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Forum Improvement ?

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Forum Improvement ?

Hi,

Been playing with your (our) Forums a lot lately - reading, mostly.

One improvement you might like to consider is a "Related Topics" button.

Lots of threads have similar content and sometimes questions have already been answered elsewhere. If the Moderators could link these "new" topics to the older ones, it might help a lot. A search isn't always successful as threads often start off with totally different names.

The forums are great fun but I gather they're quite new and groWING. By linking topics to older, related topics, useful information might be kept more in the "public eye", as it were.

Just a thought. Cheesy
14 REPLIES
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Forum Improvement ?

Yeah - that's a good idea. So we don't get too many identical posts asking the same question.

I think it's a simple phpbb hack.

Btw - this is going to be moved to Ideas+Suggestions by a mod I think...Smiley
jberry
Grafter
Posts: 1,886
Registered: 08-06-2007

Forum Improvement ?

Got that it one Cheesy

I'll have a word with Ian about this tommorow but can't see why this can't be done if phpBB allows it.
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Forum Improvement ?

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Btw - this is going to be moved to Ideas+Suggestions by a mod I think...

Tee hee... should I be Shockedops: or should I say that it underlines the fact that a lot of us don't look before we post and don't do a search first, either. Cheesy
Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: 05-04-2007

Forum Improvement ?

I have no idea how we would do this...

I don't see it needs a Modification to phpBB, surely it would just be a case of people replying to a thread with a list of related posts from other threads?

This is a great idea, perhaps you could explain a bit more about how you think it should work?

The other thing I'm working on is some sticky posts for some of the forums which cover the most commonly asked questions (Although i'm trying to avoid an FAQ style). What I hope to exapnd that to is a situation where we have a forum for user contributed tutorials and answers which answer all fo the questions that come up here...
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Forum Improvement ?

Oh what I meant was there's a phpbb addon which displays "Similar posts" at the bottom (it runs a search for the title of the thread).
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Forum Improvement ?

I was thinking of an extra button at the bottom next to "New Topic" and "Post Reply" marked "Related Topics"

The problem I forsee with just anyone creating links willy-nilly is that the whole thing could get out of hand and a lot of people won't bother to follow the links if they prove irrelevant. If the moderators ONLY add carefully considered links available at the touch of a button then these will be more useful.

I accept that a lot of topics will come up "no related threads"... of course, the button could be dynamic? Take it a bit further and someone could write a program to search for related topics, generate the links and (maybe) prompt the moderators to say Yes or No to an automatic system?
Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: 05-04-2007

Forum Improvement ?

Have you got a link?

It sounds very hit and miss to be honest, but I will certainly take a look and have a play on my test forum.

Regards,
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Forum Improvement ?

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The other thing I'm working on is some sticky posts for some of the forums which cover the most commonly asked questions (Although i'm trying to avoid an FAQ style). What I hope to exapnd that to is a situation where we have a forum for user contributed tutorials and answers which answer all fo the questions that come up here...


This would be great! They have this over on the lindows.com forums and it works great.

As far as related threads go, there is no mod I know of to do this with phpBB. Can you not just use the Search function?
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Forum Improvement ?

Ian Wild's suggestions sound great.

Actually, what is wrong with a searchable FAQ style? It can work very well and may be a familiar style.

I was after another facility. A button with links. Lots of way of providing the links - automatic, manual or a mixture. What are we up to now? 50,000 posts? The problem (if it is one) will only get worse.

The trouble with searches on keywords is, unless you are very adept at using them - and there are MANY differences between search engines - the results can sometimes be less than useful. A bit of human input, either at programming level, or at link creation level, could go a long way to making the whole thing more usable - to humans.

I guess I started this. Is there a quicker way of discussing options than by writing?
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Forum Improvement ?

Of course, take the whole thing a step further, and when someone raises a new topic they are presented with the existing (similar) threads to read before deciding that their problem (or whatever) really IS a new one. Would also help to keep things managable and might cut DOWN on work for the Mods.
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Forum Improvement ?

That is a big problem at phpbb.com. Because there are hundreds of thousands of posts, your question is likely to have been asked before. But the search facility often crashes if there are too many results so they get annoyed if you ask the same questions!

At lindows.com, they have a hints and tips forum. People post the tips and that creates a repository of useful information. I found it very useful when installing Lindows and setting it up.

But, really, major problems should be directed to the Ticket System not the forums, small problems or questions are probably answered in the Support section so the forum is left for issues that can't be solved by either of those such as coding problems. There aren't likely to many of those are there?
Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: 05-04-2007

Forum Improvement ?

What a good thread....

As I say, I would love to have a dedicated Hints and Tips forums - Maybe someone could start a new thread with a Poll, and we could add this...

I would say that the ticket system should be used where an issue affects an individual account. Where there are questions about our service in general, or people are looking for help in setting up there service then Contact Us (And the support team) are not the best place to start.

It's fine to say WE should support everything, but I promise you that if we can keep costs low in support by allowing our users to support ourselves, then we can re-invest those savings back into our products and you folks will get even more out of PlusNet than you already do...

Regards,
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Forum Improvement ?

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I promise you that if we can keep costs low in support by allowing our users to support ourselves, then we can re-invest those savings back into our products and you folks will get even more out of PlusNet than you already do...


A good aim... Cheesy ... beers all round, then.
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Forum Improvement ?

Yes, I agree that keeping support costs down would definately improve the service. You probably already reduced support calls with the wealth of info in the support section.