Public Service

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, What Did We Do to the Place?

Hello! I can see lots of people have hopped in to the buddypress features and started playing, that’s fantastic and probably the fastest way to learn how everything works and how to use it.  We’re all still learning, too (I just found a new thing five minutes ago) so we will figure out how to make the most of the new toys together.  Get a coffee and let’s dig in!

As I mentioned last night, you can do almost everything from the links in Persephone World section of the sidebar to the right.  —>  You can also do a lot from the floating menu bar on top of each of the pages.   Let’s start at the beginning.

Register – This link, also in the sidebar, will take you to the registration page.  You’ll need to be registered to comment on our posts or use any of the Buddypress features.   All it takes is an email account, which we’ll never, ever, ever use for anything other than giving you a way to recover your password.   We take your security (and ours!) very seriously, and are always working to make sure we know how to keep the blog protected.  Once you’ve registered, you can use all the Buddypress features right away.  When you leave your first comment on the blog, however, it won’t show up until one of our staff people approve it.  (That usually happens really fast,  and I get an email when there’s a comment that needs approving.  If I’m near the computer, it’ll happen within 10 minutes.)  Once one of us approves you once, you’re good and all your comments will show up.   We only do this to prevent spammers, who just love the crap out of WordPress blogs.

Profile – Once you’ve registered and signed in, you can jazz up your profile a little.   There are several custom fields you can fill in, and you can link to or upload an avatar.  (We reserve the right to ask you to change your avatar picture, but will be unlikely to do so.)  Everyone is automatically enrolled in the group aptly named “Everyone.”   From your profile page, you’ll be able to send and receive PMs, manage your friend requests, create status messages and manage your groups.

Groups – This is where it gets a little trickier.  To start a forum, it must be attached to a group.  All members can create groups (admins will always have access, FYI) and invite other members to join.  Members can also ask to join any group, and they’ll all be listed on the groups page.  We have the option of allowing private groups, but I’m staying away from that right now.  We want everyone to feel welcome, and I don’t think private groups are very welcoming.

Forums – Like I said up there, forums have to be attached to a group.  Since everyone is in the “Everyone” group, you can all jump right in and create discussions as part of that group.  Any new group you form can create it’s own forum, as well.   This might get a little confusing, but I bet it will make more sense the more we use it.

Activity – The activity stream lists all the stuff that happens in Buddypress, like when someone is given award, a new post is made, someone creates a group or a forum, etc.

Friending – You can send a friend request to any member.  This doesn’t really unlock any features, but it’s kind of cool.

Notifications – When you get a new friend request or a PM, the notifications tab at the top of the screen will show the number of items in your inbox.  You’ll also get an email, but you can turn off email notification under your settings.

Awards – These are fun, and I can’t wait to use them.  Click on the Awards link in the sidebar to see the ones we’ve already created.  If you are given an award, it’ll show up in the activity feed and you’ll get a cute badge for your profile.  All the staffers have icons (so we’re easier to spot) and our wonderful Thankless Interns have their own badges as well.  You can earn awards by posting frequently, being helpful, being hilarious or any other reason we can find to tell you you’re awesome.  The only negative award is the Giant Asshole, and we save him for emergencies.  He’s pretty cute, for a giant asshole.

Flagging – you all have the power to help us keep the commenting sections pleasant.  We’re not going to overmoderate here.   We’re all adults.   If you see something that crosses a line, however, you can flag it and the staff will see it in our admin dashboard.  If someone is flagged three times (by three different users) they’ll get an email letting them know they’ve been noticed.   One of our faithful moderators will swoop in and assess the situation, and if needed will call in an admin.   Mods can’t ban anyone, but they can take vowels away.   As soon as I say I don’t think it will be a problem, someone will drop in and try to set the comments on fire with their words, but so far everyone has been delightful.  Even the snotty emails have been more or less civil.

One important detail, if you friend the Ophelia Payne account the editors share, she can’t friend you back.  WordPress sets up the initial account differently than the rest of the accounts, and Ophelia can’t do crap with Buddypress.    All four of our individual accounts will happily friend you, but Ophelia won’t be able to reply to PMs or friend requests.  (One of us will still see the messages, though.)

We’re still figuring out how everything works, and working with a few new features behind the scenes that might make us more efficient once we figure out what happens when we push all the buttons.   Let us know what you love and what you hate, the blog is always a work in progress and we want input from the most important people – our readers – as we grow.   Don’t hesitate to PM any of the staff with questions, concerns or good memes.

By Ophelia Payne

Editor in Chief of Persephone Magazine, Ophelia spends most of her time in front of a monitor. She writes long, rambling emails in her free time.

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