In all honestly I don't think the forum is so well integrated to the rest of the site.
Sending forum posts to the activity stream on the first page is a nice idea, but sometimes it's confusing when someone comments on the actual stream (instead of in the forum - which leads to the exact same subject being discussed at two places simultaneously...)
I also don't like that quotes are being sent to the stream at all, it's just not necessary, as long as people stays on topic which you normally do just fine :).
I have no intentions of closing down the forum - I'm just not sure what to really do with it yet :P.
My plans for releasing an iPhone / Android app connected to the playground site is also a little bit held back due to our forum, as the forum we're running now simply isn't supported on phones. I could convert to Kunena - another forum solution that has a iPhone app already - or at least very soon. However, the rest of this site, and this "Group-thing" already are perfectly supported on the iPhone and Android platform.
But before I go that route further I think we should try the "Groups" feature on this playground that I've had disabled until just now. I know this is not nearly as feature rich as a forum but maybe it works for our purposes? The forum will still be around, but maybe not just on the activity stream.
I'm pretty new to this "Groups" things myself but you all can go ahead and start your own Groups and invite people.
Feel free to play around with this a little and we'll see if it's something we could use. Maybe it's easer for new members (who aren't familiar with the whole forum-thing) to be active in these groups instead.
Your feedback & thoughts are as always highly appreciated :)
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This might go against the whole princible of the groups feature, but I think that it would be easier to navigate if there would be pre-existing groups and people could start new discussions only within those groups. I just mean, that when everybody starts to make new groups, it gets messy pretty soon (like flickr, where there is many groups for the same subjects).
Maybe I'm a bit too linear minded, but for me, I just like when things are in an orderly fashion. It just makes things a little bit more accessible and easier to follow.
But then again, the more creative minded people (I suppose majority of the visitors on this site are that kind), wouldn't probably like that much restricting struckture. So maybe there isn't really any point in this advice really. Sorry!
Wouldn't something like vbulletin work better, I know it can work well with phones such as android and iOS. I am more fond of a traditional forum to be honest, groups can easily be created and used in vbulletin if wanted, there are also a number of mods created which can help you integrate it more tightly into the entire website. I really appreciate the effort though Peter, because prior to this I was never able to join the forum due to some error but lurked a lot.
I have a smartphone but honestly I only use it for text and calls and even then its to a bare minimum.
I would have no problem with moving the forum to a separate website. If it is standing in the way of what your wanting to do then move it and make your changes. As for the groups, I understand them quite well but my only concern would be that eventually there will be a lot of nonsense groups that no one will post in.
If it would be possible to do a forum.crashdiet.org and put a forum link on crashdiet.org that seems kinda easy but then again I'm no computer nerd
Good morning Peter . You took this place to another level already so don't worry too much . I'd say forum is good as it is, the rest of Playground works smoothly too so there's no reason to change it up in some extreme way like... removing the forum completely or moving it somewhere else. I think people generally are satisfied with this place and how it works. Of course you can try and we can test some things if necessary. But I'm happy with how it is now basically . And... without the phone, haha.
Good morning Martin . Yes I really do want to take this place to another level but due to unfortunate technical reasons it just isn't possible to do so while the forum is still here. Actually, right now the forum is in the way of every improvement I wanna do here, he he. All the workarounds I had to do to put the forum here makes things extremely complicated.
I don't know if my improvements are gonna be the right thing to do or not but at some point I at least have to try . But yeah, I'm kinda split about this but it's nice to at least hear your opinions while I'm thinking about this
Well, I know that you'd like to take this place to another level and it's great you're making changes and improvements to our favorite Playground. But I wouldn't say that the forum is slow, I think it's working pretty well, even though I don't have a really fast connection. And I agree with the statement that moving forum to a different, independent place could split people and it'd be dying slowly... And that's not something we want to witness. Just think of it, give yourself time, there's no rush or deadline . I'm all for the old school, classic forum but there are simply things I'm being sentimental about . As for the phone... Well, I never liked phones, I don't even really talk by phone and since my last one "died" and I have no money for a replacement - I'm totally fine without it . Never used a smartphone, don't even know how to, hah. I'm really behind technology, I'm really behind all of you actually!
Thanks again for your feedback . Although I have to agree with izzie that the groups feel way more inspiring and myself is of course a fan of the fact that it integrates so nicely with the rest of the site...
My intention is definitely not to give up on our forum, our forum is a real classic damn it haha but maybe it just doesn't fit on the playground. I could make a "forum.crashdiet.org" site and put someone else in charge and we'll just see what happens from there maybe....
Well, I'm afraid I'm not gonna please you neither, Peter. I'm really not much into this idea of group, especialy the way how it looks on PC (yeah, I'm probably the only person here who's using her phone only for texting and calls). It's a bit messy and I miss all those tools like quotes etc. which are available on the forum.
I'm perfectly aware of the fact that all of this is just a matter of being used to the older way (I'm working in the media after all so I know well that people react quite negatively to ANY change in general, whether is it good or not) but I can't help myself... These groups seem a bit clumpy and I'm afraid it will be difficult to keep them in order, especially if there will be more of them. And if not - many discussions are going to die completely, otherwise it wóuld be a total chaos (because you can't even tell who's reacting on who).
I don't mind displaying of forum posts on the activity stream, the only thing that annoys me there (a lot) is that spamming of "X is friends with Y"...
Sheila : Yeah, keeping both is probably not an option... Hmm I tried to look at older posts too and even if it looked a little weird it at least worked for me... but I'll keep an eye on this hehe.
But yeah I dunno... the forum is kinda in the way nowadays and prevents me to take this site much further because the forum isn't 100% compatible with the rest of this site which creates some problems... and the forum has been pretty slow lately anyways .
I could always move the forum to a completely different site at let's say "forum.crashdiet.org" and keep it independent from this site. but if I do that I have a feeeling it'll die completely pretty quick :/.
Marmetal - I'm jealous that you have the guts to be without a phone! Very inspiring. Smartphones are stressful, that's for sure
I think i prefer the regular forum as well. At least its a bit much with both the forum and groups. And another thing I dont like is that the newest posts are first. But maybe thats something I can just hit a button for? And I tried to look at the older posts to see if I had replied here earlier, but something didnt work? Or is it just me being stupid? xD
I use the forum on the phone all time, its a bit better now than it was. I tried to look at this group thing from my phone now, and it looks much better than the forum. So thats a nice thing.
But I have a feeling that if we keep both, people will become a bit split, maybe? If all us "old" members keep to the forum because we like it best, but the new people will use the groups. And we dont want that to happen.
Ok now, I've been playing around with the groups a little more and here are my reflections hehe :
Spontaneously I really do think it makes more sense to use the groups for discussions instead of the forum. The forum definitely has more features but here in the groups we have all the features we could possibly need, especially for these lighter discussions that are almost like chats anyways....
Plus, the forum will always look ugly on phones and tablets. I can't be the only one who's avoiding the forum if all I have at hand is a phone, and these days everybody has smart phones so I'm pretty sure it would be beneficial to everybody to make this site 100% smart phone friendly
Thanks to all of you for your feedback . I was struggling before with integrating the forum to the rest of this site but there simply is no good solution yet, at least if you would ever wanna browse this site from a smart phone or tablet which seems to be pretty popular these days, hehe. It is a little hard to navigate but maybe it's something we'll get used to. I'll play around with this a little more and we'll see what happens. //LONDON