This started as an additional comment but then I typed a few too many words, and it’s about the WP forums.
Initial thought: How is success going to be judged ? Without that it could be stumbling blind so if nothing else we need to create the goals ourselves. People WILL shoot afterwards so we need to set a goal.
Second thought – this isn’t complete, but it’s a start eh ?
Right now, if you have a problem there is one place to go – the forums – and inside the forums, there are only so many places to post. There the problems start. We have too many people, with too wide a set of problems trying to fit inside a very small place. Inevitably the system fails.
Why is it failing ?
- Too many people in one place.
- Search fails for many reasons, part of which is arrogance on the part of forum helpers that a Search will actually help – it may often not. (Yes – I’m guilty too)
- The signal/noise ratio is not where it needs to be. This is due in part to each of the following:
– too much reliance on the front page
– bumping because of the above AND because we just do not have the answers
- People who would help with some issues do not want to wade through newbie stuff to find the “choice stuff”. I find this attitude arrogant but maybe it needs accomodating.
- Guidance for posters is needed.
To think about:
- Create additional forums but with a tiered aspect. The system does not fail because of BBPress though, arguably it fails because there isn’t enough of it about. Create another complete forum but without the Your WordPress and Misc sections, call it “Advanced” or similar. Guidelines for this MUST be clear and very visible. A disadvantage of this will be the inevitable elitism that some helpers will feel when they move in to inhabit the higher reaches. Bear in mind that complete idiots will also feel that they too belong to the php gods section.
- Search … needs revamping but as I’m not expert there I’ll pass. (I could argue that the current forum be mothballed. Create two new sets of forums and leave the mothballed forum for searching only. It has lots of old information in but shouldn’t be deleted. This could encourage full answers, correct Codex links and mark a clean spilt between the then / now).
- Remove the front page. Use the space for announcements, a link to the latest post AND the latest reply in each section, Codex news.
- Moderators for each tier, with super-mods too. The ability to move posts between areas is essential as people will spam the boards to get answers if nothing else (as demonstrated in the last 2 days).
- The b2evolution forum has a half-decent guideline.
And please resist all the idiots who want avatars, little stars, post counts, rankings and all that other stuff that kids like.
In the end though, the forums fail in part because there are too many people using too small a resource, but also because there just is not enough help.