I see two groups of discussions on the Forum; latest discussions and general discussions. I noticed that when I posted a question about the Mac's Mail application, I think I posted it as a new topic, but it didn't wind up in the general discussion list. With former posts on the email list serve I always got lots of responses. On the forum I just got one response. Granted, my question was not especially dynamically fascinating, but I think it points out a problem with the forum, compared to the old list serve, in that it does not promote as much discussion as the old email. For example, I used to scan every email digest that arrived. Now I look at the forum, only when it occurs to me. As a result, I think the forum does not promote general participation as well as the old list serve did. I wonder if anyone agrees or disagrees with me.
Confusion about Forum(4 posts) (4 voices)
I'm inclined to agree. For what it's worth, though, I've created a bookmark that opens (in tabs) a set of websites I look at daily, so I am seeing the forum regularly. No idea how common this is, however.
I'm one who still uses RSS readers, and that's where I see Forum info. I find email is one of the last places I check for info - Twitter is probably the first place I see something, then in my RSS feed. But this may be because I don't have a dedicated "company computer" that I sit in front of for much of the day like many modern office workers.
I do agree that there is less traffic here than in the previous list, but that list took a while for folks to catch on to, and went through many spells when there was little activity. With Lion out there, more and more folks moving to iPads, and the deepening Apple-ization of the computing landscape, I think we'll see more activity here over the long haul.
We're still hard at work on an email solution for forum posts, as well. This would give members the option of having answers to their post come in email form, and allow them to manage digests, etc. This is a volunteer effort, and we've been getting some participation, but it's no one's day job, so progress is slow but steady. All willing hands are encouraged to participate.
There are currently 4 defined forum: "Mac" & "iDevices" under the "Apple products" category & "General discussion" & "Members Only" under the "TMUG Community" category. The "Members Only" forum is private, in that it is viewable only after logging into the site.
When you initially access the Forum, the Latest Discussions - most recent forum topics - are displayed at the top of the page, listed in descending chronological order by most recent reply. The defined forums are displayed at the bottom of the page. Disregard "Main Theme" under "Forums" - it is not relevant to the forums.
Any "Member" or higher subscriber may create a new forum topic, e.g. "Confusion about Forum", & any "Member" may post a reply. When a new topic is posted, the poster should take care to select the appropriate forum to publish it to. It is also helpful if the poster adds or selects an appropriate tag for the post, e.g. "TMUG", "forum", "listserv".
The audience on the TMUG Forum is definitely smaller than that on the TMUG-list. There are currently ~35 forum subscribers from the TMUG community (plus ~70 "squatters", mostly apparently from overseas). There were ~250 valid subscribers to TMUG-list, although many were not active participant posters & repliers.
In addition to using an RSS reader to read forum posts, it is possible to receive post notifications via email. After you are logged in, click on your name (following "Welcome," in the upper right header), then click "Edit", then select "Receive new posts via email:" below the Profile Info. Then scroll to the bottom & click the "Update Profile" button. You will receive an email from <webmaster @ tmug.org> with the subject prefaced by "[TMUG Forum]" plus the forum topic for each forum post or reply. This email includes only the original post or reply, & does not quote the previous topic or replies (unless the replier copies & pastes as a quote). It's not quite the same as the list, but it allows you to receive the posts by email.
You may also add topics to your "Favorites" which will create a custom RSS feed that you may subscribe to. See "Add this topic to your favorites" link near the top of the forum page just below the topic name. But, that's a lot more work to maintain when new topics are posted.
For me, the forum is less convenient & more awkward to use. It requires that I am logged into the forum website in order to post a topic or reply to a post. My email is almost always open on my computer. I can check email, & then read, reply to, or compose a new message later (sometimes when I'm off-line) without having to open a browser page. It's faster & less resource intensive.
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