Before You Close Your Comments or Community, Let’s Talk

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Reflections One Year After PopSci Closed Comments

It has been more than a year since Popular Science shut down their comments. For those not aware, the main argument was noted here:

As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter.

Online Director Suzanne LaBarre added that “Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story.” It was then suggested users could reach out in other ways:

There are plenty of other ways to talk back to us, and to each other: through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, livechats, email, and more.

Moving the comments off their platform, to be splintered and scattered to the wind, seems like a real shame.

PopSci is Not Alone.

This is not to pick on PopSci. There are examples of other companies closing discussion and pushing users off their platform. Continue reading

Friday Theme Tip: Banner Settings

One of the first steps in setting up your community will be the banner settings, which can be found under the “Appearance” menu in your Vanilla Forums Dashboard. These settings allow you to add SEO elements, such as a homepage title and description, that will appear in search engine results.

seo-vanilla-forums

Please note, this information only applies to the homepage. Individual posts will have the data taken from the discussion titles in your community, and the description will be taken from the content. This is just one of the ways Vanilla does the SEO for you.

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SEO and Vanilla Forums

SEO Vanilla Forums

There is a feature that Vanilla lacks and it’s one that we get asked about all the time. Vanilla lacks an SEO plugin. We don’t have one because SEO is built into our platform and we don’t think you should have to pay extra for something as fundamental as good SEO. Here are some of the ways your Vanilla Forum is optimized out of the box for SEO:
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Vanilla Forums Friday Theme Tip: Moving Sidebars

One design choice you may face with your theme is whether the sidebar should appear on the left or right side of your community. There are arguments for both camps, but we won’t debate that right now. In today’s tip, we will show you how you can change the location of your sidebar. The following applies to the Bootstrap theme, but the concepts are similar in any theme.
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