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MOD future FanForce board structure

Discussion in 'FanForce' started by Obi Anne, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Obi Anne Reg: Nov 98 manager

    Ever since we found out how these new boards were working there has been a discussion in the CR forum about reorganising the FanForce boards. The general idea is that each region should have one forum, and each chapter in the region would have its own tag.

    In this post I've pasted the relevant part of the conversation and now we want to hear what you FanForcers think about the idea. It is a long read but please take your time and give your opinion on the thought of this reorganisation.

    This kind of organisation with tags instead of subforums has also been discussed on the JC side, the discussions are long but if you have time to read you can see how this kind of organisation has been debated there.

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  2. marcolas Jedi Knight

    In my opinion, it will be weird in Europe because we all speak different languages.
    It should work in the US but I don't see the point of that in Europe.

    Let's take an example.The Avengers are coming in theaters in a couple of weeks and we probably all want to talk about it.
    Does that mean we will have a German-speaking thread, an English one, a French one and a Spanish one in the front page with tags ?
    If I open a thread just to have a small meeting in Paris to have a drink, it will appear on the front page between a German-speaking topic about The Clone Wars and a Spanish one about anything else ? Who really cares ?

    I'm sorry, the idea will be really good if we all speak one and only language but this way, and as far as I like posting in the GSFF or anywhere else, I don't see how it could work without being just an awful mess...
  3. emilsson Jedi Knight

    I support setting up regional boards if it is done in the same way that the community forum has been organised. In other words, the tags for different chapters should always be visible at the top above the list of threads. That way, if I want to view only threads related to Sweden within the European forum all I need to do is click the tag for Sweden instead of having to go through pages with threads from all the chapters. Then when I want the UK threads I just click the relevant tag and get all the UK threads instead.

    Done this way, IMO, FF still keeps a sense of regions having their own space while encouraging more interaction between different chapters.
  4. Nwalme Jade Jedi Padawan

    I don't think having a pan-european board is a good idea either. Maybe it's work for the US, Oceania etc, but given the fact Europeans all speak different languages (and not everybody can, or wants to, speak English), I think Europe is a very different kind of fish and can't be retooled the way you'd retool a country or a group of countries speaking the same language.

    We used to have a Europe-General board. It was pretty much deserted, which I think tells it all. For better or for worse I think people like having their own little corner, it's less intimidating. When I first joined the JC I left pretty much straight away - too big. I came back because with FF I had a smaller, friendlier board to post in.

    To me, this big European board would be confusing and less, rather than more, inviting. Suppose you are, say, from Belgium and want to see if there is a FanForce for your country. You check the European board, and you see a mish-mash of topics, some in German, others in French, others in Spanish... chances are, many will turn away. And suppose you persist and decide to create your own thread to look for fellow Belges. Your topic risks being swallowed by others within days, and you might not get your voice heard.

    Also I like the relative privacy of a small regional forum, where everybody knows each other and can relate. We have had a bereavement in FanForce France. One our members passed away. Prior to that we had a topic for him to vent off about things and for us to talk to him. I'm sorry, but I don't think it'd be appropriate to see that kind of topic on top of a massive European board for everyone to see. I think it needed to happen on a smaller scale.

    FF is less active since the end of the movies, we can all see that. So maybe we need to get rid of the sub-forums (like France-North, London etc) and have just regional forums (France, UK, etc), plus a large FF community to replace Europe-General, Asia-General etc. But I don't think a big European board is the answer. The risk would be for people who like their regional board to just flog to Facebook, create their group and be done with this board. Which would be a great shame.
  5. malinza Jedi Padawan

    I would also much prefer if each country would keep their separate boards, at least in Europe (speaking as a FF France member). I'm aware that with the tag system you can view only posts for one country, but I don't feel it equals having specific boards.

    - as previously said it wouldn't make much sense in Europe since we all post in our own language. A pan-European board could remain, and separate boards have never prevented chapters from talking to each other; I wish I could say I've been visiting other chapters but I know other members of our group do, and in our French corner we've regularly had visits from other boards.

    - I understand the concern of better general communication in the boards, as well as better visibility for the new members (though I doubt it would make things better for newbies in Europe). I hope there will be as much concern for the community feeling in each country, which has made Jedi Council Forums the only forum to which I've returned regularly since more than 10 years; I'm not sure I, and probably others, would have done so with so radical a change.

  6. Lordban Jedi Knight

    No, this is not an organized attack on this thread by a band of chauvinistic French ;)

    My main concern is a single Europe board is going to be very user-unfriendly for new members (or potential ones). The tag system works once you're familiarized with it, but it isn't a standard fixture on discussion boards all over the Internet, so new members or potential new members won't see they can sort threads with a single mouseclick.

    What they'll see threads with names in 6, 8 or 10 different languages, most of which they don't understand, just on the first page (you can reasonably expect a number of social threads for each community staying close to the top, and very possibly one "introduce yourself" thread for each community as well). Basically, they'll see a horrible mess! :eek:

    About "introduce yourself" threads, by the way, a single thread won't suffice: not everybody speaks English fluently and many can feel too intimidated to try, or even click on the thread title written in English telling them to use their own native language inside... :(
  7. Obi Anne Reg: Nov 98 manager

    So one argument against a common board is that it would be confusing for new members, on the other hand the other argument seems to be that you want to keep your own small community where everybody knows each other. That doesn't seem very welcoming to new members either.

    Also your community feeling wouldn't change. You don't need to change your way of posting in your threads, just because there are other topics as well. Each tagged chapter could have their own introductory thread, their own meeting thread, own film threads and so on. A common board would simply just add a possibility to talk about things that people all over the continent might be interested in. As mentioned if you want to totally ignore other countries you can always press the tag and those other topics will disappear.

    I think the fear of one chapter dominating is quite unfounded. The GSFF and Swedish FF is considered active, and we don't have more than 3-4 threads going at one time, from what I understand France doesn't have very many active topics going at the same time either. Since this forum software has 25 topics per page it would give other chapters plenty of room on the first page of the forum.

    I think it's well worth trying, and with this software it's easy to move threads, so if it doesn't work we can set up separate subforums and move the threads in question there.
    72Princess likes this.
  8. Morgaine GSFF CR

    Could've fooled me. :p

    But seriously, you all bring up some valid points. I'm still on the fence myself, but most of the GSFF is in favour of a merge - but then it seems we use the forum rather differently. At least 90 percent of all activity goes into a single thread anyway, so having a sub-forum just for our "Home Base" seems somewhat redundant. If you actually have a larger number of active threads, then I can totally understand not wanting to have them mixed up with threads in a dozen other languages.

    (Alright, a dozen is rather optimistic thinking. I don't think we have that many active chapters left, do we?)

    RE: Newbie-friendliness:
    I understand your concern about the 'language chaos', but on the other hand - is a private board that has only one active thread in it really more attractive? To use the Belgium example, maybe in an European board a person from Belgium would be more likely to visit threads from neighbouring countries, see if there's someone living not too far away. People might be more reluctant to actually go into separate boards.

    Yeah, it was - but look what happened as soon as we were all thrown together here on the temp boards. We're actually talking to each other again. :D Personally, that's what I love most about this place and I'm very much hoping it will last beyond the move to the permanent boards.

    I totally understand that feeling, I just don't think Europe is all that active anymore...

    Anyway, I'm just trying to see the issue from all sides, not trying to talk you into anything you don't want. :) The way I see it, it doesn't have to be a black or white decision - we could easily have a board for Europe with the general "community" threads plus GSFF Home Base plus Sweden's "God Morgon" (for example), and a sub-forum for France and any other chapter that chooses to go that route.
  9. Skiara Sports loving Mod dressed in yellow/green

    @ Newbie-friendliness
    In my view one Europe board is even more newbie frienldy than having a board for each chapter, because with one Europe board the new member sees at once what chapters we have. The new member doesn't have to visit all different boards to check, if there's an active chapter or more passive one, if there's a meeting planned or not. I would agree with less newbie-friendliness, if the one Europe board will have three pages with active threads. That might be confusing. But having just one page with active threads shouldn't cause any problems.

    In addition, interaction between different chapters is a lot easier. Remember, we had yearly EFFM, but not anymore. If one posted a topic in the old European board at the old JC/FF, then one had to wait for days to get a single feedback. With the new European board, everyone will notice such a thread a lot faster. The European community will be a lot closer again.

    Of course, this is my opinion and maybe of some others and this doesn't mean that you have to follow this view. At the end, you know your chapter the best. :) That's why, I would like to ask you, what you think about the following ideas:

    1. Trying out the new structure (joining the new Europe board) and if it doesn't work for you after (say) one month, you'll move to your own board.
    (Don't hit me for suggesting this. I just like to know, if you might want to test it even if you don't think that it'll work. :) )

    2. Creating the new European board including all chapters but France, which will get its own subforum right from the beginning.

    3. Having back the old system - every chapter has its own board.

    Which one do you prefer? Or, if I missed an option that you even like more, then tell us, please. :)
  10. Lordban Jedi Knight

    Sorry, dear Anne, you've gotten me to talk ;) More importantly, you've left me with the impression the decision is essentially made in your mind. I don't think you haven't considered the points I'll be raising below, but since we're talking, I have no idea of how they're ranked and/or adressed in your reflexions. You don't have to answer - you're the boss ;) - but I have much stronger reasons to side against a merged board than a trifle like virtual national turf ;)

    Got that one right :)

    Where it gets trickier: do introductory threads get stickied? If they don't, newcomers have to dig for them - which most won't, rendering them irrelevant. Remain the active threads - discussions in progress (which anybody might consider joining, provided there happens to be one in their language), or the mammoth social threads (which for someone who isn't outspoken aren't just a "no" for a first post, but a "I won't even think of posting here, maybe I won't even open that thread").

    Many people here got that puzzle completely wrong, at least in my opinion, mostly because they haven't been looking simultaneously at all three levels of interaction: national community, global community, outside of the community. And fact is, for someone outside, it's easier to integrate in a smaller, homogeneous community and expand one's horizons from there.

    In fact the people who have the most to gain from a single board are those who are already integrated. They may face some discomfort, but they'll know how the boards work and will get a chance to meet the old crowd who already talked together, expanding their horizons. For those who want to stay with their small communities, the problem isn't much more important. They'll grumble, but will the merger cause them to leave ? Not quite. They'll stick to their thread(s), they'll use that fancy tag to get rid of those weird and annoying thread titles, they probably won't start new threads, but otherwise won't leave until they would have under other circumstances.

    So basically, merged forum = mostly good for the old crowd or already integrated members, but confusing and possibly intimidating for newcomers.
    Against all appearances it's the merged forum which could effectively raise the most effective barriers around the existing FanForce community(s). It is at least, from a management point of view, the solution which leads to a lesser influx of new members, offset by new opportunities and a possible revival for existing members.

    The hidden issue behind the "one board or many" question is a fundamental managerial choice: favour either the current members or prospective members over the other.

    Let's say I want to talk about Star Wars 3D. What does the manager say if I start two threads, one in my non-English language and one in English? If I don't, or can't, posting in one or the other language means adressing one or another crowd, which only partially overlap. So yes, here is a fundamental difference in the way of posting threads - and it doesn't have anything to do with any other topics, it's the board structure which raises the question.

    Indeed :) But while you and I know that, John Newbie doesn't :)

    I don't think one chapter will dominate either (unless they start trolling anyway, and there are penalties for that). However the first page isn't 25 topics per page, it's 25 minus the stickies. That's a fundamental difference to keep in mind when designing a board.

    I don't think there'll be any going back, not after weeks, if not months, of getting used to the way things currently work, and especially for a manager who won't just have been arguing it was the right choice, but will have had her way. The question of setting up subdivisions again won't really be open for discussion unless there are prolonged violent interactions between communities (which will leave irreparable damage in the form of bans and overall degraded atmosphere before a structural alteration of the boards starts being considered) a catastrophic dip in affluence (and that dip would make further divisions rejected outright).

    One last note: there aren't and won't ever be new Star Wars movies, and the whole phenomenon, no longer irrigated by its source, will die down eventually. You are in charge of a community inscribed in a decaying ensemble, and the medium supporting it is now challenged by much bigger fish (global social communities like Facebook, for an example, did not exist ten years ago); no matter the choices you make, unless you leave your post in the next few years, you will leave a smaller community to the next manager. You can prolong that community's existence, you can reshape it; you can't save it.

    EDIT to adress a couple of points from Skiara :) :

    He shouldn't if there's a proper sub-forum display, at the top of the forum, listing with title the name of the sub-board (the community) and in subtitle the last active thread, with the poster and timestamp, and total number of threads/posts. They're all common enough feature these days; if the new boards don't allow for such a basic display then indeed there's a big technical hurdle :)

    Fully agreed.

    I might make myself hated by some fellow FFers, but I'd say cross out option 2) ;)
    I'm in favor of the option that does not come at the expense of potential new blood, and from where I stand that's option 3) - notably because I don't think there'll be a return from option 1) :)
  11. Nwalme Jade Jedi Padawan

    But we never said we wanted the subforum to be private so we could remain among ourselves and refuse new blood :confused: What I mean is, it's easier to join and integrate a smaller community than a large one, at least in my experience.

    I dunno, I never felt like the subforums system was limiting or daunting. I feel that if I want to see what's up with GSFF, I can just go and post there, you know. Certainly if I was going to Germany and wanted to meet people there I'd be more comfortable posting a new thread in a subforum asking for pointers than browsing through a large forum, finding a German topic and butting in in the middle of a conversation, which I think is a bit awkward.

    Also, chapters operate differently when it comes to discussions. Morgaine says that most of the German posts occur in one topic, but we at FanForce France for instance tend to have one topic per subject, and I'm sure we're not alone there. So if we create a topic for movies, a social thread, another for books, etc etc... very soon it becomes a bit messy. Yes, there's the tag system, but as pointed out the tag system is not that obvious. None of the forums I post in outside the JC use it, I wouldn't have guessed it existed if you hadn't pointed it out. I'm an old thing, but surely I can't be alone in that :p

    To answer Skiara (and thanks for being so accommodating dear [face_love] ) , while I like the old system, I totally accept some will disagree and think a large forum is actually better for them, so I think we should allow each individual chapter to decide whether they want a subforum or if they want to be part of a larger forum.
  12. Obi Anne Reg: Nov 98 manager

    May I say that I don't like the implication that I have already decided everything. I started this discussion here because there were only four people active in the CR forum and I and the rest of the RSAs felt that we wanted more input on this. Also remember this isn't just about Europe this is about all of the FanForce regions.

    The solution for that is to decide on a maximum of sticky threads, personally I don't like sticky threads at all and I think you could probably make just one introductory stickey thread with information and links to other non-sticky threads in the forum. If there isn't a thread in your language, which will make it more likely for you to start posting. A thread showing the diversity of the region and that all languages are welcome, or a dead board or even no board at all?

    The current FanForce communities aren't very big though, most are quite small and having a general board still wouldn't create a mamooth community. Also my experience from other boards is that it's harder to join a small community where everybody are best friends.

    Or stay the same and watch the communities dwindle, or make a change that can create a larger community with more active users than before.

    From my point of view both threads would be OK. Either a thread has enough active participants to stay alive or not. I don't think a manager needs to decide that.

    Once again that is a question of managing the stickies more than whether a common board is good or not.

    At the moment we have this display, and the only subforum at the moment is the private CR forum, and it takes up a large amout of space. I know that the admins are working on finding a solution to that though.

    I think 1 or 2 would be the best, and the worst would be option 3, since I only see less and less people posting I think that most forums will be dead if we continue and just stay isolated from each other. A common board would be like a blood transfusion to the whole region.

    I would also recommend people to take a look at the Community forum to see how the tag system is being tested, and you can also see that the tags for each subcategory are at the top of the forum so that they are easy to find.
  13. Twinnie Jedi Knight

    Just a question: why can't each regional board chose their preference? Like, we express ourselves (openly or not) in favour of or against the idea of a merge? And our decision as a community is taken into account.
    To make things clear, I think I'm about the only one from FanForce France who doesn't mind being a part of a pan-European board. But since all of the others FFFers think it's not a good idea, why impose them a merge they are not interested in?

    And I'll just take it upon myself to translate something Leola-Cad, a Swiss member of FFF posted:
    "Vu que je lis toujours très difficilement l'anglais et que je ne le parle toujours pas. Si je me retrouve sur un forum ou il faut que je cherche pendant des heures un tread parlant ma langue, je ne resterais pas longtemps."
    ---> "Since I still have a very hard time reading English and still can't speak it. If I end up on a forum where I have to search for hours for a thread in my language, I won't stay around."
  14. Skiara Sports loving Mod dressed in yellow/green

    Now, I see why it won't work for France as well as for GSFF or Sweden. Clearly, if you have a new thread for every new topic and new topics get created every other day, then the first page gets overloaded with threads of FF France. So you need your own board either way. Even if we start with option 1, we would realise that your chapter is way to active and you would get your own board.

    My favorite option is either 1 or 2. Testing out might give new views on the new structure, but I also don't like to see chapters being forced into something they clearly don't want. I just don't like option 3, because I see the great opportunity of the new structure.

    From what I see, FF France can't and don't want* to use the one European board structure. Although Lordban posted already that he prefers option 3, would option 2 be a solution as well? Just to go on... I don't think, it helps, if we focus just on FF France, since there are more FanForces that need to get asked. :)

    *mainly based on the 'can't'-reason

    (And, of course, I still hope that you might like to try joining us after some time at the new boards with a new structure. It would be cool! :) )
  15. Obi Anne Reg: Nov 98 manager

    If you tell her to look at the community forum you will see that at the top of the forum you have buttons for the different tags. The only thing you need to do is press the button and only the topics with that button will appear. So if you click a France tag only the topics tagged with France would be visible so she wouldn't have to go searching for the French topics.

    I don't think anybody is going to force everyone to join the common board, but I think it's sad if one chapter opts out. That is why we are having this discussion to see if we can find some solution and compromise between the different viewpoints.

    Also once again this thread isn't just about Europe and France it's about all of FanForce. I think it would be good for the greater discussion to hear what chapters in other regions are thinking about using tags instead of subforums.
  16. Twinnie Jedi Knight

    I guess that because of the time differences, posters from outside Europe will start posting as we Europeans go to sleep ;)

    Leola knows how the tag system work because we told her, OA. What I think is important in her post is that if we hadn't been around to tell her how the tags work, her English level isn't good enough for her to find out on her own. So if she hadn't know us already, the language barrier would have made her give up on these boards before she'd even met us.

    Remember, in Sweden and Germany you are taught English in a much more serious way than we are in France, Belgium or some other countries.
  17. Lordban Jedi Knight

    Good to know - especially about the discussion being relevant to all regions. Taking a look at the ones active here, most of them don't raise the issues Europe does, for an example, and indeed mono/bilingual and multilingual boards should be getting separate treatment in my view.

    Permanent stickies in my book should be at most two: one in the "read before you post" category (if it's relevant) and one in the "address book" category (list of introductory/social threads; library for a fiction/movie forum, and samesuch).

    I'm assuming you meant "board" all along the sentence and not "thread". Five questions in one it seems:

    - Dead board is a "I'm not going there. Is the general board active?"
    - No board is "I'll be meeting English-speakers", and in the event there are enough people who are from my region / who speak my language: "should we ask for a board?"
    - General, monolingual board is "I'll be meeting English-speakers" (or Spanish-speaking Latin-Americans for the specific case of a Latino board). "Oh, my region is/isn't represented. Nice/Sad."
    - General, multilingual board dominated by one language (would be English normally, but could be Spanish for a Latino board including Brazil) is "I'll be mostly meeting English-speakers and maybe speak in my own language; I may not be speaking to some people. Shouldn't the minority have their own place?"
    - General, multilingual board with no dominant language is "I'll join this board, but I won't be speaking to most of the people there anyway. Is there an option to sort threads?" If I don't speak English and there isn't a thread in my language on the first page, it becomes "I'm not going there."

    1), 2), 3) are, if I don't speak English, "I'm out of here"

    Don't point out 4)'s remark on minorities being inconsistent with its absence in 5): I would make the remark precisely because there'd be a clear break between the majority and the rest, which isn't the case if there is no dominance.

    Different people, different experiences :) Mine comes from moderating or managing various forms of communities in the low hundreds (High-school "vets" association, MMO guilds/alliance and relevant discussion boards), and of course from participating on other diverse boards; and in most instances I've seen the smaller cells help integration more than they hindered it. In some instances the smaller cell was the reason a person came at all.

    As it is in my book, I just don't know if this would become official policy.

    Could you please include a shot? It'd give a concrete idea of what beast we're tackling :)

    1) is my egotistical voice's choice ;) 3) is the altruistic voice's one :)
  18. emilsson Jedi Knight

    Personally, I find it easier to join a large, lively community than a small one. At the same time I also think it is paramount to set the forum(s) up in such a way that language does not become a barrier. How about,for example, a sticked index thread that includes direct links to each chapter's welcome thread?

    Of Skiara's suggested options I think number 2 is the best. I think this is a golden opportunity to try out something new that can improve FF while giving chapters the possibility to opt out if they want to.
  19. redlord CR France

    Excuse me but we cant' say it isn't about Europe only

    You propose the following :

    - European Chapters (aka the European Board with all European Chapters inside)
    - Asian Chapters (aka Asian Board with all Asian Chapters inside)
    - Oceanian Chapters (aka Oceanian Board with all Oceanian Chapters inside)
    - Subforum for the really active ones
    - USA Chapters (aka USA Board with all USA Chapters inside)
    - Subforum for the really active ones

    I see no Asian in FF board for the moment.

    So the only zone with this kind of discussion is Europe.

    Personnaly if all of you other boards wants to try pan europ Boards including all chapter UK, Spain, Sweden, Germany and every one else, I won't be the one who tell you No.
    But I prefer FFF to be outside this forum, so I choose #2
  20. Obi Anne Reg: Nov 98 manager

    I don't really understand what you mean. If you are talking about Europe being the only multilingual region I would say that is actually an advantage compared to other regions. In a monolingual region it will be more important to keep your eyes on the tags to post in a thread about your chapter. In Europe you will see straight away by the language of the thread what chapter it's about.

    And if you press the tag of your chapter you wont have to worry about stumbling into unfamiliar territory at all. :)

    I'm going to say goodnight for now. I hope that we will have regions in other time zones chiming in when it's more suitable for them.

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