I'm excited to report that we've launched a discussion forum at DepositAccounts.com. This will replace the Open Discussion Thread. I think you'll find this new forum has many benefits over the Open Discussion Thread. Please note there are many forum details that I present in this post. It may be a tad overwhelming. Feel free to jump in and give the new forum a try. I think once you give it a try, this post will be less overwhelming.
The new forum was designed from scratch to focus on the reporting and discussing of bank deals. Many of its features will make it much easier to find and report on deals. This forum should be considered version one. In addition to fixing any minor issues that arise, we'll continue to add features and make enhancements. Our goal is to make this the most useful forum on the web for all things related to deposit accounts.
Please note that all of the old posts from both the Notices section and the Open Discussion Thread were used to seed the forum. Some of the old posts may lack useful titles. Also, some of the old posts may not have been placed in the most appropriate subforum. So please keep that in mind as you review the forum. Things should improve as new posts are published.
Forum Is Also Replacing the Notices Section
In addition to replacing the Open Discussion Thread, the forum is also replacing the Notices Section. We're trying to consolidate the content at DepositAccounts.com to make it easier on the readers by providing fewer places to check. However, I'll continue to write Notice-like posts, but they will now go on the forum. My forum posts will be marked with a featured tag, and all the latest featured posts will be shown in the Featured Posts page. The link to this is at the top of the main forum. In addition to my posts, I or any moderator can give the featured status to anyone's post. So instead of me repeating a rate change or a deal, I'll just give a reader's post a featured status, and that post will show up along side my posts in the Featured Posts page.
Blog Will Continue Without Change
The blog will continue without change. I plan to highlight and expand on the the best deals and the most significant bank news stories that are posted on the forum.
Reviewing the Latest Posts
There was some concern that with so many sections in the forum that it might be difficult to keep track of all the latest posts. To make this easier, we included the Latest Posts page which is similar to the Featured Posts page, but this page will show all of the latest posts regardless if they're marked as a featured post. The link to this Latest Posts Page is along side the Featured Posts link at the top of the main forum.
Also next to the Featured and Latest Posts links is the Advanced Search link. Many search features are provided to help you find the right forum posts.
The Advanced Search, Featured Posts and Latest Posts pages all share the capability to display posts in two ways: 1) Threads view in which only the titles of the threads are shown, and 2) Posts view in which both the title and the content of the first post of the thread are shown. This Posts view is intended to mimic the Notices setup and minimize the clicking that may be necessary if thread titles are not too informative.
Finding Bank Deals
We have subforums specifically designed to make it easy to report and view bank deals and rate changes. Since most deals are not nationwide, we've reused the "Filter Account" feature that's in the rate tables. This will allow you to show only those deals that are applicable to you (either nationally available or available in your state). Just select the "Filter Account" button at the top of the subforums.
Reporting a Bank Deal
To report a deal, select the New Thread button at the top of the appropriate subforum (CDs, reward checking, etc.) You will first be provided a box to enter the URL of the webpage that shows the deal. This will typically be at the bank's website. Just copy and paste it into the box. Our software will use this URL to find the bank or credit union that you are referencing. We now have all the U.S. banks and credit unions in our database. With the URL that you provide, the forum software will be able to link the thread to our hub page for that bank. Each hub page includes financial info for the institution. Also, many include rate tables and links to related blog and forum posts.
If you don't know the bank's URL, just leave the box blank and select continue. The next page will help you select the right bank or credit union.
Another advantage of this URL linking is that we can pre-select the deal availability. If our database indicates that the bank's products are only available in certain states, those states will be automatically selected for you. However, if the deal is only available at your branch, you are free to unselect the other states.
Another forum feature that is intended to enhance deal reporting is the Quick Summary box located below the first post of a thread. This functions like a Wiki to allow anyone to highlight an important note or summary about the deal. This can be especially helpful for threads with many posts.
Please try to use this forum to post deals. You can still email me if you don't feel comfortable with posting to the forum. Posting deals to the forum will allow other readers to view them instantly rather than waiting for a blog post. This will also give me more time to blog and to search for new deals.
Submitting a Bank Review
In addition to reporting on bank deals, we also have the "Reviews and Commentary" forum where you can share your experiences about a bank or credit union. In addition to sharing your experiences, you can also give the bank a star rating. A 1-star rating means you had lots of problems with the bank. A 5-star rating means you love the bank.
Other Special Features
We have several advanced forum features that are common to many of the major forums on the web.
One useful feature is email notification. For each thread you can select if you want to be notified when another person adds a post to the thread.
If you want to discuss an issue in private with another user, you can use private messaging (PM).
You can vote a thread or post up or down. This is especially important if you come across any spam posts. Just give it a thumbs down. Moderators will review posts that get too many thumbs down as potential spam posts.
Hopefully, this new forum and all its new features won't be overwhelming to you. It is more complicated than the Open Discussions Thread. If you have questions, concerns or suggestions, please post them in the Site Feedback forum. The link to this is at the bottom of the main forum page. As I mentioned above, you should consider this forum version one. Many new versions will likely follow. In addition to the fixes and enhancements that incorporate user feedback, we also plan to make enhancements that include more advanced forum features and tighter integration with other parts of DepositAccounts.com.
I'm confident that all of these new features will help us work together more effectively to find and understand the bank deals and issues. The Bank Deals community has greatly contributed to the blog over the last several years, and with your help I look forward to growing our community to make DepositAccounts.com the best resource on the web for everything related to deposit accounts.