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View Full Version : 2007 Annual End Of Year Review


arch2b
2007.12.13, 09:50 AM
I would like to take this opportunity to hear from you, the memeber, on anything you want to discuss regarding forum/gallery feedback. We've made many changes to the forum layout and offerings and I'm not presumptious enough to believe all of them were as successful or useful as hoped/intended.

For example:
1. We created several new subforums on more specific topics
2. We merged several subforums with similar topics
3. We expanded many subforums like the ASK subforums.

Whats worked:
1. GTG forums continue to grow as requests continue to come if for new subforums to be added.
2. The long asked for Marketplace subforum gets lots of use.
3. The manufacturer ASK subforums continue to draw new manufacturers into forum participation thus interaction with thier direct consumer which we all benifit from. Some play a more prominent role but we are glad never the less to have all of them on board as each offers an opportunity to both the consumer and manufacturer.

What doesn't seem to work to some degree or another:
1. GTG gallery use is stagnant. gallery use in general is flat.
2. Despite providing the long asked for Marketplace subforum, the simple rules instituted for ease of use and member benifit continually get ignored despite the rules being sticky posted, an announcement at the top of the forum listing the general basics with link to the rules, etc, etc. (this includes myself btw :o )


These are just some of my thoughts and I would like to hear yours. :)

CristianTabush
2007.12.13, 04:39 PM
Ruf and I were discussing the other day that there simply is too many forums and sub forums. it is really hard to browse, because I simply do not know where to go. It should be simplified into maybe 10 sub forums tops that come up initially. i.e. Mini-Z Racer for all mini-Z, then have a sub category for each type. Same for IWaver.

Then maybe doing one for the mad Scientist where motor science and misc. projects are included.

One for manufacturers where everyone gets their space, etc.

This is just a suggestion of course. I will still hang out. I just think if there was less initial categories, there would be more crossover in between forums.

arch2b
2007.12.13, 04:46 PM
i too was having this discussion with david briefly. i think he had talked with ruf actually. please send/email me any formating suggestions you may have as i'm in agreement with you regarding initial breakdown of forums/subforums. we may actually have the same amount as we previously had since new subforums were added per requests/suggestions and some were compiled per requests/suggestions.

i don't believe is resting on our laurels so to speak. i know it's not perfect and there is ALWAYS room for improvement.

color01
2007.12.13, 10:59 PM
Gallery use is almost always going to be flat unless every time somebody looks at a picture it has to be in the gallery -- and you wouldn't want to force that restriction on members because it gets annoying to upload n number of pics instead of just linking. So I don't believe there's much to be done about the gallery.

The Ask forums are great! It's the manufacturer rep's option to take advantage of this so that's really all you have to do, provide the opportunity.

There is still a lot of residual overlap over some forums, like Gallery and Custom Bodies and Special Topics and Members Only, where most special topics are posted anyways. IMO there are some sections that can be merged outright and I think that would do wonders for ease of browsing as well as aesthetics.

Still, progress is progress and I like it now better than a year ago. ;)

arch2b
2007.12.14, 09:11 AM
i spent some time to get a forum/subforum list together for you guys. take a look at it and see if this helps with any suggestions:)

this list does not include private subforums;)

2EZ
2007.12.14, 09:26 AM
I use the New Posts to check what is going on and read the items that I have an interest in. I don't post a lot but read just about every day I love the amount of information that is shared on this board and I love how quick we see the newest products for our hobby. This is a great site thanks for all the hard work you do to make it so. Having access to the manufactures and information directly from them is great. The knowledge shared here makes this hobby more interesting and fun.

arch2b
2007.12.14, 10:17 AM
:) i agree. the new post button is my best friend;) when we bump up to the next version we should get the option to see all new posts for the day as well which i will use more as it will display all new posts for a 24hr period, then new posts to catch evverything once the previous ones are read.

it's a funny thing about manufacturer participation... some are very eager and some you feel like your dragging them along. i hestitate to say that as i don't want any of them to think we don't appreciate thier cooperation. it's just a personal feeling i have. i think it comes down to a change in business models that the internet has created (traditional vs. nontraditional media). i'm sure a larger part of it simply is that they really don't have anyone to devote time to things like this and most of it is volunteer effort vs. staffed media personell trolling the internet. for that i can't blame them for not being enthusiastic about it which makes thier contribution even more appreciated. :)
i think the model has proven itself though when you think about where manufacturers like core and rcp are now and thier roots in open discussion, consumer feedback and product review, etc. via public forums. kudos to them :cool:

idreamz
2007.12.16, 07:06 AM
I agree with what arch2b says about the manufacturer section, which is such a simple yet genious idea. A better communication between the producer and consument favours everybody. I especially look forward to the day iwaver starts to produce a chassis based on the requirements and suggestions from this community.

I also like the fact that this is worlds largest knowledge base for everything Mini Z and related. I agree however with Christian it's hard to get a proper overview of everything (but then I don't want to miss out on anything as a control freak I am). While the sheer amount of information is a gold mine it also raises a lot of problems in being hard to navigatie and access. Being a newbie to this forum I remember first time I browsed it I was totally overwhelmed. A more efficient presentation of all this information could save a lot of problems like people asking the same questions over and over (don't actually know how common this is but I think it is a significant problem that raises lots of irritation). I have some suggestions
1) Search function:
this is my only real complaint, as I think it is a bit awkward to use. I really try to search a subject before I post something but it's not easy. I can't point out exactly what's wrong but I just find myself giving up quickly while using it. It could be having to enter this human verification thing for every search, or that I can't search a whole phrase, like "setting up your MA-010". Also the OR operator seem to be the default as soon as you're trying to search multiple words, I think AND operator would suit better as default.
2) Forum/subforum grouping:
As a feedback to arch's listing, I'm wondering if you are willing to change the order in which the threads appear.
I think some threads are more related and might benefit from being placed next to each other, like MR-01, MR-015, MR02, iwaver, firelap and MA-010 are all on-road track-going racers and could be placed in a cluster, Overland and monster another, and OK, you get the idea. Beginner questions could be topmost toghether with the FAQ since this should the first thing new visiters see.
3) Why is the manufacturer section called members only? I mean you have to be a member to post stuff and view the pictures anyway, and it's not hard to become a member either. I don't see any exclusive aspect in this at all.
4) Why do you have to click a button to activate the quick reply field at all?
5) Forum/subforum grouping - a really crazy idea:
This is a far-fatched and just general idea for large communities but what if every user could customize their own grouping? This could be done by eg. defining every thread with tags, and then the user could create a group defined by these tags. Of course these tags has to be standardized to work. To take an example, a thread called "My MA-010 won't recenter its steering" could have the tags: "MR-010, chassis, newbie", which would pop up in the user-defined group called "MA-010 for newbies" which reaquires the tags "MR-010" AND "newbie". Of course there should be a default grouping for anyone new to the forum but then people could regroup these to suit their interest. Anyway, I don't expect you to implement this idea, it's more aimed at the guys who program the vBulletin (or other) forum engines. (Why am I mentioning this anyway?)

Just want to make it clear I'm not displeased or anything but since you're asking for improvement suggestions I come up with mine. If these seem minor it just indicates that this forum is already working very well. :)

arch2b
2007.12.16, 08:26 AM
excellent thoughts, exactly the kind of stuff i was hoping to see :)

fyi, as soon as the holiday shopping rush is over and we have time to get back to our forum work, all of this will be reviewed and evaluated by admin and mods.

Roketmini
2007.12.17, 05:33 PM
I think the forum will be great, regardless of changes being made.

Since I joined almost three years ago, I have yet to see a flame war or anything insulting beyond "not a good idea". Everyone here is so nice and open to ideas this board has remained one of my favorites.

arch2b
2007.12.17, 10:50 PM
:eek: you must have missed the couple times i managed to really tick some people off :p :( but yeah, your right. for the most part we haev a very, very friendly and mature site.

Spoon
2007.12.21, 10:44 AM
I agree that there are way too many sub forums. It makes it really hard to navigate and browse. I forget where to find things sometimes.

I really like the addition of the newer forums, Batteries etc.. & Transmitters etc... especially.

I think OL and Monster could be combined since they are basically the same chassis.

I think 2wd racers could probably be combined.

Formula boat only has 4 threads total...I say just put that in misc discussion.

We could combine iWaver/Firelap

I think New Products could get pushed into parts and hopups.

Maybe the FAQ could turn into a read-only Tutorial section and the true FAQ questions could go into the beginner forum.

Mini-Z Science could go away and get pushed into misc discussion.

We could also make more of the higher level headings and break things out that way. So Instead of general discussion we could have

Cars
--MR02
--MR01
--MR015
--AWD

Parts & Hopups
--New Parts
--

Off-Topic
--MiniRC
--Non RC Discussion

Market Place
--For Sale/Trade

Just some thoughts.
I would be glad to brainstorm this a little more or come up with a draft for the new structure.

arch2b
2007.12.21, 10:55 AM
nice ideas.

take a look at this forum which uses vb, http://www.hisstank.com/index.php

i don't know if others will agree but i like how they have thier hierarchy setup.

i don't want to combine subforum on chassis types. ol and mosnter share similar number of parts as 02 and 015 yet they have thier disticnt differences and isses.
iwaver and firelap are 2 seperate brands despite being owned by one party.

we are going to need to keep subforums no matter what. but as spoon suggests, maybe we change the heirarchy/they way they are displayed.

i'm all for doing away with subforums that create overlap ie; mini-z science, gallery, etc. custom bodies, etc, etc. there are several i think.

but yeah, please post any mark ups based on the list i provided.

i can also check into weither or not the default forum view would show all subforums. maybe we can hide those under the parent fourm until you click on that forum? it would cut down on the tree breakdown on the main forum page. the down side is that for those that don't know of the subforums would not knwo to click on parent forums to see them which could be just as bad as having too many.

michvin
2007.12.21, 11:14 AM
As was mentioned above - Search is the only problem (knowing that this forum runs on ready-made engine, i doubt that something can be done though).
The option to search the exact phrase must be present, IMHO. Search like "Maclaren body" should yield posts where these two words are together and not all the posts with body and maclaren.
Otherwise - i like it.
Oh and the store needs major remake - so complicated.

arch2b
2007.12.21, 11:23 AM
http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/portal.php

take a look here and if you see something that will resolve the search feature issue let me know. i agree with you btw. key word search should be standard issue these days :rolleyes:

michvin
2007.12.21, 11:35 AM
Hey arch,
I found it. You only have to quote. "mclaren body" gives exactly what i wanted. I think it would be very useful to link to a file that will explain this and other possibilities from the advanced search page. What do you think?

arch2b
2007.12.21, 12:23 PM
if you have a link to such info, please let me know and it will be an faq :)

ruf
2008.01.01, 10:05 PM
i too was having this discussion with david briefly. i think he had talked with ruf actually. please send/email me any formating suggestions you may have as i'm in agreement with you regarding initial breakdown of forums/subforums. we may actually have the same amount as we previously had since new subforums were added per requests/suggestions and some were compiled per requests/suggestions.

i don't believe is resting on our laurels so to speak. i know it's not perfect and there is ALWAYS room for improvement.Hi Arch, sorry I just checked this thread... I'll get back to you guys with ideas soon. Hands a little full right now. :D

Spoon
2008.01.03, 11:21 AM
iwaver and firelap are 2 seperate brands despite being owned by one party.

we are going to need to keep subforums no matter what. but as spoon suggests, maybe we change the heirarchy/they way they are displayed.

i'm all for doing away with subforums that create overlap ie; mini-z science, gallery, etc. custom bodies, etc, etc. there are several i think.




Just resurrecting this post a little bit here. Based on Arch's pdf a few posts earlier I made a new pdf with my suggestions. I can attach a word version if someone wants to make adjustments.

It's still a bit large for my tastes. There are a lot of chassis sub-forums and a lot of high level forums as well.

arch2b
2008.01.03, 11:53 AM
i like the changes. i'd change the verbage in titles in some places but overall, very good suggestion.

simply put, there is no way to avoid the multitude of subforums as there are simply soo many specific areas for discussion. combining any of these would in my opinion make it even more difficult to find info. related to specific chassis's.
what we can do which you've done, is combine and or eliminate some of the misc. subforums inorder to make them more efficient.

i'd like to explore other means of displaying the tree. if you look at our new community forum, robokojo.com, it uses a different approach. i'm sure vb has options we can explore, we just need to look into them.

also, this would be a drastic change in policy (i've been know to push david's boundaries) but if you look at the marketplace subforum on hisstank.com, they subdivide a space just for ebay related transactions. i know our current policy prohibits the use of ebay transactions unles going thru the auction thingy but that has proved to be useless for the most part. i'm tossing it out there for discussion that maybe we reverse course and embrace ebay despite concerns of it's misuse and implement a sim. controlled subforum as you find on hisstank. interestingly enough, they also incorporate your ebay account into your forum profile which i find very interesting.

Spoon
2008.01.03, 01:53 PM
Responses Below...

i like the changes. i'd change the verbage in titles in some places but overall, very good suggestion.

Sounds good. I didn't spend too much time worrying about the wording, I figured some of it would change/get standardized.

simply put, there is no way to avoid the multitude of subforums as there are simply soo many specific areas for discussion. combining any of these would in my opinion make it even more difficult to find info. related to specific chassis's.
Agreed

what we can do which you've done, is combine and or eliminate some of the misc. subforums inorder to make them more efficient.

i'd like to explore other means of displaying the tree. if you look at our new community forum, robokojo.com, it uses a different approach. i'm sure vb has options we can explore, we just need to look into them.

I am not so stoked about the way robokojo looks. That's the same format as tinyrc right? I guess it could be okay if we stuck with the mzr.com color scheme. The colors could be distorting my opinion. I don't feel strongly on this one either way.

also, this would be a drastic change in policy (i've been know to push david's boundaries) but if you look at the marketplace subforum on hisstank.com, they subdivide a space just for ebay related transactions. i know our current policy prohibits the use of ebay transactions unles going thru the auction thingy but that has proved to be useless for the most part. i'm tossing it out there for discussion that maybe we reverse course and embrace ebay despite concerns of it's misuse and implement a sim. controlled subforum as you find on hisstank. interestingly enough, they also incorporate your ebay account into your forum profile which i find very interesting.
Interesting thought. I would leave that up to you and David.

arch2b
2008.01.03, 02:09 PM
oh no, i was not suggesting a theme change, just that robokojo lists the forums and subforums much differently than mini-zracer. i'm talking pure asthetics on how they are displayed/organized.

the auction area (ebay is nto the only game in town anymore) was more for putting it out there. it's something i've been thinking about ever since i got the marketplace up with byebye and david.