CJ Bernstein

CJ Bernstein

Forum Badges & Community Journals

Hi!

I wanted to preface this quick announcement by saying that I have some fun plans for the community this year. A lot of it is centered on the guilds, including updates to the guild categories, new experiences, and guild-specific events (and new merchandise!).

But today I want to focus on two significant community-wide changes coming to the forum.

Badges & Community Journals!

Badges

You may have seen other members with little badges next to their usernames in replies. I’ve added a custom function to the forum where you can show off your three favorite badges by choosing them in your account preferences:

  • Click your avatar in the upper right of the forum.
  • Click the “account” icon.
  • Select Preferences.
  • Under Preferences, select Profile.
  • On your Profile settings, you’ll find a new Featured Badges field where you can select up to three badges to show off!

The idea for this new feature was born from my plan to create a lot of new custom badges on the forum for involvement and interaction and badges for special events, purchases in the shop, and even secret limited badges that you have to find to earn!

And new badges brings us to the second announcement because there will be a whole new suite of interactivity badges for—

Community Journals

I’ve always wanted to find a way to have an area of the forum dedicated for members to have their own sort of “microblog” where they could discuss anything (as long as it’s within the forum guidelines), not just subjects within the categories and topics currently on the forum.

I thought it would give you all a chance to better get to know each other, share more about yourselves if you wanted, or just have a personal space to share writing, pictures, or your favorite memes, kind of like a hybrid microblog, a social feed, and a journal in one.

The issue is that the current forum is built for community discussion, and posts created by the author of the “journal” topic would just get lost in the sea of replies since they’d all look identical.

Well—

I had a plugin developed earlier this year specifically to address that issue. The plugin allows the topics in a specific category to become personal journals, where the creator’s posts are formatted like typical topic posts, but the comments are indented to better emphasize the main posts. They’re also threaded, which means that replies in that journal will be organized under the relevant post, and you can collapse the comments to just read the journal owner’s post or expand them to read comments or comment on a post yourself!

It would probably help to have a visual to go along with my description. Below is a test journal created by my developer, which shows the difference between primary posts, comments, and where you would click to either comment on a primary post or reply to a comment:

The community Leaders have been testing the plugin out for the past couple of weeks, and it’s been SO much fun getting to see everything they’ve been sharing in their personal journals.

A few notes:

  • Community journals can be read by all forum members, but you’ll need to be at least Trust Level 2 to create your own. 
  • The journals won’t be visible to search engines.
  • The journals will be out-of-world. I really want it to be a place to express ourselves and for us all to better get to know each other.
  • The journals category will have a post explaining how to create your own journal and how to post in it and how to reply as well.
  • The first post in each journal will have a template for adding information about yourself, but the template is just a suggestion. You can share whatever you feel comfortable sharing. I want you to make these journals your own little warren in the forum.

Finally, the Community Journals category will be live this Friday! 

If you have questions, comments, or ideas about either badges of the community journals please reply, and I’d also love to know what you think you might use your journal to share!