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Forum Communities .. moving beyond Threads.

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
#1
Seems so restrictive.
Form follows function.
Form follows function is a principle associated with modern architecture and industrial design in the 20th century. The principle is that the shape of a building or object should be primarily based upon its intended function or purpose.
I think the next innovation in communities is moving beyond threads.
I think Guiltar is helping this with the wiki posts.
What do you think should be next ?
 

craigiri

Well-known member
#2
The problem here is the perception of admins and experts vs. the reality of users!

Most users don't know the difference between all these things...nor how to use them! For instance, I have 20,000+ registered users and have had a wiki for 5 years....with lots of links to it, etc.

Guess how many have posted stuff? Probably a dozen.

Innovation is not innovation unless it actually works where the rubber meets the road. In terms of forums you must remember we have not covered the basic yet! That is, good (fuzzy) search, related threads, etc. have not been done right yet!

I don't think there is anything new under the sun - just clearer ways of implementation so people use it. Apps on a smart phone are really often nothing but "bookmarks of a web page", but they are more easily accessible.

So, what will people really use? I say mostly forums - with perhaps the usual (galleries, fixed articles, etc.) taking up the rear.
 

MagnusB

Well-known member
#3
That is, good (fuzzy) search, related threads, etc. have not been done right yet!
I would love to see a forum package that delivers good search results. I am sorry to say it, but Xenforo searches are especially bad. Even when I search for the exact topic title, I don't always get a hit, and more often than not a word in the thread has more weight than the topic title. I have even used Google to search for a topic on this site where I knew the exact title, word for word, as they default search couldn't handle it.

Otherwise, I agree, I think forums will evolve, but the basic premise will stay the same. A wiki is more a special interest thing, it is not a way to communicate, it is a way to collaborate. A forum is more than that, it is not something that only shares knowledge, but also allows for a good way to discuss the knowledge. I ran a site for a small group of friends a while back where we had a wiki, though nearly nothing was added in to it except the stuff I was adding my self, while most others used the forum, cause then it could be vetted by other members, or maybe even correcting minor flaws.
 

AzzidReign

Well-known member
#4
I think forums should start doing what SlickDeals.net has done for years and have a wiki post for the 2nd post. Or combine wiki and forums and have the ability to have "community sections" (through the node settings so not every forum is set up like that) where the first post acts as a wiki but have replies below it.
 

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
#5
galleries (certainly as implemented in forums) are passe. Very little use, except for photography sites. Album-based galleries seem ancient to me. An Instagram integrated photo stream could be entertaining for users. Photopost ? 99% useless.

The problem here is the perception of admins and experts vs. the reality of users!
ALLLLLways important.

Most users don't know the difference between all these things...nor how to use them! For instance, I have 20,000+ registered users and have had a wiki for 5 years....with lots of links to it, etc.
Guess how many have posted stuff? Probably a dozen.
Every wiki ever made is either too complicated (mediawiki) or single user.
Most wikis should be abandoned for an admin-directed collection of HTML pages.

Innovation is not innovation unless it actually works where the rubber meets the road. In terms of forums you must remember we have not covered the basic yet!
Great point !

That is, good (fuzzy) search, related threads, etc. have not been done right yet!
I've said this 100 times.
Searching for stuff with forum-based search tools is *atrocious* and has never been done well. Ever. Xenforo replicates the failed methods all the other forums use. No innovation there.

I don't think there is anything new under the sun - just clearer ways of implementation so people use it.
I think forums are missing alot. Your site is an excellent example.

So, what will people really use? I say mostly forums - with perhaps the usual (galleries, fixed articles, etc.) taking up the rear.
Forums will always be popular. The ease of replying (contributing) is the driving force. Wikis are extremely unpopular as contributing is difficult. Threads become useless very quickly as the information becomes unfindable or too slow to find. Wikis make information more organized, but no one uses them.

FYI: Guiltar's upcoming wiki will be a unique wiki. If implemented well, it could be a game changer.

I think forums should start doing what SlickDeals.net has done for years and have a wiki post for the 2nd post. Or combine wiki and forums and have the ability to have "community sections" (through the node settings so not every forum is set up like that) where the first post acts as a wiki but have replies below it.
SlickDeals.net - great example.

You'll be happy to know Guiltar is making just that.
I've demo'd the current iteration and it's looking great. As the wiki development heats up I am going to try to keep him on the right path. I do have confidence he's got the jist of what a good wiki is anyway. I'm just hoping to add some whip cream on top to make it that much more delicious. But not too much whip cream to make the patrons bloated. :)

====
Any creative minds out there ?
So far we have Posts, Wiki-like Posts.

Any other content gems out there that a forum-based community needs ?
C'mon ... think hard people !!!
 

craigiri

Well-known member
#7
The search problem illustrates the real problem underlying ALL of this....

That is, basically the storage of objects and their retreival.

As an example, my users upload thousands of images into posts. Those images cannot easily be found and sorted out (goog does a decent job on the whole net!), but information is still hard to get at!

Look at Facebook! Hundreds of millions of users adding content, and 99% of it just going away into the abyss!

Goog has more the right idea - the way they have integrated photos (panaramio) inside their maps and goog earth - and also integrated Wikipedia icons into their maps, so you can find out what is nearby.

As it stands now, we (admins, etc.) have to steer the input and output of information....but I see a future where both community intelligence and software do a lot more of the work to "mine" the stuff that is already there!
 

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
#8
The search problem illustrates the real problem underlying ALL of this.... That is, basically the storage of objects and their retreival.
Indeed. Retrieval is easy when the storage has relevant structure. So .. IMO ... structure is the issue.
As an example, my users upload thousands of images into posts. Those images cannot easily be found and sorted out (goog does a decent job on the whole net!), but information is still hard to get at!
Excellent example.
I find xenforo images by using Google !
Goog has more the right idea - the way they have integrated photos (panaramio) inside their maps and goog earth - and also integrated Wikipedia icons into their maps, so you can find out what is nearby.
Good example of an obvious thing to do.
As it stands now, we (admins, etc.) have to steer the input and output of information....
Yep.
but I see a future where both community intelligence and software do a lot more of the work to "mine" the stuff that is already there!
Such as ... ?
An example would prove the point ! (Mr. Reality of the users!) :)

If content is king, structure is everything !
 

craigiri

Well-known member
#9
Unfortunately, google and bing are the other quickie examples I can think of! The intelligence of such search engines is far above what KAM or any small team could produce or implement.

But, still, some tools like the tagging system may help.

In the end, the next realistic step may be for google to allow better (invisible) integration of their system into other systems using API's. I just don't see anything else evolving quickly enough to do the job!

And you?
 

craigiri

Well-known member
#10
As simple as it seems. the little template edit (add-on) which I just installed "find unanswered threads" is a MAJOR step for my community. Allowing community members to become more involved through basic sort and search intelligence is a must. That's why I am amazed that XF doesn't implement some add-ons here to help us help each other (they want to remain pure, so to speak, as opposed to better serving the community".
 

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
#11
Thanks craigiri. I often think of your site as an example of a site that has more content focus than the vast majority of sites. This content focus ... amongst other things such as how long your site has been around are major factors why your site is and will be successful as long as you want it to be.
I will address this. But I'm still hoping for some more thoughts from Cyberspace before I blab on about how I feel on this. :) Set +Watch here plz. :)
 

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
#12
You ninja'd me. I guess I did think about it too long.

As simple as it seems. the little template edit (add-on) which I just installed "find unanswered threads" is a MAJOR step for my community.
Excellent example.
Better than tags. Tags get too large too quickly ... making them relatively useless.
A key feature of better structure is that time makes it better.
Allowing community members to become more involved through basic sort and search intelligence is a must. That's why I am amazed that XF doesn't implement some add-ons here to help us help each other (they want to remain pure, so to speak, as opposed to better serving the community".
I think Xenforo would be smart to use some of the addons in the RM. :) Historically, that hasn't been the culture.
BBL. If I don't pick up the Thai food in 10 min my wife is going to kill me. :)
 

erich37

Well-known member
#14
As simple as it seems. the little template edit (add-on) which I just installed "find unanswered threads" is a MAJOR step for my community. Allowing community members to become more involved through basic sort and search intelligence is a must. That's why I am amazed that XF doesn't implement some add-ons here to help us help each other (they want to remain pure, so to speak, as opposed to better serving the community".
could you please point me to this "find unanswered threads" add-on ?

Thanks a lot !
 

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
#16
images, people love images.....
Pinterest and Instagram show the power of images themselves.

A cool idea might be for a site to have it's own instagram-integrated images. Members would compete daily to upload the best image and the image with the most likes from that day or whichever image the admin / moderator selected would be uploaded to the site's instagram feed.

Is there an instagram for windows ? Can you get instagram feeds to show up in email ?
Hmmmm.....
 

craigiri

Well-known member
#18
I think well-designed non-thread structures are easy to accomplish.

Default Xenforo (and most other forums) is just threads and poorly designed polls.
Surely that can't be it ?
That very well may be it!

Has human to human verbal or written conversation changed in the last couple of thousand years? Will it? I doubt it.....

A mistake can be made when thinking that a revolution in communication infrastructure = a big change in the way People Are.