Forums 2.0: New Reorganization

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Phoenix, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. Phoenix

    Phoenix Moderator Staff Member Anglican

    Likes Received:

    This is the last item of our Forums Reformation, initiated during the Advent of 2014. It is also the first major re-structuring of the forums since the founding of this community several years ago.

    The old Forums 1.0, the 'Standard Model'

    In the past, the Forums were laid out along these lines:
    Anglican Forums Organization, 1.0
    General Discussion
    - New Members
    - Questions about Anglicanism
    - Philosophy and Theology
    - Anglican History
    - Arts and Music
    - Sacraments and Liturgy
    Church & Community
    - Pastoral Resources
    - Church and Parish Life
    - Anglican and Christian News
    General Discussion
    - Miscellaneous Discussion
    - Forum Suggestions
    - Technical Forum Discussion
    Most of the discussion centered around: theology, history, sacraments, and such. It's not the worst way to organize a community, and frankly every other Christian website does this. People come to the website mainly to discuss and debate doctrine. This layout may still be found on our backup server:

    The Problem With The 'Standard Model'

    The problem with the old layout: nobody visits the bottom 2/3s of the forums! "Pastoral Resources" -- what's that? People's lives, daily experience, funny conversations, get pushed down to a single Miscellaneous Forum at the bottom; which no one visits much anyway. People come here mainly to debate with one another. This situation became vitriolic some years ago, and at the Forums Reformation in 2014 we have added the badge of Anglican orthodoxy to bring clear boundaries to that discussion. But even today, you'll agree that the primary topic for our discussions remains polemical, and academic.

    But -- what's the latest with @Person1's children? What's he going through in trying to educate his eldest son? How is @Person2's wife reacting to some comments from her neighbors? We miss @Person3, but his dad has registered as @Person4 and we get to interact with him while @Person3 goes through some issues of faith. Why don't Christian forums look like this? We as members do not know each other, and are not having these kinds of conversations.

    Today's model of online Christian communities doesn't sufficiently reflect people's lived experience in navigating the matters of faith. The personal dimension matters. We are all going through stuff, rather than primarily sifting through eternal (and complicated) doctrines. And yet that eternal doctrine does matter, and must (in the end) regulate how we think and act. We see an opportunity to provide a better online Anglican community for all of us, while reaffirming our immovable celebration of traditional Anglican orthodoxy.

    The New Forums 2.0

    This is an experiment, but we would like to propose a new model for organizing Christian communities. Please bear with us, and it may be altered later, but for now (July 2018 A.D.), it is this:

    Anglican Forums Organization, 2.0
    - The Commons
    - New Members
    - Faith, Devotion, & Formation
    - Family, Relationships, and Single Life
    - Arts, Literature, and Games
    - Navigating Through Church Life
    - Sacred Music
    - Personal Advice, Care, & Prayers
    - Questions?
    - Anglican and Christian News
    - Non-Anglican Discussion
    - Sacred Scripture
    - Liturgy and Sacraments
    - Theology & Doctrine
    - Philosophy, Truth, and Ethics
    - Church History
    - Feasts, Fasts, and Church Calendar
    Website Discussion
    - Technical Assistance
    - Questions & Suggestions

    How To Understand The New Layout

    The old layout's one lone Miscellaneous Forum now becomes the majority of our discussions. How are you educating our children? Tell us the successes and challenges. Are you having a problem in the faith? Tell someone about it. What did you bake for the Feast of the Assumption? How is that fast of yours going? Did you see an amazing movie recently? Tell everyone, and let's have everyone talk about it (and see it together)!

    Once the boundaries of Faith and Orthodoxy become secured through the frameworks that are already established, it becomes less important to continually engage in polemics. The truth of every matter is basically already plain and clear. As we continue to upload more classic Anglican Works (and wait till you see what we have planned in the future), the question of 'What do Anglicans believe?' is less and less necessary. The facts and answers will just be obvious. Our task now is this: how to again be a single Body in Christ, together.

    Now, what if you do want to discuss theology? Can you have a question about Scripture? Of course! That is when you head into the bottom half of our forums: The Scholium. The academic and eternal part of our beliefs becomes protected there. Every aspect of our beliefs and practice becomes taught and explained there, with generous references to online resources, and the Online Works at

    In short, our online community becomes divided into two main areas:
    Top: Community (may be renamed later)
    Bottom: Scholium (may be renamed later)
    Which amounts to:
    Top: 'Your Personal Stuff'
    Bottom: 'The Academic Discussion'
    Top: 'Personal Faith/Church Topics'
    Bottom: 'Academic Faith/Church Topics'
    Top: Things Which Are Transient
    Bottom: Things Which Are Eternal

    This will be our big advantage over the other Christian communities. While they're still debating what is true, we live our lives, in joy and fear and admonition of the Lord. Together with one another, we struggle, we succeed; we fail, we triumph. When we do need to find an answer, all the resources and answers are at our fingertips.

    New Guidelines For Posting

    Since no existing Christian community is currently organized this way, here are some helpful tips on where you make your posts.

    First guideline:
    1. Keep in mind the personal/academic distinction.

    -Are you struggling with something for yourself? Is something your firm belief/opinion?
    -Or do you need to find the impartial and objective answer, regardless of yourself, for all times and peoples?

    Some (polemical) examples:
    • If your thread is: "I don't like that the fact that Scripture says X",put it somewhere in the Community forums.
    • If your thread is: "Can someone explain why Scripture says X?", put it somewhere in the Scholium forums.
    • If your thread is: "I have a problem with women's ordination", put it somewhere in the Community forums.
    • If your thread is: "Women's ordination goes against X", put it somewhere in the Scholium forums.
    If you don't find an ideal location in existing forums, ask us to create a new one, as the current 'buckets' for discussion will continue to adapt over time.

    Second guideline:
    2. Clarify your intent, much more than in the past.

    Suppose your new thread is entitled like this: "What is essential?" Such a title is too fuzzy to adequately fit within the current forums layout. Try to sharpen and clarify your question:
    • Are you asking about what is essential for you? The answer depends on who you are. Call your thread 'What is essential for my kids to learn in 2018?', and then post it somewhere in the Community section. Tell us more about yourself, what you're going through in life, and people will do their best to help you.
    • Are you asking about the essentials of the faith? That answer is set for all time. Call your thread 'What are the essentials of the faith?', post it in the Scholium, where people will do their best to provide that kind of answer.

    We hope this is enough to get the conversation started. Let us see how things develop!

    God's blessings to you. Please let us know what you think!