The Internet, and the way people use it, has changed so much since we launched FirstSigns (aka LifeSIGNS) back in 2002. We’ve grown our online services and developed several social network presences, and it’s time to look at how our Message Board is used.
Our Message Board was incredibly popular some years back, and was considered by many as a ‘life line’. These days our Message Board is quieter, with fewer members. We know people still want to be able to talk about self-injury and the issues behind SI in a safe and private online forum as so many people sign-up and register each week. But the community is quieter than it has ever been, so we need to look at how it all works and what people want from the FirstSigns community.
Our Message Board will shortly close. It will be unavailable while we redesign the system, rewrite the rules and reset the purpose of our community.
We will relaunch it as the FirstSigns Support Forum in July with new rules, new ways of working and a brand new mission.
- Message Board closes at 9pm on Thursday 16th June 2011
- Support Forum opens at 8pm on Monday 11th July 2011
The crucial matter is that we’re not relaunching a redesigned Message Board; we are in fact launching a support forum where people can ask questions, get answers, views and ideas, and talk about the issues behind self-injury.
Those of us involved with the community will offer support, guidance and ideas to guardians and family members of people who hurt themselves as well as directly to people who self-injure or are moving away from relying on self-injury.
We don’t know the exact size and shape of the Support Forum – we’re closing the Message Board down for three and a half weeks specifically so that the Directors and Volunteers of FirstSigns can work to redesign and rethink the shape and purpose of the Support Forum.
- The Message Board is closing at 9pm on 16th June;
- Your Message Board account will not be deleted or changed in any way – your membership is safe and secure;
- Any new members who register during the closed period will gain access to the new Support Forum when it launches;
- The Management Committee / Directors of FirstSigns will redesign the shape, size, set-up and purpose of the Support Forum, with guidance from the Volunteers who support our organisation;
- The FirstSigns Support Forum (FSSF) will open at 8pm on 11th July;
- You will be kept informed and notified of the launch of the Support Forum;
- Volunteers will be invited / appointed throughout July to help oversee the Support Forum.
We know changes can feel awkward; we know that every time Facebook changes something, people feel bemused, sometimes even angry. We all know that things settle down once we’ve had time to look around though!
We couldn’t stand by and watch our core resource, the Message Board, flounder and fail. Action was needed.
We couldn’t take this necessary action any sooner, nor could we bring it to your attention any sooner. This message has been published exactly as soon as we could write it and get it to you.
We couldn’t take this action later in the year; because of other commitments and workload, it had to be June – or it would’ve been October. We cannot wait until October – positive action is needed now.
We’re really excited about the future of the Support Forum and we hope you can see how the Message Board needs to evolve. We’ll do our best to get it all ship-shape for you by the 11th of July but we’ll be happy to improve the Support Forum and take on your feedback and ideas throughout 2011.
We’re incredibly grateful for the dedication and support of the Moderators and volunteers who have helped manage the Message Board all these years, and we hope that the Support Forum will be a big hit with people around the UK and beyond. We couldn’t do all the work we do without the help and support of the volunteers who make FirstSigns what it is today.
Thank you all for bearing with us as we make these changes, and we are sorry that the Board won’t be available for a period of time. We know how important online communities are, and that’s why we know it’s time to improve ours.
So, keep an eye on our website, blog, Tumblr and Twitter account for updates, and we’ll email you further details about the launch.