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Too many headings !!

Discussion in 'Site Suggestions' started by vinito, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. vinito Member

    vinito

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    I thought I'd voice a concern and suggestion and see what happens.

    I am not a forum administrator, but I've frequented several different kinds of forums over the past couple decades and I'd like to make a suggestion (a plea??)

    One forum I go to often has several hundred members, but it has only four headings. This encourages readership and traffic. That forum usually has just slightly over one full page of posts per day on each heading and only rarely (maybe four time per year) has so many that it's hard to catch up. It is lively and very fun. Another forum I am a member of I use only for reference now and then, though being a forum it is not well-suited for a reference source as it's difficult to find what you're looking for unless it just comes up in a separate Google search, i.e. the forum's internal search is not very good (which is true for most forum software).

    So at these two opposite extremes I can clearly see the obvious. Too many headings (sub-forums) absolutely kills traffic. In my opinion, this forum would do much better if it consolidated it's headings in to three or four rather than over fifty !! (52 headings?? Really?) Having all those headings is THE recipe for tumbleweeds. I would suggest that a new forum, which this is, should start with one or two headings and only add more once and if the traffic starts to demand it. Let's get some folks talking about flying instead of building a big building with a bunch of empty rooms. If you go to a party and there are 10 people laughing & talking in one room and one loner moping in the corner of another room, which one seems more fun?

    Just for what it's worth.
     
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  2. DroneTalk R/C Expert

    DroneTalk

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    Great Idea, we are working on making some changes.
     
  3. droneadmin Administrator

    droneadmin

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    100% agree. The "art" of it all is picking the right forums.

    Let me ask you if we reduce the forum categories ow you would structure it. Keep in mind the balance act of letting people be able to find what they want but also not being too granular that it stifles activity.

    I think we should probably cut the forums at least in half if not more but unsure best way to get there so open to input
     
  4. vinito Member

    vinito

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    Just thinking out loud, but seems to me that if the solution doesn't seem simple, then you just need to change your equation so there aren't several unknown variables. Yup, just like math.

    I would say first, this forum gets very little traffic, so #1 is you want the minimum headings necessary. Basically, this comes down to looking at the amount of typical traffic you have been getting and if it's less than a page, one heading would be best (if you exclude other variables). If you get a couple pages of posts, then maybe two or three would be good, which means that if/when you regularly get two pages of posts, that is the time to start thinking about dividing it up (which is a matter of analyzing the type of posts and categorizing and such, but you're not going to have to worry about that for a while). But one thing to consider is if you get to dividing up a heading, it could be simpler if & when that time comes if you can simply add the new heading rather than migrating old topics into the new one and all that hairball mess. Kind of a plan for the future that you may never have to use.

    Beyond that, from what I keep hearing, I'm guessing you may want more than one heading. I can see why, but remember at this point the concern is you don't have traffic and you want to encourage more so it will grow. Still, having one or two additional ones may be OK even now if the existing posts seem to fall into a couple or so fairly distinct categories. I would say that from what I've seen, it's easy to split the existing posts into hobby/newby on one side and pro/commercial on the other. That's pretty easy. Going further gets quickly more muddy. Do you divide the hobby side into building, flying, kits, FPV, etc? The answer is NO! All that kind of discussion can easily be done in one heading. If a guy goes to the hobby heading to read about how to get started, then sees an interesting thread about FPV and another about a great new 250 size prop or something, then it's a good thing for that reader which almost certainly would have been skipped over if the subjects were hidden away in separate headings. Do you divide the commercial side into builds, gimbals, legal issues and software? I don't think so. In fact it might even be more important there that commercial info be shown all at once to help expose interested parties to stuff they hadn't considered before. Just like the party analogy before, if the conversation is about commercial drone talk, you can learn a lot from the subjects others bring up - just the free flow of conversation. Splitting these two groups might make it more appealing to both sides by not requiring the commercial guys to sift through a bunch of Hubsan posts to find interesting stuff and the hobby guys to skip over licensing and multi-thousand-$$ equipment talk every day.

    So maybe beyond these two you could have another one for "advertisement" type posts where products can be announced and described rather than have those clutter up actual conversations. This may or not be warranted, but as I see it three might be plenty and maybe just two if you don't mind advertisements being sprinkled around. (the reason I even bring that heading up is that another forum seems to be heavily laden with a very high ratio of product announcements which, lets face it, are usually plain annoying eventually. Give me a review by an actual customer any day).

    So yea, I can be verbose. But I hope you see what I mean. In my opinion, 25 headings is still entirely too many. So is 10. Five might work if three of them you don't expect to ever have much traffic and just use as kind of placeholders or database or the like. Based on the traffic so far, more than two "real" headings will just end up segregating ideas and discouraging participation. If someone is looking for specific information, that's what the search function is for. If there's no participation, there won't be specific information to find in the search function!

    So in summary:
    1) the less headings, the better for now. Count how many pages of posts you've been getting so far and divide up if it's too hard to stay "caught up" (hint: it's not. Current traffic warrants a single heading).
    2) If you don't have traffic, you could still have two or three headings to suit a couple main divisions in the subjects being posted.

    FWIW

    edit to add:
    Take a look at this forum. They have a magazine subscription and have existed for decades. They have posts in probably 25-50 threads per day and over 90% of that is under the "general" heading.
    http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/forum.php
    6 headings - and seems to me 1 or 2 of them are really not necessary. When I looked in, over a thousand people were currently viewing!

    etited once more to add: You may feel some resistance to this kind of "radical" change, but keep in mind there is a problem of low traffic to be solved, i.e. 12-15 posts every few days, so with the current format it is 4 pages (screens to scroll) of headings to get through 1/3 page of posts on a good day. That's backwards in case you hadn't noticed. Compare that to the forum I linked which has 1/2 page of headings on the home page and a full page of threads being posted in, many with several posts each per day.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
  5. droneadmin Administrator

    droneadmin

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    Vinito,

    We have removed and consolidated some forums since this post. Take a look. However as you say we may need to pare quite a bit more to spur activity.

    Ideally if you were to suggest how you might set it up with topics and categories how would it look

    i..e

    Category
    Category
    Category
    - subcategory

    etc...
     
  6. vinito Member

    vinito

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    The draw for many headings is strong so here's the maximum headings I'd suggest. This could be the entire home page, and pared down more if you could handle it.

    If you were me:
    DV.jpg

    The "recent posts" at the top is kinda neat in my opinion even though it adds more filling.
    I could pretty easily pick three or so more headings in my mock-up to eliminate as well, but at least this would mostly fit on a single page without having to scroll down to select a desired heading, so still practical if not as spartan as I would push for if I had my druthers. If it were pared down this much, if you wanted to you could eliminate a couple other headings later that just never got used without upsetting the flow.

    edit to add: by the way, I don't really like the order of headings/categories my mock-up has and it should probably be different, i.e. don't bury the hobby & pro headings down very far, etc., but it took long enough to do that much so...
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
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  7. droneadmin Administrator

    droneadmin

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    Thanks. We will take a look at this and work to see where we can further pare things down. Keep in mind that sometimes people are looking for something in particular and don't want to use the search for something specific at a given moment. They might just be bored or curious and want to browse but not do so in a single catch all forum. Maybe they do want to browse within a more narrow topic (i.e. DJI Phantom) just to see what's going on. Again I think we have to figure out the ideal balance but agree we can afford a bit more consolidation here.
     
  8. vinito Member

    vinito

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    Yea I was afraid of that. Good luck with the forum.
     
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