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Discussion in 'Ask A Question' started by Guzzler, Nov 10, 2017.
Not specifically in its present format but how long has this site been running?
If you click "About Us" right at the bottom of the home page, it says this: "Since 2007, Diabetes.co.uk has grown into the largest diabetes community in Europe and receives over 1 million users a month."
Slightly ambiguous, but I think that is the answer to your question.
The site must have grown and evolved over that time. Ironing out the format, glitches and to say nothing of the rules and ethos. I think for a site with so much data and a vast population it does not do too shabby a job at all. Thanks must go to the founders and all staff and volunteers past and present for the education and support that is provided. The members arn't too bad either!
I agree. One apparently small point, but of great importance over time, is the sophistication of the software and the settings chosen by the administrators. It is easy to use but has some unusual options (in my experience). Two of those would be: (1) Being able to change the title of a thread. (2) Being able to edit a post afterwards; most fora allow this, but often for only half an hour or so.
I also find that the moderators have a light touch, compared to other fora. It must be a really hard job given the seriousness of the subject matter.
I sometimes wonder about the profusion of sub-fora here. I think, on balance, that is an excellent idea but it is under-used, especially by newbies who will ask a question for which there exists a whole sub-forum. I also think the "New Posts" column at the right of the main forum page is a mixed blessing because it makes it easier to jump into a sub-forum without context, but that is really something that forum members should take responsibility for themselves.
I do wish more people would use the paragraph key! I think this must have something to do with people using smartphones (I don't own one).
It is a fantastic place. Well done, diabetes.co.uk.
Using the site on a phone seems to be slightly different. I got the app but prefer to use my ipad or tablet.
As to paragraphs, that is a mixed blessing and let's face it, we are here to learn about Diabetes in the main rather than the vagaries of presentation or punctuation.
As to the sub forums, I know that members prefer this layout for easy access otherwise we would have to trawl through one great long list. Newcomers find their way around in time.
I don't mind spelling or punctuation issues. After all, I use American spelling and punctuation (out of habit) so people in the UK must find that strange sometimes. The paragraphs are a bigger issue for me. When a long post is written as a single paragraph, I copy/paste it into Windows Text and insert paragraphs before reading it. Otherwise just impossible to read, for my befuddled brain. (I have already posted about this in the "Other Stuff" sub-forum or whatever it is called.)
Sorry, that was off-topic. What I find amazing about this forum is that, without claiming to provide medical advice, it is actually more helpful in some respects than fairly large portions of the medical establishment. That seems to be due not only to the apparent weaknesses in the establishment, but also to the unusually well-run and well-designed forum and the depth of knowledge of the members. The main website is very good too -- often providing the answers to the questions that people go to the forum for, instead!
Sorry another thing that is fairly obvious, but sad.
A huge number of people are developing diabetes. So the incoming members are numerous, and because of the nature of the topic, very motivated. Even if lots of them dropped out, the "crop" is so large that high quality (and passion, let's face it) are in part guaranteed simply by the numbers.
Compare that to the forums devoted to widget-makers of one kind or another, in which the numbers just aren't there.
99.9% of the members are absolutely fantastic. I however am absolutely terrible. It's just how I roll
My first thought on joining this site was that although diagnosis/medical advice without qualification is a no no, members teach you the right questions to ask your HCPs.
The place evolves all the time.
Folks come and go. It reminds me of a saying about friends. 'Some for a reason, some for a season, some for life'.
Well, I think you're all totally Bonkers but in the nicest possible way
Sounds like a compliment. It will do for me.
Excuse me! I am not bonkers. I have a certificate to prove it
if it had not been for this site I would never have had a retinopathy test. My dn forgot to organise one for me. "oh yes", she said, should have done that.
Also have lost weight, have a hbalc of 39 and just feel better. All because of this site and its generous posters.
Erm excuse me. Please stop selling yourself way too short. All an Internet Forum can do is offer advice and support. It is you who have done all the really hard work.
WHOOPS almost forgot. Really, really well done with it
Mine is a similar story. Told on diagnosis that at my next visit bg lowering drugs would be prescribed and that in the opinion of the dn I should be put on insulin there and then. My A1c was 98.
After finding this site a few days later I learned how to tackle stuff. My next visit one month later showed a drop in A1c to 73 and three months after that a further drop to 43.
So I can absolutely say with certain conviction that the members on this site are responsible for my improved health and prospects for the future. Without this site I would now be trying to cope with the drugs and/or insulin regime that I would prefer to put off for as long as I possibly can.
This is not because having to take drugs/insulin is some kind of failure to control, it is because at the time of diagnosis with T2 I was already on 17 tablets per day. I couldn't at that time have coped with a lot more.
I cannot credit this site for my going low-carb and "reversing" my T2D with lifestyle changes and no drugs. I am amazingly lucky to be able to credit my doctor for that choice, since I tend to trust the White Coats and do whatever they say (or at least, I did, before coming to this forum seven months after my diagnosis).
What the forum has done is validate my doctor's choice, and that of so many others here (often made personally and not on professional medical advice). The forum provides a kind of reserve army of enthusiasts to bolster the morale (and education) of others who are bewildered and scared when recently diagnosed. In the treatment of newly diagnosed T2D in particular, it often helps them evaluate the advantages of the low-carb lifestyle and figure out whether it would work, for them. (Of course the forum does so much more than that; I just wanted to give a salient example.)
It is funny what makes a forum successful. I belong to about half-a-dozen fora, mostly linked with various electronics hobbies -- I am an enthusiast for finding and restoring "vintage" radios and TVs from the 1950s and 60s as well as building some "vintage style" valve equipment from scratch.
Of those other fora I belong to, the most successful in my mind is a tiny enthusiast niche. It is UK-based and its members do nothing but find (in garbage tips, in people's atticks, at boot sales) black-and-white television sets dating from the mid-30s to the 1960s and return them to working condition. We are probably only a few hundred members but the passion level (and eccentricity, I have to say!) is extremely high. The expertise of the most proflific posters boggles the mind, as we brainstorm together to figure out arcane faults in ancient electronic gear and help bewildered newbies. The moderators have a light touch, except that they viciously bring into line anyone who goes off-topic (and will quickly create a new thread if warranted by the off-topic topic, if you see what I mean).
Another forum I belong to (an American one) to is relatively large. The hobby it is connected with has nearly 1 million adepts. Only a small minority of them participate actively in the forum. Although they do have their hobby in common, the passion level is much lower, and a lot of threads go off-topic and deteriorate into personal or even political mud-slinging. I was an active forum member for about a year but eventually left, having become disillusioned.
Its takes quite a lot to make a good Internet forum!
A forum that you join for fun and a forum that you join because you have a life changing condition can hardly be compared. I have also had membership of a range of sites but this is my third education/support group. This site is by far the most efficient and well run site of the three and the most frequented. That, however, does not mean that the members of the other two sites are anytheless ardent in their efforts to gain and share knowledge. We can put our hobbies down for a while, the same cannot be said for our health.
The conversation here seems to be moving from age of the forum to purpose of the forum. Some members might find this research interesting..