Earlier this month we added a new World Affairs forum to the site’s forums.
Adding this forum was a controversial decision. During the past year, it was suggested multiple times that we add a forum where people can discuss environmental issues, government, politics, the War in Iraq, elections, and so on. My initial response was “No, this is a personal development site. Politics simply doesn’t fit here.”
In truth people were already discussing such topics in the General forum. Some members expressed annoyance upon seeing those threads, while others felt it would be best if those topics had their own home.
Several weeks ago Erin and I had a long discussion about adding a politics forum, and she convinced me that it was worth considering. When viewed in a certain light, taking an interest in world affairs can be considered an extension of personal development, and certainly we’re affected by what goes on in our countries and the world at large.
I still wasn’t sure about the idea, so we discussed it at length with the moderators and then with the members. The members were divided on whether or not this was a good idea. Some felt it was perfectly reasonable to discuss such topics in a growth-oriented community of “smart people.” Others felt it would encourage pointless arguing and drag the community down to a lower level of awareness. You can find that discussion here if you’re curious about it: Thoughts on Adding a Politics Forum. Even though the forum has already launched, that discussion is still ongoing.
Eventually we decided to go forward with it. We moved some of the active political threads there, and some new threads have already been started. The forum has more than 500 messages now, still a baby in comparison to the other forums, but off to a good start.
As with all the forums, we keep a tight handle on moderation, so we don’t allow personal attacks, trolling, or spam. Within those constraints, however, members are free to discuss whatever they want. The posted forum rules are largely common sense, based on how you’d expect people to behave in intelligent face-to-face conversations.
We also discussed what the forum should be named and eventually settled on “World Affairs.” The current subtopics include: politics, government, leadership, elections, global issues, environmental issues, economics, domestic policy, foreign policy, social change, human rights, civil liberty, healthcare, education, news, history, and space exploration. That list is just for the sake of description, so related topics like activism or natural disasters could be discussed there too.
Since this site currently attracts visitors from about 150 different countries, it will be interesting to see a variety of perspectives.
Anyway, if you’re interested in discussing what’s going on in the world around you and what you as an individual can do to make the world a better place, check out the World Affairs forum, and let your voice be heard.
Overall I’m really impressed with how the forum community has evolved. Members often comment that there’s no other place like it online. More than 147,000 messages have been posted so far, an average of about 10,000 messages per month. It’s a busy place to be sure, but it has a unique atmosphere of curiosity, friendliness, honesty, and hope.
A big thanks to the moderators who do an outstanding job of cultivating a spam-free, troll-free community… one that’s genuinely supportive of those with a keen interest in personal growth. It’s great to see that their efforts have paid off so well.