As I was traveling to our 2019 Provincial Convention, another delegate commented to me that she wished there had been a way for members to post on our website that they were going to convention and needed a ride, or had space to bring someone.
At the convention, I overheard another member bemoaning the fact that her roommate had cancelled out at the last minute and now she was bearing the total cost of the hotel room.
Later, another woman said she thought that younger members might be more attracted to participate if we had a more interactive site.
The fact that I heard these related thoughts from very separate individuals in just two days seemed to be a pretty clear message - especially since 2 of them didn't even know that the webmaster was hearing the comment!
You may have heard the terms “message board, discussion group, bulletin board, or web forum”. These are all different names for the same thing. And that is our latest addition to the website: the CWL Forum.
WiseGeek (https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-an-internet-forum.htm) explains: “An Internet forum is a discussion area on a website. Website members can post discussions and read and respond to posts by other forum members. A forum can be focused on nearly any subject and a sense of community tends to develop among forum members.” Doesn’t that sound like CWL?
WiseGeek adds “Before a prospective member joins a group and makes posts to others, he or she is usually required to register. The prospective member must usually agree to follow certain online rules, sometimes called netiquette, such as to respect other members and refrain from using profanity. When a member is approved by the administrator or moderator, the member usually chooses his or her own user name and password…” Duh! If you have subscribed for updates, you already have your user name and password. If you are a CWL member, you already agreed to the rules when you made The League Promise, and agreed to follow the League’s policies. We are ahead of the game!
How to Use the Forum
To access the Forum,
- go to the website and click on the Forum tab in the top menu.
- Enter your User name and Password, and you are in.
If you login and can’t access the Forum, just email so we can get that fixed.
In the forum, the conversations are organized in categories under a title or topic. The conversations are called “threads”, and they are made up of member-written posts. You can use the forum to post your comments and questions on any CWL topic and to follow up on other members’ postings. You can edit your own posts, start new topics, reply to others’ comments. Not sure how? Click on the Help button.
As with other parts of our website, any text in blue is a link that you can click on for more information about that item.
When you login to the Forum, you automatically start at the Recent Topics area which shows you only messages that have been added since the last time you visited the forum. However, the Menu at the top of the Forum gives you several options:
- Index is the outline of the whole Forum
- Recent Topics shows you only things that have been posted since the last time you visited the forum.
- Unread includes topics you have not yet read
- New Topic lets you create a new subject for members to read and post their comments or questions.
- Profile shows you your own information such as messages you have posted, categories or topics to which you have subscribed, etc.
- Help brings you to this article
- Search lets you look for information posted anywhere in the Forum
Below the menu is a “breadcrumb” (trail) which shows you where you are in the forum.
Under Index, the Forum is divided into categories. There are two main categories: “Welcome to our Forum” and “Conventions”.
Each of the main categories has subcategories.
Click on the subcategory to open it.
If a particular subcategory is of special interest to you, you can subscribe to it. This means that you will automatically get an email anytime someone creates a new topic in that subcategory. You will not receive updates to those topics unless you subscribe to the topics individually.
Within the subcategories are “Topics”. Topics are the messages that someone has posted. When you open a subcategory you will see the posts that are already there or you can make a new one.
To read a post, click on the subject to open it.
- Use the buttons to reply (or ask a question), or even to record a thank you to the poster.
- Click on the Action button for further options. If you are interested in this topic, you can subscribe to the topic and be automatically emailed with any new comments that are added to it.
When a topic is finished, it will be locked. You can still read what is there but you cannot add anything to it.
To create a new topic, click on the New Topic button and fill in the form.
- At the bottom is a box you can check to be automatically emailed when someone replies to your message.
- When you are finished, click the green Submit button to post your message.
You can edit or delete your own message until someone replies to it.
This item shows you only things that have been posted since the last time you visited the forum. If there is nothing new since the last time you were in the forum, it will say "No Topics". You can still check the other menu items to see older messages.
You can see all the posted messages (organized by category) by clicking on the Index.
Use this to create a new post.
Click on the down arrow at the end of the Category field (box) to select the correct category.
The Subject will be the title of your message (and of any replies). Try to make sure that it is unique from the others that already exist and than it describes what you are writing about so that others know to look at it.
When you post a message (either a topic you create or a reply to someone else's message) you are automatically subscribed to be notified of replies to that topic. If you do not want that, click on the Subscribe box to unsubscribe.
Then click the green submit button and your message will be posted. You can edit (or even delete) it until someone replies to it.
Under Profile, you can
- edit your name and email address,
- add a signature and picture (avatar),
- check your own posts, subscriptions and favorite topics
- create your preferred settings for the forums.
Since the Forum started just before the 2019 National Convention, the main focus was pretty much the same as what the ladies above wanted for the Provincial Convention. And the feedback given was that it was helpful to people looking for roommates and learning how to get to the hotel.
But there is much more to CWL.
I love learning from other Councils about what they do. Some are successful at recruiting new members. Some have great FUN(d)raising ideas. Our Council adopted the Cookie Walk after it was mentioned in St Cecilia’s report at a regional meeting. At National Convention I learned of Councils that have monthly CWL masses where all positions are filled by CWL members. Those are all great topics for the forum. What does your Council do well that you can share with the rest of us? And what would you like to learn from others? Rose Kastelic told me about the experience her Council gained in serving at Ordinations. Would you like their tips? She also suggested that a Council that is considering a resolution could use the forum to get input (and perhaps another Council to work with them).
God and Our Lady of Good Counsel have blessed us with creative and passionate members and Spiritual Advisors. Let’s use the forum to “share with others at home… the good things (they) have given us”.
If you have any suggestions on how this article can be improved, please email. Thanks.