Saturday, August 19, 2006

The New Middle East Forums

I've been asked by a fellow blogger to tell some more about METalks.com - the Middle East Forums that I launched a few days ago. So... here goes...

A bit about the forums themselves. So far, we have only two forums, one for political/ideological kind of threads, and another for social interaction/fun threads. We have 27 members as of right now, and growing daily. Members are from around the globe, many from the Middle East. It is actually not easy placing them on the map, as some are originally from the Middle East, now living elsewhere.

The site staff currently consists of myself and two others: JeanSouc and Janjo. Jean is Lebanese, living in Paris, and Janjo is Iranian and living in the UK. Both of them I met through this blog here, as they commented about posts I made. I always enjoyed their comments and their ability to keep things polite and even friendly, despite major disagreements with other commenters. I felt the would make great team members at a site like METalks.com and I still do!

So, what is METalks.com about? I want it to be a platform to allow people of the Middle East a place to interact and create some sort of positive dialogue. The emphasis here is certainly on the positive. I don't think we need yet another place where people will bicker, fight and insult each other. I want a place where opinions can be expressed, yet an overall respectful tone be maintained.

I also want to bring together those voices of the Middle East that call for peace, human rights, democracy and the associated values. Being an online forum, I realize that we're going to have all kinds of people joining, not all of them necessarily promoting those ideals, yet I hope that we will be able to create a strong community where diverse opinions can be heard, discussions can be held and yet a general line be maintained promoting these ideas, at least by the site's staff and core posters.

I was looking for such boards before and couldn't find quite what I needed. Some nice initiatives out there simply didn't have the right platform, IMO. I felt that these forums deserved some investments, in the form of their own domain name, a proper software and appropriate hosting. Hey, I guess it's the webmaster in me ;)

We are working things out as we go along. These days we are seeing our first threads where moderator intervention is actually needed. I bring with me six years of experience managing large forums, so hopefully that will help. There will be bumps along the road, of that I am sure, but I also hope that a strong and valuable community will be formed, where people of the Middle East will learn to actually know each other and, well, Talk!

Why not join us at www.metalks.com ?

4 comments:

Osaid Rasheed said...

sounds great !

deb said...

Okay, I joined. Sounds cool.

steve said...

My two cents: She is absolutely right. Even about the "interventions", lol. That forum is addictive and educational. I cannot recoomend it higher.

janjo said...

which forum? :P:P