By Josué Cardona
We’ve launched a message board/forum for our community called the Geek Therapy Forum. I’ve considered doing something like this for years but never found a good enough reason to do it beyond “it would be nice to have a message board.” I finally found a few more reasons and now I’m really excited about it.
We started a GT Community group on Facebook and that has been great. But it’s Facebook. I used to be able to avoid the rest of Facebook by using the Groups app but Facebook got rid of it last year, forcing users to access groups from the website or the regular Facebook app. I mostly use Facebook for Groups and Messenger. Again, I think the group is great and the community there is fantastic but I know that a lot of people aren’t there. Also, Facebook decides what to show you and when which can be very annoying.
We also started a Discord server and I love that too. It has voice chat, it feels cool, and the conversations there are great. But just like the FB group, Discord is ephemeral, meaning that the content there doesn’t last very long. It’s always moving so if you aren’t there when it happens, you missed it. It actually takes a lot of organization and additional tools to feel like you aren’t missing out on platforms like Twitter and Instagram unless you are on them all the time.
Then, we recently joked on an episode of GT Radio that because Ali missed an episode he might have a lot to say and he could record another episode to respond. It was a joke and it was ridiculous because we already have a comment feature on every episode post, and we have social media and email and… You see the problem, right? Where do you go to respond to a podcast? Each episode is posted on one website, hosted on another, and you see/hear it on whatever app and device you choose. I’ve thought about this problem for a long time.
The Forum finally started to come together when I visited Waypoint’s forums. I liked the way the site looked and functioned. Later I realized that they don’t have comments on their stories, instead, they link each story to a topic in the forums. That was it! That could work! Basically, I started the GT Forum by copying Waypoint’s. In fact, I even reached out to their community manager Danika and got her blessing to take and pull from their guidelines and code of conduct, which I did. I love what Waypoint is doing there so it’s been a great template to start with.
The GT Forum has a few great features. Almost every piece of content from Geek Therapy, PsychTech, and Headshots has already been linked to a topic in the forum so instead of a comment box at the bottom of an article or episode post, you’ll see a link to its topic on the forum. I’ve set up each website to create those topics automatically. Each new episode will also have a link to its own topic from now on so you can visit it directly from the show notes in your podcast app. I hope to work with other shows on our network to do the same.
I was also able to link our Patreon membership to the forum so members automatically get access to a patron-exclusive area in the forum. I love this because now all Patreon discussions can happen in the same place as the podcast episode discussions.
And that’s not all because the Forum is also a traditional message board with categories for games, anime, movies, tech, psychology, and all of the things that define our content and our community. Oh, and it remembers what you last read and lots of other great features like Facebook, Twitter, and Google login. The Forum really does address a lot of things I’ve wanted to fix for years but never knew how or even where to start.
So from now on, you’ll hear the Forum mentioned a lot. It is THE place for discussion now. Facebook, Twitter, Discord, they aren’t going anywhere and we see each as an important part of the community but we hope the Forum becomes the new center of it all.