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=][= IMPROVING OUR COMMUNITY FORUMS =][=


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11 replies to this topic

#1
Brother Tyler

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Okay, for quite some time now I've been trying to figure out what we can do to improve the Community Forums in order to better serve our members.

What I'd really like to know is what you'd like to see done.

Please throw your suggestions and ideas out so that we can discuss them.

#2
Mal

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There was discussion in the PCA section about asking for a request section added for tutorials so that the tutorials section will only have complete tutorials in it.



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#3
Brother Tyler

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That's PCA-oriented. What I'm looking for are ideas on improving the setup in this forum. How can we better organize things so that our members can:
  • arrange for games with each other
  • identify local game stores and clubs
  • identify upcoming events


#4
Brother Captain Andrecus

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Well, things are going pretty well so far...
Of course, the Geographic Locations sub-forum is a bit convoluted... Perhaps you could divide the US (and I will speak only of the US here, because I don't know incredibly much about the geography of other nations...) into four chunks, each represented by a sub-sub forums, then in each of those sub-subforums have every state in the chunk be represented as a sub-sub-sub forum (if you can do that?). Then people could make topics regarding their own specific area. Of course, they'd probably have to keep it general, like, no posting "Looking for gamers in the area of 199 Funkydance Road, Piddlyville, New Mexico. Third house on the right. " More like "Gamers near Piddlyville, New Mexico?"

Just a thought...
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#5
Brother Tyler

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Yes, geographic locations is very messy.

Here's what I'm thinking about doing overall:
  • Break the Geographic Locations down into major regions. We'll probably do this in line with the regions used by GW, just to keep things consistent. I'd originally conceived of every country having a separate sub-forum, but we figured we'd find way too many forums (and we're trying to keep the number of forums manageable).
  • I'll also formalize what I'm looking for the Game Stores & Clubs sub-forum. What I'd really like to do is have a way for members to see the various game stores and clubs in their area, or in areas in which they'll be traveling.
  • Create an Introductions sub-forum. This would be a place where new members could introduce themselves, and we might provide some quick answers to them with regard to the board. I'd also put the Who's Who thread in this forum.
  • I'll start taking events posted to the Events Calendar sub-forum and post them to our actual calendar. I'll also create planning discussions for them. I'll probably create a single Events sub-forum and make the Planning and Calendar sub-forums into children of that forum. I'd also link all of the relevant discussions for ease of reference.


#6
Brother Tyler

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Okay, things are still in flux here. I've made some changes, but the modifications are a work in progress (as I have time).

The major adjustment has been a shift towards geographical organization. I've created new sub-forums for each of the continents (minus Antarctica - if any of you are from that deep in the South, let me know). I've moved every thread that was in the Arranging Games sub-forums into the appropriate forums (I hope). Now I'm trying to figure out how to make this work best while keeping the forums as clean as possible. At this point, I'm strongly considering consolidating all posts from a single geographical area into a single discussion. For nations that are small enough (which is most), there would be a single discussion. For those that are larger (like U.S.A., Canada, and Australia), there would probably be one discussion per state/province/whatever. While this would make it a little more painstaking to find players in your exact local area if you're in a place like California or Texas (both very large states), it would keep the number of discussions down to something manageable. What I'm basically looking at is each member posting within their respective location-based discussion. Players looking to arrange games in that area could then search through the appropriate discussion, finding members near to them and coordinating games via PM or e-mail.

Game clubs and stores would be another matter. I'm tempted to create a sub-forum within each continental forum strictly for game clubs and stores. Each store/club would then have its own discussion in which to provide basic information and updates (I'll be defining the required information soon).

The old concept of the Arranging Games forum might be shifted to a sub-forum within each of the continental forums - a bulletin board type of setup in which members can coordinate games. I'm still working out how to make this work (see the first paragraph for one concept).

Quick note - most of the current conversations will be tidied up. A lot of the "noise" will disappear as I reduce the discussions down to the minimum details. This will be very noticeable in a lot of the store/club discussions, but also in a lot of the geographical area discussions.

Now the issue we have here is that the functionality of this system is limited by the board software. We're working in a discussion forum medium rather than a system using a database. One thing players can do in order to facilitate things is to include pertinent information in their profiles, and to update that information as it changes. There are a lot of things we'd like to do, but the B&C is a discussion forum and our software just doesn't support things (like clicking on a point on the map and seeing every member/club within a certain distance). I know that this is not an ideal solution, but we're working with what we have.

I'm still open to ideas.

#7
Brother Tyler

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Okay, I've made a few changes.

There is now a NEW MEMBERS forum and the old "Who is Who on the B&C" discussion has been moved from the Amicus Aedes forum to this one, though that discussion has now been closed. The expectation is that new members can introduce themselves in this forum and other members will welcome them appropriately. I'll also be adding a little welcome aboard package to the B&C - some links and information that should be useful to new members. If you can think of stuff to add here, let us know.

While the geographic location sub-forums are a bit messy, I think we're almost getting them to a manageable state. They've been broken down by continent. There will be a single discussion for each country, but those countries that are large enough and have sufficiently sized internal areas (e.g., states, provinces, territories) will have a discussion for each of those internal areas. The intent is that everyone that lives in one of those countries/areas will post in the single discussion. We won't have a bunch of different discussions for different parts of states or smaller countries - just the one discussion.

The big change in the geographic location sub-forums is that it now takes one of the staff members to create a new discussion. This is intended to avoid members posting new discussions for countries/areas that already have discussions. I know that this will prove to be a slight hindrance to those members that desire to post about gaming groups or events within the geographic location sub-forums, so we'll try to figure out a way to make this work. For now, you'll have to contact one of the staff members in order to have information added. Note that I'm still in the process of cleaning the geographic location sub-forums up. I think that Europe is the big project right now, especially all of the various UK discussions that have popped up. If there is a large enough density of players in the UK, we might allow discussions based on significantly sized internal areas.

If you have feedback on how things are working and ideas for improvement, by all means, let us know.

#8
kolbywhite28

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There was discussion in the PCA section about asking for a request section added for tutorials so that the tutorials section will only have complete tutorials in it.



Very nice idea for newbies like me. Got a lot of questions here. :D

#9
Brother Nihm

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#10
frostclaw222

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Tyler,

I'm a longtime board member, but this is my first time coming into the Community section. I'm about to move to Guam, and have heard anecdotal evidence that there are folks out here that play. So...I finally stuck my head in here.

And being that Guam is not part of Asia, is technically a territory of a North American nation, but is closer to the Philippines and Australia, I'm just a wee bit confused as to where I should put said post asking for Guam-located players to contact me in advance of my move.

I agree that the continental/regional breakdown works in 95% of cases. But it'd be great if there were a 'Pacific Islands' subforum, or something similar. Hell, you could even lump the poor Hawaii sods in there to bulk it out.

You asked for Community-related suggestions a while ago, I know. But figured since I had one, I'd tender it.
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#11
Brother Tyler

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How about if we lump the Pacific islands in with Australia? I'll leave Hawai'i as the United States, but the Marianas and others can roll into Australia if they don't properly belong to Asia.

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#12
frostclaw222

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Works for me. Honestly, I just want to put a post up and find someone to decimate or be decimated by on Guam.

I'm not greedy, just particular.
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