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Author: Eric Odom

Eric Odom serves as Director of Interactive Media for Grassfire.com. Eric founded LibertyNews.com for Grassfire and is the community architect for the Grassfire social environment at Grassfire.com. Bears, Bulls, Cubs and Blackhawks. 100% skeptical of government.
LibertyCUBE Support and Help is Moving to Grassfire

LibertyCUBE Support and Help is Moving to Grassfire

Grassfire is the parent entity over LibertyCUBE.com. Grassfire.com is a fully featured, fully functional social environment/network that we’re putting enormous time and energy into.

With that being the case we’re consolidating support for RallyBuilder.com, LibertyNews.com, LibertyCube.com and Grassfire Action into Grassfire Social. Meaning that any and all support/help requests will now be run through the official LibertyCUBE support group at Grassfire.

It also means that in order to receive support you will also need to be registered as a member of the Grassfire social network. Click here to register now.

WHY DO WE HAVE SUPPORT ON A DIFFERENT WEBSITE?

There are a number of reasons for this. First, LibertyCUBE.com is a part of the new Grassfire Ecosystem. Now that doesn’t mean that by hosting for free with us that you or your blog has to take part in the larger network, but it does mean that we’re integrating a lot of what is available here over at Grassfire.

Second, we want to provide the best support possible across all of our platforms. Being spread too then, meaning… having to service support in multiple locations, sort of prohibits us from providing a good support experience. Our staffing resources are limited, so it works best for us to keep our support staff focused in one place that can service all platforms. Grassfire is already a social network with groups and forums, so it makes the most sense to host everything there.

Third, we want to encourage those hosting here to join Grassfire Social. I mean… why not, right?

Grassfire Social is a great social network with a lot of really fantastic members. You don’t have to join Grassfire to use LibertyCUBE’s free hosting platform, but you will need to register at Grassfire to use the support forums.

Hopefully this makes sense and we look forward to helping you build your online presence in 2017 and beyond!

INSTRUCTIONS/NOTES

In order to participate in the LibertyCUBE group on Grassfire you will need to:

  • Register at Grassfire.com
  • Be logged into your Grassfire account
  • Join the LibertyCUBE group

From there you can participate in topics, start new topics and use all functionality of the Grassfire social network.

Thanks,

-Eric Odom

LIBERTYCUBE – Video Embeds Are Coming! EDIT: THEY’RE HERE!

LIBERTYCUBE – Video Embeds Are Coming! EDIT: THEY’RE HERE!

It seems like something simple, right? I mean, what kind of blog hosting service doesn’t enable video embeds right out of the box?

It should be simple and in a world without malice it would be. Unfortunately, there is malice in the digital space and some people intend to use sites like ours to do damage. In our case, enable global embeds can open up a dangerous can of worms because users would be able to embed certain malicious codes, scripts or links that could bring down the entire network.

We know video embeds are important and we’re working on it. We’ll soon have embed capability across the network. This will enable embedding of videos/media from a wide range of services. Once it’s ready we’ll update this post and message all network users.

So in short… embeds are not yet active but they are coming!

EDIT: You can now embed YouTube videos by using JUST the URL, NOT the embed code. The following is a video explaining this.

 

Groups & Forums = Happy Content Marriage

Groups & Forums = Happy Content Marriage

PROFILE NOTE: Eric Odom is the community architect and lead developer behind the Grassfire Social Environment at Grassfire.com (Sister site to LibertyCube.com). You can contact/connect with Eric with any questions or comments about GF Social on his official GF social profile by clicking here


Discuss this topic in the forum located here.

Early last year when we were working in the Beta platform of the new Grassfire Social we discussed a desire to see heavy emphasis placed on groups. Groups are key to organizing members around issues, places, people and things. These had to be at the core of our environment. But we also wanted to see forums on the site and that’s where the challenge came about.

You see, there are two primary ways of publishing content into the Grassfire Social platform.

  • Publishing updates/links/media into the activity feed
  • Publishing forum topics & replies

We had these two working great when we came of out Beta. Problem is they were two completely separate animals all together. We had a group for Texas, for example, but then in the forums we had a discussion category for Texas. And if someone posted in the Texas forum, that discussion topic was in no way connected to the activity feed or the actual Texas group.

Yeah… that’s a problem.

So the decision was made to scrap the standalone forums in favor of marrying forums directly into groups. The bad news is we weren’t able to salvage or import the old forum discussion topics into groups because there was no real coherent way to categorize them. The good news is now the entire systems runs a LOT smoother!

So here’s how the new system works with forums and groups working together as one.

Each group now has an activity feed/wall AND a discussion forum. Now you might ask… why both? And the answer is the two play very different roles in managing content.

  • Activity Feed/Status Updates – The activity feed/wall is not really designed for long term, properly archived online conversation. This is more designed for quick status updates where other members can be tagged and quick daily conversation can take place. Once a status update gets a few days old it kind of gets… lost in the fuzz of all the new activity across the network. So status updates into the activity feed are great for quick conversation. Think of it as the lobby or cafe. You won’t be there long but you still might have a discussion while passing through.
  • Forums – The forums are for much more extensive debate and discussion. Forum threads are very well archived, you can subscribe to them, they have a full visual editor, you can follow them and you can see them in your profile. While the activity feed is for lobby chat, forums are for more in depth, meaningful conversations that can go on for weeks, if not months or years.

Your topics, content, replies and activity will ALL show up in the main feed. Forum posts and activity status updates. So when deciding which to use, just ask yourself if you’re looking for a discussion that could be relevant a week from now or is this something that people may only engage with today? Quick hits go to activity, long term stuff goes into the forums.

And don’t forget that forums now belong to groups. So to participate in conversation about Radical Islam, for example, you want to join the Islam Watch Group to ensure your topics are best categorized and relevant. This helps keep the site properly categorized, but more importantly it will begin developing groups of members around each issue, place, person or thing.

And THAT is the goal!

Hopefully this helps explain the way groups, status updates and forums work on the new Grassfire Social.

– Eric Odom

Discuss this topic in the forum located here.

 

Grassfire Social: Leaderboards & Influencer Point System

Grassfire Social: Leaderboards & Influencer Point System

PROFILE NOTE: Eric Odom is the community architect and lead developer behind the Grassfire Social Environment at Grassfire.com (Sister site to LibertyCube.com). You can contact/connect with Eric with any questions or comments about GF Social on his official GF social profile by clicking here


Yes, Grassfire.com is designed as a social environment that is in some ways modeled off of other social networks you might see online. The platform has a lot of features and functionality common with other social networks.

That said, Grassfire Social certainly has its own unique set of qualities. We never set out to be just like the other guys. We wanted to see basic features like chat, messaging, groups, profiles, activity feeds/walls, etc., but we designed the platform to be much more than that.

While Grassfire Social is certainly a place where members can post non-political status updates, share news about anything under the sun and engage on whatever topics we like, at the heart of the network the objective is to help people connect politically. And to do so without censoring content that stands in alliance with the basic principles of liberty.

Unlike the liberal utopia where winners shouldn’t be rewarded and putting in extra work shouldn’t be noticed, we acknowledge that building a social community cannot happen without, well, without the community building the community.

Very active users who constantly connect with others, engage with content shared in the activity feed and generally help others find their way in our social environment are incredibly valuable. And we don’t ever want to see our most dedicated members overlooked.

So to help ensure we always see loyal and dedicated members we’ve built a point/leaderboard system that tracks activity across the site through an algorithm that assigns certain point values to specific actions. This isn’t in place to suggest those who don’t have a lot of time for the network aren’t valuable. Not at all.

This is simply a tool that helps Grassfire know who is carrying a lot of weight in building the community, who is becoming heavy influencers across the platform and it also helps members know who they can turn to for help or guidance in using the platform.

THE GRASSFIRE LEADERBOARDS

So without further ado, we want to introduce the Grassfire Leaderboards. The leaderboards track, in real time, the top 25 members across the entire social environment.

++ Click here to check out the leaderboards now

The algorithm is fairly simple and straightforward. Points are rewarded for things like logging in each day, liking or commenting on status updates, posting updates, sharing news/images, connecting with others as friends, joining groups and more. Certain activities have higher point rewards, and occasionally bonus points are awarded.

Now we certainly don’t recommend you try and game the system. In all honesty that will take too much work and effort. The easiest way to quickly see a jump in your point tally is to connect with others (find friends), engage in the activity feed and share a few things each day. The points rack up pretty quick with that simple formula.

Eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later) we’ll be hosting contests and offering prizes for top ranked members and members who rise quickly over a short period of time. This all as a thank you for helping us build a community of like minded, liberty loving Americans.

Is the point system a must? Well, you can’t really opt out. But you can certainly ignore it. Some may like it, some may not care. But that’s the beauty of freedom! Choose to take advantage of the things you like about our platform and ignore the rest!

In any event, we truly do appreciate all who have jumped in to help us build the network. We know it’s still in its early stages and doesn’t come without occasional frustration. But it has been an honor to create something and see so many utilize it on a daily basis.

Thank you for that.

-Eric Odom

Click here to connect with me on Grassfire Social.

GRASSFIRE SOCIAL: Using the Two Main Activity/News Feeds

GRASSFIRE SOCIAL: Using the Two Main Activity/News Feeds

PROFILE NOTE: Eric Odom is the community architect and lead developer behind the Grassfire Social Environment at Grassfire.com (Sister site to LibertyCube.com). You can contact/connect with Eric with any questions or comments about GF Social on his official GF social profile by clicking here


Our new social network uses an activity feed/news wall very similar to the kind of feed/wall you might see on other social networks. The feed is in its infancy stages, to be honest, and will likely go through significant changes in the near future as we enhance the activity experience and perform upgrades throughout the network.

That said, it is functional and quite powerful in terms of getting access to activity across the social network at Grassfire.com. Most users have no issues with the way the activity stream works. There are a few, however, who have asked about the fact that there are actually two activity streams available for use across the network.

Indeed, there are two activity streams. I want to walk you through the two, why there are two and how best to use the two when interacting with the network.

The Main Activity Stream

The Main Activity Stream is the stream of activity you will see when you login and visit the “logged in” homepage of Grassfire.com. The below image gives you a preview of what it looks like today.

The Main Activity Stream is and always will be global. In other words, the main page of the “logged in” network provides an overview of all activity across the network. This will show you the latest news items, the latest forum posts, users who were recently active, who is actively online and the latest status updates from across the site.

Because this is designed as an overview page the status update posting feature here is a little more limited vs. what you see on your personal profile activity stream. Your profile activity stream enables you to link in YouTube videos, images and external story URL’s. The Main Activity Stream does not. You can do a basic status update from the homepage, but in order to do more detail status updates and information sharing you’ll want to use the profile activity stream.

Hopefully that explains the Main Activity Stream you see when you visit the homepage of Grassfire after logging in.

The Profile Activity Stream

The Profile Activity Stream places all of the emphasis/focus on the activity stream itself.

Unlike the main overview page, the Profile Activity Stream enables you to sort what activity you see, who you see it from and more. Additionally, as mentioned above it also enables you to share rich media using video links, images or external links that reveal image and content previews.

We recommend using the profile activity stream when sharing items across the network. The main stream can be used for basic status updates and status update conversation.

It should be noted that as the network grows the Profile Activity Stream will cease to be global. Meaning, you won’t see ALL status updates in this stream as it will be limited to people you are actually connected with.

IN CLOSING

Now, you may be asking… why can’t the main stream just do everything the profile stream can? And that’s a fantastic question!

The answer isn’t so cut and dry, though. The short version is we don’t have armies of engineers developing the infrastructure of the site. With this being the case we have to be mindful of what resources we use and where we use them. It’s surprisingly easy for one little piece of code to break the entire site, or one section requiring so much of our resources that it bogs down the rest of the network.

By splitting the workload between the two streams we are limiting the resource drain. This may change in the future as we scale, but for now it works and doesn’t overwhelm our system.

That’s it, that’s all. See you in the activity threads!

Eric Odom

Initial Free Theme List

Initial Free Theme List

Please Note: Grassfire members can set up a free blog/website here at LibertyCUBE.com, but Grassfire social sits as a separate site with its own login.

CubeMAG

CubeMAG is a News/Magazine theme that uses the core open source code of the “ColorMAG” theme. We’ve modified the theme for use here at LibertyCube.com.

This theme is a powerful skin that gives you the ability to run a heavy content application. The skin organizes content in a very sleek way, presenting your content in a professional homepage magazine view.

CubeMAG is fully responsive for mobile and tablet devices, supports multiple advertising formats and uses a fully drag-and-drop layout feature. It’s very easy to customize and make your own!

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL DEMO

CubeCLEAN

CubeCLEAN is a simple, super fast personal blog skin for use on free accounts here at Libertycube.com. This skin is built on the concept the minimal is good!

The theme puts far less focus on design and more focus on content. If you’ve got a lot to say or report on and you want readers to get right to the stories, this theme might be a great fit for you.

CubeCLEAN is extremely easy to use, easy to customize and will have you blogging in no time!

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL DEMO

CubeBLOG

CubeBLOG is a simple personal blog theme. This theme is the easiest to use theme in our platform. No skills needed. Just login, changes your settings to match what you want and start blogging!

CubeBLOG is the theme we use on the official community blog here at LibertyCube.com. Its minimal layout and design provide for a care-free content publishing experience.

We highly recommend this theme for beginners.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL DEMO