As we stated in our introductory article (“New Look, Same Attitude”), our goal is to break down the wall between those who opinionate and those who debate. But it is even more: we want to break down the wall between the thinkers and the activists. We want to create a community where networks are made, ideas are debated, plans are drawn, and actions activated. In short, we want to create a community: we have, and we are calling it “My Awate.”
Yes, yes, you say, how do get to my Awate Forum? Hear us out first.
Our idea is to integrate the front page, where all our writers share their thoughts and awate.com provides its news and information, with the back page, where all our grand debators hold court and, in the same space, we want to provide an opportunity for those who want to do more than think and debate but actually organize and act.
This is the basis for the redesign and the creation of “My Awate.”
In the front page, we are providing our columnists the platform to post their own articles at their time of choosing. All our columnists and writers are invited to participate in the groups within “My Awate” to respond to questions from readers, to clarify, to correct where necessary or to provide the impetus for action. In exchange for participation from our writers, we will require more restraint, more civility, and more focused discussion from our debators.
Each of the Groups within “My Awate” will have a forum, a blog and a member directory. Some of the groups will be public; others will be private. One of these groups is “Awatistas” which replaces the “Awate Forum” of the previous design. The rest of this article is an FAQ of the “Awatista/Awate Forum” page.
Q. What happens to all the threads that were created over the years?
A. If you recall, the Awate Forum was not designed for archiving but for discussing current/relevant news. Regularly, the forum was being “pruned” and, at any given time, it had threads that were 60 days old only. (We made exceptions for very popular threads.) The threads as they existed on 8/31/10 are archived, but providing access to them is not a priority right now.
Q. Will long-time contributors to the Forum, some who have been participating since its launch in 2002, have to re-register and open a new account?
A. Yes. However, we would like the user-names that had been developed by the contributors to be retained by their owners. As far as the Awate Forum is concerned (and as far as Awatistas is concerned), there is only one Shumbahri. One Zaki. One Wediere. Nitricc, Serray, Senay, Zula, Kenina, Qoqah, Clarity, Exciter, Zigerema, AAA, etc. We have a list of the 50 or so individuals that are regular contributors and we want to make sure that they get priority right to the pen names they have chosen. But, since the registration process is automated (more on the process explained below), we are relying on the honor system: for example, if you are not THE Shumbahri of awate forum, do not USE shumbahri as your user name.
Q. You are so naieve! You are expecting the PFDJistas and the other spoilers to abide by a code of honor? They will use these names just to spite you?
A. As they say in every bad World War II movie, Ve have our vays of dealing with that.
Q. Why do German characters speak with a bad English accent in every movie about World War II anyway?
A. For the same reason that all Roman gladiator movies, or Greek god movies have characters speaking in British accents.
Q. Ok, back to My Awate. So what is a group? A forum? A blog?
A. A group is the organizing unit within “My Awate.” It is a community of people with a shared interest. For example, Awatistas is a name of a group. It is a public group. It is set up as a platform for Eritreans and friends of Eritrea to discuss their favorite subject: Eritrea. The group, any group, has a forum. For examples, politics is a forum within the group “Awatistas.” A blog is a diary of sorts for people who want to share an experience, but don’t necessarily want to debate it.
Q. What other groups do you have besides Awatistas?
A. We have the Awate Team (private), Awate Core (private), Awate Volunteers (public), Awate Announcements (public), Awate Defense Fund (pubic.) Each group is set up for a specific purpose. For example, the ADF which was set up to raise funds for the legal defense of awate.com is set to provide a full report on funds raised and how they were expensed in relation to the libel case. Its report will appear at its forum.
Q. Are forums at My Awate moderated?
A. It depends on the group and its moderator. The “Awatistas” group is not moderated. The same posting guidelines we had from the “Awate Forum” apply here. If people violate them, they will be “de-friended.”
Q. De-friended? Dear God, that sounds so facebook-y! Do the forums at My Awate look like facebook? Will it have friends, and feeds and status updates? Will I have to see “so and so has accepted your invitation to be a friend?”
A. Isn’t that wonderful? Hey, hey, don’t knock it before you try it. With a population of half a billion, Facebook is now the world’s third largest country. A country without an army, or taxes, or a tea party, or even an athem… Go to My Awate, click the RSS feed and let the stream of awatistas wash over you. Turn up a tune you like and it is the next best thing to being home. See what our activist friends are doing and give them an attaboy. Be the snowflake to the avalanche…Home, home, which is what all is this about, in case we forget.
Q. Enough already. Can you tell us how to open an account at My Awate?
A. Thought you would never ask. Here are the steps:
Step 1: From the “My Awate” navigation bar, choose “Create New Account”
Step 2. Fill out a short form to create your account and hit the “complete sign up” button. Be sure touse all lower case and/or numbers for the username.
Step 3: Check your email. (Yes, it has to be a real one; and each email has a unique association with each user name.) You will receive a message which says, “Thanks for registering! To complete the activation of your account, please click the following link.” After you press the link, you will receive a message that says “your account is activated” and you can log in using your user name and password. (If you lose your password…already? There is a quick, automated remedy right in sign-in window.)
Step 4: Accept friendship invitation from the administrator of the group. (The invitation will appear as an email and as notification within the My Awate portal.)
Step 5: If you are a PFDJ supporter, this is all too complicated for you and you need to call the community center for help (and permission to join something called “My Awate.” Ab Guday hager tSeweta Yelen::)
Step 6: Step 5 is a joke: develop a sense of humor; you wil live longer.
That’s it. You are now ready to express yourself, to debate, to network and, if you choose, to be an activist. Tell a friend, and tell us what you think. Thanks!