Connect with us

Forum Category Feedback

Discussion in 'Announcements, Suggestions & Feedback' started by Ian, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. Ian

    Ian Administrator

    1,461
    414
    Aug 23, 2006
    There has been quite a lot of discussion between the mods to see if we can improve the forum category layout to make things a little easier to understand for new members, but also to improve the categorisation of posts. At the moment, two threads could be very similar, but posted in different categories, depending on if it is considered a "project" question.

    Here is the draft layout that we're considering:
    • General questions
      • General Electronics Discussion (theory, + catch all section)
      • Homework, Assignments, and "I want to learn how to..." (as is)
      • Datasheets and Manuals (as is)
    • Electronics Forums
      • LEDs and other Optoelectronics (LEDs, lighting, etc...)
      • Microcontrollers, Programming and IoT
      • Sensors and actuators (motors, sensors, servos, temp, acceleration, proximity)
      • Power Electronics (power supplies and...?)
      • Audio
      • Radio / Wireless (wifi, bluetooth, RF, etc...)
    • Construction & repair
      • Construction techniques (Project construction, PCB Layout and Manufacture)
      • Troubleshooting and Repair (as is)
    • Members lounge
      • Off topic
      • Project Log Discussion
      • Resource Discussion
      • For Sale/Trade
      • Woo Woo
      • Comments & suggestions
    As you can see, around half of the forum categories are identical - but instead of having a Project and Circuit help sections, we've categorised the forum sections by common groupings (i.e. Sensors and Actuators). We want to try and keep the forum listing relatively concise, so there is no need to list every type of component and aim for 50 categories - we're aiming for logical common groupings that will keep things simple.

    Please do let us know your thoughts on this, including any ideas you may have for refinement. :)
     
    Gryd3 likes this.
  2. Alec_t

    Alec_t

    2,487
    642
    Jul 7, 2015
    I don't think specific Homework problems would be regarded by a student as a General topic. I think Homeork should be a separate category, and that there should be references out from the other categories to the Homework category. As it stands, a student given an assignment involving, say, sensors is likely to post in both the General and Electronics forums, or even just in the Electronics one.
     
  3. Ian

    Ian Administrator

    1,461
    414
    Aug 23, 2006
    The homework section is always going to be a difficult one, as I think you're correct in saying that it may be appropriate for a student to want to post in a different category, but the reason we've got a separate "catch-all" study section is so that we can tailor advice to students in our answers (i.e. guiding to help the learning process, rather than just giving an answer).

    At the moment, if a student posts a duplicate thread or in the wrong category, we just move the threads as appropriate. I think we'll likely have to continue doing so, as I don't think we can manage it any other way (it doesn't happen too often, thankfully).
     
  4. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

    5,162
    1,077
    Dec 18, 2013
    Looks good Ian. We get a lot of Physics questions that come up and how components work. Also it would be good to see a section for PCB design and EMC/EMI issues and or EMC concepts, this could include all the latest regulations for CE marking which is an important part of todays design requirements.
    Thanks
    Adam
     
  5. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

    4,289
    1,143
    Jun 25, 2010
    I'm not exactly a long time member but I haven't had or seen any particular difficulties with the section design/layout - finding it very user-friendly in its present format.

    If there are occasional mis-posted questions I'd consider this an inevitability of the subject and, as you state, this doesn't happen very often - certainly not with regular members anyway who are likely to be the most 'inconvenienced' by changes.

    New members will always make mistakes in choosing the relevant section but quickly find their way around once they become familiar. I'd be of the 'if it ain't broke' opinion.....
     
  6. Ian

    Ian Administrator

    1,461
    414
    Aug 23, 2006
    Many thanks for the feedback.

    One of the new sections will be about PCB design (and all of the other considerations), so if the changes go ahead then this should be in there :).

    I'm generally of the same opinion, and we've had similar discussions between the moderators over the years, and we've always knocked back making any significant changes. However, there are an increasing number of posts that end up in the wrong area (some of which you may not notice, as they're moved by one of the mod team) and there is some blurred area between a few forum categories, which is more apparent now that they're busier.

    I'm still on the fence about making changes, but I think if we want to grow then these changes would be welcome in the long-run.

    I'll keep the thread running for a few more days to make sure we get any additional feedback, so that everything can be considered. My feeling so far is that there's no clamour for the changes, nor any strong resistance - so we'll need to have a careful think before implementing anything. If worst came to worst, it's easy to roll things back if it turns out to be an awful idea.
     
  7. Ian

    Ian Administrator

    1,461
    414
    Aug 23, 2006
    I'm rolling this out now, so the forum layout may be a little duplicated during the next couple of hours.

    I've saved a list of the old thread locations, so we can roll the changes back if required :).
     
  8. AnalogKid

    AnalogKid

    2,214
    624
    Jun 10, 2015
    Can you post a cross-reference mapping the old categories to the new ones? Using your examples in post #1, where did all of the old "Projects" and "Circuit" threads move to?

    My concern is finding old threads. For example, if I know there was a link in a Projects thread about 2 weeks ago that I now need, and I didn't remember the thread title but knew it's general topic, I could go through the thread listing until one of the titles rang a bell, and find the link very quickly. Now ... ?

    ak
     
  9. Ian

    Ian Administrator

    1,461
    414
    Aug 23, 2006
    At the moment, the threads from Projects and Circuits (the only categories to be merged) have been moved to "general electronics"... however, I'm moving them to other sections if the new categories are a better fit.

    It's not an ideal way of doing things, but it isn't possible to have the old and new categories existing with the threads in both places, so it's a "one off" hit we need to take. Hopefully the search function should assist with finding any threads you've not participated in - but if it's a thread you've already replied to, you can find it using the "my content" button on the user tools menu.

    I'm still working on rolling it out, but it's mainly just the thread moving left to complete :).
     
  10. Audioguru

    Audioguru

    2,345
    516
    Sep 24, 2016
    The catagories listing is very different today. It will take some time for me to get used to it.
     
  11. Ian

    Ian Administrator

    1,461
    414
    Aug 23, 2006
    I'm somewhat braced for there to be some difficulty transitioning to the new forum categories, but hopefully things will seem a little more familiar in a couple of weeks :).

    We've delayed changing the categories for many years, but we were getting too many threads that could legitimately end up in 2 or 3 categories. This should hopefully make things much easier for new members, but till take a few days for us regulars to adjust.
     
  12. Alec_t

    Alec_t

    2,487
    642
    Jul 7, 2015
    I like the fact that the Homework Help now stands out more clearly.
     
    davenn likes this.
  13. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

    3,646
    446
    Jan 15, 2010
    Oooooo, Ahhhhh.
    Looks good to me, but like Audioguru, us old guys will have to recalibrate our eye-to-brain messaging functions.
     
  14. Ian

    Ian Administrator

    1,461
    414
    Aug 23, 2006
    Thanks guys :). I've changed the icons at the same time, to a more modern style (primarily as I needed to get new icons for the additional categories).
     
    davenn likes this.
  15. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

    5,162
    1,077
    Dec 18, 2013
    Looking good Ian. I used to use the Forum sections to look for posts I am interested in. Now I just use the new posts or recent posts option and very rarely use the main Forum page. So for me I notice little difference. However I do like how you have split the Forums into defined sections. I bet you still get those people that pretend homework is general chat :)

    Cheers
    Adam
     
    Ian likes this.
  16. Externet

    Externet

    632
    131
    Aug 24, 2009
    Thanks for the efforts on polishing layouts and keeping things running smooth.

    If there was a way to select between the old format and the new one for a period of few weeks/months, we could adjust/migrate to the new style at our pace.
     
  17. Ian

    Ian Administrator

    1,461
    414
    Aug 23, 2006
    Thanks :).

    I'd like to be able to do that, but unfortunately threads can only be assigned to one category within the database - so it's only a black and white choice available. If it were a style or other item, I could make the transition easier, but this is a one-off hit I'm afraid. Hopefully it won't be too unfamiliar in the coming days :D.
     
    davenn and KJ6EAD like this.
  18. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    12,999
    1,661
    Sep 5, 2009
    looks great, Ian :)
     
  19. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

    4,289
    1,143
    Jun 25, 2010
    I've got used to the changes very quickly and also find the way the sections are listed to be very easy to navigate. Nice move.
     
    davenn likes this.
  20. KJ6EAD

    KJ6EAD

    1,114
    157
    Aug 13, 2011
    Category heading spelling check. Questions is spelled thusly. :p
     
    Ian and Harald Kapp like this.
Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.