So will the forums be a place where we want the youth to come and post side by side with the adults or will the youth be on a separate page?
Some options include:
the forums are fine for youth the way they are
don't care if youth have access to all the content here or not, aka "buyer beware,"
we're willing to consider what would make this place a little more welcoming to youth and families posting together.
the forums are not fine for youth but we like them the way they are so put the youth someplace else
And if that sounds like taking all the fun out of the forums that is not my goal or my intent.
My view of the forums right now is that, much of the time, they are a pretty good representation of a "virtual dojo." However many are the times, and more often of late for some reason in my view, these forums degenerate into something I think is far from the way we hope folks act and converse in a dojo.
Maybe I'm out in left field here. Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill.
This site has an interesting idea. The chat room for youth is only open from 12:00 PST to 7:00PM PST. So it is mostly closed when kids are asleep or supposed to be in school and open at other times.
That kind of makes sense in my mind for the youth forum. Move it to another page and only make it available from 12:00PST to 7:00PST. There's already a youth moderator. Then you won't get the overnight postings of the cialis user, etc. Also make it group that kids have to join so you can screen the users. That only makes sense at a certain level. Then only give access to adults from the Uechi forum that express an interest in helping the youth. Then maybe the youth forum is only open a couple of days a week at specific times.
On the other hand why promote kids being in front of a computer at all? They spend enough time sitting down at school.
However the reality is that youth are online. And there is a difference between suggesting they be online instead of outside running around and giving them a safe place to go when they are logged on.
Making thoughtful safe places online for youth takes a little doing. But I think this site could be one of the leaders in the marital arts world on this. I've done some searching around and there really aren't a preponderence of youth martial arts forums.
And it could be a total bust. Kids might just want to talk about Harry Potter and the new bubble gum pop singers and what's on television. However if they want to talk Uechi...
Anyway - just typing out loud.