Guide to Participating Groups
Groups Have Grown Up
NewsTalkers groups provide a forum for like-minded individuals to focus on a particular subject matter. As an example, we could easily have a Chess group where chess aficionados discuss the latest in the chess community, analyze games, admire chess piece designs, etc. The group members could informally communicate using the group wall (like a bulletin board) but could also host articles and discuss same. But groups have the downside of being out of the limelight. Articles produced within groups can only reach group members. This makes it difficult to attract new members and deprives the general NewsTalkers community of (often relevant and interesting) content generated within groups.
To remedy this while still preserving privacy and protections, we have the functionality of Participating Groups. A participating group is one that can, by its own choice, make some (or all) of its articles available to the general Newstalkers community. This is accomplished by promoting articles.
An author within a group can now promote an article to the front page - making it available to the entire NewsTalkers community. The author can promote (or demote) an article at any time by clicking the check box ' Promote to Front Page ' in the details of the article.
A promoted article will appear on the front page in the Recent Articles section. Everyone will be able to click on this article, read it and read the comments. The following shows three promoted articles as they appear on the front page:
You will always be able to identify a group article since the group avatar will be attached to the lower right of the article's image.
Everyone can read the comments in a promoted article but only group members are allowed to enter new comments. Joining a group, however, is easy. NewsTalkers members who are not part of the article's group will see the group badge on the upper right corner of the article. Clicking the badge (see below) takes the member to the group and thus access to the ' Join Group ' button which instantly allows the member to comment.
Every group has a distinguished owner who serves as the ultimate authority for the group. Each owner has the ability to allow or disallow members from participating in the group (using the Active checkbox). The owner also determines which members of their group are allowed to promote articles they have authored to the front page. To allow promotion, the owner clicks on the member's avatar and clicks the new ' May Promote Articles ' checkbox:
As long as that checkbox remains checked, the member will have a ' Promote to Front Page ' checkbox on the member's articles for this group.
The owner of a group is also the lead moderator for the group. Owners can also recruit other members as group moderators. The 'Group Moderator' checkbox above lets the owner empower the member as a moderator for the group. Each group moderator has certain capabilities - similar to those of the site moderators (the traditional NewsTalkers moderators). A group moderator can:
- edit or redact a comment on an article
- ticket a comment (or an entire article) as a violation of policy
The system used for group moderation is a subset of that used by site moderators. It is driven by the NewsTalkers flagging system which is now engaged for all group articles. When an item in a group article is flagged, the flag notification will not go to the site moderators but rather to the group moderators. It is up to the group moderators to determine the course of action for each flag. Group moderators run their own show (albeit with site moderator oversight).
If a flag exists for any group in which a member moderates, the personal menu (on the far right under your member name) will have an entry labeled 'Group Flags'. Clicking on this menu item will present the Group Moderator - Flagged Items panel:
This panel allows the group moderator to see all flags for all groups the member moderates. From this panel the group moderator can go to the comment (or article) flagged and look at the context. Alternatively, the group moderator could click the Comment button to see the comment without navigating to its hosting article. Ultimately the group moderator will either issue a Ticket or Allow the comment (or article) to stand as it. The Allow button disables the flag and removes it from the list. The Ticket button provides a form showing the comment, allowing the group moderator to edit if needed, and lets the group moderator select the offense.
Any changes to the comment will appear in the article. The offense will be shown (along with the name of the issuing group moderator) on the lower right of the comment. For this example, here is how the issued ticket looks in the article:
All tickets issued by group moderators are warnings. However, comment contents may be deleted and the group owner might, at some point, remove a repeat offender from the group.
Groups can be made private (as before). Private groups do not have the ability to promote to the front page. They remain isolated in their own private chamber. However the articles within private groups now have flagging and group moderation functionality if the group wishes to use it.