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#469579 - 09/01/14 08:50 PM Forum Structure
NoSimpleMachine Offline

Registered: 06/05/14
Posts: 223
Loc: SF Bay Area
I'm finding more and more that the structure of these forums and sub-forums really doesn't work too great. I've done a lot of forum administration over the years so I'd hope that my suggestions aren't off the wall or difficult to implement, though admittedly I don't have much experience with UBB.

Some forums are too broad and others are too specific, it needs some evening out. And there are definitely lots of posts that I (and I'm sure others) want to make that don't fit anywhere (which really shouldn't happen considering the sheer number of subforums present here), meaning that a couple forums end up being big "catch-alls" in a way that does no favors to the rest of the subforums. The structure of the forums also could be fit better to how the forums are used and read by users. Some suggestions:

-Right now there isn't much rhyme or reason into why the subforums are arranged the way they are from top to bottom. They aren't grouped in any sensible way and many subforums that should be getting plenty of traffic are left to wilt because they're buried between light-usage subforums, or are at the bottom of the forum view. Splitting the main forum view into a few sub-headings, with high traffic forums in the top section, mid-traffic forums in the mid section, and site administration and support sort of forums (which tend to be lightly used, but more heavily monitored by moderators) should be in the bottom section.

Suggested top section (e.g. "Survivor Discussion"), listed in suggested order from top to bottom: Introductions, Male Survivors, Family and Friends, Military Survivors, Gay/Bi/Trans Survivors, Males Abused/Assaulted As Adults, Sexual Identity Issues, Survivor Stories, and Progress.

Suggested middle section (e.g. "General Discussion"), listed in suggested order from top to bottom: Off Topic, Humor, Poetry/Writing/Artistic Expression, Books, Music & Films for Survivors, and US & World News. Keeping the middle section with fewer subforums encourages traffic levels to remain high enough to support good discussion.

Suggest bottom section (e.g. "Site Administration"), listed in suggested order from top to bottom: Forum Support (new forum for talking about technical or functional issues with the forum, unmoderated), Discussion Board Questions, Classifieds, and Ask The Website Committee. I've also been on forums with a dedicated Moderating Team subforum that is not viewable by general members that is a good place for the moderating team to discuss and coordinate. The point of this last subsection is that it doesn't pull in people who are looking for places to post but is easily findable for those who are looking to talk about the website, forums, or chat. Also is a good place for the moderating team to read about issues, receive feedback, and put out any important news.

-Poetry should be expanded into a broader "artistic expression" forum (perhaps with subforums that are geared toward writing, music, visual art, etc...whatever bins would receive good traffic levels to support discussion). There is plenty more that members can create in terms of writing that isn't poetry, and it has no place to go. Seems like an oversight that unnecessarily limits the behaviors of forum members who may want to share their journals, stories, thoughts, songs, photography, imagery, etc. etc. Anything of an artistic expression should have a place to go here and it doesn't right now.

-It would be nice if there were an option for threads in survivor stories to allow multiple posts. Give members the choice to have their stories open to commenting from others if they choose, or closed if they choose to as well. Also give members the choice to create multiple posts in their own survivor stories thread, even if nobody but them is allowed to do so. Maybe UBB doesn't do this but I've seen other forum software that gives users the options to setup their threads in an open or closed manner in a subforum specific setting (so it would apply to Survivor Stories, but not anything else.

Efforts to de-silo some forums would also, IMO, be good. I appreciate the Male Survivors only being for male survivors to post in (I would personally welcome respectful feedback from allies and family and friends, but respect those who say it needs to remain a safe place). With no disrespect to anyone who posts in that forums, but I do believe the Survivors of Female Abuse forum to be a little redundant...are we not already survivors of abuse regardless of the gender of the person who abused us? Especially as this forum in general already is specifically for male abuse survivors; the sexual identity issues and gay/bi/trans and men abused as adults and male survivors forums all seem, to me, like they would each capture pieces of the Survivors of Female Abuse forum by default.

I don't wish to wreck anyone's safe place here on the forum, or level of comfort. I do believe a few subforums could be consolidated or re-purposed in a way that would make them better but respect anyone who defends the structure of any subforum as it currently is. That said, I do believe this forum would benefit greatly from a re-organization from top to bottom with 3 major sub-sections that would direct discussion and traffic in a more constructive way.

EDIT: Of course in typing this post, I completely neglected to mention the 5 or so subforums are at the bottom of the forum listing, plus the two at the top.. Ask the Sex Doc, Health and Well-Being, HIV/AIDS, and Spirituality for Survivors should all be grouped into a single forum, perhaps with subforums or stickied threads as is prudent, probably in the middle section "General Discussion", along with research studies. And international conference and website news should be in the 3rd section "Site Administration", or a subforum somewhere therein. Definite example of subforums that are wilting due to the way the main forum view is structured. Too many forums, too many silos, some too specific, some too general, and not ordered in a way that encourages even readership and posting. Overall looks like the forum has grown willy-nilly over the years and "needs a trim", so to speak.

Edited by NoSimpleMachine (09/01/14 09:17 PM)
If I know only one thing it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I'm tongue-tied and dizzy and I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing Helplessness Blues, why should I wait for anyone else?

#471170 - 10/13/14 01:33 PM Re: Forum Structure [Re: NoSimpleMachine]
FormerTexan Offline

Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 12125
Loc: Denver, CO
This will be added to the agenda for the next meeting.
Money talks, but all it tells me is goodbye.

If I could meet myself as a boy...


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