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Thread: Forum Structure

  1. #1
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    Forum Structure

    The forums that appear at the top of the CosmoQuest home page give an impression of what the site is about. The most visited and commented parts of the site, providing its reason for existence, are well down the list. I just did the attached numerical analysis of the CQ Forum Home Page, in order to raise the question of whether a revision of the order of forums is worth thinking about.
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  2. #2
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    No comment on order, but "Google Hangouts" might need a future name or description change. The API is going or has gone away and Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat are new apps for the same purpose. The first is video, the second is chat.
    Solfe

  3. #3
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    It appears that some of the subdivisions here have become redundant since the merger and subsequent evolution of the forum. Google Hangouts is a case in point. I responded to the most recent post just as I would have in Q&A, and the OP has not been back and it is three months now. The heading says "Talk with the team, face to face, and ask the things you always wanted to know!" I don't know who "the team" is or was, nor do I have the foggiest idea what, if anything, is supposed to be functionally different from Q&A.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    The forums that appear at the top of the CosmoQuest home page give an impression of what the site is about. The most visited and commented parts of the site, providing its reason for existence, are well down the list. I just did the attached numerical analysis of the CQ Forum Home Page, in order to raise the question of whether a revision of the order of forums is worth thinking about.
    Based on your comment and the rankings in that chart, I assume you're advocating moving up The Proving Grounds and General Interest forums. No one seems to have trouble finding them now, based on that ranking, and they're not that indicative of the general website mission. I especially don't think they should displace About The Forums, there's a clear need for them to be at the top. I can't see Citizen Science; Listen, Learn, Teach, Engage; or Science and Space, being displaced by ATM or OTB either.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    It appears that some of the subdivisions here have become redundant since the merger and subsequent evolution of the forum. Google Hangouts is a case in point. I responded to the most recent post just as I would have in Q&A, and the OP has not been back and it is three months now. The heading says "Talk with the team, face to face, and ask the things you always wanted to know!" I don't know who "the team" is or was, nor do I have the foggiest idea what, if anything, is supposed to be functionally different from Q&A.
    As I understand it (and that understanding might be wrong), Pamela and her staff wanted to use the upper parts of the forum (such as the Citizen Science section) to support the other missions of Cosmoquest, such as the Citizen Science projects. As best as I can tell, that never really happened, but the structures remain in place.

    None of those decisions were made by the Moderation Team, and so I think it is going to be completely up to Pamela to decide on any changes.
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  6. #6
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    When we redid the forum structure, it was based more on significance and relevance than popularity: the "meta" forums are at the top (forums about the forum), then forums significant to the overall CosmoQuest mission, then the core - for us - "Science and Space" forums, then the less relevant stuff, and finally the forums that allow members to discuss topics that aren't strictly part of the mission of the forum. While I found your stats interesting, I really don't want to re-order to forums by popularity. Putting "Fun-n-Games" near the top, for example, would send the wrong kind of message about this forum.
    Last edited by ToSeek; 2018-Jun-11 at 03:31 PM.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  7. #7
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    I would just suggest moving Science and Space up to right below About The Forums, or even first.

    It could easily appear unusual to a newcomer that there are 50,000 posts in About The Forums but only 3000 in the top substantive forums around Citizen Science. First impressions of activity level can be influential.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    I would just suggest moving Science and Space up to right below About The Forums, or even first.

    It could easily appear unusual to a newcomer that there are 50,000 posts in About The Forums but only 3000 in the top substantive forums around Citizen Science. First impressions of activity level can be influential.
    We tried to do that with the reorganization, but the folks who pay the bills for this site insisted that their forums had to come first.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    We tried to do that with the reorganization, but the folks who pay the bills for this site insisted that their forums had to come first.
    Perhaps you may wish to revisit that based on these usage statistics?

    In practical terms, using CQ as a portal for citizen science may be best achieved by ensuring that when visitors look at the forum home page they get an accurate impression of the real purpose of the site, discussion of Science and Space.

    If that can then encourage people to engage with citizen science objectives, or with the fun and games and off topic babbling discussions for that matter, it is likely to generate more traffic than having the tiny forums of citizen science at the top of the home page.

  10. #10
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    It looks as if we might get more control over the forum in a couple of months. I'll look into it then.
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    Giving prominence to forum sections with lots of posts might steer the forum further in the direction of "pop-sci" conversations. I'm not an astronomer, but I have the impression that discussions in the sections focused on Citizen Science tend to have technical content. By contrast, sections like "Science and Technology" tend to involve pop-sci discussions about vague questions like "What is the bandwidth of the human brain?". (It seems to me that a large number of the pop-sci type threads are started by a relatively small number of posters.)

    Pop-sci type threads can be interesting, but if the goal of the forum organizers is a more serious purpose, then it's understandable that the non-technical sections of the forum are put further down the page.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    Giving prominence to forum sections with lots of posts might steer the forum further in the direction of "pop-sci" conversations. I'm not an astronomer, but I have the impression that discussions in the sections focused on Citizen Science tend to have technical content. By contrast, sections like "Science and Technology" tend to involve pop-sci discussions about vague questions like "What is the bandwidth of the human brain?". (It seems to me that a large number of the pop-sci type threads are started by a relatively small number of posters.)

    Pop-sci type threads can be interesting, but if the goal of the forum organizers is a more serious purpose, then it's understandable that the non-technical sections of the forum are put further down the page.
    I agree with you and if I were in charge, I'd put the "Citizen Science" and "Listen, Learn, Teach, Engage" areas lower, but as I've said before in this thread, the folks paying the bills for this site want their forums to be as prominent as possible. Until that changes, you can minimize those forums by clicking on the arrow on the far right of the header for each forum.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  13. #13
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    It seems to me that it's appropriate to have those forum sections at the top which reflect the forum's primary goals. However, it's also important that the forum members actually make use of those sections. Many of those sections claim that they haven't had posts made to them since more than a year ago. Is this an indication that the CosmoQuest forum's sponsors have abandoned their Citizen Science research goals or have been unable to attract active members? That's disappointing, if so.

    Use of the forum to support CosmoQuest's goals of Citizen Science isn't helped by what seems to be corruption in the forum's database.

    To be specific, I just now tried to take a look at posts which should describe the site's objectives, but my attempts were not particularly successful. For example, the forum thread "Why Moon Mappers?" at https://forum.cosmoquest.org/showthr...y-Moon-Mappers includes the link http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthre...Why-CosmoQuest which is supposed to take one to the thread titled "Why CosmoQuest?". Instead, that URL takes me to an inappropriate thread titled "2001 Mars Odyssey - Mars Orbit Insertion 10:30EDT". This kind of corruption in the forum's database certainly is going to be discouraging to a novice visitor who might otherwise consider contributing.
    Selden

  14. #14
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    I'm curious about the section "Collaborators of Cosmoquest" , which is currently not very active. The premise of that section seems to be that the forum is a place to discuss material that appears on other websites - blogs, podcasts etc. Do these other websites link to Cosmoquest as the website for discussing their content? Would it be more effective for the Cosmoquest site itself to have more content than forum posts?

  15. #15
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    The “Why Cosmoquest” thread was broken probably in the merging of the BAUT and Cosmoquest forums. The proper url for it is now: https://forum.cosmoquest.org/showthr...Why-CosmoQuest . If abandoning is the right term I do not know, but there have been funding cuts in the past (iirc resulting from political changes, but I am not sure).

    The “collaborators” section is a result from an earlier form of this forum: the BAUTforum. Bad Astronomy and Universe Today collaborated to share one forum with two websites. It was, and is, just a convenient way to have interaction with the original websites (inasmuch as they still exist) and the forum. I think it was more intended to alert forum users to new content on BA and UT than for BA and UT users to be directed towards the forum.

    I hope that satisfies your questions.
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