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New Features and How to Use Them

Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. Posts: 832administrator Site Admin
Hello, everybody. There are a ton of fun and interactive new features within our new Vanilla platform. While this list does not cover all of the features, here is a rundown of some of the most interesting ones. 

Ranks: 

Our new community offers a fun ranking system. Users are assigned points based off of actions within the community. Currently, our ranking system is based off of a post count, but points may factor in down the line. The higher your rank, the more abilities you have. This gives you a chance to work your status up in the community! 

Note for returning users: Your post count from our previous forum has been migrated over. Your starting rank will be based off of your current post count. 

Member (Level 1): Our Member ranking is our initial ranking. To earn this ranking, a user simply has to make one (valid) post or be a Registered User for one month's time. Members cannot send private messages, add links, add signatures or add polls. 

Bronze Level Member (Level 2): Users must post 10 times to become a Bronze Level Member. Once the Bronze Level Membership has been reached, users are now able to send private messages, add links in discussions and comments and add a signature. Bronze Level Members still have some limited abilities, such as not being to add polls or add links in messages. 

Silver Level Member (Level 3): Earning a Silver Level Membership is slightly more difficult, as users must post 75 times. In addition to all of the Bronze Level abilities, Silver Members can now add links anywhere, including private conversation, and can add polls to discussions as well. Additionally, Silver Members have the ability to edit their posts for a more extended period of time than that of the previous ranks. 

Gold Level Members (Level 4): Gold Level Members have Global Moderator Permissions! These permissions include post moderation, tagging in posts, editing of posts and badge requests. You'll have to seriously work your way into this rank, as a user must have 350 posts. 

Site Admins (Level 5): The coveted Site Admin rank gives its users the power! Site Admins have Administrator permissions, and can access nearly every aspect of the community. This is not a rank we take lightly, and currently it is only given out manually by administrators.

Note: Site Admins have the ability to manually assign ranks. This means Site Admins can promote or demote a particular user's rank when necessary. 

Badges: There are several badges available for our users to earn! Badges are earned through interactions and activities within the community. This may be something like uploading a profile picture, making your first comment, connecting to your social network, celebrating your first anniversary with us and so much more more! Below is a screenshot of what your badges may look like on your profile. 



Reactions: You will notice several "Reaction" buttons below each discussion/comment post. These reactions are used to tell a community member if you agree/disagree with their post. This also gives you the opportunity to report or flag posts deemed as spam or unnecessary. We are counting on the community even more now to report spam! With these reactions available, there is no reason to simply write something like "I agree with this post," because you can react to it instead. Below is a screenshot of the reactions. 



Private conversations: Much like our previous platform, users have the ability to send each other private messages. There is also group message functionality. Remember, you have to be a Bronze Level Member to have private conversation abilities. You must be a Silver Level Member in order to include links in your messages/posts. 

Partner Hosted Forums: StartupNation may create special forums, hosted by Brands and companies. These forums will offer special content in that brand's niche field, such as technical support, Q&A sessions, special offers, etc. 

Profile Fields: There are several profile fields to fill out upon signing in. Things like work experience, your startup story, education, website and more can all be filled out on the "Edit Profile" tab in your settings. You can also upload avatars. Be sure to complete your profiles in order to introduce yourself to the community. 

Note: Users can also manage their notification and email preferences under the "Notification Preferences" option on the "Edit Profile" screen. 

Polls/Questions: Silver Level Members or higher have the option to add polls to their posts. This means you may ask a question such as "Are Angel Investors or Venture Capitalists better for startups to get funding from?" And then add options, which in this example would be Angels Investors or Venture Capitalists. The community can then vote. Additionally, users can pose questions to the community, as opposed to standard discussions. To access either feature (if you have the permissions) click the down arrow on the right side of the "Discussion" button on the right panel. Screenshot attached. 




Social Log-Ins/Social Sharing: 
Also on the Reaction bar below posts are icons for various social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. By clicking on these buttons, users can share posts from our community directly to their social pages. Users also have the option to log-in using their social accounts. 

Tagging: You can now mention community members by user name. Simply tag the community member's name by using the @ sign and then start typing their name (similar to Twitter). Screenshot below. 




Bookmarking: Users can now follow any topic. Simply click on the star-shaped icon to the right of any discussion in order to bookmark that thread and stay notified when new posts come into it. Note the star icon on the screenshot below. 



Manage your notifications: You are able to decide when and how (email, popups or both) your are notified. You can choose certain topics, activities and more. Manage your notifications here

Any further questions or problems? Email [email protected] 
Ryan O'Bleness
Community Moderator
StartupNation, LLC

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