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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot Kakki's Avatar
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    Question Journals within your forums?

    I'm interested in discussing the pros and cons of adding a journal feature to your community forum.

    My community is a busy place using vbulletin. Its based on a subject that would work for journaling for members. It is NOT a teen forum.

    I've been looking at other sites with forums and those that provide a journal forum for their members.

    I'm considering:

    1. Using journals as a benefit of my paid subscriber group
    2. Making the forum viewable by all (maybe with option for member to make it private only)
    3. Making the user have one thread with forced title: Username's Journal
    4. No one can reply/talk back within another person's journal.
    5. Requiring content of journals to meet TOS guidelines.

    I've seen journals (specifically on teen sites) where the members are allowed to comment and reply and quite frankly, those can be quite hostile territory. Flaming and ugly behavior...I find quite uninviting to a community.

    I've seen journals that appear to be competitive: listing of journals with most entries. I wouldn't do this. Its not a competition but rather a revealing of thoughts through the subject of our website.

    I've bounced the idea of journals through my admin/mods and I'm getting mixed reaction.

    Some find it fascinating. Some aren't so sure.
    They fear there is no benefit really to the site for journals (I see a benefit for members/community)
    They fear angry members when we edit/censor content because of TOS
    They fear we can't take something away once we try it.

    Thoughts?

    Are you providing journals for your members? Is it working? Do your members find value in it? Did you start this and wish you hadn't?

    Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
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    Well, personally, I don't see the point of a journal if you can't comment... it's not a community thing at all if you can't. But that's just my opinion.

    My site doesn't provide journals. We have forums, and a place to post fan-fiction and reviews. Journals wouldn't really fit in, I don't think.

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  3. #3
    SitePoint Evangelist Redd's Avatar
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    I think it depends on the type of website you have. My website discusses a health issue, and I have offered journals through a very nice journal hack (on vbulletin.org) and it's been hugely popular. I haven't charged anything for it, but just offered it as incentive to keep them coming back. We allow comments, but my members are all adults so the comments are supportive. We've only had one instance of a rude comment in our journals. I removed the entry and reminded the member that the same rules that applied to the forum also applied to the journals.

    My members have become dependent on the journals, and since vB3 isn't going to be compatible with the journal hack, then I've had to take the time to find a replacement. I finally chose pMachine and tinkered around with it until I could use it as a Community Blog. I've added various affiliate banners, and hope it will result in a little revenue.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot Kakki's Avatar
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    My website is a health community too and I've thought that the journals would be a great addition. Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate it.

    P.S. Why can't VB3 be compatible with a journal hack? Agree it might take some coding, but I would imagine it is possible to add on once again....unless there is something inherent with VB3 that won't allow it at all?

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist Redd's Avatar
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    I'm sure someone could rewrite a new journal hack, after vB3 goes gold. The code will be entirely different, though, so the current hack won't work with it. Who knows how long it will take for a new hack to be written, and since we have an existing journal community, we can't wait around.

    Good luck with your own journals

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot DrkFusion's Avatar
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    Would it be sort of a blog? As in other users can read them etc? Or is it private journals?
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot Kakki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrkFusion
    Would it be sort of a blog? As in other users can read them etc? Or is it private journals?
    Yes, I was thinking the member could choose to keep it private (accessible through their control panel both in the forums and through the member's control panel links on the domain main page)

    And the choice to make it public which would then make it show up in the "journals" forum for others to read but not reply.

    Health issues and going through tough thing is a time that many people journal. I thought it would be a good thing for members to be able to share their reflections of this time in their life without a conversation going on...withuot replies. Just their thoughts without expecting someone to reply.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast Sim9's Avatar
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    Integrated forums/journaling could work quite well

    For now, mine are seperate. Not too many people using either, but we continue to gain members.

    Be sure to give your journals lots of features to set them apart. Commenting is also a must, or as said before, there's really no community. Of course, private journaling could work well too... Perhaps make a friends system for allowing comments? Or moderate the comments in the same spirit that you moderate the main forum? Or give journal writers moderation?

    Hope that helps
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