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Launching the new oDesk Community Platform

Active Member
Garnor M Member Since: Oct 28, 2014
1 of 63

We’re thrilled to unveil our brand new oDesk Community platform! We’ve redesigned the Community site to address the changing needs of people like you; people who love the way they work online. You need more information; content to help foster a career and way of working that’s fast evolving. You want a better way of engaging, with each other and with oDesk, so you can find the information and people that matter to you. And you deserve a platform that provides a fresh and updated look and feel, with improved usability, so you can interact and participate in a fun and easy way.


Our new Community site is built on Lithium. Lithium specializes in software and services for building online communities. By working with Lithium, we’re confident we have the foundation in place to continue building with the growing needs of our customers.


This is a big change and we want to do what we can to make it a smooth transition so you can jump right in and have fun with the new and improved platform. We’ve done our best to list the major changes below. Have some feedback on the new community (like it, love it, see something off?) or other questions we didn’t answer below? Check out our FAQ’s below and add your questions/comments to this thread. We want to hear all about it!


Here’s some of the updates you’ll see:


New Features:

1. Kudos

  • What is it: Shown by a “thumbs up” image, kudos are a quick way for you to “like” something on the community
  • When do I use it: When someone else adds content you like or support.

2. Html toolbar

  • What is it: A simple formatting toolbar on all comments you add.
  • When do I use it: All the time. This means you won’t need to format your own html and you’ll find it simple to quote earlier replies, add hyperlinks, images, etc. Our forum rules still apply so please keep these in mind when posting.

3. Social sharing links

  • What is it: Shown with the +ticket image, using the sharing link lets you easily spread good content across all your social channels, like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • When do I use it: When you want to share content outside of the oDesk Community, to your other friends and followers.

4. Best Answer

  • What is it: Under the options link of any thread you start, you’ll can mark a reply as the “Best Answer.”
  • When do I use it: When a fellow community member has responded with an especially helpful reply to your question/inquiry.

5. Email notifications

  • What are they: Automated messages the Community sends out when kudos are added, your reply was marked “Best Answer” or other important activities occur. You can adjust these notifications in the My Settings/Subscriptions & Notifications area.
  • When do I use it: Anytime you want to stay in the loop on Community activity while you’re doing something else.

6. Topic/Post Options

  • What are they: Options like “Float this item to the top” or “Subscribe to RSS feed” and “Invite a friend.” Floating lets you adjust your view so you can keep a topic at the top of the forum list every time you login. Subscribing to the RSS feed for a discussion lets you keep an eye on the replies to that discussion in your email and Inviting a friend lets you share something cool directly via email.
  • When do I use it: Anytime you want. If you want to easily “follow” a discussion without having to search for it.

7. My Settings

  • What is it: A set of preferences you adjust and use for your interaction in the Community. This includes items like “macro” replies you can create to develop your own set of boilerplate replies/comments on the platform.
  • When do I use it: Whenever you’d like. You’ll probably leave most settings alone as the default selections are fairly common in online communities like ours. That said, feel free to experiment and see what works best for you.

New Areas:

1. New forum categories

  • What are they: We’ve added some new discussion areas for “Job Skill Discussions.” Initially, we’re adding forum categories specific to IT & Programming, Admin Support, and Design & Multimedia. These Job Skill areas are meant for conversations that are specific to that line of work. So if you’re a client or freelancer and you have a tip, questions, comment about anything related to that job skill, please add it in the appropriate section.

2. Feature Carousel

  • What is it: It’s that large, scrolling carousel you see at the top of the Community home page. We have four running placements there that we’ll continue to update with content we think you’ll be interested in.

3. Groups

  • What is it: Think of it as a mini-Community. We realize certain segments of our Community may want to interact directly apart from the Community at large. We have public and private Groups. Each Group has its own discussion forums. In order to join a Group, you’ll need to request an invitation. Have a suggestion for a new Group we can add? Add it to the Idea Exchange so we can see what others think!

Things we're working on:

We’re not done yet and we plan to make updates to the Community as we uncover areas that need a little love or features that we think you’ll really appreciate. Here are some of the items we have on our list:


  • Profile page redirects for private or client profiles – Today, you’ll see private and client oDesk profile links managed differently than public freelancer profiles. We plan to update this so that private and client profiles are managed differently, respecting the oDesk settings that match these users, similar to what we previously had in place.
  • Ideas Exchange and other cool Lithium features – We’ve only scratched the surface on some of the capabilities here. Ideas Exchange is a cool way to add feature suggestions and vote on those ideas. Badging and Gamification is a neat and engaging way to really get activity going as participants get “rewards” for their activity here on the platform. We’ll be testing and adding these features down the road, so stay tuned.
  • Enabling the ability to quote earlier replies.  - We found a bug when launching this function, so we're going to work on getting it right before we add it back in. 

Want to learn how some of this new functionality works? We’ll be updating this thread with a video tutorial soon. In the meantime, ask any questions about the site here on this discussion thread.


Don’t take our word for it. Start using it today. We look forward to having you as part of our new Community!


Here now are some Frequently Asked Questions with more information on the new oDesk Community platform.


Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the key difference?
It’s a new platform hosted on Lithium, a trusted provider of Community software and management. We have a new feature set, enhanced with ways of better engaging members and highlighting content.


What will happen to the discussions that were on the old Community forums?
Discussions created in the last 12 months were migrated to the new community space. If a discussion was started more than 12 months ago, that conversation was not migrated to the new Community platform. We apologize for any confusion or lost information and welcome you to get a conversation started again.


How do I sign up?
You already have. If you’re using oDesk and our Community today, you’ll be able to sign right in to the new Community.


Are you going to keep the old version available if I don’t like the new Community?
No, we are not keeping the old version available. This makes it easier for migrating discussions and allows us to put all our energy and focus on making sure you have a great experience in our new Community.


Will my participation in the Community affect my profile/activity in the marketplace?
No, your participation in the Community is not reflected on your work profile. That said, as this Community becomes more and more successful, we definitely want to find ways to give you more credit for your participation here.


How do I use kudos/Best Answer/other options/features?
Check out our New User page here. You can also ask for more information on these features and how to use them in this thread.


Why don’t you fix the things that are broken (bugs) or that need improvement (feature enhancements) instead of doing this?
We’re committed to improving the oDesk site and resolving any bugs that are affecting the way you use our platform. The Community site is an area we desperately wanted to improve to enhance the functionality and look/feel for our valued customers.


When I click some profiles I see the oDesk profile page. For others I see a different profile page on the Community site. What gives?
Today, you’ll see private and client oDesk profile links managed differently than public freelancer profiles. We plan to update this so that private and client profiles are managed differently, respecting the oDesk settings that match these users, similar to what we previously had in place.


Are there new rules/guidelines for participating in this community?
No, we’ve added our forum guidelines here. These are the same, with a few minor wording changes, to what we had previously.


When will you be fixing some of the issues I’m seeing with this community site?
We are planning to make further improvements to the Community platform in the near future. We don’t have specific timing yet, but you can add your comments to this thread and we’ll be updating it with timing as we get closer to these updates.


How can I learn more?
We’ll be responding to your questions and comments and considering your feedback for future improvements so add them here!


Community Guru
Natacha R Member Since: Aug 2, 2010
2 of 63

I don't like that you have removed "My recent discussions".


Community Guru
Garnor M Member Since: Oct 29, 2014
3 of 63

Thanks Natasha. It makes sense to give you somewhere you can quickly find these, without subscribing to each thread. I'll note this and look at our options.

Community Guru
Suzanne N Member Since: Aug 15, 2012
4 of 63

I agree with you Natasha. I would like to have seen my recent discussions in the new forum. AlthoughI do like a lot about the new look. It is sure cleaner then the old forum.


I would like to see the newest discussions as well, but I assume those are the ones at the top of each forum.


It will take some getting use to.

Community Guru
Garnor M Member Since: Oct 29, 2014
5 of 63

That's right Suzanne, newest discussions will show up top. You can also find 'latest activity' when you click into a forum category. 

Community Guru
Katrina B Member Since: Jan 9, 2011
6 of 63

I love the new look.  I really like the "Kudos" feature.  There are so many posts I would love to give the thumbs up to.  Great job oDesk

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike-Coach John Wooden"
Community Guru
Garnor M Member Since: Oct 29, 2014
7 of 63

Great, thanks Katrina!

Ace Contributor
Sk Arif H Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
8 of 63



I think new look seems to be fine though we never know what would come next Smiley Happy


But it is highly appreciated.


Thanking you,


Community Guru
Marcia M Member Since: Apr 3, 2013
9 of 63
The times aren't adjusted to local time zones.
Community Guru
Suzanne N Member Since: Aug 15, 2012
10 of 63



I was able to change it to my local time under settings.