I Don’t Really Like To Open New Threads


#1

I think this is generally true for a lot of us here, and you bring up a good point. We were just chatting about it, and seeing if we could improve anything here.

We have a really flat forum structure, because we don’t want to have to move stuff around or categorize it so finely that the info-lepidopterist in me starts yelling ‘off topic!’ all the time.

This flat structure generally works pretty well, but it is not so ideal for:

  • New people feel excluded or at least less keen to add something to a 500 post mega-topic.
  • Stuff is hard to find in the mega-topics, as in some gems get lost.
  • The beginning of topics tends to age badly, e.g. an announcement post from 3 years ago to a new member isn’t a good intro to a topic they know hasn’t just been announced.

Our topics are subconsciously being organized for those here the longest. That can be a barrier for new people, even if we don’t intend it.

What I think is happening is that because we don’t have tiny/fine categorization of subjects (other than just broad terms like #flight-sims) we make virtual sub-categories using these big topics. We don’t have a ‘DCS’ forum, we don’t have a ‘F/A-18C’ forum under that, so we try to keep things tidy with a big ol’ “DCS F/A-18C” topic that now has 2732 posts in it. We use the title of the topic as the ‘sub forum’ bits.

Because we have big topics, we’re in a sort of learning/reinforcement loop where people think they should only be adding to the big topic. People here are remarkably polite, and want to follow conventions where possible.

We are also in the situation where sometimes it is ok to have big and meandering topics, as in if the original poster is ok with it (like I am with the wild ‘Where You Are’ pictures topic, which I enjoy seeing meander around a bit) then it would be daft to start cutting it up into ‘Northern European (Grassland) Pictures / Early 2017’ for no other reason than organization-porn.

So, what to do?

Generally I think we should create new topics a bit more, as I personally don’t want to go down the hierarchical formal route. When we post we should probably be aware of it something is a decent enough nugget to be outside of the main ‘mega-topic’. If the info has value and is independent then should be spun off in its own specifically described topic.

Example: I played with the F/A-18C Instrument Carrier Landing System (ICLS) last night as it had arrived in a recent patch. I could happily add it to the main ‘DCS F/A-18C’ topic or I could hover over the ‘New Topic’ button and start a new one. My suggestion is to describe the new topic quite tightly, i.e. ‘Playing with the new DCS F/A-18C ICLS Bits’ and do it that way.

The @moderators also sometimes do some ‘gardening’ like this and weave stuff out of big topics, and we rely on people to flag stuff if they want to see more of that. A quick PM is ok too, if flag sounds a bit much. :slight_smile:. It is also something the OP can decide themselves, i.e. flag if off-topic and stuff can be moved out - it’s really up to how you want your topic.

Anyway, just wanted to hijack @komemiute post to raise this, as it is something I’ve noticed in the last couple of months.

What do people here think?


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#2

For me personally, it’s that creating new topics is generally a no-no on forums unless it’s genuinely new. It’s bad etiquette - if there’s already a place for it, don’t make a new one, you’re just creating clutter.

That being said, it’s also true that just adding to a mega-topic causes confusion and is not necessarily better.

I don’t think creating more categories or whatever is going to change anything - I’m pretty sure most people just use “recent posts” and the search function (yay confirmation bias) rather than actually looking at the categories.


#3

That makes sense on a big fast moving forum. Here, not really. We also have excellent, active and smartly reasonable @moderators who can always merge doubled-up threads and will if deemed tidy or neccesary. So post away.

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#4

Decades old habits are hard to break :slight_smile:


#5

I like making new topics. Makes me feel like a Hollywood screen writer.


#6

Mudspike has a wonderful non-“RTFM!” culture which is missing in nearly all of the other flight sim/gamer/redit spots. I don’t see a lot of barriers to entry for new people. I see a welcoming management that nudges us gently towards good behavior and productive posts. More threads represent a more democratic (for good and ill) community. There are Mudspikers who’ve never seen DCS. But they represent a small fraction of the community. That means a DCS room in most places would be an obvious part of the forum structure. Here, a post lives and dies by popularity. Posting on a popular thread like “F/A 18…” means your post will live. But it also means it will live in obscurity as the conversation turns. If you wish to start a thread to comment on the inappropriate shade of green used in the HUD, the thread will get a few laughs, and fall off the bottom in an hour or two. That’s just as it should be. IMO, the original poster of the thread has lost ownership of it the moment he/she hits “Reply”. The flow of that thread is now owned by the people who post to it and is policed by the moderators who will cut and paste if they detect duplicate conversations. Our job as participants should be to do our best to avoid that necessity. I guess what I am trying to say is that the sauce is pretty damn good as is. I wouldn’t be adding any Rosemary just yet.


#7

I will admit despite my decades of online presence (approaching 30 years counting from those days at Prodigy) I almost never start topics.

One, I rarely think of something to post that is not already covered by an existing thread, the only time I would do it.

Two, finding out there was already a thread about it is disparaging (duh, you missed that?), so it feels more natural to find somewhere it’s being discussed and add to that.

Three, while a reply in a thread being ignored means little, because you never know which aspects will take hold generally and which get buried, when you find your entire topic is being ignored it is more disparaging yet. It feels akin to people at a party walking away from you when you start talking.

Bottom line–I just don’t.


#8

The current new user default is the ‘Categories’ page - although I think most of us have ‘Latest’ bookmarked or changed in our settings (yes, it’s a user preference you can use).

I tried to improve that a bit, by including a ‘mini-latest’ on the right, but about 40% of new users are actually tablet or phone, so they don’t really get it on their narrow screens.

It’s actually interesting to view Mudspike Forums with ‘Incognito Mode’ so that you’re logged out - it gives a different perspective on what newer people see.

Is that a self-fulfilling prophecy? :slight_smile: Given our remit isn’t really to grow, but have a good time (which makes the site sort of unusual in this day and age). Stats-wise we are having many more people browse than ever before, but not contribute - this topic was more just to have a chat to see what reasons that could be. We’ve always had a good ‘core’ of people happy to contribute, but in the last few months we’ve had huge growth of ‘lurkers’ so it was more being curious about that.

“She sits down on the edge of the chair’s wooden seat. Spade sinks back into his swivel chair, makes a quarter turn to face her. Spade smiles politely. White teeth glisten in the crescent of Miss Wonderly’s answering smile. She remains erect in the chair as if she expected to say seated for only a moment. Her hands in dark gloves clasp and unclasp the flat, dark handbag in her lap.”

SPADE (rocking back in chair)

'Now, new topic Miss Wonderly?"

I agree, this was more just to canvas opinions and see if there was anything we could do to tune things up from the user interface bits. Because we don’t have ‘pages’ it makes it a little odd for new people to find out how to ‘go to the end’. One big difference between old and new users is that the forum remembers what you’ve seen and read, so puts you back where you last saw - that makes a massive difference between old and new user experiences. After using the term ‘user experience’, time for a silkwood shower and a lie down though. :slight_smile:

Minor tech things I could do from feedback in this topic is stuff like

  • Make a bigger hint on how to ‘page down’ to the end of a big topic.
  • Look at a mode to reverse topic post order.
  • Improve the discobot onboarding tutorial (new members do use it and I think it helps, old members ‘just know’).
  • Look at ways that ‘regulars’ can have more mod powers themselves - like extend the ability to recategorize/rename topics.
  • Better heuristics to hint to create a new topic (these are all pretty lame, but eventually I could get it better).

So essentially some tweaks rather than big changes.

We’ve known you for years Jedi, we don’t want you to change :slight_smile:


#9

Yeah no, go on- like I got no feelings… Sheesh, you could have started a new thread for that…


#10

I think you need to think BIGGER @komemiute! Your op should’ve been entitled, “How to Conquer Online Marketplaces!”. :smiley:

Trust me, I op the small things ALL THE TIME! :slight_smile: It makes me feel like a powerful Hollywood producer.


#11

Do you get to bend jailbaity little starlets to your will as well by making OP’s all the time?


#12


#13

I don’t know - I’ve started a couple of odd topics of my own and never felt intimidated to do so despite being relatively new.

The forum categories aren’t necessarily quite as crystal clear clean cut as on some forums but I actually like it this way. Feels informal and friendly in a good way. Also I really like whatever the forums template is - works well on mobile and isn’t clunky. It’s good.


#14

Hate to break it to you, @Bearhedge, but you’re not new. I know! We all like to think we are new, young and fresh. But, reality… :wink:

Seriously though, as the esteemed @fearlessfrog points out, this is a close knit community, and we all want to keep it that way. Believe me…!
That’s why he’s involving you guys in the process. You are all making the Mudspike community work and one of you may have a good idea.
It’s not like we need more members, but there are probably others, out there, that could fit in here. And joining such a close group of friends, as ours, can be intimidating.


#15

I’ve been trying to comply this forum’s modus operandi. But, the mega-threads get stale and are difficult to search, as fearless pointed out. Another forum that I frequent is advrider.com. They are the kings of mega-threads, the BMW GS Boxer thread at 1.2 million posts going back 17 years. Gods help you if you haven’t kept up, or just traded your KTM Adventure for a GS. I love the replies informing a new user that they have some reading to do.

So, yes, IMHO new topics are awesome, as long as the OP uses the Search function beforehand.


#16

LOL. 1.2M. That’s amazing. Saying you shouldn’t post a new topic because the answer is already in that thread with a straight face must be a skill.


#17

Mr. Smart Guy


#18

I think I’ve started on thread… question kind of thing. First I did a pretty exhaustive key word search this forum and in Google. Couldn’t find what I was looking for so I went to the Mudspike brain trust. It was answered (sort of) and then was let out to pasture. I think that’s OK.

What I am more leery of–and in fact get a warning when I begin it–is adding onto an old thread, as it bumps it to the top. I’ve not posted a couple of times for that reason.

The thing I really like about Mudspike (aside from my mug) is the general friendly and often humorous atmosphere, while still being very professional. :sunglasses:

FYI - The only other forum I frequent is FSDeveloper. hey have much stricter written and unwritten rules for posting. Woe unto the noobe who starts a thread without first doing his homework, for he shall find no gentle kindness in the replies. :open_mouth:

Edit: Setting up to send emails if you got a Like or Reply also helps navigate things.


#19

A post was split to a new topic: DCS Noob questions