The (temporary?) disappearance of current Blog posts from the home page leaves the Forum as the only place that members can post an item that goes automatically into public view. It is often hard to say what the difference between a blog post and a forum discussion is or ought to be. Now that one is subject to editorial selection for the home page and the other is not, I have been paying more attention than usual to the issue.

In the last few days I have told two authors of forum discussions, one publicly and one privately, that they were really blog posts. But maybe this is just a personal view. The point of this discussion is to solicit views from the members about what you want the Forum to be for.

If we go to All Discussons, we find two posts featured by the Admins: the current seminar and the logo competition. So the Forum is used by the Admins to invite wide participation from members and is featured to ensure continuing prominence. The First Year Report generated no discussion, but was posted here for general visibility. There are other announcements by the Admins, including an ad for a fellowship that should probably have been posted in Services and Offers, a facility that was created recently, but has been used only once.

The rest were posted by individual members and they include the launch of a debate, a general post moved from a Group for greater visibility, the World Cup, the OAC's birthday, requests for information (unaswered) and so on. Some way back we come across a member's attempt to stimulate discussion about the OAC home page.

So what do members think? Is it worth trying to define what is suitable for the forum and what for a blog post? Or is this another example of the Admins (in this case mostly me) trying to draw bureaucratic lines in the sand that shouldn't be contemplated?


Views: 11

Replies are closed for this discussion.

Replies to This Discussion

This forum post should be read in conjunction with this blog post from Keith (although it may alter the results of his experiment to see how much traffic it gets on its own -- sorry). The admin team, acting on feedback from other members, recently applied a series of changes to the OAC's appearance (some subtle, some infrastructural, some editorial). Shifting the way that information is displayed on the home page may have inadvertently altered how blogs and forums are used, but I'm not sure that we had adopted a set formula, anyway. It makes sense to me that blogs should be of a more personal nature (fleshing out thoughts, ideas, etc) and forum posts for more elaborate exchanges and structured debate, but there is little way to separate the two in practice. Is this a case of imperfect structure or anomalous content? Do we need any ground rules, and what should they be?
Keith, is it the policy of OAC to delete all posts written by a member who closes his or her account? I did not mean to delete all my posts but only those that mentioned homelessness (due to the reason I already explained to you). I hope OAC members will not treat my posts from now on as useless materials to engage, thinking I may delete them in the future. I assure you it will not happen again. Now that I know that blogging is considered publishing, I will be very careful.
Welcome back, M! Unfortunately, when you delete your Ning account, you are only given the choice to either keep everything you've added on the OAC or to remove all of your content at once. This isn't OAC policy, but Ning's, and we can't adjust it. The other alternative would be to keep your account alive and trawl through your forum and blog posts manually removing what you want to delete. In your case, that may have taken a long time. Good to have you back.


M Izabel said:
Keith, is it the policy of OAC to delete all posts written by a member who closes his or her account? I did not mean to delete all my posts but only those that mentioned homelessness (due to the reason I already explained to you). I hope OAC members will not treat my posts from now on as useless materials to engage, thinking I may delete them in the future. I assure you it will not happen again. Now that I know that blogging is considered publishing, I will be very careful.
I suppose I have always thought that the forum was more of a place to pose questions or topics of discussions, and that blog posts were, well, pretty much anything under the sun. So ya, there is definitely the possibility of redundancy (or anomalous content as Francine puts it)...but it was never anything that really bothered me too much. It´s good to have the more formal and structured forum AND the chaos of blog posts in one form or another.
Sounds quite reasonable to me.

ryan anderson said:
I suppose I have always thought that the forum was more of a place to pose questions or topics of discussions, and that blog posts were, well, pretty much anything under the sun. So ya, there is definitely the possibility of redundancy (or anomalous content as Francine puts it)...but it was never anything that really bothered me too much. It´s good to have the more formal and structured forum AND the chaos of blog posts in one form or another.
If one were to draw a distinction, something along the lines of "Forums are for posing and discussing questions. Blogs are for personal observations and analyses. If you wish to pose a question, choose 'Forum'. If you wish to make an assertion, choose 'Blog'" seems about right.

John McCreery said:
Sounds quite reasonable to me.

ryan anderson said:
I suppose I have always thought that the forum was more of a place to pose questions or topics of discussions, and that blog posts were, well, pretty much anything under the sun. So ya, there is definitely the possibility of redundancy (or anomalous content as Francine puts it)...but it was never anything that really bothered me too much. It´s good to have the more formal and structured forum AND the chaos of blog posts in one form or another.
Frankly, the more we discuss this, the more confused I become about what OAC seeks to achieve..

I manage 3 blogs and I often link my college forum discussions to content at one of these blogs. I find this a handy way to manage content.
The recent spate of Forum posts raises quite acutely the question I posed in this thread a couple of months ago. It is clear that several members are using the Forum as a general notice board, one moreover that has the advantage of offering instant publicity on the OAC home page. Blog posts have been mostly pushed off the home page and this may account for why some topics that seem more appropriately raised there are being posted on the Forum.

I originally posed the question as one that members might wish to be consulted on; but now the time has come for setting some ground rules concerning what kind of post belongs where. This will not be easy and the Admins team will make proposals for discussion here before implementing them.

In her post of June 19th, Fran Barone tried to distinguish between Forum and Blog posts as follows:

Blogs should be of a more personal nature (fleshing out thoughts, ideas, etc) and forum posts for more elaborate exchanges and structured debate, but there is little way to separate the two in practice.

This shows how hard it will be to draw a line between the two types of post in practice. But the Admins have discussed many posts among ourselves and we are usually clear in our mind what constitutes an abuse of the automatic public display afforded by the Forum. I suppose we could say that we will suggest moving posts in some cases, but that might come across as arbitrary. If we explain our reasons publicly, this may set up an exchange with members that would eventually clarify what sort of distinction we are trying to police here.

In the meantime, we invite concrete suggestions for how these two functions of our community ought to be used (an not abused). We don't want to move to a situation where everything that appears on the home page is moderated and featured by an editorial team.
A few organizational rules can go a long way. One of our best assets is that any OAC member can contribute content in a variety of ways. I would also not like to see it completely controlled by an editorial team. That means that we're all somewhat responsible for contributing to the maintenance/organization of the site as a whole.

As a rule of thumb, I still feel that the Forum should be for pointed discussion and debate on topics of broad anthropological interest, whereas Blogs are for more informal inquiries, thoughts and reflections.

In addition, the Events section of the OAC should only be used for conferences, symposia, meetings and the like. Employment ads, scholarships, and other offers or requests for services should go in Offers (not Events or the Forum). Finally, if several similar and/or related conversations on the same topic appear to fill up or swamp the Forum to the detriment of more varied contributions, that's a good indicator that a Group should probably be devoted to that theme.



Keith Hart said:
The recent spate of Forum posts raises quite acutely the question I posed in this thread a couple of months ago. It is clear that several members are using the Forum as a general notice board, one moreover that has the advantage of offering instant publicity on the OAC home page. Blog posts have been mostly pushed off the home page and this may account for why some topics that seem more appropriately raised there are being posted on the Forum.
There is no escaping the fact that the home page is the OAC's face and that new or occasional users make snap judgements about the site based on what they see there. The front page has to be edited in order that the OAC's face is an open and welcoming one. We want to get new people interested in joining, make occasional users want to come back for more, and help regular users make the most of what's available.

I agree with Fran that forum posts should be "pointed discussion and debate on topics of broad anthropological interest, whereas Blogs are for more informal inquiries, thoughts and reflections."

I'd like to add that I think most "wondering out loud" should be done on the pages of the groups. I think it's fair to say that not everyone wants to hear about it. If you manage to build a discussion in the group then you'll be given space on the homepage. If your discussion falls flat on its face then you're among friends.
I tend to work along this line of thinking.

Forums are purely discussion, blogs can have discussion but the discussion is limited. Blogs also are places for out own conjecture, in other words a place where we can "self publish" our own works. To me, using a forum to promote ourselves isn't good netiquette.

That is my take on the matter.
Perhaps it would be helpful to define what you mean by "broad anthropological interest" since at OAC there is just about every conceivable area of interest represented.

Nathan Dobson said:
There is no escaping the fact that the home page is the OAC's face and that new or occasional users make snap judgements about the site based on what they see there. The front page has to be edited in order that the OAC's face is an open and welcoming one. We want to get new people interested in joining, make occasional users want to come back for more, and help regular users make the most of what's available.

I agree with Fran that forum posts should be "pointed discussion and debate on topics of broad anthropological interest, whereas Blogs are for more informal inquiries, thoughts and reflections."

I'd like to add that I think most "wondering out loud" should be done on the pages of the groups. I think it's fair to say that not everyone wants to hear about it. If you manage to build a discussion in the group then you'll be given space on the homepage. If your discussion falls flat on its face then you're among friends.

RSS

Translate

@OpenAnthCoop

© 2014   Created by Keith Hart.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service