Lack of interest [Suggestion] Get rid of Time as the main criterion to display content


New member
The main problem of forum software is that the concept of "forum" means that time will be the main criterion to display content. Time is certainly relevant when it comes to news, as in Associated Press or a newscast, but if the purpose of your software is to enable a community, time is a very bad predictor of what is *relevant* to a member: there is nothing more annoying than finding an old and probably stupid thread in the number one position just because some guy made a new (and probably inane) comment to it, propelling it to the top. So the challenge is to arrange content by socially constructed criteria rather than just blindly going with time, which means you have to get rid of the forums. Examples of a content community based not on time but on a socially constructed relevancy are Digg or Reddit, you see there that content is mostly diachronic, and time has been replaced by voting as an indicator of social relevance. Time of course is still a factor, but works better associated with a social element -- for instance, it would be nice to see the latest (time element) stuff your friends have done, both in terms of posts or comments, those are relevant to you. Another obvious criterion to display relevant content is the category or topic, and this seems to be covered by the "forum" concept, but unfortunately is not efficient because it is not a pure topic criteria but is burdened by the time-based format of the forum. Another problem of the "forums" idea is that in a community there will be many topics and you cannot create a forum for each of them. So the ideal way to present content should be by socially relevant criteria like category, tag, content rating, number of views, number of comments, relationship to the author (is this a friend, are you subscribing to this user, are subscribed to the thread, is this from a user you have blocked, etc), reputation of the author, but not a limited number of forums that believe content is relevant just because it's new. Each member should be able to filter posts and comments to his own customized mix of variables. So the best "forum" software in my opinion will be the one that gets rid of the "forum and subforum" structure in favor of displaying posts and comments organized by rating, author reputation, friendship, number of views, comments, etc. and then yes, time will be important but only to calculate the previous criteria (for instance "Top Rated Posts of the last 48 hours, week" etc.). The Frontpage would have a tabbed block so that all new posts can be seen preceded by the category icon, number of votes, views and comments, and buttons to filter by most recent, by category, by most views, comments, points, see only my stuff / my friends, etc.

Everybody sing along:

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one: Imagine there's no forums, it's easy if you try, no time criteria, only relevant stuff.

Using forums to organize information is very much like the "Web Directory" idea Yahoo had for organizing the web , and you know what happened to Yahoo when Google came with no directories but an automated formula for relevance. You need to think of the software not as a "forum", but software to enable a community of shared information. Get rid of the "fora" and have the main page be a listing of posts and comments with several pull down menus to filter the contents displayed by category, points, views, comments, friendship, etc.

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
The main problem of forum software is that the concept of "forum" means that time will be the main criterion to display content.
There are so many problems with forums really.
Forums are for back and forth chit chat discussion.
They don't facilitate accomplishing anything. They encourage chit-chat communities but not goal-oriented communities. The world has, IMO, never seen a Next Generation Community Platform that encourages distributed groups of people to accomplish things.
I have a "very good feeling" that Xenforo will make great strides in making Next Generation Communities. I don't know if their vision will go far enough toward the structures I am interested in. It does seem I have waited years and years for some good software to emerge. It hasn't happened.
Concepts like Alerts (which I've never thought about) and Pages (which I have been thinking about for 5 years) tell me that xenforo has a forward thinking vision.

If you PM/Convo me with the type of content you'll be dealing with and what types of things you want your community to
But you are definitely right, threads filtering to the top, just because someone replied, " LOL :) " is good for a community chatting about Justin Beiber (sp?) but not for a community that wants to "Get Things Done". A good example how forums fail communities, is THIS forum. Hardly does the current xenforo itself facilitate documenting, organizing, and presenting information to further facilitate it's own progress. As well, part of the problem is ... there are just too many threads, with little organization and structure. It is the forum structure itself that encourages countless thread after thread to be created.

Anyway, I gotta work !
I'm documenting alot of my ideas, so I can present them eventually. I can tell that quite a few members here and at vBulletin want a Next Generation Information Community. I'm not sure if I should start my own software from scratch, find a top notch addon developer, pitch the ideas to the XF Devs, all of the above. Lots to think about.