Condense the forum!

Discussions about the forum. How to expand and enhance it.

Condense the forum!

Postby Crispy001 » 2013-Jan-Sun-19-Jan

Let me start off by saying I read this forum fairly regularly and it's been a great resource for me while building and configuring my Printrbot. However, I feel like some significant changes to the topic structure are needed to improve the user experience.

Simply put, the forum is too large for its active userbase. There's too many topic categories and it's having some nasty effects--information can be hard to find, and it often feels like a ghost town. To remedy this, I have a few radical suggestions that'd probably be a pain in the ass to implement, but pitching the idea doesn't hurt.

Collapse the Hardware and Software subcategories into their parent categories. This would leave two top level topics, Printrbot Hardware and Printrbot Software, to serve as primary discussion areas for any of the hardware and software pertinent to printer operation. An informative sticky under each highlighting common upgrades or software configuration would be a nice touch and help solve a lot of questions.

Add two top level topics for Assembly and Troubleshooting. These are some of the forum's largest and most active subtopics, and should be placed near the top of the forum where new users can easily access them.

Collapse the current General top level topic, rename it something like Forum Rules & Administration, and move it to the bottom of the page. Make a sticky in it detailing forum rules and guidelines, and refer people to it as needed. Ideally this topic won't be visited often, but it's necessary to have a place for threads like this one.

Remove the subregions from the Regional Talk category. Simplify it by continent rather than state/country.

Add a top level topic along the lines of News & Announcements at the absolute TOP of the page. This would be the place to keep people "in the loop" about what's going on in the general DIY 3d printing scene. Links to news articles covering printers in general would be welcome here. There's a lot of legal stuff developing and a lot of new products being released--it'd be great to have a place where that information is localized and discussed.

Reduce the current top level category Project Talk into "3D Models & Design" and "Project Showcase". The "my first blob" category is a nice touch too, probably save that one.

Simplify the marketplace by combining everything into one Marketplace category. Buying and selling happen in symbiosis, they should happen in the same place. Make a sticky here and institute some rules on thread titling (like FS/WTB/WTS/FT). Requiring a listed price on any for sale post prevents weird auction style sales. Using some sort of reputation tracking tool like http://www.heatware.com would be a good way for folks to exchange with confidence.

I've said a lot of stuff so I'm going to "graphically" show what the above changes should look like (roughly).

News & Announcements (blue title bar)
News & Announcements

Printrbot Talk (blue title bar)
My first blob
Assembly Discussion
Hardware Discussion
Software Discussion
Troubleshooting
Project Showcase
3D Models & Design

Marketplace (blue title bar)
Buy/Sell Marketplace (w/ titling conventions, no discussion threads allowed)
Marketplace Discussion (Conflict resolution, various discussion threads, no naming convention)

Regional Talk (blue title bar)
~~Subcategories for each continent~~

Forum Rules & Administration (blue title bar)
Forum Rules/Administration

These changes will take us from 35ish categories down to ~19 and condense discussion to make the forum easier to use and making it feel alive.
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Last edited by Crispy001 on 2013-Jan-Sun-19-Jan, edited 1 time in total.
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Condense the forum!

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Re: Condense the forum!

Postby plexus » 2013-Jan-Sun-19-Jan

thanks for the suggestions. however, the forum structure will not change.
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Re: Condense the forum!

Postby Crispy001 » 2013-Jan-Sun-19-Jan

Is there some justification for the current structure that I'm missing? Information is scattered everywhere and most categories are lucky to see a post or two a day. Some change could be a good thing here. I know it'd be a lot of work and I wasn't expecting a positive reception from the mods, but I was at least hoping for a discussion on the matter.
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Re: Condense the forum!

Postby danimal1228 » 2013-Jan-Sun-19-Jan

plexus wrote:thanks for the suggestions. however, the forum structure will not change.

Care to elaborate?
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Re: Condense the forum!

Postby plexus » 2013-Jan-Sun-21-Jan

Crispy001 wrote:Is there some justification for the current structure that I'm missing? Information is scattered everywhere and most categories are lucky to see a post or two a day. Some change could be a good thing here. I know it'd be a lot of work and I wasn't expecting a positive reception from the mods, but I was at least hoping for a discussion on the matter.


At the moment and until further notice the forum structure will not change. forum usage is going up and there is no evidence that changing the structure would be of any significant benefit. even if there was some statistical motivation to change the structure, the time involved would be beyond what is capable. further, the only other way to do it is to reset the forum using a new structure, blowing away all the posts thus far. this is deemed as worse than leaving the structure as-is, of which there is statistical evidence that its working pretty well.

However, feel free to discuss it in a hypothetical sense.
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Re: Condense the forum!

Postby rsilvers » 2013-Apr-Mon-08-Apr

Site owner - you may want to check if you delete a section if the forum software presents an option to move all of the posts to another section. The software may do that. If not agreed it is way too much work to manually move each thread.

But yeah, I know you don't want to make that change - it is personal opinion which way to go.
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