Site Talk forum: Basic sticky for each forum - XXXX 101 ?

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Name: Stewart
Pinehurst, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Plumerias Garden Ideas: Level 1
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PlantMania
Jun 6, 2016 11:16 AM CST
I think it would nice to see if the moderators could put together (with the assistance of the other members) a sticky post to welcome new users and to also give them a brief description and help for the boards topic.

I have reviewed a lot of the different forums here and have noticed that most sticky post are a conversation of some sort. I think there should be a sticky that is closed to comments and only the moderator can update the original post. Kind of a FAQ or Wiki layout page for each forum .

xxxxx 101

-Quick paragraph or two to say welcome, this forum is here to support the training / gratification / love of "said" plant

1 Basic characteristics - size, shape
2 Growing area - swamp, desert, shade, full sun etc.
3 Basic care - pruning, feeding,
4 Propagation - seed, chutes, cutting etc.


I have just gotten into Daylilies - when going into a new forum and seeing people talk about scapes, deadheading, double bloom, triple bloom, etc... I have to leave here to go to other sites to figure out what the heck I was reading over here. Items like these are always a work in progress, just thought I would throw out an idea.

Regards,
Stewart
Oma and Opa Simon
Living to Learn
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World Champion of Athletes Tongue
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Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Jun 6, 2016 1:15 PM CST
If you see something you don't understand, rather than go look somewhere else, why not just ask? That is what the forums are for. We are here to help each other learn.
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: Stewart
Pinehurst, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Plumerias Garden Ideas: Level 1
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PlantMania
Jun 6, 2016 1:27 PM CST
Understood. Just thought it would be nice to have it in one place, plus a lot of new people will not go back into the history of a forum to see if the question has been asked prior.

Just my 2 cents worth...
Oma and Opa Simon
Living to Learn
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World Champion of Athletes Tongue
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Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Garden Art
Plumerias Hibiscus Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Dog Lover Cat Lover
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plantmanager
Jun 6, 2016 1:48 PM CST
[quote="PlantMania"]Understood. Just thought it would be nice to have it in one place, plus a lot of new people will not go back into the history of a forum to see if the question has been asked prior.

It's very easy to just do a general database search, or a search of a particular forum. Most topics have been visited many times.

Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Jun 6, 2016 3:47 PM CST
PlantMania said:Understood. Just thought it would be nice to have it in one place, plus a lot of new people will not go back into the history of a forum to see if the question has been asked prior.

Just my 2 cents worth...


There's no need to search to see if a question has been asked before, just ask. We have over 45 thousand members, we sometimes get over a hundred new members a day and questions will be duplicated. We have many members that are more than willing to help. The main purpose of this forum is to share what we have learned and give advice to best of our ability.
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
Region: California Plant Database Moderator Roses Irises Clematis Garden Photography
Cottage Gardener Keeper of Poultry Hummingbirder Bee Lover Butterflies Birds
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Calif_Sue
Jun 6, 2016 3:48 PM CST

Plants Admin

wrong post Rolling my eyes.
My gardening Blog!
Hand sewn wares and vintage finds in my Etsy store. Summer Song Cottage
[Last edited by Calif_Sue - Jun 6, 2016 3:50 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jun 6, 2016 5:49 PM CST
I have to agree with Horntoad. The way to learn is to read and ask questions. Some of the stickys do tend to turn into chats, but the moderator can lock or unlock at their discretion. There is a Suggestions option for each forum. I would think the folks that work hard to create the sticky would appreciate a few Thank You! from those that read them, but not want their work to turn into a chat thread. This issue has come up on the Orchids forum, and a few pointed it out to the moderator. She responded by moving the chat to a " Chat about" separate thread. Moderators rule!
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Jun 7, 2016 6:57 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

PlantMania's suggestion of having a FAQ or Wiki type document for each forum is an excellent idea and would be helpful for those who want to just sit down and read something without specifically asking for a direct question. I'm not sure using the sticky threads is the right vehicle for that, though. We should in the future think about good ways to accomplish this, though.
Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Roses Herbs Vegetable Grower
Composter Canning and food preservation Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Organic Gardener Forum moderator Hummingbirder
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Trish
Jun 7, 2016 7:09 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I've thought before that we needed to do better introductions/instructions to each forum, but it hasn't made it to the top of my TODO list.

Dave has been working crazy hard behind the scenes lately to integrate NGA content into our already existing database/content/site. We're super excited about the possibilities that this has opened up for us, including the further integration of both the database and the articles into the rest of the site. PlantMania's idea is one way that we can do that Thumbs up

Thanks for the suggestion! Suggestions are always welcome I tip my hat to you.
NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jun 7, 2016 9:25 AM CST
Here is what I did for the Sempervivum Forum, look at the right side information box.
http://garden.org/forums/view/chooks/
Name: Stewart
Pinehurst, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Plumerias Garden Ideas: Level 1
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PlantMania
Jun 7, 2016 9:46 AM CST
Hurray! Hurray! @valleylynn Hurray! Hurray!

Three things that first caught my eye:

1. "Welcome"
2. Sempervivum (hen and chicks) - I know what hen and chicks are but not what Sempervivum was - Now I know
3. "About"


This is a wonderful layout.

Now for the geek stuff ( @Dave ) - Can the CSS be changed on <div class="simple-box"> to a bolder background so that the right side stands out a little more?

Oma and Opa Simon
Living to Learn
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World Champion of Athletes Tongue
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jun 7, 2016 9:49 AM CST
I do see that it is time for me to update that information. *Blush*
Glad you like it Stewart/Cindy Smiling
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jun 7, 2016 11:12 AM CST
That does look great Lynn.

I agree with Dave and Trish: SOME mechanism for FAQs and intros or overviews of the forum topic would be great, especially for those whose preferred learning method is "reading" rather than "chatting".

Not everyone prefers social media as a research method, no matter how helpful and friendly and repetitive the members are about introductory questions.

Personally, I found it annoying that some forums have or had several sticky threads using up real estate on the home page. Most of those threads are "mostly dead" as a sticky should be, so they have no new info for anyone who's been to the forum even once before. Yet they are long, chatty, disorganized threads, if you were looking for a concise or on-topic FAQ.

It is nice that the stickies are right in the face of a first-time forum visitor - they really CAN'T miss them. But a forum chat thread is not a great format for an informative article or research topic. If there were volunteers, most sticky chat threads could be reduced in length by 95% or more, if turned into an article.

I think that ATP (and even more so NGA) are used by some as encyclopedias, as well as social media. That's why I try to reduce the amount of thread drift I cause. (Yes, I DO try to reduce it!)

Of course, anyone can create an article that attempts to answer many basic questions, like a FAQ.

Anyone can write an overview of their favorite aspects of a forum.

Anyone can collect multiple links and quotes and save it as an "article".

Lynn's approach was to post links to such articles on the right-hand-side of a forum Home Page. That might be such a good idea that it's worth emulating on every forum. It seems preferable to invite everyone to write an article if they are interested, and collect those links, than to look for someone who will, as a chore, write something in an assigned format to fit into a fore-ordained slot.

If it became so wide-spread that even relatively new members KNEW to look for it, the real-estate it takes up might even be reduced by turning it into a standard (small) box in every forum Home Page: "Click here for the FAQ", or "Welcome, FAQ & Resource Links". Like an alternate forum Home Page for "resources" rather than "chat".

Here's an idea I haven't thought through (it may stink).

A FAQ list or forum-endorsed article might benefit from some kind of collaboration.

Maybe just a moderator unlocking something to give one person access to add text.
Maybe some method of sharing authorship.
Maybe "anthologies" where each author writes one page or one article.

Something a little like Wikipedia. NGApedia.

That could make a list of links to articles more than just "search results". If a forum had a body of "FAQ" articles, many of them co-authored, it might invite more co-authors to get involved than just an offer "if you write it, we will link".

The first obstacle would be getting authors to accept someone else editing or adding to their article. I'd suggest leaving the "collaboration" part very optional. If an author WANTS to donate text that others will then keep adding to or editing, they may. Others can write their own articles.
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
Purslane Garden Art Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: North Carolina Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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vic
Jun 7, 2016 1:53 PM CST
Here's the one for Garden Art

http://garden.org/forums/view/gardenart/
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jun 7, 2016 4:31 PM CST
Rick you have the wheels in my head turning. You have some great points to ponder.

Vicki I love what was done in the Articles thread.
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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jmorth
Jun 7, 2016 4:35 PM CST
When I've some time to devote to it, I plan on tailoring one for the daffodil db.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.

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