I’d wanted to reply to Stuart’s thread “Normal users cannot edit their own topics and comments“, but may have just found a bug on that page. Oops… Perhaps there is a limit to the length of the original topic post? Anyway, my reply…
Thank you for the ideas – the comparison with the more conventional web forums (e.g. phpbb, wikidots) is a very valuable one. It might lose the ability to support private groups for on-line mentoring, which would be problematic, unless we can establish that these types of activities won’t (aren’t?) going happen with this website.
The early users were the approximately 1000 (mostly PGCE students) who signed up for SPT Connect, the “vanilla” Elgg website that was our first attempt at a Web 2.0 forum, and where they could download the IOP’s SPT resources. They were automatically imported to SPT Connect version 2, aka TalkPhysics. I and my colleagues certainly have several TalkPhysics accounts each (e.g. to test registration of new users still works after a change), but that will explain something like 10-20 accounts, not quite matching the order of your cynicism… We continue to gain about 50 new users per week. I would be astounded if any of my colleagues felt they had the time or lack of professionalism to be doing that. I’m relieved that the UK has had 1000 PGCE Science students! 😉
The slow progress is, in large part, related to the available resources – please see my post on our budget.
The lack of surnames is an own-goal – we solved the Stuart Billington Billington duplication in a way that removed rather too much! After the changes to the menu structures, this is one of the planned fixes. You can already click on any user name and it will show you their profile, including their “professional name”, which most people have chosen to complete with first name and family name.
We could force all existing users to complete their profiles, but that might be too much of an off-putting draconian step! We have been forcing all new users to do this before posting for about the last month. I wanted to strike a balance between ease of access (just giving a name, email address and password) and professionalism (giving the full profile before posting).