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Board Reorganization-A Constructive Criticism/Suggestion

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jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
As a longtime member of this board, I applaud the recent changes that have been made to it. But as a long time member of the board I also have what I hope is some constructive criticism based on 8 years prior experience.

New areas of interest based on several popular grill/smoker families have been added as sticky topics under the General Discussions area. I think it's an excellent idea to have these areas for the fans of the various grills. I remember the CG Family thread very fondly. When I was preparing to get my CG back in 2005, I read all 150 pages of that threat. In fact I saved out the pages as PDFs that I put on my laptop so I could read them on my daily trip on the commuter train. The knowledge there was invaluable. And when I brought my CG home I was able to hit the ground running, because I read about mistakes and problems that other had and was able to avoid them. Instead of repeating others' mistakes, I was free to find my own mistakes to make. Those were few and far between, but I shared My own experiences back to the thread. Okay this sounds good, so what is my complaint?

My complaint is the sheer popularity of a single thread CG family or Weber or BGE thread Will pretty quickly make it unusable due to its own popularity. As I mentioned earlier, when I bought my CG, the CG Family thread was up 250 pages. Not too long after that I noticed it had topped over 200 pages. When I first used it, I really did want to learn everything CG and scoured it from cover to cover. But at over 200+ pages it became very unwieldy to use. Every time somebody put a new reply on there, no matter what the topic you were notified if you subscribe to that particular thread. I also noticed that people were putting CG related questions out in the general discussion area, instead of on the CG Family thread where they really belongs. And who could blame them? A new post landed on page 200 and simply got ignored.

Even though it has just gotten off the ground, I can see the problem happening in the BGE/Kamado cooker thread. There have been some interesting posts there but they are all on the one single level And not all topics in there will be of equal interest to everyone who uses it. So what is the solution? I actually think it's simple in concept, but I don't know how hard it is to implement with your board software. The solution is to allow the posting of new topics within the various new special interest areas. Instead of going in and being faced with tens or hundreds of pages "organized" in a single thread, people can look through the multiple folders for the post topics and rather quickly find posts they're interested in. You may have to put these folders/topics one level up at the Board Index to allow people to create new posts within that topic but I think it is well worth it and will make those areas usable going forward. Anyone who ever use that CG Family thread in its heyday knows exactly what I'm talking about.

So I do applaud the new changes and I'm excited about them, but I really do think the special interest grill areas have to allow for the creation of topics within them to ultimately succeed. Right now is a bit ironic, but the more popular an area becomes and the more information it contains, the less used it will be because the information is so hard to get to easily.

Jim

CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
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Posts: 5918
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
So what I gather from your post is that you'd like to see individual boards for BGEs, Webers, CGs and the like rather than sticky posts. Am I correct?
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
Exactly! Just like the general discussion area. If you think back to how that CG Family thread was you,ll know what I mean. Lots of good info but spread out across hundreds of pages. Being able to create new topics and follow particular topics would make that area much more user-friendly and would encourage more people to use it.

CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5918
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Well, I see one possible issue right away. If you notice when you go to the board index, the only board people are posting on regularly is the General Discussion board (210370 posts at this time). The next most popular board is the Best BBQ Joint board with 3295 posts.

I'd be concerned that if we created 4 entirely new boards, for example, they might not get used. Plus, I think people would just keep posting their grill mods and such in the General Discussion forum anyway, like they've always done.

Also, if we created new forums, the moderators might have to start moving individual topics between these boards. For example, if a member creates a new post about a new BGE accessory, the moderators would likely move it to the BGE board. But what if that post also includes step-by-step pics of a weekend cook? A judgment call would have to be made as to whether we keep it in the General Discussions forum, or move it to the BGE forum instead.

Now here comes the tough part: what if that post gets moved to the BGE board and the member who posted it doesn't want it moved? Then we start getting requests to move it back to the General Discussion forum.

This can get pretty complicated and ugly quite quickly, actually. I'm in touch with the moderators of a few other boards who started doing the same thing and it evolved into an administrative nightmare. One one board, a majority of the members got fed up with their posts being moved around and left the board in droves, as did all but one of the moderators because they got tired of all the requests to move stuff around and move it back, and such.

But the moderators are definitely discussing the idea. We've just undergone a major revamp of the board, though, so it might be a while before we see too many other changes.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
My immediate gut level response to some of your concerns would have been: that's with the moderators are here for. To help keep people pointed in the right direction and move posts around to where they are most suited. To my way of thinking it is not unreasonable to expect people to put posts where they belong, and if they don't a moderator will. But I appreciate your posting the experience of moderators on other boards. It does rather make it look like a damned if you, do damned if you don't situation. What I am afraid of is these new sticky threads will be used for a while, but then when they start getting to tens or hundreds of pages of unorganized subject matter people will start posting on the General Discussion Thread anyway. The numbers you quote for the number of posts on the General Discussions versus the others are indisputable. But those other boards are topics where most people need to post a question only once or twice and that is it for active posting. I think that Primal Grill board was possibly ill-conceived. Those questions certainly could've gone in the General Discussions area with Primal Grill in the title. I think the grill themed boards would get much more usage from fans of those grills. You can talk about the Eggheads, but fans of Webers, CGs etc. are also passionate about the grills that they use.

There are several big disadvantages to just a sticky thread.
-With only one level of organization you have to wade through a lot of material sometimes to get back to something that interests you. That is already starting to happen in the BGE thread. There are questions or topics in there that I find very interesting, but also there's questions or topics I don't. That is only natural: unless you're in a situation where you’re trying to learn everything about a particular grill not everything posted there's going to be of interest to you.
-It makes finding things much harder, it is easier to scan through a list of folders of subtopics, than it is to scroll through pages and pages of random messages.
-Replies to a topic that does interest you can often be several pages away, unlike within a topic where it is just the next item of that same topics page.
-The popularity of the thread soon makes subscribing to it impossible. I quickly unsubscribed to that CG Family thread because you get multiple emails every day (or every hour) every time somebody posted anything at all to that thread. Unlike a specific topic where you choose to subscribe to that particular topic, a grill themed single level thread is going to get hundreds of different topics. There is no organization so that you are forced into an all or nothing situation.
-One answer to solve these problems would be to use the search feature. But that is often the last resort of many people and being inelegant solution at best.

As to your concern about whether these new threads would get used, let me say this. My concern with these new sticky threads, is that they will soon become just like bullet points on a presentation where companies are trying to get you to buy new product saying we offer 21 new features. Sure: In addition to general discussions you feature New sticky threads that are grill specific. That's nice. But does anyone actually use them? In their current form I think that would be a good question.

In terms of the question about the post on the BGE Eggcessory that also has food pictures in it, that is a judgment call. Here's a possible example of how it might be determined. If the post talks about how they got the new ceramic pizza pan for the BGE with several pictures and a long description about how they used it and showed a picture of two or three things they made in it such as a pizza, a pie etc. That would seem to make the most sense in the BGE thread. If a post mentions they got the BGE ceramic pizza pan, and then shows all of the steps to making the pizza from start to finish, that belongs in the General Discussions area. I would think this is going to be a one-way problem too. You're not going to have a problem with someone putting food pictures only in the grill themed areas. The question is going to come up whether something in the General Discussion area is more grill specific. Also the example you mentioned maybe it'sa case where you let it slide. If someone posts a topic in the General Discussions area like a CG mod, there really is no question that one should be moved-it really is of no interest to anyone other than SEG owner.

After your latest post, I see the problem isn't as simple as I thought. I really do appreciate what you're saying about the problems on the other boards. We seem to be in the situation where if you do what I suggest, it might alienate some, or a lot of people and they may stop using the board. By the same token I think you're going to have a problem with the new sticky threads. Although well-intentioned, they may quickly become unusable and people stop posting in there. I am also a little disappointed, because I would've thought this post might generate some discussions from other members of the board. Ultimately it is the people using the board who should be trying to have a say in how it works.

Frankly I've found a new home I'm quite happy with. I have no intention of leaving that place. But this is the board that got me started and I've always enjoyed the folks here. I feel a debt of gratitude for the help and inspiration I've received here. When I heard there were some changes being made trying make this to be a vibrant place like it was five or six years ago, it encouraged me to come back and try to help make it work. I appreciate the moderators efforts and I hope something can be figured out. While this is a good start I'm not sure this sticky thread solution will work as intended.

Jim

CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5918
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Jim,

You are definitely making some good points. I'm kicking around a slightly different idea with the moderators but along the same lines. I think if we could convert those stickies to full sub-forums of the General Discussion thread then browsing these forums might flow more smoothly than putting new forums at the top of the index.

We'll be getting in touch with the site admins to see if this (or anything) can be done. This may take several days, though.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
Funny you should mention that. That is exactly what I would think would be the ideal solution, but I really didn't think was possible. I think it would be fine to have those under the General Discussion thread. In fact I think it would be more desirable For visibility reasons.

The key thing here, as I see it, is being able to have those new grill related threads be sub-forums, not just some giant free-for-all with no organization. I know you are doing this as fast as you can. The reason I even brought it up is I figured now would certainly be the better time to do something about it before those new threads have a ton of posts to move.

I am very encouraged by this latest development. Thanks for taking it under your wing.
Jim

QJuju well done
well done

Posts: 1957
Location: La Grange, Kentucky

Sub-forums all the way!! Used them in a forum I managed for a very large gaming community, 12,000 members, and they work like a charm. I do sysadmin work all day every day so I will gladly step back and let y'all have this one.
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christinebbqb medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 66
Thank you for all your detailed feedback! We'll handle this as soon as we can. But please be patient as this may take some time to address.


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