Website Primer: A forum that acts like a listserve

When we began designing the website we debated what would be the best means of member communication in the future. While a ListServe provided an easy way for  conversations to end up directly in your inbox, many members felt overwhelmed by the amount of email they were receiving. Subsequently, many users chose to not participate or to receive the messages altogether.

ListServe’s also have a number of inherent problems: they cannot be edited; there was no easy moderation system; old messages that are of current use cannot be easily found; emails you sent mysteriously do not get posted; and everyone was plagued by vacation responders. It was also pretty easy to accidentally reply to personal messages that ended up getting sent to everyone.

An alternative was to transition our members to a website forum system. While this eliminates each of the problems highlighted above, it also required users to actively go to the forum to see what new message are being posted. While we had many ideas on how to increase interaction, the reality is that people forget things that are not right in front of them. Fortunately, our web-designer came up with a best of both worlds solution, that will allow those who desire a traditional forum to interact directly on the website, while those who miss the ListServe can now have posts sent directly to their inbox.

Today I would like to show people how to subscribe to forums of their choice so that new posts end up directly in their email. This is an opt-in procedure, so you will have to actively go to the forum to turn this on. Fortunately, it is a simple process and should only take a few minutes.

First of all you have to login to the OAPA website on the front page. If  you are reading this post, than you have already done so. So Step 1 is complete.

 

Step 2: Click on the Forums Button/Link

Step 3: Click on the “Profile” tab at the top of the forum

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Step 4: Click on “Subscriptions”

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Step 5: Click on “Forum Subscriptions” and then select the Member Forums you want to have sent to your inbox. All posts and replies to the Groups/Forums selected will arrive in your email moments after they are posted.

 

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The tab above also has other options that may be of interest to members who do not want every posting to end up in there inbox. Under  “Subscription Options” you can set it to email you only when new messages end up showing up in topics you posted or responded to. This will allow you to keep up to date with topics of interest, but to not have your inbox filled with all postings. You can also choose to receive these postings as a single summary email or “digest” once a week.

The “Topic Subscriptions” tab shows you topics that you manually subscribed to (there is a button for this when you are reading a new topic). The main purpose here would be to turn off emails/notifications for topics you are no longer interested in.

The procedures above have been thoroughly tested by the OAPA Forum team and are working flawlessly at this point. Later this week we will share a post on how to replay to message in your email and to have them magically post back to the web forum. It’s a little more complicated, but quite easy once you get the hang of it.