Re-establishing our sense of community

Continuing the discussion from Challenges and opportunities for improving member experiences on TuDiabetes:

I agree that the new platform feels less homey than our previous one, and I miss that as well. Our admin team and the Diabetes Hands Foundation staff have been brainstorming ways to re-capture that cozy, community feeling, and we feel certain that it’s possible!

Three of the main things that I think changed in the migration process in ways that have made our community feel less homey are:

  1. many members’ usernames changed, because the new platform requires that every member have a unique username
  2. profile pages on the new site do not have a place to comment, upload personal photos, customize colors…
  3. in trying to make the site visually cleaner and less overwhelming, we may have made it a little sterile (read: TOO clean).

Do you agree with this list? Are there things you would add to it?

Here’s what we have planned so far to address these losses:

  1. “Tell Your Story” campaign: this idea came from our wonderful Lead Admin, @Brian_BSC, and you’ll be seeing more about it in the next week or so. The concept is to each post our diabetes story in the “Community - Share Your Stories” section of the forum and then add the URL to that post to our “member cards” so they’re easy for others to find, read, comment on, etc. (the member card is that box that pops up when you click on another member’s avatar in the forum). Several members have already done this: MarieB, Brian_BSC, Lorraine, CatLady06, DrBB. Check them out, and then share your own!

  2. Adding some more visual design elements to the site, to re-establish its unique look and feel.

  3. We’re re-igniting the artistic projects that TuDiabetes is famous for! Word In Your Hand, No Sugar Added Poetry, Drawing Diabetes… are all artistic programs that were begun very early on in the life of this community, and which really set TuDiabetes apart from other online D-communities. You’ll start to see posts about these later this week.

  4. Regarding the unique member names issue: there’s not actually much we can do about this one. It is absolutely required by our forum platform. In some cases I can manually change a member’s username to something s/he specifically requests, but that something has to be unique (so if you want “Joe” and were assigned “Joe37” by our system it means you are the 37th “Joe” in our community and I can’t give you that name).

Please share other ideas you have about how to recapture our homey, friendly feel!! It will be an ongoing process :slight_smile:


I would add:

  1. As someone who enjoys writing, I find the whole “quotes” process, as well as the @somebody thingey to be intrusive of the natural flow of both writing and reading. I never had any trouble following discussions on the old site.

  2. I often read a post, especially these new story/profile posts, all the way through, make a few notes and think about them. I come back and read responses before I write to see if I have anything to contribute. By this time, even though I have kept my interest active, the post has moved out of my notification “circle” at the top of the page, while all these discussions that I have muted days ago are still clogging it and I have to go through a process to find the post before I can read it again…This increases a sense of “why bother?”

  3. I love reading the profile stories. They are wonderful. I’ll no doubt write one eventually. But My Life With Diabetes is only 8 years old and not that interesting—I got diagnosed, I got enraged and depressed, I found TuD and phenomenal people, I found a sense of control, etc. The nearly 60 years I lived before that is more interesting.

I, too, seldom go to home page or my Profile page. Never heard of a Member Card. Interesting.

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I really liked having messages on my page from my friends, I liked having friends and I liked being able to post photos and videos there too.


I don’t mind the cleaner look of the site. I find it easier on the eyes. As time has gone on, I am somewhat unsure what the site used to look like although I probably have some screenshots lying around here somewhere.

I like that threads go on and on, without what I referred to as “backfilling” that made some of the longer threads at the old site somewhat unwieldy, as the “most recent post” would be on page 6 of a 17 page thread and the conversation that I was looking for was on page 12 but I hadn’t stayed on top of it do to working or playing or whatever. I suspect I wandered away from some interesting conversations due to what I perceived to be a problem with that method of organizing threads.

On one hand, I sort of miss my list of friends and the sense of community from that group, some of whom I’ve known for years. On the other hand, there’s other platforms to play with and the conversations here are what I enjoy and they are still there, even if I don’t always know to whom I’m speaking.


@Judith_in_Portland, you can “bookmark” posts here so they’re easier to find again later by clicking on the icon next to the reply button at the bottom of the post:

Then when you want to go back to a post that you have bookmarked just click on your avatar in the top right corner of any page in the forum and you’ll see the bookmark icon. Click on that to pull up all the posts you’ve bookmarked.

I know all the bells and whistles like bookmarking, quoting, @mentions etc can seem complicated as we’re first getting used to them, but their intent is to actually make it easier to navigate the forum and follow conversation. I hope that these features will become second nature to folks who visit our forum often!

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Judith, feel free to share anything you want in your story! It doesn’t need to just be about diabetes :slight_smile:

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Yes!..Our humongous membership is a bit overwhelming. I understand perfectly the value in meeting folks I haven’t met and that’s fine—I do that—but I also Did that. And I Hate not being able to reference who all my old friends are if I haven’t heard from them in awhile…

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I never felt like it was before, sweet Emily. I wasn’t sure anymore…This is forever my online home and I liked the idea of pulling the pieces of myself together in one place—as in re Rick’s excellent “All of Me” blog…But I really wasn’t sure that was appropriate anymore…

this is where the @mentions come in handy. most of the old friends ARE here, and we just need to maybe wake them up! if they visit us and see they’ve been mentioned by you, this might just be the little lift they could use. look for them in Users, in the Hamburger Menu in the upper right (3 stacked rectangles). If you can’t find them, let me know, I’ll get their discourse nicknames for you, with pleasure :heart: