In our development of our .iTownOnline websites, we made the decision to not offer the type of discussion forums that are, admittedly, popular on other sites. So why did we make that decision?
We're pro-community. In our view, discussion forums have a tendency to devolve into personal rants against other forum participants, often with language or insinuations that we do not feel are conducive to the offering of informative content that can be viewed by all segments or age groups in our community. So, while we offer the opportunity for residents to express their views on a wide variety of topics, including a counterpoint to the originally expressed or prevailing view, we feel the need to review user submissions to assure the the views expressed satisfy two basic criteria: 1) The viewpoint is civil, with appropriate language that is not offensive 2) The viewpoint is not an anonymous attack on a person, group of people, business or organization.
We're pro-improvement. If you have a gripe, please express it. We even have a feature, "Grumpy Cantonite" that offers people in the community the opportunity to raise a concern. But we're strong believers that an expression of a concern or complaint should also offer a remedy, and that an airing and discussion of suggested remedies is how problems can eventually be resolved. In our view and experience, discussion forums are long on complaining, often maliciously, and short on suggested improvements - we'll challenge the community to offer suggested improvements in their submissions to .iTownOnline.
We're different. There are discussion forum sites. There are classified ad sites. If they exist, attract visitors, and provide user-value, they do their job. We see a need for an informative, user-friendly website that offers a connection to the local community, with content, features, and other programs that other websites do not provide. We'll let them do what they do best - we even use our site to acknowledge them for it - but we'll continue to focus on what WE do best. We're hopeful that works for you!