Can these sub-Forums be combined: Design Elements & Website Reviews?
Why? They have different purposes.
It would be possible to see design as part of the website. There may be some overlapping.
Certainly there is overlap. But design can relate to subjects beyond websites. Is there any further reason why you want those forums merged? The only reason I can think of is that there are fewer threads in the design review forum, meaning it may be harder to get noticed in there.
It is about that too. Users are generally looking to get exposure when they ask questions. There is also a third forum for reviews which only has about 40 threads. That could potentially be merged too.
Each of those forums has a requirement for each person posting responses to threads already in the forum prior to being allowed to start their own thread. Combining the forums would make it less likely that the threads currently in the less popular of the forums would get answers.
Sure, but that’s not what the forums are for. They are for getting genuine feedback and help with design/content etc. So the need for better exposure is not a rationale for modifying the forums. And as felgall says, it helps to have forums with not too broad a focus.
“Exposure” refers to exposure to users who are ready to provide feedback.
More exposure would give users in need more opinions and feedback.
And that’s exactly why the forums are separate - since those able to provide feedback in one area are unlikely to be able to provide feedback in the other and even where they can, if all their feedback is in one area that shouldn’t entitle them to ask for feedback in the other. Each person is required to make a minumum number of significant feedback posts in each of those forums before being allowed to post their own thread in that forum - therefore at a minimum they will get feedback from those people who want to be able to post their own thread in the same forum.
By combining the forums together either the amoun t of feedback you are required to give would need to be increased before you can post your own thread - resulting in less new threads - or the amount of feedback each thread receives would drop - making the entire forum less useful.