I'm a little frustrated with the Ning forum format. Someone just posted something smart about organizing forums, and I read it in my RSS feed. But I came here and can't find it! The "search forums" only seems to search titles. If it was a forum post, I can't find it.

So whoever that was, I apologize for stealing your question. I think it's a good one and deserves some discussion. I'm not sure if there is an answer, because we have to live within what Ning provides. There may be options that I'm overlooking though. I'd appreciate it it someone has figured out some settings or options that help.

Beyond being able to organize, the forums look just like the blogs, So that's confusing. And you can't easily tell which thread has recent replies, or sort on that. As far as I can see, you can only sort on posting date and popularity (and I'm not sure what that means - most replies? is there voting somewhere?)

Anyway, this seems to be devolving into a complaint about Ning, and I don't want to do that. So I'll stop here!

Most forums have a simple list that opens to a threaded discussion. You can also tell quickly how many replies there are and what the most recent reply was.

Tags: Martinez, Sylvia, features, forum, forums, ning, organization

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If you get 45 minutes, it's worth listening to my interview with Gina B. from Ning. They are making some good changes to forums, although they recognize that their search function leaves a lot to be desired... I was really impressed with the features that they say are coming--including, apparently, better thread-affiliation in the RSS feeds from the forums...
Sylvia, I'm not reading this in my aggregator, so I DO see the number of replies to a post, and the time and poster of the most recent reply, in the headline before the snippet on the main discussion forums page. For example, your post:
" Organizing Forums 1 Reply
Started by Sylvia Martinez. Last reply by Steve Hargadon 5 minutes ago. "

Which aggregator do you use? I am wondering if they are all as frustrating.
I'm using Bloglines, but it's fine. I closed the window when I saw the comment I was looking for, figuring it wouldn't be hard to find once I got here. It's not Bloglines fault.

I saw those notes you mention, but since you can only see a few forum threads at a time, and you can't sort them by "most recent replies" (for example), it's not very convinient.

What if someone posted a great new comment on an older post? Those little notes won't help much.

Like Steve says, I guess it's just a matter of waiting and hoping that Ning adds more features.

Then we can complain about what changed ;-)
Hi Sylvia! That might have been my message you were reading. I signed up today and the first post I looked at was about lack of participation and the follow-up. As someone new, I was wondering how I could find topics that were of interest to me. I'm used to forums that have the format Visual Art>Digital Art etc. Everything here seems to be chronological but that's it. Also, if I wanted to start a topic I don't know if it's been covered without clicking into each discussion. For example, updating Internet User Agreements for 2.0 (the ones I have seen don't talk about posting pix of teachers without permission, for example, and it doesn't occur to our students that teachers might not like this! go figure). I posted because I wasn't sure if I was missing some tool that would help me organize the posts in a way that would be more useful to me.

As I read through this and the replies, I was wondering if it might be an idea to use tags to identify the discussions. I know that this can be a bit problematic, especially if not everyone does it, bit it does help to identify subjects, especially if there was a common list from which to select, kind of like when I post to delicious and it gives me suggestsions. Now, I'm going to try the Tag This to see what happens. It might be a way to allow people to see headlines via the tags. So, in the RSS reader, the new headline would include a tag title so at least you could narrow your selection.

Right now I'm just learning to navigate different places. Does anyone know how you get rid of group that you didn't want to be in but somehow ended up in. I've three know that I was checking out but didn't want to join and now have listed.

Oh the fun of learning a new network!
Hi Sylvia, I support your complaining about the forum. Outside of Ning, I´m member in other networks. As to the forum, there have to be labels to discuss about. But Steve told us, there will be some changes made by Ning next - hopefully!?
I have no idea how to get rid of groups. I've tried everything I could think of.
From : http://www.ning.com/help/#deleteFromNetwork

On the social network in question, click on the “Email & Privacy Settings” link on the right hand column of any page. From Email & Privacy Settings, you'll see a button to remove yourself from the social network on the bottom left of that page.
Sylvia ,

I have wondered about this too and based on every ting here for now it is what it is and that is okay...But it has left me wondering when I post whether to use the blog or the forum. At this point I do not see and appreciable difference. Am I missing something or is it "6 of one and half a dozen of another "at this point?
Yeah, I'm not horribly offended by Ning. It is what it is. For goodness sakes, it's free!

Within Ning, I think the blog is supposed to be something where it's your announcement, your personal thoughts, and people respond to it, link to it, etc. But first and foremost it belongs to one person. In constrast, the forums are where you would post a general question that is meant for the group to "own". The tools are subtly different -- I can't swear this is exactly correct, but the blog posts are more controllable, more editable. Like you can't edit forum posts (after 15 min), only delete them. You can't do any HTML in forum posts. (Well you can if you hand code the HTML in your 15 min, but there is no editor like the blog has.)

The blogs are more like a website with dash of conversation. The forums are more like a conversation with a dash of website.

The problem is that they LOOK so similar it's confusing.



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