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Posts: 121
Location: zone 6a, NY
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I think it would be a better idea to reduce the amount of forums. We already have 14 sections and 155 forums(sorry if that number is inaccurate. I don't have the patience to count it again.) That alone would be a nightmare to navigate if I weren't a frequent user of the Crtl-F keyboard feature to find what I need. Most of them don't even have that many threads, and putting in a new forum for every part of a project is still unnecessary, as broad a topic permaculture is.
 
garden master
Posts: 1958
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Wow, I tried counting the number of forums, too. I got around 156 give or take two or three. That's pretty neat. I guess I hadn't realized that before because the main sections that I check are "recent topics" and "zero replies."
 
Posts: 231
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Here's my quick thoughts,

Many good suggestions and I don't feel like I need to add any new ones at this point but my favorites are the "critter infrastructure", "teens", and "big ideas" forums.

good critter infrastructure is the difference between "these animals support my systems which in turn support them and ultimately me" and "this is a pain in the ass and not worth it any more"

About the "teen" forum. Aren't "teens" newcomers to the discussion, strategies, vocabulary, all that? It might be a good idea to have a newbie starting place, but I don't see what is gained by separating teens out as if they were a different creature. Newbies are newbies. We're all humanity, just plenty of diversity in our community. I'd rather foster inclusiveness than divisiveness. The integration of the generations is something I appreciate about the permaculture model. Just MHO.



This is a great point but I think we really need to do whatever we can to get younger generations more engaged. Right now, at least in my own distorted mind, permaculture is the most awesome thing ever and all young people should automatically be drawn in. Even if this is true it should never be taken for granted. All of the revolutionary ideas about self-reliance and regenerative systems that we hold dear could fall out of fashion and no longer be as appealing to the young folks as they are now.

As Big Al said above:

So- the question is ARE we serious about attracting them ?



And a big idea forum seems like the perfect place to really connect with other members who share specific passions in the permaculture realm. Mine for example is developing a method, in my own specific region, to replace broad-scale monocultures of corn and soybeans with productive, multi-leveled, and profitable systems that could appeal to conservative-minded conventional farmers.

Looking forward to watching and actively participating in the evolution of these forums. Sincere thanks to all that works so hard to make this available.
 
Posts: 6
Location: New Hamburg, Ontario
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How about a forum on the business side of permaculture? Without an income, nothing is sustainable, sad as that may sound. There is tons of info on these forums to grow any type of food, but without a way to sell it at a profit, it is all for not. As Mark Sheppard says, we need to scale up and fast.
 
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Critters: Worms, Vermicomposting
 
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Hello Cassie, Paul and crew,

I see permies.com is now the largest and most active permaculture site on the web! Congratulations!
I would like to suggest more possibility for growing and help the planet, since over 70% of the worlds population lives here in Asia and Africa, a country by country forum for the planet could really help local permaculture groups in each country have a place to huddle and share local material. Right now each group must create their own website, or Facebook and while thats ok, world domination requires a world domination design.
For ideas have a look at how WWOOF International is organized, to serve the global community.
Permaculture is still new here and has alot of growth coming soon.
While "general permaculture principals" apply globally each area does also have heritage farming and natural farming techniques that could be classified as permaculture. local
geology, flora and fauna, animals, plants, foods, weather, altitudes (as Alpine permaculture with Sepp H.)
Due to the unique local nature then can you do something in the forum by continent and then country?
as an example I am a Canadian grew up just north of Missoula, but now live and teach Permaculture on a demonstration farm in NE Thailand. The plants here
are "all" different" from north America, the trees as well and the foods. Local issues are "cooling" not heating. rocket stoves are only cooking tools
and have little or no use for heating at low altitudes. Foods include all rice dishes, housing needs a good roof and then mostly ventilation year round.

Thanks and hope this helps

(Hmm this got posted in the wrong spot first) here it is in "tinkering with this site"
cheers,
 
gardener
Posts: 1902
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Whoa! Is there a forum called "big ideas"? I didn't see one, but I think I would like it.

It seems a logical development. Here we are creating this huge body of knowledge and reference materials as well as ongoing support for each other on issues that arise as we use permaculture in what we do. There will be more of the practical and physical implementation of many new developments and innovations as they arise, but a community of this size is does get a second generation of concerns and interests.

Big Ideas could be a general heading, with all kinds of different subheadings where we then weave our threads. Just like we have critters, then subheadings for cows ducks goats llamas etc. It could encompass almost all the ideas that have been suggested on this thread. Teens, if you want, sneak/covert outreach as well as the larger scale projects such as Mark Shepard's "New Forest Farm", devising whole diversified cropping systems for large scale farmers that makes it easy for currently conventional farmers to move into sustainable agricultural practices because their costs decrease, and it becomes more profitable, requires less effort, and utilizes machinery they already own.

Geographical and / or biome subdivisions that make it easy to find neighbors, say in the Rocky Mountains, as well as others in desert arid conditions, both cold and not so cold.

I was in my mid forties when the www came along, and I am not particularly skilled online stuff, but I think added categories would make it easier to find what I'm looking for, rather than more complicated.

Look at this flood of ideas that has come pouring out in response to the original question! New forums and subdivisions will likely be responded to as well, and provide more google hits for folks to discover us.

just wild midnight thoughts
Thekla

 
Posts: 40
Location: Dublin, Ireland
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Two possibilities:
So much of a Permaculture deals with water shortage and storage. What about general excess of water. Ireland is small. Nowhere further than 65 miles from the sea. We have average rainfall of over a metre per year. So a drainage forum?

Then what about total newbies? Is there a start your veg garden NOW section with subsections for each month ... Whenever NOW is for you.

I'm amazed by the amount of burn able wood is thrown into skips (dumpsters) by builders. How can we capture & use all that good stuff?
Good work everybody. EB
 
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Wow! Wow! Wow! I am blown away with all the posts here.
Even the poster thinking we have too many sections. Valid input one and all.
Now my two cents: Keywords and tags

For those that are trying to navigate the current forums and for future posts, a few tags that could help point the way to conversations and points of interest. The tags could even point to growing zones and weather. For past conversations there could be a sort of 'pop up' that asks readers what they would use for a tag, my Windows photo viewer asks for tags and shows what is already used for a tag.

What do you think?
 
Posts: 113
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Retrofitting. On converting conventional homes, appliances, and other things to the permaculture side.
 
Mike Feddersen
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Great idea Michael, I was listening to one of Paul's podcasts and they mentioned how a guy hooked up an oven to their RMH and started having a lot more control of baking items. Wish I knew which podcast it was, really a good retrofit.
 
S Haze
Posts: 231
Location: Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
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Another quick thought:

I'm no programmer, but I do have a bit of engineering background so I hope this makes sense; Could there be a feature like a sort of reverse search engine? Let me explain. If someone posts something how could they make it more likely that a subset of the permies community that falls into a defined set of parameters sees it?

Example: I am posting about setting up duck habitat in a temperate climate and I want to target it towards users that fall into certain categories. Could be based on region, rainfall, interest in ducks, etc. Again like the suggestion for a pins on a map sort of thing, enticing people to fill in information about themselves and their bioregion is key.

Some sort of 'suggested topics' area could pop up similar to the way ads do, that would be less obtrusive than emails or notifications.

Hope this helps the cause!
 
Posts: 95
Location: Berkeley, CA
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So glad you asked Cassie!

IMHO the forum on living is kind of a mixed bag with lots of kitchen/cooking topics (like half of the forum) and then other assorted living topics. I'm sure this mixed bag made sense when it was created, but now that half the topics are kitchen related, I feel they deserve their own separate forum, but I didn't know how to ask.

For me it would be...

Permaculture Kitchens. (Main forum heading)
Preservation
Fermentation
Weston A. Price
Paleo
Vegan
Vegetarian
Food as medicine
Medicinal herbs
Foodsheds
Food storage
Cooking
Seasonal menus
Food choices
Local food
Regenerative kitchen design
Kitchen equipment and tools
Nutrition
Farm to table
Cooking in community




Or maybe, more simply...

Permaculture kitchens
Preservation (canning, drying, root cellaring, fermenting, etc)
Eating styles and diet (Paleo, weston a price, paleo, vegan, vegetarian)
Food as medicine (TCM, medicinal herbs)
Food sheds (Elements, food distribution chains)
Cooking (Techniques, methods, styles)
Menus (Regional specialties, seasonal menus and recipes)
Nutrition
Farm to table connections
Cooking in community
Local food
Classes and workshops

Hope this makes sense to people / seems like a good idea.


Let's reintegrate the kitchen and the garden into one holistic system,

Seth Peterson

Permie chef



 
Posts: 2033
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I'd like to suggest that growing the number of subforums is viewed with caution. From experience of other boards when the number of subforums grows the information actually gets more fragmented and harder to assimilate. I would rather see a natural growth of boards based on how current boards are being used. Lets say that you realise that a particular subforum has 200 posts that could be usefully split into a new subforum of their own, then that might be worth doing, but cautiously and only if the quality of the parent board doesn't particularly suffer.

I have certainly had situations where I couldn't work out quite the right place for a post - but I think that was more an issue with boards being over specified, if they become too narrow then odd-ball ideas don't end up with a home, or ideas don't belong in any one place but have elements of many.
 
pollinator
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I agree with Michael except that cross posting can help ease fragmentation.

I would love to see sub-forums for some of the most commons topics because there are so main threads for let's say "apple trees" or black locust that it's tedious to track them all down. Maybe a few experimental sub threads would help. Maybe there is a number that makes this worthwhile.

If a topic has 20 threads maybe it does deserve its own sub-thread. Apple trees do seem to deserve its own thread as do several others. I think this might prevent people from asking the same question over and over.
 
Seth Peterson
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1) These are great points about forum size and topic numbers. Especially as the site grows. It is also the reason that I think the kitchen has grown to enough topics to deserve its own forum, so I'm hopingse of you all do too.

2) I would like to understand how cross posting works, because it seems like an essential function to making things easily findable, is there a place that explains this?

3) Teen forums sounds like a great idea to me, bring them into the fold, I have met more and more teens turning onto permaculture. I think they do deserve their own area for several reasons. They have a very different point of view, that they can share in m area devoted to that view. They are at a stage in life when they are beginning to want their own spaces, away from adults. They have their own language and net etiquette that is innovative and inportant, they deserve a creative space not dominated or run by us. It would empower them greatly at time in their lives when everything is future potential. Can you imagine getting into permaculture and then having a huge community of teens to relate to over this. Give them space to create what they want and they will blow our minds.

But that's just what I think, I dinno, so, I also think we should ask them.

4) should there be an elders forum too? Full of experienced wisdom but based on old fashioned ways.

5) I also, really, really suggest a jobs forum. This sounds like a great way to professionalize. Currently it is hard to connect to jobs in permaculture and few of us actually make our living from it, yet I know there are tons of jobs out there and people who could fill them, if connected. In my not so humble opinion this could be a game changer. this could be in the business / entrepreneurial forum previously mentioned, which I also think is a golden idea. Think about how pea culture voices has professionalized Perma-conferences, now we need technological infrastructure that supports our entrance into the 'real' world that the rest of society lives and works in.


Seth
Permie chef
 
pollinator
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I did not read all of this but;

1) I think that there are many many many forums already and its kinda overwhelming
2) None the less I like the Idea of a "Big Idea's" and curious too see how it would play out over time
3) I think we need a place to talk about weather and climate as they are crucial to growing things and life and whatnot
 
Posts: 149
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There just has to be a way... I'm hoping a category and some new ideas can surface in Solar, HOT AIR COLLECTION... no, no, not to be confused with grumpy old men...
Every time I go out on a winters day and jump in my hot car, I know it's possible to heat an entire house.
 
master steward
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I realized last night that quite a few websites have a "Journals" sub-forum, where a member can make their own journal and post their progress and ramblings. For instance, at Marks Daily Apple (paleo health forum), there are quite a few people who have journals, and many members seem to visit the forums frequently just to see what the other members are posting in their journal.

I, myself, have never had a journal, but I have seen how successful they can be. Perhaps people would like to make their own Permaculture Journal, in which they post their project's progress, weather in their area, sucesses in growing various plants, permaculture musings, etc (as long as it fits within the forum's publishing standard). I know there are quite a few people I would love to read the journals of if they had one, as they have such great knowledge and experience growing food in my area.

These journals would also give members a logical place to use their social media icon to link to, and perhaps get us more page visits from people following the icon link.
 
Dave Burton
garden master
Posts: 1958
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The Projects forum is intended to act as a place for people to post how their projects are doing.

Is this what you, Nicole, mean by journals, or do you mean in a broader sense a place for people to ramble, ponder, etc like a diary of thoughts permaculture related?
 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
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Dave Burton wrote:The Projects forum is intended to act as a place for people to post how their projects are doing.

Is this what you, Nicole, mean by journals, or do you mean in a broader sense a place for people to ramble, ponder, etc like a diary of thoughts permaculture related?



More of the latter, I would think. I looked at the projects section, but it seems to be intended for one project at a time, rather than all the projects and permaculture-related thoughts that a person is working on. I would imagine it would play out as a collection of permaculture-based webdiaries/blogs, some more informal than others. A person could even link to their individual projects in their journal, to make it a store-house of their own knowledge. It would allow a person to show the big-picture of what they are doing and thinking permaculturally. I also think having so many different people's permaculture thoughts and projects in one place would be a neat resource to have, as well as a great avenue for people to link from their own blogs and websites and put those social media icons to work!
 
Posts: 300
Location: CT zone 5b
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A couple of other posts above mentioned this but I wanted to say I'd like a forum for home improvements as a place for folks living in conventional homes that want or need to make improvements and want to do them in a non-conventional or better way.
 
steward
Posts: 1191
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We seem to be having an influx of folks with a preparedness outlook. How about "prepping via permaculture" or some such? There's a lot to talk about-just today DH and I were discussing an animal first aid kit and what ought to go into it.
 
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I am seeing quite a few suggestions that, in my view, are asking for forums or subforums that are already here. As one example, there was a suggestion for a vermicomposting sub under Critters, but I see vermicomposting as being covered under Composting and would not find it beneficial to separate it out from there - and if every post in a subforum is crossposted to another subforum, then why are there two subforums for the topic?

I think that it might be more helpful to have a place with some instruction on how to find what you are looking for on Permies, rather than trying to give so many things their own place, with the result that trying to sort through all of the forums and subforums becomes so tedious it discourages people from looking.

And I am sure that the instruction area I mention already exists - but where, exCtly, is it and how, exactly, does a new person coming to the site find it?

Sure, the search function is right up there at the top of the page, but something that reminded people and gave suggestions on how to use it might help people try it before they post their question about growing apples from seed (to pick one of those things that seems to come up rather often). And maybe go so far as to encourage people to search before they post, because there may already be a great discussion on their topic that thoroughly covers their interests.
 
Dave Burton
garden master
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Peter, I have made a post to try and universally welcome people and introduce them to permies.com.
 
Ann Torrence
steward
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Ann Torrence wrote:We seem to be having an influx of folks with a preparedness outlook. How about "prepping via permaculture" or some such? There's a lot to talk about-just today DH and I were discussing an animal first aid kit and what ought to go into it.



They call me a volunteer around here and I don't even know that we have a forum called "survival." I retract my suggestion and will devote time to studying what's on offer instead of making silly suggestions.
 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
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Ann Torrence wrote:

Ann Torrence wrote:We seem to be having an influx of folks with a preparedness outlook. How about "prepping via permaculture" or some such? There's a lot to talk about-just today DH and I were discussing an animal first aid kit and what ought to go into it.



They call me a volunteer around here and I don't even know that we have a forum called "survival." I retract my suggestion and will devote time to studying what's on offer instead of making silly suggestions.



"Survival" does seem to encompass "Prepping," except for the fact that the "Survival" sub-forum is within the "Wilderness" forum, implying that the survival be wilderness related. A lot of the posts in the "Survival" forum are not wilderness related, just as a lot of Prepping issues are not necessarily wilderness related. Perhaps the "Survival" forum could be moved to it's own section and renamed "Preparedness"? It seems like something should be fiddled with in some way, though I don't quite know how...
 
pollinator
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I just had an idea get into my head. The forum ought to be organized by FUNCTIONS not by ELEMENTS!

Or it could have a cross-referencing thingy maybe rather than redoing the whole thing.

Hear me out here, if you have it organized by elements (growies, energy, animals, etc.) then it's easy for our thinking to fall into ruts of prioritizing a particular way of doing things over getting the thing done in the most balanced way, in the way most accordant with nature's design.

If on the other hand it's organized by functions, then you click on a forum for a function (for example heating, shelter, food, beauty, emotional nourishment, community relationship, tools/energy) then you've left it wide open for which kinds of elements will serve that function.

So, for example, if you want a certain appliance to be able to beat eggs and you are asking yourself how to generate electricity for that you might miss that there's a whole forum about water-powered appliances. (Kind of a made-up example, but you get the idea).

As a culture, I think we in America tend to think in terms of elements rather than in terms of functions. We have habits of thought--"whenever I wnat to X I will certainly use Y to do it" but instead we are better off easing up on the how and being open to a variety of ways, of elements. Multiple elements to have resilience, and openness to many different element solutions in case there's one outside the box that's WAY better than the one we started out with.

So if I'm super-excited about eggbeaters, I've read some article about them on some forum somewhere or heard about it from a friend, and now I am really stoked about them, I can click on the "appliances" forum and find 20 other solutions that will get me to the same goal. I get to keep my "wow that's a cool gadget!" excitement and also be practical and balanced about how I get to my goal. In fact, I can wonder and be fascinated at the vast variety of solutions other geniuses have thought of.

I realize that implementing this would require a big reorganization of the forum, a lot of work. Maybe there's a way to make a transition one bit at a time, or, as I mentioned, a cross-referencing that could be set up somehow so the original organization can remain but you can also search by function. Maybe a tag for every new thread that's started--you're required to shovel it into one category or another of function. (Or a few, oops, cause it really can belong in many and ideally every element does serve multiple functions). It would also remind us to think in terms of what functions we're going for and what other functions are being served, it would be a constant reminder.

What do y'all think of this idea? what's right about it? what holes are there in it? what alternatives? what's your gut feeling? Thanks!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
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A new tweak on thie idea--instead of just a binary (YES/NO) for each function that a given thread serves, you can give a _rating_ of how much it serves each function. For example, a thread on Rocket Mass Heaters serves 8/10 apples for heating a shelter, 5/10 apples for cooking food, 2/10 for yard safety by giing incentive to clean up dry brush that would otherwise be a fire hazard in your yard, 1 apple for aesthetics because your yard is cleaner, etc. A kind of made-up example but you get the idea. And with an open rating system, the balance of relevance would even out wiht everyone's opinions getting factored in. (Each user could categorize an existing thread too, as well as categorizing newly started threads.)

Thoughts?
 
steward
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Entomophagy

Bug Eating or some such thing.
 
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So, I was about to start a thread on an adaptive topic, and found this discussion in the course of my due diligence to be sure the topic wasn't already out there. So, count this as big vote for an adaptive earth tech forum.

The specific thing I was going to try starting a thread on is designs for standing height raised beds. There are lots of us who are older or for whatever reason have problems with bending over to garden. Poverty and transient homedness are the common companions of these challenges. Given all this, it would be great if somebody who knew what they were doing cooked up some earth-built, easily constructed, cheap standing height raised bed plans. Another plus would be easy to remove. Sometimes people will let you put a garden bed in their yard, but don't want anything super-permanent.

I was thinking earth-bag, but my familiarity with it is purely theoretical.

There's a huge need for ramps at ADA slope for people to be able to stay in their own homes. Seems like another thing that would make such sense to do earth-built. But again, somebody who knew what they were doing would have to design it. Right now there are businesses that sell these things, but typically they are pre-fab things that are expensive and probably suck up excessive resources.

Thanks in advance for anybody who has ideas to share on tis.

 
pollinator
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Mike Feddersen wrote:Wow! Wow! Wow! I am blown away with all the posts here.
Even the poster thinking we have too many sections. Valid input one and all.
Now my two cents: Keywords and tags

For those that are trying to navigate the current forums and for future posts, a few tags that could help point the way to conversations and points of interest. The tags could even point to growing zones and weather. For past conversations there could be a sort of 'pop up' that asks readers what they would use for a tag, my Windows photo viewer asks for tags and shows what is already used for a tag.

What do you think?




I really like this idea; tagging combined with a really robust search function...

There are a buttload of forums and subforums already, yet some of the suggested additions make good sense... And the more subforums that exist, the more beneficial a tagging system would be.

If it automatically tagged each thread with the OPs location, with the option for them to change it if they are referring to some other place, or add to it as needed... that would help streamline. If people used it correctly.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Great idea Dillon and great idea Joshua! keywords that would mark function served as well as things like geography...

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:A new tweak on thie idea--instead of just a binary (YES/NO) for each function that a given thread serves, you can give a _rating_ of how much it serves each function. For example, a thread on Rocket Mass Heaters serves 8/10 apples for heating a shelter, 5/10 apples for cooking food, 2/10 for yard safety by giing incentive to clean up dry brush that would otherwise be a fire hazard in your yard, 1 apple for aesthetics because your yard is cleaner, etc. A kind of made-up example but you get the idea. And with an open rating system, the balance of relevance would even out wiht everyone's opinions getting factored in. (Each user could categorize an existing thread too, as well as categorizing newly started threads.)

Thoughts?

 
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It seems a lot of what I deal with in creating functional Permaculture where I am is in creating food producing and climate altering micro climates via changes in micro climate management. From top to sub soil... or, more appropriately, vice versa, soil to plant feeding & transference...

Can we have a micro climate work/accomplishment section? I find a lot of micro climate "stuff" in all threads... and I mostly want to browse all micro climate stories in one place...

for example, what happened when a filtration, or sun blocking, or nutrient transference system system added - in immediate areas and via secondary effects... I like detail...
 
Pia Jensen
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Cassie Langstraat wrote:not promising ALL of them will get created, but what forums would you like to see that don't already exist?



Micro climate engineering
 
Michael Cox
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Burra - It seems like Pia's request is really for an option to tag threads with multiple categories...
 
Dave Burton
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Michael Cox wrote:Burra - It seems like Pia's request is really for an option to tag threads with multiple categories...



I'm not Burra, sorry. But I do know a partial answer to this. Threads can be tagged with multiple categories by hitting the report button and saying to the moderators something along the lines of "I think this thread could also fit in this, that, and these subforums." Then they will review your request and then move/label the thread accordingly.

Currently, this feature of tagging threads for multiple subforums is not allowed for most users. Only the moderators can do this, like Paul and Burra.
 
Mother Tree
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We're at an impasse on adding new forums for a while until the new software is up and running, but we'll be working on all the ideas here as soon as it is.

In the meantime, Dave and Michael are quite right. If you see a post that really belongs in more than one category, hit the report button and tell us which other categories it belongs in and we'll work our magic on it and make it appear in them.
 
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