Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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December 04 2017

A New Chapter For the MDA Forum Community (With a Giveaway)

By Mark Sisson

Inline_What's_Next_MDA_ForumWhen I first began this blog more than a decade ago, I was adamant about the role of a community with it.

Sure, I wanted to share the knowledge I’d gained (and the experiments I was trying), but I also wanted something more to the experience. I wanted a healthy comment board that encouraged rigorous discussion on blog topics. And I wanted a separate forum (aside from the blog with its comment sections) to foster camaraderie and support among readers.

It was critical, I believed, for folks to be able to talk with each other, to ask questions, and to share ideas for what was on their minds and not just on the blog that day. So, my team and I made it happen. The MDA Forum was born. It flourished, in fact. It became, in its own way, a hub of information within the Primal circle for sure, and even within the emerging ancestral movement.

But today it’s time for a new chapter.

It’s no secret the forum (a separate entity but associated with the Mark’s Daily Apple blog and website) has been plagued by serious technical issues since last fall, and I’m not going to mince words here. I know many of you have shared your concerns on the forum itself, on the comment boards, and in private emails to me. I appreciate those messages—and especially the generous offers to to help with community moderation. If only it had been an issue of simple Grokpower…

Those messages and suggestions haven’t fallen on deaf ears. I’ve heard them. My team has heard them and tried several solutions to the issues over the last year, applying considerable time and expense. While we were able to make some headway at times, it seemed progress would quickly be replaced by additional problems. Unfortunately, the forum as we’d built it—and customized it (the operative point from an IT perspective) over the last ten years—had become virtually unmanageable and unconducive to essential updates.

What to do next was a complicated decision, which is why it’s taken this long to be honest. My team and I wanted to explore every avenue and resource for keeping the existing forum but eventually found this wasn’t going to be a reasonable option.

So, we needed a new direction. While the Primal Blueprint philosophy and community aren’t the small, fringe elements they were a decade ago, I wasn’t willing to forgo a community hub. That’s what MDA was founded on, after all, and this wasn’t going to change. What could the next phase be—and how could it intersect with the tools, developments and supports we’ve put together since? Ten years ago we didn’t have a 21-Day Vimify app. We didn’t have Primal Health Coaches. We didn’t have a Keto Reset Group—or anything beyond the bare bones of social media for that matter (since most channels were in their infancy or didn’t exist then).

What we decided upon is what I’m unveiling today: the new Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group.

Send a request to join, and once our staff moderators approve the request for membership (no more spambots), you’re good to go. Our Mark’s Daily Apple Editor and our Community Outreach Coordinator will join up with some of our Primal Health Coaches to help answer questions, contribute resources, and maintain the rigorous but respectful community that characterized the best of the MDA forum. 

I realize not everyone is on Facebook—for a variety of reasons. I get that. I don’t deny this was a consideration. As a blogger and business owner these days, however, I’m committed to participating in the social media space (including frequent chats on Facebook Live), and I’ve come to genuinely enjoy it. A lot is possible now for online communities that wasn’t when I started this venture in 2006, and this appears to be the direction things are going.

Most importantly, I should say, without the intricacies of technical investment (i.e. letting Facebook do the hosting and troubleshooting), my team and I will be able to put more time into actual community building—and some fun. With all the headaches of the last year, I’ve missed that, damn it.

Does Facebook offer all the organizational options of a forum? Not yet, but it’s moving there quickly, and it offers a streamlined, spam-free, multimedia experience for community members. The group page is fully searchable, so you’ll be able to look for posts on whatever topic interests you and respond—with notifications when others chime in.

With sensitive topics, if you don’t feel comfortable posting them, send us a line, and we may either do a blog post on it or have one of our moderators present it (anonymously) to the group for brainstorming. Finally, those interested in personal privacy (and I know that’s a concern for some) have the option of creating or adjusting their public profiles (e.g. photos, display names) in ways that serve them best.

As for the existing forum, it isn’t going anywhere but will remain part of MDA as a now archived resource. You’ll be able to go in and search for topics at will. As of this morning, however, it will be closed to further sign-ups and postings. In the next few weeks we’ll also have a team go in and scrub it of spam. Bear with us on that.

I know this next phase of the Mark’s Daily Apple “Forum to Facebook” Community will be welcome news to many…but not necessarily all. I recognize that, and even if you won’t be following the forum community to the Facebook Group, please know I appreciate the insight and support you’ve offered others in the forum over the years—thank you.

And I’ll say this because some questions have already started to roll in: The Mark’s Daily Apple website and daily blog will remain exactly the same. Read and comment on the latest blog posts every day right here as always.

Now, let’s turn the page and start building what’s next for the forum community.

The Contest…and a Request

mda_win_blog_645x445I’m excited to get the group off the ground, but I need your help. Simply hop over to the new Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group and join today. The staff and I are ready to go, and we’d love to see as many folks there as possible.

With that in mind, I’m giving away a $500 gift certificate to one randomly chosen winner who signs up this first week. That’s right—just request to join the group before midnight PST, Sunday, December 10th, and you’ll be entered to win.

But I’m going to ask one more thing as we begin this new venture. Let me know—on the comment board below or on Facebook—what you’d like to see us do with the new MDA Facebook Group. What ideas, suggestions or requests do *you* have for us? I’m all ears, folks.

Thanks, everybody. I’m excited to have a new direction to move and grow the community. I hope you’ll join me there.

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79 thoughts on “A New Chapter For the MDA Forum Community (With a Giveaway)”

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  1. Thanks so much for making a change. Please don’t move the blog comments to Facebook 😉

    1. Are y’all just reusing the Keto Reset group? Do existing members get in the drawing? Is Primal Endurance going to continue having its own group?

      1. Ion, I’m not sure what you mean by reusing, but each group is its own standalone, private group. Some individuals from the Keto Reset Group have joined the MDA FB Group today, but there’s no reciprocity. It’s purely personal choice. As for content, the MDA Facebook Group will have its own customized content (and own deals/giveaways) as well as its own discussion threads initiated by members themselves.

      2. Here’s what I meant. I tried to type in the URL and do a search in the Facebook app — my corporate desktop can’t go to Facebook, but my mobile device can — and I ended up on Keto Reset both times. I just tried the link from this page on my phone, and it worked great, so let’s call it user error.

        1. Worked it out the hard way: Marks Daily Apple Group. The word ‘Facebook’ isn’t meant to be in it.

  2. Very cool! I’ve been putting off getting a Facebook account for years, guess it’s time to do so.

  3. Will it be possible for non-Facebookers to see the new page?

    1. Susanne, thanks for your question. Because it’s a private group (members are approved to join, and posts/discussion threads don’t appear outside the group), non-Facebookers won’t be able to see the MDA Facebook Group page.

  4. I’m wondering how the Primal Health Coaches will be involved. This seems like an awesome way to tap that resource.

  5. I love the idea of some kind of regional organization where we might get together for some face to face conversation about where this movement might be heading.

    1. Thanks, paleofam321. For now, I invite you to post an invitation on the FB Group page to connect with others in your area. I imagine you’ll have some takers. I like the idea of regional connections, and I’ll to my staff about it.

  6. We’ve been asking for years: a women’s forum. Break out areas include the spectrum of maiden/mother/crone: pregnancy/child birth; feeding younglings; Primal tweens to teens; perio to post menopause. Hormonal implications at all stages.

    1. Beth, I hear you, and these topics came up during my talks with the staff. I’ll have more on women’s health at all stages coming in the new year – on the blog and in the group. Since the group is community-driven, I invite you to start some threads on related topics. As you suggest, I’m sure they would get good response. Thanks for your suggestion.

    2. I second this. So much of how people’s bodies respond is based upon sex.

    3. There is another paleo/primal based forum that does have a women and kids section. It was created out of a love for the primal/paleo lifestyle. A lot of old MDAers are over there. No disrespect to Mark – on the contrary. He is the reason a bunch of us are primal in the first place and have a love of sharing what works for us and other primal/paleo inspired finds. Anyway, I will type it out so it doesn’t get tagged for moderation. Hopefully you can figure it out:

      PrimalForums dot com

  7. I think it’s a great move, the Keto Reset group is well managed and well run! I will miss the ‘journlas’…I’ve had great fun over the years meeting folks and following their very personal journeys. That will certainly be absent on FB, but time and change marches on. Thanks Mark for all that you and your staff do.

  8. I left FB a couple of years ago and am happier for it. I’m not going back.

      1. And me too. I am sad about this change though appreciate the difficties of managing a forum. Blessings on your new paths.

  9. Well, this is good-bye, then. Facebook has behaved in seriously unethical ways, and will continue to do so. I can’t be part of that, and am disappointed that you’ve chosen to move discussions there instead of using one of the many excellent alternatives.

    Oh well. Thanks for all the great content over the years. I wish you well. Ciao.

    1. Maria, thanks for your message. While the forum will move to Facebook, the MDA blog and everything else that’s part of the Mark’s Daily Apple site are staying put right where they are (including the blog comment boards). So, while you won’t be following the forum itself to Facebook, I hope you’ll stick around for the rest.

      1. Glad to hear that, Mark. Your blog is one of the first sites I visit daily and is an excellent resource to all of us.

        1. +1. I don’t have a FB account for a number of reasons, including the ones listed here, and I don’t plan to get one. I don’t visit MDA daily but I’m glad it will remain the same.

    2. I agree with Maria that Facebook has shown a dark side recently and I am ambivalent about supporting it with such a move…. unfortunately Fb is the only other game in town.

      1. It’s painful to opt out of the only game in town, but do-able when one remembers the various evils of that hell-sink.

    3. The more positive content on Facebook, the better. Their staff responds to volume – just like any other organization/company. Don’t leave – support the positive and be part of great change! thanks, Mark.

    4. Same here, and I am copying your line:

      “Thanks for all the great content over the years”

      1. Wildgrok, MDA itself isn’t going anywhere. The bees and I will be serving up posts every morning just as always. The only thing that’s changed is the MDA discussion forum, which operated as a separate (but associated) entity from the blog.

        1. Thanks Mark for the clarification, not having the blog was sad news but the blog stays, I am very very happy.
          I understand that this is what moves to Facebook:

          Please can you confirm for the benefit of other confused Groks and Grokettes? (maybe you confirmed already below)

  10. Sorry to see this move to facebook a place to which I refuse to follow. Hopefully you remain open to more ethical alternatives that don’t capture data and track users. Remember that with facebook, the end users are the product not the customer.

  11. I don’t do Facebook but Mark, you are a champ in my book so I know you’ve made an informed decision about this.

  12. Just joined! I’m not on FB that much (Instagram is my thing) but think this is a great idea. Private Groups are the way to go with FB, and with this community I think it will be worthwhile.

  13. I like it, I participate in several LCHF groups on Facebook, so this will be one more resource.

  14. More success stories with pictures. These offer so much motivation!

  15. I’ve managed to avoid FB for years–even when moving cross country away from my tribe—but I can’t give up on your helpful information and outlook. You’ve truly changed our lives, Mark–you and your team. So I’ll join FB, but I’m hoping your tech guys can please take a little tangent and tell us non-FBers how to set the FB settings so as to be as private as possible. If you would do us this favor, I’m sure you’d get many of us to join who have previously shied away from FB.

    1. Monica, I love that you’ll join Facebook to keep up on all the latest. Just to be clear though, the blog itself (with comment sections) isn’t going anyway. will remain unchanged. What’s moving to Facebook is the reader discussion forum – the space where folks share their own questions and respond to each other. I hope you’ll join me in the Facebook forum, too, but know that you’ll still find my daily musings and articles here, served up fresh every morning.

  16. I use Facebook sporadically and forums frequently. I’m struggling to see how one can take the place of the other. I understand the benefits of free hosting etc but the two mediums are very different beasts. I recently set up a second Facebook account so that I could follow my musical interests without having my real life friends pushing their political views on me when I’m not in the mood. I thought it might be a relaxing alternative but it just hasn’t worked that way. Facebook is great for a quick catch up with friends at the end of a hard day but it just isn’t capable of providing the environment that a good forum can.
    I’ll join anyway and do my bit to make it work but I do think fixing the forum would be a far better plan.

    1. Guy, I agree there’s a different feel between a forum and a private Facebook group. That will change somewhat as Facebook adds new forum-style tools that are in the works. In the meantime, my staff and I will do all we can to make the new group a great experience for everyone.

  17. Mark, I posted this on the Primal Endurance FB Group but want you to see it because you have helped me crack the code. Or so I believe.

    “I think Primal Endurance explains Jerry Rice’s otherworldly success. This post is my theory. Is it sound?
    Jerry Rice, all time NFL statistical leader as wide receiver for receptions, TD receptions, receiving yard, was known for his grueling offseason Hill workouts. 2.5 miles up a steep hill every day, though other reports say 5miles (so likely 2.5 up 2.5 down). This was supposedly the key to his success and endurance on the football field, still sprinting and making receptions at full speed in the fourth quarter when all his opponents were fatigued and weak. He would often put the game away in the fourth quarter with that advantage. Many reports, and Rice himself, would say he would SPRINT up this Hill and that it was an ultimate test of pushing past pain, and enduring.
    But in every video I’ve seen of him running this hill, Rice is never out of breath. This is noted by the interviewer at the top of the completed hill in one video. In another video, Rice is conversing perfectly fluently while running up the hill.
    To me this sounds like the aerobic zone training that Primal Endurance is all about. Does anybody else think so? Pretty damn cool that the best wide receiver in the most explosive sport of football was able to use aerobic training to such success, if that is the case. It seems to me all reports of him SPRINTING are meant to romanticize his training, to make it seem elite and daunting and hard and fitting of the all-time greatest wide receiver. Something that not everybody can do, and thus a heroic challenge to whoever is considering copying him.
    But maybe Rice was just actually sprinting 2.5 miles uphill every day. Would that be a formula for long term aerobic and anaerobic endurance without overtraining?”

    Lindsay Taylor’s Response:
    I think actually sprinting up the hill (meaning running as hard as possible, not true sprinting of course) *sometimes* would be great training; but you’re right that if he was conversing, that’s not what he was doing. Hill training is great because it is somewhat easier on the body going up, and then you get the benefit of quick leg turnover going down, which certainly would have helped him. Interesting.

    It’s so hard to judge what elites do — are reports romanticized? Can they get away with stuff that the rest of us can’t, or shouldn’t, because of their genetic gifts? Or are they models for us all to follow?

    Brad Kearns’ Response:
    good point. The football culture takes liberties with terms we use precisely. Obviously, he is not out there every day “sprinting” over and over up a hill. Also the romanticized notion of sprinting till you puke so you can take over in the 4th quarter later in the fall is some bullshit on top of more bullshit. It’s cool to see progressive NFL guys like Isaac Rochell (current LA Charger) and Nick Hardwick (retired SD Charger) getting into keto for the health benefits and even the protection against cognitive decline that NFL players have such high risk for.
    One thing I will say about Rice: I used to train at the Sierra College (Rocklin, CA) pool in the early 90’s when the 49ers will in full dynasty bloom or at least still near the top, and had their training camp there. I would watch them practice and then see the injured players doing water training at the pool. Rice was amazing in that he went full speed on every single play out on the field. They would have a routine running play – this is non-contact run thru’s offense vs defense – and he would run his route full speed. If a pass was thrown to him, he would catch and sprint full speed to the end zone (albeit on a half-field). He was focused and precise on every single play in July – this is a peak performance attribute to reflect on more so than embellished hill sprint story.

  18. I’m somewhat confused. This site will remain the same with comments? and now if you want, you can go to Facebook and it’s kind of the same thing?

    1. Nocona, thanks for your question. Our MDA site with the comment section for each new blog post will remain exactly the same. What is moving to Facebook is the reader forum that is almost entirely reader question and discussion. (If you look at the top of the homepage, you’ll see the link on the left side.) We’ve had thousands of readers contribute there over the years.

      1. Mark this is the confirmation I was referring to in my reply

        “Our MDA site with the comment section for each new blog post will remain exactly the same.”


      2. Thanks for the clarification. I’m cracking up now with laughter. I don’t think I’ve ever been to the forum in 6 years. I thought this was the forum. Silly me. I’ll figure it out someday. I’m not a dinasaur, I’m not a dinasaur…

  19. i’m sorry I can’t joing the FB group. i did so for the keto reset group, it’s clogged up my feed and I could see nothing else but it. finding things, even through search was not easy for me. I can’t do it with this too, I’ll never get feed I need to see, not enough time in the day. I’ve learned a lot here, and I’m really upset about losing my journal in the process. No way to get that off of here easily. I’m very disappointed.

    1. That’s an easy fix. Go to one of the posts, there are 3 tiny dots at the top. Click on them and and you can either snooze it-for up to 30 days, or unfollow but still stay friends. This will stop the clogging of your feed. Then just go to the MDA page when you want to check it out.

  20. I cancelled my FB account years ago (and all the years that existed it was inactive 99.99% of the time). I was also one of the first 50000 in LinkedIn, also cancelled it.
    No wildgrok in Facebook, will keen on visiting MDA and reading its unmatched content.

    1. Hi all, this blog where we are putting comments and good stuff stays 🙂

      Quoting Mark above:

      “Our MDA site with the comment section for each new blog post will remain exactly the same.”

      All Is Well 🙂

  21. I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to MDA and especially the forum section. Made a lot of friends there and worked through my health issues. Good luck with the FB group.

  22. I used to peruse and contribute to the forums frequently, and was quite sad when they declined in use and got so riddled with spam. I look forward to the new FB group!

  23. Thank you for keeping the blog and comment section- I look forward to it every day! And I can’t believe that I never even noticed the forum section until today’s post….

  24. I hope there’s a section somewhere on peoples success stories with pictures. That has been the most inspirational over the years!

    1. I recently joined and enjoying your daily Apple. I want to send you the children’s book I wrote on gut microbes called Lulu Meets the King of Poo. How do I send it to you?
      in the discussion

      1. That childrens book sounds like great! We need more of these kinds of books to educate our kids not about how a princes should behave, but to inform them about the real world and teach them usefull skills and information. Hope your book gets publised!

  25. I too gave up using FB a long time ago, couldn’t stand it and their policies. I’m so disappointed in the current Forum and how MDA has handled, or more correctly, not responded or acknowledged the complaints from those of us who were once active. I’m retired, and worked in software support so know what user interaction should look like, and it hasn’t been here at all. After about 18 months of trying to get any response out of MDA that addressed user concerns, a whole bunch of us have left and with the efforts of one member, started over with a clean slate on another forum.

    Sorry Mark, I loved the Forum, but I’m not going to rejoin FB and am sorry that managing your own Forum was too much for your team. MDA is still my home page, and I read the blog, get rss downloads of the podcasts for Primal and Endurance. But nah, no FB forum for me.

    Any others sharing these feelings — know that you have an open invite to join us at:
    (no spaces) primalforums . com

  26. Oh, Mark. How horrid. I’m one of those who finds Facebook toxic and ferociously dangerous to basic privacy. On a general level, I resent having to choose between that evil and maintaining contact with all sorts of entities, from far-flung relatives to informative and creative websites. I get it that you didn’t have much choice, the forum having devolved into spammer-troll chaos. I’ll sure miss this, but Facebook is my brain’s Mordor.

    1. KAWAM, thanks for your note, and I understand your take on it. Mark’s Daily Apple itself isn’t going anywhere, so I hope you’ll continue to join us for the daily blog and comment boards.

      1. Never fear–you’re a Primary Hero and will always be on my “daily read” bookmark list.

  27. What I look forward to seeing is new, fresh content and engagement from the community. What I don’t look forward to is 27 posts a day from people saying “I’ve been eating this way for 10 minutes and haven’t lost a pound. Is that normal?” Hopefully people will actually use the searchable content feature!

  28. Great move, thank you!!
    To be honest, (it will sound harsh but this is only my personal perception and I don’t mean it in an aggressive way) I hated this forum because it seemed to me like it was filled with extreme/orthodox/orthorexic content that were far remote from the fundamentals of basic primal lifestyle… thank u ? I will use my alternate Facebook account to access it as I wouldn’t feel too confortable joining a group like that with my true Facebook profile

  29. I think Facebook group is a great idea on its own, but not sure if it’s really a suitable replacement for a forum. I have to say I’m not a huge fan of forums either, they feel clunky and outdated compared to newer social discussion platforms like Reddit. But one advantage a forum has over a Facebook group is organisation. To my knowledge (though I could be wrong, I don’t use Facebook that much), the facebook group page is just an endless scroll of posts. There’s no option so somehow tag or label them by the topic, which could certainly be a problem because Primal Blueprint is such a broad philosophy that encompasses everything health and lifestyle-related, not just diet, and even within the topic of diet there’s a wide variety of subtopics. There are no tabs or anything comparable, so I’d just have to read every post, but if I wanted to find a post on a particular topic or issue, my only option would be just keep scrolling and hope to come across it eventually. This is certainly not going to be feasible when the group gets older. Of course search function exists, but it’s not that precise.

    Do you have any ideas on how to address this potential issue? So far I haven’t seen anyone else address is, so maybe it’s just me and it doesn’t bother anyone else, but I was still wondering. I’m sure the group will still be a success, though, and I’ll still enjoy participating in it, I just don’t see it as a superior alternative to a forum.

    1. Agne, your perspective is well taken, and that concern was something the staff and I discussed. There’s pressure for Facebook to develop more forum-friendly tools (like post tagging for categorization), and it’s my belief we’ll have some capacity to do this soon. In the meantime, the group includes a search bar folks can use to find posts related to a specific topic of interest. Thanks for your note, and I’m glad you’ll be joining us!

  30. Normally, I would be sad because the forum was really great in the past. But now, seeing that I didn’t even check it for more than a year, I won’t miss it that much.

  31. As one of the Primal Health Coaches, I’m VERY happy to hear about the new facebook group. I will check in regularly and add some comments and content.

  32. Good heavens, Mark, first you get me into keto now you get me on Facebook which I have avoided for decades.

    Your power of hypnotic suggestion is terrifying.

    We can only hope you continue to use it for the benefit of all mankind…

  33. Awesome! This sounds like a great opportunity for the community to gather, I sent the request to join moments ago. I’d like to see a coupe of things (I am assuming that the group will take on a life of its own and for many will become the main source of direction for primal living and support much like the NSNG group):
    1. Contests: recipes, workout challenges, etc
    2. A structured FAQ section in the About tab (structure could be basic Primal do’s and do-nots as well as supplementation and why)
    3. Use of the links page to stuff not only within the Primal Blueprint e-stores, but to frequently referenced PubMed studies, scientific periodicals, recipe resources, and other primal/paleo fare
    4. Themed days: promotion of Paleo news Thursdays, or Science Journal break down (have a guest, or yourself breakdown how a study can be read and understood and invite others to post their own)
    5. Paleo celeb and Success Story Grok(ettes) AMAs

  34. It would be cool to see live video Q&As. Maybe in that format questions could go broader than what is currently covered in the Dear Mark posts

  35. Can the Facebook group also involve face-to-face meetups? Y’know, to make the whole thing more Paleo. Grok didn’t have social media, after all.

  36. Did you ever consider porting the forum to Discourse: ? It’s the next generation platform to build community forums built by Jeff Atwood and team (of Stack Overflow fame). They provide cloud hosting and I am sure the team would have helped you move over all of the forum archive to the new platform as well.

    I am new to MDA and never really participated in the forum, but it kinda saddens me that after recommending something like Cal Newport’s Deep Work as one of the books to read, you decided to move the community to Facebook (home of distractions).

  37. I also won’t do the Facebook thing. But I’m happy that it’s there for people who want it. However, we all owe a debt to Mark for showing us to the way, so I’ll likely show my support by picking up a copy of Keto Reset.

  38. Sad to see it go. I’m not on Facebook, so it does make me sad that I can no longer communicate with others looking to improve their health. Nonetheless, it is what it is. At least the blogs are still coming out.

    1. There still is a Primal Forum… just not at MDA where the spam took over.

      Plenty of former MDA’ers have already joined: PrimalForums dot com

      Looking forward to seeing you there too!