Thank you for your post Amber. I'm going to try to answer some of the points you raise - but I admit that I'm not the best to answer on anything technical
I'm glad you are a fan of this site and that you've found that having the support of the community has really helped you when you've needed support most. I think many of us have found that, which is why we've been around as long as we have! It is also one, if not the, most successful online support community for survivors and so clearly many people feel the way that we do.
I am a little unsure about what you mean about the board being so "quiet" in Europe? I'm not sure about whether you mean that it's not well known in Europe or that we don't have many European members. I don't have any statistics, but I do know that we have a lot of members from Europe (mostly UK and Ireland), but also from other countries in Europe, particularly those countries where English is widely spoken. We also have many staff who are from Europe. For example, out of the current moderators, 3 are from the UK, 2 are from Australia, and 3 are from the USA - and so 3 different continents are represented just within that small group. If you mean more in terms of Pandys not being that well known in Europe, I think that may simply be because European culture, particularly British culture, tends to be a little more reserved about pushing things forward - and, although it's getting better, talking about mental health doesn't seem to be as widely accepted (I'm British!). I think that may have something to do with it, and so where we can use word of mouth to get others to know about Pandys then that's great. Every little helps!
You mention about the website being hard to navigate. I'm really sorry that you have found this. I certainly know it can be a bit confusing for new members and it takes a while to navigate your way around. It'a a large site with a lot of forums and information and so I think that its a little inevitable that it's going to be a little confusing to begin with. You don't actually have to click on "community". You can go directly to the forums by typing in www.pandys.org/forums - and they you just need to log in - but having done so you will come straight out at the forum list.
Our board software is updated regularly as new updates come out - and so it's kept up-to-date in those terms. When you say the format is "old" and outdated, I'm not sure in what way things could be updated (like I said, I'm not a technical guru!
). We do have funding through members purchasing contributing memberships which obviously helps to keep the board online - as well as to provide some of the other services beyond the board - but obviously there is a limited budget because we do rely largely on voluntary donations. Obviously, any member that wishes to contribute towards the board funding are very welcome to do so and we're very grateful to those members who help to keep allow it to remain accessible to all.
Locating the site should be easy with the address. Obviously we do need members to be approved so that the site remains safe - and that will continue. It therefore means there will alway be a bit of a delay before new members can get on the site - but that is very necessary. If you have any ideas about how you think the site would be easier to use for new members then we would welcome your suggestions. We do have a team (Team Welcome) dedicated to trying to help people make the transition, but obviously if someone is having difficulties then they can only help if they know about it. We for us to do have over 38,000 members - and that's a lot of people and, I'm sure, far bigger than the founders of this site could have ever imagined. However, obviously there are always improvements that can be made in anything and therefore we do welcome suggestions for improvement for us to consider. We are committed to this community remaining the best!