XF 2.2 Automating thread sorting into "smart" forums, with expanded tagging or other system?

That'sMrsGeek2U

New member
  • Not sure if this will need to be in Add-Ons, or Suggestions eventually, so I could only think to start it here.
  • I’m going to use some generic terms like categories, tags, and such that may be something slightly different in Xenforo. In my discussion below I am using them in a more generic way, sorry for any confusion.
  • There very well may be a way to do what I’m talking about, (native or add-on) if so please point me there. It’s a thought I have had for a long time as a moderator elsewhere, I am new to building a Xenforo site from scratch. I would love to know I don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
We all understand that one of the hardest things to do is to get users to post their threads in the appropriate category/forum/section and not doing so means that their thread get less appropriate attention and often requires moderators to do a lot of cleanup work.
I keep thinking about a new way to do this that is similar to the way that smart folders really changed a lot of mail programs.

Most of us understand that these are just saved searches that present as physical folders, organizing things that in reality live elsewhere. They have the extra advantage that items can be in multiple folders, as well as being able to resort things retroactively in a non destructive way.
What if we did a similar thing in a forums where we took the categorization of threads out of the users hands for the most part and instead semi automated it through the use of smart forums and tags. So a person who is creating a new thread would be prompted to pick from a pull down of various tags. Then the system would post the thread in the relating forum or forums. A forum could be build to include post with any number of tags and created and auto populated retroactively. A thread could show in multiple forums based on multiple tags, or even a given forum by having a particular combo of tags that the forum looks for.
The multiple tags in my concept are from different types of lists, so they pick one from column A and one from column B and on as necessary. Only the initial post would contain the tags, but they could be changed or added to afterward, both for correction ease and because the thread may turn into something useful that was not there initially.
So for instance in a gardening forum the categories may look like
Type *requiredProcess *requiredClimate Zone (optional)Experience Level (optional)
TreesTransplant1First timer
AnnualsDesign2Moderate
GroundcoverRemoval3Expert
HardscapeBuying4...Professional
Other or N/AOther or N/A

Then a forum may be defined as including all post tagged with “Design” or all threads tagged with both “design” and “hardscape”.
Users could then also search for tag combos that work for them, from scratch or further filtering a given forum down.
In a parenting group, it may look like:
Age *requiredTopic *requiredAdditional Info (optional) maybe picking all that apply?
NewbornClothingSingle Parent
ToddlerSocializingTwins
School AgeRulesNeurodivergent
TeenEating/PottyBlended Family

In terms of moderation in this system, moderators could actually scan thru new posts and fix or add tags, then triggering threads to be sorted and moved by the system. Forums could be designed to encompass more tags of a quieter or newer category (like covering 2 age groups or Trees and shrubs), and then easily split or redefined later and volume of post dictate without the huge legwork of sorting and moving threads.
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
For what you are suggesting, would you even need different forums? I would use just one forum node and do this via prefixes and show a menu of prefix filters.

Or another approach would be just one forum for posting and then have various search forums.
 

That'sMrsGeek2U

New member
For what you are suggesting, would you even need different forums? I would use just one forum node and do this via prefixes and show a menu of prefix filters.

Or another approach would be just one forum for posting and then have various search forums.
In some ways yeah, similar to leaving everything in you mail inbox and basically ignoring it and just having a good set of smart mailboxes created. Though of course we can only have one prefix, so that exact technique would not work, it would been a more powerful tagging feature.
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
Though of course we can only have one prefix
There is an addon:


Or you can do it with a combination of prefixes and tags, however tags would need to be controlled by admin, e.g. kind of approved preset tags only if you are going to create a kind of navigation menu. In my experience users are often too random with tags.

BTW it's easy to create a prefix menu, either by addon or some simple template edits:


View media item 2042
See live here:

 
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Mr Lucky

Well-known member
I was thinking more aboutb this, and found an intersting thread which is food for more thought.

 
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