Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Re-designing and upgrading the Online Forums / Forums changes - updates thread!

Topic: Forums changes - updates thread!

  1. ProjectTeam
    beyondblue staff
    • beyondblue staff
    ProjectTeam avatar
    8 posts
    23 July 2021

    Hello everybody

    Really excited to reach out today with an update about your forums. To cut to the chase, we’re undertaking significant work to upgrade and re-design the platform to be a space that better supports you and your needs.

    I’m aware there have been some announcements like this in the past, which haven’t resulted in the change you were hoping for, and we appreciate that can be very disappointing.

    However, while there is always the chance that things don’t work out as planned, this time around we are confident that we’ll be able to deliver significant improvements to your online experience. This has us really excited here at Beyond Blue and we’re so happy to start sharing with you more about what we’re working on, how we’re working on it, and when you’ll be seeing changes.

    What we’re working on

    Simply put, we’re setting up a brand-new technology platform to power these forums. We’re working with a great technology partner, who specialise in forums, to deliver a more modern experience with improved features (many of which you have been asking for for a long long time).

    In setting up this new technology, we have a lot of work to do to make it align to your needs, to make it a safe space and to make it really valuable to you. But at the end of this process, we hope to launch with a fresh, modern website which looks and feels like a warm, supportive space, and which allows you to really get the most out of your interactions here.

    To say we’re excited about this, truly is an under-statement :)

    How we’re working on it

    We know we cannot do this without your input and feedback. Beyond getting deeply acquainted with the existing feedback you’ve provided in these forums, we’ve also set up a ‘community group’ with seven of your peers to support this project. At the moment, we’re meeting weekly to talk through a range of questions, workshop out ideas and ensure we’re really representing community need with the work we’re doing.

    From this point on, we’ll be using this space in the forums to provide updates on the work that’s in play, to get your feedback and comments and really bring you along this journey.

    While we know we won’t get everything right the first time with this work, we know that involving you along the way, will help create a much better outcome in the end.

    Please look forward to seeing more posts (hoping to update you all weekly) in this space!

    When you can expect changes
    At this point, we’re hoping to deliver the new platform by the end of this year, and are working hard to reach that goal. We’ll of course be updating you along the way if that changes.

    Given we’re moving to a brand new technology platform, a lot of changes will come all at once, and this could be a bit of a shock when you log-in. We’ll be doing our best to share sneak-peeks of the platform as we’re working on it, so you can see ahead of time how things are shaping up and to help smooth that transition.

    Although there will be new things to learn and explore, we’re confident that the platform will provide much improved functionality and really improve your experience overall.

    Interacting with this thread
    We would love to hear your thoughts, feedback and questions! While we can’t respond super quickly to all questions, the aim is to send answers to any questions we’ve received weekly on Fridays - so be sure to check back in then
    Next week, we’ll share some early updates on some of the new features that are coming with this platform and start talking about what we’re currently working on.
    Thank you so so much for your support and we’re so happy to be finally making improvements to this space for you.

    13 people found this helpful
  2. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1520 posts
    23 July 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    Hello ProjectTeam

    A big thank you to the team for your excellent communication. It feels really great to be included, informed and valued.

    I am really looking forward to more updates and the opportunity to make a contribution to this very important strategic project.

    Thank you for all the hard work that you are doing behind the scenes.

    BTW I really like your vision to create a warm, modern safe place! We’re off to a great start!!

    Kind thoughts to you

    3 people found this helpful
  3. Guest9337
    Guest9337 avatar
    1002 posts
    24 July 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    Good morning All BB’ers.

    Great news about the technology update, cool. Which, if any, of the following forum software is your technological partner developing for BB?

    PhpBB, MyBB, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Vanilla Forums, Simple Machines Forum, FluxBB, Codoforum, Discourse or are you All going for a more customized hand written option?

    Will all the current posts be shifting into the new software/forum or will they vanish/go elsewhere?

    Good luck with the change over, I reckon that will be challenging work.

    love dng.

    2 people found this helpful
  4. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15102 posts
    24 July 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    Hello ProjectTeam, appreciate your feedback and have my fingers crossed.

    Thank you.

    Geoff.

    3 people found this helpful
  5. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    4092 posts
    24 July 2021 in reply to geoff

    well done to all involved.

    i like the way transparency is being encouraged. We deserve it.

    1 person found this helpful
  6. ProjectTeam
    beyondblue staff
    • beyondblue staff
    ProjectTeam avatar
    8 posts
    30 July 2021 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hello everyone

    Thanks for the replies back and the positive encouragement. It's really energising to read this!

    Before posting an update for this week, I thought I'd answer some of the questions you've asked:

    DavidnGoliath, such great questions, thank you.

    Looking at the list you've provided - it seem like most of those are open-source technologies / frameworks I think? We haven't gone with those options, but instead we've chosen to partner with a market-leading provider of forums tech, who have their own custom technology, including some proprietary languages / frameworks.
    Essentially, they provide the core functionality and we have the ability to build on top of it to make it fit the Beyond Blue Community :)

    Regarding the current posts. Our plan is to bring across all the existing content from these forums. Some really old content, that hasn't been visited in a good while, is likely to end up in an 'archive' board, which is still fully visible to you, but locked for replying to.

    We would do this so that we can tell search engines like google not to 'index' these old threads. This is helpful because by removing low-traffic content from being indexed, the Beyond Blue forums will rank better in google search results, meaning we can reach more people who are looking for support.

    By the way, we're open to feedback on this one! But by keeping all content visible and accessible to you in the archive board, we're really hoping this is still sensitive to community need :)

    OK... I'll start a new post to give the weekly update... incoming!

    2 people found this helpful
  7. ProjectTeam
    beyondblue staff
    • beyondblue staff
    ProjectTeam avatar
    8 posts
    30 July 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    This week's update!

    We've just kicked off design for the new platform, which is really exciting. To give you an insight into this, the technology partner we're using provides the core functionality as well as a basic 'template' for things like posts, buttons, topics, etc. It's our job to customise this to make it work well and feel great.

    Today at our community workshop (with a group of your peers), we workshopped out some of the key issues with the current forums and looked at common frustrations when starting new threads, finding content that's useful, etc.

    We also spent time reviewing other forums on the internet, including other mental health forums to get a gauge of what is good, less good, resonant, confusing, etc.

    Things we're thinking about:

    • Creating a supportive, encouraging, calm space to be in
    • Making key steps really easy to use, such as starting a thread, replying to a post, exploring and navigating the content, searching the content
    • A design that doesn't overwhelm with too much information, but allows you to focus on what you're here for - seeking support and supporting others.

    We'll be testing designs with our community group, and we'd like to share some sneak peeks to you- perhaps in a few weeks time.

    Other things:

    One big feature the community has been asking for, for a long-time, is getting notified when someone replies to a post.

    Good news is that our new forums will have this feature and we've been working on setting it up this week.

    The notifications are highly customisable, but one thing we've been working out is what the default settings should be. We don't want to bombard people with email notifications as soon as the platform goes live, especially as we're aware that many people might not like email notifications if they share an email address with someone else.

    In light of this, we'll be keeping the notifications switched off by default, and allowing you to easily customise your own settings if and when you're ready to turn them on. Any feedback on this is more than welcome.

    That's all for this week - looking forward to touching base again next week

    Cheers

    3 people found this helpful
  8. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    4092 posts
    30 July 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    thats good....does that mean we can unsubscribe to threads soon?

  9. amberlite
    amberlite avatar
    415 posts
    1 August 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam
    Sounds amazing, thank you for the update.
  10. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1520 posts
    2 August 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    Hi Project Team

    Thank you very much for the update.

    You said that you are thinking about, “creating a supportive, encouraging and calm space to be in”, which sounds great. However, I would like to ask you to consider if “safe” should be added to your list of design deliverables.

    To me, a “safe place to be in” means all users are protected from harm. In my mind, safety should underpin every aspect of the forum, rippling through design, community rules, functionality, communication with users, privacy, security of the digital system, etc.

    One particular safety issue that intersects with design and that sticks in my mind is the safety of young forum users. I think as part of this design process, thought should be given to how we can better protect children and young people from potential harm whilst using the forum.

    With regard to notifications and other new features to come, I think it’s vital that you give community members as much choice as possible.

    For what it’s worth, I support leaving notifications off as the default setting. It’s great to know the feature is available but also wonderful to know it’s not being forced upon people.

    I highly value having choice and the ability to manage the change that new features bring at my own pace, if I want to adopt them.

    Kind thoughts to you

    5 people found this helpful
  11. amberlite
    amberlite avatar
    415 posts
    10 August 2021 in reply to Summer Rose
    Hello Summer Rose, I had no idea that kids use the BB forum. I did read a post once where a child was asking how to improve eye sight and I posted that in my day we ate carrots to improve vision. I guess I thought it was a crack up and not a real kid. So is there a kids section where we encourage them to post? And what should I do in future if I read a child like post? The eye sight post sat for days unanswered and inclusion is good so I posted. Anyone know if there is an internet etiquette for adult / child communication? Thanks for reading.
    1 person found this helpful
  12. jtjt_4862
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    jtjt_4862 avatar
    302 posts
    10 August 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    Looking forward to the changes, and all the best to implementing it!

    To answer Amberlite's question, there is the "Young people" section that's for people ages between 12-25 to post about any questions they have regarding life and well being. I'm not sure about internet etiquette for adult/child. I try to answer with as much understanding, and not dismiss any questions/concerns they have, regardless of the simplicity/innocence of the question. It's like, "How would you answer if it was your child speaking to you?". Hopefully that helps.

    Jt

  13. amberlite
    amberlite avatar
    415 posts
    10 August 2021 in reply to jtjt_4862
    thanks jtjt, it is reassuring to read your post, I had not noticed the 'young people' section. good on you!
  14. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1520 posts
    10 August 2021 in reply to amberlite

    Hi amberlite

    I would guess that you’re not alone in not realising there are children as young as 12 years old participating on the forum.

    I didn’t realise it for awhile also. Once I did, I started to think more about how I worded my responses when talking to someone who seemed young because it’s impossible to know the age of who you are talking to.

    I talk to children and young people here like I would to my own children. I do my best to provide responsible support with care and kindness.

    I like your suggestion about a tool to help guide adults in talking to kids and young people about mental health. Content really needs to be age appropriate to mitigate the risks of forum participation for children and teens.

    Kind thoughts to you

    1 person found this helpful
  15. ProjectTeam
    beyondblue staff
    • beyondblue staff
    ProjectTeam avatar
    8 posts
    13 August 2021 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello everyone

    I hope you've all had a good week. With so much of Australia in lock-down at the moment we know this is a really tough time for a lot of people.

    Writing today to provide another update on how our forums upgrade project is going. But before that, I'm taking a moment to write back to some of the questions that have come through :)

    Sleepy21 - you asked about unsubscribing to threads. Yes, you will be able to both subscribe and un-subscribe to threads. You can also subscribe / unsubscribe to entire boards - though I suspect doing this for threads is more useful?
    We're still in the throws of working out just how to manage this on the platform.

    I'm at risk of getting a bit complex here, but there is a 'my threads' type feature on the new platform, which does act a little different to the 'subscribed' threads feature. We're working through how to set those up, so that what you're viewing continues to stay relevant, and so that you (hopefully) have more control over what you're seeing.

    Summer Rose - thank you so much for the feedback on the design goals. You're spot on about safety and you're right that should be made explicit. We've talked a lot about this internally, and our community advisory group on the project is really passionate about this too, so I'm confident this is being well represented in the process.

    Thank you also for the more specific feedback about young forum users, it's great to see conversation around this, and thanks for the feedback about notifications, choice and managing change at individuals' own pace.

    Project update coming next!

    1 person found this helpful
  16. ProjectTeam
    beyondblue staff
    • beyondblue staff
    ProjectTeam avatar
    8 posts
    13 August 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    Update on the project

    We've spent the last two weeks working with our designers to develop concepts for the experience and visual design of the platform.

    When we talk about 'experience' we're meaning how do various parts of the website link together - how simple is it for you to find your way through the website, how well does it meet your needs.

    When talking about visual design - we're looking at the colours, spacing, illustrations and 'feel' of the website.

    It's been a really productive and valuable few weeks! We've regularly caught up with the community advisory group to get feedback and 'test' the designs, making multiple updates and changes based on this feedback.

    Where we are now, is we have really great design concepts for the new platform that we'll look to build out, as well as many great ideas for future development, that address some of the feedback and comments that the community has made on these forums.

    Over the next few months, we'll be looking to implement these designs, and get our community group to start using the platform, testing it, and again providing more feedback.

    We're still investigating all the constraints around the technology we have, to understand exactly what we can, and can't do... but when we're feeling a little more confident around exactly what we can and can't build into the platform, we'll aim to share some sneak peeks!

    Aside from this, our team has been working hard on some of the more technical aspects of the project - helping the new platform to integrate with our existing systems and websites here at Beyond Blue - complex, but really important work.

    An open question

    Interested in your feedback on the following: if you were talking to someone and said:

    "Check out the anxiety ______ on the beyond blue forums"...

    .... what would you call that "______".

    Do you call it a board? A topic? a forum?

    We're interested in this so that the language we use on the platform makes sense to the people using it!

    Thanks and talk again soon

    BB Project Team

    1 person found this helpful
  17. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    4092 posts
    13 August 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    Hi all, thanks for the feedback

    I'd say "board" - the anxiety "board"

    and a specfic topic/discussion on that board, a thread

    Eg check out the Coping with the Coronvaris thread on the Anxiety Board.

  18. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    4092 posts
    13 August 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    or what it iactually is -

    The Coping During the Coronavirus thread on the "Staying Well" board.

    my bad.

  19. amberlite
    amberlite avatar
    415 posts
    13 August 2021 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hello and thankyou for the update

    For the open question, I understand the second post by Sleepy, it makes good sense.

    bye

  20. tranzcrybe
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    tranzcrybe avatar
    610 posts
    13 August 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam
    'Thread', 'Topic', Board', 'Posts', are all very formal (archaic) references and don't really promote inclusiveness or even being involved - you just access it and walk away.
    Even saying 'Check out' suggests leaving before one even arrives!

    Perhaps more interpersonal terminology could include:
    'Chat room on Anxiety'
    'Conversations about Anxiety'
    'Feeling Anxious, join us here for awhile'
    'Talk with us about Anxiety'
    2 people found this helpful
  21. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1520 posts
    14 August 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    Hi Project Team

    Thanks so much for the update. It’s great to know the project is progressing well.

    This is the only forum I’ve ever participated on. And when I first joined, I found the language and forum design unhelpful.

    Words like “thread” were foreign to me in this context. And the actions required to participate (eg start a thread) we’re not intuitive to me.

    The experience was stressful. I actually joined but didn’t participate for over a year because it just felt too hard to figure it all out. Honestly, I felt like I was too old to be here (in my fifties).

    I realise others would have had a different experience but need to point out there is a digital divide between users and it impacts on participation and the quality of experience.

    I think the language used needs to compliment the design. In other words, loosen it up to help create the calm and relaxed place you want the forum to be. This should also help to make the forum more accessible to all Australians.

    I like the idea of inviting people into a place to talk. Simple. Everyone can understand this process.

    I suggest the word hub. So I would be saying:

    “Join us in the anxiety hub on the beyond blue forums and have a chat …”

    or

    “Pop into the depression hub on the beyond blue forum and join the conversation”

    Or

    “Check out what’s new in the Staying Well hub and share a yarn”

    So, when people arrive they would start a chat or a conversation not a thread.

    Just some food for thought.

    Kind thoughts to you

    2 people found this helpful
  22. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    11961 posts
    24 August 2021 in reply to Summer Rose

    summer rose.

    I didnt go on the forums until over 2 years after I joined. I didnt even know I had joined until a person in blue voices told me!!

    At my age it all seemed to hard . Once I started using the forum I was quite timid at first .

    I like your use of words,

    “Join us in the anxiety hub on the beyond blue forums and have a chat …”
    or
    “Pop into the depression hub on the beyond blue forum and join the conversation”
    Or
    “Check out what’s new in the Staying Well hub and share a yarn”

    I think there needs to be a one stop very easy place to log in and then able to post.

    3 people found this helpful
  23. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15102 posts
    25 August 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    Hello Project Team, ........ The Forum......or The Beyond Blue Anxiety Forum-----for All, however, I do like Chat room on Anxiety.

    For those who have not been involved in the community advisory group, as I'm not, will any changes be made if other people agree or disagree with what has been decided or believe another direction may be more benefical?

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  24. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1520 posts
    25 August 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirkywords

    Nice to talk with you again.

    Thanks so much for your post! I’m glad to know it wasn’t just me who struggled with the forum when I joined!

    Project Team: do you have forum user data from previous surveys to demonstrate any “ease of use” or “comfort” measures? Just curious to know if Quirky and my experiences are common.

    Kind thoughts to you

  25. Guest9337
    Guest9337 avatar
    1002 posts
    26 August 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    re An open question
    Interested in your feedback on the following: if you were talking to someone and said:
    "Check out the anxiety ______ on the beyond blue forums"...
    .... what would you call that "______".
    Do you call it a board? A topic? a forum?

    I would call it any of those, for they are just all labels for groups of user content.

    I would say things like, I write at bb forums in the anxiety section, in the thread titled suchnsuch.

    I post up at the anxiety space on bb forums, in a thread called suchnsuch.

    I have responded to your topic/thread in that section/place.

    I use the words, forum, thread, post most of all, and "write" quite a bit too, for truly it is all just writing these days - we have yet to shift much to the voice/video side of things. Though many software does, like discord, skype, slack, zoom, Mteams, apps can take advantage of vulnerable people.

    I think the term "no-reply" should be utterly erased from bb software, it is rude and needs a better phrase please, and I am aware that it is standard practice for so many online services and is actually quite hard to erase! Like I cannot even erase it from my own website autogeneration software. c'est la vie.

    cheers dng.

  26. smallwolf
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    smallwolf avatar
    5603 posts
    5 September 2021 in reply to ProjectTeam

    I would say

    Check out the anxiety section on the beyond blue forums.

    I would also be mentioning stories in the same sentence to get it away from IT talk, even though that is what I work in.

    1 person found this helpful
  27. Guest9337
    Guest9337 avatar
    1002 posts
    6 September 2021 in reply to Guest9337

    Hi bb forum updaters, It has taken me quite some time to think about a solution to the "no reply" problem mentioned above.

    Try "updates@____".

    It's neutral, it's informative, and it does not imply go away, or not listening, it is quite beautiful.

    1 person found this helpful
  28. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15102 posts
    6 September 2021 in reply to Guest9337

    Hello DNG, in regards to 'no reply', if you want to reply back to them, just press 'forward' and address it to

    'modsupport@beyondblue.org.au' and delete 'no-reply@beyondblue.org.au'.

    Geoff.

    2 people found this helpful
  29. Guest9337
    Guest9337 avatar
    1002 posts
    6 September 2021 in reply to geoff

    I do know how to respond back, but thanks anyways.

    I will see the evil of "no reply" gone, and utterly gone.

    1 person found this helpful
  30. ProjectTeam
    beyondblue staff
    • beyondblue staff
    ProjectTeam avatar
    8 posts
    10 September 2021 in reply to Guest9337

    Hi everyone

    Thank you for generously providing your feedback on our last post. All of the feedback is so useful for our content team. Really interesting to see the different perspectives and also how the language can have such an impact on peoples' comfort to engage.

    Thanks david'n'goliath also for your perspective on the 'no-reply' email address. I totally agree with your sentiments here - I've created a note for the team to look into the feasibility of changing it.

    Summer Rose, you asked about having previous survey data on ease of use. I am not personally aware of this in survey form, however, we have conducted a number of interview sessions and user-testing sessions to view how people find the content, the language and design. Your experiences are in fact fairly common and this is why we have such a good opportunity here to improve the forums to make it a warmer more welcoming space :)

    Geoff - thanks for the question about decision making and the advisory group, its a really good question. We're working with the advisory group to try get a good representation of the community perspective, but understand of course that A) decisions that come from this won't always be perfect and B) the decisions won't necessarily work for everyone.

    For some decisions and areas, we'll look to survey the broader community over the coming months, and we'll also be inviting a few more community members to engage in platform testing before the launch - as an opportunity to gather feedback.

    But the most important thing here is an acceptance on our part, that we will need to be able to make changes and updates into the future based on feedback we see with the community using the platform. We'll try to collect good feedback from the advisory group and some others before go-live, but that period after go-live will be really important for us to hear from the broader community what's working, what isn't and how we might be able to adapt things to work better.

    We're really open to the feedback as we acknowledge we won't get everything spot on first try 🙂

    3 people found this helpful

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up