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OpEdNews member update: building community, better bios and more

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We're about to take live a few new features to enhance the quality of the site, the community experience and the way we relate to each other on the site that we've spent a lot of time thinking about, working on and programming.

1-Better Bios. We've long had a rule that to post content to the site, you need a decent bio. But we rarely did anything about it. Now, we've added a function so editors can flag member bios if they are too skimpy or flippant. We believe that having a solid bio adds to your credibility as a writer or commenter and strengthens our sense of community. It also decreases anonymity and adds some accountability and those are important to us. The senior editors worked together to create a FAQ:Creating a Bio-- How and Why
Please revisit your bio, check out the FAQ and consider enhancing your bio.

2- Biting the bullet on Pseudonyms:There is a lot of discussion on the effect of anonymity on the web. We've concluded that as a news site, we want to minimize anonymity, particularly among our content submitters. Starting later this week, OEN will have software that does not permit you to post content - articles, diaries, polls, events, quotations - without using the name you put in the name field of your member profile. If you put a pseudonym in the profile and checked off that you wanted to use the pseudonym, you will no longer be allowed to use it for new content. Older content will remain unchanged, unless you choose to have your real name on all the content.

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If you only post comments, you can continue to use your pseudonym, though we encourage you to move away from anonymity. If you DO post an article, diary, poll, etc., then you can no longer use your pseudonym.

We know some people are using pseudonyms typed into their real name fields. Currently, we do not yet have policy on that practice, except in the case of screamingly obvious cases, such as when a famous person's name is used. Those names are no longer acceptable. If the policy is changed, it will not be made retroactive, just as we are not making the pseudonym policy retroactive. We are protecting the anonymity of people who want to keep their old pseudonyms on articles, diaries, etc., that were published before the rule change.

Exceptions: We will allow a very small handful of OEN partners to continue to use their pseudonyms - literally a handful out of over 50,000 registered members. If you have a compelling reason for keeping your pseudonym, we will consider requests to maintain privacy. But we will not publish articles with silly handles anymore.
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If you use a pseudonym now and you submit a new article, you will receive a message that the pseudonym is no longer acceptable, and the real name you registered with will be displayed on your article or diary.

But this email is the formal notification to you of our policy. We believe the policy will make for a better site in many ways.

Later in the week, we'll be taking live two more projects we've worked on for months-- our paid member benefits program and our member reputation program.

Premium Membership Program:These paid memberships will give you the option to add benefits. It will not reduce your current access to the site in any way, except you will be limited to 2000 characters for comments if you are not a paid member. The answer, if you write longer than 2000 characters is to post your comment in two consecutive comments, which we will allow. We feel this will discourage "paste and run" commenters, who paste talking points they've received from emails. Paid members will have access to extra features members have been asking for, like statistics, enhanced member pages, ability comment without closing off commenting on older articles, ability to download all your articles as one neat file, a personalized member page URL, like, and more.

Member Reputation Program:We're not thrilled with the term "reputation" but it is used widely throughout the web to describe programs that reward and acknowledge members for activity on the website that benefits the website. We'll be giving you credit for things you do that make the website better and more well-known - submitting content like articles, diaries, polls, comments and events, rating articles, rating comments, sharing on facebook, using DIGG, REDDIT, tweeting, tell-a-friend, making donations. These will all help build reputation. We've been tracking these for a while and it's clear that our most active editors have the highest reputation scores. We'll be rewarding our editors with free premium memberships and also some of our most active member supporters. We'll be looking for diversity in scoring reputation points-- not just one thing, whether it's commenting or tweeting.

These are all efforts to make OEN a better place in terms of community, economic sustainability and credibility. We're open to feedback, but we've bit the bullet on most of these major decisions.

Thanks for your continuing support,

rob kall


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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.

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Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the

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