Brynmor Member Posts: 1,755
edited 24. Jul 2020, 10:26 in Community Feedback and ideas

In about 6 weeks time the Online Community will be 6 months old, having relaunched from the old forums at the end February. It has been an extraordinary 6 months...

We would like to draw breath and pause to take a look around at where we are and what we might do over the coming 6 months.

This is a very early and informal request to ask you what you think of the Online Community:

  • What you like about it
  • What could be better
  • What would you like to see added or changed (if possible)
  • What new things we can do or feature to improve the Community

Do post your thoughts in the Comments and let us know what you think.



  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    I like the fact that members of the forum understand what we are going through, especially those of us who have to navigate our way through chronic pain on our own (sorry Vixen). Having a forum to have a moan without criticism is also a positive thing, as is sharing good news and helping each other based on individual's experiences.

    A change that I would like to see is some way of new members being able to go to existing posts to find answers to their questions. I know that there is a search button at the top of each page but there are numerous recurring questions such as pillows; mattresses; PIP and so forth which have been the subject of much previous discussion. Perhaps a list of regular specific topics like these on the page on which someone can click to find them would be useful.

    In summary, i am glad that I found the forum and would now not be without it.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,733

    I’m not social media savvy enough to make constructive suggestions, I just wanted to say how glad I am that I found this site, and the forum community. The overall feel of the site is kind, supportive, personal, and the wealth of info on your pages is amazing and I’ve found it really well researched and useful. The NHS site is so clinically pared back to essentials it’s of limited use, and most of the others are peddling products or impenetrably technical. Thank you.

  • crinkly1
    crinkly1 Member Posts: 156

    Having by now become accustomed to the new format it's difficult to remember the old system in detail, even after more than a decade of regular use.

    I like the 'Recent Posts' function but am slightly irritated by having to scroll down through the illustrated heading before accessing each relevant forum thread. However those headings are attractive, welcoming and appropriate.

    It would be helpful if the date of the last post on each topic was available in the Recent Posts list.

    I like the appearance of page numbers following the first entry in each forum, rather than at the foot of page 1. That is a useful time-saver.

    I haven't made much use of the index to date so can't comment on how easy it may be to navigate for newcomers wanting specific topics but it's relatively straightforward when you know exactly what you are looking for.

    I look forward to a wider range of discussions as lockdown comes to an end and NHS services begin to open up their long waiting lists. I do, however, acknowledge the need for 'venting' on the many frustrating issues.

    The facility to add visual images is amusing and instructions for doing so are clear but don't deter those of us who don't have time, creativity or inclination to add such embellishments!

    Re Lilymary's comment above about NHS information being 'clinically pared back', it was ever thus and perhaps seems more sparse by comparison with the openness of members' posts. There is so much variation in individual experience of all forms of arthritis that only very general 'official' information can be given. The huge advantage of these forums and the VA telephone support is that they enlarge on formal NHS announcements. This is exactly the reason why we need and use VA's online service.

    Thank you VA for the painstaking hard work involved in creating and operating this new site. Many of us would be in a dark, lonely and depressing place without you.

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    Agree with Crinkly's suggestion of having the date of the last post on each topic. I would also like a "thankyou" tag to go along with "quote" "agree" etc at the bottom of each post.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,016

    I like the ideas put forward too so far especially the date and time. A Thank you would be nice - always good to be polite!

    Hi @crinkly1 !

    We do have some helpful 'permanent threads' don't we? Or have they gone since the new forum?

  • crinkly1
    crinkly1 Member Posts: 156

    Toni - yes, I'm certain all the 'permanent threads' remain on the forums. As time passes they slip below the many new threads, especially those relating to the pandemic, but can be quickly found via the index. 😊

    (The long thread I started is due for a final, very positive, update soon so I'll haul it back to the top of the pile then. As consultations and elective surgery return it may be useful - until new techniques render it obsolete.)

    Mike - have just realized that the appearance of the word 'new' against threads in the Recent Posts list is just as good as adding the date, provided one signs in to the forum so that it's visible. I tend not to sign in unless I post, otherwise I browse in a confidential, general way. Perhaps that's a bit of a 'privacy cop-out' as always signing in gives VA a better indication of members' use of the site. 😒

    Mods et al - I hereby admit to having browsed on most days of the past 10+ years so should make that known as I do appreciate the existence of the forum.😃

  • Brynmor
    Brynmor Member Posts: 1,755


     I tend not to sign in unless I post, otherwise I browse in a confidential, general way. Perhaps that's a bit of a 'privacy cop-out' as always signing in gives VA a better indication of members' use of the site.

    You can always hide your online status by changing the Who's Online setting in your profile:

    Go to Edit Profile and in the selection menu choose the Who's Online option and then "tick and Save" the "Hide my online status from other members" setting. 😃

  • Sharon_K
    Sharon_K Member Posts: 460

    Hi @crinkly1

    thank you for your confession 😂 We do know we have a lot of readers who never sign in and I guess there are others like you who only sign in when you are going to respond, it makes sense. As you say signing in gives us a better indication of numbers but what matters the most is that the Online community works for you. Brynmoor's idea of hiding your status may work for you too.

    Anyway we are delighted you are still with us, and both reading and responding, thank you!!


  • Brynmor
    Brynmor Member Posts: 1,755


    As well as posting thanks to members for their help and support in answering questions, you can now also add a "Thankyou" reaction to their post.

    Thankyou ❤️