Author Topic: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?  (Read 2484 times)

Offline svejk

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Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« on: August 20, 2010, 11:53:54 AM »
First off, I'm totally fine with the TechTalk transition.  I was never a big fan of the email format, but from the reaction to the transition, it looks like a lot of people liked it.

That said, I think one advantage that TT had, was that you could easily scan the messages and decide for yourself if there was something you were interested in.  The current format of the forum has 25 categories, and I think that it requires too much clicking to see what is happening in each of them.  I'm a fan of HBD's Brews & Views where almost all activity happens in the main forum.  It also has a very powerful search engine and a huge archive of valuable information that is really easy to navigate.  I think one advantage to fewer categories is that I would most likely never click on the "Extract and Partial Mash" category since I'm an all grain brewer, but I'm sure there would be threads in that category that would interest me.  I would think that the All Grain, Extract/PM, Kegging, Yeast, Ingredients, Equipment and Recipes categories could all be combined into one general category and most of the users would be interested in all of them.  In the last 24 hours, all of those topics had a total of 33 threads with activity.  That seems pretty reasonable for one general brewing forum.  If at some point it turns out that too much activity is happening on one of those subjects and it is clogging up the forum, then it could be broken out again.

If reducing the number of categories isn't an option, then perhaps there would be a way to look up recent threads with activity.  I see that there is a "Recent Posts" link at the bottom of the page, but if you aren't familiar with the subject of the thread, then seeing a reply out of context isn't very helpful.  I believe it would be more helpful if there was a way to look up recently active threads with just the titles and number of replies showing up.

I'm sure a lot of thought went into the current format, and I'm not trying to knock it in any way, I just thought I'd give my thoughts.  Thanks for considering them, and happy brewing!

Offline denny

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2010, 12:04:45 PM »
As the person who set up the forum, I really appreciate your thoughts.  We really tried to limit the number of subforums, and believe it or not, we've cut back from what it started as.  But, believe it or not again, people keep asking for more subforums!  I've been on Brews and Views for over 12 years, and personally I prefer this format, which to me is like a set of file drawers helping keep things organized.  But I also try to make certain that my own preferences don't dictate what this forum looks like.  Try using the "Show unread posts since last visit" link in the upper left and see if that helps you find stuff more easily.  And remember this forum is dynamic, so we'll continue to discuss the best way to set it up.  I appreciate your feedback for that purpose.
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Offline svejk

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2010, 12:12:11 PM »
Thanks for the reply Denny, I'll give that a shot.  Like anything else that is new, it just takes a little getting used to.

Offline ryan6458

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2010, 12:31:36 PM »
I like this forum, but every time I visit, my mouse gets tired.  :)

Offline joeysmokedporter

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2010, 12:44:44 PM »
I recently set up the RSS feed for the forum, which allows me to scan every post regardless of the board where it is posted. The only mouse clicks (1) getting to the RSS reader (I use Google's browser-based reader), and (2) from there, the posts and responses I want to read.

I am wondering if the RSS feed is capable of identifying the handle of the person who posted, and the board on which it is posted? 

As a reminder, Gary's tutorial on how to set up the RSS feed is at http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=3328.0.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2010, 12:47:13 PM »
I like this forum, but every time I visit, my mouse gets tired.  :)

You have to feed him and get him out for some exercise once in a while.   ;D

How're the hops doing?  I haven't checked in on your thread in a while.

Ron Price

Offline ryan6458

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2010, 12:54:44 PM »
Hops are doing great!  :)

As for this forum, I definitely understand why some people might like it set up this way. Some folks have very specific tastes concerning different aspects of brewing. If you only want to read about hops and/or yeast, you don't want to filter through a ton of posts to find what you want. I'm just not one of those folks, so I think you should adapt the forum to suit my needs.  :)

Offline svejk

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2010, 01:07:55 PM »
As it turns out, Denny's suggestion to use the "Unread" link at the top of the page was exactly what I was looking for.  I bet a lot of the people who are having problems with the TT transition would have an easier time making the jump if they could have that as their starting page.  In some ways, it is like seeing TT happen in real time.  I'm sold.

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2010, 01:13:18 PM »
Welcome to the Dark Side, svejk.  :)
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Offline hoptomation

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2010, 01:31:33 PM »
Denny's pointer was great.  I've been using the forums for about 6 months now and hadn't gotten around to trying that out, thought it was relative to PMs.  Also, FWIW, the unread is on the top right for me and not the top left, in case you are having problems finding it.
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Offline svejk

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2010, 01:35:04 PM »
Yep, it is on the right side for me as well.  I should have noted that in my reply.

Oh, and now that I'm on the dark side, I guess I'd better get used to using emoticons.   :o

Offline denny

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2010, 02:41:53 PM »
I like this forum, but every time I visit, my mouse gets tired.  :)

You need to exercise yer mouse!  :)
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Offline denny

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2010, 02:43:21 PM »
As it turns out, Denny's suggestion to use the "Unread" link at the top of the page was exactly what I was looking for.  I bet a lot of the people who are having problems with the TT transition would have an easier time making the jump if they could have that as their starting page.  In some ways, it is like seeing TT happen in real time.  I'm sold.

Sir (or madam), you've just made my day!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline denny

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2010, 02:44:54 PM »
Also, FWIW, the unread is on the top right for me and not the top left, in case you are having problems finding it.

Thanks for pointing that out!  I don't care for the default yellow/orange/brown color scheme, so I changed my skin.  That also changes where things are, but I forget not everyone is set up like me.
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Offline euge

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Re: Does the Forum Really Need 25 Categories?
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2010, 03:02:28 PM »
I like the replies and unread feature. Haven't utilized the recently button as much as the other two.

Personally, I'd like to see a sub-sub forum for the water reports broken down by state, but that'd be 50 of them! Might be easier to find one's locale though.

Sigh. RSS. Might have to use it.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman