Main Community Pages versus Community GROUP pages
Is it the same set of volunteers/support staff who admin the Community GROUP pages as it is the set of volunteers who moderate the other parts of the Community??
Use of the GROUPS seems to have gone down quite significantly since the major upgrade to the community. BUT I dont think that's due to a lack of functionality or value.
We used to do so much better of a job of highlighting Community Groups and community group issues. Now it seems like the groups are no longer "front and center" the way they used to be. and so many people it seems were dropped from the groups when the conversion took place.
HOW can we do a better job of bringing LIFE and ACTIVITY back into the community groups area, highlighting them, and supporting them under central administration group?
Before the conversion to this Vanilla platform, I was able to REPLY to questions asked in Groups without being a member of that Group. I did so, and in some cases was able to provide information that no one else had.
This is now not possible, you have to be a member of the Group before you can reply. I have elected not to join these Groups, so I now no longer reply to such queries. FamilySearch admin can no doubt justify the benefit of non Group members no longer being able to reply to queries.
However in practice a number of groups have virtually ceased to exist, and I wonder why they are still there.
Perhaps the intention is that the category "Research Help" which now appears to be active (after a long period when it had I think 5 discussions) should replace the role of some Groups.0
@Dennis J Yancey ( & @MaureenE123 )
Dennis & Maureen
Just in passing ...
Among other things ...
A while ago now, I broached the subject, of the former (fantastic) ability, in the previous "Platform", of being able to "Mention" (ie. "@") a 'Group' (or, 'Groups) in ANY "Post"; thereby, including (ie, "Uploading") that particular "Post", into that 'Group' (or, 'Groups").
I was advised, back then, that basically, the then NEW "Platform", did not have such ability.
Hopefully, that is something that may be being investigated and pursued.
As, such would certainly raise the profile, of the 'Group', back to their for status and activity.
Just my thoughts.
I have to wholeheartedly agree with Maureen
1) I also was very annoyed that we each had to join a group to be able to post to it.
I mean I have to say - it is an easy thing to join a group - but still, "Whats the point??" Why cant we just open it up to anyone? why restrict and annoy people. People are wary of formally joining a group - versus just submitting a post
I really wish that could be done away with - forcing people to join a group to be able to post a submission
2) The other option that was even a bigger blow to me personally was the lack of the the @mention option allowing me me to cross-post one submission and have it be part of MULTIPLE Groups -- I was the admin for nearly 10 different community groups and I could submit one post and have it get sent out to all ten groups (if it applied) and anyone in those groups could reply and monitor the string thread.
It really allowed us to be a REAL community - instead of disjoint groups that we are now. It made it easy to get to know much easier so many members of the community.
The lack of these feature to the community was a real blow to people like me who were used to submitting a singe post and have it go to multiple appropriate groups
Under the new platform I cant even come close to doing the amount of work I did before because of so much repetitive tedious work that is required.
I realize that as Brett points out that we are limited to a certain extent with what the vendor offers in the underlying software. BUT these were some huge flaws that really have annoyed a lot of people.
I surely wish FS is working with the vendor to make these items into reality,1
I understand how some groups could be replaced with other "Front Page" categories
in fact in some ways I think that makes total sense.
BUT for example that will never happen for surname based groups, geographic based groups and so many others.
It just seem FS leadership is allowing these groups to die a slow death due to neglect
and then simply get rid of them with the excuse that "No one was using them"
when in reality there could be a massive use of them if they were simply administered and maintained and nurtured and advertised.
Just seems like they have been on the bottom of the list of FS Leaderships importance list
and it seems the two areas "Front Page Categories" and "in the weeds "Groups" aren't even administered by the same set of support staff and volunteers and are two disjoint areas that all so often don't even seem to be talking to each other.1
Hello Friends (@Dennis J Yancey, @MaureenE123, @Brett .),
Quite a bit to digest here, and a lot worth discussing in more detail. Would any/all of you be open to a video/audio conference call to discuss this in more detail? We can definitely keep the conversation going here, I just think we could work through a lot of discussion points more quickly on a call and more effectively communicate ideas/concerns/thoughts. If so, let me know and we discuss open days/times via direct messages.
To address a few key points:
For the most part, the individual group leaders are largely responsible for the individual groups. We do have a volunteer team focused on the groups, and they are a different team than the ones responding elsewhere on the site. We do want to quickly get to having a central team overseeing things holistically and are working on plans to be able to do this (and much more).
I agree that the groups are no longer front and center, for quite a few reasons, but there is no intent to let them die a slow death. I'd love the opportunity to discuss this in more detail with you & anyone else who would like to. There are some functional limitations that we'll need to work through, but I'm open to discussing anything.
@MaureenE123 - I definitely think we should explore using categories vs groups in further detail. Research Help was intended to validate/invalidate the hypothesis that community members wanted & could be helped from within a category. We haven't seen as much activity here as I expected, but that could be due to several reasons (such as low volume due to holidays).0
I am certainly up, for a Video/Audio "Conference" Call (eg. "Zoom"; etc) to discuss in more detail ...
I have already address some of this, with you; and, I hope, that helped/assisted, with providing some, insight; and, perspective, of how things Worked in the Forum, in the PREVIOUS version, of the Platform.
I TOTALLY agree with BOTH, 'Dennis'; and, 'Maureen', that something NEEDS to be done, to RAISE the "Profile", of (MANY of ) the 'Groups', in the "Groups" Section, to bring them BACK to their former, 'Status'; and, 'Activity'.
Bring it on ...
Let me know WHEN ...
I certainly do mind, fitting into "Mountain" 'Time' - I have done that, with a number of "Zoom" Meetings.
Id be happy to participate in a video chat
I think there are some valid reasons to discontinue a few groups that are now no longer needed due to categories
BUT the majority of the groups I dont think will ever be replaced by the categories
its a balance
Under Carolyn Webber the groups were under her ( a FS employee or contracted employee)
and she did an awesome job of making people feel welcome, nurturing the members, and nurturing the groups and making members feel like they had many ways to contribute, and giving continuity to an environment that now seems to change with every new set of missionary volunteers/moderators
unfortunately much of that was lost when she left
I love the missionary volunteers and their sacrifice but Id sure like to see a full time employee like Carolyn was giving some stability and continuity and focus to the groups area.
Id really like to see her style of groups management come back
Id love to help the Commuity Groups area become more than it is today
I dont think the Holidays is the reason things are so slow . . .
again - I dont want to be perceived as a complainer - Im happy to be part of the SOLUTION
I want to work with others to make this a great place to be.
I think we need much more nurturing and working together under the supervision of a paid FS employee (like we had under Carolyn) -than we need more "moderation" by a rotating group of missionaries
Feel free to contact me privately as needed2
This was fortuitous ...
A User/Patron, just raised a NEW post, but, referenced, that they had posted, in February this Year (2021), about the SAME matter.
Here is the recent post:
'Category' = Family Tree
HOME > FAMILYSEARCH HELP > FAMILY TREE
Henry Harris who was married to Amy Hardee (Harris)
Here is the previous post:
I found, that post back in February this Year; where, I used, the "Mention" ("@"), of 'Groups", to "cross post", the ORIGINAL post, in some Three (x3), at the SAME time.
It DOES NOT look, exactly like it did, in the PREVIOUS version of the Forum; but, 'you get the picture'.
'Category' = General Questions
HOME > FAMILYSEARCH HELP > GENERAL QUESTIONS
After years of research, I am unable to determine the name of the father of William “Henry” Harris,
Just so that you can 'see', an EXAMPLE of what, we mean, by "Mention" ("@"), of 'Groups", to "cross post", the ORIGINAL post, in OTHER 'Groups', at the SAME time.
Here is another example
of a single post that was then cross posted to multiple surname based groups that I thought would be applicable
Note that when it went through the conversion the item changed its title to the URL which really made for a mess of things
and any posts to the OLD general questions seem to have been totally lost in the conversion and that was where I posted many of my cross posts so I was horribly disappointed that I had lost the vast majority of my posts to the community in the conversion.0
Thank you @Dennis J Yancey & @Brett . - appreciate the added context, the raising of these concerns, and your willingness to discuss further.0
It is not surprising that there was no activity in Research Help for an extended period because I, and it appears everyone else, was not able to access it. I refer to my topic dated November 9, 2021 in General Questions "Category "Research Help"; How do you answer, or indeed post in this category?"
https://community.familysearch.org/en/discussion/108440/category-research-help-how-do-you-answer-or-indeed-post-in-this-category#latest which had no response from anyone connected with FamilySearch, so no one in FS knew?
I have in the past seen Groups referred to as FamilySearch Groups, although currently this terminology does not seem to be used. However some Groups seem to have been set up by FamilySearch. As an example "Descendants of the Indian Subcontinent" currently states owner "Caleb L" who is FS Admin. This Group appears to be completely inactive currently, apart from a posting in November 2021 by Caleb L Descendants of the Indian Subcontinent Group Resources.
I think for small or inactive Groups, FamilySearch should consider whether it is preferable to direct people with a question to the Category "Research Help" where perhaps there is a wider pool of people who can supply an answer. In my view an inactive Group has no purpose and should be closed. Any information about resources could be added to the FamilySearch Wiki.
Although in the past I have replied to questions posted in Groups, I have never been a member of a FS Group. I don't think I have much more to add on the topic.0
Groups do not have the option to allow notifications for any new post or any new discussion. I call that a HUGE lack of functionality. I belong to MANY research groups, and I do not go into them daily and check. Help categories, on the other hand, have notifications which allow people to get an email for any new post or any new discussion. I follow several help categories, and I react to email. I LOVE getting emails. If I don't like what I see, I delete. But to think that people should be satisfied to log in daily and check groups is extremely archaic thinking. If this platform cannot change, STOP using the group function and transfer ALL research groups to categories. I bet you would see a rapid increase of research categories because of the email notification function.
Just my 2 cents worth.1
Just so that your aware ...
I raised, that particular post of yours, regarding the 'Groups' and the "Notifications" of 'Posts' and 'Comments', from such, with the "Administration" of this Forum, for (hopeful) consideration.
and @Brett . Did you notice my "discussion" got moved back to "Suggest an Idea"? That was very nice!0
'Yes'; as, per my 'Comment', in that particular post of yours, to the "Moderator" concerned.
@Quern0 I would recommend posting questions where they should be, but perhaps put the word "advanced" question, or "complex" question in the title.0
Welcome to the "Community.FamilySearch" Forum, with your first post.
I am just another 'lowly' User/Patron ...
Just in passing ...
It really depends, on what you mean, by "Experienced" ...
[ ie. in 'FamilySearch' (in particular, "Family Tree"); or, this "Community.FamilySearch" Forum ... ]
And, it really also depends, on what you mean, by 'Groups'.
In this "Community.FamilySearch" Forum ...
There are, various 'Categories', for Help/Assistance, depending on the nature, of help/assistance required.
And, then, there are, what can be considered, "Special Interest', 'Groups'.
Those, 'Categories'; and, "Special Interest', 'Groups', are NOT exactly the SAME.
That Said ...
In this "Community.FamilySearch" Forum, NO 'Question', is more or less significant, than any other 'Question'.
All "Questions' ( ie. Simple; or, Complex), in this "Community.FamilySearch" Forum, are EQUAL.
NO "Question', in this "Community.FamilySearch" Forum, is insignificant.
As, Users/Patrons, are at DIFFERENT levels, of experience.
I consider, that I have some experience; and, yet, I STILL "Learn" something NEW, in both, the 'Categories'; and, the "Special Interest', 'Groups', just about every day.
We were ALL beginners once ...
'Yes', the "Administrators" in this "Community.FamilySearch" Forum, are experienced ...
[ and, in the main, 'FamilySearch' Employees ... ]
Whereas, the "Moderators" [ ie. 'FamilySearch' "Support" ( Personnel ) ], that is a different story ...
Many "Moderators", are experienced ...
Whereas, there are a number of "Moderators", who are inexperienced; and, also new to the Forum.
Do not gauge "Experience", by a "Mod" Tage/Label/Badge ...
As, it only represents that a person is part, of 'FamilySearch' "Support" ( Personnel ).
That Said ...
It certainly DOES NOT matter how "Experienced" one is; nor, how simple; or, complex, a 'Question' is ...
The real trick, is as you have intimated, deciding; where, to submit/post the 'Question'.
Sometimes, due to the 'nature' of the 'Question', it is often BETTER to post, in one or more, of the "Special Interest', 'Groups', rather than the "Categories'.
Certainly, 'Questions' that are "Basic", can be posted, in one of the various 'Categories'.
As, there are experienced Users/Patrons, who are participants in the Forum, who help/assist.
But, just do not forget, the "Special Interest', 'Groups'; as, some of the members, of those 'Groups', are some of the most experienced Users/Patrons.
Just my thoughts.