forum reorganization suggestions.
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Dave T
(DaveT) - F
forum reorganization suggestions. on 01/28/2009 14:47:34 MST Print View

(edited based on Ashley's great comments)

I suggest that BPL take the time to reorganize the forums, including combining some, reordering, renaming, and adding one.

This would result in easier navigation, more posts made in the correct place (not just everyone using "G-Spot"), more robust use of the forums, etc. I suggest looking to rename, reorder, and combine forums that confuse folks, to make it all as logical as possible. i suggest deleting Reader Tips and On the Web, and moving relevant posts to the appropriate remaining forums.

Also, the current front page for the forums is a full SEVEN pages long on my computer screen - much too much! This could also be helped by making the descriptions under each forum more concise - they should be rewritten anyway (needlessly long and/or jokey, not a proper description of the forum contents, etc.). And any way to eliminate unnecessary white space would help folks see as much as possible, without hitting the page down key five times or more.

I would suggest the following structure, in order, naming, etc. (see notes regarding changes):

Gear (put at top!)
The Gear Spot (not “The G Spot”, includes relevant Reader Tips))
Gear Lists
Reader Gear Reviews (move here)
Make Your Own Gear (includes relevant Reader Tips)
Gear Swap
Gear Deals

General Lightweight Backpacking
Philosophy and Technique (includes relevant Reader Tips)
Nutrition and Hydration
Backpacking with Family (create this)
Backpacking with Scouts (include Philmont here)

Off Piste
Winter Hiking
Mountaineering & Alpinism
On the Water (rename, also include Packrafting and Fishing here)
Photography
Other Activities

Campfire
Pre-Trip / Trip Announcements / Hiking Partners (before Trip Reports, logically)
Post-Trip / Trip Reports / Photo Gallery (combine with photo gallery)
Editor’s Roundtable
Chaff (I would delete this, myself!)

Outdoor Retailer (move section down, or only show link current year?)
Six summer/winter update sections!

Admin (move section down to bottom, and reorder - admin shouldn't be first! gear, etc. should be first!)
Content Solicitations
Forum Admin & Support
BPL.com News and Info
BPL Wiki
BPL Product Support
Wilderness Trekking School
User Test Forum

Edited by DaveT on 01/28/2009 16:43:42 MST.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 01/28/2009 15:52:24 MST Print View

Nice work Dave.

My comments:

- I kinda like name "the GSpot"

- I would condense things further. Get rid of the Family/Scouts entry and put it under General. Get rid of reader tips completely (they will appear in either MYOG or technique or in the wiki!!). The General forum area would then become:

General
Technique and Philosophy
Food, Hydration, and Nutrition
Backpacking with Family
Backpacking with Scouts

- I would call "On the water" simply Packrafting/Fishing

- You could probably get rid of "on the web"

- All your other suggestions are great. Fewer sub-forums are a must!

Edited by ashleyb on 01/28/2009 15:56:08 MST.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
How about a "Recent Threads" page? on 01/28/2009 16:01:09 MST Print View

One further suggestion:

It would be great to see a "Recent Threads" page (in addition to the current "Recent Posts" page).

The first thing I want to know when I visit BPL is: what new topics are being discussed, across all the forums. Currently I either have to visit every sub-forum to check what's happening, or click on "Recent posts" and scroll through a couple of pages of recent posts -- many of which are posts about the same topic.

Instead, I'd like to see at a glance what new threads have been started since the last time I logged in. That would be awesome!

Once I've read through the new threads that interest me, I can just click on "recent posts" to get the latest updates to the threads I've already read.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 01/28/2009 16:11:56 MST Print View

> Also, the current front page for the forums is a full SEVEN pages long on my computer screen - much too much!
Yeah, a good point Dave.
It should be possible to get it all on one screen, condensed.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: How about a "Recent Threads" page? on 01/28/2009 16:12:49 MST Print View

> It would be great to see a "Recent Threads" page (in addition to the current "Recent Posts" page).

Another very good idea!

cheers

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
forum reorganization. on 01/28/2009 16:48:32 MST Print View

thanks for the comments ashley. i totally agree with you, and have incorporated most of your thoughts into an edit of my first post.

the main thing is to have a relatively small and logical number of forums, ordered in a obvious way, with concise explanations. this will lead to folks being more able to post and find info in the correct places. (i.e. no more "which camera?" posts - and everything else! - in the G-Spot).

i'd move the Outdoor Retailer shows and Admin to another page, and have all the Forums (ideally) show on a single page, if at all possible.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: How about a "Recent Threads" page? on 01/28/2009 17:03:57 MST Print View

I like the "recent threads" page idea and Ashley's further condensing of Dave's work.

My thoughts on "G-Spot"; the name is eye catching, arousing and tantalizing for some or might even add excitement to others, but I must say that even though I been on this site for a year now I’m still not use to the Name. Maybe its my up bringing or naivety but I still have to overlook/look over the title, it just doesn’t sit right with me, I’m not bothered by it but something inside says “its just not right”. I guess I look at it this way- If my grandma was looking over my shoulder while I was on this forum (I’m 51 yrs old), would I be even slightly embarrassed? My answer would be, probably. Than why does it need to be on a backpacking site? I wouldn’t be embarrassed if she was there when I was reading about not using or using TP (great article and thread) and reading the women’s responses to that issue (they even got a little graphic). I have a wife and daughters that could/did benefit from that kind of information.

I understand that when Ryan and the others were putting this website together they were a little younger and that sort of name was kind of “funny”, and eye catching and maybe harmless for college age kids, but now that it has expanded to all age groups it might be appropriate to upgrade. This site might not want to copy a place like REI, but I don’t think I will ever see a “G-Spot” department in their stores or on their website, I think we all know the reason why.
If you are making changes, now would be a good time to change that one.

Edited by bestbuilder on 01/28/2009 17:08:29 MST.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: Re: Re: How about a "Recent Threads" page? on 01/28/2009 17:54:35 MST Print View

The 'recent threads' approach might also encourage a more topical discussion within a specific thread, or else the creation of a new thread as a particular topic runs adrift. Improved cross-referencing of threads could include easier linking from within the message compose box.

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
G-Spot on 01/28/2009 18:26:20 MST Print View

>I understand that when Ryan and the others were putting this website together they were a little younger and that sort of name was kind of “funny”

I have to start out by saying that I think "G-Spot" is a wickedly clever name for the gear forum, given the way we lust over and seem to receive almost erotic pleasure from a slick piece of gear. I'm 26, just married, no kids, Christian but socially liberal, so my sensibilities may skew towards the less-prudish.

Even given that, I wouldn't miss the name were it to be changed. I was actually a bit surprised to see it remain after the Philmont section was added to the forums. Changing the name would be a relatively innocuous way to family-friendly-up one of the most prominent and unavoidable sections of the site.

What I would have a problem with would be if the content of forum posts themselves were restricted to PG themes. Most of the people on here are adults, and that level of censorship would make the forums less attractive. I don't mind the word filter, but if certain "adult" themes were excluded - like smoking, drinking, or phrases like "we lust over and seem to receive almost erotic pleasure from a slick piece of gear" - that would be bad.

Edited by dsmontgomery on 01/29/2009 06:30:34 MST.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 01/28/2009 19:40:56 MST Print View

How about cleaning up the Outdoor Retailer section. Do we really need to see 2005 gear?

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 01/29/2009 06:04:47 MST Print View

I agree in most part with these suggestions to condense. I think the biggest win for me personally, as others have wisely suggest, would be a simple link to "Recent Threads".

I'm not sure how useful the "Latest Post" column on the index page is for everyone else, but I usually ignore it. That space could be re-assigned in other ways: maybe a two-column forum index? Maybe one-column index + recent trip report photos on the right?

-Mark

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
forum reorganization suggestions. on 01/29/2009 10:36:17 MST Print View

For me, the "New Posts Since Last Visit" link is quite simply the one single way I view all the forums I frequent on the Internet. I visit my favorite forum, click "view new posts" and then glance over every new post that was made since I last visited to see what I do or don't want to comment on.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
forum reorganization suggestion on 01/29/2009 13:58:49 MST Print View

I like the reorganization suggestions so far. I agree that the index page is far too long and that the most-used sections (gear) should come first. And retaining "Outdoor Retailer" info for more than a year seems a total waste of space.

My suggestion is about software. This is the only forum I've ever visited where there is no built-in shortcut to post a link or an image. The result is that most people post URLs that don't link. Even if you know the html commands (and I've forgotten them since my local forum finally became Mac-friendly over a year ago), they are a PITA to use. Coping/pasting links is also a PITA.

Edited by hikinggranny on 01/29/2009 14:06:41 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: forum reorganization suggestion on 01/29/2009 14:13:44 MST Print View

Hi Mary

> This is the only forum I've ever visited where there is no built-in shortcut to post a link or an image.
Not so: many of us use the button at the top right to post images. Definitely a short cut.

Cheers

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Re: forum reorganization suggestion on 01/29/2009 15:35:49 MST Print View

Here is an attached screen shot image of me attaching an image ; )

Insert Image at Cursor

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: Re: forum reorganization suggestion on 01/29/2009 15:41:50 MST Print View

Yes, there is a shortcut for posting images but that doesn't help w/ posting hyperlinks. It gets annoying having to copy and paste url's from a post into the address bar.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: Re: forum reorganization suggestion on 01/29/2009 15:48:02 MST Print View

Oh, never mind.genius

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
"Updated/new threads" page on 01/29/2009 17:14:35 MST Print View

OK, here's another idea.

I'm thinking of an "Updated / new threads" page that looks something like this:

NEW OR UPDATED THREADS
======================================
lunar duo vs double rainbow...(3) > G Spot
*New* PCT gear list.............(7) > Gear Lists
do i need a wind shirt?.........(13) > G Spor
*New* montbell inner jacket...(3) > Gear Swap
which camera should I get?....(2) > Photography
... etc

The number in brackets is the number of new posts. A brand new thread is highlighted in some way (I've written *New* but you could use a little symbol or a different colour or whatever). Whenever you click on one of these threads, it takes you to the first unread post in that thread (as opposed to taking you to the top of the thread).

This idea could be used instead of the "Recent threads" page that I suggested previously, since it incorporates the same idea but expands on it.

I'd find a page like that very useful when visiting the site after an absence of day or two (or even a week). Anyway, just another idea I thought I'd throw out there.

Edited by ashleyb on 01/29/2009 17:15:54 MST.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: "Updated/new threads" page on 01/29/2009 17:19:16 MST Print View

Actually, the coolest thing would be a page like that one described above but it contained all the older threads too. Then you have a drop-down box which lets you filter the threads you want to see (eg. Gear Swap or New threads or Updated threads). Might be tricky to implement with the current forum software though!

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: Re: "Updated/new threads" page on 01/29/2009 19:39:35 MST Print View

If that could be implemented, it would be fricken awesome. I spend more time on the BPL forum than on any other place on the web and this would make browsing much easier and more enjoyable. Though BPL may not be generating revenue directly from the forum, it is the core of this site and community. Without it, I'm sure this site would not be anywhere near as successful or profitable.