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I am curious what type of plans you have for this site. I realize that you may not know yet, so that's okay if that's the answer. Do you know if you intend to keep it a vegan site or expand to vegetarian as well? Do you have a plan to do something different to increase traffic and cut down on spam?
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As some of you may know I served as Mothering's discussion forum administrator for a number of years. As a result I gained quite a bit of experience in growing a community and dealing with the member issues, spam, and free advertising posts that are such a common occurrence at discussion forum communities. Anytime a spammer sees a community active they want to get in on the movement, hoping to get a bit of activity directed to their site. I will put things into place to watch for this sort of posting and do the best I can to control it. But in all honest the key to maintaining the integrity of an online community lies in the membership's love for and support of their online home - which we hope is or will soon be VegFamily Forums for all of you - and moderation.
For spam on the discussion forums, there's a little red triangle at the upper right of every post. That's a report button. Anytime you see a post that is questionable, spammy, or otherwise against our rules (mental note: get rules in place) please click that button at the top right of that post. I or one of the moderators will act to handle the post.
Which brings me to a need. Moderators. I welcome your volunteership as a moderator. You can volunteer to oversee as many or as few forums as you wish - even just one. As the community grows the need for moderation will grow so if you're interested please let me know.
As for increasing traffic I believe that by providing excellent content and community support, traffic will come. The forums will grow and the website will grow. I do have plans to add new forums, increase the magazine and website content and features and I do want to carry us into more natural family living issues for discussion, education and activism. Animal rights, eco-living, and general natural home and body focus content, that sort of thing. I certainly welcome your input as to what you would like to see VegFamily host and provide for you.
Our focus will remain vegan and we will continue to welcome vegetarians and veg-friendly folks. But we will not host discussions or articles that promote things contrary to veganism. VegFamily has always been and will continue to be a vegan family living website. While I feel we can and should have and promote amicable relationships with others we should not, as a community, have to host discussion or articles that debate the viability of veganism. There are other sites on the web that welcome that sort of discussion. Without doubt vegans can hold their own in any such debate. But that is not our focus here at VegFamily and we want to uphold the integrity of our particular purpose on the web through supportive and encouraging words, not argumentative debate.
A member mentioned a valid aspect of discussion in the forums:
Quote: "The draw of this place for me has always been that I can get the perspective of other vegans and perhaps even discuss weaknesses in certain vegan hypotheses without needing to have my guard up."
I think this is reasonable and we can make room for such discussions when they are had by intent vegans or those sincerely interested in veganism. But if they are presented with an anti-vegan agenda we will surely not welcome it and will quickly address such discussion and members. If you see such a thing please let us know.
Thank you all again for your support, encouragement and help in getting the boards up and going again. Please invite your vegan and vegan-friendly and interested friends to join us. And please do help us in getting discussions going. This is your community and we want to do whatever we can to make it all that you want it to be!