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View Poll Results: Which forum format do you prefer?
Minimal Forums 3 30.00%
Less than Jason's list but more than a bare minimum 2 20.00%
Jason's list 5 50.00%
More than Jason's list but less than the old list 0 0%
The old list from RPIMUD 0 0%
More forums than the old list but not 360+ 0 0%
360+ different forums 0 0%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-31-2009, 05:08 PM   #1
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Forum Format Preferences?

For those games with websites featuring forums, what are your thoughts regarding the variety of them? In other words, do you prefer a minimalist approach or do you try to diversify them by as many different topics as possible? For my own game's forums I think I had a reasonable balance. For the new RPMUD forums, the Operating Committee has had various thoughts in how we'll approach them compared to how they were done before. I thought I'd ask what people's impressions were of what looks and works best.

For the record, the site used to have the following:

Bug Reports
Administrative Discussion
Building Discussion
Code Discussion
Now Hiring
Open Podium (General, non-MU* discussions)
Role-Play Discussion
Literary Reviews
Publication Announcements
(25) Individual Game Forums

As noted at the bottom of the list, there was also one forum for every game in the listings, 25 presently. Considering that by broadening the scope a bit, we're potentially listing 360+ games on the site, that's a fairly implausible way of organizing a functional forum format (try saying that fast ten times) that isn't cluttered.

Personally, my thoughts are that there really only need be the following:

General RP MU* Discussions
Role-Play Issues and Discussions
General Design and Issues
Building Design and Issues
Code Design and Issues
Website Design and Issues

I just thought I'd poll here and see what input I could get that I could further bring to the Committee's discussions. Thanks.

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Old 01-31-2009, 07:54 PM   #2
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Re: Forum Format Preferences?

Less is more for me. Otherwise, I spend a lot of time searching for where a particular post is. Also, I get tired to clicking from one forum to another looking for something interesting to discuss. I almost always just use the front page of TMS and post in the threads that are up there rather than going through the forums itself. (Lazy, yes, but it allows me to be more active than I'd otherwise be.)
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Old 02-01-2009, 03:30 PM   #3
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Re: Forum Format Preferences?

Our forums have the following sections:

Main-discussions and announcements
Help-tips and pointers
Logs-logs of roleplaying, playerkilling, or other amusing things...
Graveyard-place for players to explain things about recently deceased characters
Development-ideas for new features
Flames-self-explanatory; topics get moved here once in a while...
Fiction-backgrounds, stories, or poems
Life, the Universe, and Everything-things not related to the MUD

Personally, I tend to prefer a forum with as few subheadings as possible. It makes it a little bit easier to navigate. Activity on the TMS forums is such that you could probably get away with consolidating a few of the less-used ones together.
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Old 02-02-2009, 09:04 AM   #4
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Re: Forum Format Preferences?

It's rather immaterial to me. A forum with the volume of TMS is one I prefer to view with an RSS feed reader.

It's too bad that vBulletin's feed support is , though.
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:55 PM   #5
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Re: Forum Format Preferences?

You're right, and there appears to be no fix for this. From searching I'm surprised there isn't more people even asking the question.

I took a look at external.php which generates the RSS feed and the whole thing is based around selecting threads and then taking either the last post or the first post, nothing in between. It might be possible to write a new one accessing posts only, but it's beyond my current understanding of VB internals.
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Old 04-23-2009, 06:44 AM   #6
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Re: Forum Format Preferences?

The reason that I tend to prefer minimal forums is that it encourages all the users to participate in relatively few areas. If you have a billion different forums and subforums then it's easy to miss topics - not everyone has a lot of time to spend looking around
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Old 04-23-2009, 02:11 PM   #7
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Re: Forum Format Preferences?

Am I the only person that just uses the new topics/unread topics link for whatever forum I visit? I rarely browse specific sub-forums so I don't really care how many there are, though minimizing their number should be a consideration for new members.
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Old 07-05-2009, 04:06 PM   #8
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Re: Forum Format Preferences?

*bump for more feedback*
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:01 AM   #9
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Re: Forum Format Preferences?

There's not really a one-size-fits-all solution. From years of forum admin/mod experience, I personally believe that the forum should grow with the community.

For example, a very new forum or one supporting a very small community, should have at most, three topics. Each should have a sticky readme pinned to the top, explaining the basic rules and guidelines.

Introduce yourself
General (on-topic) discussion
Off-Topic discussion

If any topic reaches the point where the first page is regularly filled with new topics every day, it may be time to create a subforum or start breaking down into categories as needed. Often, the community will simply ask for a second or third category.

Perhaps the general discussion area is being flooded with guild advertisements, EQ wtb/fs adds, frequently asked newbie questions, screenshots... whatever. Add on demand, not in anticipation. Otherwise, you may find yourself frustrated or dissappointed down the road.

Finally, a forum with loads of topics but very little or very old content in most of them, looks dead. Even if there's a couple with heavy traffic, it's simply off-putting to potential new members. I also believe that there is nothing wrong with downsizing and merging topics if the community begins to whither away. Doing so can save a sinking ship, and keep the forum looking fresh.

my .02

(side note: By default, threads, but maybe not posts, should always sort by newest first unless the individual forum member chooses to view it another way- hint hint...)

Last edited by obit : 06-25-2012 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:55 PM   #10
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Re: Forum Format Preferences?

As long as it's readable, its fine with me.

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