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You guys probably think I'm nuts, but I am considering doing a massive *condensing* of ALL forums on the site. I think that having so many forums and subforums levels deep just is so incredibly confusing and overwhelming to new visitors.

What I am proposing is getting rid of all subforums and just keeping everything one level deep. What this would inevitably mean, for example, is dividing Tech Talk into Windows, Mac, Linux, Networking, Hardware ... and that's it. No more trying to figure out whether your computer malfunctions and frustrations belong in the Viruses forum or in the Windows XP forum or in the Windows Software forum. If you use Windows, you post in the Windows forum. Simple and easy as that.

Similarly, the Databases forum wouldn't be dividied into MySQL, MSSQL, Database Design, etc.

Yes? No? Maybe So?

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Last Post by kub365
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I think this is a good idea, this presents a much "larger" feel and less confusion for the average user. I think you'll see great results with this change.

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Aside from navigation being easier, things will all be in one place. You won't have to constantly clicking in and out of different subforums to see the two or three new threads in each one.

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I have to admit that I really like the navigation bar at the top, I know the "Jump to forums" exists, but this is much more user friendly. I was going to suggest that it might be altered to allow sub-navigation, but with this move I don't need to bother. I like the idea.

Do you think though, if you are making it easier for new members, there is any milage in renaming the Tech Talk forum to something with PC in it, maybe simple like PC Problems. I know it is a long standing name, but Tech Talk to a non techie, (a lot of people), might not be obviously the place to post PC Problems, (if you are not on Forum index). Don't get me wrong, I like the name, just a consideration for you.

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>I think that having so many forums and subforums levels
>deep just is so incredibly confusing and overwhelming to new visitors.
I'm having flashbacks to when I argued unsuccessfully on this point. ;) It's good to see you coming around, Dani.

>Yes? No? Maybe So?
Hell yes! But please consult us before making any changes. :) I'd like to give the Software Development forums another run through to see where we could best condense. And by condense I mean completely change things to suit my tastes. ;)

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Hello,

I think the levels are fine right where they are, especially for the Tech Talk forums. I feel that if you lump everything together per category, that you are going to get lost in questions that drill to the specific.

Right now, let's say that I want to install OpenOffice on my Mac OS X computer. I go to Tech Talk --> Macintosh --> Mac Software, and ask the question. If I am having troubles with Windows 2000 Networking adding SPX/IPX protocols, I go to Tech Talk --> Windows --> NT/2000/XP and ask it there. I could see that a new user could have troubles making the distinction of "should I put it in the networking forum or the windows forum", but if you read the instructions, and think a moment, there is a chance that they would realize the question is a client based one, and not a Networking OS (novell/cisco).

I am not a programmer, nor a web/search specialist, so perhaps they could collapse levels to fit the users better. But looking at the hardware support areas, we need a level of stratification on where things go to keep a level of sanity on the site.

I would also look at the volume of posts here that are re-directs, and see how that number compares to the posts that were actually made in the proper place to begin with. If we are getting 4 out of 10 new posts in the wrong place, then we might have a problem. 7 out of 10? Yeah, that is a problem. 2 out of 10? Nah, you have the layouts in a good fashion.

I also believe that it is alright to impose a structure on the user community, and have them step up to the plate to participate. I have a question. I should have some level of responsibility to ask it in the right room in order to obtain a successful answer. This means, that if I am in High School, I do not ask the English teacher about a math problem. I also do not ask the librarian to find all of my books... I ask, and she will point me to what asile / section to go look, but in the end, I have to match the card catalog number to the book on the shelf. In a grocery store, I do not ask the butcher if he has any bread available.

I do not think we are causing undue hardship on our community to have the users think a moment on where to post a question before actually doing it. The user is responsible for their actions, and in order to be good community people, they need to observe before they speak. If they are in such a rush that they have 3 minutes to post a question, and then need to move onto something else, I have to wonder why as a moderator should I spend 20 minutes answering it, especially if they cannot construct the question intelligentially, with proper grammar and example?

I am wondering if you are getting caught up in society's desire to speak / act without thinking first. Yes, we are still going to get questions in the wrong place from time to time, but really, with just a little bit of thought, the experience here is much better. It is possible that the programming forums and webmarket ones have different needs, so I will defer my uninformed opinion of those areas to others.

Christian

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I think that the problem is evident by looking at our statistics and seeing thousands of visitors online per day and only a couple hundred posts. Nearly the same number of posts appear per day as new member registrations per day! Clearly, something is wrong here, and I am convinced it is the navigation (after doing quite a bit of research).

I definitely feel that I want to move forward condensing forums. Last night, I redid the look of the forum categories so that subforum information is more visible, and it has worked out very well ... we've had the most posts in the past 24 hours than we have had in months. Cleary, navigation is a problem on the site.

I have already condensed a couple of the smaller forums that were getting very little traffic or posts and just didn't warrant their own forum. However, I am going to leave it up to you guys to discuss with me a proposed new forum structure.

Narue, you cannot say that you didn't win, because if I were to dig up that thread, you would see that I rearranted the Software Dev and Web Dev forums exactly to your specifications! :)

Additionally, one of the votes for No in the poll was a mistake by a member I was talking to via AIM at the time he voted :) He meant to vote yes.

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Without further ado ... let's propose new forum structures.

Christian: I understand that it's nice to be very organized, but what benefit is there? What benefit is there to dividing a Windows Web Browsers and Windows Software forum? Without a doubt everyone who visits one forum visits the other, so it's not as if they are targeting different audiences. Combining them gives all of the threads in a forum more variety so that you don't feel like you're reading the same question and answer over and over again.

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>you would see that I rearranted the Software Dev and Web Dev forums exactly to your specifications!
Yes, you did. :) Then again, I adjusted my requests to something more sensible at the time that I felt you would agree to. ;)

The forums aren't that bad, actually, but I don't think the top level space is being used as effectively as it could be.

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As you were posting, I put all Software Dev languages into a top level forum. Any suggestions?

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Next question: Is it necessary to separate Databases into MySQL, MS SQL, Oracle, Access, and Database Design?

Or is just one big Database forum fine? Personally, I know MySQL but not MS SQL or Oracle and I would prefer to see only threads that I understand / know about. I think that the best solution is to group all forums that share an identical audience. Did I just answer my own question?

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>Any suggestions?
C and C++, and Java are the two most active forums, so that's good. C# is good. Perl lags behind, but I'm not sure if that's due to the previous placement in a nested forum. So I would recommend that Perl remain where it is for a trial period. Python is good.

We have 3 basic forums, one for VB 4, 5, and 6, one for .NET, and one for classic. I would recommend that they all be merged into one, and threads can differentiated through context, like the C and C++ forum. Or The VB parts be in one forum with BASIC tucked away in Other Languages because it has so little activity.

I think Shell Scripting can be lumped into the Other Languages forum, as well as Pascal and Delphi. Another radical idea is to remove Shell Scripting altogether and let people choose whether to post under Other Languages or Linux and Unix.

I'd like to see more of an Assembly presence, and like Perl, I think the reason we don't have one might be because it was nested so deeply before. Like Perl, I'd recommend a trial period for the Assembly forum.

Here's my suggestion:

C and C++
Java
Visual Basic
C#
Python
Perl
Assembly
Other Languages
Computer Science and Software Engineering

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We haven't had a need to add any other languages in a good amount of time, and unless we start going forum language crazy, I want to see if we can keep all languages at a top level. I think it just did way too much damage nesting certain languages and not others. I want to at least get a realistic idea of which forums are popular with the community and not just because some were deeply nested.

Are you sure it's safe to merge VB 4/5/6 with VB.NET??

Right now I have a link to the Shell Scripting forum in the Linux section, so I'm just going to avoid the redundancy by moving it into a Linux subforum.

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Is it okay to just ditch the BASIC forum entirely and have people post BASIC related questions in Legacy and Other Languages? (Not as a subforum but just lumped together)

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>Are you sure it's safe to merge VB 4/5/6 with VB.NET??
Why not? The difference between VB 4/5/6 and VB.NET is less significant than the difference between C and C++. I think it's silly to have 3 forums that cover variants of Basic. At the very least, there should only be two: BASIC and Visual Basic, where the latter accommodates all versions of the same product.

Or have a .NET forum that handles any language questions primarily concerning .NET. Then VB.NET and C# would be bundled up there. Then Visual Basic remains for 4/5/6 and BASIC remains for the handful of classic questions we get.

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>Is it okay to just ditch the BASIC forum entirely and have
>people post BASIC related questions in Legacy and Other Languages?
I don't see a problem with it. We get so few BASIC questions, and Legacy and Other Languages is an obvious alternative place to post those questions.

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Alright, I'm going to ditch the BASIC forum. I'm going to leave VB 4/5/6 and VB.NET separate for the time being because they have never before been top level forums before, so let's give them an opportunity to see what popularity / demand is like for each of them. To be honest I was toying with the idea of separating out C and C++ one of these days.

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>Of course, I don't care about BASIC :P
Neither do I, but I'm told some people do. Pygmies, if I recall correctly. ;)

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Dani, I think that's an excellent idea. It would surely make it easier to navigate and more likely for the 'confused' to post in the right spot. Also, it will make it look more active. Just my 200 bucks, but I think you have a good idea.

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Can someone please suggest how we can condense the Tech Talk forums? Should we really make one big Microsoft Windows forum or at least break it down into just 2 or 3 subforums or ... ??

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>Can someone please suggest how we can condense the Tech Talk forums?
Personally, I think that you could merge all of the subforums into the appropriate top level forum and call it a day. The one thing I think that is a subforum but should be a top level forum would be Viruses, Spyware & other Nasties, since it's not restricted to Windows.

And Troubleshooting Dead Machines could be merged with Hardware. *hides*

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>I'm scared to do that
Make a backup, then you can do whatever you want and roll the changes back if too many people start screaming. :)

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>Can someone please suggest how we can condense the Tech Talk forums?
Personally, I think that you could merge all of the subforums into the appropriate top level forum and call it a day. The one thing I think that is a subforum but should be a top level forum would be Viruses, Spyware & other Nasties, since it's not restricted to Windows.

And Troubleshooting Dead Machines could be merged with Hardware. *hides*

I second that.

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PC HELP forum

Microsoft Windows
Mac / Linux / Unix
PC Applications & Internet
PC Security
PC Boot & Hardware Problems
Computer Networking
Gadgets & Multimedia

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Thanks for leaving the VB and VB.NET seperate. Whatever you do, do NOT merge the two of them. I may raise a big argument, but I've used both, and coded in both, and truth be told, they are entirely different languages on a syntactic level. If you are saying that because they both end if's with end if, then take a deeper look into the syntax. One is completely OOP, requiring you to know all the objects and methods that relate to them, and one is like a sick bridge of OOP and sequential programming..... I hate to say it, but .NET is anything but a minor variation.

:( and I'm no dwarf!

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I'm sorry folks, but I think I am going to chicken out condensing all of the Tech Talk forums. I have two reasons. The first is because it's hard to validate condensing forums that are active on their own and can stand alone (why screw with what works?) The second is because all competing Tech Support forums I know of have very similar forum structure, and I want DaniWeb to continue to be able to compete against them.

Now that I reorganized the look of each category index page to simplify navigation, I am going to give it a little bit and see if there is a drastic improvement in just doing this.

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>I hate to say it, but .NET is anything but a minor variation.
And therein lies my consistency issue. I'm well aware of the differences between VB and VB.NET, but the exact same argument can be made for C and C++, yet they're always lumped together even by people who claim to know both. If you allow C and C++ to be a single forum but raise issue with VB and VB.NET doing the same thing, that makes you a hypocrite, doesn't it? ;)

What's even scarier is some forums (*cough* DevShed *cough*) lump C# with C and C++. C#! That's sooooo evil! And I know evil.

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