Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Categorizing the posts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    37

    Default Categorizing the posts

    When we first started the Discussion Forum, we envisioned separate categories for different types of posts to make it more manageable to rummage through them. We used this text to describe the forum: "Post anything here relevant to Wayland. After there are more postings, we will categorize them into logical groupings." Now with five pages of threads, it seems appropriate to start categorizing them.

    I would love to get suggestions from forum users about the categories they would like to see. Some suggestions we have received already include: Discussion Board Logistics, Schools, Health, Park and Recreation, Finances.

    If you have other suggestions, please respond to this posting.

    Kim Reichelt, Administrator
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 06-11-2008 at 12:47 PM. Reason: to add signature

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    I finally got around to thinking about a categorization of Discussion Forum threads. As you may be aware, we actually have this already, sort of. The DF home page is here. Note that there are three categories, two of which are only lightly used.

    My proposal is to take all of the threads from the three categories and re-group them into 12 categories. I arrived at 12 by listing all of the threads (see Column N of the attached spreadsheet, noting that those in orange and blue at the end are from the second and third existing "categories," respectively), thinking about what they were about, then doing a bit of consolidation into categories (see Columns A-L, Row 2). We might find that 5 categories is more appropriate/navigable, or 10, or 20--12 is just a starting place for the conversation.

    Too many categories, and the home page becomes unusable. Too few, and why not leave it as-is. I propose that only the Administrator be able to add new categories, with input from the DF of course.

    A few observations:

    • It wasn't as hard to categorize as I'd thought, but a few threads are a bit tricky, and some touch multiple topics. It would be great if threads could live in multiple categories. For instance, a school budget thread might fall into "Education" and "Municipal Finance."

    • The number of threads per category in my proposal ranges from 2 ("Real Estate," which perhaps might be folded into "Municipal Finance") to 63 (Education), with "Town of Wayland" not far behind at 56. Interestingly enough, the split in number of threads between schools and municipal isn't far off of how the budget is allocated. "Local Elections" is third at 36. As the number of threads grows within a category, we could of course split them out. In particular, the "Town of Wayland" category might eventually (or now) be divided into things like Pool, Highway, Selectmen, etc.

    • Who knows, maybe this will help boost usage. Maybe one problem is that people are simply getting lost.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default Excellent list

    Jeff,

    I think this is an excellent pass at it. I will plan to implement something like this (subject to further comments from others) perhaps as soon as the weekend.

    Once I do, I will be very interested in feedback - I think it can be somewhat easily undone (though this is a new area for me).

    -Kim

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Once the categorization is done, we could also open things up (maybe for a defined period) for thread starters to request that specific threads be moved if they think that their creation has been misplaced.

    Also, Kim, do you know if having threads appear in multiple categories is possible?
    Last edited by Jeff Dieffenbach; 06-12-2009 at 06:13 AM. Reason: Addition of question for Kim.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default

    Jeff, I do not believe you can post a thread (other than I think there might be some sort of special "ADMIN" that an administrator can post in multiple threads) in more than one thread, but I also think we wouldn't want to do that -- you want responses to a thread to show up in one place, don't you?

    Yes, I agree about giving thread starters the change to have their thread moved if they don't like its placement.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    If the link on a given category page is to a thread, why couldn't you have a second link on a second category page to that same thread? There's only one thread, just pointers to it from multiple locations.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default

    You mean just add an extra post saying something like "Readers of this post might also be interested in..."? Could do, if necessary.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    If it came to "Those interested in this threads in this category might also like to see URL in category X," I'd probably skip the effort. Rather, I was thinking of a capability built into vBulletin that would allow a thread to appear exactly the same way (with starter, most recent, posts, and views) in two or more categories.

    Back before the .com crash, I worked for a Woburn-based company called Continuum Software that developed some link-parsing technology that powered a directory site called Links2Go. I went back to archive.org's WayBackMachine to find this snippet.

    There were a number of interesting aspects to Continuum's technology and Links2Go. One such aspect of the latter was the (still?) unique hierarchy that branched both up and down. Overall, I think that Links2Go had something like 40 layers of topical hierarchy that was primarily generated automatically.

    For instance the topic "Schools" was a parent of both "K-12" and "Pre-schools." So far, nothing unique. But instead of just being a child of "Education," say, "Schools" was a child of multiple topics including both "Schools and Libraries" and "Schools and Programs."

    Perhaps a more simple example might be the topic "Family Health," which might have been a child of both "Family" and "Health." The result was the ability to use either navigation or search to get "in the neighborhood," then explore down AND up to see what was nearby.

    To apply this to the DF, a thread called "How do we afford public education?" might be a child of both the "Education" and "Municipal Finance" categories. With only two relevant levels (categories and threads), this would be MUCH simpler than Links2Go.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default Getting started, and needing feedback!

    So what do you think about the post categorization? I've started with two-subforums, and will do more. But I'm going to pause here for a moment to give users a chance to give me some feedback.

    On one hand, you get less visibility this way, because you only see one post per category before you dig into the subcategory.

    On the other hand, you get quickly highlighted the most recent post in each "category".

    I'd love to hear what people think.

    This can be easily "undone", so think of this (at this point) as just an experiment.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default

    I am thinking that I do not like all the sub-forums (despite Jeff's valiant efforts at coming up with a recategorization).

    I would be inclined to undo it, but welcome your thoughts (if you find this thread!) before I do.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    44

    Default

    Kim, the thing that I like about the "old" system is that when I click on the DF, the threads that have the most recent posts are right at the top of the thread list. And that doesn't seem to happen now. With regard to current conversation, I've never had a problem following the threads. I can see possibly creating subthreads under general categories for threads that have been inactive for a while, so that you can find them if you need to. But, any time a thread is active, it should rise right to the top of the list like it used to.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    117

    Default

    For a moment on Friday I dreamt there was a beginning toward organizing the informational threads under categories. Then I awoke. Didn’t have much time to experiment with the categories, to get an idea of what they might be good for, or any feel for how we might use them.

    Kim, exactly what didn’t you like about them, and so quickly?

    Me, I wouldn’t recategorize the old ones, just start new threads in themed Forums of which “General Discussion” is just one. Could first have a general discussion about which Forums to create, and why. Create them one at a time, and see how they go. Or maybe two, Discussion Board Logistics and Schools (or another) to start. For all the old threads, I’d have a “too old” date, say three years, and they’d be deleted. It was good to see that 2006 Forum disappear!

    donBustin@verizon.net

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default The categorization was icky (that's the technical term)

    Hi Don,

    Actually, I end up finishing the recategorization, putting all the threads into one of about 10 groupings (as in Jeff D's spreadsheet). It made the forum hard to use - it was even hard to find what were the latest posts.

    Also, since so many posts are in the Education category, these got relatively buried, as only the one most recent was readily accessible.

    I also found that should we desperately want to categorize the posts, we can add "Tags" (anyone can add a tag to a thread) which enable people to find all posts all so tagged.

    I vote for keeping all the old posts - they don't get in the way, and every now and then one of them resurfaces.

    I pulled the 2006 Budget & Override Forum posts into the main forum.

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •