Archive for December, 2008

Featured Forum – Nature vs. God Forum

Nature or God Forum

Today, we’re talking to Wrenna and Tete who recently moved over to Lefora from MSN Groups.  If you have an MSN Group yourself, and would like to learn more about our MSN Groups migration options, send us an email at ‘upgrades -at-

Wrenna and Tete are running Nature Or God, a group on religion, philosophy and politics.  As their description states, “Because listening to each other can change the world.”

So to start, what topics are covered in your forum, are they philosophical, religious, political, or some combination of all three?

All three topics are discussed. We are mostly a religious debate forum but news topics are regularly covered also. Religious debate is usually between theists and atheists, and covers topics like evolution vs. intelligent design,separation of church and state, the meaning of free will, and whether children are born believing in God. These are some of the topics on our general board right now.  some science topics arise and we now have a sister site at Lefora, Science and Religion.

We do have a political board because we found during the recent election that some members couldn’t stop talking about it and some didn’t want to talk about it, so with its own board they have a choice.

We have found that all three of these major topics, philosophy, religion, and politics will intersect at various times. They are really inseparable.

With such controversial topics, what steps do you take to make sure your group stays focused?  Do you ever have to intervene to stop personal attacks?

That’s a very good question. Both of us are completely un-invested in who’s right and who’s wrong. We care about civil dialogue. Tete is a natural diplomat, and a very talented one. We try to be very patient and give lots of chances to people who lose their focus. Only rarely do we have to cancel a membership and more often than not that person gets another chance later on.

Most of the time though, a simple request or reminder is sufficient.

Your group on MSN was incredibly popular, I saw over 1/2 million posts listed through the topics.  What helped drive that activity?

The members. They are what make or break a group. We have been fortunate to have lots of really great members who have a passion for this type of discourse. It’s always great to see unlikely friendships form, or even see people change they’re thinking and opinions. People are endlessly fascinating and so is the way their minds work. And that gives rise to our other motto: “Let’s dare to think together”.

You’ve been using Lefora for about a month now, as ‘fresh’ admins to Lefora, what do you think about Lefora compared to MSN Groups?

We like Lefora,We like the simplicity and the layout of the boards. Many MSN groups were devoted to PSP and Graphics, but we are a place of words (to quote one member, Peltigera). Lefora is a great place for words. It’s also great to have a help group to go to and get answers or a fix almost immediately. It shows that the “Man in charge” cares. I find that pretty impressive. We don’t want to bash MSN but there you are lucky to get a form letter.

For managing your group, are there any features you found on Lefora that were new to you?

Spam control, being able to move an entire thread with just one click, and thumbs up or down come to mind. I’m a big fan of all three. It was also nice to be able to send invitations from our management email through Lefora. We are used to doing one at a time.

Finally, do you have 3 simple tips you could share with other forum admins to run an engaging and active forum?

Three tips?  Don’t abuse your power, be humble (learn how to say ‘I don’t know’; ‘I am sorry’; ‘Thank you’, among other phrases that will show people that you care) and let people be as free as is possible.  The key?  Management appears as little as possible.

Wrenna & Tete: Thank you for having us, it is an honor.

Vincent: Thank you for your commentary, I’m sure many other forum admins will find this interesting and helpful.


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