Forum Category Feedback

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

  1. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    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. :)
     
    Ian, Jan 31, 2018
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  2. Ian

    Alec_t

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    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.
     
    Alec_t, Jan 31, 2018
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  3. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    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).
     
    Ian, Feb 2, 2018
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  4. Ian

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    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
     
    Arouse1973, Feb 2, 2018
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  5. Ian

    kellys_eye

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    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.....
     
    kellys_eye, Feb 2, 2018
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  6. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    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.
     
    Ian, Feb 5, 2018
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  7. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    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 :).
     
    Ian, Feb 15, 2018
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  8. Ian

    AnalogKid

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    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
     
    AnalogKid, Feb 15, 2018
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  9. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    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 :).
     
    Ian, Feb 15, 2018
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  10. Ian

    Audioguru

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    The catagories listing is very different today. It will take some time for me to get used to it.
     
    Audioguru, Feb 15, 2018
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  11. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    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.
     
    Ian, Feb 15, 2018
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  12. Ian

    Alec_t

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    I like the fact that the Homework Help now stands out more clearly.
     
    Alec_t, Feb 15, 2018
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  13. Ian

    shrtrnd

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    Oooooo, Ahhhhh.
    Looks good to me, but like Audioguru, us old guys will have to recalibrate our eye-to-brain messaging functions.
     
    shrtrnd, Feb 15, 2018
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  14. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    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).
     
    Ian, Feb 15, 2018
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  15. Ian

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    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
     
    Arouse1973, Feb 15, 2018
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  16. Ian

    Externet

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    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.
     
    Externet, Feb 16, 2018
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  17. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    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.
     
    Ian, Feb 16, 2018
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  18. Ian

    davenn Moderator

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    looks great, Ian :)
     
    davenn, Feb 17, 2018
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  19. Ian

    kellys_eye

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    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.
     
    kellys_eye, Feb 17, 2018
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  20. Ian

    KJ6EAD

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    Category heading spelling check. Questions is spelled thusly. :p
     
    KJ6EAD, Feb 17, 2018
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