Threadwatch Forum - Is it Time?

41 comments

Ok guys, this gets asked a LOT - but maybe now it's time...

Should we open up discussions to questions and normal forum like posts? - i can keep 2 recent posts lists as we do at the moment when the redesign is finished - one for blogged posts (ie - the best of the best) and one for *everything*

Im thinking the benefits may be:

  • Greater breadth of discussion
  • Able to find good topics to blog easier (from Q's and discussions in forum)
  • Better community building

and the downside would be

  • Increased moderatoin workload
  • Noisier - though i will still remove noob stuff as per the TW ethos of less nose and pro-level discussion

Let me know what you guys think eh?

Comments

Folksonomic structure

The biggest problem I've run across with FS is that personalizing this sort of thing DE-structuralizes it - which decentralizes it, making it increasingly difficult to utilize. As far as I've looked into it, what's become most obvious to me is that most of us (meaning the "larger world" of those online) tend to not seek a core definiton for our "markers" - and without a core definition our personalized ideations are meaningless to many people.

Diffusion isn't always a good thing. Unless there is an effort to re-enable cohesion, FS though it seems a logical way to organize, really is only a mishmash of unrelated links/information.

No

Not the idea - though i'd be interested to hear if people think a folksonomic structure would be useful here?

I just meant making a post that links to all of the best posts on a particular theme Gurtie...

Tagging?

>>The very best stuff will be cross-listed in that category so you can find it easily. One other thing will be in the future to start tying topics on a theme together with an 'index post' - linking all the good posts on a particular subject and putting it in the special cateogory.

so is this where we all get to play with folksonomies?

Yes they do

One thing that's on the agenda this weekend brian is to have "todays posts" listed in a block on the homepage and indexes - in the reverse order they were posted - sometimes i post good stuff (and so do others) in the morning and they dont get replied to - sometimes i think they're getting overlooked rather than just not being of interest or the kind of post ppl would reply to...

About the private thing - do you mean you want to ask questions here, or in a closed space?

Forum

Public forum could end up as just chatter - but one thing I want to be able to do is ask difficult SEO questions in front of other SEO's, but not in public. I haven't seen that as yet (maybe I just don't hang out with enough people? :) ).

The TW format at the moment works nice, but those topics do disappear fast.

You're in luck

LM you're in luck :)

In the new design that i mentioned above somewhere there will be 200chars max as a summary of each topic - i have a feeling it must count html aswell as this equates, on average, to 2 lines per title - so, you get the title, who it's by and a link to read more and a link to go directly to the comments - it's VERY simple and VERY clean

Also, i've been thinking alot about this - permenancy needs to be addressed for sure, particlulary for the really good posts - i've not come up with a perfect solution but untill i do, we'll have a "hall of fame" or "library" or some other such title of category.

The very best stuff will be cross-listed in that category so you can find it easily. One other thing will be in the future to start tying topics on a theme together with an 'index post' - linking all the good posts on a particular subject and putting it in the special cateogory.

Ideas and suggestions welcome - sorry the work is so slow but i only really get weekends to work on it....

my take

Okay, I am going to be the odd man out I guess...

SEO help forums suck, we all agree -- once they get popular everybody is afraid to talk and then you get the flood of self-aggrandizing wannabes and newbies who end up worshiping them. Then there is the risk of the weak-minded site owner getting a fat head. No one really wants that, I agree.

But there is something missing in the transitory nature of the blog format. Topics just fade away too fast, like for instance I didn't even know of this thread until Nick IM'ed me the link. I would like a forum venue for topics as they come in as news as a way of cruising topics more thoroughly and efficiently.

Take these:
http://www.threadwatch.org/technology
http://www.threadwatch.org/publishing

20 topics on a page and the page is fricking huge, how many of those pages are you going to click on to see what's posted? Thats the reason why topics die so quick in blogs. If there were a way to just display titles and have the topic pages presented in a more compact way I bet we would have more useful/in-depth conversations.

a lot of interesting stuff isn't SE specific

Personally I'd leave it be - if a thread's about Google it tends to have 'Google' in the title when it turns up here.

The recent posts list is nice and easy to scan down and look at what seems interesting.

symbols are enough

I like the in-line threading. It's YOUR HIGHLIGHT that I am reading, Nick. I am not seeking, an won't go into categories much on my own.

How about a nice clear logo or symbol that says THIS IS A YAHOO THING vs. THIS IS A GOOGLE thing? That lets my eye assign priority as per my current will/attention, whlst still scanning the "Nick continuum" that is TW.

Of course I am assuming objectives... I have assumed you want to keep ME interested and reading. You may have other plans best sited by splitting up....

Dunno even...

...about splitting the G/Y/M-related search engines posts. Especially since they all have so many common factors. What goes for one of them often counts for both others as well; and if not, the differences concern all the big three (with maybe a couple of references to the minors). So unless it's too big a chunk to handle, I think it's very Threadwatch-like to think of search engines as a big cloud of SEs, without worrying much about whether Y has new serps, whereas G has just updated its algo and M changed its blue background to white :-)

About the forum thing. You already have a pet forum {grin}, and as long as it's threadlinked often enough, we get all the good bits anyway. I bet all of us post at some of the SEO forums anyway, so we can always draw attention to a specific post/thread if we feel bold or important.

BTW - I like your ideas about promoting the sites of people who start useful threads. Even though some of them may not necessarily need that, it's nice to give credit where it's due/deserved.

Good idea to split posts

Yes it would be a good idea to split posts into categories for each search engine instead of all being in the one pot

ok oK OK

Guys, quit worrying - i have said we're not going to do it :-)

Now, how about someone addressing my earlier questions?

Quote:
While we're on the subject of improving TW, i was thinking, as we talk about search engines so much it might be a good idea to re-categorize to put posts under google,msn,yahoo and other - and maybe a few other changes

What do you think?

Sheesh - you'd think i'd suggested killing kittens heh...

Nada

Bad idea for sure

Nah

TW is unique as it is now. Don't fix what isen't broken.

NO

Do the boys and girls really want to have discussions about pagerank. I'll go to wmw for the general stuff.

There many sites with forums about everything under the sun. Keep it simple Nick

Doug

Another No

Don't dilute the site focus.

yup. Say no to the same old

I didn't know who NickW was until I came in here and started lurking. I was impressed with his perspective (until the Geofence and Linux Virgins posts, anyway. A bit OT, no?).

Everybody's a critic!

Anyway the number one reason I am posting an opinion on this thread? Because the last thing I want to see is yet another set of mods named XXXX and XXXX and XXXX, controlling SEO media. It's no wonder Brett came over ...he probably did a G search on WMW and got TW because of the semantic image created by all those tired handles (lol).

It's a blog, not a forum, right? I'd even like it better if it showed only trackbacks and no direct comments. So far you've done a fine job of telling us what DaveN says (he doesn't write enough) and other useful bits as hearsay. That's half the draw.

FWIW, I think that there are

FWIW, I think that there are more than enough SEO/M forums out there already, and an SEO/M forum about SEO/M forums (Metaforum?)would be compounding the issue, not helping it.

I really like Threadwatch the way it is, Nick - it introduced me to a very cool way to use blogs and it doesn't attract hords of newbs who want to take from the communitee but not give.

I don't mind helping out new people - that's what we have forums for, and I'm very active that way. But I need a break sometimes, you know? Some time to hang around with pros.

Forums encourage people who want to take from the community but not contribute to post, thus making a mess, increasing the noise to signal ratio (remember that?) and making moderation an issue. The News/Blog format you have here encourages people to lurk when they want, and only contribute when they have something useful to say. This is a good thing. This is a great thing.

PLEASE don't do it! :(

Ian

Maybe a week or two

Possibly three, im not really sure Mick

This weekend coming i will be hopefully finishing up with the design and the basic programming that goes with it - the following weekend with a bit of luck i'll be adding the final modules and enhancements LIVE - the problem being that anything i add to it affects teh db, so unless i want to lose comments and posts it has to be done live (ish)

However, it's not so hard and i'll back up as i go :-)

Categories

While we're on the subject of improving TW, i was thinking, as we talk about search engines so much it might be a good idea to re-categorize to put posts under google,msn,yahoo and other - and maybe a few other changes

What do you think?

NO

When is the new design going live nick?

Ditto the rest

Don't do it. The one "help please" question I asked got nuked (many thanks too for deleting it!) and I'd rather the place not get bogged down by noise.

Imho...forum (eg, post your question you didn't want to take the effort of researching thoroughly yourself) and then there is the expectation of "answer" which then causes all sorts of problems, people being told to RTFM, etc.

This site kicks ass - if you want to follow the downslope of the dreaded bell shaped curve that other forums follow...then yep, launch a forum. The way forward is not that, so don't do it please ;)

No

~

I'm a naysayer too

it's fine just the way it is :)

Foo = blogs really too..

I say no

on the basis that currently its complex enough, anchors everywhere.

Tidy up the layout (which you're doing, so yay) to make information flow a little better (names above comments would be delicious -- I like to know who's opinion I'm reading. Its a psychology thing) and keep topics limited to the same style we already have. Its the best way to keep the signal:noise ratio in check, makes moderation easy, and provides potentially valuable discussion.

There was once a graphic-design forum that kept topics strictly moderated so only discussion topics were permitted, and it worked very well - it kept the calibre of content high, while it lasted (it eventually died, so as references go, maybe not the best :p).

Keep things as refined and close to the core roots as possible and, with the small but perfectly formed community you ('we') have as much forum discussion as one needs. Forum fixes can be had elsewhere, and we don't need the clutter ;) So nay to the forum, yay to a tidyup.

(increasingly I've noticed my paragraphs and trains of thought are disjointed and mixed up. I hope the point is made)

Mostly Negatory

If it isn't broke...don't fix it. Questions can be asked in the threads as they come up, and this format tends to attract the professional quality comments.

It COULD be done...but keep it as seperate as possible if you do. I don't see it as REAL necessary...there are plenty of places for discussions. COMMENTING on those discussions is what makes this site useful IMHO.

I agree with several others.

I agree with several others. The thing that makes Threadwatch stand out is that it *isn't* a forum. It is a summary of the important threads of other forums, news articles and blogs. You have a slow steady growth, Nick, and it seems you want to keep a good thing going.

You may, however, want to enlist a helper so you are not doing everything yourself. Split the load before it gets too much for you to handle. (But then, I can understand how it is difficult to let go.)

Short Answer...

No.

..but I like Pauls foo area idea

Do we need another forum?

The great thing about TW is you don't have to sift through all the noise. I love being told what is important.

Maybe

A forum would be easier to track comments to threads gone by, but at the same time could lose the focus.

Me too, as the actress said to the bishop

1. I agree that a forum would detract, rather than improve, TW

2. You need to look at your business plan (assuming you are vaguely thinking of having one!) and set some sort of target for the number of users you want to attract. I believe there is an upward limit on the number that it is wise to attract. The do you mathmatics with that number

3. I agree with Paul to have a foo area would help reduce our own noise. Sometimes I am in two minds whether to post things that are amusing, rather then, shall we say pushing back the frontiers of knowledge.

Thanks guys, all noted and ap

Thanks guys, all noted and appreciated.

Paul, im working on that - for now, micellaneous or community is the place to put FOO like stuff :-)

Better community building?

Can't see that it would necessarily be a 'better' community. Bigger, yes.
Chalk me up as a negative.

I think it would be good to h

I think it would be good to have some separation between serious news/blog and banter, and get a bit stricter with off topic comments in news.

Think at least a separate foo/banter area is needed. Would help keep the news high quality and on topic and give us time wasters somewhere to moan about the weather and post off topic stuff - didn’t we have this before, SFR? Be good as long as it didn’t turn into another beginner help forum

NO

As subject.

Right

My debbie has always said that this is not the way forward - i had hoped for some negative reaction to it here, so thanks :-)

You guys are gonna love the new design! Not so pretty, nothing i do is, but wonderfully functional and so much simpler...

This is what spurred the question..

listen to your Debbie, Nick

if someone really wants to ask a question then generally we can blog something to get some answers or PM someone for advice.

As was mentioned way back, the level that most of you guys are working at anyway you aren't going to be asking meaningful questions on a public forum. So it depends if you want to attract more less experienced members and help them or keep it as more of a 'club' around here.

If you want to refer people to a good forum I have a link you can use of course......

Ok Gotcha

Personally if there were a new forum ( and Im kinda of the mindset that there are > enough already) , Id prefer a seperate entrance point, seperate "all recent posts" and seperate rss feed too. As whilst I can see the value in having a place just to throw around general stuff, chit chatter etc, I think that it would detract from the overall idea of TW in general, especially if it were too tightly integrated with the more 'selective' strands linked to elsewhere.

Essentially

It would just allow "questionlike" posts - personally i prefer not to do it, but i did want to throw it out here to see what people thought.

At present, we (i) say this is not a "help forum" and i kinda like it that way - but if we opened a forum section it would just allow people to ask questions etc rather than blog about stuff as we do now

The forum module has it's own section /forums that would house various areas for posting in - and they would show on the "all recent posts" list...

Im not entirely sure Im with

Im not entirely sure Im with you on how it would work in practice. What would be the main difference from the way things run now and the way you envisage in the future.

Currently we have 1st post and subsequent responses. Are you gonna keep the first post/thread on the front page, with subsequent discussion flowing off to a forum type thing...Is that the plan?

What will be different?

Might be an idea to throw up a layout for people to look at throw feedback on...

Added

This is only a question :)

Just wanted to try and gauge member reaction based on a popular request...

As the advert says,"Just Do I

As the advert says,"Just Do It!"