Hi, I am a long-time lurker and have learned a lot from this forum and its participants. Things I have found particularly useful are (in no order):
- Welcoming and open discussion, with a few guardrails. I find the focus of the forum to be very helpful, and not a deterrent generally to open conversation. Others may disagree but for me it is clearly stated and does have it's intended effect.
- Forums and threads organized by topic. When great conversations about a particular topic are buried under the wrong title it can be confusing. In a way this is just ongoing effort on behalf of the forum to identify and organize the past conversations. I see this work going on constantly -- as a new and ongoing student this is extremely helpful, for example trying to understand Pre-conceptions one can find all of the historical conversations here on the forum.
- On the other hand I like how there are stubs of interesting ideas and areas of focus that might just sit there for a while until something clicks. These are the things an internet forum is really great at.
- Regular forum members and their contributions to the forum have really helped me. The forum is an archive of all these thoughts, and there is so much good stuff in there.
One thing that can be improved is that the forum is overwhelming, especially as a person just interested in epicureanism, or as an epicurean coming from other points of view. If you put on that person's shoes for a minute, and come to the front page, you'll see what I mean. It's not until you scroll way down the page that you see a section devoted to "New User Orientation" -- make that a stickied Thread and link it from the top of the home page in the Welcome section. This is one reason I started https://www.epicswerve.com -- this and other similar sites are intimidating and I hope to create a more focused and less intense introduction for people who are just interested in the philosophy.
A project to undertake is to clarify what each site is for, and then let that site do that thing, and link to throughout the network -- ie instead of each site having it's own list of the ancient documents (that have to be maintained) have one site that is the documents, and then point there from all the others (I know that was noted as a project so I'm just seconding that effort; I like the idea of making it a github repository that anyone can pull from). Maybe it isn't that simple, and I know I am proposing work for someone to do (but I am happy to help).
Overall I feel forum is working and there are increasing numbers of regular participants. The more participants, the more discussion, the more helpful threads are organized for future readers -- so outreach efforts are key but obviously outside the normal scope of the forum.
These are just some thoughts. Thanks for everything.