If this site provides value to you and your practice, please consider donating a small amount to help with the hosting fees.
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2

TOPIC: Site features

Site features 15 May 2014 18:18 #19637

I would like to start a discussion about the current AwakeNetwork feature set: what works, what doesn't, what's that? As I mentioned to Russell, there are parts of this creation that I am less happy with than others, and I occasionally come across stuff elsewhere that gives me pause.

I can start the ball rolling, by expressing my disappointment that the social network part of the site is not used. I really thought it would. Some of the discussion topics in the forum would (in a Facebook world) be small updates or shares, with some minor commentary. I can understand that for that to work, people would need to start checking the feed, and it is so convenient to just bookmark "Recent Topics" and be done and skip the feed entirely. Also, I get that with such a small community, the notion of "friends" is kind of artificial. But still.

Also, I had hoped that the longer-form writing section would be more popular. Again, maybe that is just a function of our relatively small community size. I don't know what the average % of writers/bloggers would be in a group, but I guess it is well below 1%.

I also wonder about the meditation journalling we have here. Is it the most effective? I know I have a hard time contributing regularly, but greatly benefit from the less-often-but-more-meaty posts and the commentary that generates. But I look at OpenSit, for example, and have a bit of site envy. That said, do people really want that? Does it have legs? Similarly Google+ (which obviously has legs). Is that potentially a better format for some of what is needed by a network of dharma practitioners?

Some general questions, some rhetorical, but if you have any feedback that would make this site more impactful for your practice, please don't be shy and speak up. Lurkers in particular, this is your time to speak!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Site features 15 May 2014 18:31 #19638

Well as a lurker, I want to put in my two cents: So far, I just haven't really figured out what I should be reading, what I should be participating in, etc. It's probably me. My fantasy would be to have something easier to navigate - maybe more graphic a la buddhist geeks, some real time chat - probably some other stuff that would draw me into participating.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Site features 15 May 2014 20:03 #19643

My honest opinion — since you asked, Tom — is that you should focus on making this a better forum and get rid of everything else. I don't want another social network or blogging platform. The value of this place is the community and I don't think we need anything beyond the forum at this point. It could use some love in the form of a redesign or at least a typographic tune up, though.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jake St. Onge, every3rdthought, Rod, Kirk

Site features 15 May 2014 20:34 #19645

Yes, I do want to refresh the look of the forum. The template is busy and tired. I want to make it more Google+ like in some regards, which kind of grooves with what Chriss was saying. I also don't like how it works on mobile.

Funny you mention chatting, Chriss, because we had that for a long time and I took it out a few months back because it wasn't really used and messed up mobile layout.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chriss Pagani

Site features 16 May 2014 08:35 #19651

I tend to agree with Nadav - refine the heavily used features, and let go of the ones no one seems to care about. Though it was interesting to hear from Chriss that she liked chat. I used to use chat occasionally (a few times a month).

But the mobile interface is rather shitty, and I'd rather have that be easier to navigate than have chat back. Main problems for me on mobile are page length is too long, requiring extensive scrolling (allow more "back to top" buttons or shorten number of posts displayed to 5 or 10 instead of 20 or however many); and that the right side of the page is always cut off, so I can't see who posted the reply unless I turn my phone sideways and re-scroll to that post.

I wish there were more frequent hangouts and more lurkers would come out of the closet, but that's life. The participants we do have are great folks.
Last Edit: 16 May 2014 08:38 by Ona Kiser.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jake St. Onge, Tina, Jenny Foerst

Site features 16 May 2014 13:47 #19661

I almost wonder if AN needs a bit of a mission. Right now, it's more of a really nice chat room for about twenty (active) people.

Dharma Forum Refugees Camp kinda had one in the day, a "safe" place to speak very openly about their thoughts after the second great schism (or Second Great Schism?)

It kinda goes to Chriss' comment (Hi Chriss!). If you were a new lurker, where would you go, what would you say?

For a while I was noodling on what it would be like if the DFRC really was that: a place where people who were off-track in their practice could shelter themselves and get back on track. It was just a passing thought, which I had forgotten until now. Anyway...

Remind me again, why am I here?
Last Edit: 16 May 2014 13:48 by shargrol.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: every3rdthought, Chriss Pagani

Site features 16 May 2014 14:22 #19662

Maybe Chriss and other lurkers could speak to that a bit. If one isn't here to start a practice journal (at least not yet), and maybe isn't ready to start threads on random things one has read or heard without feeling a bit daunted, what kinds of subject matter or themes might help make that more comfortable? I love reading stuff by new people. But that requires that a new person (or experienced lurker) feel bold enough to post a subject, perhaps feeling like it might be a dumb question or something no one else will care about.

For Chriss or others who don't post much, what sorts of themes, subjects, etc are interesting to you? What would you love to talk to other people about in a virtual sangha?

[Point being, would it help if there were categories or sticky areas, such as "Help, my practice is a mess?" or "Things I wake up at night wondering about" or "Can someone explain this cuz it makes no sense."...]

-Ona
Last Edit: 16 May 2014 14:27 by Ona Kiser.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chriss Pagani

Site features 16 May 2014 14:38 #19664

I like those topics. :) It's just hard to know what I'd even want to talk about without something specific drawing me in. I came here on the recommendation of a member I met on Reddit, but I haven't really figured out what I want to do here, yet.

Google+ type hangouts could be interesting, along with Ona's suggestions: 'sticky areas, such as "Help, my practice is a mess?" or "Things I wake up at night wondering about" or "Can someone explain this cuz it makes no sense."..'
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Site features 16 May 2014 14:55 #19665

To Tom, might it make sense (after more feedback) to think about creating some tabs with themes like this? So perhaps there are always categories in the top tabs like "Introduce Yourself" "Practice Problems" "What does that mean?" "What are you working on?" etc?

Though the Index view shows "General Dharma Discussion" - that's really broad. Maybe some subcategories in that category, a few of which live in the tab menu, might help orient newer folks?

What's the real-estate like in the tabs area? Titles would have to be simple to fit neatly.

I suppose some other screen area could serve - such as having sticky topics aimed particularly at newer members listed at the top of the right hand column, with a title saying "Get started here" or something?

Just some ideas.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Site features 16 May 2014 14:58 #19666

And Chriss, please join the next hangout (we were thinking of trying to do one once a month) - it's much more interesting when there are more new people!
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jenny Foerst

Site features 16 May 2014 15:20 #19668

Tom Otvos wrote:
I can start the ball rolling, by expressing my disappointment that the social network part of the site is not used. . . . Also, I had hoped that the longer-form writing section would be more popular.

A similar subject came up on another site recently. Back in about 2003, when the whole social networking thing was just getting going, there was an assumption that there was an infinite amount of user-generated content out there. That's proved not to be true. Not only are active participation rates on the Internet way down (mine included), what user-generated content there is has to be spread over a huge number of outlets (Facebook, blogs, Twitter, Youtube, many forums, etc.).
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Site features 16 May 2014 16:20 #19669

shargrol wrote:
I almost wonder if AN needs a bit of a mission. Right now, it's more of a really nice chat room for about twenty (active) people.

Dharma Forum Refugees Camp kinda had one in the day, a "safe" place to speak very openly about their thoughts after the second great schism (or Second Great Schism?)

It kinda goes to Chriss' comment (Hi Chriss!). If you were a new lurker, where would you go, what would you say?

For a while I was noodling on what it would be like if the DFRC really was that: a place where people who were off-track in their practice could shelter themselves and get back on track. It was just a passing thought, which I had forgotten until now. Anyway...

Remind me again, why am I here?

Exactly what is preventing this from continuing that "safe harbour" mission? Is it just a posting paralysis ("where do I put this?") or something else?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Site features 16 May 2014 17:03 #19670

Tom Otvos wrote:
Exactly what is preventing this from continuing that "safe harbour" mission? Is it just a posting paralysis ("where do I put this?") or something else?

I just don't think we've thought along those lines in any formal way. I don't even know if there is a need for something like that... and I don't know what we would be getting into if we took on that role. Maybe we couldn't be responsive to those kinds of needs. I can see that "good idea" going downhill, potentially pretty fast.

Taking a big step back, I would say this site is like a great big field. The tricky thing is new people might not know if it is a baseball field, a soccer field, etc. so they might not know what kind of talk to engage in. (???)

I mean we have a nice blend of christian, daoist, dzogchen, zen, practical dharma, etc. ... so I really don't know what game were playing either, which is half the fun. :)
Last Edit: 16 May 2014 17:04 by shargrol.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Site features 16 May 2014 19:06 #19672

shargrol wrote:
I mean we have a nice blend of christian, daoist, dzogchen, zen, practical dharma, etc. ... so I really don't know what game were playing either, which is half the fun. :)

The very definition of "safe harbour" to me. I think we do a very good job of being non-judgemental and give people quite a bit of leeway. Note that that does not mean we don't hold people accountable to unsubstantiated claims, as has happened here a few times. But I like to think we do it constructively and politely.

I know that *I* have thought about that, and I really want "awakening" to be the only thing binding us together, and let people bring their experiences as they see fit. The problem, and I mentioned this privately to Ona earlier today, is that we are still a small community and everything gets dumped into a few big bowls. Is there benefit to segmenting the discussions more, to allow grazers and lurkers to find stuff more easily? Dunno. Do we want to segment practice journals a bit more, still allowing for deep discussions on stuff brought up but allowing the journals to be viewed more journal-like? I'd like to, for example, make it easier to update your own journal. Exactly how, I don't quite know but I feel the friction there could be reduced.

Just thinking aloud.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jake St. Onge

Site features 16 May 2014 19:11 #19673

shargrol wrote:
I almost wonder if AN needs a bit of a mission. Right now, it's more of a really nice chat room for about twenty (active) people.

I pretty much agree with shargrol on this - to me it don't seem like it's broke, don't fix it!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Site features 16 May 2014 19:20 #19674

As I told Tom in our private chat, I think there is also just a general shyness in many people. When I taught in university, it was pulling teeth to get people to offer ideas in discussion groups, except a few Hermione Granger types. No one wants to go up front and read during church services, except the regular devout ladies. People often hang back, unsure of what's okay, where to start, where they fit in. So if we can structure some spaces that help make the shy folks feel more free to participate, that's great. Not sure what those would be. Maybe some of the shy folks will make more suggestions!

The people who have been regularly active for a long time tend to know each other simply because they've all been posting for so long that it's led to hangouts and emails and skype chats and such. To my mind that's by no means a feeling of being a "club" or something. It's just a factor of the same few people blabbing away for so long that eventually you get to know each other. It's fun to have fresh faces in the active group - that way we get new topics of conversation, new perspectives on practice, etc.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol, Jenny Foerst

Site features 16 May 2014 21:45 #19676

Speaking for myself, I like the format here. That said, I do find myself thinking from time-to-time about the history of the site, and as such, I feel like I'm in a "feeling out" phase.

To wit: I am (and by extension, I would assume others are) not entirely clear on what the "Second Great Schism" was. My assumptions around these schisms are based on what I can learn from nosing around the site -- that perhaps the first schism was the AF/Dharma Overground situation, followed by something happening over at KFD. For my part, I initially started keeping a journal over here because that was the suggestion coming from KFD -- that the journals over there should be moved over here. Subsequently, browsing this site seemed to indicate (and perhaps I have this wrong) that Kenneth had been banned from AwakeNetwork. In which case I am making a follow-up assumption that there is no way that Kenneth would be able to view prospective students' journals being kept here. Which, without proper context, is a bit confusing.

Obviously, that hasn't kept me from continuing to update my journal and having valuable conversations here. But there is a lack of clarity on that front. It's kind of like walking into a party in which most of the company has had a long (and sometimes dramatic) history together. There's the impulse to just hang back.

I hope this perspective is helpful, and in the appropriate place -- I know the conversation is mostly about logistics, but it seems like the subject of user participation is also coming up....
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Tom Otvos, Jake St. Onge, Ona Kiser, nadav, Jenny Foerst

Site features 17 May 2014 04:10 #19678

Hi there, I love this thread. I think it's very useful to - once in a while - think about what should or should not change.
I'm kind of a lurker, but since you asked for input from lurkers :)
When I'm looking for a forum and want to join it, first thing I do is visit threads with topics that are current to my practice at that moment. These change, so I can't name many specific topics, but generally I look for advice when I'm stuck with something, or want to learn more about something interesting or I want to find reviews about books, websites and PDF's. Preferably threads where lots of people participate, so that I can look for different views on a subject.
When I decide to join, usually I already have a vague idea about which people have valuable input. The 'wise' people, so to speak. Because of the way I approach a message board, for me it's kind of a database where I can delve in to read interesting topics, information and advice.

I don't remember who, but somewhere in this thread someone said it would be helpful to create more categories and I am all for that, because the more topics are specified, the easier it gets to find an interesting category and read threads. On DharmaOverground there are so many categories and subcategories and the participation is so intense that it's kind of a huge library and I often spend hours to find an interesting topic about which I want to learn more. Though I'm not scared to bring up a topic myself, I prefer to find a thread in which the same questions have already been asked by others.

Personally, I'm not a chatter. That is, talk (through a mike), or participate by typing like a fury, because otherwise people already changed a topic :silly: And one thing I really don't like is things like Google Hangouts and Google+ I'm not saying I'll never join, but at the moment I'm looking to find alternatives to Google, rather than participate in yet another one of their products. Besides, I assume most of you live in the United States, so for me in Europe it would be difficult because of the time zones.
Hope this helps a bit.
Last Edit: 17 May 2014 04:11 by Lost and Found. Reason: typo
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Tom Otvos, Ona Kiser

Site features 17 May 2014 12:01 #19689

Quick bit on the ancient history of the schisms, all of which have been healed and forgotten by the direct participants as far as I can tell:

#1 - KFD breaks away from DhO mainly due to message board management issues but that was indeed related to the fervent adoption of AF by the then DhO hosts.
#2 - DFRC breaks away from KFD over, yes, the seeming adoption of AF-like teachings and, yes, message board and user management/relationship issues.

Kenneth was indeed once banned from DFRC but that was a mistake, IMHO, and based on a misunderstanding - the wrong party in a very heated argument was banned. Kenneth is not banned here at all now, and has never been banned at AN. He's more than welcome. We (Tom, Russell, Andy, me) have been working directly with Kenneth to get his content and message board history from the Wetpaint and Wordpress versions of KFD consolidated and posted here for posterity.

All of the parties in these old flare ups have long ago made up and love and respect each other. Probably always did.

Just to clear that foggy old "stuff" up :-)
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jim

Site features 17 May 2014 17:30 #19692

I will forever use the place as a message board only because I'm on the REALLY shy end of the shyness spectrum. The only minor change I have thought of making to the place is changing the motto, or whatever you call it, below the site name to actually reflect the diversity of the group who regularly post. I think "discussing twenty-first century CONTEMPLATIVE practice" would be more in line with what actually occurs here.

As far as being a shy lurker goes, there's almost nothing you could do to get me to post more. A month ago, I almost posted my daily practice journal for a month just to see what would happen and then didn't. Posting it just feels too invasive and embarrassing. I have a text file of questions to ask but I'm not interested in most of them anymore. Whatever I was experiencing that caused the questions eventually passed and things changed. But I can almost feel another period of frustration with practice looming so some of that stuff might get posted then.

I'm mainly here to read what you people post because I enjoy listening in on what you discuss and because I want to keep up motivation to sit regularly. This is where all the cool people from the old KFD ended up.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Lost and Found

Site features 18 May 2014 08:21 #19698

Hi Kirk, I thank you for having the courage to just say that you are a very shy person. But I think that what you would write and ask is very valuable for others - who might not even know how shy you are if you don't spell it out.
I hope that you do decide to post some of your stuff. And you might find that being shy isn't necessarily a permanent condition! I used to be shy and I trained myself step by step to practice just ordinary conversations about the weather and things like that, while waiting with all the other moms and dads to get our kids from school. This helped enormously. And while I still feel a bit shy sometimes, people don't notice it.
Another thing I would like to share is that my practice has helped a lot too to help me with self esteem issues and I was very surprised, because I didn't know that things like that could change, I wasn't even trying: I used to feel like everyone was criticizing every thing I said or did or disapproved of how I dressed. At first, I learned that strangers usually have other things to do than walk around, judging all strangers they encounter. And later on, I just felt; everyone is unique, very special in a way, and no one has more or less right to exist and make something of their life. And one day I noticed I didn't care any more whether people looked at me or not, judged me or not. Really, it was completely vanished and that was very freeing as I could now walk around with ridiculously big, rubber boots to walk with my dogs through mud and grass.
Hope this helps, nothing is permanent and shyness can be overcome. It will take years, yes, but it's such a relief when you notice it becomes less and less. And I don't know how old you are, but I think it diminishes when you get older.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kirk

Site features 18 May 2014 13:35 #19701

Like Nadav, I think making sure this is a healthy message board is all this place needs.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Site features 14 Nov 2014 22:50 #96022

Reviving this thread to continue the discussion, albeit in a slightly different direction. After re-reading the earlier posts, a very common theme is that the primary focus must be discussions, not social, and to make the discussions as great as they can be. So I am sorely tempted to disable the social network part of this site, and drastically improve the forums and keep the long-form reading (because I think it could serve as an awesome resource).

Focusing on the forum, I would like to invite opinions on what makes a great discussion site (beyond content, of course). You can highlight stuff we have, or brain-dump all the things we don't (but should) have. Lurkers, if there is something to make your lurking better, or something that would entice you to add your voice to the discussions, that would be extremely valuable.

When I first asked a similar question, one issue was that the site on mobile sucked. Now, I think it sucks way less, but frankly I don't use it much on mobile because I find authoring a pain. I would like to definitely get mobile opinions as well because, frankly, I am also sorely tempted to write an app specifically to interface to our content, as opposed to hacking the template to get a presentable presentation.

I will also be setting up a Hangout, next week if I can, to brainstorm more on the topic of what would make this a great discussion forum for 21st century dharma practice.

Fire away!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Site features 15 Nov 2014 03:21 #96028

Reviewing the mobile interface, which I use equally to the laptop (though I rarely write anything via mobile - just read)... it's fine. it's not snazzy amazing the way something like Wordpress and some other systems do with their mobile interface. But forums in general seem to be a bit clunky, as if a relic of Web 1.0. This one is not bad at all - downright slick compared to most.

One thing going on now re: mobile:
-login is being maintained across devices more often, which is nice. It used to say I was logged out frequently, but then if I logged back in it would say I was already logged in. That used to happen multiple times a day, now only once every few days (perhaps when changing networks? no idea).
-I don't use the social functions at all. I basically use "recent topics" and that's it.
-"New" is indicated when I read on my mobile or laptop, but that I have then read that thread doesn't seem to migrate to the other device, which it USED to. So when later in the day I read on the other device it says "new" on a thread, but if I look, it is stuff I already read. This is a new quirk.
None of these things are a big deal.

Thanks for your work at maintaining everything!
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Tina

Site features 15 Nov 2014 19:58 #96036

Tom --
Focusing on the forum, I would like to invite opinions on what makes a great discussion site (beyond content, of course).

- Clarity surrounding the rules, code of conduct, and such. Simple rules are better.
- A light but when required firm hand in enforcing the rules
- Visibility into who folks really are - while we probably cannot enforce the use of real names the closer we can get the more authentic the forum will be
- A solid and reliable group of frequent posters
- Tolerance for topic drift, as this is normal and often very productive/creative
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ona Kiser, Jenny Foerst
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2
Time to create page: 0.216 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum