This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

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Does this forum need vertical flattening?

Poll ended at Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:30 pm

- Yes, there main section as too many campaign worlds and should be sub-divided.
3
18%
- No I'm fine with the way things are.
14
82%
 
Total votes: 17

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shesheyan
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This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by shesheyan » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:30 pm

I've said this before. Twice I believe. Not having dedicated sections per genre of campaign worlds really doesn't help. For exemple the first sci-fi game in the campaign worlds appears in 15th position after much scrolling down. A casual visitor, passing by, will look at the top sections on his computer screen (even worst smart phone) and conclude this forum is only for old school TSR D&D. So he/she will go elsewhere... the list of campaign worlds is now too long to be listed in a single section. It wasn't the case at the beginning and it worked fine. But having to scroll down a lot every time to go look at the campaign world is really not a fun experience. The more worlds you add the worst it gets. The solution is rather simple to implement. This forum needs vertical flattening urgently ! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Don't see this as a rant but a constructive critique.

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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Big Mac » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:43 pm

We used to have an Other Worlds section (like the old Wizards Community Boards) and people said that the campaign settings in there were less visible.

The current arrangement of having all the campaign settings together was put in place as a response to that.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "vertical flattening". I'm assuming you would want the admins to create additional sections and then move some of the existing forums into those sections.

That makes the verticle hight less, but does mean that subforums become less visible from the front page. The size of subforums is smaller and it isn't possible for users to see forum icons and forum descriptions, unless they click through to a section. And that is the thing that was complained about before.

Essentially there are two counter-arguments for branches with subsections and one big section.

If we do split things up, the campaign settings are going to stay in the order they are in, so there is always going to be the risk that someone could browse in and not see Ghostwalk, Eberron or Nentir Vale, because they were all published later than the TSR settings. But if they are specifically looking for WotC campaign settings, I'd expect a lot of them to come in on the back of a search engine search for "Ghostwalk forum", "Eberron forum" or "Nentir Vale forum".
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by agathokles » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:21 pm

I think Shesheyan proposes something like:
  • Campaign Worlds
    • TSR-era D&D Campaign Settings (Mystara, Spelljammer, Forgotten Realms, etc.)
    • WotC-era D&D Campaign Settings (Nentir Vale, Eberron, etc.)
    • Other Fantasy RPG Settings (World of Warcraft, Scarred Lands, Calidar, etc.)
    • Non-fantasy RPG Settings (Gamma World, Call of Cthulhu, Traveller, etc.)
    • Other Worlds
    • Homebrew Worlds
GP

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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Dragonhelm » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:23 pm

agathokles wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:21 pm
I think Shesheyan proposes something like:
  • Campaign Worlds
    • TSR-era D&D Campaign Settings (Mystara, Spelljammer, Forgotten Realms, etc.)
    • WotC-era D&D Campaign Settings (Nentir Vale, Eberron, etc.)
    • Other Fantasy RPG Settings (World of Warcraft, Scarred Lands, Calidar, etc.)
    • Non-fantasy RPG Settings (Gamma World, Call of Cthulhu, Traveller, etc.)
    • Other Worlds
    • Homebrew Worlds
GP
Please do not split up the D&D settings into two different categories. It's the D&D multiverse. That's what WotC refers to it as in the 5e DMG. There's bound to be crossover, and some settings fell under both eras.

I may have more to say after a bit. Got to think this one over.
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Dragonhelm » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:27 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:43 pm
If we do split things up, the campaign settings are going to stay in the order they are in, so there is always going to be the risk that someone could browse in and not see Ghostwalk, Eberron or Nentir Vale, because they were all published later than the TSR settings. But if they are specifically looking for WotC campaign settings, I'd expect a lot of them to come in on the back of a search engine search for "Ghostwalk forum", "Eberron forum" or "Nentir Vale forum".
Why must they stay in that order? Quite honestly, I find it harder to find the forums I'm looking for. I'd rather the campaign worlds be ordered alphabetically.
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by willpell » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:50 pm

The poll isn't going great for the OP, but I voted "fine the way things are" only because that's true, not because I'm actively opposed to a change (other than that it would probably involve breaking the forum's current functionality in order to rebuild it).

Maybe a stickied navigation thread at the top of all the boards would be a better solution.

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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Sturm » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:40 am

I voted no for now but realistically with new forum created it will probably be necessary at some point. Also I think Campaign Worlds should be listed in order of popularity, with Mystara and Spelljammer on top.
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:10 am

agathokles wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:21 pm
I think Shesheyan proposes something like:
  • Campaign Worlds
    • TSR-era D&D Campaign Settings (Mystara, Spelljammer, Forgotten Realms, etc.)
    • WotC-era D&D Campaign Settings (Nentir Vale, Eberron, etc.)
    • Other Fantasy RPG Settings (World of Warcraft, Scarred Lands, Calidar, etc.)
    • Non-fantasy RPG Settings (Gamma World, Call of Cthulhu, Traveller, etc.)
    • Other Worlds
    • Homebrew Worlds
GP
Even if The Piazza did go backwards and shunt campaign settings into subforums, I don't think there is ever going to be a TSR vs WotC split here. The Piazza is a no school community covering both old school and new school editions of D&D.
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:18 am

Dragonhelm wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:27 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:43 pm
If we do split things up, the campaign settings are going to stay in the order they are in, so there is always going to be the risk that someone could browse in and not see Ghostwalk, Eberron or Nentir Vale, because they were all published later than the TSR settings. But if they are specifically looking for WotC campaign settings, I'd expect a lot of them to come in on the back of a search engine search for "Ghostwalk forum", "Eberron forum" or "Nentir Vale forum".
Why must they stay in that order? Quite honestly, I find it harder to find the forums I'm looking for. I'd rather the campaign worlds be ordered alphabetically.
Whatever order forums go into, there is always someone who has to scroll down the page. The forum icons (which you have helped with) help people find the worlds they are interested in).

People can use CTRL+F (or CMD+F) to jump straight down to any forum they want to get to.

And people can jump directly into the forum of a campaign setting they are interested in, if they bookmark the direct link or if they come in on the back of a Google search for that campaign setting.
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:30 am

willpell wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:50 pm
The poll isn't going great for the OP, but I voted "fine the way things are" only because that's true, not because I'm actively opposed to a change (other than that it would probably involve breaking the forum's current functionality in order to rebuild it).
There is never going to be one way that works for everyone.

I've helped with change in the past and I will help with change in the future, but there is also an element of the creation of The Piazza to consider here.

Back in 2008, when staff at the Wizards COMmunity Boards/Gleemax decided to get rid of the subforums in their Other Worlds section, Ashtagon decided to recreate that demolished community area over here.

The Piazza has moved well beyond the small number of forums it was set up to replace now, but the Campaign Worlds order is a reflection of what Astagon saved. So, while The Piazza needs to constantly evolve to meet the needs of the community, there is also an element of preserving our heritage to be considered.
willpell wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:50 pm
Maybe a stickied navigation thread at the top of all the boards would be a better solution.
You mean like Ashtagon's Finding the right forum for your posts topic, in The Philosopher's Stone? :)
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:07 pm

Sturm wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:40 am
I voted no for now but realistically with new forum created it will probably be necessary at some point. Also I think Campaign Worlds should be listed in order of popularity, with Mystara and Spelljammer on top.
There is actually a slight element of that going on, but I don't think it would be good to go by popularity alone.

As I just said in a reply to Willpell, there is our heriatage to consider, but there is also the fact that going purely by popularity would involve shuffling forums up and down on a regular basis. And that wouldn't work for someone like Dragonhelm.

Anyhoo, what we had before was:
  • Campaign Worlds
    • <big setting>
    • <big setting>
    • <big setting>
    • <etc>
    • Other Worlds
      • <small setting>
      • <small setting>
      • <small setting>
      • <etc>
The Piazza started off with a recreation of Other Worlds, from the WotC forums, but people asked for some Other Worlds settings that were more popular than settings outside the Other Worlds forum to get moved out of Other Worlds.

There was a bit of shuffling over the years. I know that Ravenloft got shunted into Other Worlds to make space for something else. And I think that Dark Sun might have been shuffled in there as well, at one point.

Some folks complained about not being able to find the forums that were inside Other Worlds despite the fact that every single forum name appears on the Board Index and despite the fact that a CTRL+F (or CMD+F) search has always helped people find anything from the Board Index.

So, after a lot of discussion in the private moderator team, some volunteers were found and we pushed through the "great forum reorganisation". Lots of forums were moved, but we also had to have moderators moving individual topics. It was about a week's work (and would have been about a months work for one person).

What happened with Campaign Settings is that all the small settings in Other Worlds were moved to the bottom of the Campaign Settings forum. So we have popular D&D settings grouped at the top, popular non-D&D settings next and less popular settings below them.
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by shesheyan » Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:19 pm

Is it possible to do collapsible sections like the below? Its very user friendly. You can open/close the threads as you visit the forum. It reduces scrolling greatly. In the first picture all section are collapsed. In the second I opened the section I want to read. Several forums I visit have changed to this type of visual organization.

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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:05 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:19 pm
Is it possible to do collapsible sections like the below? Its very user friendly. You can open/close the threads as you visit the forum. It reduces scrolling greatly. In the first picture all section are collapsed. In the second I opened the section I want to read. Several forums I visit have changed to this type of visual organization.
The Battletech Forums are running on Simple Machines software. That's not the same software that The Piazza uses.

Anything actually involving reprogramming of the server is going to have to wait until after the Search Engine Index is rebuilt and we get Ashtagon's bespoke Table Tag fixed.
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by willpell » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:30 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:30 am
You mean like Ashtagon's Finding the right forum for your posts topic, in The Philosopher's Stone? :)
Except that a subforum named "The Philosopher's Stone" is not obviously the first place that a newcomer would think to go, to find out what other places exist for them to go to.

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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Sock Puppet » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:38 pm

When the philosopher's stone was made, it was one of a tiny handful of boards immediately visible at the top level. There was a slight change since then.
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Angel Tarragon » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:15 pm

I think if anything the settings need to be alphabetized, at least for the ease of finding them quickly.
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Big Mac » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:46 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:15 pm
I think if anything the settings need to be alphabetized, at least for the ease of finding them quickly.
I'm afraid that can not happen.

But as both you and Dragonhelm have asked for it to happen, I will explain why.

The Piazza was set up (by Ashtagon) as a replacement for the Wizards of the Coast forums for out of print D&D settings. She also added in-print D&D settings.

So here was The Piazza: "The forum for discussing the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons".

Then people asked if Ashtagon would host forums for non-D&D settings. She said yes, so we have some forums here that do not fit the primary role of the forum. They were put into the Other Worlds forum along with small D&D forums, that never had representation at the Wizards COMmunity Boards.

Then there was a request to take that stuff out of Other Worlds. That was agreed to, as well.

That put us in the current position where we have D&D campaign settings at the top of this forum and other stuff below it.

Now we have a "I've told you to do this twice, but you have not done it" complaint, where other people have jumped onboard and asked for mutually conflicting things.

The forums are not going to be put into alphabetical order, because that would put things like Call of Cthulhu and Gamma World above all but three of the D&D worlds The Piazza was set up to support.

And putting forums like Call of Cthulhu at the top of the page, and requiring Mystara fans to scroll half way down the page, is not really logical, when Call of Cthulhu only has 373 posts and Mystara has had 53,218 posts.

Now, if everything below Nentir Vale was thrown back into Other Worlds we could get rid of the problem of non-D&D stuff "floating to the top".

It would be theoretically possible to reorder the 14 large D&D forums that run from Blackmoor to Nentir Vale.

And it would be possible to resort the 20 off-topic and small D&D forums that would be hidden inside Other Worlds.

But I don't buy into the idea of keeping everything in Campaign Worlds and sorting it alphabetically.

Having said that, even if 20 settings were hidden back inside Other Worlds I still don't think it's going to help smartphone users avoid "thumbitis". They are going to have to click to get through to another forum and scrolling would still be required for both Campaign Settings and Other Worlds.

And for added fun, all those people who are claiming that the current order makes it hard to find settings, are going to have to guess which of who places a campaign setting might be located in.

So there are pros and cons to sorting the settings alphabetically. And there are also pros and cons to splitting up the collection of campaign settings and converting "vertical hight" into "horizontal width".

I'm not saying that nothing is going to change. The Piazza has evolved several times before, but if a change is going to make one user happier and make another user sadder it's not an "obvious improvement". Changes have to come down to weighing up all the pros and cons and seeing if the number of pros outweigh the cons enough to make the work involved worthwhile.
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by Big Mac » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:52 pm

willpell wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:30 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:30 am
You mean like Ashtagon's Finding the right forum for your posts topic, in The Philosopher's Stone? :)
Except that a subforum named "The Philosopher's Stone" is not obviously the first place that a newcomer would think to go, to find out what other places exist for them to go to.
The forum blurb says: "Welcome area for new members...."

There will always be new people who arrive in any community and don't quite understand how things are organised, when they arrive. That's why every community needs people to be nice to newbies and help them find their way around. (And now you know your way around, you might be able to point a few new people in the right direction.)
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Re: This forum needs vertical flattening urgently

Post by shesheyan » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:16 pm

---- snip ----

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