Community Highlights

Promoting Better Conversations Online

On Fri, 10 July, 2020 - 11:40
Centre Team's picture
Centre Team

Over the next year or so we’ll be making lots of changes to this website and our whole platform, which includes The Dharma Toolkit, Free Buddhist Audio and a number of other key Triratna sites and social media spaces. 

+follow this space above, or join our newsletter to get updates when we make changes, and for a chance to join early test versions of the site.

Today we’re making a set of changes to one aspect of the site, which is among the most requested from regular users: conversations

Conversations (discussions/comment threads) can be a great way to connect with others around Dharma practice. Some of the most popular conversation threads on the site have hundreds of responses, many of which would be essays in themselves! 

It’s usually great when this happens but it can also end up deflecting attention from the original content around which a conversation has sprung up. Not everyone wants to engage with back and forth discussion - and for some users the relative prominence of comment threads on the site has become a real barrier to participation. If they see there are lots of comments they immediately disengage. This is not what we’d wish to happen.

Occasionally, as with all websites, we also get conversations which have problematic aspects. People don’t always remember there is another human being at the other end of their strong exchange of views! And in the heat of the moment, we can all fire off words online that don’t necessarily adhere well to the Buddhist speech precepts and to our community guidelines.

We’ll be developing conversation threads on The Buddhist Centre Online to be more fully featured for those who want to take part; and much easier to leave aside for those who do not. From today, the focus on the site in views like the main community space, or the ‘latest’ view on a space like the one hosting this post, will be firmly on the main content. 

When you look at any post where the conversation feature is enabled, you’ll see a clear count of the number of comments, a button to show or hide the conversation, and a response box. So it will be easy to read any post and decide not to engage with its conversation thread at all – or to make the choice to read on, see what others have to say, and contribute your own responses. In which case, you’ll also get a handy reminder of the spirit in which we’d like to see conversations unfold. We’ll remember the last choice made for posts on an individual basis (so you don’t have to keep choosing to show the conversation on a thread you are engaged in).

We hope these changes will bring a more balanced sense of the content on our site to users of different temperaments and with different preferences. And we look forward to healthy and positive conversations running through The Buddhist Centre Online like many-coloured threads of the Dharma for years to come.

The Buddhist Centre Online Team
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