For some months, the administrators and those in the OBOD Office have been working on a plan to restructure and improve our message board. Based on questions and comments we received from users, the board in its present incarnation can be a confusing and intimidating place for some people. Our goal is to make it much more user-friendly, thus we are refining the board’s overall look, accessibility, and ambience in an effort to improve its capacity to provide a safe and comfortable venue for all who seek it.
In order to accomplish this, we’re going to merge some forums and create a new subforum or two. We are also going to rename and change the descriptions of many forums. If you’ve read “The Seven Gifts of Druidry” on the main OBOD site, you may recognize some of the language, but while the Seven Gifts were the original inspiration, they were not directly applicable to the forum arrangement we need. Hence, we’ve borrowed liberally from them but will drape the board layout over the framework of a walk in the wilderness, to better represent the journey through the OBOD courses. Please note that this will be a rearrangement of the present board, not the creation of a new one. All posts will be preserved, all accounts will remain active, and the present content of the board will be unchanged.
Reducing clutter on the main page was a priority, so we’ll be also making some of the subforums invisible from the index page; when you click on the main “superforum” name, all the subforums will become visible. We’ll also make a “Navigating the Message Board” area that will function much as a “You Are Here” directory in a mall, giving the new locations/names of all the former forums and subforums as well as quick links to each.
In many ways, our board is very different from a lot of other message boards. Over the years, we’ve seen it grow and evolve into something that runs well without much need for hands-on moderation. So the other significant change we’ll be making is to eliminate the job of forum moderator. We’ll have three or four Global Moderators, who will have the ability to work in any forum should actual thread-splitting, post-deletion, or moderative comments become necessary. But each main forum will now have one or more “hosts” (in most cases, the present moderators), whose role will be a sort of cross between an innkeeper, a trail guide, and a subject matter expert. Hospitality is one of the archetypical Celtic traditions, and we want to reflect that in our board by making everyone feel welcome and appreciated. But the hosts will also be available to answer questions, help newcomers find their way, and will freely share their knowledge and insights in their areas of expertise and interest, both in the forums under their care and anywhere else on the board.
We will be making the transition the weekend of November 8-9. As this is just after Samhain, we’ll start a new year with a new board and a walk in the wilderness in a new direction, so please bear with us as we make the changes outlined above. The board will be unavailable from around 3:00 a.m. GMT on Saturday, November 8, 2008, until sometime on Sunday evening or early Monday morning. We hope that you will enjoy the changes that are to come and will step forward with us onto a new path toward a bright future.
Yours in the peace of the grove,
Selene, Art, and Kat Lady