Here at WCI, we're super excited about the forum going live today. (See that link up above between “Blog and “The Book”? We've put a lot of work and money into this, but think it will be awesome! It's main purpose is to provide a place where readers/participants can easily interact with each other and most importantly, post their questions somewhere where a lot of people will see them rapidly, rather than 800 comments below a blog post written 3 years ago. I'll still watch the comments on the blog and continue to respond to them, but I think for many questions, you will find a much more robust response by posting them on the forum. Interacting with each other by replying/quoting/private messaging should work a lot better than any blog comments section, which tend to be a bit clunky.
My Ulterior Motives
As with everything else on the site, there is an ulterior motive- it's a for-profit site. So the forum will have ads, just like the website. However, I think you will find the ads far less intrusive on the forum. Basically, one of fifteen randomly selected ads is inserted automatically into every third comment on a thread. No big deal. My other ulterior motive is that I'm totally overwhelmed responding to emailed and commented questions. I simply can't keep up. So I hope to enlist the WCI community in helping each other as much as possible. I'll be active on the forums, no doubt, but there is only so much I can do. Remember I have four kids and am still practicing medicine full-time!
Oh, and did I mention? It's still 100% free to you, just like the rest of the website and the newsletter.
The forum is pretty easy to navigate. There is a home page that shows all the latest stuff. You can set it to show the latest posts for the last 1, 2, or 3 days. If you don't like that look, click the next tab over-Categories. That lists all the forums by categories. They're in kind of a random order, but we'll get that sorted out soon. Each forum has a sticky post with some links to some of the best stuff on the blog. I bet you'll find some stuff there you haven't seen before. There is a tab on every forum participant whereby you can send them private messages if you would like. You can personalize your own profile by adding a picture and a signature. There are tons of features not available on most forums to personalize your writing. Take advantage and try them out!
You're My Guest
Forum participants will be expected to interact appropriately with each other. This isn't a public sidewalk. More like my living room. No pornography, profanity, ad hominem attacks etc. Be sure to read the rules on the forum. If you would like to be a moderator, not only to enforce the rules but also to be a welcoming presence, send me a PM listing what forum(s) you would like to moderate after you've made five total posts. You will also need to have five posts in order to post links or images. That's just an anti-spam measure.
More to Come
There are still a few features to be added and I'm sure there are lots of bugs we couldn't find despite extensive testing. There is a place on the forum to list those, so please do so there (unless the bug is you can't sign up, in which case feel free to post it as a comment here or send me an email.) If you have suggestions for forum improvement, now is a great time for them.
What do you think? Have you checked out the forum? Is it working well for you? Anything to improve? Comment below!