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Is it Better to Have Lots of Forums or Just a Few?

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by Adam Tinsley, Mar 27, 2014.

  1. Adam Tinsley

    Adam Tinsley New Member

    I'm just getting my first forum site set up and I was just wanting to see what yall think about whether it's better to have a lot of specific forums or just a few more general forums.

    I'm starting a mountain biking forum and I can think of a lot of forum topics (regional forums, forums for different manufactures, different bike types or riding styles, accessories... the list goes on).

    I was just wanting to get some opinions from some that have more experience about whether it's better to have a forum for everything or try to keep it simpler and have just a few. I've even thought about having just one forum so the home page just has threads on it. I probably wont go that route though. What's got me thinking is it seems like on the forums I visit the "General" category is always one of the most popular so I'm wondering if people don't really like to have to pick a forum to post in and would rather there be fewer choices.

    I realize this is subjective and there's no one size fits all here. Just wanting to know what other people are seeing.
  2. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

    I think one of the biggest mistakes new forum owners make is having far too many nodes. The first thing that happens is they see how quickly posts aren't being made in every single section and get discouraged. Start small, focus on a limited number of nodes and expand as the demand see's it.

    Also... prefixes are hugely under-rated I feel, if you use certain prefixes and you see it's becoming a hot area which could use it's own node, select all the threads with that prefix -> move to new node :D.
  3. tajhay

    tajhay Well-Known Member

  4. TheBigK

    TheBigK Well-Known Member

  5. AndyB

    AndyB Well-Known Member

    The purpose of forums is to organize threads. Put the most popular forums first. Start off with a basic set of forums and add more as you see fit.
  6. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    Keep it small to begin with, use prefixes (like @Russ has said). As the site becomes busier and expands, you'll see which prefixes are used the most and these are the areas to look at expanding into when the time is right.
  7. Adam Tinsley

    Adam Tinsley New Member

    That makes a lot of sense. I actually didn't know about the prefixes feature, but that's a great idea to expand that way based on interest.Thanks!
  8. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Well-Known Member

    Overall, the smaller number of forums to start with the better. I started a motorcycle forum and have topics for almost every manufacturer of the popular styles (cruiser, sport, touring, adventure, trikes and standards) and none of them really get used (of course, I don't have that many users on it either as I haven't done a lot of "advertising" for it anywhere).
    My Linux site is a little more limited but even it have several "flavor" areas - but I've also used Prefixes heavily in some. The main reason in the different distributions (say of Debian) I did't use prefixes for them is there is no real simple quick means for filtering (searching) based upon the prefixes. The end user has to know to go to Advanced search and then choose Thread Prefixes and then the appropriate forum. It would be simpler if from the basic search that thread prefixes were available.
  9. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    Just click the prefix. ;)
  10. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure it matters all that much how many forums you have; most people tend to hit New posts - negating the "organisation" altogether.
  11. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Well-Known Member

    Really? Can you show me where that "prefix" is on the basic search? :whistle:

    Perhaps after you perform a basic search it will show up and allow you to drill down - but that is still not "user friendly".
    User Friendly would be having the option to search a selectable prefix on the box shown. :p
    I know you can go into the node itself and click on it... but that still is not user friendly. Having a tab at the top with all prefixes would be (and I know there was an add-on that allowed that but I am talking core feature currently).

    This is user friendly
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
  12. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    Surely most prefixes are forum-specific anyway? You wouldn't have Apache prefixes across the whole site would you? So if someone is looking for something Apache specific, they'd naturally go to the Web Server Software forum and it's only a single click (on the first visible Apache prefix) from there.

    I agree that for site-wide prefixes it would be useful to have a more direct (simpler) route, such as the tabs you suggested. Also, that making them available in the search (to selectively bring back results within a prefix / group of prefixes) might be useful for those sites that rely on prefixes at lot; I'm just not sure how many site actually rely on prefixes to such an extent, and if I had to guess I would suggest it would only be a few?

    Might be useful to suggest it though (if you, or someone else hasn't done so already). (y)
  13. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Well-Known Member

    Let's see... in the motorcycle forum I have Honda could apply to Touring Bikes, Cruisers, Sport Bikes, Scooters or Trikes. Almost the same with Harley, Yamaha or Suzuki. :D
    And the problem with "first visible prefix" is it could be on page 3 or 10. Easier to have it either from the search itself directly or tabbed at the top of the forum like the add-on does.

    That's the main reason I never implemented on the MC site I have.

    I'll have to dig through the suggestion area and see if it's been mentioned and if not, make one.
    CyclingTribe likes this.

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