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vangogh
03-22-2009, 03:35 AM
Hey All. You probably already noticed that I rearranged things a little on the home page. I moved the Community Talk section from the top to the bottom just above the Forum News & Announcements.

Since we're a business forum I thought it made more sense to lead the home page with a section about business instead of the off topic threads. This should let visitors to the site know what we're about a little sooner.

Thanks.

nealrm
03-22-2009, 09:23 AM
I agree with your logic, the small talk should be towards the bottom. However, I would have left the Introduction area towards the top. I would also add a few sticky posts regarding posting educate, policies, etc.

vangogh
03-22-2009, 12:50 PM
Well it was an all or nothing move since the introduction forum and small talk forum are grouped together. With the stickies where do you think they should be placed? We have a TOS/Rules sticky in the News & Announcements forum. They should probably be in the main menu, but that requires modifying the template, which I'm hesitant to do until I have to time to really redesign the whole site.

Chimpie
03-22-2009, 02:01 PM
Random thought: When I see 'Small Talk', I think about a place to brainstorm, bounce ideas of someone else, a place to create a topic when you're not sure where else to put it.

Maybe you should change the name of the off topic area to something like "The Water Cooler".

vangogh
03-22-2009, 02:26 PM
Water Cooler might not be a bad idea. That forum really is just a place to talk about non-business stuff and be a catchall for topics that don't belong anywhere else.

I'll let others weight in, but it makes sense as a name.

Chimpie
03-22-2009, 03:02 PM
Is there a particular place to go if we have a non-specific question, like by architecture/contractor question?

vangogh
03-22-2009, 07:02 PM
Depends on the question. For example I saw you ask a question about architecture, though it did relate to planning your business. That would make sense for the Planning Your Business Section, which is where you started the thread.

If you were starting a thread about beautiful homes you happen to see on your commute to work then it wouldn't be business related and would make the most sense in the Small Talk section.

What it comes down to is look at the current sections and forums and if you can justify your thread belonging in any of them then start it there. If none of the current forums makes any sense then post it to Small Talk. The threads can always be moved later, but it helps if they start in the section most related to the topic of the thread. Not every thread will fit nicely, which is ok. Just do your best to find the best fit.

nealrm
03-22-2009, 07:34 PM
With the stickies where do you think they should be placed? We have a TOS/Rules sticky in the News & Announcements forum. They should probably be in the main menu, but that requires modifying the template, which I'm hesitant to do until I have to time to really redesign the whole site.

I like them in the Introduction areas. That should be the first place someone joining post. But it is just a personnel preference. Putting them in the main menu is also a good idea.

vangogh
03-22-2009, 08:03 PM
That makes sense. The Intro section is probably a good place.

The main issue with stickies is that most people don't read them. We haven't used a lot here, but on another forum where I admin there are a few stickies in each forum. Unfortunately it's quite clear most people don't ever read them there. The few that do are the type of members who didn't need to read them in the first place.

Still until I decide to tackle a new design for the template, stickies in the intro forum would be a good idea. Thanks.

Steve B
03-22-2009, 10:52 PM
Since it's a package deal - my opinion would have been to leave it the way it was. It seems like the Introduction section should be the first thing people see. I would feel differently if they could be split up.

vangogh
03-23-2009, 12:01 AM
Part of the problem is that we're constantly getting new threads started in Small Talk that don't belong there. I think people sometimes post in whichever forum happens to be at the top and I grew a little tired of having to move them. I think I've ended up moving about 40% of all the threads that have been started in Small Talk.

It was originally at the top because of the introduction forum, but I'm not sure how important it is to have that first. Many of the forums I see place the intro section toward the bottom.

It's easily changed back so maybe I'll think on it a few more days and see how everyone feels.

Business Attorney
03-23-2009, 10:43 AM
Part of the problem is that we're constantly getting new threads started in Small Talk that shouldn't go there. I think people sometimes post in whichever forum happens to be at the top and I grew a little tired of having to move them. I think I've ended up moving about 40% of all the threads that have been started in Small Talk.

That's a good reason to move it but I wonder if that means that you'll get a lot of threads started in "Planning Your Business" that don't belong there, now that it is at the top. It might be better to have all those threads started in a general category like "Small Talk," particularly if you get many of the 60% of threads that belonged in Small Talk now being dropped into the Planning Your Business category.

In any event, I think that most of us who are regulars to the forum have our own habits to get to the threads we want to get to, so any reorganization should be focused on what works best for the mods and the new users.

cbscreative
03-23-2009, 11:31 AM
I was thinking a long time ago to add a sticky to the Intros area, so I will go ahead and do that soon. Even if very few read it, I think it's still a good idea to have some posting guidelines there which we have not yet done (though they are in another sticky here).

vangogh
03-23-2009, 11:31 AM
David I think the threads will end up in managing your business now. They weren't ending up in the Intro section before. I don't think it's an automatic they'll go in the first forum shown, but rather one that doesn't require scrolling. We'll see though.

I was also thinking that regulars are more likely clicking into their control panel or on new posts so most of us won't really be affected. People new to the forum would see business forums at the top, which is probably what they want to see when arriving here.

That's the theory anyway, but we'll see what happens.

nighthawk
03-23-2009, 06:33 PM
David I think the threads will end up in managing your business now. They weren't ending up in the Intro section before. I don't think it's an automatic they'll go in the first forum shown, but rather one that doesn't require scrolling. We'll see though.

I was also thinking that regulars are more likely clicking into their control panel or on new posts so most of us won't really be affected. People new to the forum would see business forums at the top, which is probably what they want to see when arriving here.

That's the theory anyway, but we'll see what happens.

you know - I think you might be on to something here. The top two rooms on the forum I run are "The Lounge" for off topic posts, and "Website Comments/Requests". Whenever the site gets spammed, its always one of these forums that gets the spam. I guess a lot of spam bots just target the first or second room.

Perhaps it makes sense to keep them there though, to act as a kind of 'honey pot' to attract spam and keep it away from the more active, on topic rooms...

Anyway, be sure to let us know how it works out.

vangogh
03-23-2009, 07:10 PM
Gavin this was less about spammers and more about members. The spammers are going to post where they are no matter what we do. Members still tend to post in the top categories because they're more visible. Some people won't scroll down to try to find the most appropriate category. At least this way a more appropriate category is at the top by default.

Blessed
03-23-2009, 07:41 PM
I like the name "water cooler" for the small talk section - just my vote!

vangogh
03-23-2009, 08:07 PM
I like it too.

Funny. I never expected this thread to start so much conversation. Quite honestly I figured most people would go ho hum and move on. Shows what I know :)

Patrysha
03-23-2009, 08:37 PM
Just goes to show anything can catch attention on a slow news day...right?

KristineS
03-23-2009, 09:35 PM
I think the move is a good one. It does put the subject of the forum right up front. Also, most people who are even vaguely familiar with forums will know there is likely to be an introduction forum somewhere.

vangogh
03-24-2009, 12:45 AM
Just goes to show anything can catch attention on a slow news day...right?

Apparently. I guess there's a marketing lesson in there somewhere.

Thanks Kristine. Kind of what I figured too about the introductions. I like to welcome new people and I want visitors to know we're a welcoming group, but it seems to make more sense to use that prime real estate for something more business related.

billbenson
03-24-2009, 09:37 PM
Some sites just have the introduction as a thread at the top of the first section / topic. At this point, most new users are here, so I doubt very many here visit the introduction thread. I'd say stick a sticky at the top of the first subject, even if it doesn't follow the section topic.

vangogh
03-25-2009, 12:18 AM
Just letting everyone know I changed Small Talk to The Water Cooler. It's a better name and everyone seemed to like the suggestion.

Thanks to Chimpie for the new name.