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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 04-13-2007, 06:51 PM
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Your suggested structure seems like it could solve most of the organizational issues at hand. I like the core "Chassis/Body" dichotomy. "Basics/General/Misc" groups the inexperienced and less knowledgeable guys in with the various guys seeking help with a "misc" question that may or may not be "basic" in nature, which I don't like.

When we create a new forum, we need to move all previously-posted threads on that forum's topic into that forum. "Move archived threads at leisure" would mean that the forum-specific search results would be inaccurate until the job was done. That's the unavoidable manual labor task, and it has to be done "up-front", and preferably, not done for a long time again -- not to mention that forum name changes mean url changes, which means that the traffic will have to be redirected to the new urls, so previous search engine rankings will be compromised.

It will probably necessitate the creation of a special interface where the title and first post of a thread are displayed, with buttons to click to transfer it to X or Y forum.

"Site Help" forums have a tendency to attract OT questions (I noticed this in passing checking out similar forums on the Crankshaft Coalition Master List of Hotrodding Forums), although I do think that your suggestion to drop "Help" will ~help~ the situation. Otherwise, we have a decent ratio of proper question placement.

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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 04-13-2007, 06:56 PM
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All that needs to be done on the Site Suggestions and Help forum is change the Forum title to.....Site Help and Suggestions. Thats my opinion.
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Old 04-14-2007, 02:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon
Your suggested structure seems like it could solve most of the organizational issues at hand. I like the core "Chassis/Body" dichotomy.
It's actually more of a quintotomy.

The sticky problem of 'what is a frame' when monocoque construction is considered had to be addressed. Wrestling with that is what took me to the 5 main categories.

1. Strip everything off that is not essential for it to be an automobile and you're left with "Chassis - Running Gear". (Even a steering wheel is not essential; you can find a rolling chassis in one of the journals with a pair of vise grips clamped to the stub of shaft where a column should be). Thus, if someone is wanting to chop, section, lengthen, shorten or otherwise attack a unit body with a sawzall, that discussion would be here instead of "Body", because it is structural in nature, not just payload hauling.

2. Everything that is used for hauling the payload (people or cargo) goes into "Body". Glass, doors, trim, painting, seats, hood, trunk, etc., as well as any alterations to these land in here.

3. Most automobiles have a complete auxiliary power system that is not essential for it to be an automobile -- "Electrical". This uses tools, techniques, skills, devices and planning that are unique and distinct from all other categories. (Note that the starting and charging systems could actually, logically, belong with "Chassis - Running Gear", but most people seeking help with an electrical problem would look here first).

4. Everybody has to be some place and a garage is a hotrodder's natural habitat. It takes tools to work on automobiles, hence, "Garage - Tools".

5. Even though the above 4 main groups should enclose everything about an automobile and working on one, as sure as there is no miscellaneous category, someone will come up with a question that doesn't fit the four, so "Hotrodding Basics - General - Miscellaneous". The first two parts of that name are there only to tie the forum to its roots as "Hotrodding Basics" and "General Rodding Tech".

I can visualize 5 separate 3D images representing those, used as a navigational aid for Hotrodders.com. Clicking a "site help" link would give the Hotrodders.com logo with 5 line drawing images below it, each a link to the 5 main tech categories. Add a 6th image of guys standing around a table, holding coffee cups, looking over the shoulder of someone sketching a hotrod, for "General Discussion" area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon
"Basics/General/Misc" groups the inexperienced and less knowledgeable guys in with the various guys seeking help with a "misc" question that may or may not be "basic" in nature, which I don't like.
I don't understand. There is no separation, that I can see, based on experience and knowledge in any of the existing or proposed fora. I haven't been able to conceive a question that would not fit in the first 4 suggested categories, but can conceive of the need to provide a miscellaneous category, just in case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon
When we create a new forum, we need to move all previously-posted threads on that forum's topic into that forum. "Move archived threads at leisure" would mean that the forum-specific search results would be inaccurate until the job was done. That's the unavoidable manual labor task, and it has to be done "up-front", and preferably, not done for a long time again -- not to mention that forum name changes mean url changes, which means that the traffic will have to be redirected to the new urls, so previous search engine rankings will be compromised.
You're referring to things like moving the "Suspension - Brakes - Steering" forum into "Chassis - Running Gear" and the effects of creating a new forum "Structure - Frame or Unit - Fuel storage" in "Chassis - Running Gear"?

My thinking there was that the new forum would begin to accumulate new discussions immediately. Until the historical threads could be moved from "Suspension - Brakes - Steering", the search query for the new forum could search all of "Chassis - Running Gear". This would deal with the bulk of historical threads about frames that have landed in various other fora as people looked for some place to ask about repair, design or modification of frames.

(Side-track: "fora" is in several dictionaries, but "forums" seems more popular. Had to check because I used "fora" in an email once and someone thought I was trying to speak Portugese. I'm trying to switch, though).

I'm going to have to think about that more to understand the implications. Webserver redirection can provide the transitioning, by keeping the historical discussions accessible via any old links out there. Search engines will handle the new information just as they do now, regardless of where it appears to members. The actual presentation of the new structure (the most important part of making it self-sorting) and even the database manipulation is not that complex, but I can see there is much more to work on regarding link stability. Somewhere in a past thread, you told me about the database structure. I'll dig that up and chew on it some more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon
It will probably necessitate the creation of a special interface where the title and first post of a thread are displayed, with buttons to click to transfer it to X or Y forum.
That looks simple to do, as long as the user authentication is already dealt with .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon
"Site Help" forums have a tendency to attract OT questions (I noticed this in passing checking out similar forums on the Crankshaft Coalition Master List of Hotrodding Forums), although I do think that your suggestion to drop "Help" will ~help~ the situation. Otherwise, we have a decent ratio of proper question placement.
Dropping the word "Help" isn't necessary, IMO. Moving it over next to "Site" should reduce the OT posts. I don't think there is any way in the world to eliminate OT posts, because somebody will make a mistake or will simply not look beyond what button to click to post a message.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 04-14-2007, 07:37 AM
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I do not really understand the reasoning for wanting to separate the beginning hotrodders from the more experianced....Hotrodding Basics.....Hotrodding General Tech........That just seems like it goes against what this site is supposed to be about. In my mind...the best way for a beginner to learn is to mingle with the experianced folks. Am I missing something here?
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