The schome community

Schome Park Programme => Reflection and forward planning => Topic started by: PeterT on January 06, 2008, 09:09:59 AM



Title: Managing the forum
Post by: PeterT on January 06, 2008, 09:09:59 AM
I think we need to be better at managing the forum in Phase 3 - this would include:
  • being better at sticking to the topic
  • archiving stuff more regularly (and probably not putting in redirection topics when we move topics into the archive cos that kind of defeats the object - which is to remove topics in order to reduce the amount of stuff folk have to look at)

I think we need to do some reorganisation of the forum before Phase 3 starts - reducing the number of boards/topics and archiving most of the existing stuff.

The question is what should the starting structure of the forum be?

To help us talk about this I have explained some terminology below:
* Category - a group of boards (eg Welcome - start here; General Discussions; Schome in Second Life)
   * Board - a group of topics (eg Introductions; Using this website)
      * Child Board - a board nested within a board! (eg Reflecting on Phase 2; Planning for Phase 3)
      * Topic - a discussion thread within a Board (or Child Board)

So the original question could be rephrased as - what starting structure do we need in terms of Categories, Boards and Child Boards?





Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: KitKatKid Schomer on January 06, 2008, 09:53:57 AM
I think the structure of the forum categorys and boards would help the off-topicness and find it easier to navigate.

I for one, rarely click on a board, then a child board, then a topic. I just click unread messages and see what everyone is chatting about. I feel that if the forum was more structured it would be easier to navigate therefore finding the correct place to post something in.


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: KitKatKid Schomer on January 06, 2008, 09:56:24 AM
Just to add, The SchomeBase board hasnt been used in ages. I think the last post was in May. Are there likely to be anymore posts in there?


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Kathy Schomer on January 06, 2008, 11:58:11 AM
I find that a forum that is forced to stay on topic becomes incredibly dull, incredibly empty, or just has every thread locked almost immediately. For example, look at http://forums.secondlife.com/forumdisplay.php?f=189 - for the majority of people here who can't see that, it's the TG Linden Answers forum.

Most other posts will tend to veer off-topic, but not until the original question / discussion has been satisfactorily concluded. Should someone want to add something, they post something on the original topic and the thread reverts to its original purpose, whatever that might be.

I'm also not keen on obsessive archiving - it actually makes it harder to find things, given that  you end up with two places to look instead of one - especially given that the forum is essentially self archiving anyway. Anything that people don't have interest in eventually gets pushed off onto the second page, third page, etc. What benefit does archiving have here?

I think the forum is in need of drastic simplification, and the removal of the entire "archives" section on the basis it's redundant (failing that, compressing it into a single board in which anything that gets archived is dumped).

I think the structure should be something like this:

  • Schome
    • Introductions - please post here first! - move the "Using this website" board into this one, putting all posts there as stickies, and probably merging all the "Where can I get help?" posts
    • Education - merge the "Educational approaches, systems and thinkers" and "Educational Issues" boards, removing the largely defunct "ICT in Education"
    • Website Help - merge "Help" and its sub-board "SLog Help" into this.
    • Website Discussion - Rename "General discussion re schome" to this, as it seems to be primarily about the website.
    • Events - Same as "Other relevant events"
  • Second Life
    • Projects - Same as "Project Areas"
    • Government - Same as "Schome Park Governance"
    • Schome Park discussion - Same as "General discussions re Schome Park", but with the sub-boards removed/flattened (eventually).
    • Buddies - Don't like this being here, but can't see what else to do with it. :P
    • Help - Same as "Second Life Help"
    • Second Life in the Media
    • Events - Same as "Schome events"
    • Off-Topic (private) - Merger of the entire "Schome Park Private Area"

I propose the gruesome death, merger or archiving of the following boards:

  • Blikis and userpages
  • General discussion re ... - We have too many "general chats"
  • Nature Trails
  • The entire "SchomeBase" category
  • OU SLibrary

I think that's it, although I probably missed something. :P

(Hmm. This post took 20 minutes to write >.>)


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: KitKatKid Schomer on January 06, 2008, 01:11:32 PM
I totally agree with you Kathy I just didnt want to spend (as you did) 20 minutes typing it out! :p


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Baso Schomer on January 06, 2008, 03:46:20 PM
i agree also.....with both comments...(i wouldnt spend more than ten mins writing a post...id spend 10 mins writing several about the same thing :P)


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Marsbar9 Schomer on January 06, 2008, 03:53:44 PM
I think keeping boards as they are/exist already, and simply moving them about is a better idea.


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Kathy Schomer on January 06, 2008, 04:02:48 PM
But that doesn't actually achieve anything - except possibly even more of a mess than we have now.

And it only took 20 minutes because I spent most of them working out what I felt needed doing (and the forum got upset with my formatting >.>) :P


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Explo Schomer on January 06, 2008, 05:15:12 PM
It certainly seems like a sensible reorganisation-looking in several different boards for the same thing can get annoying, to say the least, and the system looks simple enough to be an improvement. On the subject of archives, I must agree that I'm not sure they are effective. On the other hand, I can certainly see their purpose, as I often look back through old threads in B+PP and it is helpful to have only revivable threads there. I think, rather than archiving threads based on time, we have to archive them based on their potential for future reference-in short, although the current archive system isn't particularly effective, some form of archive can definitely be.


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Kathy Schomer on January 06, 2008, 05:35:48 PM
There's an easy way to make threads non-revivable - lock them. Moderators should be assumed to have a good enough idea of the rules not to post in locked threads unless it's really necessary to do so.


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Explo Schomer on January 06, 2008, 05:40:43 PM
The point is not to make threads non-revivable, but to move already non-revivable ones out of the way, so you don't have to look through them to find revivable or useful threads.


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Kathy Schomer on January 06, 2008, 05:48:14 PM
I suppose a system which allows (and, indeed, expects) one to revive arbitrarily old threads does fall apart here. However, in said system, how do you determine a thread useless?

I do concede that you have a point however - at least for the planning department.


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Explo Schomer on January 06, 2008, 06:27:58 PM
However, in said system, how do you determine a thread useless?

This is rather the difficulty, and I don't think we can quantify how useful a thread is, which is, I suppose, one of the reasons computer moderators don't work as well as humans (at least, in my experience).


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Baso Schomer on January 07, 2008, 01:04:06 PM
Personally leaving it alone is better.

Maybe locking it once it is deemed useless (ie it is irrelevant or old and the information is incorrect)

But otherwise, it does self archive, by getting lost in the threads, like going to the bottom, or to another page...


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Fox Phlox on January 07, 2008, 01:37:17 PM
Yes, that's why, although I spend a lot of my time moderating the forums, you never find me archiving. I do believe they self archive.

I think Kathy's suggestions for categories are good, and I agree that some of the little used categories - like SchomeBase and Nature Trails - could go.


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Rowan on January 07, 2008, 02:19:54 PM
I think Kathy's categories are good and also suggest that around 90% of the current postings are archived.  I think the complexity of the forum and evident depth of history is likely to be offputting to new members.

There are a number of ways of navigating the forum - I realise that it's not the case that one is 'best' it depends on one's aims.  However I suspect that after all this time I am still not great at it as sometimes I come across a really interesting post that I would swear I have never seen before.

I'm still not very good at searching.  A long time ago I realised that you have to make sure your starting point is broad before putting something into 'Search' box but I don't think that was self-evident.

To give a specific example of my difficulties - Peter mentioned 'P21" framework in an email - I thought I'd better search for that but can't find it either through search box or through navigating from the broad menus trying to guess where it would be. 

You might well think 'you dumbo'  >:D (nearest thing approaching to long ears) and probably be able to tell me where it is - and maybe next time I take a look I'll find it right away - but my point is that it is still quite difficult to search the forum. This isn't perhaps a very constructive comment - I'm sorry about that - but perhaps archiving the great bulk of it would make it less intimidating to newcomers?

Also we haven't yet done anything about the fact that in the top left hand corner of the wiki is clickable text that says 'log on to the wiki' and yet this doesn't work.  (I reported some time ago that one member of staff said this was why they had never edited the wiki - and as far as I can see they still haven't.)
Yes I know there are other ways of logging on the wiki...

I am sorry this posting is a bit grumpy in tone I am disappointed I cannot get onto Second Life today and am sitting at home sneezing and snuffling  :'( a look at the islands would be really cheering  :)


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: PeterT on January 07, 2008, 02:24:36 PM
...
Also we haven't yet done anything about the fact that in the top left hand corner of the wiki is clickable text that says 'log on to the wiki' and yet this doesn't work.  (I reported some time ago that one member of staff said this was why they had never edited the wiki - and as far as I can see they still haven't.)
Yes I know there are other ways of logging on the wiki...
...

This is a problem to do specifically with IE7 - it doesn't happen if you are using FireFox - and to be honest we haven't found a way to resolve it other than to provide a link to the login screen (http://schome.open.ac.uk/wikiworks/index.php?title=Special:Userlogin&returnto=Main_Page).

If anyone knows of a fix for IE7 that sorts out this problem please let us know ...


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: An¡mus on January 07, 2008, 02:32:00 PM
Yes, that's why, although I spend a lot of my time moderating the forums, you never find me archiving. I do believe they self archive.

I think Kathy's suggestions for categories are good, and I agree that some of the little used categories - like SchomeBase and Nature Trails - could go.

When I joined I was perplexed by the nature trails


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: An¡mus on January 07, 2008, 02:33:55 PM
...
Also we haven't yet done anything about the fact that in the top left hand corner of the wiki is clickable text that says 'log on to the wiki' and yet this doesn't work.  (I reported some time ago that one member of staff said this was why they had never edited the wiki - and as far as I can see they still haven't.)
Yes I know there are other ways of logging on the wiki...
...

This is a problem to do specifically with IE7 - it doesn't happen if you are using FireFox - and to be honest we haven't found a way to resolve it other than to provide a link to the login screen (http://schome.open.ac.uk/wikiworks/index.php?title=Special:Userlogin&returnto=Main_Page).

If anyone knows of a fix for IE7 that sorts out this problem please let us know ...

on the mainpage, click edit and it will bring up the log-in page, once you have logged in you may return to the mainpage


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: PeterT on January 07, 2008, 03:50:48 PM
I've implemented a variation on Kathy's suggested structure.

I tend to agree about archiving - though there is a bit of me that would like to move everything (well almost) into the archive so that we start Phase 3 with nice empty boards (somehow that feels less intimidating for new folk than coming into boards that already look frantically busy) - but I'm resisting.

Let me know if you think the new structure is clearer - and whether there are things that I have inadvertently put in the wrong place - any constructive criticism welcome ...


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: An¡mus on January 07, 2008, 04:19:53 PM

I have no opinion on archiving, it doesn't really bother me


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Topper Schomer on January 07, 2008, 05:10:37 PM
I achive bords i have moderation powers in every so often most of the archived threads i only archive if there in a litle hole on page 3 (or whatever the lat page of threrads is) Most that i archived in my last round hadent been posted in simce the SNP poilt, I posted a message to see if there where any objections to archiving and if there wernt after a few days i archived them.

Topper


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Fox Phlox on January 07, 2008, 05:11:00 PM
I agree with Rowan, the search facility is not at all helpful.

However, I'm not sure that archiving would help a lot - because the search would still produce results from the archived files.

[Rowan, if you're still looking for the P 21 framework, try this thread.
http://schome.open.ac.uk/forum/index.php?topic=1828.msg37939#msg37939
and here
http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=254&Itemid=120
I found it by going via
Members
PeterT
Last messages
Search 'framework']


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Kathy Schomer on January 07, 2008, 06:35:13 PM
Yay, my suggestions were largely implemented. :P

Looks fine to me, but then I'm biased. :P


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Marsbar9 Schomer on January 07, 2008, 06:39:05 PM
Now I'm just confused  ???


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Decimus Schomer on January 07, 2008, 06:40:10 PM
It's definitely a lot simpler now than it was...

And Mars - what're you confused about?


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: KitKatKid Schomer on January 07, 2008, 06:51:09 PM
Its organised into 3 simple parts and it is much easier.


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Marsbar9 Schomer on January 07, 2008, 06:52:31 PM
Simple things confuse me sometimes - you clearly all see it as simpler - (granted I only had a brief 10 second look) but after that 10 sec look I thought it was rather confusing.

I'll have another look and post back soon...    :P


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Kathy Schomer on January 07, 2008, 06:52:58 PM
As far as I'm concerned it's in two - I collapsed the "Archives" category and am denying its existence. Plus, it's only about 15 pixels high when you collapse it.


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Kathy Schomer on January 07, 2008, 07:35:14 PM
...
Also we haven't yet done anything about the fact that in the top left hand corner of the wiki is clickable text that says 'log on to the wiki' and yet this doesn't work.  (I reported some time ago that one member of staff said this was why they had never edited the wiki - and as far as I can see they still haven't.)
Yes I know there are other ways of logging on the wiki...
...

This is a problem to do specifically with IE7 - it doesn't happen if you are using FireFox - and to be honest we haven't found a way to resolve it other than to provide a link to the login screen (http://schome.open.ac.uk/wikiworks/index.php?title=Special:Userlogin&returnto=Main_Page).

If anyone knows of a fix for IE7 that sorts out this problem please let us know ...

Haven't had a chance to test this yet, but there is an obvious error in the CSS that'd cause odd positioning errors on IE versions greater than six - specifically, this:

:
<!--[if gte IE 6]>
Should read this:

:
<!--[if IE 6]>
in the header.

No idea if it's causing this problem though, and it might just be badly labelled. I doubt it though.


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: PeterT on January 07, 2008, 08:47:13 PM
As far as I'm concerned it's in two - I collapsed the "Archives" category and am denying its existence. Plus, it's only about 15 pixels high when you collapse it.

This is how I have always had the archive - assumed that everyone else did too!  ;)


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Amba SParker on January 07, 2008, 08:51:32 PM
I've had most of the forum collapsed, most of the time!  lol There was too much. It looks much better now. Good work! :)


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: PeterT on January 07, 2008, 08:55:12 PM
...
Also we haven't yet done anything about the fact that in the top left hand corner of the wiki is clickable text that says 'log on to the wiki' and yet this doesn't work.  (I reported some time ago that one member of staff said this was why they had never edited the wiki - and as far as I can see they still haven't.)
Yes I know there are other ways of logging on the wiki...
...

This is a problem to do specifically with IE7 - it doesn't happen if you are using FireFox - and to be honest we haven't found a way to resolve it other than to provide a link to the login screen (http://schome.open.ac.uk/wikiworks/index.php?title=Special:Userlogin&returnto=Main_Page).

If anyone knows of a fix for IE7 that sorts out this problem please let us know ...

Haven't had a chance to test this yet, but there is an obvious error in the CSS that'd cause odd positioning errors on IE versions greater than six - specifically, this:

:
<!--[if gte IE 6]>
Should read this:

:
<!--[if IE 6]>
in the header.

No idea if it's causing this problem though, and it might just be badly labelled. I doubt it though.

I've passed this info on to the techy who looks after the server - hopefully he will rectify the problem.
Nice work Kathy.

PeterT


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Kathy Schomer on January 07, 2008, 09:06:15 PM
As far as I'm concerned it's in two - I collapsed the "Archives" category and am denying its existence. Plus, it's only about 15 pixels high when you collapse it.

This is how I have always had the archive - assumed that everyone else did too!  ;)

They aren't collapsed by default. :P


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: PeterT on January 07, 2008, 09:08:40 PM
As far as I'm concerned it's in two - I collapsed the "Archives" category and am denying its existence. Plus, it's only about 15 pixels high when you collapse it.

This is how I have always had the archive - assumed that everyone else did too!  ;)

They aren't collapsed by default. :P

I'm really tempted to move all the stuff from the archives back into the other boards so that we get rid of the archive altogether - oh impetuous not to mention fickle me.  ::)


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: Kathy Schomer on January 07, 2008, 09:20:19 PM
But then it'd be just as, if not more, confusing, because you've also archived entire boards there. :P


Title: Re: Managing the forum
Post by: PeterT on January 12, 2008, 11:06:15 AM
Once we have agreed about the governance structure (http://schome.open.ac.uk/forum/index.php?topic=1834.0) and the Phase 3 activities (http://schome.open.ac.uk/wikiworks/index.php/SPP_Phase_3_activities) then I will reorganise the boards a bit further so that they reflect the new governance structure and planned activities.