Ever get frustrated feeling there is no one place to have a healthy discussion about a pressing community issue _ especially because you already wrote a letter to the editor and the newspaper's policy says you have to wait 30 days between published letters?
Are you passionate about a topic and want to engage others in an open forum?
Well, I am pleased to announce a new feature that launched this morning on our website. It's an online community forum.
It is super easy and a great avenue for one and all to post ideas, opinions and solicit productive interaction on topics and pressing issues _ all in a centralized location.
Let me tell you how it works and encourage you to sign up or just check it out (no registration required to view it) and read the comments. You just might find it useful, informative and _ I am sure _ humorous at times.
Worried that you are not super "techy?" You don't have to be. Let me share a secret. As our systems folks here will attest, I'm not "techy," either.
It is as easy as 1-2-3 and if you need help, we are here to help you through the process.
The first step toward commenting is to set up a free "user" account. Go to www.thedailystar.com/forum or click the forum link on our website. Click the login/join button on the top right and complete the information.
All you need is a valid e-mail address and you will be able to create a user name and password to post comments or start new topics _ or threads _ send private messages to another user and (my personal favorite) create a buddy list of folks who really intrigue you.
You can be creative with your user name and not reveal your identity. It's your choice when you create your display name in the user registration fields.
You can add a photo or graphic to customize your display name as well to really make your comments pop out from the crowd. Now you are almost ready to get started posting comments or add new threads (topics) for discussion.
The second step in the process is to read through the policies. There are three basic rules to promote healthy discussion, and our participants will be the monitors of this forum:
1. Keep it clean.
2. Keep it legal.
3. Be respectful of others.
Our staff will not be the "forum police" and take down comments on a whim or just because it's a contrary opinion.
As a user, you have the ability to "flag" any post. This will then send notification to my team to review it, and a committee will determine if a post comes down.
You also have the option to ignore users and block any and all of their comments, so any time you log on you don't have to see their posts. Obscenities or defamatory matters will not be permitted.
Now, if you have a failing memory like I do or don't regularly clip my columns to read over and over again, don't worry. A complete list of the rules and policies are on the forum for reference.
We hope that participants welcome the open exchange of ideas and embrace diversity and varying opinions in making this new feature a true community forum.
Ready, set, POST! You are at the third and final step. Click on the "Headlines of the Daily Star" to get into the forum once you are logged in.
Congratulations! You can start adding your comments as posts by hitting the reply button on a topic or start discussion by posting a new topic.
So to get us all started, I have started my first thread: "What should the primary focus be of the new administration that will have the greatest local impact?"
Want to share your thoughts with me and other users?
On the smoking front, I am sorting through the massive pile of information my doctor passed along on Chantix. I have a prescription, but I won't fill it until I am confident that it is the right move for me.
Tanya Shalor is publisher of The Daily Star and may be reached at (607) 432-1000, ext. 214, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears every other week.