CHOICE membership

Site Map

As the forum has expanded so has the breadth, and the importance of some topics has changed. Could a ‘site map’ be added as a ‘contents’ (is there one, I could not find it excepting what is displayed in the hamburger menu?). Some of the shortcomings are (eg) while NBN is a subtopic of electronics & technology, it shows as a top level topic in the hamburger menu. Does that matter either way? Maybe only for librarians, or also for curious members?

As there is a move for new categories and a slowly increasing number of subcategories I think it would be helpful for keeping the forum manageable.

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I’d also hope this can be provided.

When looking for an existing topic to post to or infrequently start a new topic, I try to use the search window. This often returns a confused list of options, and reveals similar topics in very different categories.
It often takes some time to find the best option.

The drop down categories menu display is based on a count of something, and changes order hourly.

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I like Phil’s suggestion.

Like Mark, I have been using the search function to try and find topics (where to add new similar posts).

The listing from the search returns lots of irrelevant results. I know there are options in the advanced search, but with so many threads and topics, it is hard to remember the details about the thread I am looking for.

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There is a XML plugin that could help with this. Although it isn’t as straight forward as we would like (has a few known bugs). One of our developers will look into it and help us implement it. I should hear back in the next 24 hours.

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Work has commenced on the site map! I will update you on developments next week.

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I think is is also a good idea.

When sites become bigger with content, a site map can make navigation easier. I must also say that not everyone uses site maps, but those who do appreciate them.

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The short answer is that the site map may not be that practical. There are nearly 5000 topics under the 30 or so categories so it would be a large page to say the least. Still interested?

We are still exploring the options (if and how we filter and display topics in a sitemap using the existing plugin) but I suspect this may turn into a bigger project (navigation) than we have resources for right now.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions and I will ask Peter (one of our Devs) whilst we have him. Who knows we might be able to escalate this and get a team on it! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Does the ‘optional tags’ field provide a further option to group topics in a category? It seems a rather adhoc field, used or not used with one or more tags. It may also offer options to select across categories related content. Not a small task to rectify past practice perhaps, but useful for the future if the rules are more concise.

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This is another issue that a few members reference from time to time. The proliferation of topics is probably not necessary and those 5000 are probably more appropriately far fewer.

If Choice made additional levels of ‘folders’ we could move topics into them over time. An example of what I mean, not necessary one that would be an end-all solution, is there are many COVID-19 topics from finance to health but they are all over. Isolating them to, say, Health & Body -> Pandemic -> COVID-19 Issues and all COVID-19 related topics get migrated there as a thought. Cross referencing posts might be needed in finance for this example, but not so difficult to put a locked cross reference topic of its own in finance to go look at COVID-19 with a link.

Better organised minds than myself could make the category and extended subcategory framework, and once done ‘we’ could migrate topics to ‘tidy up’, and then a site map may be manageable.

Just my thoughts, any other voices on this?

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I think navigation and tags is worth further investigation. Integration with main site as well. I will explore and find out what suggestions come back from our Devs.

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Makes sense. A bigger project than site map plugin but worthwhile. I will see what can be done.

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What about when a post becomes 12 months old then you lock it up and start a new one

Greater visibility for newer threads maybe but there’s gold in there that goes back over 12 months so we don’t want to lock it up necessarily. Lots to think about.

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I have been trying to populate the tag fields whenever I work on a thread. Unfortunately, Discourse regularly kicks back and tells me I am not allowed to use what to me is an obvious tag for the topic (I have posted about this in the past).

Completely agree. I have done lots, as you have Phil, moving new posts in with existing threads. Too many variations on a theme being created by members. I understand that they don’t know otherwise, and think their topic is different and important, where as in reality the answers they requre are pretty well the same as has already been covered repeatedly.

The other thing I have been doing is expanding titles where-ever possible to be more generic to allow a wider range of posts to be included. Sometimes a topic needs to be specific, say relating to one vendor, but often generic titles work.

It would be lovely if there was some sort of brake that required users to look at existing threads to see if their question had already been answered :slight_smile:

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Concise titling, good tags and really good search would help. Mega threads just glue up the knowledge and you can’t find anything without a weeks reading. Whirlpool is a forum example of having constrained threads, where the same questions are asked over and over in a single thread because it takes too long to read and find anything in a single topic mega thread.

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True, but when the membership is a wide cross section of people that requires them to make concise and original titles as well as adding tags, or moderators to do it for them. There were an average of 85 posts per day in March, seasonally dependent, and 7 non-staff moderators who also respond in many topics as well as lead others. nb. Choice staff do the heavy lifting.

Would you be more specific on the shortcomings of the forum search?

There is a tradeoff between putting all related discussion in one place versus fragmenting it. It gets difficult to find and curate although in different ways so each forum has to decide which way it will go.

We try to avoid more than the occasional title or category update, but move topics to existing topics where their issue may have already been covered. If kept as individual topics the same response would need to be made over and over in each related topic, so whether in one thread or many, each has its unique strengths and weaknesses.

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