earth - new and improved2 copyHey all, I have quite a bit to share with you about some of the new revisions and features at PlanetPOV!

I’ll begin with our newest feature at the site which we’re debuting on HuffNo Friday night this week:

Debate Night Live

Debate Night Live is just what it says, a live real-time debate between PlanetPOV members on an important issue. It takes place on a chat-type system so the debate will happen live before your eyes without needing to refresh the page.

After the debate, we’re going to try a little experiment of opening up the system to allow all members to chat in real time about the debate and the issue for a brief period. The track record of open chats with numerous people and coherent conversations isn’t great but just for the fun of it, we’ll see what happens. If it gets a bit too silly or too disjointed to follow, we may not continue the after-debate open chat in the future.

When the event is over and the chat is closed, there will be an article about the debate on the Home Page and the conversation will continue there.  We’ll have a poll in the article for you to vote on which side you thought won the debate (it’s intended to be a vote on which side of the debate was most effective as opposed to whether or not one agrees with that POV).

This may be a first, we don’t know of any political blog that hosts regular debates between members but we want this site to be innovative and create more ways for members to express themselves and explore issues so we’re very excited about this.

Now for the details about this week’s debate.

DATE: Friday, Nov 13th
TIME: 7:00 pm PST
PLACE: The Debate Night Live page at PlanetPOV (the link is at the top of the site)
TOPIC: Did Democrats compromise too much on the Health Care Bill?
DEBATERS: KarateKid (Pro) and KQuark (Con)

The way the system is set up at this point, it’s possible for all Authors to use the system during the debate so no matter how tempted you may be, please don’t intrude on the debate between the two debaters by entering any comments during the debate (you can comment once the debate is over).

Each week we will have new topics and debaters. If you are interested in debating and/or want to suggest a topic for debate, please let us know, we want as wide a variety of members debating on a wide variety of issues. We particularly would like to have people debating issues and positions that they feel about very strongly but as those who’ve debated know, a good debater can take either side of an issue and debate successfully.

There are a number of options we could explore as we continue this feature in the coming weeks, including teams of two debaters per side and multiple debates on different issues on the same night. Since it’s new, we’ll explore the possibilities as we go. Your feedback on this first debate will be very helpful in our making this feature work better so please share your reviews with us after the event.

Seminars

As introduced this week by KevenSeven, we’ve debuted another feature that provides for a continuing, more in-depth dialog on resonant issues. Quoting from K7’s post:

Tonight I introduce a new feature: A recurring seminar on various topics. The concept is deliberately academic. I (and others assuming y’all embrace the concept) will be conducting a conversation on various topics: politics, policy, economics.

For this first effort, I will outline a discussion and invite you to comment. We will have the thread up for a day or two, then take it down. I would ask you to do some research in preparation for next week’s continuation of the topic. Please try to find trenchant and persuasive material and bring us a link. Also write a synopsis of the material that you are bringing us. Hopefully we can work for several weeks and find quite a bit of material to share.

And perhaps we can synthesize some new thoughts on the topic. Do please try to be careful to follow standard academic rules: avoid plagiarism or anything smelling of it, and give us citations. I’m pretty jazzed on this, I hope you will join me in this exercise.

As opposed to the very disposable dialogs that happen on some blogs, this can be a wonderful feature for The Planet that takes us even more into the realm of a Citizen’s Think Tank. We can fully explore concepts and ideas in this way, perhaps eventually building consensuses and even initiatives to pursue on some issues.

Pages for Comments

In pursuit of speeding up the load time of pages here, we are now splitting up large amounts of comments across additional pages. The most recent comments will be on the first page,  to browse through earlier comments, click on the “Older Comments”  link that will appear in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the page when there are more pages of comments. Occasionally, there may be a little issue with clicking on a “Recent Comment” link when the comment is on an older comment page, we are working to resolve that but you shouldn’t run into that too much.

We’re also still experimenting with what would be the best maximum number of comments to appear per page so if it changes while you’re browsing, you’ll know why.

Latest News Widget

As some of you may have noticed, we’ve added a News Widget in the far right column at the bottom. It will initially show the latest stories from Yahoo News but you will see a link at the top for “BBC”, click this to toggle to BBC’s news stories or click the” Yahoo” link to go back to their stories.

There is a scroll bar on the right of it, a red rectangle, you can click and drag it down to view the many stories in that window.

You can click on any story to go to the full story.

Volunteers

In case you don’t know, KQuark and I currently collaborate together as Admin at the site. As The Planet continues to grow and we add more features, our plates have gotten a little fuller. So, we’re very pleased to welcome Nellie and FeloniousMonk as volunteers in the role of Editors, to help us keep The Planet spinning nicely.

It’s nice to know that if KQuark and I aren’t around, Nellie and/or FeloniousMonk may be and could help members as they can with their posts, comments and questions.

We will need more Editorial support as we grow but one thing we would be very grateful for at this point is if there are any members here who are familiar with HTML or PHP programming, who could lend a hand from time to time with our continued revisions, updates and additions to the site.  If you are interested in volunteering whatever time you may have when it’s available (on your schedule) on the Editorial or Programming side, please email me at [email protected]

Lastly, we’re so grateful to the generous members who have donated to this site.  You can already see the fruits of your contributions,  for example, The Debate Night Live function has been paid for with your donations (we donated to the designer of that plugin for our use of it). More is on the way too.

In related news, thanks to our popularity, we are having to move our site to a to a dedicated server. The good news is that we’ve already grown that big, the flip side is that our operational expenses are increasing.

In these economic times, money is tight and we absolutely don’t want any member to feel obligated to contribute  anything more than the posts, comments and/or visits that are in themselves extremely valuable contributions to The Planet. If you can add to those contributions financially, great, if not, no worries.  For those who wish to, you can use our PayPal Donation function in the right column of each page or even better, do a Transfer directly from your account at the PayPal site to “[email protected]” and they won’t deduct fees from it.

The Planet’s growth and the quality of this community is truly amazing. Speaking for all of the founders, thank you so much for all of your support, passion, intellect and thoughtfulness. We hope you share in the pride we feel at the community and vehicle for self-expression we are all building here together .

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BigDogMom
Member
BigDogMom

Look forward to the live debate, keep up the good work guys! Will try to figure out how to trnsfr some funds to the planet, if not, regular paypal will have to do! The TechnoFart I that I am.

KevenSeven
Member

AdLib, thank you for your generous re-introduction of the seminar concept.

I wish to repeat my enthusiasm for this feature. I feel that if we get it swinging that we could run at least two simultaneously. Certainly there are many topics of interest to the members and that are amenable to this sort of treatment.

If you have a topic that you would have us discuss, whether you want to monitor it or not, just get my attention and we can consider it.

Athena
Member
Athena

Nice ideas for Planet POV – may I suggest it is time to change the video in the upper right corner. The GOP healthcare reform Music needs to be changed to something new.

Kalima
Admin

We are moving to a dedicated server maybe as soon as this weekend, when everything is in place, there will be necessary changes made.

The video that you are referring to is one made by Adlib and posted on youtube, if you would like to offer a replacement, please feel free to do so. We welcome new ideas here.

HITO
Member
HITO

Hi Adlib. I sent you an email just now in regards to the volunteering and contributing. Thanks for all your hard work.

GreatGrannie
Member
GreatGrannie

Hello, AdLib!
I also just sent you an email about volunteering and donating as well. This blog is the best!

escribacat
Member

Good stuff, Adlib. That is a lot of good changes. One question, the time of the debate Friday is 7 pm …. what timezone?

Kalima
Admin

I think it is the same as the time appearing on our comments, PST.

Obama20082012
Member

I will be making a donation shortly, however, I will not be able to participate Friday, for my husband and I are going to go see Bruce Springsteen. Have fun Friday everyone.

Pepe Lepew
Member

Oh, rather see the Boss than hang out with us, eh?
I guess we know where *we* stand…

KevenSeven
Member

Like you could not catch Springsteen another time!

I’ve met the Boss. Worked on the music video 57 Channels.

And I was tending bar in a nightclub thirty years ago when he came in to see a friend of his play.

He is a REALLY nice guy.