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grouch 04-12-2007 03:51 AM

Organization of Hotrodders Bulletin Board
 
This is long.I think I've posted something very similar before, but it's worth another shot.

Current organization:

1. Tech Help

1.1. Hotrodding Basics
1.2. Engine
1.3. Transmission - Rearend
1.4. Suspension - Brakes - Steering
1.5. Body - Exterior
1.6. Interior
1.7. Electrical
1.8. General Rodding Tech
1.9. Garage - Tools

2. General Discussion

2.1. Hotrodders' Lounge
2.1.1. Introduce Yourself
2.1.2. Off-Topic
2.2. Hotrod Art
2.3. Site Suggestions and Help
2.4. The Dump

Critique:

1.1. Hotrodding Basics and 1.8. General Rodding Tech are each a miscellaneous category. They are a source of never-ending confusion for me, because I never know what should go in which.

Do frame fabrication or modification questions belong in 1.1., 1.8., or 1.4. Suspension - Brakes - Steering? What about modifications to a unit body vehicle, does that go into one of those 3 or in 1.5 Body - Exterior?

What about home made gas tanks? Basics or General or Body - Exterior?

Where do questions about tires and wheels belong? Even though the (1.4) Suspension - Brakes - Steering is affected, tires and wheels are not an exact fit for that category.

Rationale:

The overall, components based organization of the fora helps those who are seeking answers to quickly find them, based on what parts of a vehicle are being considered. It is likewise helpful for those with answers.

There remain some minor sources of confusion which could be solved with slight reorganization to better match the major components of vehicles and their modification or construction. Every automobile has to go, stop, steer and carry a payload. These functions have not changed since at least Cugnot's Steam Wagon of 1769.

1. The basic parts that make it an automobile - wheels, steering mechanism, energy storage, propulsion system, braking system, structure to which these parts attach and which supports the payload.

2. The enclosure for the payload.

3. The auxilliary power system (not providing propulsion).

A distinguishing characteristic of hotrodders is that they work on automobiles. This requires another category:

4. The place and equipment for disassembling, fabricating, modifying, assembling and repairing automobiles.

Because of the expanse of the field of automobiles and hotrodding knowledge, another category is needed for information, questions and discussions that may not fit in the others:

5. Miscellaneous information.

Organizing by major functions simplifies the basic structure of the bulletin board while allowing for expansion, as needed, via subcategories (subfora) within these major categories, without disrupting that basic organization. (Note that even discussions of hotrod hovercraft would fit within these organizational categories without disruption. It would simply not need to use the "wheels" part of number 1.).

Suggestion of revisions to fit the above:

1. Tech Help

1.1. Chassis - Running Gear
1.1.1. Structure - Frame or Unit - Fuel storage
1.1.2. Suspension - Brakes - Steering
1.1.3. Transmission - Driveline - Differential
1.1.4. Engine
1.1.5. Tires - Wheels
1.2. Body
1.2.1. Body - Exterior
1.2.2. Interior
1.3. Electrical
1.4. Garage - Tools
1.5. Hotrodding Basics - General - Miscellaneous

2. General Discussion

2.1. Hotrodders' Lounge
2.1.1. Introduce Yourself
2.1.2. Off-Topic
2.2. Hotrod Art
2.3. Site Help and Suggestions
2.4. The Dump

Details:

1.1. Chassis - Running Gear
This distinguishes the structural necessities from appearance, auxilliary power and accessories. A "rolling chassis" is a common term, whether it describes a frame-based or unit body vehicle.

1.1.3. Transmission - Driveline - Differential
The power to propel the vehicle has to be transmitted to the ground, somehow. "Transmission - Rearend" omits a driveshaft, U-joints, in the case of front engine, rear wheel drive, and omits all other variations of getting power from engine to the ground.

1.1.5. Tires - Wheels
The choice of tires and wheels affects the basic function of the vehicle by influencing the entire driveline, suspension, body and appearance.

1.2. Body
The primary function of the body is to carry the payload. Such things as the glass, paint, mirrors, doors, etc., are components that enhance that capability. These do not provide the basic functions of an automobile and thus are logically distinguished from 1.1. Chassis - Running Gear.

1.2.1. Body - Exterior
1.2.2. Body - Interior
This distinction is made because of these reasons:
(a.) Most components of the exterior are for either protection of the payload, protection of the body, enhancement of aerodynamics, or for appearance to those not using the automobile.
(b.) Most components of the interior are for either controlling the vehicle, increasing the comfort of the people using the vehicle, or for appearance to those using the automobile.
(c.) The tools, skills and materials needed are distinctly different for the exterior body components and interior body components.

1.5. Hotrodding Basics - General - Miscellaneous
Designating a forum with the word "Miscellaneous" in the title cues people to first look to see if their question or comment fits somewhere else. Combining "General Rodding Tech" and "Hotrodding Basics" reduces the confusion about where questions and comments should go.

2.3. Site Help and Suggestions
(Discussed in its own thread, previously). Moving the word "Help" from its current, dangling position in "Site Suggestions and Help" to a less ambiguous position next to "Site" could reduce the number of questions appearing in the forum which should be posted in the "Tech Help" fora instead.


For anyone not comatose after getting this far in the novellette, and assuming Jon doesn't take out a contract on me...

Gentlemen, light your flamethrowers. (I'll get some Nomex underwear, and I don't mean thongs).

Henry Highrise 04-12-2007 06:18 AM

Good job Grouch....I agree with you completely. I have had the same thoughts for a long time now. I have made these thoughts known from time to time and the are reportedly on some kind of a list somewhere.

cboy 04-12-2007 06:35 AM

I've often wondered if it might not eliminate some of the confusion if we just added the word "chassis" to the Suspension section thus making it "Chassis-Suspension-Brakes-Steering" We could also add the term "Running Gear" to that title and possibly "wheels/tires" if that would make it more clear. To my mind those all see to go together.

There are some orphans, like gas tanks, that might always be a bit confusing as to where they belong. I also agree that the difference between Rodding Basics and General Rodding Tech is not clear and the two categories might be redundant.

Appreciate the work and thought you put into this Grouch. This site has become so full of great stuff that organization is rapidly becoming the major challenge.

Henry Highrise 04-12-2007 07:12 AM

In my mind a "Complete Chassis" has Brakes, Steering, Suspension, and Tires and Wheels. The frame is just one component of a Chassis.

powerrodsmike 04-12-2007 01:45 PM

having trouble sleeping, eh Grouch? :mwink:

Ok i can simplify this so that even I can understand....

Make one big category. call it hotrodders.com.

That way you just post everything in one category, and avoid those mind numbing choices. There are already too many choices in life...(coffee or coca cola for breakfast?...did I have the label on my underwear on the inside or outside yesterday?..which hand do I hold the pencil with?..axe or torch? .Milling machine or file....)

It will be easy for me. It'll be organized just like my shop.

Oh but keep the dump seperate..that way all my posts would be in one place.


<<<<<<<<<<<<< :P :spank: :D >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Nice job Grouch :thumbup:
I think if the suspension forum had frame added or we added a frame/ structural engineering forum for all of those fabrication questions it would be good. ( to me 'frame" is the bare structure and "chassis" is the complete assembly of suspension and steering parts.

later,
mikey

grouch 04-12-2007 02:15 PM

Thanks, Henry Highrise and cboy.
No smoke? No flames? I must've done something wrong. :)

I left out one that I've seen suggested several times: Health - Safety. It could be argued that such discussions are specific to one of the other categories, instead of separable.

The expansion and accumulation of information that almost fits existing categories is what worries me. You can find threads that cover the same topic but which are posted in different fora. Jon's Knowledge Base project attempts to index the growing mass of information, but it shouldn't have required as much work as it apparently took.

Given a basic breakdown of:

1.1. Chassis - Running Gear (things which make it an automobile; things that make it go, stop, steer and carry a payload)

1.2. Body (the payload carrier; things beyond its possible functions as a chassis)

1.3. Electrical (the auxilliary power system; things that handle electrical power that is not used to make it go)

1.4. Garage - Tools (the hotrodder's lair and magic wands)

1.5. Hotrodding Basics - General - Miscellaneous (things that don't fit the above)

It becomes easier to decide where a given discussion should be placed. Making that decision easier also results in better self-sorting. When someone has a question, especially one with some frustration already built up, it should be as apparent as possible where that question should be asked. Ambiguity leads to more frustration, more work for mods, more work to find answers, more disorganization (more miscellaneous).

Using those basic categories, it becomes easier to accommodate expansion. For example, if the Engine discussions start piling up, it might be subdivided like:

1.1.4. Engine
1.1.4.1. Engine - Mechanical
1.1.4.2. Engine - Electrical
1.1.4.3. Engine - Fuel - Intake - Exhaust
1.1.4.4. Engine - Cooling

Likewise for, say, Body:

1.2.1. Body - Exterior
1.2.1.1. Body - Exterior - Fabrication
1.2.1.2. Body - Exterior - Repair
1.2.1.3. Body - Exterior - Prep and Paint

Starting with broad categories that are chosen to match the major functions and component groups of an automobile, and then subdividing those, helps avoid large organizational changes as the information accumulates.

Reorganizing due to growth becomes easier because the overflow that necessitates the reorganizing would already be contained in the proper major subdivision.

If hotrodding evolves to mostly unit body vehicles, under the present structure of hotrodders.com, you could end up with thousands of threads about the structural aspects of the body mixed in with thousands of threads about painting, all in Body - Exterior. With the structure outlined above, those structural threads would already be migrating and accumulating in 1.1.1. Structure - Frame or Unit - Fuel storage.

Consider a growth in alternative power hotrodding. If somebody develops a battery today that stores the equivalent energy of 10 gallons of gasoline in the same or even double the weight, you can bet some hotrodder is going to make use of it. In the present organization structure, would discussions of mounting that battery go under Electrical? Doesn't really make sense, but that's where those would probably land. Using the suggested organization, discussions about the mounting of the new super battery would go under 1.1. Chassis - Running Gear, specifically 1.1.1. Structure - Frame or Unit - Fuel storage.

You can't really anticipate where the hobby might be taken by hotrodders, but you can bet that every vehicle that every hotrodder tinkers with and mutates will have to go, stop, steer and carry something. You can also bet that hotrodders will continue to need tools and a place to work their madness.

grouch 04-12-2007 02:43 PM

Aha! An opening for debate!

Quote:

Originally Posted by powerrodsmike
having trouble sleeping, eh Grouch? :mwink:

It's those [censored] state tax instructions with the logic of a legislature: Tip -- For the first person (yourself) listed on the return, use SSN boxes labeled B to enter your SSN. For the second person (spouse) listed on the return, use SSN boxes labeled A to enter your spouse's SSN. B is first? A is second?

Quote:

Originally Posted by powerrodsmike
Ok i can simplify this so that even I can understand....

Make one big category. call it hotrodders.com.

WWW organization:
1. hotrodders.com
2. miscellaneous

That first box is a big one, so we need smaller boxes in it to break it down.

Quote:

Originally Posted by powerrodsmike
It will be easy for me. It'll be organized just like my shop.

Sooooo... you have [shop] and [everything else], at least. Does [milling machine] land in [shop] or [else.kitchen]? If it's in [shop], do you have [shop.carlift.milling machine] or does it land on [shop.floor]? :evil: The point being that even the most disorganized looking shop has some organization about it, even if it's not apparent to anyone but the shop user.

Quote:

Originally Posted by powerrodsmike
Nice job Grouch :thumbup:

Thanks. (Are you setting me up for a sucker punch?)

Quote:

Originally Posted by powerrodsmike
I think if the suspension forum had frame added or we added a frame/ structural engineering forum for all of those fabrication questions it would be good. ( to me 'frame" is the bare structure and "chassis" is the complete assembly of suspension and steering parts.

Just like Henry Highrise pointed out, a frame is a part of a chassis -- it is logically a subcategory of the major category.

My basic argument is that we have subcategories defined without the major categories to which they logically belong. Suspension - Brakes - Steering is one glaring example. Those are 3 subcategories of a chassis, but there is no chassis. On the other hand, we have 2 miscellaneous areas.

helrazr3 04-12-2007 04:29 PM

wow, that had a lot of thought put into it. good work grouch. i would agree that things could be reorganized a bit . i also think its important to keep adusting and tweaking things as the site grows. the other side of that is making it a bit to complicated for new users to navigate. you need lots of street signs so people use the right roads. :thumbup:

Henry Highrise 04-12-2007 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by helrazr3
wow, that had a lot of thought put into it. good work grouch. i would agree that things could be reorganized a bit . i also think its important to keep adusting and tweaking things as the site grows. the other side of that is making it a bit to complicated for new users to navigate. you need lots of street signs so people use the right roads. :thumbup:

Its even harder for newcomers to navigate when they cannot figure out where to go...because there is no place to go. Thats the point that Grouch is trying to make.

grouch 04-12-2007 08:25 PM

Exactly, Henry! It just took me bucket loads more words to say the same thing.

Wish I had thought of the street signs analogy of helrazr3. We have signs on side streets without signs on the main throughways.

Another way of looking at it: We have a coffee can labeled Screws - Bolts - Nuts and two others labeled Miscellaneous. Somebody comes in with a nail and wonders where to put it. If we had a shelf labeled Fasteners, holding the first coffee can, at least the nail would end up in the same area as the screws, bolts and nuts.

New member comes in, sees "Introduce Yourself", that's no problem. He comes in wanting to know how to identify an engine block, that's no problem. If he comes in wanting to know if he should replace the rotted frame in his 1902 Little, there's a problem, so he has to choose among "Hotrodding Basics", "General Rodding Tech", "Suspension - Brakes - Steering", or "Site Suggestions and Help".

Clearly labeling the major streets and the side streets coming from them should help anyone find their way easier. We're not talking about idiots. Anyone tackling work on a car will be able to figure out if the part causing troubles is (a) something that makes it go, stop, steer, or hang together, or (b) something on the body, or (c) something inside the body, or (d) garage or tool, or (e) none of the above. Help 'em find the right 'block' of the city and they can hunt up the right building from there.

66GMC 04-12-2007 10:41 PM

Here's another alternative...

Good old Henry (Ford) had the best idea for categorizing vehicle components and replacement parts.

All of the Ford "basic part numbers" reflect the category in which they belong.

i.e
Chassis Components
===============
1000 - Wheels & Tires
2000 - Brakes
3000 - Steering
4000 - Driveshafts / Differentials
5000 - Frame / Spring / Suspension / Exhaust
6000 - Engine
7000 - Transmission
8000 - Cooling System
9000 - Fuel System
10000 - Charging System / Guages
11000 - Starting System
12000 - Ignition System
13000 - Lamps / Directional Signals
14000 - Wiring
15000 - More lamps / clocks
16000 - Fenders / rad supports
17000 - mirrors / speedometers
18000 - Heating system
19000 - Air Conditioning / Accessories

Body / Sheet Metal Components
========================
(prefixed by a 2-digit body code .. ie. 54 = 4 door sedan, 66 = 2 dr sedan, 61 = 3 door hatchback etc...)
00000 - Dash / floor pans
10000 - Rocker panels
20000 - Door & Quarter
30000 - Windshield
40000 - Luggage compartment / tailgate / liftgate
50000 - Roof

I think that was it...

So ... on ALL models (well at least originally ... before FWD, 4x4, AWD)

1190 was a front wheel seal (2WD)
1102 was a brake rotor
3049 was a ball joint
4602 was a driveshaft
5310 was a coil spring
9350 was a fuel pump

See how each "basic number" fits within it's respective component group?

Related parts are arranged in a dealer inventory by the basic number (for the most part anyway) so if you knew the component group, you could run to the shelf to determine a basic number. Mechanics like the concept as well when they get on one of their "seek and destroy" missions. :mwink:

I know it might be hard for you Chevy guys to handle :boxing: ... using a Ford system ... but I think it's a workable solution.

(After all, It's worked for Ford for the last 100 years or so.) :D

grouch 04-12-2007 11:34 PM

66GMC:

Not to rain on the idea too much, but ...

So, to end confusion, we go from 15 forums to 25 forums while dropping all of the General Discussion forums? How many threads would the 15000 - More lamps / clocks forum have in a year's time?

Ford's system is essentially an accounting system adapted to inventory control. It works for its intended purpose of keeping track of parts. It doesn't work so well for a growing body of information about custom vehicle work.

Organizing the information has to consider the state it is in now as well as how it might grow. Using the fine-grained categories of an inventory control system at the beginning will increase the complexity while leaving many categories nearly empty or unused. It begins full-blown rather than growing with the information store. If it doesn't begin full-blown, then it leaves the same holes as the current system, where there are specifics without their parent containers.

Beginning with broad categories ensures that all incoming information fits somewhere recognizable as related to that information. It also allows for more specific categories to be added within those broad ones, as growth dictates, and makes it simpler to shuffle the more specific information from the broader, parent category into the more specific, child category.

Example: If suddenly super-poly-ultra-squirt-a-frame becomes all the rage and 5,000 people a day start posting questions about how to get the hump of their nearly finished 32 replica frame past the rollers in the inkjet, and how many cartridges does it take for a '34 Duesenberg SJ replica, there might need to be a 1.1.1.1. Structure - Squirt-A-Frame subcategory made. At least most of the sudden onslaught would land within the 1.1.1. Structure - Frame or Unit - Fuel storage parent forum, before the subcategory was made, anyway.

(The numbers are there only to outline the structure and see where things fit. They are not intended as part of the name of a forum).

Jon 04-13-2007 07:55 AM

Agreed that we need to re-organize. I have another thread about this same topic bookmarked.

The reason it hasn't yet been done is that it's a huge job, and, once it's done we can't reasonably go back. So it has to be very well thought-out and planned. Re-organization will require moving thousands of old threads to their new categories. This will necessitate volunteer or hired labor, probably in the neighborhood of at least a few hundred man-hours. As a basic example, let's say we split Suspension-Brakes-Steering into 3 categories: "Suspension", "Brakes", and "Steering". Then, we'll need to go into the Suspension-Brakes-Steering forum, read EVERY thread, and place it in its new proper category. Same with any future subdivisions.

Current tasks right now are dealing with Discovery, doing some touchups on the Knowledge Base (mostly SEO work, but it needs to be done -- the KB is becoming a force, with almost half a million clicks sent out to listed sites), launching Youngrodders, taking on 6 new moderators, and analyzing grouch's work on the journal software. Until ALL of that is done, I'm not taking on any significant new projects.

And yes, I realize that once we establish a new organization system, the KB will also have to be re-organized.

I don't want to get too deep into this discussion now. I know that the "chassis/frame/suspension" nomenclature needs some attention, as does the "engine electrical/chassis electrical" division. "Hotrodding Basics" is a another thorny issue, as is any "General" forum. I will say that I disagree with a health/safety forum. I don't see much post volume on that issue, and I think it can be more appropriately handled with a lengthy wiki article.

grouch 04-13-2007 03:15 PM

Good to see you post again, Jon. I was beginning to think you had been kidnapped by a horde of monkeyboys. (Only half joking, there -- was worried that Discovery had tried some legal trickery that was taking all your time. Note that SCOG in SCO v. IBM has managed to keep a case going for 4 years without presenting a shred of evidence of wrongdoing on IBM's part. A sleazy lawyer + a sleazy client can cause all kinds of trouble for decent folks, whether lawyers or clients).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon
Agreed that we need to re-organize. I have another thread about this same topic bookmarked.

The reason it hasn't yet been done is that it's a huge job, and, once it's done we can't reasonably go back. So it has to be very well thought-out and planned. Re-organization will require moving thousands of old threads to their new categories. This will necessitate volunteer or hired labor, probably in the neighborhood of at least a few hundred man-hours. As a basic example, let's say we split Suspension-Brakes-Steering into 3 categories: "Suspension", "Brakes", and "Steering". Then, we'll need to go into the Suspension-Brakes-Steering forum, read EVERY thread, and place it in its new proper category. Same with any future subdivisions.

Such a division and the resulting manual search-and-move _might_ be necessary someday, but the suggested reorganization doesn't require it. The idea is to nudge people into self-sorting the information while providing for the need to subdivide even more in the future.

Much of the reorganization suggested requires changing the presentation of fora in, for example, the drop-down selection list. The proposed reorganization minimizes disruption to the existing structure, including the amount of time required to re-sort existing threads.

The way the General Discussion items are presented makes it clear that "Introduce Yourself" and "Off-topic" are part of the "Hotrodders' Lounge". The other General Discussion items, "Hotrod Art", "Site Suggestions and Help", and "The Dump", are clearly distinct from the Lounge. This visual cue helps direct traffic.

Goiing from the existing structure to the proposed would require:

1. Creation of the containing forum "Chassis - Running Gear".

2. Moving, as-is and in its entirety, the "Suspension - Brakes - Steering" forum into "Chassis - Running Gear".

3. Moving, as-is and in its entirety, the "Engine" forum into "Chassis - Running Gear".

4. Moving, as-is and in its entirety, the "Transmission - Rearend" forum into "Chassis - Running Gear".

5. Rename "Transmission - Rearend" to "Transmission - Driveline - Differential".

6. Creation of the containing forum "Body".

7. Moving, as-is and in its entirety, "Body - Exterior" into "Body".

8. Moving, as-is and in its entirety, "Interior" into "Body".

9. Merging of "Hotrodding Basics" and "General Rodding Tech" into "Hotrodding Basics - General - Miscellaneous".

10. Creation of new, empty fora:
"Structure - Frame or Unit - Fuel storage" in "Chassis - Running Gear"
"Tires - Wheels" in "Chassis - Running Gear"

11. Alter menus to reflect the new structure.

12. Move archived threads at leisure, as need is discovered. For example, as a thread about frame boxing is found in "Suspension - Brakes - Steering", move it into "Structure - Frame or Unit - Fuel storage".

Note that this plan _avoids_ a "huge job" of manual sorting of archived threads and actually allows "go[ing] back".

(No, I didn't plan for it to come out as a 12-step program; it just happened. 'My name is grouch and I have a problem with tools and cars.')


Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon
Current tasks right now are dealing with Discovery, doing some touchups on the Knowledge Base (mostly SEO work, but it needs to be done -- the KB is becoming a force, with almost half a million clicks sent out to listed sites), launching Youngrodders, taking on 6 new moderators, and analyzing grouch's work on the journal software. Until ALL of that is done, I'm not taking on any significant new projects.

(You're gonna need lots of help analyzing that code. Don't be expecting me to pay for your therapy afterwards; you knew I was in over my head from the beginning).

The proposed plan of reorganization likewise minimizes the impact on the KB. Depending on how existing fora are moved, some links may need to change to reflect the new parent-child relationship of some fora. This can be automated, with the process being thoroughly tested offline before implementation.

Working out details for the reorganization, in threads like this, will help ensure that it accomplishes its intended mission -- encouraging self-sorting by members -- before requiring the backend and database work that implements the reorganization. In other words, the process of evolving from current structure to a new structure and the new structure itself has to be refined, hashed out, among the members, mostly, with direction from you only occasionally, if it appears to be headed toward an unworkable solution.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon
And yes, I realize that once we establish a new organization system, the KB will also have to be re-organized.

This is part of the process that has to be refined. The impact on the KB has to be considered, but I think the process I've outlined imposes the least changes on the KB for the benefits anticipated.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon
I don't want to get too deep into this discussion now.

I think you know me well enough now to not be offended when I say, frankly, we don't want you too deep in this right now. (Even if you didn't already have a full plate to deal with). As the one on whose shoulders the eventual implementation work will heavily fall, and as chief cook and bottle-washer, your most valuable input is in heading off any stampede toward a cliff.

If you say it absolutely will not be done, or what is suggested cannot be done, then it's the end of discussion.

On the other hand, if sorting of discussions is to be a grass-roots job, i.e., self-sorting, and if there is a problem with current self-sorting that is significant enough to warrant reorganization, then the structure that is to come out of such reorganization must evolve from grass-roots discussion.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon
I know that the "chassis/frame/suspension" nomenclature needs some attention, as does the "engine electrical/chassis electrical" division. "Hotrodding Basics" is a another thorny issue, as is any "General" forum.

Those are the issues which require debate among the hotrodders to resolve, IMO. The input of the various engineers (formally educated and 'skinned-knuckle' educated) as well as input from 'newbies' can help make sure the end result is clear to all and thus self-sustaining. The number of discussions that end up in completely inappropriate places every time there is a growth spurt at Hotrodders.com indicates that there is a problem that needs resolution. That resolution needs to be hammered out with as many eyes and heads as possible.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon
I will say that I disagree with a health/safety forum. I don't see much post volume on that issue, and I think it can be more appropriately handled with a lengthy wiki article.

That makes sense. Much of the health/safety discussion seems to come up as tangential comments within threads about specific tasks. It is very likely best to keep warnings and advice like that very close to the job being discussed, anyway. A wiki article would be very handy to point to "for more information".

Summarizing:

1. There appears to be a significant number of discussions started in the wrong places.

2. The current organization appears to be partly responsible for 1.

3. The proposed reorganization structure intends to help with that problem.

4. Moving from the current structure to a new one must minimize disruption, minimize the work required to implement it, provide for long-term growth and maximize the potential to fix the existing problem.

5. Debate and discussion, by as many as have an interest, of any new structure can help ensure that the new structure makes sense to those who will use it.

6. Our resident marketer spanker and Goliath slayer can help ensure the discussion is not headed down a dead-end street.

(That last bullet point is not as tongue-in-cheek as it may appear. No restructuring, however popular, can succeed if it requires the database and other software to do something impossible or if it requires so much of a load on moderators or other volunteers that it is simply impractical. That determination requires someone with a clear view from the other side of the web interface. Sorry, Jon, but you appear to be the only one of us around here who fits that job description).

grouch 04-13-2007 06:10 PM

addendum
 
Not an analysis, but some numbers that _may_ be illustrative:

25 threads showing on the first page of "Site Suggestions and Help", ignoring the 'sticky' threads, as I write this.

1 is spam

10 are clearly not appropriate for this forum

10/25 = 40% mis-posted.


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