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Made Things More Difficult Again?

 
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  #1  
Old
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Made Things More Difficult Again?

Couldn't find the Pickem thread. Looks like you just combined the sports section into the Virtual Family section for some reason?
  #2  
Old
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Been condensing forums for several months now and still working on it.

Virtual Family and Off-Topic
This is for non-affiliate marketing posts, like birthday wishes, photo gallery, Daily Chuckle, Dieting-Fitness-Health, ABW Sports Fans etc. Think of it as a virtual water cooler.

If you want it stickied let me know.
  #3  
Old
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It used to be like that back in the day. It was separated out so it wouldn't be a big jumble/mess. Easier to find stuff that way. If you guys decided to make it a big jumble/mess/disorganized again, that's your choice.
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  #4  
Old
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Well can't make you happy now can we? Let me know your pet forums and will pin them to the top so you don't have to dig. Eighteen pages of forums is a bit much and we reduced it to 16.
  #5  
Old
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So you thought organization was a bit much, so you reduced it to disorganization. Great thinking. You don't have to pin anything, my pet forums don't exist anymore. No biggie.
  #6  
Old
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So if there is no longer a Daily Chuckle, do jokes posts now count in post count and if so, shouldn't all those pre-consolidation posts now be added in to post counts?

For what it's worth, I think the more specific categories, the better. I can think of no good reason to combine jokes, sports stuff, birthdays, and death notices into the same category. Might as well combine intros, site reviews, newbie questions, and blogging.
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  #7  
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VBulletin is very powerful software. Subcategorizing should be a piece of cake. A few clicks and voila! It's like magic or sumthin'.
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  #8  
Old
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AffiliateHound View Post
...I can think of no good reason to combine jokes, sports stuff, birthdays, and death notices into the same category. Might as well combine intros, site reviews, newbie questions, and blogging.
+1. It's very confusing now. I enjoyed going through the Daily Chuckle or Diet/Fitness every so often & re-reading some. Ditto on other categories for others, I'm sure. Now it just looks like one long list of random postings.
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  #9  
Old
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We are working on a tagging system but will be after the first of the year before it can be implemented. I will speak with iNet and see if we can move it up.

This project was begun a year ago and is now just getting implemented. Feedback has been that the forum is overwhelming to newbies so we are tightening things up. Nothing has been removed and the post count hasn't been reduced. The ten year legacy of the forum has not suffered with any condensing.
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  #10  
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It would be less overwhelming if things were organized into categories instead of thrown into a swirling jumble.

Newbies will find their way around after a little while. But not if things are so disorganized that even those who have been here for a decade are frustrated and bumping into the furniture.
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Last edited by davidh; November 6th, 2011 at 03:06 AM.
  #11  
Old
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
This project was begun a year ago and is now just getting implemented.
Please don't try to associate me with these kinds of decisions. I've always been for more organization, not less. I grouped a lot of related forums into sub-forums and did a little bit of consolidation (like in the Search Engine section), put forums in a more logical order, and often moved threads to the most appropriate forum, but I have never supported consolidation of active forums.

I did have two long-standing suggestions that would have made navigation considerably easier for newbies, but I was never able to get them pushed through. You're certainly welcome to pick up the baton if you see any value in them:

1) Adding exploding forum navigation menus, so that when someone hovers over Forums it would show a horizontal menu bar with the top level forums. Hovering over one of those would show a vertical list of the sub-forums under that. Sub-forums that have an additional level of sub-forums would show an indication and hovering there would open up a second vertical list of the sub-sub-forums. (Think of how menus work in most programs, to visualize it.)

2) Modifying the search results so that any sub-forum that matches a search would appear at the top of the search results.
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  #12  
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Thank David and Michael, am always open to suggestions. Not sure what is stock vbulletin and what has to be programmed but will add this to my project list with iNet.

One of the goals is to condense little used or non-used forums by merging them into primary forums. Another is to move the top searched and top discussed forums to the top of the forum list.

It would be insightful to know how veterans track and use the forum. I have 3000+ subscriptions, bookmarked anything I read regularly and monitor the Unread Posts hourly.
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  #13  
Old
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If I click on the vertical scrollbar in my browser when not logged in, it requires 9 clicks to go from the top of the ABW forum homepage to the bottom currently.

On WF, BHW, ASF... They all require less than 6 clicks to go from the top to bottom. The only forum I could find off hand which required more clicks, was affspot which required 13 clicks - looking at their level of activity and appearance. It appears more fragmented, disorganized, and segmented. Also less active than all others (at a glance).

Borrowing from someone who knows a little about forums and communities, Jono Bacon said the following in his book "art of community":

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Quote:
The second part of the process is “keeping all your eyeballs in one place.” One of the mistakes a lot of new communities make is to fragment individual communication mediums too heavily. Let’s look at another example.

When we started LugRadio, I wanted us to provide a place for listeners to talk about the show and the topics in each episode. Forums were the best choice, so I set them up.

In most discussion forums you can have a number of subforums. As an example, if you had a software project, you could have subforums for General Discussion, Development, Documentation, etc. When I set up the LugRadio forums I created three subforums: General Discussion, Ideas for the Show, and Mirrors. Each subforum had a clear purpose for discussion.

In contrast to many other forums, we had a tiny number of subforums. Many new forums have 10 or more subforums, and we had 3. This was deliberate. When you set up a new community, you want to generate discussion quickly. You want to initiate the discussion but encourage and inspire others to participate and get involved. If you have a forum with too many subforums, you will fragment the discussion: you will get many tiny bits of discussion across the subforums, and little consistency. Keep the discussion in just a few places, and conversation will flow.

This happens because people waste time choosing the right forum instead of just posting. What is worse, some get confused and just don’t post at all. Discussion gets going faster when you have fewer choices.
Getting specifically back to the "Virtual Family & Off Topic" section, it now contains all sections which aren't specifically Affiliate Marketing related. Anyone looking for virtual family or other off topic discussion can find it there - daily chuckles, health/fitness, and sports stuff. Looking at the first page of threads listed in that section, a months worth of topics (25 total) from all the sections it contains can be displayed on a single page. If that section had 25 threads a day, we would probably want to split it up so the discussions didn't roll off the first page too quickly.

As the section has only 25 threads a month, it makes sense to keep all your eyeballs in one place, avoid fragmentation, and gather all the "let your hair down" casual sections in one place. There are few enough discussions going on in those sections that it is easy to look through the past 2 months of topics by viewing the first two pages of the section.
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  #14  
Old
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It's like you've never done forums before.

"The only forum I could find off hand which required more clicks, was affspot which required 13 clicks"

So you're worried about the number of clicks it takes to get from top to bottom?

Then you handle it just like you do the Affiliate Tax Laws section. From the main forum page, it has links to subforums. Why not just have 1 tax forum and put Florida in with Illinois, New York and the other states. Right now they each have their own sub forum. Why don't you put them all together like you did the Virtual Family? Because that would make it more harder to find info, more mixed up. So the philosophy doesn't carry thru. You have subforums for Parasiteware, ABW Voting Booth etc. Should have just done the same here. If would have handled your goal. Less scrolling, while keeping ABW organized. Simple.

"It would be insightful to know how veterans track and use the forum."

You could simply ask. Never understood why that was so difficult for stuff like this, businesses etc. Poll it, ask the community members what they like better. Only if you care what they think tho. Maybe the majority likes it all jambalaya, then so be it. But at least ask.

If it's really an issue, have 2 forums.

One Affiliate Marketing - Everything related to affiliate marketing goes there. Threads on CJ, LS, SAS, paid ads, SEO, everything.

Then Other. Then newbies wouldn't have to hurt their fingers scrolling.

You're supposed to be making improvements.

You can make things:

more organized

less organized - you picked this one

Again, that's why these forums first came into existence. To better organize things.

Last edited by Trust; November 7th, 2011 at 02:52 PM.
  #15  
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Last edited by Bill; November 7th, 2011 at 03:02 PM. Reason: Never mind - lost cause...
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  #16  
Old
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trust View Post
Again, that's why these forums first came into existence. To better organize things.
We're worried about navigating the site, not just how many clicks it takes to get from top to bottom. Splitting the forums up reduced activity rather than hurt it - people have to check 4 different sections to find all the off topic discussions, and there usually is only 2 or 3 threads active across all those sections each day.

If the sections that are split out are arbitrary, that isn't better organization. It's more sections fragmented for no good reason because there was no vision or cohesive plan for the "organizing". How was it decided that sports, jokes, and pictures were the sections to split out? Why didn't we split out a section for cars? A section for hobbies? A section for politics/news? You are acting as though the split up of off-topic sections was a thoroughly thought out and well executed approach. It was not that, and the level of activity in each subsection offered no justification for splitting anything out.

The Affiliate Legal Lounge and Affiliate Marketing Business Issues forums are another example of bad organization that hurts more than it helps. Both sections have had less than 25 threads this year. It should be one section where business and legal issues, essentially the same thing, can all be discussed in one place - forcing people to look in two areas to find topics or start a discussion is disorganized and confusing.

There are 25 threads from the last month across all the Off-Topic sections. Why split out sections for specific areas? Look at how other sites handle their off-topic sections, ABW isn't the only forum out there - there are plenty of examples for anyone to look at. If there isn't a level of activity to justify segmenting the areas to make the discussions easier to follow, they are best hosted within one main forum.

More sections, more confusion, and new and old people spend more time figuring out where things belong than just discussing things.

The tax section is different, as the laws are relevant on a state-by-state level - having separate sections there is well justified and its why that section was not changed.

As for how veterans browse the forums - we have gotten plenty of user feedback on that. Most people browse the site through unread posts, and check a few specific sections on a daily or weekly basis. Very few exceptional members browse 10 or more subforums daily. ABW has a couple hundred subforums, many of them get very low activity because there are so many sections few people check them every day.
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Last edited by I.M.O.G.; November 7th, 2011 at 03:24 PM.
  #17  
Old
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Horrible examples by the way.

WF -You can see why people go there nowadays
Shooting The Shit (220 Viewing) - nude pics, racist things let slide etc
Affiliate Marketing (11 Viewing)

BHW - doesn't tend to get any advertisers for obvious reasons.

affspot - it's not dead because of the scrolling

ASF - was never properly setup to be active. It actually could use many more forums.
  #18  
Old
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"We're worried about navigating the site,"

Right and I just showed you how to do it, subforums. You don't throw out organization to reach that goal.

You know I could break down how ridiculous the rest of your post is but I have better things to do.

You made things less organized.

You got no community input on this. And don't give me that magical input that nobody sees. Where there is no trail. PM, email, phone etc. We all know that's nonsense.

You know, sometimes people like to come here and just read thru the jokes or the sports etc. This stuff is all old conversation. We went thru all this years ago, why those forums came into existence. But see you way through. I'm sure posting will blossom now that you made things more disorganized.

You have it in your head that you're right, so screw what the members think. I'm sure that philosophy will work wonders.

Last edited by Trust; November 7th, 2011 at 03:28 PM.
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  #19  
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Appreciate the input Trust, however I can't agree that having 200 nearly dead "organized" sections is better than having 50 "disorganized" active sections. The "organization" you are defending did not make those sections more active, but they did make people have to go to multiple areas to find things that could all be reasonably put in one place.
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  #20  
Old
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Those weren't inactive forums you messed with. If you're worried about that, handle the inactive OPM forums you have here, there are a few that have no posts in half a year.

"The "organization" you are defending did not make those sections more active, but they did make people have to go to multiple areas to find things that could all be reasonably put in one place."

And whatever activity level it was, let's call it X. Do you think making it more disorganized is going to increase or decrease that level? I mean, this is common sense stuff we're talking about that for some reason you're not getting. Disorganization is not going to bring activity. It's crazy thinking.

But you made your decision. You have no plans on actually getting input from the community for some reason. So be it.

Last edited by Trust; November 7th, 2011 at 03:37 PM.
  #21  
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Trust, there are less than 25 threads from the past month in all of those forums - you can see that by viewing Virtual family currently. The threads from all sections are there, less than 25 since October 8th. Inactive? No. Not much activity? Yes. Easily you can follow all activity across all sections in that one area - topics aren't getting knocked off the first page until over 30 days go by.
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  #22  
Old
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"Trust, there are less than 25 threads from the past month in all of those forums - you can see that by viewing Virtual family currently."

Which is probably more than most of this site.

It's very simple. When I came here the other day to update a thread, I coudn't find it. I had to click on my name and view posts to see where it went. Because the people in charge thought making things more difficult to find was a good idea.

And you're skipping over the not getting community input part. Polls still work right? Why isn't there one? Isn't that your job? It says under your name:

Online Community Engagement

Well? Is there no poll because you might think members here favor organization vs. disorganization and you would have to go back and fix the mistakes you made?

"As for how veterans browse the forums - we have gotten plenty of user feedback on that."

That's not true. Where is that feedback, can you link to it?

"More sections, more confusion, and new and old people spend more time figuring out where things belong than just discussing things."

I have a filing cabinet. It has different folders with labels. That doesn't make things more confusing. It helps me find things quickly.

Last edited by Trust; November 7th, 2011 at 03:54 PM.
  #23  
Old
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Up until a year or two ago (longer?) there were a couple of jokes posted every day, a new sports tread most days, daily threads on issues like fires, earthquakes, personal problems, and requests for info on new products and product choices. The significant reduction in number of posts in these areas (as in others) should not be taken as being due to a problem with site navigation or sub-forum delineation, but rather with the basic problems that have beset this forum in particular and forums in general. Effecting these changes makes the forum harder to use and harder to navigate, and will have the effect of reducing future participation.

It's been almost two months since ANYTHING has been posted in the Inner Circle. Address the reasons why, or just combine it with Events and Gatherings or Voting Booth?
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  #24  
Old
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Just popped in quickly so won't make a long post but definitely agree with Trust, AffiliateHound, etc.
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  #25  
Old
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IMO
There is not much posted on this site that is worth navigating to these days.
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