What to expect when our Community moves later this month


#1

A couple of weeks ago @seanr announced that we will be moving our Community from Jive to Discourse. Here are some additional details about the move.

Will members need to create new usernames, passwords, and avatars in the new forums?

No. The new forums will use the same authentication process we already use for Help, My Account portal, and the current Community. There will be no need to change anything. Just log in to the new forum with your current credentials. The avatars may take longer, but we currently expect them to migrate, too.

Will the new forums be easier to use?

Absolutely. Plan to allow yourself some time to get oriented, though, because the organization will be different, with some new sections (called categories). Our focus in the new forums will be on discussions and announcements. We hope this focus and Discourse’s support for browsers on various kinds of devices will make navigation simpler on your favorite computer, tablet, and mobile phone.3

What will the categories be?

Announcements and News

An area designed to keep you in the know! This category will be a combination of the current Republic Help Updates and Republic Wireless Release Notes. Commenting will be enabled, so we’ll no longer be required to create Discussion threads that duplicate our Help Updates.

General Discussions

An area where Members can talk about various subjects related to Republic Wireless phones and service. For those new to forums, this category will be an easy default place to post. We will be able to move questions or issues if they would be better suited for a different category, and to keep the forum organized and navigable.

Questions and Answers

An area where facts rule. This category is not a place to solicit opinions (“What’s the best app for my phone?” “Which phone should I buy?”) but for clear-cut questions that have a definite answer. It will work like the current Community’s “Questions”, allowing a correct answer to be chosen by the person who asked the question, the Community Manager, or staff moderators.

Problem Solving

An area where mysteries are untangled. This category is the place where Members can troubleshoot together if something is not working properly. Once the problem is solved, the verified solution will be marked.

Within the Problem Solving category you’ll find our Known Issues sub-category. This area will be for status updates on issues currently being investigated by our technicians and engineers, like our existing Republic Health and Wellness information in the current Community.

Tips and Tricks

An area for users who have attained status in The Republic. This category will be a place where our loyal members can collaborate on content that will help other customers get the most out of their Republic Wireless products and services. A few examples:

  • Alternate Text Messaging Apps for Samsung Galaxy S7s
  • Alternative Payment Methods
  • International Travel with a Republic Phone
  • Moto E: Make the most of your phone’s available storage
  • Maximizing your WiFi - getting the best from your Router/network
  • Navigation without data for free - the solution is HERE

Reviews

An area where members’ experiences will help other members. This category will welcome members to post phone, application, and service reviews, not just Republic reviews, but anything industry-related. Posting in this section is for Republic Members only, though anyone can read and comment.

What about all the content currently in Community?

Discussions & Questions

Over the past 5 years, we have accumulated a lot of content in The Republic. Much of it is no longer relevant or is duplicate content, making search results hard to sift through. We are working with our analytics team to find the top-read content and bring that over to the new Community platform. We will bring over our most recently-created discussions, as well.

Knowledge Base Documents

These highly valuable documents will be moving over to the Republic Help Center. They will no longer reside “in” the Community. We are working on Unified Search for the Republic Wireless web properties to bring all of this together for you, but that will come at a later date. Stay tuned… we have lots of improvements in the works on the Knowledge front!

Think Tank

This Community “suggestion box” will not be moving to the new forums. We will still welcome discussions on features and improvements but without the voting system or the idea submission and approval process. Our Product Team will also bring opportunities for members to provide feedback and suggestions in a more focused manner, as they’ve recently done with the Republic Anywhere Beta.

Points and Badges

Discourse does not award points and works very differently for badges. Discourse works on a trust system. The trust system gives greater responsibility and permissions to users who are able to demonstrate knowledge and trust. Here is a list of what trust levels we will have on day 1.

  • Trust Level Zero - Non-customers who are visiting the Community will start here. Level zero has some posting restrictions to safeguard the Community from intentional or unintentional problems. Here is a short example of what they cannot do:
    • Send private messages
    • Flag posts
    • Post more than 1 image
    • Post attachments
    • Post multiple links in a post
    • Post any links in their profile
    • Mention more than 2 users in a post.
  • Trust Level One - Most of our current customers will start at Trust Level One. They will be able to do all of the things blocked in the list above, except initiate private messages.
  • Trust Level Two - We plan to start our top 100 users in the current Community at Trust Level Two. At this level, users will be able to private message other users or groups of users, participate in a Wiki and write a Tip in the Tips & Tricks category.
  • Trust Level Three - We will be starting our Community Ambassadors at this level, and it will be available to other customers to attain. Users at this Trust Level will be able to move content from one category to another and will be able to fix titles and tags. They will also gain access to a private category too so they can collaborate on these decisions. This level is for users who enjoy helping us keep the forum organized, searchable, and focused.

Will my likes, correct/helpful answers, bookmarks, and views be migrated?

We are working to move your likes, mentions, replies, views, and “Correct Answers” into our Discourse forum, but differences between Jive and Discourse mean that they may not work 100% of the time. We do not expect to be able to move your bookmarks. There is no “helpful” or “not helpful” answer in Discourse, so those designations will not migrate either.

What will happen to the current Community?

The current Jive Community will remain available in a read-only state until mid-June. We will be downloading all of the content for an internal backup reference, but will not be using resources to preserve it for public visibility.

What features are we most excited about?

It’s hard to pick only one or two things, since Discourse has so much to like! Here are some of our favorites, though.

(Southpaw) Personal information blocking

A lot of our moderation time is currently spent removing phone numbers and Email addresses from public posts in the Community. Discourse will automatically block these so that phone numbers and E-mail addresses do not show.

(Sean) Title and Body Character Minimums and Limits

In order to keep titles meaningful and within the design of the page, Discourse can set a minimum and maximum character length for the title and the body of a post or comment. We are setting a 15-character limit to reduce the short titles like; “Help!?” and “Phone broke!” Also we are setting a 110-character max on the title so that we do not get an entire paragraphs in the title. It also automatically fixes “ALL CAPS” and “Redundant punctuation!!!”.

Group mentions

If you’ve ever wanted to get a group of members’ attention, you know it can be tiresome to try to mention them all one by one. Discourse allows group mentions, so a single mention of @ambassadors or @moderators can easily alert an entire team.

Tools to enable more Community collaboration

Wikis where members can work together to create content, and housekeeping features like tagging, title-editing, and the ability to move posts to different categories for members who have attained Trust Level three will give the Community members more opportunity to be involved.

What’s next?

We’ll try to squeeze in another update before the move. In the meantime, if you think of anything we might have overlooked or if you have additional questions about the move, just let us know, here.


More details on our Community move to Discourse
Did my profile update save?
#3

@southpaw@rw,

Great description of the system and the implementation process … I think this will be a big improvement for the community, especially new folks and for the rest of us the ‘learning curve’ is much shorter

Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

@seanr,

Thanks for spearheading this Jive replacement, I doubt that many of us will miss it


#4

How about an “off-topic” or “anything goes” category? That would help foster community by allowing folks to discuss topics that matter to us but might not be Republic- or even phone-related, without cluttering up the various other more technical areas with such distractions. “All work and no play…” and all that.


#5

It’s something I’ve thought of also. One concern I have is how far off-topic. For example off-topic political discussion tends not to go well on any forum I’ve participated in. To some extent, I think the General Discussion category could fit this use case.


#6

You’ve explained the “Trust Levels” and how they will be initially assigned, as well as indicated that higher levels can be “earned”. How, exactly, does that work?

The trust system gives greater responsibility and permissions to users who are able to demonstrate knowledge and trust.

But what is the mechanism? will it be by peer popularity vote (“likes” or the equivalent)? Tenure? Level of activity? Or perhaps upgrades will be manually bestowed by staff based on whatever they feel indicates a member possesses the required “knowledge and trust”?


#7

While I believe forum administrators have some flexibility, the general concept is built into Discourse’s core feature set and described here: What do user trust levels do? - faq - Discourse Meta.


#8

Maybe not contentious topics, but just idle chit-chat. Cat pictures? Your new favorite book or movie? Sports? Music? Your vacation?

As for the “General” category, that’s already been described as:

General Discussions

An area where Members can talk about various subjects related to Republic Wireless phones and service.

(emphasis mine)

Though I suppose it could be broadened, I think a separate OT category is better as it keeps the “shop talk” uncluttered. Maybe call it the “Republic Cafe” or “Break Room” or something like that.


#9

As I said, it’s something I’ve given thought to myself, so I’m not inherently opposed to the concept. I do suppose creating such a thing would potentially require someone (a moderator) to decide what strays to far off-topic. Maybe not on day one as I suspect staff will have its’ hands full getting everything up and running but a possibility down the road?


#10

So, the short answer (TL;DR) is “Trust levels are earned through participation.” Thank you.


#11

Hi @homelessonwheels ,

My biggest concern with an Off-topic section is that we have users who get lost. I fear that someone would post a legitimate cry for help in the off-topic forum and that it would be lost in the noise. As a moderator, I don’t believe I would have time to moderate an off-topic forum, and yet, as a support specialist, I would need to watch it just as closely as the other sections to make sure someone who needs help, gets help.

On the one hand, Discourse allows people who have achieved Trust Level Three to move posts from category to category, so assuming we have dedicated, engaged members at that level it’s possible we could count on them to find these lost souls and get their posts to the right place.

On the other hand, the Internet is a vast place and the Republic Wireless Community has a focused purpose. Are there not already enough places on the internet to share cat pictures and sports chatter? And what value to our members would there be in adding that kind of noise to our Community?

Convince me, and then I’ll run it up the flagpole.


#12

So, the short answer (TL;DR) is “Trust levels are earned through participation.” Thank you.

They are also lost through participation. It’s a delightfully complex tool, and we won’t be publishing the specifics of our implementation because we want to avoid having people try to game the system.


#13

southpaw@rw wrote:

My biggest concern with an Off-topic section is that we have users who get lost. I fear that someone would post a legitimate cry for help in the off-topic forum and that it would be lost in the noise.

That potential confusion could be mitigated by making the off-topic area only accessible to TL1+ or even TL2+ users. By the time one reaches that level, they should know where to look for and post technical questions and discussions. And the rare mispost can, as you noted, be moved by those with privileges, and could also be flagged by those without.

southpaw@rw wrote:

On the other hand, the Internet is a vast place and the Republic Wireless Community has a focused purpose. Are there not already enough places on the internet to share cat pictures and sports chatter? And what value to our members would there be in adding that kind of noise to our Community?

The purpose is just as I suggested. To foster a sense of community among regular and long-term members. A place we can be friendly with those whom we may not see elsewhere on the 'net. Think of it like you would the break room or proverbial water cooler at work. Could you imagine a workplace that forbade friendly chit-chat about leisure activities or current events? After all, there are bars and cafes all over town - why not just go chat there?

As for “adding noise”, that’s why it would be in it’s own section. Just like the break room in physical workplace, it’s under the same roof, yet segregated from the workspace. It complements the experience for those so inclined, enabling and enhancing camaraderie without distracting from the main purpose of the community (support for Republic products and service). Remember, most of the regular frequent participants (and by setting a minimum TL for access to OT forum, those are the only members who would even see it) are volunteers - anything that enhances the experience and encourages us to spend more time here (providing free support to your customers) can only be a win-win proposition, no?

Convince me, and then I’ll run it up the flagpole.

I can only try my best, and hope you are convinced


#14

southpaw@rw wrote:

So, the short answer (TL;DR) is “Trust levels are earned through participation.” Thank you.

They are also lost through participation.

And presumably lack of participation as well? That might take care of all the Ambassadors that rarely-if-ever participate anymore. Demotion by attrition.


#15

Excuse me?


#16

While I think a OT area is a pretty good idea, it would also have to be moderated. Kind of a waste of time. I am think of Reddit. Not moderated well to say the least.


#17

coreyk wrote:

I am think of Reddit. Not moderated well to say the least.

Well, the beauty of Reddit is that if you don’t like the conversation in a particular sub, you don’t have to read it. Same thing with a dedicated off-topic area here. And a simple prohibition against, say, sex, obscenity, profanity, violence, and religion (and maybe politics, too) should ensure it doesn’t become too offensive for delicate eyes.


#18

you know i the ambassador is not active they can and do become non ambassadors (I don’t know if republic pulls it or if they give the title up

but there are a lot of former ambassadors

https://community.republicwireless.com/docs/DOC-2041-about-the-community-team#jive_content_id_Community_Ambassadors

also note some of the ambassadors don’t visit this forum but handle other social media outlets (Facebook/Twitter)


#19

Ambassadors and Experts will continue to be selected by factors beyond Trust Level, so no one will automatically attain or lose membership in either group.

I hope to work on updating the membership of both programs once I find the time to do so.


#20

I think that it would be a slippery slope. Republic has customers that would read the OT area and without moderation could take things said there condoning what is said. I will go elsewhere for my non cellular forums.


#21

My favorite feature is how mobile friendly it is! No more lagging and much easier to use on mobile.