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It's the first emailed Newsletter from the JREF Forum! We're using a new piece of software for creating and distributing Forum Newsletters and from now on they will be sent via email as well as posted in “The Repository”. Of course you can choose whether to receive them via email or not. You control the Newsletter via two new options in your User Control Panel:
UserCP>Edit Options> Receive Email> Receive Newsletters – Lets you opt-out and in of receiving Newsletters by email UserCP>Edit Options> Receive Email> Format of the Newsletters – Lets you chose whether to receive the Newsletter as either a HTML formatted email or plain text email
You’ll see that the new piece of software also automatically includes a section of what's been happening on the Forum recently, we hope you'll find that informative and interesting. We've also included another new section - "JREF News" which will include news and information about the JREF.
And since this is being sent to all registered Members a big “JREF Forum Hello!” to a few thousand people we haven’t seen around for a while, hope this whets your appetite again for the Forum and you decide to drop in to see how things are getting on!
Fund raiser target reached!
The recent Fund raiser target was reached in early in April, just over two months after launching what we thought would be a yearlong campaign! On behalf of the JREF a big thank-you to everyone who made a donation, it really was appreciated.
Please don’t forget that the JREF is always appreciative of donations, which help finance the organization so it can continue its work. You can make a donation or even become a Member of the JREF itself at anytime, there is a button in the “bread crumb” bar that says “Donate to the JREF” just click on that to be taken to the JREF’s main Membership and donation page.
And finally on the fund raising activities, the personalized Forum shirts raised $477.00 in total, wear them with pride.
Hopefully you have noticed the significant improvement in the reliability of the Forum since the move to the new server.
Since the move apart from a slight (technobabble alert) DNS problem, we have had no unplanned downtime. We have noticed that infrequently the Forum becomes quite sluggish – as described by one Member “like wading through treacle” – as ever Terry is on the case and hopefully he will be able to locate what’s been causing this and we will be able to remedy it.
The Taggers are Tagging!
A feature of the Forum we added a little while ago called Tags (see: "We’ve been tagged”) was recently upgraded and this allowed us to create a group of Members who could add and delete tags in any thread, not just their own. I asked for volunteers and very quickly the following Members all volunteered: Cuddles , Gaspode , GzuzKryzt , hcmom , Ian Osborne , JAStewart , kmortis , LibraryLady , Loss Leader , Orangutan , rjh01 , Tricky & Nova Land.
These Members now have an additional title under their name “Tagger” to indicate they are part of the “Tag Team”. They have already put in an incredible amount of work and you can read all about their exploits in the “The Tag Team" thread. Tagging is all about making the Forum even more accessible so please feel free to make suggestions and provide feedback to the Taggers in that thread.
The sterling work the Tag Team has already done has succeeded in making the Tags an even more useful tool. If you haven’t looked at the Tag system recently I really urge you to do so – either from the Tag option on the Menu bar, the Tag search options from the Search menu or the Tag clouds at the bottom of each Forum section. You'll find they can be a very effective and quick search tool and a great way to browse the Forum.
A big thank-you to the Tag Team.
A feature that only used to appear in the “The Tutorials” has been expanded to the Forum Topics sections. In those sections if you see a word in a darkish red color with a dotted underline hover your mouse pointer over it - you will see a bubble pop-up with a definition for the word. As with many features of the Forum you can switch this on and off, simply go to UserCP>Edit Options>Thread Display Options>Glossary pop-ups and choose if you want glossary pop-ups on or off.
We’ve also added something called “SnapShots” to the Forum, this is a clever little utility that when you switch it on marks any links to external sites with a little icon that when you hover your mouse pointer over it pops up a small preview of the page the link takes you to. This is an “opt in” feature so to see it working you need to switch it on – which is as simple as scrolling down to the bottom of any Forum page and clicking on “Turn On Snap Shots”. At the moment we are still trialling this but the feedback so far has been positive so it is likely to stay. (For more information see the developer’s website.)
(Update 15th May 2007) The option to turn Snap Shots on and off has been moved to User Options (UserCP>Edit Option>Miscellaneous Options>Use Snap Shots).
We can now switch any thread to being a 'Moderated Thread'. In the past we have had threads we’ve stated are "Moderated Threads" but this has required the “manual” policing of the thread by a Moderator. The new feature means we can use the software to ensure any such future threads are well moderated. We’ve posted a few guidelines on what you can expect if a thread is Moderated see: [Moderated Thread] Guidelines.
Re-Organizing the Forum Sections?
We are considering a slight reorganization of the Forum sections, this would be to split the “Politics, Current Events and Social Issues” section into two, either “Politics and Social Issues” & “Current Events” or “Politics and Current Events” & “Social Issues”. We’d like your feedback on this and there is a Moderated Thread in Forum Management to discuss this or any other constructive changes to the organization of the Forum – click here.
The end, well of this section
Hope you enjoyed this first emailed Newsletter and the new layout, if you have any feedback we’d like to hear about it in this thread. (We're sure there will be some problems with people receiving this so please do let us know of any problems you had.)
Don’t forget to read the JREF news which follows!
Breaking news... - Quite literally as I was about to send this out I read that a new version of the Forum software has been released. It's only a minor revision but expect some downtime in the next 7 days or so as I upgrade the Forum.... again!)
Darat, 11th May 2007
The JREF recently announced the creation of a new Scholarship program:
The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), will award up to $10,000 in academic scholarships this fall. The scholarships, in amounts of $5000, $2500, $1500, and $1000, may be awarded to deserving students in potentially any field of study, at the graduate or undergraduate level. A committee composed of a physicist, a social scientist, a physician, and a very senior member of the staff of Scientific American magazine will select the winners, with the awards being announced on August 1, 2007..... click here for more details
The Amaz!ng Meeting 5 DVD Set (with Bonus Critical Thinking Workshop and Sunday Papers) is now available... click here for more details
Randi will appear on ABC's 20/20 this Friday at 10pm EDT on a show about "the power of faith." One of the topics will be Peter Popoff.....
This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.
Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.