The site consists of a forum (where discussions take place about important subjects), a wiki (where a group of literate fruit growers define their terms and dispense their wisdom), a collection of grower profiles, a calendar of wide-ranging events, and a library of useful documents.
A few specifics are in order concerning the discussion forum. Anyone can read our topic posts . . . but primarily it's folks growing fruit for their community who get to contribute experiences and insights. The cutting edge discussion envisioned here between community orchardists and open-minded researchers will have plenty for everyone only if we maintain this dedicated focus. We wish to avoid being overwhelmed by basic questions that are better addressed elsewhere, be that through reading, attending workshops, or watching a fruitful neighbor in action. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for home orchardists at www.facebook.com/groworganicapples where we encourage all to share lessons learned on the home front.
Applying for a forum user account is straightforward. Real names are a must as are a couple of orchard details pertaining to growing zone and market reach. One of our moderators will review each application to assure you are an authentic community orchardist and/or orchard researcher. Scale does not matter . . . as we believe more folks need to grow fruit for their community in all the places we live. Members of the network can count on getting to participate. Once approved, it's time to head Out to the Orchard and consider the topic selection. We've set up an index of category topics in order to keep subjects filed for easy finding. This way discussion threads continue to be active, year after year, as nuance and biological understanding evolve. The in-house search engine is another excellent tool for locating the particular information you're looking to find.
A number of options for getting there from here exist on the portal page. The 'forum' button on the top menu bar takes you directly to the opening page for orchard discussion. Links to all forum topics open in a new window . . . thus keeping the portal page easily accessible at all times in your browser. The 'Forum Categories' and 'Hot Topics' boxes provide multiple links to the most recent posts (big hint that).
Look for all the usual suspects within the forum itself. Opened threads come with top buttons to return you to the 'Forum list' (think category index) or the 'Message list' (posts within a category). Breadcrumb navigation shows where the current page is located within the forum hierarchy . . . should you want a quick means back to where you were previously.
It's worth noting here that a direct link to the portal page and thus all its features can be found on our parent website, www.GrowOrganicApples.com. Once there, click 'Online Community' in the left-hand menu and you'll be back to the portal page.
Staying on topic . . .
Our forum differs from other list-serves in that we desire to hold a topic thread to task. People will go off on tangents, yes, and a degree of this is actually to be encouraged given that so many orchard concerns overlap. Still, an effective category index requires that we avoid veering wildly from the topic-at-hand. Please consider when a shift in subject deserves a posting of its own. The advantage of a new thread in its own right is that others will see it and subsequently discuss it. The site editor has abilities to pull any discussion back on track . . . we merely ask you do your part to minimize the need to do that.
We have a section of the forum dedicated for off-topic discussion. Conversation in Just Talk should still maintain some relevancy to the network and/or orcharding, but in truth, if you want to talk about 'hostels in Istanbul' so be it. Know, however, that once the thrill is gone, just talk threads will not necessarily remain posted for the long haul.
You're among friends. Plus you're automatically identified on each of your posts and replies by your real name. That means we can forego the formalities of saying hello and goodbye every time in a message in order to keep our conversations that tiny bit more compressed on the screen. We ask you set up a signature to identify yourself in posts. Keep these simple by providing no more than your orchard name, growing zone, and geographic location. This signature format allows readers to take into consideration another's orchard reality in interpreting contributions.
We recommend checking in on the forum regularly by making the portal one of your browser's home pages; most of us will find this to be entirely effective. Going on from there to view the category index within any of the forum folders clearly shows where the action can be found. Red indicators within each category's post count point the way to additional messages that have come on board since your last visit. Newly created posts appear as "Hot Topics" on the portal page. Every thread offers a "Follow Topic" option if you desire direct notification of any response to your own posts. You can also personalize account settings for "Forum Subscriptions" in the Control Center to automatically receive email notifications of all posts within chosen categories.
Menu buttons to add HTML coding (to make a certain words appear in bold font, for instance) are fairly straightforward. Each user will find the choices available to enhance a message laid out across the top of the message box. We highly recommend using the preview feature before actually posting. That's an opportunity to spell check yourself, see that HTML designations worked as envisioned, and apply useful hyperlinks. Keeping posts relatively free of enhancements will generally be a wise choice.
Any user can edit his or her posts, anytime. This presents a chance to refine one's thoughts for the long term. (And spell a word like 'achieve' correctly.)
The site editor can edit any post, anytime. This will primarily be done to clarify the words chosen to define a topic subject. Such a name change is intended to keep the category index as accessible as possible. Other potential edits include adding a helpful link, correcting egregious spelling of orchard terms, and removing statements that clearly veer from the topic at hand. Forum moderators will be able to do similar in specific forums.
All editing activity will be noted at the bottom of an edited message. The site editor can review any and all changes made should there be questions. Editors promise not to interfere with the core intent of any post. We are all creating running commentary here on numerous orchard topics that will be useful for many years to come.
This button in the upper right corner of forum pages takes you to your personal account information. Here's where you create a signature for messages, personalize settings, manage followed topics and groups, and maintain your contact information.
This button in the upper right corner of forum pages allows you to interact directly with another forum participant. The process begins with "Send a PM" and selecting a recipient. Be sure to click "Keep a Copy in my Sent items" each time you write anew if you wish to track outgoing mail. The buddies option is basically a personalized contact list.
One section of the forum is reserved for full-fledged members of the Holistic Orchard Network. Research plans are made here and growers get to weigh in on network business. Needless to say, this special forum will be hidden from public view.
Take a good look at the portal page, where recent postings and the most active discussions are shown. Then dabble in the forum by taking a direct plunge into orchard nuance. You can even join the network outright and be invited to create a profile. If you need help, go over to "just talk" and ask, or email the site administrators. Willingness to explore will indeed get you where you're going!
We encourage you to get on our network mailing list for breaking news about fruit growing, along with a free subscription to our Community Orchardist newsletter.
Our discussion forum exists thanks to the generosity of those who developed this fine software. Learn more at the Phorum!
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|updated 23 June 2015|
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