). Then you can switch back and forth between seeing this blog and the forums.
Getting Past “Most Recent Topics”— Navigate to the Forum Home page. The first things you will probably notice are the lists at the top. One is called “Most Recent Topics” and the other is “Most Popular Threads”. These can be helpful… but don’t stop here! Threads can fall off the most recent list pretty quickly and old threads that are still active will not appear here. If you look above the “Most Popular Threads” list you will see in red “View Today’s Most Active Topics”. Click on it to get a more complete list of what is going on.
Searching the Forums— You will also notice that there are two search boxes. One is at the very top of the screen that says “Search the Blogs” this will not help you search the forums… If you look below the big red type to the left that reads “CAN/POCA Forums” you will see another search box and a link to advanced search functions next to it. This is what you will use to search the forums.
Browsing the Forums— Browsing is important because it is the only way to get a full sense of the forums. You will discover things the lists at the top have dropped and you can uncover interesting and helpful threads that have not been used in a while.
To browse the forums scroll past the lists.
On the left side of the screen notice the file folder icons. When they are greyed out there are no new posts. When the file appears more vibrant then there are new posts. If the file has an exclamation mark then the thread is important (probably due to many posts).
On the right hand side you will see the title of the most recently posted on thread. It will also tell you who made the newest post and the date of the post.
To open the forum and view the threads inside click on the forum name.
Changes to the Forums
As you scroll down the first changes you will notice are the Community Forums. This is where all the membership types can come together and communicate. You may notice that some of the forum titles are similar to forum titles that were in the CAN practitioner forums. That is no accident. These were the forums that membership felt were more general and could serve as the heart of the Community Forums. One day soon we will have board members who are patients. Sometime in the future there will be more patient members then there are punk members. Patients will be involved in every aspect of the coop. We need community forums that reflect how important this membership category is to POCA.
The next set of forums you will see is the POCA Fish Bowl. This forum is also for the community as a whole but it is more focused on all things POCA. It is where the volunteers who run POCA meet with the general membership. Each circle has made a commitment to post here so you should be seeing more threads here in the coming weeks.
Next you will find the POCA Regional Nodes. This section is a bit of an experiment and I’m working with Sonja (Regional Nodes leader) to iron out some kinks. The idea was that most of the old CAN regional node forums where not really used that much. Over time the nodes tend to morph as clinics open and other people get involved. Some nodes like SCAN are highly organized and geographically close. Whereas other nodes like the Heartland are very disperse and essentially theoretical. The other concern was making the forum page easy to browse. Real-estate on the site is important and we don’t want a bunch of unused forums in your face. So we opted not to have specific forums for each region. Instead we currently have 3 forums for all the nodes to use. A couple things to consider… You might want to put your region in the title of a new thread. It is currently also open to all members. So if you have a meeting that is for punks only you should probably specify that (or open it to working members!).
The next forums are for Punks. These forums are only visible to acupunk/student members (and soon clinics). You will notice that there are not as many punk forums as before. That is because new forums were made to replace them in the community and fish bowl areas. The clinic forums are the same.
The old practitioner forums and CAN regional node forums have been archived but are still available to browse and search. We didn’t want to move the whole forum over to the community section because not all the content was appropriate for a broader community. To see the archived forums scroll all the way down the page. You might see just the heading of the archived forums. If this is the case then look for a “+” to the right and click it to see the forum names.
The Website and Membership circles will continue to work on making the site more useful, welcoming, and easy to navigate for the POCA community. We are definitely open to suggestions and comments. Some fine tuning will continue to happen over the next few weeks. We know some of these changes may have broken up what you were familiar with and thank you for your understanding. We believe that it will help lay the foundation for a strong coop with a vibrant and involved membership community.
Thanks for reading,
Info HQ – Membership and Website circles