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  1. #1
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    Forum hierarchy - opinions wanted

    The SitePoint Forums are Moving House and as such presents an opportunity to restrucure the SitePoint forms.

    Below is the current hierarchy.
    What forums do you consider essential?
    What forums could be removed or merged into another?
    What's missing that could be added?
    etc. In other words, what should stay the same and what should be different?
    Code:
    SitePoint Forums
    
        Community Center
            News & Announcements
            General Discussions
                    Introductions
            Talk With The Experts
            Website Design & Content - Reviews & Critiques
                    Code Reviews
            Forum Support & Feedback
         
        Content
            Web Content
            Photography & Audio-visual Media
            Social Media
         
        Design Your Site
            Getting Started With Web Design
            Website Design
            Graphics
            (X)HTML
            CSS & Page Layout
            Accessibility & Usability
         
        Program Your Site
            PHP
            Developing For Mobile Devices
            CMS & Wordpress
            Classic ASP
            .NET
            JavaScript & jQuery
                    Questions arising from Jump Start Node.js
            Ruby & Rails
            Perl & Python
            Databases & MySQL
            XML & Web Services
            General Web Development & Application Design Issues
            Web Security
         
        Host Your Site
            Web Hosting & Domains
            Server Configuration, Apache & URL Rewriting
         
        Manage Your Site
            Internet Marketing
            eCommerce
            Business & Legal Issues
            Web Development Software
            Scripts & Online Services

  2. #2
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    Well, I would prefer python wasn't sharing house with Perl. They're not really related and solve quite different problems.

    Are you sure that changing forums around won't mess with your old forum data migration?

  3. #3
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    I certainly hope not. At first it was suggested we "start fresh" but we decided that would be a "no go". Now it seems "most" will be ported over.
    Personally, I would prefer it to be "all", even the outdated stuff if only for "historical" purposes, but I do understand the logistics that would entail so I can see where a compromise is reasonable.

    Do you think Perl and Python get, or would get, enough activity to justify them having their own forum?

    IMHO one problem with having a lot of categories and subcategories is that it might make the drop-down overly cluttered and make things more difficult UX-wise instead of easier. for example, this site has 16, imagine 36!
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  4. #4
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    How much interest in Classic ASP and .net do you get? They have their own subforums.

    When I first saw that Python and Perl were all mixed in together it made me feel that Sitepoint doesn't think Python is as important as ASP and .net. It also makes it hard to look through the subforum when I'm only looking for python threads.

    I think Sitepoint forums needs to ask itself if its really just a PHP Q&A repository or whether it wants to be the "go to" place for other languages and discussions as well. We want to grow this community, don't we?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    How much interest in Classic ASP and .net do you get? They have their own subforums.

    When I first saw that Python and Perl were all mixed in together it made me feel that Sitepoint doesn't think Python is as important as ASP and .net. It also makes it hard to look through the subforum when I'm only looking for python threads.

    I think Sitepoint forums needs to ask itself if its really just a PHP Q&A repository or whether it wants to be the "go to" place for other languages and discussions as well. We want to grow this community, don't we?
    Keep in mind we have very active CSS, HTML and JavaScript forums too. PHP isn't the only forum that receives a lot of traffic.

    Personally, I'm all for removing Classic ASP (as the name suggest, it is an out-dated topic and it just needs to die). I'm fairly certain it is now more expensive to keep Classic ASP running than converting to .NET, but some just don't want to give in yet...

    I also think combining Hosting and Server Configuration somehow may be a good step (or making Hosting a sub-section of Server Configuration -- or visa versa). I don't see it needing to be two separate entities.

    I also firmly believe that everything under Community here can be a single forum.

    Finally, all languages should stand on their own or on their parent language.

    Example:
    JavaScript (maybe have sub-forums for Ember.js, jQuery, Node.js, etc)
    HTML
    CSS (this could be a sub-forum of HTML, but I think it has enough traffic to stay by itself)
    Perl
    Python
    Ruby (Rails, Sinatra, etc could be sub-forums)

    and so on...

  6. #6
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    I would like to see a real Affiliate Programs board. Give the affiliate programs an option to advertise so they can get some visibility and Sitepoint can be compensated as well. It's good for people like me, good for affiliate programs, and good for Sitepoint. As it stands, I have to look elsewhere for info about affiliate programs that are available, payouts, news, rumors, and the like. Monetizing a website is pretty important to anyone who wants to grow and any respectable webmaster board should have a section devoted to it.

    Also, these categories should be condensed into one or have one with subcategories:

    Website Design & Content - Reviews & Critiques
    Getting Started With Web Design
    Website Design
    Graphics

    Maybe Graphics could be its own category, but as Sitepoint is primarily a webmaster board, and graphics are a component of design, it may be better to have it as a subcategory.

    Website Design
    - Reviews & Critiques
    - Graphics

    And I really wish Sitepoint had a job or project posting area, for a fee or not, doesn't matter. Get some traffic and we can get an idea of what type of skills are in demand in the market.

    One more thing: I wish there was a little better integration between the board and the regular Sitepoint articles and reference. Sometimes I forget that Sitepoint has other resources available than a forum.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheesedude View Post
    One more thing: I wish there was a little better integration between the board and the regular Sitepoint articles and reference. Sometimes I forget that Sitepoint has other resources available than a forum.
    Good news. This will happen. It is one of the reasons that we chose Discourse.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard TheRedDevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mittineague View Post
    I certainly hope not. At first it was suggested we "start fresh" but we decided that would be a "no go". Now it seems "most" will be ported over.
    Personally, I would prefer it to be "all", even the outdated stuff if only for "historical" purposes, but I do understand the logistics that would entail so I can see where a compromise is reasonable.
    Starting "fresh" would not been a good idea, especially when you have so little data to migrate in the first place. As long as your able to decide on the new category structure (old vs new) migrating the data is a piece of cake, its not like we are talking about an enterprise migration of hundreds/thousands with GB of data.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mittineague View Post
    Do you think Perl and Python get, or would get, enough activity to justify them having their own forum?
    IMHO one problem with having a lot of categories and subcategories is that it might make the drop-down overly cluttered and make things more difficult UX-wise instead of easier. for example, this site has 16, imagine 36!
    This is something you guys need to be careful with, you mention if there is enough traffic to justify a dedicated forum for Perl/Python, what you need to remember is as long as you have them combined you will never receive enough traffic to justify it, since anyone that understand how a search engine work will find a more dedicated forum and ask their question there.

    In my opinion a major mistake was done when you guys reduced the number of sub forums last time, when you did that a lot of active posters stopped posting as it became very difficult to try to take up advanced topics, since any topic was lost in between the beginner questions the forum was slammed with.

    When you reduce the forums even further, you just amplify this issue. Basically meaning that you risk losing the members with experience in the field, which is what you dearly need to keep the community alive. Without them all you will have is a bunch of newbies asking RTFM questions (excuse the language, but you get the point).

  9. #9
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    I'd love Graphics and Photography to be combined. I feel like both fora appeal to a similar set of persons.
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    Update on Sitepoint's Migration to Discourse

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRedDevil View Post
    In my opinion a major mistake was done when you guys reduced the number of sub forums last time, when you did that a lot of active posters stopped posting as it became very difficult to try to take up advanced topics, since any topic was lost in between the beginner questions the forum was slammed with.

    When you reduce the forums even further, you just amplify this issue. Basically meaning that you risk losing the members with experience in the field, which is what you dearly need to keep the community alive. Without them all you will have is a bunch of newbies asking RTFM questions (excuse the language, but you get the point).
    Can't argue with that. People tend to hang out in certain boards, usually in areas of their expertise. When the board goes, the flame that attracts them is gone. I miss the old SEO board. If I want to know what is going on with Google's updates, I have to look elsewhere.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    Scrap the lot and replace with a tagging system. That way someone could combine the topic types for their question, eg HTML+Accessibility, Mobile+CSS+XML, Hosting+Ecommerce.

    You could then search for topics via tag, or multiple tags.

    Probably tags could be auto-created from identifying pre-defined keywords in post Title and body text, as well as the author being able to add custom tags?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluedreamer View Post
    Scrap the lot and replace with a tagging system. That way someone could combine the topic types for their question, eg HTML+Accessibility, Mobile+CSS+XML, Hosting+Ecommerce.
    Wow, that's thinking out of the square.

    I wonder how the data migration would cope with that.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluedreamer View Post
    Scrap the lot and replace with a tagging system. That way someone could combine the topic types for their question, eg HTML+Accessibility, Mobile+CSS+XML, Hosting+Ecommerce.

    You could then search for topics via tag, or multiple tags.

    Probably tags could be auto-created from identifying pre-defined keywords in post Title and body text, as well as the author being able to add custom tags?
    I too think tagging would be better than an extensive arbitrary hierarchy. Especially since there is much cross-over. Unfortunately the prevailling sentiment with the Discourse team seems to be that tagging presents a lot more trouble than it's worth (sounds like a lame excuse to me) and that an exceptionally good Search feature would be better (which Discourse does not have yet and though this would help a member find what they're interested in, I fail to see how Search could allow a member to filter what they want to subscribe to).

    How would this affect migration? A truly scary and unsettling thought.

    I'm leaving the technical considerations of renaming forums in terms of migration to the experts and more interested in hearing the opinions of other members as to how they would like things to be categorized.

  14. #14
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpradio View Post
    Finally, all languages should stand on their own or on their parent language.
    I agree.

    Mixing multiple languages together in the one forum even if neither language gets many posts is just going to mean that the combined forum gets even fewer posts and what posts it does get will be more repetitive because it will be harder to tell if your question has already been answered for your specific language.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluedreamer View Post
    Scrap the lot and replace with a tagging system. That way someone could combine the topic types for their question, eg HTML+Accessibility, Mobile+CSS+XML, Hosting+Ecommerce.

    You could then search for topics via tag, or multiple tags.

    Probably tags could be auto-created from identifying pre-defined keywords in post Title and body text, as well as the author being able to add custom tags?
    I have never been a fan of tags and think they are severely limited.
    To tag a post effectively means creating umpteen tags and hopefully cover every eventuality.

    I think a far better method is to refine the search facility. I liked and miss this forums search facility.

    http://ellislab.com/forums/search/

    Google does a grand job without using tags
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_Betong View Post
    Google does a grand job without using tags
    Does Sitepoint have server hardware on the scale of Google? Also I understand that Google is not ranking pages on a daily basis. Besides if Google is all we need why do we come to Sitepoint in the first place? I think they are solving different problems.

    I'm not saying unrestrained tags doesn't have problems and many people don't even tag their posts anyway. If tagging is to work I think it has to be community driven. (IE: anyone can tag, not just the original poster.)

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    Does Sitepoint have server hardware on the scale of Google? Also I understand that Google is not ranking pages on a daily basis. Besides if Google is all we need why do we come to Sitepoint in the first place? I think they are solving different problems.

    I'm not saying unrestrained tags doesn't have problems and many people don't even tag their posts anyway. If tagging is to work I think it has to be community driven. (IE: anyone can tag, not just the original poster.)
    I get the impression the point I was trying to make was not clear so I will try again.

    SitePoint Forum has a search facility which I find extremely difficult to find specific posts (which I know have been posted). Using tags would narrow the search if there were only a few posts with that particular tag and I knew how they were tagged.

    The supplied link to another forum's search facility is far more effective in narrowing the search terms within certain ranges of categories, specific members, dates, etc, There is no need to register an account so give it a whirl and tell me your thoughts.

    The reason Google was mentioned was also to clarify that their search is comprehensive and does not use tags.
    Last edited by John_Betong; Feb 15, 2014 at 21:01. Reason: spelling: not my fortay and mentioned trying other forum search facility
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  18. #18
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    Are you referring to something like this?

    https://www.google.com/cse/

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    Are you referring to something like this?

    https://www.google.com/cse/
    No.

    I meant using Google to search for keywords in a browser's command line.

    For example try a browser Google search for "Sitepoint Forum John_Betong squinch" and compare the results to a Sitepoint search for the same keywords. The difference in staggering.

    Would using tags narrow the search results?
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  20. #20
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    I think I prefer a search engine to tags (not enough experience to know).

    SitePoint's search engine has been improved since a year ago. I tried searching for "John_Betong squinch" (sans quotes) and exactly one message was found and quickly, too. That's pretty good. Didn't try Google.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronpat View Post
    I think I prefer a search engine to tags (not enough experience to know).

    SitePoint's search engine has been improved since a year ago. I tried searching for "John_Betong squinch" (sans quotes) and exactly one message was found and quickly, too. That's pretty good. Didn't try Google.
    I tried the same search again and this is the result:

    sp-search-for-john_betong-squinch.jpg

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  22. #22
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    Hmmm I too get but one result, is the URL you're using
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/search.php?search_type=1

    In any event, whether or not and to what extent Tags or Search will affect the forum heirarchy is uncertain at this point.

    What is certain is that there can be 2 levels of categories i.e Categories and Sub-Categories

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mittineague View Post
    What is certain is that there can be 2 levels of categories i.e Categories and Sub-Categories
    Interesting. How deep are we currently?

  24. #24
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    Right now the public forums have 6 Categories, 33 Sub-Categories and 3 Sub-Sub-Categories

    IMHO the deeper a forum gets, the less visible it becomes, but the more categories there are the more "clutter" there is which can also make a forum difficult to "see".

    The trick is to find a balance I guess. Enough categories but not too many. The goal being to make navigation and locating the easiest possible for members.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mittineague View Post
    Hmmm I too get but one result, is the URL you're using
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/search.php?search_type=1

    In any event, whether or not and to what extent Tags or Search will affect the forum heirarchy is uncertain at this point.

    What is certain is that there can be 2 levels of categories i.e Categories and Sub-Categories
    Off Topic:

    No the URL I get evey time is similar to this:
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/search.php?searchid=1097473

    When in the Forums I use the "Search Forums" type here which is located second line down on the far right.

    Is there a link to: http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/search.php?search_type=1

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