Forum Index » Website & Forum Admin/Support » forum reorganization suggestions.


Display Avatars Sort By:
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.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Way Too Many Branches! on 01/29/2009 23:03:19 MST Print View

I counted 39 branches! Almost all of the branches have "branch descriptions" that take up multiple lines -- some as long as seven! Taken together, this forces people to scroll or page up and down excessively -- and many of the branches down at the bottom suffer from poor reader traffic as a result.

Three ways to prune the branches:

1. Archive old ones (e.g. Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2005).

2. Delete 'dead' branches -- or merge them with others -- or fold some into others as "sticky posts". For example, under Forum Support branch -- make "User Testing" a sticky so folks who need to test can post there. User Testing need not be a branch all unto itself.

3. Limit branch description to one line. Example: G Spot - Gear Talk. No need for seven lines of descriptions!

Hope this helps.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa)
tabs on 01/29/2009 23:28:41 MST Print View

May be you can have tabs. Only main headings can be shown on the forum front page and ones has to either click or point at it for more details.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/05/2009 12:54:50 MST Print View

You have spoken and we have listened. Our changes are not complete yet but we are making progress in revamping the forums using some of the suggestions we heard in this thread.

1. Forums: The main forums page has been consolidated to shorten it up a bit and more changes are slated for it as well.

2. Last 50 Posts: Note when you click on the "Last 50 Posts" link there is now a drop-down menu with which you filter out the new posts pertaining to a specific area of the forum. Say you're only interested in looking for new used gear posted to "Gear Swap" you can now select Gear Swap from the drop down and the page will display the 50 most recent posts made to the Gear Swap forum.

What do y'all think thus far? Are we meeting your needs? Keep the suggestions coming. This is your community, Backpacking Light is your brand and we the staff are here to serve you.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/05/2009 16:50:25 MST Print View

Thanks Sam/BPL for responding. Obviously there's a lot of work in implementing some of the suggestions we've made.

The new drop down is a useful addition. I must admit though that I am more likely to use my bookmarked links to visit particular forums directly. The problem with the recent posts page is that it's only really good for catching up on the last hour or so of posts. After than there is too much duplication (from repeated posts in the same thread) and it takes too long to scan through several pages looking for new stuff. Easier to visit the sub-forum concerned.

On that note, is it going to be feasible to have an "updated threads" page? There's probably only 20-30 threads which are updated with new posts each day and it would be great to see them all in one place when I log back on in the morning. Might be tricky to implement depending on what forum software allows you to do though...

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/05/2009 20:11:59 MST Print View

Updated Threads, instead of Recent Postings - I LIKE IT!

Cheers

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Re: Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/06/2009 11:45:25 MST Print View

An updated threads link/page is now available, click the "Recent Threads" link on the right hand nav menu.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/06/2009 13:02:22 MST Print View

Awesome !
Could the recent thread link be added under the Community tab on the nav bar ?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/06/2009 15:15:13 MST Print View

Can we have this link on the Home page please, under the 'Last 50 Posts' link! Yes, there is room for it.

Cheers

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/06/2009 16:33:49 MST Print View

Great! Thanks BPL for your speedy response. I look forward to any of the other suggestions you're able to implement. Cheers, A.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/06/2009 17:47:14 MST Print View

>Can we have this link on the Home page please, under the 'Last 50 Posts' link! Yes, there is room for it.

Sure, why not ; )

Check it out on the backpackinglight.com home page.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/06/2009 20:56:33 MST Print View

Hi Sam

I doubt I will use the 'Last 50 Posts' link any more. This one is so much better.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/06/2009 21:17:24 MST Print View

If you can add the number of new posts since your last visit in parentheses that would be even better!

eg.
forum reorganization suggestions (3)

to indicate 3 new posts have been added to this thread since your last visit. That would make it clear which threads are very active (lots of responses), and which new threads haven't received any responses yet.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/06/2009 23:51:05 MST Print View

Roger - I've been waiting for the "new threads" link since I first joined BPL. It's a winner.

Ashley - We're on a roll, but don't fault us if we don't come through with every request ; )

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/06/2009 23:56:41 MST Print View

Ashley - We're on a roll, but don't fault us if we don't come through with every request ; )

Hehe I can keep wishing though eh? Great job so far though. Most websites take months to respond to these sort of requests (if they ever do). Kudos to the hackers who are making the mods... I know how much of a PITA it can be getting even "simple" things right.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"forum reorganization suggestions." on 02/06/2009 23:57:47 MST Print View

No suggestions I can think of!

Thanks SO MUCH TO ALL of the BPL STAFF!!!
You guys are awesome!
Keep up the good work!

-Evan

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/07/2009 00:07:30 MST Print View

Thank you all for your response. It means a lot to us to be able to act immediately to requests and provide the best user experience.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
forum reorg. on 02/09/2009 13:17:03 MST Print View

sam et al.

thanks for the New Threads button. beats the New Posts by a mile. (it's a little unfortunate that this thread hijacked a bit by this though.)

and thanks for moving gear up and admin down.

do you have any plans to condense/collapse/reorg the forum sections, as per my original post? there are still too many forums, some barely used and/or overlapping with others. this leads to people posting in the wrong places, or just dumping every in Gear Spot (rename!).

i assume it can't be much work to at least RE-ORDER things in a reasonable manner (e.g. why not put a Pre-Trip foruum BEFORE a Post-Trip forum?).

i realize that combining two forums into one (packrafting, fishing, and water travel all into one) might take more work. at least put packrafting back into water travel - it's BARELY posted to! (like some other forums.)

and please please please rewrite the forum descriptions as CONCISE descriptions of what should go into each forum. the current often very long, silly, inane, etc. descriptions don't help folks post in the right sections. shrinking them to one/two lines with a MORE link is a poor replacement for actually rewriting them to be accurate and concise.

thanks!

Edited by DaveT on 02/09/2009 13:18:09 MST.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
forum links broken on 02/09/2009 21:17:24 MST Print View

From the recent threads page, the forum names in the list of threads do not link to the forums. Instead you get the message: "The specified forum no longer exists or never existed." Checking the link shows that it doesn't actually seem to be pointing at a specific forum.

That's what I'm seeing using Opera 9.2 anyway...

Ben Klocek
(benklocek) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: forum links broken on 02/09/2009 21:23:44 MST Print View

Thanks for noticing Ashley, it's fixed now.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
forum reorganization suggestions. on 02/10/2009 09:20:39 MST Print View

Dave the fixes we've made in the past week were initial ones. They were the technical fixes that could be made quickly and that have needed to be made for sometime.

A more serious re-structuring of the forums will take a bit more time. The writing of new descriptions and the combining of threads are time-consuming. On top of it the staff needs to determine the best course of action from our own perspective paired with the comments from the community at large.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
forum reorg. on 02/10/2009 10:02:48 MST Print View

thanks sam.

i look forward to whatever changes you choose to implement. i, like you, just want the best for the forums - the helpful, smart folks posting there are the heart of BPL, imho.