Last fall I introduced a Forum on Telecom Ramblings in response to a multi-day outage on another site. It was hurriedly done and not really up to the task at hand, and quite frankly the readership just wasn't wide enough yet to support it anyway. But the dream did not die, and since then I have experimented with various forum software in preparation for another try. The time has come, and you can find the new forums in the top menu bar under the name 'Community'. You will also see the latest posts in the forum alongside the comment form beneath every post, and I may find other places to splice it in.
The general idea behind my forums is that the readers of this website are a very impressive group of people who have many shared interests. Discussion forums for the telecom and internet infrastructure sectors tend to be of the company-specific type, and they often either lack critical mass or become little walled gardens where the faithful hear only what they want to hear. On Telecom Ramblings I don't hide my own opinions, but I have always strived for conversation *between* such groups and that is what my forums are aimed at.
We start with just four of them:
- Help & Suggestions - for anything related to how to use or improve this website
- Fiber & Data roundtable - for the real discussions of any subject related to those covered on this website, but perhaps not right for a comment.
- Classifieds - A free place for any commercial offers, announcements, ideas, etc. It would be silly for us to pretend that there are no commercial interests who participate on this website, so I will dedicate some space to such subjects.
- Other Topics - For everything else that people would like to discuss that wouldn't fit anywhere else. I have learned the hard way that there needs to be such an outlet, no community stays on topic at all times.
About logins and passwords:
If you have ever registered on this blog, either for comments or passwords, then your old password will still work. If you have forgotten it but know the email you signed up with, you can get it reset here. For the short term, however, I am allowing people to post as guests without logging in. The idea for now is to encourage people to test drive the system, however I expect spam will force me to require registration in order to post. Emails collected during registration are solely for the automated use of managing your login information (sending passwords etc). They are not distributed to anyone in any form. I hate spam, and I will not inflict it on others.
For those with login/password issues that the automated pages can't help with, just send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of you may have noticed the little images next to comments people leave on this blog. You can set your real picture by setting up an account with Gravatar, which will then place whatever picture you associate with your email address next to your comments on this blog and on many other sites. It doesn't have to be a picture of you, it can be anything non-copyrighted: logos, your kids, etc, and using one can help people recognize your online identity.
These forums will be moderated, but very lightly - spam will not be tolerated, nor will any illegal activity. Anything else is fine. Opinions will never be censored. Topics inappropriate to one forum may be moved to the appropriate one. For now I am the only moderator, but should this community gain some momentum I will look to delegate that to some of the more level headed.
No more Facebook Connect:
A few months ago, I hooked up the login/registration to Facebook Connect, which allowed people to log in via their Facebook credentials and have their Facebook mugshot appear alongside their comments and on the recent viewers page. To date only about 10 people ever used this feature and of those perhaps one of those actually commented on a post. Therefore, Facebook Connect's initial incompatibility with the new forums made removing it an easy choice for now. I may reconsider that if I can reconcile the two sometime down the line
Please take the forums for a test drive
I don't expect they will be perfect on the first try, I welcome any and all feedback.
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