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I'd appreciate your comments on how to make our community more user friendly


Mark
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All,

WinterSky made a good suggestion to me the other day:

Are you familiar with stickies in the forums? The admins or moderators can create or make a current thread a sticky so that it stays on top of that forum. Perhaps instead of creating a forum specifically related to suicide etc., we can have a sticky at the top of an existing forum or forums that are much more visible and more easily accessible than a FAQ. You could link to the part of the FAQ relating to this topic and go directly there. Or, you could have advice in the stickied thread on how to cope with suicide in general, suicidal ideation, and everything related to the topic, and also on how to deal with it here if at all.

Are you familiar with locking threads? The thread on suicide could be locked and for information purposes only. Or of course it could remain unlocked for as long as you want.

I think this sort of thing could be useful for us to do, but am not sure what stuff we should highlight and where to put it. So I am soliciting comments on what might be helpful information to post and in what form that might go. If anyone has some ideas for how to make our community here more 'user friendly' especially to users who are in a crisis and need help that is obvious and not hidden, I'm all ears.

Mark

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I agree with using sticky threads to highlight different parts of Mental Help Net, such as the FAQ, the blogs, the podcasts, and the self-help resources. When I first visited this site through a Google search, I remember visiting the Community part of the site. But, I did not visit the self-help resources until Mark and the other administrators mentioned them in their forum posts.

One idea that comes to mind is to write a sticky thread that serves much like the Psychological Self-Tools - Online Self-Help Book; but, instead of self-help advice, the content will address crisis issues for readers who presumably are undergoing an immediate crisis, and how to seek out help. The intention would be to tell newcomers and regular members of the Mental Help Net Community that help is readily accessible even if it does not seem that way. For instance, such a sticky can invite visitors to share their thoughts with the Mental Help Net Community; encourage them to visit relevant links to other online resources, such as crisis chatrooms; and give some real life alternatives, like phone number directories to community oriented services for various countries (I am imagining such directories exist, but I have no idea).

Also, some of the forums, like General Support, have grown such that their introductions have been pushed out of sight. We can use the sticky threads to bring them back to the top, and to share relevant links to the "Topics" section.

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I like these ideas --

I am a member of several forums where they use these stickies -- They really help to be able to find resources when you need them, whether it's a helpline, a suggestion for grounding, a link that gives additional information about a topic I'm interested in, if I want to be reminded of the rules of the community etc.

Great suggestion -- Winter Sky

AB

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your suggestions.

As I have no experience with "stickies" I want to urge everyone to alert Dr. Dombeck to these ideas and discuss the practicality of putting it into practice.

Allan:)

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Hello Dr. Schwartz,

A good example of stickies, sub-forums, etc. can be found at this web site at Talk Camp. Perhaps we can have a crisis forum as a sub-forum under the section "Mental Help"? Sub-forums, as you might guess, is about organizing the data which IMO is practical.

A really good example by Dr. Dombeck of the practicality of a sticky can be found... (Please note: the following thread is spoilered for pedophilia discussion. Please do not open it if you think it might be triggering.) here.

Here is an example of what can be done here:

Mental Help

list.jpg

About why this idea came up specifically about crisis was because I had a crisis of my own and all of my coping skills went right out the window. I was desperate and did not know what to do with my feelings. Since this site is one place where I turn to, I naturally came here and started to write a post. But in the end I did not actually post the message.

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Mark and Allan,

This is not a stickie-related suggestion, but I'd appreciate if you could also consider underlining links put on posts or altering their colour to a bit more discernible one. Partly because of their obscure colour (and partly because of my carelessness) I tend to fail to recognise links on longer posts, and guess I'm not alone in this.:P

Thanks,

Kay

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Mark and Allan,

This is not a stickie-related suggestion, but I'd appreciate if you could also consider underlining links put on posts or altering their colour to a bit more discernible one. Partly because of their obscure colour (and partly because of my carelessness)

I tend to fail to recognise links on longer posts, and guess I'm not alone in this. :rolleyes:

Thanks,

Kay

Hi Kay, I tried to take this to a PM but you do not have that enabled at this time.

I just wanted to check in with you to see if I am accurate in my thinking about the meaning of your last sentence there. You say you guess you are not alone in this (about the links) and then roll your eyes.

Are you saying that I am alone in my idea of having a crisis section? I brought it up in a PM, and obviously Dr. Dombeck felt the need to ask the rest of the members their opinions on it.

If I am alone in this, then certainly there is no need for it.

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You can tell me to keep my nose out of it if you want, but reading Kay's post, I didn't get any feeling that she was referring to your idea - I thought the roll-eyes was to do with the fact that she was missing links. As in, "I keep missing links unnecessarily - sickened :rolleyes:"

Nothing wrong with the crisis section in my opinion - as I understand it it would be a stickied thread in a section with some links to useful articles and stuff that you could access quickly when you need to, right?

The problem with hard-to-see links is also one you see on a lot of forums - I usually resort to typing the link text in CAPS so it stands out more - a change of colour scheme could be useful.

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You can tell me to keep my nose out of it if you want, but reading Kay's post, I didn't get any feeling that she was referring to your idea - I thought the roll-eyes was to do with the fact that she was missing links. As in, "I keep missing links unnecessarily - sickened :rolleyes:"

Nothing wrong with the crisis section in my opinion - as I understand it it would be a stickied thread in a section with some links to useful articles and stuff that you could access quickly when you need to, right?

The problem with hard-to-see links is also one you see on a lot of forums - I usually resort to typing the link text in CAPS so it stands out more - a change of colour scheme could be useful.

Thanks Laedladd, you're fine. I just was not sure. Sometimes I might take things wrong.

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WinterSky,

Gosh, I certainly did not mean any harm to you. Rather, I appreciate your eagerness to improve usability of this community and I too liked your ideas: Crisis section, sub-sections, stickies etc. I just wanted to make another suggestion apart from them, for I am not familiar with web-related techniques; and any part of my previous post was not pointed at you. My apologies, obviously I was not clear.

Thank you for your post. But no apologies necessary! I was just checking in with you because of my reaction which is not about your post, it is about my "stuff" entirely.

Have a good day! :rolleyes:

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Just want to say that I'm keeping up with this, and like these ideas. Some of them will take some time to implement but are very good ideas (like the links into the main site, and the making of links more visible - I've had that issue myself. Maybe we can start on implementation next week sometime? Or soon anyway (busy!)

Edited by Mark
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On Posting New Threads and Post Content

I read a thread where another person was ****Triggered**** by it's content being unaware of it's content. When someone is to post a new thread with heavy content they can put in with their topic such as "Nightmares" **Warning***May Trigger Some or "I need help" **Warning rape/SA Triggers**, and sometimes even in the actual post when it comes to the heavy content a warning of ***Warning may be Triggering/upsetting for some*** and then that person knows, and can choose to stop reading in the post.

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In relation to the previous suggestion, there are already some guidelines about this in the FAQ

I think it's possible that the FAQ isn't pushed enough - not many people seem to know about it. There should probably be a sticky at the top of each forum/section entitled "READ THIS FIRST" with the FAQ linked from it.

Is this trigger tag like what you were suggesting FlowFreak?

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I don't know about anyone else but I am triggered by all this conflict being spilled into general sections etc. It is as if people are trying gain support from the idea 'you are either with me or against me' type of posting.

I already restrict myself from some places here so I wont be triggered but I am finding conflict spilling out from other threads and trigger topics being brought up in places I would not expect.

Sorry I don't know what can be done. And I am aware I own my reaction to the posts and need to work on it. Just now however I am not finding this place safe. But I am not going to give up on it just try and work with my own feelings about why it is having such impact.

It's not the individual people, I think it is a boundary thing, what to say,how to say it and in what forum is appropriate for what content.

If people have personal issues with others I would hope it be kept that way through pm and if there was a real issue that moderators could help out.

I am not here to build an empire. I just wish to share ideas, experiences and support without over stepping the line and be dragged into conflict.

I guess it is a bit like teaching teenagers how to use instant messaging. Of importance, to stop and think before pressing send. Ask ourselves questions like what is my intention for sending this post? how may the receiver perceive my post? what am I getting out of posting this post? etc

I guess I am cautious and go to great lengths not to offend people and often think to much.

Sorry but I am rather frustrated irl and I seam to be whining on. I will now stop. Thanks for listen and sorry I could come up with a solution.

confused12:confused:

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Perhaps when the sticky post feature is in place, a little treatment on protecting oneself from some bad practices used on the Internet should be included within a sticky. For this forum, it may be useful to describe what spam posts generally look like, and to refrain from clicking on links without checking where the link leads to. Further, members can be warned to avoid clicking on links with tiny urls that are intended to hide the real link, and redirect visitors to other websites which could potentially contain anything.

I thought of this myself when I read Dunii's post and clicked the link he offered. When I followed through his link I was indeed greeted by a blog as described in the post, but the speed with which I followed through with his link reminded me of some of the concerns above that I overlooked.

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I posted about how to make posts (threads actually) become sticky in the moderator's forum. I'm not sure if non-moderators can make this happen. basically what is involved is that you start a new thread, and check the "stick this thread" box (in the options section below the post) before submitting it. I'll put a "read this first" thread into self-injury now, and maybe mods can help implement this across other forums that need this to happen.

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Hi Mark --

I've been giving your question a lot of thought and have several suggestions. What is unique about this community is the fact that it welcomes people with so many types of mental and emotional issues. I like that it's possible to receive support from people with many different perspectives.

Sometimes I think this forum is too "problem and issue" focused, though. And I'd think that there is a need to have some more positive ways for people to be able to connect with each other. Here are a couple of ideas that I have that would help this community to be more supportive and feel more community like:

1) To have a more "positive" focused community coping forum where people might post about breakthroughs and positive life and therapy experiences they have had, where posts with positive coping ideas like the "101 or more ways to prevent SI" thread could be found and added to, and where people who are doing well can offer and share their hope.

2) To have a "lighter" forum where people could play games and share stories. There are lots of forum games which people can play with each other.

There are games like "this or that" where,for example, one person asks which do you prefer -- coffee or tea? and the the next person might say Tea and then offers another couple of options -- beach or woods and so forth. Having a games forum can give people a break from the day-to-day difficulties of dealing with emotional and mental health issues.

Another thought/question that I have had is about people being allowed to post when they have an intent to hurt or kill themselves. I think those posts need to edited or removed. I don't think it is a good thing to allow for people to post about that, especially when people on the forum can't do anything about it. We are unable to help the person. At that point , the person needs to be turning to their own community,their family, friends, therapist, psychiatrist, suicide hotline, emergency room etc. for help. There is difference between announcing "I am going to SI" or "kill myself" and "I am feeling like I want to die" or "like I want to hurt myself". If in the latter, those are feelings without intents, then I think it can be a good thing to post and get support from members of this community, but the moment the person has decided that they are going to act on it, this is no place for them to be. It's not a fair position to put people here in.

So these are some of my thoughts...

Appleby

Edited by appleby
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Thank you for sharing your ideas, Appleby. I agree that posts concerning SI and suicide should be edited to warn other members of the serious, and possibly triggering contents. So, perhaps members should post notices at the Feedback forum concerning such posts, and ask that the title include a warning for other members to prevent triggering. I will also keep this in mind, and edit the titles of such posts with the [Trigger!] tag when I read such posts.

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It's on my list to work through these suggestions systematically one of these days. :( So much to do!

Appleby, we do have the Lounge which was set up for the purpose you describe (to be a place for lighter conversation). Do you have specific suggestions for ways to expand on that theme? I like the idea of lightening things up, but please do keep in mind that the main mission of this place is a serious one - support for hurting people - and that while we can do that sort of support with laughter too, we also need to do it with painful talk sometimes (because that is the way it usually seems to come out).

A "coping" forum is a good idea. I will implement.

Kay - I don't believe that just anyone can make a thread sticky. Only moderators.

Mark

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  • 1 month later...

I am not techno at all. I tried to see if my question was already answered here, but I just got more confused. The thing I wonder is, do people understand that only the last post in a category shows up? I wish no post showed up at all for the big list, so that people wouldn't think their post disappeared, especially new people that are already fragile about speaking up. I finally discovered the "new posts" feature a week ago... there is so much to figure out about using the site! Anyway, if no posts show up in the big lists, it would be more obvious that you have to click on the heading to get all the posts for that category.

Also, there's some pretty desperate stuff on the blog part. That's awful that people are pleaing for help there where not many people are paying any attention to what's being said.

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