JREF Forum Newsletter
Oh yes it’s that time again... another Newsletter, and I would like to say I really don’t mind the weeks of effort that go into these Newsletters being thrown away by a casual comment such as “I wish you’d let us know what these new thingy-me-bobs are that keep appearing....”.
Seriously the past issues of the Newsletter contain a lot of information about many aspects of the Forum that Members often ask questions about. To try and make it easier to check what a Newsletter contains I've started to add a "Contents" section..
I start this month’s Newsletter, as I did last month's with having to say farewell to some of my Mod Team colleagues, Mercutio, Phil, LuxFerum and Patricio Elcier have all left the Mod Team . Again I’d like to say a big “Thank You!” for all the hard work they’ve put into making this Forum as successful as it is – quite sincerely it would not be the Forum it is today without their input.
We will be looking to appoint some new Moderators over the next few weeks and some Members have already very generously volunteered; if you would like to volunteer yourself please drop a PM to a member of the Mod Team (a list of the members of the Mod Team can now be foundhere as well as the bottom of each section of the Forum.) Before you decide to volunteer you should read the Moderator Agreement as this will explain what you would be expected to do.
We have already made a decision regarding some new Moderators and we are hoping to have them in place by the end of July, if not a bit sooner. As always we'll ask you to be gentle with them for their first few weeks, it can take some time for new Mods to settle in and yes they will make mistakes.
Changes to how we Moderate the Forum
We are currently discussing some changes to how we moderate the Forum, not in regards to adding more rules but to ensure the Mod Team always respond in a timely manner to reports and the workload is spread evenly throughout the team.
It is very likely that we will adopt the practice of Moderators being primarily responsible for specific sections of the Forum. Look out for further announcements regarding this
As usual your feedback is sought. There is a[Moderated Thread] set up for feedback about the various announcements in this Newsletter.
If you would like to help the Forum and the community but don't wish to be a Moderator there are still plenty of other areas you can help with:
- Reviews for the Book Review section (see below for details)
- Adding useful Links to the "Links Directory"
- Creating more "How to.." guides and new FAQs with their answers of course! (See this thread for an example.)
- The Repository - we live in hope! (See the Feb 07 Newsletter for more information.)
- The Newsletter - looking for someone to help scour the Forum every month for interesting bits and pieces - like say a local skeptic's meeting being organised, a media event featuring or of interest to skeptics and critical thinkers and then collate them into a section for the Newsletter - something like "Interesting stuff and Forum Gossip".
If there are other areas you think you could help the Forum with please feel free to drop me a PM with some details.
Going down in Flames!
It's been kicked about for quite some time but sadly it's time to announce the demise of a most disreputable section of the Forum - "Flame War". It's popularity has dwindled over the years so we are going to close it at the end of July (the threads will remain and still be accessible). So if you want to have one last attempt at wresting the title of "Master Flamer" from his clammy hands - I assume they are his hands since they are at the ends of his arms - of Tricky you only have a few days left.
The Book Review Section
A recent initiative by andyandy to create a “JREF Forumites’ recommended book list” got me off my lazy backside to organise a section of the Forum that I’ve rather imaginatively called “Book Reviews” (anyone wanting to suggest a wittier or better name for the section please drop me a PM) . We’ve opened this with just two books reviewed to start the process rolling as it will undoubtedly require some tweaking before it is perfect. Hopefully this new section will also raise some funds for the JREF since in each book review there is a link to Amazon and the JREF receives a small amount of money from Amazon for any book purchased via these links. (At the moment the link is just to Amazon USA, we will be looking at what we can do for Members located in other countries.)
We have a list of recommended books that we would like to get reviewed as soon as possible (see: Recommended books for review), so if you fancy donning your leather elbowed tweed jacket and cranking out a few reviews on the old Remington please do so.
(Note: Since it is still in the prototype stage we will be making adjustments as we go along. Please ensure sure you make a copy of any review before you submit it - just in case something disastrous happens.)
A slightly neglected section of the Forum is the “Forum Spotlight”, this was created quite a time ago to highlight threads that represent the highest quality of debate on the Forum or very informative threads.
The section relies on (as does of course the whole Forum) Members to recommend threads. If the thread is accepted for the Forum Spotlight section we make a copy of the thread (which leaves the original in place and open for any further posts) and if required do a bit of editing to tidy it up and then it resides permanently in the Forum Spotlight section for anyone to read.
So if you find yourself thinking “what a great thread I’ve learnt so much” or “what a great debate” when reading a thread please feel free to recommend it to be featured in Forum Spotlight. (I’ve created a permanent sticky thread in Forum Management for any recommendations,Recommendations for Forum Spotlight
New "NSFW" Tag
We've added a new tag [NSFW] for you to use if you are posting something that you think may "not be suitable for work" e.g. not suitable for viewing or listening to at a public or semi-public PC. It works very much like the [spoiler] tag (which many Members have been using to "hide" NSFW content) so Members have to click on the button to view the content you've surrounded with the [NSFW] tag.
Note: We're not making this compulsory and it does not mean that you can now post content that used to be and still is not allowed. This is a matter of courtesy so we're asking you to consider using it for the Forum and community's benefit.
Housekeeping – have we got your correct email address?
Terry was recently going through the logs of bounced emails on the JREF’s mail server and noticed quite a few emails to Members have bounced indicating that the email address in their profile may not be active. This could cause problems for those Members as an active email address is required for an active Membership here. Please check that your email address is up-to-date (UserCP>Edit Profile>Email & Password>Edit Email & Password orClick Here) if it isn’t please update it.
Note: When you change your email address the system automatically sends you an email and you must verify the change to your email address by re-activating your account using the link in the email. If you have any problems with this you can contact Lisa or myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) or email@example.com).
Old stuff you may not know about Part II
Members (even long-time Members) occasionally come across a feature that they were not aware of, several Members have suggested that we remind people of some of the less obvious features we have installed on the Forum.
Following on from the last Newsletter I thought mentioning some of the perhaps lesser known and used “vb codes” (the formatting controls such as [quote] and [b] are known as vb codes or bbcodes). You can find a list of all the available codes via the Help Menu (Help>Post Formatting Codes).
Every wanted to a word or words in a post? Couldn’t be simpler just put [hilite] [/hilite] around the word or words and it will appear highlighted. It’s great when you want to highlight something in a quote you are posting.
Example: Every wanted to [hilite]highlight[/hilite] a word in a post?
Using jargon or an obscure term word and you want to make sure everyone knows what you mean but don’t want to have to add the explanation into the middle of your sentence? Well then just use the [define] vb code.
So I said "Hook up a [define=A twaddlewaddle is a thingy-me-bob with bells on it]twaddlewaddle[/define] and it will work as an over unity machine."
I’m sure most people will be familiar with theSkepticWiki
. (If you aren't it is a great skeptical and critical thinking based wiki with a wealth of high quality articles.) You can link to articles from the SkepticWiki with the use of two vbcodes.
Example 1: [swiki]Deductive Reasoning[/swiki]
Sometimes you'll want a word to link to a SkepticWiki article but the word isn't the title of the article.
This type of reasoning is often called [swikix=Deductive Reasoning]deductive[/swikix].
And that's all...
Ended up being a tad longer than expected but hope you found it interesting and useful.
No new news! Just a reminder:
The JREF will be publishing a quarterly newsletter. Those interested in submitting an article for it should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.