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Author Topic: Forums and thread organization.  (Read 2338 times)
Jack Spencer Jr
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« on: November 11, 2001, 10:21:00 PM »

It seems to me that there's a problem with the forums and the threads.  The way the software works, we're supposed to keep the same conversation in the same thread.  This makes sense.  We don't want to host several threads on the same topic saying basically the same thing like the "What's the best super hero RPG" threads that were cropping up weekly on RPGnet for a while.  It's also a good idea to read what has already been said on a topic so the same ground doesn't get covered again and again.

However, this means the new member would have to, literally, read the forums to see if a topic has already been covered.  This is like 9 or more pages of topic, and sometime 3 pages of post per topic.  That's a lot of reading.  It may take a new member a few months to get up to speed so they can start participating.

Is this a problem?

Yes and no.  WE seem to have fairly loose regulations here, but it'd be nice if people would follow up old thread rather than start new ones.

What would help in this would be an index of the topics so a member can find threads on their topic, read and post.

There is a search engine.  I don't know how it works since I've never used it.  Maybe the forums could be set up to encourage users to use the search engine before posting?

I don't know.  Just a thought.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2001, 06:38:00 AM »

Jack,

To deal with this issue, we have to distinguish between new THREADS and new TOPICS.

My preference is a combination of the following.

1) Start new threads rather than tacking onto old ones. I have observed that new posts at the end of months-old, multiple-page thread are very disruptive.

2) It is likely that a new member will bomb on and start tossing out questions, many of which might be old ground. I don't see this as a problem. In my opinion, nearly all of these topics deserve to have a new discussion about them anyway.

What all Forge members must do is commit to cross-referencing, with courtesy. New-Member-Guy (or even Old-Member-Guy) starts a thread asking about "How do you start a new game?" Our appropriate response is to point out the old threads that exist, AS WELL AS to address the new discussion.

This new discussion deserves its own, current attention for three reasons. (1) We probably did not cover anything and everything about the topic in the original discussions. (2) The new poster may well be able to bring insight none of us have imagined. (3) Time has passed since those old discussions, and many people's outlooks have changed or developed since then.

Therefore the cross-references should not be written as "Go read this, stupid," but rather, "Here's what's been said, so we can all keep discussing this issue with that knowledge."

Best,
Ron
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