Annual Town Hall Meeting Minutes / Recap

Discussion in 'Forum News & Updates' started by JmpMster, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. JmpMster

    JmpMster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Meeting minutes –

    Overview from admin on forum changes in the last 2 years –

    2 years ago we decided the site was in need of a serious makeover. This was due to rapidly declining membership and multiple software issues making site errors, plus we were not running on a secure or encrypted platform making hacks an issue.

    We upgraded the forum and forum software in February and March of 2016. We also switched to our own very high capacity fast server, and went with secure/encrypted platform.

    A big part of the upgrade was adding the blog/magazine section so that we could offer advice or information to people not ready to talk yet.

    The results-

    We had averaged 3211 members using SF each month in 2015, in 2017 we averaged 8559 registered users per month

    In 2015 we had 5505 forum interactions (private forum messages, new threads, thread replies, profile posts etc.) each month. Last year SF had nearly tripled that amount to 14884 interactions in an average month.

    This is not counting 148 members that use chat on an average day, sending out 189 different private chat messages per day, and the thousands of chat room messages each day (in December there was over 650,000 messages sent in the chat rooms).

    The site overall is even more busy, with the articles section receiving far more traffic even than the forum section. The majority of new members joining after several visits reading the articles. The site overall had 152,800 unique users last month, and 464,081 page views (a page view is an article, a new thread, a profile view- basically anything you “click” to open a new view on your browser). The “Painless Suicide Methods” article written by Freya now has been read over 2 million times and received over 1000 comments.

    Articles and Front of SF Site

    To improve the front section of the website we want to add more content- more articles and posts and encourage any members that wish to submit an article to do so. If you want help with editing an article we are happy to provide proofreading and editing support. The key things moving forward-

    1. More articles and support topics on a greater variety of topics

    2. More “personalized” articles- real stories- your stories- not just “news” or “information but personal stories.

    3. Adding member submitted Poetry, Art, photography, etc., to make clear the front of the site is real people that understand and feel the same things as the readers do. We do not want to be just another list of articles about mental health and suicide (though we do want that information available), we want it clear this is all about real people talking about our own experiences, not just people writing about something they do not really understand.

    4. Any members that want to submit articles, poems, “their story” etc. should contact @Freya or @JmpMster directly or by Letter to Admin and we will help get it published

    5. SF Author and SF Artist banners are happily given to any contributors that want one to recognize their contributions

    6. A suggestion of a “member’s testimonials” page was given – “Sf has helped me by……. “. We will post a thread on submitting your comments for use on that page, and will need artwork and photos to make that page if anybody would like to supply original artwork and photos for use in making it.

    The SF Forum

    Increases in forum usage has made moderation more difficult despite more senior staff and staff Pro’s. Admin encouraged all members to use the “report” button in the bottom left of each post to report spam, trolling, rude, or potentially dangerous posts to help staff be able to locate and edit or delete posts as needed. A reminder that all post reports are completely anonymous, no member knows who reported a post so there is no need for concerns about reporting posts. 90% of posts reported are simply small edits and polite private message reminder about site policy and no type of disciplinary action, you are not “getting people in trouble” by reporting.

    More volunteers are needed as both chat pro’s and forum pro’s. There are pinned posts discussing how to volunteer and really the only requirements are being currently active member, having been a member for a couple months (not brand new more than a specific time requirement), and not have a currently restricted account.

    We are still looking for volunteers to help run the SF Facebook page and Twitter Account. We would love to start a SF Pinterest account t share motivational quotes on photo’s as well as members artwork and poems. We also would like more videos for an SF your tube channel. Any that want to discuss any of these things or submit material for any should contact staff or admin for more details.

    SF Chat and Chat rooms

    Chat has some known technical issues. We are doing a major chat update in the coming weeks to hopefully address some of the issues. We are always watching for other better chat programs however currently we have found nothing comparable to our current system and its many customizations and upgrades that is even close to affordable or able to run as issue free on so many different platforms our members use to access it.

    Chat rooms have two different purposes- social casual chat and support. These two issues still continue to overlap and cause issues on occasion between those wanting support and those just talking for sake of friendship and to reduce isolation and loneliness. Both are important and we will continue to look for ways to make both available as needed, though ultimately we are a support site and ask that support be given the top priority if there is a conflict. Also, more chat Pros are needed, particularly in certain time periods. Any regular chat users that would like to volunteer please contact staff or admin.

    SF wants to do more guided discussions- the goal is at least one per quarter. More member help would be greatly appreciated in setting up and moderating guided discussions ( these are chats in a specific room on a specific topic chosen in advance, for example “making friends”, “dealing with after effects of bullying”, “how to decide if a therapist can help” “alternatives treatments for depression” etc. )

    SF Mobile App progress and Donations

    SF has completed the initial site survey needed to produce a mobile app. We have collected 42% of funding needed for developing the mobile app. At current progress we should have app funded and built by early summer. Currently we have $2003 saved towards it and $2747 remaining to be raised.

    Emphasis was put on to only donate if able to without causing any financial issues or concerns- take care of yourself and your family first. Small donations add up quickly so no need to donate large amounts. Currently about 2/3rds of donations come from registered members, and approx 1/3rd from non-member visitors to the articles section of the site that just decide to donate.

    Monthly running costs have been covered consistently with all extra being moved to either the app funding or towards annual software license renewals and upgrades. We intend to remain advertisement and commercial interest free, and have 100% free membership, which is why we do donations. All members that donate are (if they want it, it is optional) given the “SF Supporter” banner.

    Thank you to the approximately 30 members and staff that were able to attend the meeting. Whether you attended or not, if you have any questions or additional comments or suggestions please feel free to post in a reply to this thread, submit a Letter to Admin or Ask the Staff, or message @JmpMster or @Freya directly.
  2. Kiwi2016

    Kiwi2016 Forum Pro

    Thanks for such concise minutes Ben....
    JmpMster likes this.
  3. walkerbait95

    walkerbait95 SF Social Media Forum Pro SF Supporter

    Thanks a lot, Ben. I'm terrible at making these things! But I'm interested, for sure.
    JmpMster likes this.
  4. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Thank you for the minutes!
    JmpMster likes this.
  5. jxdama

    jxdama Staff Member Safety & Support

    I imagine with so many depressed and suicidal people out there the board will only get busier.
  6. Anne Charlotte

    Anne Charlotte Forum Pro SF Supporter

    thank you for this summary. I really would like to add a "my way to SF and how it helped me" part and use some sections from my old diaries on here. This will take me some time and definitely a proof reading and make up :) what you think about the maximum length of such article?
    it is an awesome place and I like to be a part of it.
  7. JmpMster

    JmpMster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    For an article we usually look at 450 -1200 words. That is a very wide range, but really does depend on how much does it take to say what it is that needs saying. I it is less than than 400 words or so then really it is hard to make into a single post/article but we can combine several for one article if that is something to consider. We would welcome anything you would like to contribute or share on the bigger stage. We can use completely anonymous, use the member username as author, or can use the real name of author- but if using a real name we will not reference it to member name. That is the same for authorship of all posts- You may choose how to be recognized at the author, but the anonymity between members and real names in public places here has to be maintained.

    For the "What SF has mean to me" I am going to start a new thread to explain that project i have basically planned out in my mind. That does not negate the value or need for members real stories that wish to share them, is just another separate thing.
    Karmitkurmit likes this.