I had a suggestion for the home page in order to make it more newbie-friendly. First, the idea of being featured in a "featured" posting is scary and I wonder if it discourages postings and replies. It feels much safer to post in the decent obscurity of a sub-category! Instead of a snazzy "poster" posting on the front page, what if one of the seasoned veterans were to write a brief welcome (MT?) just setting the tone and explaining that there are various ways of using the site? One can go through the list of topics and find a forum that speaks to one. One can click on "people" and follow the thread of someone who has shared his or her story. One can look at the most recent postings. One can hunt through the archives of the old sites under "newspapers." I'm pretty new to this and since I check the site only briefly once a day, it has taken me actually a couple of weeks to discover the things like the archives and the "people" feature. Even basic things like "one can post a reply or start a new thread" or "one can send an individual email--but know that your address will appear to the recipient". Obvious stuff, I know, but I wonder if it might be helpful and encourage those who are shy? Just an idea.
It also has the added benefit of not having to constantly update the home page.
Now, if the home page isn't updated at least once a week, the site quickly gives the impression of being an abandoned site.
Oh, and perhaps extend "THE LATEST FORUM POSTS" to the last 10 (in stead of 5), to give an impression of more activity on the site.
Great ideas! Thanks guys! I have to admit I haven't put much effort or thought into this lately, but I'll be sitting down for an hour or two this week and reworking the site. I'd love to find somebody interested in doing a little blogging for the sites home page. An article a week, possibly one a month. I don't think I can extend the latest posts beyond five, but I'll look into that too. If somebody would like to write a welcome paragraph or two for the front page, I'd be happy to slap it up there.
I would also say--could you or one of the administrators please remove the silly spam that someone just posted? I think that we could do without the desperate pre-adolescent attention-seeking via vulgarity.
It is worth nothing here and needs a bit of help evaporating.