The Crossroads Discussion forums are open to everyone from Board Members through to people just interested in the Crossroad project itself, if you are interested in Crossroads then checking out the forums when you have the time is a great way to find out what is going on and who is actively doing stuff on-site. To encourage people using the forums this article will discuss a few of the finer details of the forums and allow those of you with time constraint issues to easily set up the forums to let you know when topics have been added to.
Forums themselves are designed to make the discussion of topics easy and to encourage the segmentation of time to allow the reader to be fully immersed in the topics at hand. Basically to make the reader puts time aside to deal with the topic at hand rather than act in a reactionary way to emails that turn up in their inbox. This encourages activity by those that are willing to make time to participate, and allows those who don’t the ability to check in when ever they do have the time and still see everything quite openly. Messages are organised into Threads that can be followed easily.
If you are a Member of Crossroads you should really be registered on the forums so that you can participate in discussions and be kept informed. Once you have registered you will need to send the Administrator a Personal Message to inform them of your Membership status, please include your Membership Number or the email address we have on file for you so that we can confirm your details.
Yes, the forums do require that you go to them rather than them turning up in your email, however they can provide some notification facilities to let you know when subjects you are interested in. The reason for this is so that Crossroads isn’t bombarding your email box with chatter that you are not interested in effectively desensitizing you to the Crossroads emails. This way you get exactly what you have requested you be notified about sent to you.
Our Forum Structure
Most of you may be able to skip over this section, however for those of you are new to the whole forum concept here is a small explanation of some of the terminology and an explanation of how it works in our current forum structure.
- Categories – The Crossroads forums has 3 separate Categories in it’s forums, One for Friends of Crossroads and the public, one for Members and one for the Crossroads Board. This allows us to show the separate access levels clearly and allows Members access to the Members Section as well as the Friends of Crossroads section. And allows Board members an all encompassing view of the whole forum.
- Forum/s – A group of topics based around one category. In the case of Crossroads we have multiple forums under the 3 categories so that users have specific forums to discuss certain aspects of the Co-op. There is a General forum should there not be a specific Forum or Sub-forum that seems appropriate for the topic of discussion you wish you start.
- Sub-Forum/s – Forums that are under one all encompassing category that allow further organisation of topics. In the case of the Members access to the forums, this allows further organisation of the Projects forum into sub-forums of project area’s.
- Topic/s – A Topic is the subject of a discussion and is usually defined by the first post. Any registered user can create a Topic in one of the forums that they have access to. Members are encouraged to participate by starting topics they believe worth while discussions, or even by using a topic as a means of
- Post/s – Each individual reply within a topic. Posts that you create you will always have access to edit or delete at a later stage. The Post editor allows you to link in pictures or add some basic rich text formatting to make your posts more readable.
Forums are great once you have spent a small amount of time familiarizing yourself with the concept. When you get the hang of using them they can become extremely powerful tools that allow large groups to discuss many topics in an organised and effective way. They are much better suited to the types of discussion needed for a group such as Crossroads and they allow new members an easily accessible way to catch up on all of the topics of discussion without trawling through thousands of emails trying to join the dots.
When accessing a specific forum, the topics are listed by order of the latest post within them, this gives readers a quick and easy way to see what’s new and go directly to it. As a registered user of the forums, the software also keeps track of what you have read and highlights new items for you, even giving you a summary list of posts which you haven’t read. Reading forums can quickly become a very pleasurable experience as topics you are interested in can quickly stand out whilst ones that you are not can be left for a time when you have more time to read them.
The forums have the ability to notify the reader by email of replies to specific topics that are of interest, but this ability relies on the reader choosing to receive these notifications for each topic they read or on a particular forum itself.
- Forum Notification – In each forum when you are looking at the list of posts available to read but before you have entered a specific post there should be a “Notify” button on the right hand side at the top and the bottom of the list of posts. If you wish to be notified of new topics in a forums you should click the notify button. Be aware that this will only notify you of new topics in the forum, once you have been notified of a new topic, you will need to select to be notified of new posts to that topic, see below.
- Post Notification – When reading a post, if you find that you are interested in the topic of the post and wish to follow this post you can click on the notify button either at the top right or bottom right side of the post. When someone posts a new reply to this specific topic you will get an email that includes that reply as well as a link to the forum post so that you can reply or re-read the history of the post.
- Notification Management – In your profile, you have access to a section called “Notifications and Email”. This allows you to check what topics and forums you have selected to be notified about and also remove the notification should you no longer be interested.
Feel free to ask any questions you like on the forums, including how to use the forums if you are having issues. They are there to provide one place for all levels of Crossroads interested people to chat and discuss all aspects of Crossroads. We look forward to seeing you all in there soon.