VFP Forums

Our discussion forums are a very important part of The Virtual Front Porch.
  • One of the main things people did on real world front porches was discuss things.
    • Since people and families have become scattered across the country, 
      • We set up Virtual Front Porches to help bring them back together.
    • Allowing discussions without having to physically meet or be online at the same time.
  • Connecting People to People
    • Like-minded people
      • Family
      • Friends
      • Work groups
      • Locals
      • Alimni
  • Connecting People to Information
    • Those who know
      • (Everyone is an expert at something!)
        • Share their "common" sense
    • Learn about 
      • hobbies - Fishing, Gardening, Quilting, …
      • work - Industry related, job specific, management, …
      • LIFE - Parenting, Positive Thinking, cooking …
      • Politics - Local, State, Federal, World, ideologies …
      • Business - Entrepreneurship, Finance, 
      • Technology - Computers, gadgets, Solar Power
      • Entertainment - Sports, TV, Movies, Music …

Chat Rooms & Instant Messaging

We also have Chat Rooms and Instant Messaging available.
  • for real time discussions
    • with friends & family & friends you haven't met yet
      • Public or Private discussions

Connecting People to People

Discussion forums are a communication tool for site users, based around topics of conversation located within forums.

Discussion forums are organized into a hierarchical structure (also known as a tree structure).
  • The forum you view when you visit the discussion forums is the home forum in the hierarchy,
    • and contains child forums (sub-forums),
      • which may themselves contain child forums, and so on.
    • Within each forum there may also be topics (known as threads in some other software).
      • And within each topic, there are one or more posts.

Connecting People to Information

A forum exists to organize topics into some kind of common subject.

How discussons work:
  • Find the proper forum
  • Look for existing topics
    • If none are found, start a new topic
    • If you find one, reply to the post.
  • People come along later and browse the discussion listings
    • They read something that interests them
      • Realize they have something to say, reply to the post
    • Adding their "common" sense to the discussion
      • Or stating the obvious
      • Or adding a new twist
  • You are notified of new discussions
    • You come back and read the new info
      • You learn something
    • Maybe you discover you need to clarify or better explain what you said.
      • You reply to the reply
  • The other person is notified
    • and the discussion continues
      • and so on…

Forum groupings

(known as 'categories' in some software).
Forum groupings have a very limited effect on organization.

  • The system stores a number of groupings,
    • any forum, at any position in the tree can be 'tagged' against one of these groupings:
      • the groupings have no effect on, and are not a part of, the forum structure
      • all they do is group up sub-forums of the same forum grouping visually.

Topic polls

Topics may have a poll attached to them (by any member), so as to gauge opinion tied to a discussion.
  • These polls are separate to the main VFP poll system, and have different options.
  • Forum polls may only be used by members,
    • There are options to restrict:
      • viewing of poll results until the poll is 'un-blinded'
      • voting, such that that members must reply to the topic of the poll before they may vote in it

The Next Step

Once you come to a consensus about some information
  • Create a Wiki+ Page
    • Even if you found differing viewpoints, 
      • Create several pages if you need to…
  • You can link back to your forum discussion on this page.

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