Jul 07 AT 4:33 PM Clark Wimberly 7 Comments

Android and Me Forums Launched, And Me Accounts Now Open

Yesterday Android and Me took a big step in launching our own forums. Along with the forums, we finally opened And Me Account registrations to the public. With an And Me Account, users can keep a profile, leave comments on posts, and participate in the forums. Sign up takes just a few seconds. We won’t distribute your information and we won’t bug you.

And Me Accounts are just one step of many coming soon to make Android And Me more community driven. Soon we are going to be accepting user written guides, launching a wiki, hosting more contests, and featuring more articles and content from all over the Android community and blogosphere. To participate, you are going to need an And Me Account. If you don’t have one yet, you can sign up here. If you already have an account, you can always log in at http://androidandme.com/login.

Android and Me Forums

The first major component of our community plan is the Android and Me Forums. The forums opened yesterday and we’ve already got quite lively discussions going on. If you’d like to get acquainted with everyone, head over to the Introduce Yourself topic and meet other Android users, developers, webmasters, and fans. The Android and Me Forums have many unique features you’ll want to be familiar with, so this article will serve as an introduction for those wanting to explore the deeper workings of the Forums.

The Front Page

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The front page shows a broad summary of what is happening forum-wide. In the sidebar, you’ll find a list of forums (with post count), a search, a list of tags, and a list of the members online. In the main column you’ll see the latest discussions across all forums. Each topic will display it’s title, forum it belongs to, when and who started the topic, when and who last replied to the topic, and a post count. At the top of the page you can find the user menu, which includes links to your And Me Account profile, the edit profile page, your favorites page, and a log out.

Ask Andy

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One of the features we are most excited about is the big move of Ask Andy from Twitter-only submissions over to our forums. Now when users need help, they can create a topic in the Ask Andy forum and other users can provide help. Ask Andy will still be a weekly column on Android and Me summarizing the best questions and answers, but opening Ask Andy to the public in the forums will help more users get the help they need quickly. Icons by each topic help users identify which topics need an answer and which topics contain a useful answer or information.

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When a user creates a topic in the Ask Andy forum, the user will be given the choice to mark the topic as: resolved, not resolved, or not a support question. These status will help everyone quickly and visually sort which topics still need support and in which threads a user has provided a solution. Marking a topic resolved is a good way to indicate to other users that the thread contains valuable information.

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Along with the support statuses, users are able to mark a specific post in a topic as the ‘best answer’. When a post is chosen as the best answer, it will be moved to the top of the thread (right below the original question) and marked with a green ‘best answer’ badge. Marking answers is another way all users can find and share information more efficiently.

Favorites

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When logged in with you And Me Account, users are able to save topics to their Favorites. The favorite topics will all display on the user’s Favorites page, as well as be added to a custom favorites RSS feed. The feed shows all the posts in any topic the user has added to his or her favorites. To add a topic to your favorites, simply click the link at the top of any topic page. To remove a topic, you can click the X next to it on the Favorites page, or use the removal link at the top of each topic page. Using Favorites will be a great way to stay on top of all the discussions you are trying to follow and should help keep everyone in the loop.

Live Post Notifications

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While you are on any topic page, if another user makes a post, you will be given an alert in real time. That way, when you’re in the middle of that 1,500 word rant about how wrong the user above you is, you can see when he adds that new post that clarifies things and allows you to call off the dogs. The live post notifier is a great way to stay on top of a hot thread and will surely become more useful as the forums pick up speed. The notifier was developed for Android and Me by castis.me. Big thanks for the great plugin.

The Android and Me Forums are powered by bbPress and a handful of plugins from all the talented guys hanging around the bbPress.org forums. They were designed and implemented by ClarkLab and built on top of the default bbPress theme. We also want to thank the users that signed up a few days early and helped us test drive things and get the ball rolling.

If you are an Android user, developer, webmaster, or fan, you need an And Me Account. The Android and Me Forums are just the first step in making a more robust Android community and we want you to join us.

Clark is a developer living in Austin, Texas. He runs ClarkLab, a small web firm with his wife, Angie. He's a big fan of usability, standards, and clean design.

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