New Forums, Categories and Topics Poll and Discussion

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What causes would you like to see as Next Steps topics, forums and/or categories?

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Total Votes : 15

New Forums, Categories and Topics Poll and Discussion

Post by RichardF on Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:58 am

This is a place to poll and discuss the possible additions of new forums, categories and topics. If I missed something on the poll you would like to see, just let me know and I'll add it. The arrangements of forums and categories can be discussed here as well. If you don't see a good place to add a new topic, just put it in this forum and we'll figure it out.

The following list includes links to the selected online causes and/or resources. When available, a link to the applicable Next Steps discussion is included as well.


Last edited by RichardF on Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:54 pm; edited 9 times in total
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Re: New Forums, Categories and Topics Poll and Discussion

Post by Tatiana on Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:22 pm

Oops, I took it to mean this was the place where new categories were welcome. As soon as you mod me, Richard, I'll move it to a more appropriate place.

I'd like to suggest we have a "main" or "general" topic area where everyone posts most everything. That works well on a forum I frequented for years, because you don't have to check all the different areas to see what's new. I know some people keep up with all new posts on every forum they visit, but I'm not able to do that. On the kf forum I would click on "show recent threads" but then once you read it, it disappears, and more than once I would want to check a topic I'd just read, and have no idea where to find it, and go wandering around here and there looking for it, and often just give up. jocolor But if there's a better way to easily check what's current, please let me know.

One more suggestion, that threads be considered conversations, and allowed to wander wherever they might go, without regard to the thread header. This gives a more natural feel to the communications and also fosters more interesting conversations, I believe. I've seen this in my various fora over the years. When someone says "hey let's make a new topic for this" usually the new and the old thread both quickly die.


Last edited by Tatiana on Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:30 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : more thoughts)
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Re: New Forums, Categories and Topics Poll and Discussion

Post by RichardF on Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:58 pm

Hi Tatiana! Very Happy I'm a bit of a slicer and dicer myself, so I'll probably err a little on the side of over-categorizing early on. That's why your new topic went on the road, just like I planned. Wink The "good" news is I can keep messing with stuff if my fixings need fixing later on. That might drive some folks buggy, but I'm sure we'll eventually settle into something that works fairly well.

Something you could check out on the Portal page is a little section that scrolls recent posts. You'll just have to stop by often enough to keep up! Smile

How's this?! bounce

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A suggestion for the forum

Post by Chriswaterguy on Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:47 am

Have a minimum number of forums, to keep things active, and let visitors see activity with minimum browsing. I'd start by merging "Environment" and "Sustainability" forums.

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Re: New Forums, Categories and Topics Poll and Discussion

Post by RichardF on Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:35 am

Hi Chriswaterguy, welcome to the forum!

When I posted the topic, What is sustainability? from the Wikipedia article intro, I made sure to add the two graphics about the interrelationships among the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability and sustainable development. I agree the environment is the overarching driver of sustainability. I did the math on that, Wink and concluded there's not much to talk about if we're not around to talk about it.

At least intitially, a good number of the members here come from a shared interaction background related to microfinance and shared giving. Until recently, the organizational subforums there were fully listed on the main page. I moved them down a level as the other forums began to emerge. When I added the sustainability forum, I considered several nesting and consolidation options, such as your suggested merge or putting the environment under sustainability as a front-page subforurm, etc. Indeed, Animals could go under environment. M&DG plus Social Entrepreneurship could go under economic. We could pretend Media goes under Society. Everything is related to everything else! Smile The way I view the conceptual relationships among these topics, microfinance and directed giving also go under sustainability and sustainable development. Indeed, I had many discussions on other boards about just that.

Lots of the front page rearranging has been related to posting activity too. Because we're so young (as a forum community Rolling Eyes) those traffic patterns are just starting to emerge. For me, it boils down to organizing and showcasing the forums that are of most interest to the members. I guarantee what you see now will change...even after we change it. Smile

Here's one way to think about our current forum headings, even though it doesn't mean they need to be displayed this way. Because these topic are interrelated, any outline never will do them justice. That's why Wikipedia uses a faceted classification category system. Wink

Sustainability and Sustainable Development

  • The Environment
    o Animals and Their Rights
  • Society (no forum)
    o Purpose-Driven Media
  • Economy (no forum)
    o Microfinance and Directed Giving
    - Online Platforms
    o Social Entrepreneurship
Even from this simple example, I believe it's apparent no particular outline will do these topics justice. Animal rights is a social issue. Social entrepreneurship is, well, social too. Microfinance initiatives have an impact on the environment. And on and on.

Anyway, I'm all for switching things up as we go along. Chriswaterguy and others, what do you think? What would you all like to see for the next front page layout? Question Smile

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Re: New Forums, Categories and Topics Poll and Discussion

Post by Tigger34 on Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:27 am

My main desire/concern is that topics, posts and discussions can be easily found. So contructing a format/layout that keeps that in mind, is important to me.

I agree that it is desirable to keep things active and being able to easily find discussions will help in that regard.

I have been a member of forums that have so many threads that you cannot find a thing without a lot of time and effort (and frustration). Many of those threads go dormant at least partly because they are simply "lost."

I am open to any number of formats/layouts as long as topics and discussions can be found.

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Re: New Forums, Categories and Topics Poll and Discussion

Post by RichardF on Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:09 pm

Hi Tigger..

As we've discussed here and there (don't ask), I agree a good presentation structure of the categories and forums helps readers find interesting topics and posts. We've also discussed various forms of hand-made tables of contents for "popular topics." A while back, I put together a few pages like that for Popular Topics at Kiva Friends , including a section on Sustainable Development. I'm perfectly willing to start something like that here, if topics manage to propagate like in my garden of "wild strawberries"!

A nice thing about those tables of contents is we can make them up however we want. We also can add a topic in more than one place, cross-referencing as it were. The annoying part of something like that is they take a lot of work to keep up. Of course, with all the moderators around here, that work is easy enough to share.

Something else other types of sites let you do is tag pages, like on blogs or YouTube and categorize them, like on wikis, e.g., Appropedia's CategoryTree. This forum has a feature related to search engine keywords, but I haven't been able to figure out how to make it work...yet...and it would be limited to just a handful of terms.

In any event, I believe we have a number of options available to us to help readers consider this forum inviting and stuff-findable. At least for me, that could be a fun part of watching this place grow. Smile

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Re: New Forums, Categories and Topics Poll and Discussion

Post by RichardF on Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:40 am

I did some consolidation of forums and topics, like moving the discussion around Chriswaterguy's, "A suggestion for the forum" to here. For example, I hid the microfinance forums with no topics yet. An admin can check a few boxes, and they'll be back. I also moved the media poll to the Next Steps forum because that's more about sources of information related to purposes of interest. I haven't made any changes yet to the other Purpose forums because they could go all sorts of ways. My inclination is to stay with the sustainable development perspective as the main organizer - the environment, social and economic aspects are equal and interrelated elements of sustainability. The sustainability perspective organizes the topics more in a hierarchy: sustainability - environment - society - economy. One way to fit these two perspectives together in a main page presentation is include at least most of these high-level forums on the main page but order them more like an outline, such as putting The Environment under Sustainability. At least the latest revision has more topics in fewer forums. I'll call that progress. Wink

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Re: New Forums, Categories and Topics Poll and Discussion

Post by RichardF on Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:40 pm

I took the next step and liberated all topics from the lending and giving subforums. I also consolidated the remaining purpose forums. I then moved any empty forums to the basket. They can be added back at a later time, if we have something to put in them.

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Re: New Forums, Categories and Topics Poll and Discussion

Post by RichardF on Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:05 am

The Nest Steps Resources page and related polls now also work as topical tables of contents. When a discussion is available for a resource, a (Discussion) link is posted next to the external link.

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Re: New Forums, Categories and Topics Poll and Discussion

Post by Tigger34 on Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:13 am

The Discussion links on the Next Steps Resources page are a great additon and are very helpful and informative. Thanks.

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