I see three staff members, two Admin and Mod. But as far as I know, only one of them is a Mahayana practitioner.
We went through an extensive process of trying to identify moderators and administrators from the Mahayana or Vajrayana traditions. Unfortunately we've not had much luck to date in our search (how busy are you nowadays, sir?
Laura has been a blessing, as I knew she would be from her participation in other forums (e.g. E-Sangha, Buddha Chat) and from her own Buddlist Lounge website. We have had a couple of moderators come on board for a short period, but for whatever reason, it hasn't worked out. After all those troubles, it was decided that we'd stick with the current format for now, until traffic builds up and additional personnel are required. As you know, I was a Global Moderator at E-Sangha, so I don't have concerns about my ability to moderate according to the TOS (hopefully others don't!). In a sense, my role here is more about maintaining some continuity and consistency between the two DW sites - both technically and philosophically. David is not very involved here but looks after the technical side of things and provides an extra opinion on issues. For the most part, Laura leads things and I lend assistance, ideas and advice. If/when this forum gets enough Maha/Vajra mods/admins, I'm happy to step back to the equivalent of Founding Member status... my administrative role has always just been a stop gap function.
However, at present, a lot of these online Buddhist Forums are single tradition. I think that a lot of context is lost. (Leave this little for another day!)
Personally, I quite like it, but yes... perhaps a discussion for another day.
Is there any reasoning behind the layout for the remaining stuff?
The only real "reasoning" is an attempt to de-emphasise specific traditions and focus more on the commonalities of Maha/Vajrayana traditions and the bodhisattva ideal. Those involved with online Buddhist forums are accustomed to inter-tradition brawling so we wanted to take some tactical steps to minimise that. Sadly, some people have been unwilling to join Dharma Wheel specifically because Vajrayana is part of it. I can however understand their reticence.
I don't know how an "anything goes" "Lounge" is in "General Dharma".
Interestingly, you're the first person to say anything about this either here or at Dhamma Wheel... as it's the same as both! I think it's just an inclination to avoid creating too many categories but we're happy to change it if there's alternative solutions.
And I also can't see how Mahayana and Vajrayana in general can be separated from a Meditation Forum
This is just another parallel from Dhamma Wheel, as opposed to anything intentional.
if Prayers and Aspirations includes Bodhicitta, which it should, how can that be separate again from the Mahayana or Vajrayana sections?
A partial parallel from E-Sangha, and again, an attempt to draw on the commonalities of Mahayana & Vajrayana.
There is a sutra section, but no Sastra forum?
I'll leave that for Laura to comment about - I don't know enough about the differences to comment.
How do the specific Chinese, Korean and Japanese schools (which are all related) fit in? (After all, they can be quite different at times, and may differ from, say, Indian or Tibetan Mahayana, and of course, each other.) How do the four (or five, or six) main Tibetan traditions fit in? (After all, they aren't entirely Vajrayana, as the exoteric elements in them are often very strong, too.)
Again, it was about emphasising commonalities, rather than differences. Also, when the structure was set up, the forum was still very small, and it looks a bit unwelcoming having many empty rooms. This may change in time, and Laura may come up with some new suggestions.
Okay, I'll leave it at that for now. I'd like to have it in this thread, but if David, Paul and / or Laura want to take this up elsewhere, you know where to find me, and how to contact me.
Yes, we can do this here. Thanks for your input!