This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, Oct. 28, 2005.|
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News of our communities Our wine-and-food forums are moving to the Netscape Community next week, and we're mapping our coordinates on Google Frappr. Come, join in the fun!
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This will involve a major shift in the look and feel of the Wine Lovers Discussion Groups. We'll migrate the WineLovers forums from our home-grown forum structures to the CompuServe/Netscape facilities, which are housed on robust software provided by Prospero, an online forum provider with roots almost as deep in Internet history as ours. (Prospero is a direct descendant of The Well, one of the earliest major online communities, and it now hosts many major online communities including Netscape and CNN.com).
Those of you who've been with me for a long time will recognize this as something of a homecoming, as I got my start in online wine talk as a manager of the wine forum on CompuServe back in 1985. At that time, only the earliest of technology adopters realized that it was possible to "talk" - and build online communities - on those then newfangled personal-computer things. I moved on to the Internet to establish WineLoversPage.com in 1993, and opened the Wine Lovers' Discussion Group forums, first of their kind on the Web, in 1995.
Now, CompuServe is "rebranding" their historic forum communities with Netscape, with a renewed commitment to position the CompuServe/Netscape communities as the Internet's No. 1 place to discuss just about everything including good things to eat and drink. I'm delighted that, as part of this new commitment, they've invited me to bring our forums back home.
Please mark next Thursday on your calendars and make it a point to drop in for a house-warming in our new facilities then. If you'd like to start getting familiar with the Netscape communities before Nov. 4, you're more than welcome to sample some of its many other forum groups. I've been helping out in the "Debate This" forum, which is devoted to civil discussion and robust debate about news and political issues. I'd be happy to say hello to some of you over there. To visit, click:
To view an alphabetical list of links and information to all of the Netscape communities, visit the Netscape/CompuServe Forum Center,
You won't see our WineLovers Community there just yet - that will come Nov. 3. But I think you'll enjoy browsing the many other forums and discovering how the system works. (And no, you do not need to fire up the Netscape browser to visit ... all known Web-browsing software for Windows, Mac, Linux, even text-only screen readers should work just fine.)
You should be able to visit and read most forums without registering, but if you wish to post a message or to view all sections in some forums, you'll be prompted to register for an America OnLine (AOL) "screen name." Don't fret ... this is a free service, does not sign you up for AOL and does not require you to download AOL Instant Messenger. It's simply the system that the Netscape forums use to identify you on return visits so messages you post will bear your identity and waiting responses can be marked for your attention.
Note that this change involves only our interactive forums. WineLoversPage.com and The 30 Second Wine Advisor E-letters will go on exactly as they are. But I'm extremely happy to join with Netscape and CompuServe as we open the next chapter in this 20-year-old adventure in interactive online wine talk, and I look forward to having all of you along.
Mapping our community on Google Frappr!
Meanwhile, our regular forum participants have been having a lot of fun with another community-building activity that you're invited to participate in.
is a fun application of Google Maps that allows any group of people to add pushpins identifying their (approximate) location on a map dedicated to the group.
Participants enter their name and zipcode (or city and country for non-U.S. participants), and can optionally attach a photo and provide a short personal comment called a "shoutout." It's that simple, and it's surprising how fascinating it can be to discover how widely geographically distributed an online community may be.
Our forum "regulars" have been placing their pins all week, and now I hope Wine Advisor readers will join in the fun by adding your own listing. It's easy!