Author Topic: Splitting Games and Fun into a Child Board of General Discussion  (Read 856 times)

polly_mer

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General Discussion was getting large enough with enough threads active nearly daily that I've split off a sub board for Fun and Games.  I've moved some obvious-to-me games and fun over to the sub board.

Let's have a discussion regarding what other threads could move and if I've moved any threads incorrectly.  This is more an art than a science, so what do people think?
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namazu

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Re: Splitting Games and Fun into a Child Board of General Discussion
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2019, 08:37:28 AM »
Looks good to me! 

(I might have left the Night Owl thread in General Discussion, but that could go either way, and I haven't even posted there (yet), so I have no real objection.)

Thanks for setting up a space to play!

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Re: Splitting Games and Fun into a Child Board of General Discussion
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2019, 01:51:14 PM »
Thanks for doing that, polly -- the changes you've made make a lot of sense to me.  On the old fora, a lot of more general discussions ended up in Balancing Work and Life and so that meant they were a little harder to find (for me, anyhow).  I think this first "sorting logic" works well.

hungry_ghost

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Re: Splitting Games and Fun into a Child Board of General Discussion
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2019, 08:01:59 AM »
I just got back from a few days away, and was surprised by this change.

I don't see the need. I preferred (and found it more fun) to have the games mixed in with the General Discussion  area, kind of a relaxed "meet & greet" atmosphere (as that area was called on the old fora).

Some of the other threads on that board were fun but not games, and others over time became playful (if not games)--"random thoughts", "misread thread titles", etc. I don't think there is a clear bright line between "fun" and "games" and friendly, often-playful "meet & greet"-type  posts--they all belong together. "Misread thread titles" is not a game but it is light and fun. "Movie Thread" -- movies are fun. "The Hiding Thread" is playful (sort of) but not a game. Yet ...  "Only Really Exciting Posts" is in the Fun & Games thread, but these others are not?

To do this successfully, it's necessary to establish a clear set of criteria to define what belongs in "Fun and Games" and what is "General discussion" and then to police and move any "Fun and Games" out of "General Discussion." And that's not very fun, is it?

Bear in mind that some people will skip certain boards entirely (for example, I rarely read the "Working as a Postdoc" board on the old forums). One consequence of the change is that some readers will go directly to the child board and skip the General Discussion or vice versa. Is this the outcome you want?

It will also change the tone of "General Discussion" somewhat since you're (very concretely and deliberately) "removing the Fun and Games." Again, is this outcome you want?

The bigger issue, how are decisions like this made? Who gets input?
When I discovered this change (after being away a few days), I had to search for a bit to find this thread to learn what had happened and why. I looked first on General Discussion (the board being split) and saw nothing, no alert to those who frequently read/post in that area that they should read and response to this thread.

My preference would be for discussion of this kind of change to take place BEFORE the change is made, not "oh hey, while you were out, I rearranged all the furniture, hope you can find stuff!" However, I did not participate in setting up this new board, so perhaps I don't get a voice in this--that would be quite fair, I think, that "only committee members get to vote". But it would be nice to listen to opinions before taking action. I may well be in the minority and "outvoted" on this issue, but who knows? There was no discussion.

I truly appreciate all the time and energy that people have invested in setting up this new board, and I don't mean to sound ungrateful. Like rearranging furniture, this was a bit of work, I'm sure. But I'm a bit uncertain about "General Discussion (That is Serious and Not Fun)" vs. "Fun and Games" as an organizational principle, and more generally, my preference would be to hear more voices before this kind of change is implemented.

marshwiggle

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Re: Splitting Games and Fun into a Child Board of General Discussion
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2019, 08:12:51 AM »

I truly appreciate all the time and energy that people have invested in setting up this new board, and I don't mean to sound ungrateful. Like rearranging furniture, this was a bit of work, I'm sure. But I'm a bit uncertain about "General Discussion (That is Serious and Not Fun)" vs. "Fun and Games" as an organizational principle, and more generally, my preference would be to hear more voices before this kind of change is implemented.

I thought of asking before, but now I will since someone has brought it up: Do child boards really help much?
The screen "real estate" for the child board is only slightly less than for a distinct "parent" board.  Even though they may be conceptually a sub-category of another, logistically the actions required to access them are exactly the same as for a distinct category. I recall on the old fora when I'd see the "new" icon for a board, it wasn't until I actually clicked that I could see if the new post was for the parent or the child.

Are there people who find this helpful? I'd be glad to hear why.
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namazu

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Re: Splitting Games and Fun into a Child Board of General Discussion
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2019, 10:30:25 AM »
Are there people who find this helpful? I'd be glad to hear why.
Since I usually browse using "Show unread posts", it really makes very little functional difference to me.

However, on those occasions when I do browse by section, I would prefer to keep the just-for-amusement threads separate from the threads seeking advice/thoughtful discussion. 

That way, questions that warrant thoughtful responses don't get quite so lost amidst the (also worthwhile, but purely-for-entertainment) fluff.

The distinction between "child board" and "separate board" is basically meaningless (at least, to me -- is there any actual functional difference other than how it shows up on the main forum directory page?), so I don't have a strong preference for one or the other.  But I do see some value in making (distinct) space for both fun/games and other sorts of general discussions.

(Personally, I'd put the Krispy Kreme, Song in Your Head, Misread Thread Titles, and Life Advice from Songs threads, e.g., in Fun and Games, and leave things like Apartment Hunting, Venting, Caring for Elderly Parents, etc., in General Discussion.  But no, there is not always going to be a clear dividing line between these categories, and life will go on, regardless.)

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Re: Splitting Games and Fun into a Child Board of General Discussion
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2019, 11:17:40 AM »
All the mods agreed that it was a good idea. It's that simple, really. Personally I think they are dumb and the clutter up "general discussion." Someone browsing General Discussion won't see a bunch of games, but they will see the child board at the top. Someone who browses "recent posts" will see no difference. The games go on, and there may be other threads that end up there in the future. And other splits or organizational changes could occur as well. I think the mods are in general agreement that lumping is generally better than splitting (the other forum had way too many categories in my opinion).

While we will solicit feedback for some things, there are other things we are are just going to do w/out general solicitation. The last thing I want is endless "academic" discussions about minutia - the kind of stuff that wastes everyone's time just like in real life committee meetings.
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hungry_ghost

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Re: Splitting Games and Fun into a Child Board of General Discussion
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2019, 02:04:23 PM »
All the mods agreed that it was a good idea. It's that simple, really.

It would have been good for the initial post in this thread to mention this. As it was, it sounded like a unilateral decision made by a single person.

polly_mer

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Re: Splitting Games and Fun into a Child Board of General Discussion
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2019, 06:12:11 PM »
All the mods agreed that it was a good idea. It's that simple, really.

It would have been good for the initial post in this thread to mention this. As it was, it sounded like a unilateral decision made by a single person.

Noted for future reference.

I will second:
While we will solicit feedback for some things, there are other things we are are just going to do w/out general solicitation. The last thing I want is endless "academic" discussions about minutia - the kind of stuff that wastes everyone's time just like in real life committee meetings.

If a huge outcry of "NO!!!" or "where is <my favorite>?????" had greeted the changes the first or second day or even now still technically in the first week, then that would be feedback I/we need to heed.  As it is, a handful of people have weighed in with their opinions and the regulars on many of the game threads have seem to found them.

Fun and Games seemed a good test case for the sub boards that keep being discussed on various threads as an identifiable category of threads that are very active.  People keep asking for their favorite sub boards from the old fora and yet splitting too fine at this point just seems like clutter (yes, that lumping versus splitting that fast_and_bulbous mentioned).

Splitting off the purely fun from the general discussion does not indicate that all other general discussion threads must be absolutely serious.  That is not the intent and no one is enforcing that split.  Instead, the split is such that we don't have the entire first page of the General Discussion threads be the ongoing-multiple-distinct-posts-per-day checkins that bury the slower, deeper discussions.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2019, 06:14:52 PM by polly_mer »
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monarda

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Re: Splitting Games and Fun into a Child Board of General Discussion
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2019, 06:59:51 AM »
Thanks, polly. I like the Fun and Games child board.  But where should the "Cheer Us Up" thread be filed?  General or fun? I'm finding that is one of the threads I am missing.

polly_mer

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Re: Splitting Games and Fun into a Child Board of General Discussion
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2019, 07:00:24 AM »
I've been thinking overnight.  One thing I will point out is the team doing all the labor here (approving accounts, spam patrol, moderation) is about 5 people.  The only way to get us moved was for the handful of us to just make decisions and get going so we can then have concrete discussions about what's in place, how's that working for the several dozen regulars, and what's next.  That's why we have and will continue to have the more-active-than-the-CHE Suggestions board.

We're not trying to shut down discussion in any way.  Instead, we're flying by the seats of our pants to have something good enough that people are invested enough to say, this is my community and I think ...

I have noted hungry_ghost's feedback as a way to go forward differently next time to provide a notice/comment period.  However, with both my engineering and administrator hats firmly in place, it will be a comment period, not a "we're all going to make an unconstrained wish list and then Polly will do a ton of unpaid work trying to keep everyone happy".  I'm good with feedback, but I'm also experienced enough to know that 1-3 voices pro, 1-3 voices con, and 50 other silent-on-this-topic regulars means I should ensure no one gets too ripped off and just go forward with the best suggestions that work well together.

« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 07:02:50 AM by polly_mer »
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polly_mer

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Re: Splitting Games and Fun into a Child Board of General Discussion
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2019, 07:02:12 AM »
Thanks, polly. I like the Fun and Games child board.  But where should the "Cheer Us Up" thread be filed?  General or fun? I'm finding that is one of the threads I am missing.

I would put it in General for reasons that are in the post I'm currently drafting on bigger picture thoughts of how to grow these fora.  The final post is https://thefora.org/index.php?topic=372.msg5746 with
Quote
For the goal of having more people with a variety of viewpoints joining us to participate in lively discussions, having a front page of every section that has a good variety of types of threads and reasonably active threads will likely yield better results in terms of having members of the lurkariat join us or at least that's a hypothesis I'm currently testing in various ways including starting new threads in boards that aren't as active.

Go ahead and Cheer Us Up on General Discussion so we can all run across it intermittently to brighten our days.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 08:11:46 AM by polly_mer »
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