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Author Topic: Introduction to foneforum  (Read 15015 times)
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« on: May 23, 2008, 02:23:07 PM »

1).  How we came about.

The idea for this forum was first mooted by Mikael Armstrong, who runs, in a letter to the niftylist forum ( now renamed ).

I had been contributing to that forum for some considerable time, but I had come under continual pressure to stop promoting pre-dial services there, and had frequently been threatened and bullied by their admin that he would ban me.  I warned Mikael many times that the end looked near, and we both considered our options for action.

I registered two groups on Google, as a strategic reserve, and Mikael registered this domain name, for a potential new forum.

When our differences became irreconcilable, I first activated one of my Google groups, which quickly grew to 40 members in just 8 days, but the software limitations experienced there were a disappointment, and frustration, to both some members and to myself.

I eventually persuaded Mikael to download this forum software here, so that we could begin a new life as the 'foneforum'.

2).  Who we are.

I have introduced both Mikael and myself already, but I will share a little bit more here to satisfy people's curiosity.

Although Mikael runs pre-dial, as I said, I am not in his employ, and have never asked for, or received, a single penny from him, or from his company, for any of my time and efforts.  I give my time freely because it is my hobby, and because I like to help people avoid exploitation from exorbitant charges imposed for making some types of calls by various telephone networks, especially the mobile ones.

Our relationship began out of correspondence between us, when I emailed him at various times about his services.
The relationship has grown and strengthened, as we both found that we benefitted from it in different ways.
I have enjoyed getting a lot of information given to me by Mikael, and I believe that I may have helped him by publishing details of his services, and updates about their progress, ( or, sometimes, periodic interruptions ).

This is crucial to the understanding that this forum is both linked to, and independent of, pre-dial.

Mikael and I share the same admin rights here, so I am free to take an independent line if I wanted to.
However, pre-dial will be at its heart, although Mikael has been good enough to say that we can make comparisons with the services of competitors, and even that he does not mind if we discuss anything at all about telephone services.  I applaud his openness to facing competition, his firm commitment to the open market, and his belief that healthy competition is good.

3).  The management roles.

Mikael has pre-dial to run, so his words to me were that I should:-
"Go ahead and do whatever you think is best!
I shall take a hands-off approach, and let you run it how you best wish to".

This means that I shall be doing most of the day by day running of the forum here.
I shall divide my time, roughly equally, between doing all the admin tasks 'behind the scenes', and to writing information posts and replies - which enables me to enjoy utilising my creativity in writing.

The third member of the management trio will be Dave, whom I have appointed to be our first forum global moderator.
I shall say a good deal more about his key pivotal role after the very next section.

4).  Our ethical policy.

The policy I am laying down for this forum is that we should have the highest possible ethical standards.  This will mean several things.

First, all claims made need to be true, substantiated, and provable.
They should be expressed in good English ( not 'text speak' ), have been spell checked, and employ only good language ( i.e. suitable for your mother to read !).  It is OK to express disappointment, or even frustration and anger, when things go wrong, but not to resort to personal abuse of the person providing it.  ( He is very unlikely to want his services to fail, after all !).  It is equally OK to express differing opinions, but members should agree to disagree when this happens, not start warring together.
Any friction which does arise should be dealt with in PM's, not in an unseemly public row

Second, constructive criticism is to be welcomed, not suppressed.
pre-dial services may be compared with those of others.
Competition is a fact of life that has to be faced.

Third, as this is an open forum, everything possible should be done to make both its members and valued guests feel comfortable here.  Points are to made in a non abusive language and a non threatening way.
If new services are reported, there must be reference made to where the information can be confirmed.
This will preferably be by means of a URL being supplied, where possible; or by the company name being given of its service provider.
It needs to be something that can be checked out.
Anything which cannot be substantiated will be teated as spurious spam, and quickly removed.

Fourthly, it is my firm intention to encourage everybody to maintain a friendly attitude to other members.
The admin team will not adopt the bullying and threatening behaviour that I myself endured elsewhere.
( That time was a valuable learning experience for me, as I gleaned so much about how the admin job should not be done ! )
The moderator(s) will be given the job of helping members with problems.
And everyone will be encouraged to see that we all benefit from a happy community of shared interest, and that the forum will function best if it remains free of friction.

Every effort will be made to see that help is given when posts need amendment, and that there will be no quick resorting to deletion as a 'quick fix' or answer.

Lastly, the decision to make any deletion, if help is spurned, will only be taken as a last resort by a member of 'TheAdminTeam'.
We also sincerely hope that the final resort - of needing to ban a member - will never become necessary.

5).  The role of the Moderator(s).

I should like to explain this in some detail, as our approach may be somewhat different to practices elsewhere.

The main task that I will ask of a moderator is to be a facilitator and enabler.
Their first duty is to help members with problems, and to enable the smooth running of the forum.
Any members with problems should look to them for help in the first instance.

They will also be responsible for moving posts out of sight when they do not conform to our ethical standards.
This will not be a deletion, but an opportunity to help the poster see what amendments need to be made to improve their post, so that it can be returned to open view.
The emphasis will be placed on facilitating and enabling the smooth running of the forum, through offering their advice and help, rather than on their exercising a 'policing' role.

Initially Dave will be our single global moderator ( which means that he can operate on all boards ), though he may well be joined by others later, when the work load increases as our membership and activity grow over time.

It is also hoped that moderators will eventually be found to give their help on individual forum boards.
Three have already been appointed, though only two will be able to work initially.

6).  If you need help.

In a single sentence, the moderator is your man !
The board moderator ( where available ) should be turned to in the first instance, but Dave otherwise.

7).  Resources which may help you.

People joining here will come from very different backgrounds, and have widely differing experiences of using telephone services.

In order to help all our members and guests, I am making available a board specifically for providing helpful information.

Included in there will be tools for searching for the best callthrough services to specific destinations; information on how to locate a mobile network; and several other matters are covered also.
If you feel you need some help, please read our Sundry useful information board, towards the bottom of the list of boards.

Thank you.


« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 10:29:25 AM by mobaholic » Logged

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