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    • I have to admit, after all this time, am not quite getting the panels thing. I mean I can definitely see where they're useful and agree with that principle, but on others am not getting the context why some of them truly needed to be panels. It gives the feeling of being in or out, out casting. But that's perhaps just me. If someone would pick an example and explain the rationale, I'd feel much better about my understanding abilities. Thank you, in advance.

    • I agree with you that there are some conversations using the panel format that actually shouldn't. I've started one myself a week ago, because I thought about doing something more like a blog entry, but even that is debatable.

      In theory, panels should be great if you have actual experts doing the public talking, actual moderators doing the moderating, and everyone else doing the listening and the question-asking. As soon as there's no real "experts" or "moderators", it also doesn't make much sense to exclude random other people from the discussion.

    • It's like self-proclaimed experts decide they are THE experts. Hahahaha... no offense to anyone hopefully. I mean this in the lightest, most constructive and conversational way. I think this spins an entirely new light on the principle and perhaps would help bring a better approach. The idea is control over no control. Responsibility v.s. diffuse spread of confusion..

    • I agree with all the above. I know @StephenL has been using the format because it lets him invite people into the conversation, and that this it a tool to encourage participation, but it does also exclude people and the result isn’t really what I think of as a ‘panel discussion’ (a formatted and structured discussion by experts in a field).

    • I believe this is the second time in the past month that you’ve started a conversation complaining that the panels are excluding others from participating.

      And you said today that another issue you have is that

      It's like self-proclaimed experts decide they are THE experts. 

      Can you then help me to understand this? 👇

    • It's a pity you believe such thing. And I would like to point out that you are wrong, in that I have no "issue" per se, just an observation which I hoped to be constructive, an open minded candid conversation. I have been just stating my perception about some panels, and as you noticed, I have not provided examples. Exactly because my intention isn't to antagonistically discuss this topic nor gain some kind of advantage over any person or topic. I imagine we all have better things to do than that.

    • Help me to understand what your issue with panels is because I’ve read all of your comments about panels over the past month and you seem to have a real problem with them. I’ve been creating all of the panels lately, and I’m open to constructive criticism to make them even better, but I genuinely don’t understand your comment that “It's like self-proclaimed experts decide they are THE experts.” It feels to me as if you have a problem with the people I’ve invited on panels. Is the issue that you weren’t invited to a specific panel or that all panels should be conversations instead?

      Drac, I think you were okay with being a non-expert on Evergreen’s panel to discuss “Is it possible that confidence really matters more than competence?” With no offense to you, @Evergreen , @LuckyLady or @Chris , I don’t consider any of you as experts on this question. However, I found everyone’s passionate opinions on the subject fascinating and I enjoyed the panel. As @Apocryphal has correctly surmised, I do sometimes use the panels to bring in non-experts who share a common passion to create enjoyable engagement. Could some of them been as effective as a conversation? Maybe. Up until a few days ago many people didn’t know about the “active” filter option; so many users who have participated in previous panels could’ve missed out on it (a) if it was instead a “conversation” and (b) if their filter was set to “new”.

      I do think @Factotum ‘s comments are equally valid that it is often debatable when a panel should instead be a conversation: I thought the video games panel was an interesting experiment.

    • genuinely don’t understand your comment that “It's like self-proclaimed experts decide they are THE experts.” It feels to me as if you have a problem with the people I’ve invited on panels. Is the issue that you weren’t invited to a specific pane

      I don't really know how to word it better. Again, no offense intended. Creating a panel when it's not needed induces a certain feeling of exclusivity being applied. It does not (usually) make me feel frustrated that am not part of any specific panel, if that's what you get out of my statement.. Occasionally it does, when I feel I'd like to comment or ask something. Makes sense?

    • Fair enough and some valid points I agree with. I just opened the current panel to questions. I don’t get any notifications when a question is asked so I may not check for a new one more than once a day, so be patient if it takes a bit before your question is released. (Here’s a secret: when you click the ask a question button, you can provide a short comment instead.) Going forward, I’ll plan to keep questions open on the current panel for about a week past the date of the last panelist response. It’s not a forever open option for asking questions to a panel, but it’s the best I can do at this point without having a bunch of great questions remain unreleased for an extend period of time.

    • The panels are designed to prevent trolling and reduce noise in public conversations. Today at Cake's current scale and quality of our community, trolling and noise are not much of an issue. So the true potential and purpose of the panels is not obvious.

      Most conversations on Cake should be public at our scale with panels warrantied for times and people (mostly new members) who don't feel comfortable discussing topics in Public without being trolled. It is something they may have experienced on other platforms, and no amount of convincing that our community is different would make them feel safer. That is why having them on a Panel would help them express their opinions in Public, while also getting comfortable with Cake.

      @StephenL has been hosting some great panels lately in terms of sparking ideas and debates. Some Panels like on Math from new members of Cake and experts in the field are the prime example of the power of Panels. Other Panels with prolific Cake members like @Dracula could have been just fine as regular public conversations. In those types of panels, where community members are comfortable talking to each the Panel format restricts participation from other members. Since we also have a limit on the number of invited panelists, inherently, someone who should have been on a Panel will be left out.

      In summary: anyone on Cake can start a Public or a Panel conversation, and we'd like everyone to have that choice. The issue is with establishing the Norm in our community with specific examples of the best use of Panels. I'd like to see more Panels with people who would genuinely benefit from protection (trolls and noise) and fewer panels that restrict participation from our community members, who were left out because of the limitations in our Panel invite system.

    • I find the topic extremely interesting, from the psychological point of view. Forgetting for a moment our 'ego' (and by the way is that not who we are?) is a great way to discover the great world of human interaction. Where does that place us, opening so much our consciousness? Next best is trying to become aware when it tries to take over. Obviously for that matter, at the opposite, some people such as for example some politicians, would never essentially be honest with themselves first and foremost, and perhaps this can't be expected from them toward others either.

      Back to the topic, these panels are a technical way to regulate human communication and exposure, in a selective way, but like @Vilen mentioned, wanting to see more of one kind rather than the other, we can see that like with every other media based public technology, new end-user challenges and usage perspectives arise.

    • Here's my more complete commentary on 'Panels' for the sake of constructive discussion:

      I have to admit I've mostly been ignoring panels. Right or wrong, I have a specific idea of what a panel discussion should be - a group of experts who have gathered together to discuss a particular issue, from which others can learn. I've seldom seen the 'panel' feature used for this kind of discussion on Cake, however. My experience of panels is that there is a moderator who introduces the subject, keeps track of time, and basically moderates. On a panel, panelists are introduced by the moderator or themselves, and their credentials are established. Each will then take a turn to introduce their principle point, and afterward the discussion is encouraged to continue between them. The moderator may direct some specific questions to members. When the discussion has run its course, the moderator calls for closing thoughts.

      What I've seen so far on Cake doesn't so far follow this logic. I've seen panels used for a few things:

      1. Interviews, which makes total sense to me. As an interviewer, you'd like to be able to control the conversation until the interview is done, and then open for questions. I've read a few of these (I must admit I'm seldom taken by the subject matter, but that's irrelevant to their utility as a format). I remember one or two instances when I was prompted to ask questions before the interview was released. Since I had not idea what the interviewee would say, I found it was a premature time to ask questions, so I usually never bothered to. Once, I remember being able to ask questions after the interview, and after other people started to ask questions. I thought that was a much more useful approach.

      2. Conversation starters, which is what I've been seeing lately. I absolutely understand the desire to draw people into conversation, and frankly I wish I had the tool at my book club to invite people to a conversation! But what I'm seeing in these panels is basically a bunch of people - most of whom seem not to be experts, but maybe have an opinion to express - express one thought each, and then the conversation wraps up. I think the issue here is that experts aren't really being used, so most people don't have a lot to say. And because they aren't experts, they are reluctant to respond to what others have to say. So really, these are just conversations that people have been asked to join.

      I think that's a great feature to have, but lets not call them 'panels', because they aren't. Maybe having the ability to invite specific people to a particular non-panel conversation would be a nice feature for the wish-list. It needn't be publicized who was invited, so those who weren't needn't feel excluded. This would also allow us to save the panel feature for actual panels - which I also think is a cool feature, btw. Maybe, while were in wish-list mode, another special kind of conversation - the 'interview' - could also be added.

      I'd also like to point out that I think @Dracula 's point about exclusion is quite valid. If you consider McLuhan's notion that 'the medium is the message', then it's important to also consider what message you are sending to people when you chose the 'panel' as the medium.

      The current 'panel' model sends the message that some people are included, and that others are excluded (or at least included differently). It creates a class system in the community. I totally agree that it's frustrating (and I remember this happening to me) when you have something to contribute to a topic that you actually know something about, but find yourself unable to do so because, I guess, the person who initiated the discussion didn't think to include you. To flip the coin, I've also been invited to participate in panels, but declined because I felt they weren't really discussions that required experts, or that I was in no way an expert on the subject myself.

      Sorry for the long post, but hopefully there's some food for thought in there.

    • First off, I’m loving the thoughtful, respectful and constructive discussion we’re having here.

      I think that there are always going to be discussions here (panel or conversation) that for whatever reason you are not going to get much out of. And yet other users will enjoy it, either as a reader or an active participant. Here are a few favorites of mine from 2018 that don’t all meet your definition of a panel.

      I view the panel interface as just that: a communications interface. I’ve published interviews within the panel interface, with and without audience questions. I’ve also published interviews using the conversation interface, i.e. as a conversation where anyone could reply with questions or comments. Depending on the guest, their availability to answer audience questions, and/or the subject matter, one format will work best.

      What is a panel? Anything that uses the panel interface has been called a panel:

      a road trip report:

      a camping trip reflection:

      another road trip report:

      Basically, it’s a communication tool that gets used like a Swiss Army knife multi-purpose tool rather than designated for only one purpose.

      Lastly, I think it’s a positive that people are engaged in a discussion on how to make Cake a better community.

    • I think that's a great feature to have, but lets not call them 'panels', because they aren't.

      I've been thinking about the panel feature, too. I apologize if I am repeating what someone else has said, seeing how panels have been debated in depth already. But here goes:

      One problem is that Cake's navigation is confined at the top level to four main channels (Feed, Followed Topics, Discover, Activity) and none of these immediately tell you anything about the difference between conversations and panels. There is no information on panels as you drill down, and there is no option to sort the feed by panels. There is no "panel" category to search by. If I click on a category, I get tabs for "topics" and "conversations" but no panels.

      Maybe before defining panels, why not add a panel icon on the top level? Sub-navigation could be:

      = Upcoming panels: See our list of panels now open for pre-questions. [deadline to submit questions by [date].]

      = Active panels: Participate in these panels by submitting questions or comments to the existing conversation.

      = Closed panels: Review these past Cake panels that are no longer accepting questions or comments.

      = Start a panel: Invite existing Cake members or invite people by email. Only the people you invite may post. [Can these panels accept questions and comments?]

      = Request a panel: Have an idea for a panel but aren't ready to start one yourself? Tell Cake's moderators about your idea here.

      From here: I suggest listing out the different types of panels with some tagging system to identify them:

      Interview Panel: One-on-one dialogue between the host (you) and a person (your guest) who has something of value to relay about a topic of interest.

      Group Panel: Tag-type thread with a moderator (Cake) and a panel of two-to-six people who discuss a specific issue germane to their field of expertise or experience.

      If you read this far: What should the panel icon look like?

    • I was invited to two panels and asked myself the same questions as Dracula: why can't others write but just read? I read all the comments above and I think everyone is right in his own way. I agree with the idea of ​​@Apocryphal to differentiate the types of panels, those with experts from those with members. I am one of the last to arrive on Cake and sometimes I don't feel comfortable for various reasons, sometimes I feel excluded not by someone's will, @Stephen's invitation to the panels gave me some encouragement (even if not I was very helpful with my interventions..). I like the propositivity I see in this group

    • I think the long-term goal of panels on Cake is to bring in an expert or experts in a particular field and get their insights. Or, have a a more engaged interview with a high profile individual and allow people from the Cake community to pitch them questions. This is how @Chris has explained it to me anyways.

      So, panels absolutely have a ton of value and can bring a lot to our community on here. But, I think what @Dracula is getting at is some of these panels lack an expert or high profile person, thus making the need to make it panel seem unnecessary. Hopefully as Cake continues to grow, we'll be able to invite more high profile people and experts on to share their insights.

      In that vein, if there's any kind of panel discussion that you want to see more of, comment below. I would be down to start some, but I don't want to start them without a good purpose.

    • It was argued that panels help bring people into a conversation. I do not believe in that. because anyone in any conversation can simply use the @ to call on to any other user name thus draws their attention if they wish to partake, hence what is this 'bringing' via panels actually mean? Nothing but a way of either honoring someone in that context as 'expert' or 'worthy of listening to' but also separating those who can write and express ideas and/or opinions, from the rest of 'plebeians' who are relegated to using a (very restricted range of ) emoji!! Might as well make it like they used to in dictatorial regimes party's plenary meetings, remove all other emoji in panels, and let everyone use the applause or else.. Everyone please relax, this is an extreme scenario am sure no one meant to ever use Cake panels for, I am only joking, but wanted to unveil the point of view behind my idea in this conversation...

    • Since Stephen invoked a couple of my personal old panel experiments, I should clarify that I was experimenting with the format back then to see if I could create a flow in a thread that wouldn’t be unintentionally interrupted by someone following along and throwing in a comment before I was done putting together the whole thread. That is a common issue when creating a trip report in Chris’ other forum—because it takes a few minutes to compose a new message and coordinate photos before the OP can post each message, others may mistakenly think the OP is finished while, in fact, the OP is just taking a while to compose the next post.

      BTW, I thought the single-panel-person experiment worked out nicely for me as the OP in those examples of trip reports. 😬

      But that single-person use is not what’s being discussed here in this conversation...

    • But that single-person use is not what’s being discussed here in this conversation.

      I think the point made in referencing your excellent road trip reports is that the panel interface can be used for a myriad of purposes, not just for a moderated panel of experts, and that on Cake any content created with the panel interface is commonly referred to as a panel.

      Btw, any new road trip reports on the horizon?


    • This has been an interesting conversation. Bringing up those old trip reports makes me remember how we used to experiment and imagine different ways we could use the tools Chris and his team were developing.

      Then Victoria started using the panel interface to post lots of one-on-one interviews, and I sort of got used to that iteration. Some of those interviews seemed a little bit like social media marketing, though, and I sort of lost interest...

      I can understand Drac’s perspective—panels can come across as exclusionary. That may be a by-product of how divided our country is right now as everyone seems a bit wary of one another. I look back at those trip reports I posted almost a year ago, and I probably would not post those again now. It’s not a reflection on Cake, it’s more about how hypocrisy, bullying, blaring & blathering, and falsehood have seeped into so many aspects of life. It makes me want to retreat rather than participate. I should mention, I have about four more weeks of recovery from injuries I sustained in October before I can resume my normal activity level, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with my outlook, too. Heh. I can hardly wait to get back to “normal”—whatever that is. 😊

    • The worst part was finding out just how hard it was on my kids. Their dad passed away last year, and when they found out I had been injured on the bike, they went crazy afraid they might lose both parents. My two sons flew halfway around the world to retrieve me as soon as they found out, and my daughter flew home all the way from Thailand to be with me for a week just so she was sure I was OK. Yowza. I had no idea they felt so stressed out whenever I got on a bike. So now, I’m pretty sure I’ve come to the end of my riding “career.” :/ I can’t do that to them again knowing how hard it is on them.

      So, I lie in bed and think up alternate adventurous activities...hahaha. 🤪

    • So, I lie in bed and think up alternate adventurous activities...hahaha. 🤪

      Oh wow, you have wonderful adults who would drop everything to be there for their mom. That is a gift.

      I am now sad that you are giving up riding, but family comes first. Perhaps you should start a discussion on suggestions for new activities to pursue, may I suggest getting an off road version of a Segway? 🙃

    • yes of course everyone is free to express their opinion, this is what we are doing here, but we are not all the same. I'm not shy at all, in normal situations I don't need to be invited to speak. But it's hard to interact here for me. I am a foreigner and very often I have the feeling of not being well accepted here. For this reason I decided to leave Cake, but then, I received the invitation from Stephen in two panels, so I'm still here. I like constructive discussions, I don't like criticism. I don't frequent many social networks to avoid futile discussions, I chose Cake because it seems a quiet "place" in which to meet different people and cultures. But perhaps it is better that I abandon this idea and leave.
      however, I agree with you that it would be more useful not to exclude anyone from panels if they were not created for experts, but when I decided to stay here, I accepted the rules.
      relax. Ciao!