Forum Reorganization

7:56 a.m. on October 25, 2010 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,051 forum posts

I'd like to reorganize the forums a bit. In the process, I'd like to keep the number of forums to a minimum while giving a spot to appropriate subjects, which can be a tough balancing act.

Below are my suggestions. Please feel free to weigh in.

Plan #1:

 

  • Articles and Comments
  • Beginners
  • Backcountry
  • Camp Kitchen (with Recipes sub-forum)
  • Gear: DIY (make/modify your own gear)
  • Gear Repair and Maintenance
  • Gear Selection
  • Climbing
  • Hiking and Backpacking
  • Paddling
  • Snowsports (backcountry ski and ride, winter specific)
  • Trip Planning
  • Trip Reports
  • Classifieds (w/ Classifieds - The North Face sub-forum)
  • Feedback
  • Off-Topic

 

OR, to make it a bit shorter, we can use sub-forums, like in Plan #2. I have mixed feelings about sub-forums:

 

  • Articles and Comments
  • Beginners
  • Backcountry
  • Camp Kitchen (with Recipes sub-forum)
  • Gear: (with sub-forums DIY,  Repair and Maintenance, Gear Selection)
  • Backcountry activities: (with sub-forums Climbing, Hiking and Backpacking, Paddling, Snowsports )
  • Trip Planning
  • Trip Reports
  • Classifieds (w/ Classifieds - The North Face sub-forum)
  • Feedback
  • Off-Topic

Please, feel free to weigh in.

9:43 a.m. on October 25, 2010 (EDT)
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
658 reviewer rep
2,148 forum posts

Hmmm, not sure I have strong opionion one way or antother. I do have a couple questions, though:

Is the first list above different than the current organization?

I am not certain I would know whether something should be posted under "Backcounty" or "Backcountry Activities"- Thoughts?

12:46 p.m. on October 25, 2010 (EDT)
200 reviewer rep
4,153 forum posts

Well like when I tried to post my slideshow of pictures from Jackson Hole, I was not sure where to fit it in. It is'nt a trip report, but it does fall under the backcountry section, tho I chose to put it in off topic even tho it is what I considered outdoors?

1:34 p.m. on October 25, 2010 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,051 forum posts

Here's the current list of forums, gonzan:

ttp://www.trailspace.com/forums/

There are a few differences between the current forums and both lists above. However, the two lists above are the same, just in different orders.

I hear you on the Backcountry forum. It's a little confusing since we have some sport-specific forums already (climbing and paddling), but I think we could use some other (like ski/ride/winter, hike/backpacking, maybe even trail running/endurance, but that's because I run).

At this point, I'm curios to hear more opinions from you and others before deciding what makes the most sense and is most useful.

So, really there are two questions from me:

1. Forums: which ones do you want or not want?

2. Organization: does any particular format or order work better or worse for you?

Thanks.

10:38 p.m. on October 25, 2010 (EDT)
REVIEW CORPS
1,245 reviewer rep
1,270 forum posts

I have a question similar to that raised by gonzan... in the new scenario(s), what belongs in "backcountry"?  Is it "anything outdoors that isn't Climbing, Hiking and Backpacking, Paddling, Snowsports"?  or does it have a more specific purpose?

Also, the traffic here is relatively low ... so breaking things into more fine grained categories might add to the workload (navigating from [sub]forum to [sub]forum) with little to be gained.  We might find ourselves navigating into forums that don't have any new topics or replies to topics of interest to us (that happens even now).  My vote would be to keep the # of forums close to what they're at now unless traffic increases to the point where specific forums are overloaded ... and then divide them accordingly.

Regarding forums vs subforums ... My first impulse is to say subforums will make it more difficult to navigate.  Given that most of us seem to read/post in most of the forums, using subforums would involve a little more navigation to traverse from one to the next.

I guess my overall question is, "what's prompting the change"?

1:40 p.m. on October 26, 2010 (EDT)
102 reviewer rep
2,295 forum posts

Hey 'ow 'bout a gatergory fer thangs done wid duct tape?

Ed

9:19 p.m. on October 26, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
118 forum posts

I like plan 2 b/c it's short, but has a good list of sub-forums.

11:09 a.m. on October 27, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
148 forum posts

I have belonged to a few forums that created so many sub forums I lost interest and quit visiting them.  Every sub forum you create, you fracture your base users.   People get to the point they only visit their site specific sub forum and don't mingle like they used to.

 

I like #2, but without the sub forums.

8:33 p.m. on October 27, 2010 (EDT)
141 reviewer rep
218 forum posts

I agree with ambersdad, #2 but without the sub forums.

8:40 p.m. on October 27, 2010 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,051 forum posts

Thanks for the feedback. I'm hearing that people want fewer forums and not divided, if possible.

Interestingly, a few of you (who said you like #2 with no sub-forums) would like us to combine some of our current forums (like Gear Selection and Gear Repair and Maintenance) into one general Gear forum.

And also combine our existing activity-specific forums (like Climbing and Paddling) into one general Backcountry Activities forum.

Am I understanding that correctly?

12:35 a.m. on October 28, 2010 (EDT)
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
658 reviewer rep
2,148 forum posts

I personally do not mind that the forums are defined as much as they are, and woud prefer the 2nd proposed layout, with sub-forums. But I also understand the reasons others might not like that layout. It is not a large issue for me one way or another.

10:21 a.m. on October 28, 2010 (EDT)
141 reviewer rep
218 forum posts

I think it is more efficient to drop the sub-forums for the simple reason I may not look in gear repair because I dont have a question about repairing something; but I might have info someone could use and would not pass it on because I skipped the sub-forum. If all gear related topics (for instance) are under one heading I can pick and choose which threads I read, but I will see all gear related threads and may find one interesting that I would have missed if it were regulated to a sub heading.

11:22 a.m. on October 28, 2010 (EDT)
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
658 reviewer rep
2,148 forum posts

Hmm, The others raise an interesting point: I don't think I have ever once looked in the  Classifieds TNF subforum, and very rarely look at the Gear Selection, Gear Repair/Maintenance, Climbing,  or Paddling forums unless I am searching for an answer to some specific questions.

On one hand, breaking things out into many categories, and sub categorizing those makes a lot of sense from an organizational standpoint. It makes it clear where things should go, as well as facilitates searching for questions and info on a given topic more efficiently.

On the other hand, having many forums and sub categories is likely to reduce the readership of many of the Forums, which would potentially stifle comments and conversation. I would likely never have read SageToSnow's Thread about XC Ski questions had it been posted in a "Snow Sports" subforum. But since it was in the Beginners Forum I did, and am quite glad that I read it. Once I read a little, I became quite curious, subsequently gaining much info and heightened interest from the dialogue.

Of late there has been a bit of a lul in conversation in many of the forums, on the cause of which I have no theory, but which prompted me to wonder how to "prime the pump," so to speak. 

All of this begs the question- Which would better meet the goals of Trailspace and it's community: More organized forum categorization to facilitate reference of topical information, or more of a melting pot that encourages interaction of members across the boundaries of specific areas of specialization?

  I think perhaps after further reflection, I might be in favor of the following: 

  • Articles and Comments
  • Beginners
  • Backcountry
  • Camp Kitchen (with Recipes sub-forum)
  • Gear
  • Vertical Sports
  • Paddling
  • Trip Planning
  • Trip Reports
  • Classifieds (w/ Classifieds - The North Face sub-forum)
  • Feedback
  • Off-Topic

 (It doesn't seem like Vertical Sports and Paddling could be condensed into Backcounty- as often as not those activities don't take place in the backcountry, but definitely need to be included)

12:12 p.m. on October 28, 2010 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,051 forum posts

Thanks for all of the comments. Here are a few of my own:

1. As long as you're a member, you can subscribe to any/all forums you have potential interest in (ex. Gear Repair, Paddling, Recipes) and get a single daily email telling you of any/all new threads that have been introduced in those forums in the last day.

So you don't need to visit each forum to see what comes up for discussion. You can get one daily email that automatically tells you about any new threads. Just click on the Subscribe link at the top of any forums, for ex: http://www.trailspace.com/forums/recipes/

Then if you're interested in any of those new threads (or ones you start), you can subscribe to those as well and be notified of new responses in that same daily email. Just click on the "notify me by email of replies to this thread" at the bottom of a thread.

(I highly recommend this option.)

2. In case you're curious, the reason there is a TNF sub-forum is because at times we can get inundated with people wanting to trade and sell TNF gear.

A lot of the audience for that is urban and not for outdoor use (there is a very dedicated group of TNF traders out there looking for just the right Steep Tech Jacket to wear around NYC).

So, TNF is certainly on-topic for Trailspace, but a large portion of its classifieds traffic is off-topic and dedicated only to trading and selling TNF wear for very non-backcountry use. Hence, it got its own sub-forum, and even its own moderator.

3. I appreciate all the comments. I'm certainly going to weigh them all. I still think some forums need to be kept separate, such as Gear Selection (what gear should I buy?) versus Gear Repair (how do I fix/clean/take care of this gear?).

One thing to remember is that many forums visitors never post on the site and many don't monitor the site in real time, like our most active and dedicated members (you guys!). They may come along and want to learn more about a topic like paddling, beginners topics, camp recipes, and so on, and read the forums in a very different manner than an active conversational discussion.

I think there is some benefit to having new members read that organized info before posting a new question too. Otherwise, many active members may say, "geez, we just discussed that last month or last summer! Can't you read that huge thread first before posting the exact same question?"

4. The reasons I've been thinking about all of this is:

a) I really think we should have a Gear DIY forum (how do I make or modify my own gear?). I know this would add another forum, but I can see a lot of potential use for it. Also, having threads on those topics can work as a relative gear how-to directory for members and readers. It could be like a wiki of gear diy/make your own gear how-to's.

Adding another forum means we should organize what we already have too.

b) I'm not sure it's fair to have Climbing and Paddling specific forums only (much as I like the sports), but no other backcountry activities we cover (like snowsports/skiing). That leads to the question, should hiking/backpacking be assumed under the Backcountry forum umbrella or do we need to actually have a forum called that?

Since so many of our members hike and backpack, I wonder if they think it's an oversight that we don't have a forum called that. Of if they think it's totally unnecessary, since everything will get answered in Backcountry and elsewhere for them.

Anyway, thanks for listening. Feel free to keep discussing this topic if you'd like to weigh in. I share your desire to have a simple, elegant list of forums, that are still well organized for all readers. It's a balancing act.

p.s. Yes, activity is a bit lower right now. This is typically the low-season for traffic. Traffic typically starts ramping up again in November and increases from there into early and mid summer.

12:28 p.m. on October 28, 2010 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,329 reviewer rep
5,295 forum posts

Hmmm, gonzan, you haven't paddled Class 6 rapids, like Great Falls, have you? That is a part of Paddling that definitely qualifies as Vertical Sports, where SagetoSnow's intended XC skiing is pretty much non-Vertical.

OK, that's typical OGBO sarcasm to hint at one of the dangers inherent in getting too far into the categorization and "precise" definitions. The fundamental question is what direction is Trailspace going - everything outdoors? Outdoor activities? More orientation toward outdoor sports (as distinguished from activities like birding, say, or photography, hiking, ...)? Competitive outdoors? Staying with non-motorized or non-mechanical outdoors? Attracting more "elite" and/or "competitive" outdoor folks? Ultimately, the answer to that lies with the owners of Trailspace.

Given the choices that Alicia listed, I would tend to favor the second (major categories with a single level of subcategories). I can sort of see having a separate Winter or Snowsports category or subcategory from the more general Backcountry. I worry a bit about the "Snowsports" name, though, because it points toward the increasing lean toward competitive outdoor activities. Does this mean we should have a "Competitive Orienteering" subcategory along with a "Map and Compass", Land Navigation", and "GPS", oh and "Geocaching" (Competitive Orienteering is very competitive among the elite orienteers and may even become an Olympic sport, and Geocaching is also very competitive among the really serious multi-thousand Find count crowd).

I do think there is good reason to keep Climbing separate from Backcountry (the historical precedent, for one, with those two forums coming from rec.backcountry.useful and rec.climbing.useful, originating as a sane alternative to the UseNet newsgroups rec.backcountry and rec.climbing), and keeping Gear Selection and Gear Maintenance and Repair separated (just like Cooking and Recipes being separated).

I agree with several folks above that there are some forums that I rarely, if ever, look at. But then, I have my limited interests, as do others.

 

1:36 p.m. on October 28, 2010 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,051 forum posts

The fundamental question is what direction is Trailspace going - everything outdoors? Outdoor activities? More orientation toward outdoor sports (as distinguished from activities like birding, say, or photography, hiking, ...)? Competitive outdoors? Staying with non-motorized or non-mechanical outdoors? Attracting more "elite" and/or "competitive" outdoor folks? Ultimately, the answer to that lies with the owners of Trailspace.

 

I'll answer that.

Trailspace's focus always has been and will remain human-powered (non-motorized) backcountry activities and the gear, skills, and practices that go along with them.

That's what it always has been and that's what it remains.

Members can consider themselves elite, non-elite, beginner, experienced, a plodder or racer, or whatever. You just need to be interested in some topic within that focus mentioned above.

Reorganizing or renaming any forums isn't an effort to change Trailspace's focus, but to make sure we're clearly addressing them in the forums.

And I think Bill makes a good point that every person need not be interested in every single area or topic that might arise on Trailspace, but the topics, forums, articles, and gear reviews do need to fit within Trailspace's human-powered, backcountry focus.

Hope that helps.

2:01 p.m. on October 28, 2010 (EDT)
329 reviewer rep
1,124 forum posts

Alicia, Imho less is more. If you devide things down into many sub forums I might not see a conversion that could intrest me. I'm here at the least once a day. I read many reviews and subjects that I normally wouldnt read. Many times to my suprise they do intrest me. And I do things that I might not have tried before.

2:59 p.m. on October 28, 2010 (EDT)
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
658 reviewer rep
2,148 forum posts

Hmmm, gonzan, you haven't paddled Class 6 rapids, like Great Falls, have you? That is a part of Paddling that definitely qualifies as Vertical Sports...

 Hahahaha! Quite true :)

My natural personal inclination, as my first reply belies, was to go with your "Option 2" layout- and I imagine you are spot on with it.

1:20 a.m. on October 30, 2010 (EDT)
63 reviewer rep
190 forum posts

Alicia, Imho less is more. If you devide things down into many sub forums I might not see a conversion that could intrest me. I'm here at the least once a day. I read many reviews and subjects that I normally wouldnt read. Many times to my suprise they do intrest me. And I do things that I might not have tried before.

I agree with mikemorrow, less is more, not necessarily for the structure of the content, but the communal atmosphere this forum lends itself to.  I have come to really enjoy the banter and light ribbing we give one another here in the trailspace family as much as the plethora of information presented, and without the openness of the forums I don't think that would be possible.  

Before my unexpected lay-off from work, and divorce shortly thereafter (hay at least I learned who she really was) I was also here at least once a day, often checking on the forums from my phone when unable to get at my laptop or desktop from work.  Some of the members reviews and reports have inspired me to check out locations I would otherwise skip.   

In my opinion, the only section that may need some subdivision would be the trip planning/trip report section.  It might be a little easier to navigate these threads if they were based on geographical location.  Not necessarily by state, country, continent, planet and solar system, but I know Dave and Alicia will come up with something (still pissed about the water pump thing LOL). 

Anyhoo, that's my two cents, and It's good to be back.  I really missed y'all.  Alicia, thanks for the stickahs, I'll post some pics as soon as I get a new camera and laptop.  

...and the Mayhem continues! 

9:53 a.m. on November 1, 2010 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,051 forum posts

So, I'll muddle this further with another suggestion:

Outdoor/Backcountry Photos & Video

Many members seem to want a spot to discuss photos and photography.

Do you think this is needed?

FYI, you can upload pictures to your member profiles and organize by albums. However, many seem to want to discuss the photos themselves too, in the forums.

We could do the same as here: http://www.trailspace.com/forums/photo-contest/

1:51 p.m. on November 1, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
148 forum posts

I like photos.  I love taking photos. I like posting photos.  I love seeing photos from different places. 

But as to another sub forum, I have mixed emotions.  I'm one of those less is better kind of people.  But if there was a Outdoor/Backcountry P & V section, I would be posting in it. 

Photo contests? My skills are lacking and I have to get better at it because I hate losing. :-)

randy

2:05 p.m. on November 1, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
148 forum posts

 

In my opinion, the only section that may need some subdivision would be the trip planning/trip report section.  It might be a little easier to navigate these threads if they were based on geographical location.  Not necessarily by state, country, continent, planet and solar system, but I know Dave and Alicia will come up with something.

This looks good on screen, but how it applies in the real world needs some thought.  I don't use "another" rather large site because they have my insignificant state thrown in with the Midwest.  What pray tell does Oklahoma have in common with Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa? Average snowfall? I don't think so.  A lot less than it does with Texas, Arkansas, and other surrounding states.

It's like oh crap, is Oklahoma really a state?  Where in the heck are we going to put it?

I actually don't mind that section just the way it is.  I like looking at all the threads there.

7:14 a.m. on November 2, 2010 (EDT)
329 reviewer rep
1,124 forum posts

Ummm a photo forum? In a way we all ready have it "Trip reports". Maybe just incourage people to post picture of trips there.

1:37 a.m. on November 5, 2010 (EDT)
63 reviewer rep
190 forum posts

Ambersdad

  While I understand you may harbor some strong feelings against another, lesser site grouping states together for general hiking areas,  I'm not suggesting we do that here.  

I agree with you ambersdad, I really don't see anything that would lend me to relate the Sooner state with the U.P.  Whatever site is doing that clearly isn't providing a useful service to their members.   I was merely suggesting that if the trip reports and trip planning section were divided by state or region or forest or wilderness (since many NF's and wilderness areas overlap state borders) it would be easier for users to research different areas without wading through every single post trying to find out where they were.  It is fairly time consuming here, and I often give up and Google my potential area of exploration.  

As for the photo section, I agree with mikemorrow, let's keep that in the trip section.  I believe it would encourage members to write trip reports and share their experiences with the rest of the members.  

1:41 a.m. on November 5, 2010 (EDT)
63 reviewer rep
190 forum posts

And I'm sorry about my rant earlier....  Stressful time in my life right now.

10:33 p.m. on November 5, 2010 (EDT)
REVIEW CORPS
1,245 reviewer rep
1,270 forum posts

Mahoosicmayhem, every time I see one of your posts, I think of one of my old "hangouts", Gentian Pond Shelter.  That'd be an ideal place to go unwind from the stress :).

11:03 a.m. on November 6, 2010 (EDT)
63 reviewer rep
190 forum posts

Hay bheiser1

That three sided cabin is one of my favorite spots in the Whites.  Spent about a week there one fall, fishing in the pond, going on short day hikes and helping a volunteer trail worker manage the site (composting and general maint.).  It's a great spot in the off season.  Thanks man.

2:58 p.m. on November 6, 2010 (EDT)
REVIEW CORPS
1,245 reviewer rep
1,270 forum posts

Oh, interesting.  I was one of those AMC volunteers during a couple of summers myself.  They were only 1-week stints (I think I did 2 weeks one summer, and 1 week another).  My intro to Gentian Pond was by way of carrying in a load of "mulch" on a pack board - as you know, it's used for the composting toilet.  Wow, talk about heavy packs, ouch!  IIRC it was around 80 lbs.  We also did some "standardizing" of the nearby trails, specifically up towards Mt. Success.

I could sit in the front of that shelter for hours just taking in the Shelburne valley area and the Carter-Moriah (?) range across the way.  I liked it so much that I went back several times on my own - and spent more time hanging out there with a friend who spent a whole summer there as a site caretaker.

During another stint I was with a crew who stayed overnight at the Carlo Col shelter (not nearly as nice) and did more "standardizing" of the nearby trails.

On my own trips I hiked up around Mt Success, and back the other way to Gorham.

Wow, that was over 30 years ago now...

Oops, sorry, we're off topic, sorry  :).

3:37 p.m. on December 11, 2010 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
17 forum posts

Fewer forums the better, in my opinion.  I like discreet categories with no overlap.  If I was a beginner asking about gear, for example, I could post under gear or beginner.  I would eliminate beginner and let the questions fall in whichever category they best fit.  Same goes for "articles and comments" and "backcountry".

I would eliminate padding and climbing and not add any more specific sports.  Any question about any sport could go into one of the other categories.  Only a small number of questions and comments deal exclusively with only one sport.   

I would change "off topic" to Other and label it as the place to post if no other category fits. 

So here's what I'm left with:

Food

Gear (selection, repair, DIY, etc.)

Places (planning and reports)

Classifieds

Feedback (both ways)

Other (things that don't fit anywhere else)

I think these groupings are closer to being mutually exclusive and totally exhaustive. 

Thanks for the opportunity to give my 2 cents worth.

12:09 a.m. on December 13, 2010 (EST)
1,631 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

Alicia, I do have a suggestion that is off topic(just like the kayak canoe thing.) How about mountain bikes. Happy holidays. :)

September 19, 2014
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: Returning to a thread Newer: DIY Forum
All forums: Older: FOR SALE A NORTH FACE MOUNTAIN BIKE Newer: Mysterious Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight