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tree time

Posted by Michael Phillips 
tree time
January 04, 2017 09:30PM
This grower's forum was set up to delve deeply into assorted topics of interest for community orchardists. A worthy post gets made, perhaps another grower or two has something to add, and then the thing sits for a year or more until the next insight gets added. You gotta love this! Case in point, Paul Weir's recent addition concerning the biofungicide Cease in a rather broad-ranging discussion about Pears in the MidAtlantic. This is precisely how "tree time" works!

Similarly, I appreciate when growers pick up on the stratagem of starting a new post in order to break out a deserving subject. This draws attention by being listed anew as a "Hot Topic" on the portal page. Case in point, Ethan Rouge's recent thread on the Flail Mower after finding this part of his query under Tractor Sizing wasn't quite taking off. Good move!

Another bit of cleverness is the technique of replying to your own post. Sounds silly, I know, but sometimes bringing a neglected topic back up on the portal scoreboard may finally reach the person who truly needed a fresh prompt to contribute that important next bit. We are sailing across "tree time" once again.

May this be the season many more of us find the confidence to share insights and regularly use this forum so as to achieve its fullest potential. Happy Tree Time in 2017, y'all!

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: tree time
January 04, 2017 10:22PM
Thank you for posting these tips Michael.

A Thought/Problem that may or may not help inspire more discussion:
From the index there are no alerts to new posts in the 'Fruit Varieties' or 'Out to the Orchard' categories. If you have made the index your homepage (as I have) you would have to click on these categories and then view each subforum for new post notifications. This appears to be a limitation of phorum with parent forums and categories. A small thing, but one that could increase response time or participation in discussions if someone were to figure out a way to make it easier to notice when there are new topics. I currently click through the categories with each visit but I am open to suggestions if someone has a better way.

Discussion Rephrasing
If a topic does not inspire any discussion it might be wise to approach it in a different way. A clarifying post or posing a topic in a different perspective can help others grasp the topic better or trigger a different train of thought that might be useful. You may start out a topic asking about tree spacing but find that it will inspire more relevant discussion to broach the topic of root stock & tree size instead.

Attractive Posts
It might feel odd but there is also a great deal of value in beautification. An attractive post with paragraphs, bold headings and distinct points is going to be easier to read and understand than a muddled wall of words. It also makes it easier for individuals to reply because they can reference specific points in the discussion.

Zone 5b in Michigan
Re: tree time
January 05, 2017 12:18AM
I'll speak to how best to track the most recent forum activity. Peter is spot on about a category-by-category perusal being cumbersome if you're already in the forum. That frankly is beyond being changed anytime soon as this network uses free Phorum software to run this discussion group. What Michael Potts and I designed instead was the GOA Portal Page.

I know people aren't big on reading directions these days, generally speaking, but the How To Use This Site page actually has some valuable tidbits for taking full advantage of the GrowOrganicApples online community. You'll find a button to this information . . . can you guess where?. . . on the lower bar, left-hand side, of the portal page! Here's the relevant statement concerning the tracking of recent activity at the forum, every category included:
The 'Forum Categories' and 'Hot Topics' boxes provide multiple links to the most recent posts (BIG HINT THAT).

Make the portal page your access point, whether via home page status or by bookmarking. I check in every morning and can totally see where someone made a new post or reply by the date of the last posting in forum categories. That's the "secret" to achieving a far more active discussion group, methinks.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/05/2017 04:42PM by Michael Phillips.
Re: tree time
January 15, 2017 02:16AM
I have my account configured so I get an email whenever a post is made in a category of my choice. Login to the FORUM, click on Control Center at top right of page. Then on the left side bar under Options, click on Forum Subscriptions. I think the list covers all topics. Try this link once you are logged on:

Check out the drop down boxes under 'What Should Be Emailed' and 'How Often'. This has worked great for me except I think I need to enable notifications for more categories.

Oh, and be sure you have a correct email entered under Control Center->Personal Profile->Edit Email Settings.

Joanne Patton, Squire Oaks Farm
Zone 6A, Northern Virginia
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