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MOF&G Cover Spring 2010

  

  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerSpring 2010MOFGA.net   
 MOFGA.net Debuts! Minimize

MOFGA.net screen capture

By Will Sugg

MOFGA.net is the online community of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. The goal of MOFGA.net is to complement our other Web site, MOFGA.org, by offering an interactive online community for learning and sharing through the three major components of MOFGA.net: discussion forums, user profiles and the MOFGApedia.

Discussion Forums – From garden pest problems to selling (or fixing) your old tractor to finding a local farmers’ market or a ride to the Fair, the discussion forums are a place for answers, information and conversation.

User Profiles – MOFGA.net allows any farm, business, organization, family or individual that shares the values and vision of MOFGA to create a profile. This is essentially your own Web page on MOFGA.net that describes you and your interests. Whether you have a MOFGA-certified farm or are simply a person interested in good, locally grown food, you can create a profile that describes who you are and what you do, with words, photos, videos, music, a blog and more. If you have products, services or skills to share with the community, these will be available to others through a searchable directory. View a screencast of an overview of a MOFGA.net profile on the “Online Tutorial” page.

MOFGApedia – The goal of the MOFGApedia is to capture and share the collective wisdom of the MOFGA community around certain topic areas. From apples to composting, tomato hornworms to raising chickens, each topic contains related articles from The MOF&G newspaper and from expert community members; links to finding that item within the community and to resources and discussion forums on that topic.

Interactivity

MOFGA.net integrates discussion forums with user profiles. When you click on the names of people who have posted something in a discussion forum or commented on a MOFGApedia article, you can view their profile. Likewise, while viewing profiles, you can see someone’s latest forum or blog post. You can be notified by email when someone posts to a discussion you are following or comments on an article you have written. You can also incorporate RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds into your profile page, especially useful to bring in content from blogs, news feeds, your Twitter account, etc.

Search

You can search MOFGA.net in a variety of ways. For example, a search for "apples" may lead to a local source to buy a bushel of your favorite variety, info on fighting pests on your trees, a recipe for apple pie, or canning and drying techniques. You might seek a carpenter, electrician or blacksmith in Waldo County, or a source for spring piglets or fall cider, or maybe even a massage or dance class. Everything posted in another community member's profile, discussion forums, or on MOFGA.org is just a click away.

Getting Started

The first step in the process is to send in your request to register. Go to MOFGA.net and click on “Sign Up” in the upper right corner. You will be sent details on registering. To learn how to navigate MOFGA.net, check the Question and Answer section and post your questions in the Getting Started forum; or consult the library of online tutorials.

Privacy, Accountability, Quality

MOFGA.net is meant to be a resource for the MOFGA community. We reserve the right to delete postings or users that we feel are not in keeping with MOFGA's mission or who are not using the resource in a positive and respectful manner. You must register using your real name and other information. You do not need to disclose personal information in your profile (address, phone, email, etc.) unless you want community members to contact you that way. If you have questions, please contact us.

Questions and Answers

What is a MOFGA.net profile Web site?

See screencast titled "Overview of a MOFGA.net profile" on the “Online Tutorial” page.

How do I change my password?

Go into your profile and choose “My Account.” The password should be at least 7 characters using letters and numbers. Do not use your pet's or child's name, or anything that could be found easily in your profile.

How do I log in? I am having problems logging in; what do I do?

You must be a registered user to log in. If you have not yet registered, click “Sign Up” in the upper right corner. To log in, click the word “Login” in the upper right corner.

If you have problems logging in, go back to the email entitled “Welcome to MOFGA.net” that you got from admin@mofga.net when you first registered. That has your username and password. Remember that your password is case sensitive. If you are having trouble, try cutting and pasting the Username and Password from the email the system sent you when you first registered.

I lost my password; what do I do?

Go to the login page, click 'Forgot Password?' then provide display name. The password will be sent to your email account you used when you registered.

Who can create a MOFGA.net profile?

MOFGA.net allows any farm, business, organization or individual who shares the values and vision of MOFGA to create a profile.

Do I have to be a current MOFGA member to create a profile?

Although we encourage you to become a member (see the benefits at MOFGA.org), you do not have to be a current member to create a profile.

Why can't I register immediately on MOFGA.net?

Our goal is for MOFGA.net to be a quality resource. By reviewing your brief application email, we can greatly reduce the amount of spam and other unwanted content that could be posted if the site offered instant access.

What should I think about or have before I register my profile?

Read the checklist you will receive when you request to register.

Why do I need to use my real name when I register?

Our goal is to make MOFGA.net a valuable resource for our members and the broader community of those interested in Maine agriculture. We believe this is best accomplished by avoiding anonymity and expecting respectful and friendly discourse among members of the community.

Can other people see private information such as my address, phone number and email address?

Only if you want members of the community to contact you that way. Address and phone number are not required for registering. If you sell products from your farm or a farmers’ market, you will probably want to include this information. County, city, state and email are required fields.

I sent my “request to register” email and have not heard back. What should I do?

Your request is processed by a real person working Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., so a delay may occur in sending you information you need to register.

My farm sells agricultural products that are not MOFGA certified organic. Can our farm still create a profile and share our products with the community?

Yes. You can create a profile and add the products and services you want others to contact you about.

Can our farmers' market start a profile?

Yes! From your profile page after logging in, choose “Edit Profile” then “Add Services,” then choose farmers' market for that category.

Working with your profile

How do I create links to my Web site, my online store or my Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc., accounts?

Go to “Edit Profile” after you login, then below the photo in the “About Me” section, add the complete URL of your Web site, your online store, or your Twitter, Facebook, etc., page. It should look like this: http://twitter.com/YourName. The icons that people will click to get to your site will appear at the top of your profile.

How can I change my profile name?

After you login, go to your profile, then choose “Edit Profile.” Make sure to hit “Save” when done.

How do I add products and services to my profile?

Log in to MOFGA.net and go to your profile. Click “Edit Profile.” Then on the next page click the “Add Products” or “Add Services” link at the top of the page. You can write a brief description of your products or services, and include other products not on the list.

How do I link my blog content, tweets, etc., from another Web site (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) into my MOFGA.net profile?

This is done with an RSS feed. Go to your Twitter or other account. Find the orange RSS icon or "RSS feed of Your updates." Click on that and copy the complete URL (e.g. http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/23032160.rss). Now go to your MOFGA.net profile and choose “Import RSS,” then paste in the complete URL and hit save. Your posts on other blogs should now show up in your MOFGA.net profile. Note that this will bring in ALL posts from the RSS. The only way to get rid of them from your profile is to delete them one entry at a time.

Note: If you use Blogger (yourdomain.blogspot.com) you will need to do this to import the blog: 1) Go to your blog page. 2) Under "Subscribe to Updates" pull down the “Posts” list, then select “Atom.” It will give you a URL that looks like this: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default 3) Add this bit of code to the end of that:
?alt=rss . When you are done you should have something that looks like this:
http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
to post where it says “Import RSS” on your profile page.

Why can't I edit my list of MOFGA-certified organic products or markets?

This list is maintained by MOFGA Certification Services, LLC. If you notice discrepancies in this list, contact them. You can also add market information in your product description.

I am having trouble getting photos to upload into my journal and my profile picture during registration. What can I do?

See the help file in the Q&A section.

I would like to sell a product or provide a service that I do not see on the list; what do I do?

You can use the “Product Description” field to list products you sell that are not on the list. You can also use this section to describe varieties of plants, breeds of animals, etc., that you might want people to find by keyword. As long as a keyword is included in the “Product Description” section of your profile, other users will be able to find you through the product directory. The same applies with services and the “Services Description” field.

How do I post a link to another Web site, news article, etc., into my journal?

Go into your profile, choose “Share Link,” copy the complete URL of the newspaper article or Web site. (It will look something like http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/105143.html). Now click preview and choose an image to associate with the article, then make a comment on the article if you wish, then click “post.” You should now see the article or Web site link. See the screencast “Adding Media to Your Profile.”

How do I add photo albums/video/mp3 to my profile?

You can bring in any form of media into the “Media” tab in your profile using a link or embed code. It must be hosted elsewhere (YouTube, PodBean, Flickr, Picassa, imeem, on a server, etc.).

Log in, then go to your profile and go to the “Media” tab. On the next page click on +Add Media. You can provide the embed code or link, then click “Save.”

It is much better to use the embed code for your media rather than a link, because the media will be displayed directly in your profile Media tab.

See screencast on the “Online Tutorial” page.

How do I create a blog in my profile?

After you log in, go to your profile. Hit the “Note” function. You can enter a title for the entry, then add the text for the entry. It will automatically receive a date stamp.

If you would like a more feature-rich blog, we recommend Google Blogger. You can import the content from Blogger into your MOFGA.net profile. (See the "How do I link my blog content" above for details.)

See screencast on the “Online Tutorial” page.

Can I start a forum for my farm, CSA, etc.?

A discussion forum is a great way for you to keep in touch with your members/customers. For example, a CSA could have a forum with posts on upcoming order content, work days, recipes, etc. Contact admin@mofga.org to have a forum set up for you.

How do I receive/turnoff email notification when someone posts to a forum thread I am following?

Click the "Check the box to receive email notifications for this topic" box for that topic. If you do not want to receive any further emails, go into that forum and uncheck this box.

Why can't I post anything in the forums?

You must be a registered, logged in MOFGA.net user to post in the forums. If you are registered and logged in and still cannot post, that forum may be closed to additional posts or is private.

Why would I want to create a MOFGA.net profile? My farm (or business) already has a Web site?

With a MOFGA.net profile you can list the products and services that your farm or business offers. This becomes part of a searchable directory open to anyone visiting the site. Also, many folks find it much easier to add content to their MOFGA.net profile than to update their static Web site. You can post notes, blogs, photos and files in a snap, so this is a great way to keep in touch with your customers. You can also participate in the MOFGA.net discussion forums, connecting with customers and with others working in your specialized field. The forums classified section also allows you to post items for sale, help wanted ads, etc.

Your profile can contain a link to your Web site, your MySpace or other page, and can bring in content posted from those sites as well.

How do I receive MOFGA certification for my products?

Explore MOFGA Certification Services, LLC, at www.MOFGA.org.

Is there a classified advertising section?

Yes, in the MOFGA.net forum. Community members can list items, job opportunities, etc., there. Items are deleted after one month and can then be relisted. Please delete your post after the item sells so that people will not contact you about it.

How can I get email for me@myfarm.com?

Many companies, such as Yahoo, Godaddy, Planet Maine, etc., have email packages you can buy for about $25/year. You need to buy your domain first.

How do I create my own online store?

Many solutions are available. There is a Wikipedia guide under “online stores.” The price depends on how many items you have and the features you need.

After you create a store, be sure to include the link under “Edit Profile.” Then a shopping cart icon will show up in your profile.

How can I make the domain www.myfarm.com go to my profile Web site on MOFGA.net?

Login and go to your MOFGA.net profile. In another browser window, login to the account where you have registered your domains (Network Solutions, Planet Maine, etc.). Go into the management settings for the domain and choose the “forwarding” option. Copy the complete URL from your MOFGA.net profile (it will look like this: http://www.mofga.net/MyProfile/tabid/88/asuid/20/Default.aspx) into the forwarding setting and save. Your domain should now resolve to your MOFGA.net profile. This change can take a day or two to take effect.

    

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