Feedback on forum restructuring

By Julio Franco
Jun 1, 2011
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  1. Dear TS community members...

    For a while we've been considering a reorganization of the forums that would divide certain topics, merge some others, and make overall adjustments. Without going too far into detail, here's a draft proposal of the forum restructuring so we can hear your thoughts and make your feedback count.

    Hardware
    Graphics
    Processors and Motherboards
    Storage
    Networking
    Cases and Power Supplies
    Laptops and Tablets
    Smartphones
    Monitors
    Input Devices*
    Gadgets and Electronics*
    Other Hardware

    Operating Systems and Software
    Windows
    Apple
    Linux*
    Gaming
    Software Apps and Tools**
    Drivers

    Tech Support
    Windows BSOD, Freezing, Restarting Help
    Virus and Malware Removal

    TechSpot Community
    General Discussion
    Guides and Tutorials
    Hot Deals*
    The Tech Exchange*
    Links from around the Web

    Editorial and Community Feedback
    News Comments
    Articles Feedback
    Site Feedback

    The ultimate goal is to have solid destinations for a number of topics that are currently being diluted into general categories, for example "Audio and Video" vs. a dedicated Graphics and a dedicated Monitors forum.

    * Forums that could be let go due to lack of interest
    ** Another potential modification could be to divide software apps forum into categories such as: Security, Digital Imaging, Business Applications, Multimedia and Internet and Web Apps.
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,410   +213

    How about the topics of overclocking, cooling and modding and RAM?

    Will sound cards be relegated to "Other Hardware"?
  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,361   +167

    A few quick thoughts
    > Combine graphics and monitors to one single forum (as they're so closely related)
    > I'd remove a specific forum for laptops and tablets. (i think no need to differentiate between desktop vs. laptop and tablet questions and would only cause more confusion about "where should i post my thread"? - A question would likely be already covered by one of the other forums)
    > Also agree sound cards/audio need be included somewhere
    > (maybe) move Device Drivers to Tech Support (rather then OS).
  4. Benny26

    Benny26 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,575   +47

    I think it would be important not to make things too complicated. One of the reasons i came to this website as a contributor/helper (over other "Tech" forums) was the simple and effective way the forums are handled. However, i do agree with certain sub-categories mentioned here (like Modding and such).

    Maybe the Hot Deals and Tech Exchange forums could be merged or something? I've also just noticed the 'Off Topic' section has been fiddled with...I kinda liked that section the way it was with the polls sub-section and others. I think alot of the good polls (and other good topics) will now go under and into darkness alot faster due to this topic being so big...but then that's just my opinion.

    So anyways, as long as it's still simple and it doesn't look crowded like most other internet forums...I'm game :)
  5. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 2,057   +8

    Milestones is gone?
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,337   +293

    Hardware->Networking would be very limited IMO

    while Software->Networking could cover all forms of connectivity
    Internet, P/F sharing, Firewalls, and hardware configuration(s), eg routers
  7. Mizzou

    Mizzou TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 930

    Would also like to see this retained, there could be more activity in the months ahead when SB-E and Bulldozer hit the market.

    NAS would fit within this category along with wireless configuration, perhaps all of this could fall under the general umbrella of Networking. Also, as NAS becomes more affordable there are bound to be plenty of questions about PC connectivity, streaming to home theater and portable devices, etc.
  8. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,049   +84 Staff Member

    I understand there is a delicate balance between having too few forum sections and having too many. The former can potentially stifle discussion and the latter can become an unruly mess. With that out of the way, I must say that I disagree with some of the changes.

    I don't believe there are enough threads to warrant individual sections for networking, monitors, smartphones, Apple or Linux. I like the addition of cases and power supplies as well as input devices, though I'm a bit biased being somewhat of a keyboard buff.

    Gadgets and Electronics + Other Hardware seem redundant, and I believe General Discussion + Links from around the Web are also redundant (I frequently move topics from the first to the second, so it seems people are a bit confused about the current setup).

    Considering The Tech Exchange's inactivity, it could be subforum of Hot Deals instead of axed entirely. It won't be obvious to newcomers, but they can't use it anyway. I see Linux is marked for execution, but Linux is more discussed than Apple in The Alternative OS.

    Here's my recommended layout:

    Code:
    [B]Hardware[/B]
    Graphics and Displays
    Processors and Motherboards
    Storage and Networking
    Cases and Power Supplies
    Mobile Computing
    Input Devices
    Other Hardware (including modding, gadgets etc.)
    
    [B]Software[/B]
    Windows
    The Alternative OS
    Gaming
    Drivers
    Other Software (including general apps/tools, development etc.)
    
    [B]Tech Support[/B]
    Windows BSOD, Freezing, Restarting Help
    Virus and Malware Removal
    
    [B]TechSpot Community[/B]
    General Discussion
    Guides and Tutorials
    Hot Deals > (sub) The Tech Exchange
    
    [B]Editorial and Community Feedback[/B]
    News Comments
    Articles Feedback
    Site Feedback
    
  9. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,337   +293

    I would suggest that Networking/* and Smartphones/* would grow and be more important over time.

    Likewise, Cases and Power supplies are by definition limited to those that build there own system which imo is a minority of the community at TS.
  10. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 6,520   +311

    Thanks for all your feedback so far!

    First, to address the question about the milestones, poll and other Offtopic (now general discussion) subforums, I merged them all back to the parent board because there was an obvious lack of activity, so much that in the first page of results you could see topics going back to 2009! They were also pushing down the recent activity on the main parent forum so I made that change. The distributed computing forum is now also gone.

    With that out of the way, I agree there should be a balance between too few and too many forums. The concept about the restructuring is that by adding dedicated boards to some topics (Smartphones, Monitors, and some others) we will encourage participation in those areas. If we can get the ball rolling then Google will pick up this activity and start sending more (hopefully qualified) participants that want to ask questions or voice opinions in those discussions. An example of this is Hardocp's forum where the Displays forum is a great place to discuss monitors, even though they barely touch on the subject on the main site's reviews.

    Based on your feedback so far I'm narrowing things down to the categories below with further changes completely open to discussion.

    **I agree with jobeard's opinion that Networking is too limited on the hardware side since it's an overlapping topic where software could also be discussed. Similarly, Apple could be more than just OS X now with iOS devices making strides in their respective categories. Meanwhile the Smartphones forum is under hardware but some Android questions could arise as well. Any ideas on a different scheme where we don't have to separate Hardware/Software but still make sense of grouping certain forums?

    Code:
    [B]Hardware[/B]
    Graphics and Displays
    Processors and Motherboards
    Storage Devices
    Networking**
    Cases and Power Supplies
    Laptops and Tablets
    Smartphones
    Input Devices
    Other Hardware
    
    [B]Software[/B]
    Windows
    Apple Software
    Linux
    Gaming
    Software Apps and Tools
    
    [B]Tech Support[/B]
    Windows BSOD, Freezing, Restarting Help
    Virus and Malware Removal
    Drivers
    
    [B]TechSpot Community[/B]
    General Discussion
    Guides and Tutorials
    Hot Deals > (sub) The Tech Exchange
    
    [B]Editorial and Community Feedback[/B]
    News Comments
    Articles Feedback
    Site Feedback
    
  11. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 6,520   +311

    Alternative layout based on my last few points above :)

    Code:
    [B]Hardware[/B]
    Graphics and Displays
    Processors and Motherboards
    Storage Devices
    Laptops and Tablets
    Cases and Power Supplies
    Other Hardware
    
    [B]Software[/B]
    Software Apps
    Gaming
    Windows OS
    Linux OS
    
    [B]Technology[/B]
    Apple
    Smartphones
    Networking
    Security and the Web
    
    [B]Tech Support[/B]
    Windows BSOD, Freezing, Restarting Help
    Virus and Malware Removal
    Drivers
    
    [B]TechSpot Community[/B]
    General Discussion
    Guides and Tutorials
    Hot Deals > (sub) The Tech Exchange
    
    [B]Editorial and Community Feedback[/B]
    News Comments
    Articles Feedback
    Site Feedback
    
     
  12. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,536   +92

    The only danger is by having so many specific sections you'd have some very underpopulated in terms of posts.

    I see over the course of the thread the suggested sections have been whittled down a bit. I'd suggest losing a couple more from Hardware and Tech.

    Graphics and Displays
    Processors and Motherboards
    Storage Devices and Memory
    Laptops and Tablets
    Cases and Power Supplies
    Peripherals (Sound cards, Input devices, printers, other hardware)

    I just feel that maybe input devices/other hardware would be under used, if someone really wants to see only input peripheral posts the search/filtering of the forum software can be put to use.
  13. Benny26

    Benny26 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,575   +47

    @ Julio's post

    "Laptop and tablets" doesn't seem right for me.

    Example:
    1. I have a problem with my laptop, it's something with the graphics? = (Conflict with Laptop and Graphics forums)

    2. I have a problem with my PC, it's something with the graphics? = (No conflict, goes straight to Graphics)

    Plus the fact that new comers with graphic problems (on their laptop) IMO, would just go straight for the hub of the problem which would be the Graphics forum. You'll end up having to move alot of threads for laptops out of the Graphics, processor, and other forums.

    Also, where problems with the BIOS would go is not very clear, IMO, for new comers. I would guess the "Windows BSOD, Freezing, Restarting Help"...but new people might not.
  14. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,361   +167

    I like the organization in Julio's latest post. Couple comments:

    Audio / Sound Cards
    still needs to be included somewhere. Looking at our current forum structure, I think including it with Graphics and Monitors (as the current forums do) works for me

    Laptops and Tablets
    My initial reaction was similar to Benny's. But, again, looking at our current forums (which has a Mobile Computing forum) the threads in that forum all seem cohesive and belong together. Users don't seem confused with a Mobile Computing section now vs. Network vs. Graphics etc forums

    So I reverse my old opinion. I'm OK with a Laptops and Tablets forum (tho editorial note: i kind of like the title Mobile Computing. Laptops and tablets could be mentioned in the forum's line description/summary).

    /* edit */
    I'm ambivalent and keep going back-forth with including Audio with Graphics/Monitors or giving it it's own forum. So long as it's included somewhere, it works for me :)
  15. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,884   +77

    So I take it that the high end /enthusiast/bleeding edge tech category ie TS "Nitro" is a dead issue?


    Oh I dont know Jobeard, one of the most frequent inquiries I see here is the "suggestions needed for build" .....look over my list"...."recommendation needed for new build" ....new gaming build" etc etc. here are some now.

    http://www.techspot.com/vb/showthread.php?p=1047313#post1047313
    http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic166052.html
    http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic165981.html
    http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic165938.html

    If you look at the 'General hardware' and 'Audio and video' forums, every other inquiry is regarding a new build or about an upgrade. I think there are a lot more DIY'ers here than you think. I recently had to clean out my PM box as it was reaching it's 500 PM limit. Half of the inquiries were inquiries regarding self builds.
  16. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 6,520   +311

    "TS Nitro" is not a dead issue, in fact this is the perfect time to bring up the idea again. Perhaps that's the form in which we could conserve the Overclocking forum that other members are suggesting?

    How can we combine that idea with the builders' recommendations? Should we dedicate an entire forum to buying recommendations perhaps?

    Also, just so you are not caught by surprise, I've decided to move forward with some of the low-impact changes that involve rearranging some of the current boards.

    I have not added anything new yet, but the Links from Around the Web board was merged with General Discussion. The idea is for that forum to take everything conversational, whether it's tech/science related or not.

    The Tech Exchange also now lives inside Hot Deals.
  17. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,884   +77

    How about...
    'TS Nitro' - extreme systems, modding, and Overclocking
    'A place to discuss the enthusiast's system.'

    Just my opinion, but the "recommendations for a new build" and questions of that Ilk are so frequent, I think that would stand very well as its own category.

    I think I wrote to you about this as well, but how about:

    TS News from the future
    Cutting edge technology news
  18. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,392   +36

    Take Drivers out of Tech Support. It is redundant to break them out into a separate category:
    Drivers are a big part of the Windows BSOD, Freezing, Restarting Help

    Since Drivers interface with the following, they are already covered:
    • printers
    • video adapters
    • network cards
    • sound cards
    • local buses of various sorts — in particular, for bus mastering on modern systems
    • low-bandwidth I/O buses of various sorts (for pointing devices such as mice, keyboards, USB, etc.)
    • computer storage devices such as hard disk, CD-ROM and floppy disk buses (ATA, SATA, SCSI)
    • implementing support for different file systems
    • image scanners
    • digital cameras
    Virtual device drivers represent a particular variant of device drivers. They are used to emulate a hardware device
    Open drivers
    • Printers: CUPS
    • RAID arrays: CCISS[5]
    • Scanners: SANE
    • Video: Vidix, Direct Rendering Infrastructure
    Organizational help courtesy of Wiki

    I would also like to bring up a point of having-or not having- members available to assist in Forums. Broni and I refer many out of the Virus and Malware Forum to Windows OS, Windows BSOD or leave it up to the moderator to move the thread to a more appropriate forum. We inform the member of this. But frequently they don't get help.

    My point is: Yes, restructure, making sure there has been enough activity in merged forums or availability of members in breaking a new forum out.
    ============================================
    I like this idea: Windows Forum
    • Sub-Forum:Software Apps and Tools**
      [o]Security
      [o]Digital Imaging,
      [o]Business Applications,
      [o]Multimedia
      [o]Internet and Web Apps.
  19. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,456   +288

    Under software, we could keep Apple in there, just have a title like "Linux, Mac OS X, and Others". So pretty much identical to "The Alternative OS" now, but with a different title. I know the subheading for Alt OS says Linux, Mac OS X and more, but I think having that in the main title is better. The downside of that is then what do you put in the subheading?
  20. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,361   +167

    +1

    or (as a minor editorial note) I think the title would read better if you drop the word "The" and spelled it out: Alternative Operating Systems
  21. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,536   +92

    "Software Apps". "Software" or "Applications" in my opinion. Duplication of the term. What other type of applications are there (and no application of thermal paste doesn't count ;) ). Just call it Applications, its in the "Software" section already :)
  22. robin_bga

    robin_bga Newcomer, in training Posts: 258

    What do you guys mean when you say "Apple", and whats there?
    Why don't we have "Device Driver" instead of just "Driver"?
    Whats under Gaming, games or ...?
    Why not have "Software and OS" instead of just "Software"?
    I also love the idea of "Alternative OS" and adding Linux and Mac being that they are not so active in this forum.
    However i love the fact that you have added Linux in there because it was really left out.
    Do we need "Site feedback" , how about if its just "Feedback"?
    How about "Smartphone" how about if we say "Laptops and Mobile Devices"? then remove Smartphone and 'Laptop and Tablets.
    Why do we have "Software Apps" that kills the other category/Title called "Software"
    I like simplicity, so forgive me...
  23. robin_bga

    robin_bga Newcomer, in training Posts: 258

    Sorry for the repeation, didn't know there was a second page..
  24. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    AND

    +2

    In my opinion a much better way of doing things. I really don't think removing Linux is a good idea (the impression I got from first post was this), as a large majority of the threads in Alt OS are Linux related. :)

    That said, I don't think that Linux needs its own sub-forum in the forum structure, and the current arrangement works well. It would be the ideal place for the up and coming Google OS as well.
  25. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 938   +43

    I have to ((second)) what Leeky has said here, and that is removing Linux is not a very good idea. Just an example, I scanned the "Alternative O.S." section and just looked at the first 10 topic areas. (1) topic deals with Google Chrome's O.S. (2) topics are about Mac's and the remaining (7) are Linux related. So Linux owns the show as far as being the most discussed thing inside the "Alternative O.S." section!

    Now this is where Leeky and I will part ways and disagree, I personally think that Linux and all Linux subject matter deserves it's own "sub-forum"! After all my above example, (1) Google Chrome O.S. topic, (2) Apple mac topics and (7) Linux topics, to me having 7 out of 10 for the first topic areas in that section being owned by Linux has to be given some consideration.

    I don't know guy's, it's up to all of you who hold the cards, but I'm personally getting tired of Linux not being given it's proper due!


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