Forum Format Proposal

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:04
ThreadID: 68125 Views:3080 Replies:24 FollowUps:20
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Like most people I have occasion to visit other forums at times.

EO is one of the best in terms of variety of opinions, volume of responses and the sheer detailed technical stuff (here endeth the ad :-))

One thing that bugs me though, is that because there is just one list or category or what ever you want to call it, post that don't get a reply that day, disappear into the back pages awfully quickly and therefore get missed.

Many times I've come across a post late in the piece where I think, gee I wish I'd seen that earlier.


On the other hand some forums have so many categories that are so specialised you have trouble deciding where to put your post.

I'd like to get you feed back, for and against, the suggestion that David & co look into dividing the forum into say no more than half a dozen or so categories.

I'd suggest these

Vehicles
Camping
Towing
Trips and tracks
Other

Now I realise that there may be issues that I have not even thought of, hence I'm asking.

What does everyone think, is it worth looking into, or indeed has this come up before?
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Reply By: Saharaman (aka Geepeem) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:30

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:30
Hi Gonetroppo,

I think this has been discussed before.
The problem with categories is that some aspects under discusssion can cover more than one category eg tyres could relate to vehicles or towing or even the best type of tyres for a particular trip.
Heres how I deal with the Forum.
Each day (24 hrs) there are approximately 1 page (or screen) of new posts - about 23 or so.
I log on at least once every 24 hrs and just scan the post headings on the first page. Seldom do I look at pages 2 or 3 as these would have already been scanned the previous days.
To fragment the posts into different categories would I believe make matters worse as you would then have to click onto different categories to enjoy you read the post headings in all categories every day. Now its simply one page of headings to scan every 24 hrs.
Just my view but I like it the way it is...

Cheers
GPM
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Follow Up By: Member - Willie , Sydney. - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:12

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:12
Gonetroppo,
I feel the same as GPM.
Cheers,
Willie.
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Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:30

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:30
Gone Troppo,

This has been suggested before and to date the format has stayed the same. That does not mean it will never change.

I have had a look at other forums but like this one because it is not in different parts.

It would be very hard in some cases to define what category a post should be in.

Most of the time you can pick a category by the subject title. I will use this a guide to open the post or not. Maybe a small symbol on the thread ID might work but I still like the idea of an open forum.

Wayne
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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:41

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:41
It is the very fact that there are no categories that I like this site and hate so many of the others... so difficult to find anything when looking on split sites. On top of that I like the variety that comes with this site. If placed in categories, then there would be items I would probably never look at, and therefore miss out on learning something new.
Fred B
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:55

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:55
My sentiments exactly.
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Follow Up By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 10:17

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 10:17
Robin Miller posted:
My sentiments exactly.


+1.......

Cheers

Brian
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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 10:21

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 10:21
Me too, Cheers Kanga1
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Follow Up By: OzTroopy - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 11:44

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 11:44
A daily check of all headings here is certainly an easy way to go even though I dont mind multiple section sites.

Too many sections to look at are a timewaster though ... and info is lost in them as well.

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Follow Up By: Fiona & Paul - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 12:28

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 12:28
Agree entirely, if it ani't broke don't fix it.

Keep up the good work EO.

Paul & Fiona
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Follow Up By: Member -Dodger - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:15

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:15
Here Here.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

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Follow Up By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 15:25

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 15:25
Agree too
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Reply By: Maîneÿ . . . (WA) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:46

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:46
yes,
I believe "ExplorOz" is all about 'travelling' & 'exploring' Aussie, both on and off-road, and passing on information to their 'members' and visitors alike in a forum situation.
I think to put all this information into too many different "categories" would possibly cause information fragmentation, due to the different categories, as when the forum is read now so many threads contain information on different subjects, not just the subject the thread instigator had hoped for.

I believe something like a dedicated FISHING or BOATING area would be good, but then I'm not sure it's possible to change the 'forum set-up' or appearance to include additional smaller 'forums' with-in the (terrific) original.

As some would say, 'if it ain't broke don't try an fix it' but then that gives rise to your question anyway, not trying to fix it but simply modify the original :-))

Mainey . . .

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Follow Up By: Member -Signman - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 12:22

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 12:22
Or-as one of ' ham-fisted' neighbours would say:
" If it ain't broke- then fix it till it is broke !!"

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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:49

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:49
This topic has come up many times before.
Try an archive search and have a read of the many previous threads on this very point.
The consensus is, If it ain't broke why fix it"

From my perspective, it works just fine as it is and the ability to set the thread display to show the latest threads/posts that have been made keeps the freshest posts at the top of the list works well.

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Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:54

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:54
I'll add to this and suggest that

"the ability to set the thread display to show the latest threads/posts that have been made keeps the freshest posts at the top of the list works well."

Should be the default setting for the Forum instead of how it is currently set.

Cheers Kev
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Follow Up By: Member - Ed. C. (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 11:22

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 11:22
I agree with Kev's sentiment on this one..

Apart from that,

If it ain't broke, Don't fix it!


Confucius say.....
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....Not necessarily mechanic!!"

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Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:38

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:38
Agree that the default setting should change, would probably stop people from keep posting new threads to continue older ones.
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Reply By: DaveO*ST-R - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:56

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:56
Perhaps ExplorOz could create a similar setup to other sites that simply display at the top of the page when you log in as a registered site viewer/member, a tab called "Show unread posts since last visit". Then you won't miss any. MySwag.org has this feature and it works a treat.

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Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:00

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:00
There is that set up already for members for all new Threads created.
Plus there is the option of getting email updates for the new replys/follow ups for threads you have replied to.

Cheers Kev
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:02

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:02
It does that on our Members Home page.

The site has pretty well all the features people may need and want, they just have to learn to use it the right way i guess??

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Reply By: wild dog - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:07

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:07
Here's my 2 cents worth ( maybe only worth one cent).

The other forum I visit mainly is Nitro Express .com , a shooting hunting, firearm site. If I am understanding Gone Troppo correctly I think thats what he is talking about.

It seems to work very well and is easy to negotiate around, having said that I really like to click on the ExploreOz page every morning just to see all the different little subjects people come up with in their travels.

Certainly this appears to be one of the most active forums that I've visited and everybody seems to be very helpful. I like it the way it is but will still be just as keen if it's changed because of the type of people visiting the forum.

Thanks to those making the forum possible.
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Reply By: Dave B ( BHQ NSW) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:33

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:33
If you see a post that has a topic that interests you, just put it in 'Thread Watch' and you can have all the replies emailed to you.

You can also review 'watched items' at a later stage through your own homepage.

Easy Peasy

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Reply By: Rod W - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:33

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:33
I agree with you Gone Troppo, cause then I would never have to view "Tyres" and "Fridges" and all the other repitish done to death subjects. The introduction of a general about anything category would be good too, to eliminate being pinged for being "off topic".
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Reply By: chisel - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:41

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 09:41
I agree about threads dropping off the first page quickly and being forgotten about. Most people probably don't check the forum multiple times a day, so will be missing a bunch of posts each time they check (unless they wade through 3 or 4 pages looking for the relevant ones).

I'm not sure multiple groups is the answer but if the forum did go that way - the fewer groups the better.
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Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 10:00

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 10:00
Exploroz has its own unique style,it's great to read a variety of threads with different topics, why change it, if you are not interested in the topic, dont read it, if you want specific information go to the Thread Find section.

Cheers
Daza
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Reply By: Graham & Ann - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 12:32

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 12:32
I like it the way it is, stick to the KISS principle, categories are a pain
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Reply By: Member - Nick (TAS) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 12:59

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 12:59
Another one for leaving it as it is.I visit heaps of forums and some now(4WD Action) have so many catogories that its just plain stupid, I hardly ever visit because it a pain to look at.
The way Exploroz is, its easy to negotiate around and like most people(dont you) I have it as a home page and keep tabs on all new post two or three times a day.
Splitting topics up will mean more posts are missed than read.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 13:38

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 13:38
Hi Gone Troppo

After making the same request some years ago and being soundly out voted, i am now glad it is all in one. Yes, if i am not on line for some time, i do miss reading everything, but if i need specific information there is the search facility. I think this is where improvement is needed as i doesn't alway work for me.

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Reply By: Brett H - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 14:29

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 14:29
I visit quite a few other forums and find the different categories a much easier way to find things if I want to read about a particular subject.
If I want to view them the way this forum shows posts then I hit a button thats usually called "view new posts' and it will show all new and responded to posts from all categories in one list as it is here.
That gives the best of both worlds.
As for the search function here, surely a feature can be put in where you can enter a search word and you can choose for it to only searches in the thread title, not the entire post. Every other forum has this search function.

Brett
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Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:22

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:22
There is a third option - give everyone the choice of whether they want to see separate categories or not.

When a new thread is started it has to tagged as being for one or more categories - Cars, Accessories, Destinations.

To view messages, you then select which messages you want to see - e.g. All, Cars and Accessories etc AND you select how to see them -

e.g.
- All mixed together (what we have now)
- Cars and Accesories mixed - Destinations separate
- Cars - Accessories - Destinations separate


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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 01:14

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 01:14
Not a bad idea Mike.

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Reply By: Member - MUZBRY(Vic) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:50

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:50
Gday
I think life is hard enough now without putting it into special boxes. Just start at the bottom of the page and work your way up. To easy.
Murray
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Reply By: Member - Jack - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:50

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:50
Leave it as it is ... can come back often. I also appreciate the variety of topics and am more likely to pick something up on this style of Forum than if it was categorised.

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Reply By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 17:48

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 17:48
GT, I agree with you about threads disappearing too quick. You just can't get answers at times. Real problem.

Trouble is I agree with a lot others are saying too.

But, I CAN'T SEE THE PROBLEM IN RESOLVING THIS. We're in the computer age.

Seems to me that when creating a thread we could be requested to categorise it (same as when selling on ebay). Then we could nominate the 'view' we wish to see i.e. as per existing set up (say the 'classical' view), or in 'categories'. Where's the rocket science in that?

C'mon D&M, let's make the best 4wd / Oz website better!

Cheers
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Follow Up By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 17:53

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 17:53
I nominate Gone Troppo with the job of categorising the previous 68000 threads!! LOL


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Follow Up By: GoneTroppo Member (FNQ) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 19:15

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 19:15
I don't recall volunteering!!!
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Reply By: Ianw - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 19:48

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 19:48
I like the Caravan Forums "View active Topics " Function. It keeps all the active topics up the top, and allows you to respond to posts in a timely fashion. Any you are not interested in gradually disappear of the bottom, as well as any that are not popular. Lets you know if you have read all the posts on the subject , too. Keeps you on your toes !! But I like this forum format too !!

Ian
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Follow Up By: Sixty at Last - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 20:57

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 20:57
I'm with you GoneTroppo.

A split to about 5 categories with one being 'destinations' would be great; esp. after being out in the bush for weeks without internet.

A categories filter would save hours of the sifting that now needs to be done after a trip.

Not that I'm criticising the site. It's hugely helpful and all contributors are great. If it ain't broke, don't fix it doesn't cut it with me. I'd rather have continuous improvement. If it ain't...etc risks leading into time warps.

I also do like the options outlined by Mike DID and jdwynn.

Cheers. John.
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Reply By: Richard W (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 21:26

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 21:26
Took me a while to work out the site structure and now happy to navigate around. I just go to My Home/Interactive Site Updates/Forum/Updates. ;)
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Reply By: Member - Steve O (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 21:38

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 21:38
Here’s my two penneth (sorry cents, old habits die hard).

The real appeal of EO to me, and I am not a touchy touchy, feely feely guy, is that when each time I log on I feel that I am re-joining a community that I am part of.

This community, albeit a cyber-community, discusses a range of topics that relate to our common interest and we give and take out of it what we want.

Now, as with any community discussion, there are topics that interest you and some that don’t, but by listening to all matters you maintain a feel for what is going on yet still remain part of the community.

By this I mean, you see the subject title; you see who has posted it and you make a decision as to whether you open it. Irrespective of your decision you still remain part of the community.

However, if you categorise the Forum you restrict the flow of general conversation and limit the flow of information thus creating a clinical operating environment with the result that the community will eventually die.

Also it should be remembered that, as a consequence of our generalised common interest, the EO community spirit does spill over into real life.

For example, I visited the Sydney Camping Show today and bumped into Richard K” (EO Member with a sun visor sticker) who I met on the GRR last year. Whilst talking, he mentioned that he is doing a SA trip this year and is going to pop in and see Willem in Peterborough thus turning a cyber friendship into a real one. This example as you know is not unique.

We are all part of the EO family so let’s not diminish our mutual gain (cyber or real) by diminishing, the benefit, that we all receive from the Forum, if it was to be categorised.

My two cents – I got it right this time.


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Reply By: slammin - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 00:01

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 00:01
And now it's 15 hrs since posted. It has generated the most views and replies on the forum today and will roll over to page 2 to be forgotten again............. and raised yet again in another month or 2.

I have raised this a number of times over the last few years and figure it's just one of the idiosyncracies of the site and if I need something specific I'll research elsewhere. It wasn't a problem back in 2002 because the page didn't roll over so fast but nowadays we get a lot of the "re: my post #764483" these posts then just roll the front page even faster exacerbating the problem.

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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 00:19

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 00:19
I believe they "roll over to page 2 to be forgotten again" because there are just soo many threads instigated each day, because it's such a terrific on-line 'community' of like minded people.

If one thread stayed at the top of any page it would quickly become a boring forum to read the same information each time you signed in, fortunately (threads) information is changing constantly.

I find "members" page of NEW posts works for me :-)

Mainey . . .
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 01:13

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 01:13
Its at the top of my Forum list as I have my personal settings set up to keep the active posts at the top of pile.

I also have the number of threads to be displayed per page set to 100 so it will remain on my main page for a long time to come.

As a member these features are available along with other things like getting rid of some adverts and seeing how many threads have been added or modified since I last logged on.

All that most of us want as features is right here already, you either have to be a Member to access some features or ensure you set up the page display format to suit yourself.

Cheers
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Reply By: Member - Tony S (WA) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 01:01

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 01:01
Talk about opening a can of worms.

Quad erat demonstrandum -- quite easilly done.

Leave it as is!

Tony
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