I know the title of this entry would probably be far more effective if I could have used a PhotoShopped picture of that classic U.S army recruiting poster - you know, the one with Uncle Sam pointing right at you; except it would be ME pointing at you instead. That's right...I, along with my fellow members, want YOU to join us in this great grassroots online community experiment! Intrigued? Read on...
If you look at my (as of yet incomplete) blogroll list, you'll see it there. But unlike the others listed, it's not a blog. So what exactly is RoundInSpirals you ask? Well I'll try to be as brief as I can: It's a discussion forum - a grassroots one that has it's origins in the Yahoo! Answers groups. I started frequenting there in October 2008 and was immediately hooked. Mostly I read the Politics, Psychology, Sociology and Gender/Women's Studies sections. I asked a few questions and answered a lot more. I established my own reputation there and also got to know some of the other regular contributors better. These were for the most part very bright, intelligent people - even those whose opinions I didn't always agree with. But of course the Q&A format was very limiting and didn't allow for discussion. So I wondered if I contacted other regulars to see how they felt about setting up a private, membership by invitation only discussion forum. I posted a general question to see how others would feel and the responses were, for the most part, lukewarm at first. But then a few weeks later. A learned that one or two other regulars (whom I didn't know at that point) had the same idea I did. I contacted these two, introduced myself and said I had the same idea. From that point on everything happened so fast. There was a huge buzz of excitement and before we knew it, we sensed we were creating something greater than each one of us; something we know could have huge potential if done right. One of my contacts asked if I would like to help her and join the administration/moderation team, and I immediately accepted. She created a board using proboards software and we discussed who we would like to invite. The reason for this selectivity was because we had a huge concern about the varieties of trolls and other troublemakers from Y!A who we knew could really wreck what we were trying to achieve. And so by New Year's 2009, our new community was born and rapidly growing.
Now almost a year and a half later, we're still around with a good core membership. We've had the usual ups and downs that every discussion forum has. Some members have left, and out of 100+ registered members, there have been only two we've had to ban permanently. So on the whole it has been a modest success. However we've faced one challenge and that is trying to grow as a community. Like any other forum, we've had some attrition, but what we need to make up for that is for new people to join. Unfortunately, since we're a private community which relied on word of mouth for new members, recruiting new blood became increasingly difficult. We tried adding an open discussion forum which, unlike the other sections, was visible to the general public. The idea was that new posters would join in discussion and if they showed a good track record (ie; no trolling attacking others etc.)then we could make them full members. But the only people who took advantage of it were some of the very same destructive trouble makers we wanted to keep out in the first place. It soon became apparent that we had to try something else and closed the open board. That's when two other members came up with an innovative solution. With the use of phbb software, they designed an "offspring" community (and again invited me to help with moderation which I accepted. And specifically designed it so it would be more visible to a broader audience.
And thus RoundInSpirals was born. We're only a few months old and off to a great start. But we could always use more members.
And that, dear readers of bloglandia, is where you come in.
We want you to come join us. If you're reading this right now, chances are that you are a politically and socially conscious person...and likely very intelligent too.(OK I'll stop with the sucking up and boot-licking now!)Just the sort of person we want. While a significant number of our membership could be described as liberal, progressive, politically left-leaning, people of all affiliations are welcome. I mean, it would soon start to sound like an echo chamber and get boring quickly if we all agreed on everything.
So c'mon....stop by and visit us. Join in on the discussion. Sure the internet is full of political, philosophical and social justice forums. But there's always room for one more. And with you're help, we can make it into something even bigger than it is right now. And we would love to have you be a part of it.
That's right...we want YOU!
Review: Turning to One Another - [Margaret J. Wheatley. Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2009.] ...
2 months ago