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(Post Link) post #1 of 8 Old 28-02-07 Thread Starter
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Topic control policy

I couldn't help noticing that many topics with the same subject appear over and over again, for instance the dreaded "cambelt failure" topic. This is obviously because of the the forum's policy on topic control. On the other hand, in the forum where i am an administrator we have a different policy: we try to keep popular subjects in one topic each; especially technical subjects.

Which policy do you think is the best? Each has its pros and cons:

Many short topics policy
Pros
- Smaller topics, easy to read.
- More friendly to the new user.
- Gives people more chance to reply, even if someone said the same things in the past.
- Less work for the mods.

Cons
- Topics get buried to the 2nd page in very short time, so many people don't get a chance to see them and reply. I suspect that most see only the first page, even if they have unread topics in the next ones.
- Lots of information gets easily lost and you have to be very good at forum search to find it.
- A topic often gets very few replies before it sinks to the hind pages. This can be frustrating to its author.

Less long topics policy
Pros
- Information easier to find, you know which topic to look.
- Whole forum much more compact and easier to browse for something specific.
- Much less information duplication, easier to see if someone has already said what you're about to say.
- You can easily download & print a whole topic and study it at your leisure being sure that it contains everything that has been said about a specific subject.

Cons
- Much more work for the mods that will need to merge or lock/delete dupicate topics.
- Less new user friendly. Some users may be intimidated or even offended if the topic they started is merged, locked or deleted.
- Topics may become huge and reach hundreds or even thousands of pages, like the "Alfa Wave" one.
- Forum traffic gets much less with time, and many people may get bored and leave because they feel that they have said everything there is to say and read overything there is to read.

I'm not trying to suggest that AO's topic control is "bad" and should be changed, i would just like to hear some opinions.

"Black holes are where God divided by zero." - Steven Wright
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Re: Topic control policy

I think that there could be an FAQ in each model lounge and anything that the FAQ doesn't cover can be asked about.

Thing is if you have something like that it's a fine line between stating a fact and an opinion. Could be on shakey legal ground if anybody takes the advice screws up their car and then blames ao.com and sues ian.

Not good
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Wave Re: Topic control policy

Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostyDog View Post
Could be on shakey legal ground if anybody takes the advice screws up their car and then blames ao.com and sues ian.

Not good
They wont get much from us, however, seriously, this is another reason why this forum is a limited company, its expensive but keeps me out of trouble.

Ian

Last edited by alfaowner; 20-03-07 at 21:16. Reason: spelling
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Re: Topic control policy

I think some topics are "seasonal" and it's ok to have similar threads going as they provide a snapshot of ideas and feelings about a certain topic from the AO community at a certain time.

Having said that, technical topics are being kept "together" in some sticky threads, so I think all in all it's working pretty well.
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Re: Topic control policy

Having been a member of the forum for just over a year now, I have begun to notice that certain topics reappear. However, I personally dont mind this, as within that year new members, with different experiences have joined, so it enables them to make a contribution.

The danger of just putting say all cambelt posts on one enormous thread is that it would be difficult to read, and eventaully the froum would become stagnant, like a book, as there would be no new posts, peole would just be reading all the old ones.
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Re: Topic control policy

Some repeated questions must be out of sheer laziness, but I wonder if there aren't many that aren't simply because they don't know exactly what keywords they should be looking for (cambelt vs cam belt vs timing belt vs ***** belts vs ....) or how the search function works.

To help people find what they're looking for (without adding repeated answers to repeated questions), and to encourage use of the search function generally, I've often wanted to post links to forum searches. BUT the resulting URL shows a search id rather than the keywords, so I don't post it in expectation that that id will expire before the visitor uses it. Am I right about this and/or is there a way of putting the keywords in the query string?

Another possible benefit of using search function links is that guests need to register to see the information, hence bringing more people into the fold?
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Re: Topic control policy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Padders View Post
Some repeated questions must be out of sheer laziness, but I wonder if there aren't many that aren't simply because they don't know exactly what keywords they should be looking for (cambelt vs cam belt vs timing belt vs ***** belts vs ....) or how the search function works.

To help people find what they're looking for (without adding repeated answers to repeated questions), and to encourage use of the search function generally, I've often wanted to post links to forum searches. BUT the resulting URL shows a search id rather than the keywords, so I don't post it in expectation that that id will expire before the visitor uses it. Am I right about this and/or is there a way of putting the keywords in the query string?

Another possible benefit of using search function links is that guests need to register to see the information, hence bringing more people into the fold?
Bump.

Anyone have any ideas how to do this?
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Re: Topic control policy

As a workaround you could just post the search keys,
and also direct links to any of the specific results you wanted to emphasise?

Cheers,
TB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Padders View Post
Bump.

Anyone have any ideas how to do this?
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