User Profiles and more

posted in: Updates | 3

Lately, discussion at Biofortified has been going strong. One post passed 100 comments, and another is about to do the same. People have started using the forum again, and registrations have also been coming in. Heck, immediately after our discussion with Jeffrey Smith, a few more people signed up to comment! Last week, we passed the 2,000 comment mark, in far less time than it took to get to the first kilo-comment. Let’s keep it going!

One of the things that we hope to build here is a community of people of all stripes, spots, and other allelic combinations who feel comfortable discussing issues in genetics and agriculture despite their disagreements. And hopefully coming out of that we may find that we have fewer disagreements than we started with. We try to put a face and words to the people who run and write the blog, and those who send in contributions – but there hasn’t been much of an opportunity to learn more about our regular readers and commentators, and for you to learn about each other. One of the things that makes this blog different is that we want people to discuss what we write about, and discuss what they want to write about, too. Just as we try to show how multidimensional we are, so too is everyone who sticks around on this blog.  So to expand our possibilities, I’m happy to announce that very soon we will have a custom user profile system in place, and by very soon, I mean the end of the week.

WordPress is a great blog platform because of the innumerable combinations of functions that it can do with the right plugins. There isn’t much of a built-in user profile, what there is when you login to your dashboard only shows up in your profile page within the forum. I have identified two plugins that are really going to help us out in this regard, and figured out how to make them work together. One will give everyone a public profile page, and the other will fill it with custom information that we can pre-define and you can fill out about yourselves. Both will allow you to upload pictures of yourself or your favorite plant to customize your comment avatars or have around for the heck of it. Before we can implement this super-awesome suite of community capabilities, however, we need some input from all of you. What would you like to see in a profile page?

Here is a short list of some things that I plan to include in the profile options:

  • Links to social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, what other ones do you use?)
  • An extended profile window for telling the world about yourself.
  • Other contact information, such as email, phone (if you dare), and home address (just kidding)
  • A text box where you can list your favorite posts or discussions on this blog with links Pick your favorite posts that will automatically assemble into a list on your profile
  • More fields for entering your websites (lab website, blog 1, blog 2…
  • Uploading images to a gallery for avatar icons and more
  • One or two sections that you can name yourself and put what you want in them.

What would you like to learn about other users? What would you like to tell them about yourselves? Want a special section for hobbies? Or what about a box where you can describe your overall opinion and approach to genetic engineering? Please let me know so I can add it to the system. You have until this weekend, the beginning of October to make suggestions, otherwise it will be set in stone forever! (Actually no, it will be easy to add more sections in the future, but I would rather put it all together at once.)

We are hoping that this will encourage more people to register for the blog and build the kind of community that we hope to have at Biofortified. And as an incentive to fill out those profiles, in preparation for our first Biennial celebration on the 31st, we will have several chances to win some fabulous blog schwag by being a part of the discussion – and you will have to have a profile to win. More details later, so first let me know what you think would be good to include in the new user profile pages.

Follow Karl Haro von Mogel:

Karl earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics at UW-Madison, with a minor in Life Science Communication. His dissertation was on both the genetics of sweet corn and plant genetics outreach. He recently moved back to his home state of California. His favorite produce might just be squash.