2014 in review & outlook to 2015
We start 2015 as we did last year: with a call
to Members to participate shaping strategies and presenting
suggestions for the rest of the year to come.
Last year, based on feedback that high quality content at LongeCity is not consolidated but spread around various forum threads and intermingled with lower quality
material we tried a few initiatives to built on LongeCity's underlying
fundament as a forum with extra features:
Firstly, we sought to make users aware of the various ‘other
aspects’ at LongeCity: to this end we tried a monthly ‘reminder’ about certain forum features, and re-designed the menu.
We also listed all features in one place at the newly designed portal page
and elsewhere, and presented them in a new menu.
To give exposure to authoritative information about certain
concepts or substances discussed in the forums we introduced a powerful ‘keywords’ feature
which offers Members the option to collaborate on writing brief summaries on any topic. This article is then linked to wherever that
word appears in the forum.
The new ‘regimens’
(stacks) feature was aimed specifically at the large segment of
the community interested in the optimal combination of supplements. It
is a powerful tool to discuss specific combinations and to research
To address the concern that it can be difficult to separate the
higher quality contributions from others, the new ‘ask an Expert’
sub-forum was designed specifically to draw out the highest quality
contributions and the new ‘nuanced
feedback’ function enables users to rate contribution not just
on a like/dislike model, but in more specific ways.
While the last function is very much ‘in your face’ uptake of the others has been very slow. Could we do more to promote these features?
How can we encourage different ways of engaging with the site rather
than just via the forum?
This brings us to a wider challenge: LongeCity is designed to not just
incorporate member-contributed content and also to respond to
member-driven initiatives. This year we invested greater efforts than ever into
attracting new project ideas and leaders:
We started of with a ‘Guest Editor’ scheme where someone with a short project in mind is invited to implement it over a month or so.
This was later complemented by the ‘adopt a forum’ (Mayor) scheme where someone (or a team) interested in improving the content around a specific theme or sub-forum would be empowered to do so.
We also sought encourage local events this year in conjunction with a specific ‘Longevity Day’
and other local initiatives.
As events go, the HEALES Eurosymposium
in Brussels, and the activities of the Canadian Lifespan
Society of British Columbia stand out. But as our Treasurer Mind
has demonstrated, even a single person can make a difference in their
Otherwise, take-up has been rather muted, as has the response to our open calls for
grants. This is a concern in particular, because we were hoping to use these schemes to draw in fresh blood into LongeCity and its leadership.
In this area, this year has shown that bringing in new people into officer positions is not easy and this could ultimately lead to a governance impasse at LongeCity. To tackle this, we have
renewed the call for
new leadership and started a new conversation regarding constitutional reform.
Another way of making an impact is by connecting LongeCity to other efforts led by life extension
champions. In this context we developed a new fundraising ‘certification scheme’
again in the spirit of favoring community empowerment over 'top
down' prescriptions. We were thrilled to link this new scheme with the fundraisers by
Kelsey Moody on C60 supplementation
and Reason’s fundraiser for
SENS, both were great successes a raising an unprecedented
amount for LongeCity-affiliated fundraising. Our aim is to expand the list of ‘fundable’ options such as the
And, thankfully, it looks like we will have the funds to continue
such efforts in 2015. While a full account of the budget will be taken
in March, revenue through advertising (which we tried to streamline and
automate in 2014) and donations has been strong as ever in 2014. The
challenge remains that we need the ideas, the skills, the enthusiasm,
the vision, the commitment and diligence of new volunteers. And this
closes the circle to the beginning, and our call
for new ideas and idealists.