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Trimming the layout a bit: Phase 2
#1
A few weeks ago, I made some changes to the board layout, to condense a few sections that were either underused (in the case of the "Art and Design" and "Stories and Literary Work" sub-forums), or just duplicating what was already covered elsewhere (in the case of the "What If?" section). I think these changes have worked pretty well; however, they were only intended as the first step in a multi-step process. So, now, it's time for another round of simplifications.

As with Phase 1, I am not going to propose any major, groundbreaking changes here. As before, I'm very wary that any radical overhaul would introduce new and likely unforeseen problems - which would need to be solved by a second radical overhaul in a couple of months' time. So, once again, the basic form of the board layout is going to remain intact (just minus a few bits of bloat and clutter).

So, what am I proposing?

1. Break up the Recreation Station

In the discussion for Phase 1, I proposed creating an "Odds and Ends" category, which ultimately didn't happen. @ Pyrite gave the following reason for opposing it:

Pyrite Wrote:As a principal I really don't like the idea of Odds and Ends, because it'll only results in the lumping together of things that shouldn't go together, thus creating more problems than it solves.

However, that's exactly what the Recreation Station is (seriously, the board description even uses the words "any other recreational activity not covered above" -_- ). This includes all of the following: shopping; toys and non-video games; physical leisure activities that aren't sports; tourism; a couple of threads on writing tips; and a few miscellaneous threads that don't fit into any of those categories. So, we're lumping together a lot of different things which have little in common with one another.

Here's how I'd propose splitting those up:

  • Shopping can be recreational, but it often isn't. In fact, if you look at the topics we're discussing in there, most of them are very "Health and Lifestyle"-y. So, it'd probably fit better as a sub-forum of Health and Lifestyle.
  • The "Toys and Games" sub-forum can be moved into Gaming - although, to prevent confusion, it should probably be re-named to something like "Non-Video Games and Toys". Might also be worth changing the name of 'Gaming' - because, while the word 'gaming' can cover these, in practice it refers almost exclusively to video games.
  • The physical activities can go into Sport. In some of these topics (like this one), people are starting them with sentences to the effect of "Well this is recreation but then it could also be sport" - which I take as a sign to merge the forums. Here, I'd suggest changing the name to "Sports and Physical Activities".
  • The tourist-y threads would fit in nicely with the 'city' topics in History and Society (more on this in point #2).
  • The writing tips can go in "Your Creative Work". Since I allow people to seek forum advice in "Your Sites and Forums", I should be consistent and allow people to seek creative advice in the "Your Creative Work" sub-forum.
  • The other miscellaneous threads will be re-homed one by one, but any that don't fit anywhere else can just go into General Chat.


2. Re-name History and Society.

A few months back, I moved the book threads out of History and Culture (into a new Entertainment sub-forum), and re-named the board to "History and Society" in order to include more social science stuff, but explicitly exclude popular culture. While I stand by my decision to move the book threads, I don't stand by the forum's new name, for two reasons:

  • I was intending for the 'book' threads to be replaced by things like sociology and demography; however, this hasn't really happened in practice. Instead, they've been replaced by the 'city' threads (which I've really enjoyed making so far, and would like to keep up with).
  • 'Society' is very vague and nebulous. In particular, the border between 'society' and 'politics' is poorly-demarcated: there are a lot of threads which could fit into both!

So, I'd suggest re-naming the board to something that would cover the history, the 'city' topics, and also any tourist-y threads coming in from the Recreation Station. "History and Tourism" seems to me like it would do the job just fine (I did consider "History and Travel" and "History and Places", but both of these would bring in other stuff that I don't want to bring in). Some of the demographics stuff could stay, and the Linguist's Lounge would remain as it is, since languages are important to historians and tourists alike :P . We would need to move a few threads out (for example, DB's recent military service thread would no longer fit there), but most of these would fit well enough in Current Events and Politics.

3. Break up Vehicles and Transport.

The "Vehicles and Transport" sub-forum was created some time around 2016, when there was a spike in car-related activity (I remember Cim was quite interested in car stuff). However, Cim hasn't been on in almost two years now, and so, this section is no longer required for the purpose for which it was created. Furthermore, a lot of the topics in there have little to do with tech (for example, a thread about "Jaywalking" looks very out of place under "Technology and Computers" -_- !)

I did, at one point, consider just moving the entire sub-forum into History and Society (and perhaps picking a different name). However, there are quite a few 'technological' threads about self-driving cars - and excluding those from Technology and Computers feels about as wrong as including jaywalking!

So, I think the best solution is to just get rid of this relic of a bygone era. The threads about things like self-driving cars can stay in Technology and Computers. The threads that fit in with the 'city' topics (for example, "Railways") can join them in History and Tourism. Any news articles that don't fit into either place can go into Current Events and Politics, and random crap like "Interesting/unusual vehicles you've seen lately" can go into General Chat. Let's face it, nobody even cares about that thread but me :lol: !

4. Remove the Gaming Showcase.

With only 21 threads and 157 replies, this is one of our smallest sub-forums (there are a couple of smaller ones, but it's mostly read-only archives, and things that are necessary for organisational purposes, like "Profiles and Information"). Furthermore, I can count three Nintendo threads in that section: if someone has a Nintendo review, do they put it in 'Nintendo' or 'Gaming Showcase'? This problem is resolved if the Gaming Showcase is removed.

Removing this makes me a bit sad - some of those topics are great - but I think this section is underused, and that's not likely to change any time soon :( .



So, that's what I have planned for this round of simplifications. Should I go ahead with these?
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#2
Maybe repurpose the "gaming showcase" as a "gaming review" secton?
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#3
(06-12-2019, 08:03 PM)queenzelda Wrote: Maybe repurpose the "gaming showcase" as a "gaming review" secton?

The problem is that that would be even more restrictive (by my count, we'd go down from 21 topics to only 7). Furthermore, it still wouldn't resolve the 'Nintendo' issue (one of those 7 threads is your Nintendo Switch review, which I think would be better off actually in the Nintendo forum :P !)
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#4
Wow. I actually agree in principle with all of these changes. :O 

Would suggest renaming 'Toys and Games' to 'Board Games and Toys' or 'Tabletops and Toys' to reflect their new placements. Perhaps just change Gaming to Games? Otherwise, I'm in favour of basically all of these.
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  • Kyng
#5
Good to hear :) !

I really like the name "Tabletops and Toys": it's nice and alliterative, and 'Games' isn't necessary in the name as it's implied by the fact that it comes under 'Gaming' :P .

'Games' is possible, but might confuse people into thinking it also covers forum games, so I'd probably want to add some kind of qualifier.
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  • Pyrite
#6
Yea, but any reviews (or talking about certain games) are just going to get buried under more new posts. I mean what if suddenly the games section gets more posts of reviews & is suddenly popular? I mean it could happen. :p

Anyway, I had my say. Do what you gotta. *shrugs*
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#7
I agree with all of these.Still want my Pokémon forum, however...
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#8
(06-13-2019, 03:09 AM)queenzelda Wrote: Yea, but any reviews (or talking about certain games) are just going to get buried under more new posts. I mean what if suddenly the games section gets more posts of reviews & is suddenly popular? I mean it could happen. :p

Anyway, I had my say. Do what you gotta. *shrugs*

I mean, I suppose it could happen :P . However, there's not really any reason to believe that it will happen any time soon. We can't really keep underused sub-forums around "just in case": that's what we're trying to move away from.

The one point I will agree on is that, while that section only has 21 topics, most of them are good-quality topics - and, yes, it would be a shame for them to be buried in the main 'Gaming' forum. Even if there isn't a separate sub-forum, it'd be nice to have them highlighted in some way. One idea I did have was to introduce some kind of topic tagging for things like reviews. Sadly, that's not something that can be done in MyBB by default, so it would require a plugin - and I really don't want to add more plugins if I can avoid it, since we have plenty of those already :( .

(06-13-2019, 06:25 AM)ObsessedwithBirds Wrote: I agree with all of these.Still want my Pokémon forum, however...

Still might happen at a later date :P .

My main reason for not changing from 'Nintendo' to 'Pokémon Games' immediately was because the dominance of Pokémon in there was a relatively recent phenomenon. At this stage, I don't know whether it's a long-term trend or just a short-term spike. I've made layout changes based on short-term spikes in the past, and regretted it when the new board has fallen inactive after a month or so. That's what I'm quite keen to avoid doing here, which is why I'm waiting it out before making that change.
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#9
Um.. Universal Gaming has tags used for reviews & it's on mybb. Idk if @ Moonface & crew added a plugin or if it's just code.
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#10
(06-13-2019, 07:27 PM)queenzelda Wrote: Um.. Universal Gaming has tags used for reviews & it's on mybb. Idk if @ Moonface & crew added a plugin or if it's just code.

Never mind: it turns out MyBB can do this. I searched for "Thread tagging", when I instead needed to search for "Thread prefixes" :P .

In order to test this feature out, I've added a new "Review" prefix, and applied it to your Nintendo Switch review. For now, this prefix is only available in the gaming forums, but if I can get it working well, then I can roll it out in other places where it would be useful (for example, the TV, music, books, and even the Food and Drink section :) )
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Pyrite Wrote:"It's called the Island of Sodor, not Hodor."

(In response to me misreading "Game of Thrones" as "Game of Thomas")

(Thanks to ObsessedwithBirds for the avatar and sig!)
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