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Robyn Copley-Hirst
10th May 2011, 12:43
Hi Everyone,

As the forum develops it's more clear what its needs are. I added a Research section earlier this year for example and there has now been a discussion here (http://forum.mndassociation.org/showthread.php?367-Now-tell-me-what-do-you-think-of-this&p=2677#post2677) about other sections which may be useful to people searching for specific information from forum members.

I'm trying to keep the forum structure as simple as possible whilst still making various topics easy to access for newcomers as a record of your experiences and thoughts on various things.

My solution so far is below, so let me know what you think, and once I've given everyone a chance to comment (in case they missed the thread above) I'll start to re-structure and add some more specific forum areas to compliment our exisiting general areas.

I'll look forward to hearing your views,

Robyn

GENERAL MND AREAS
Introduce Yourself
Life with MND
Research & Trials
For Carers

HELP & ADVICE ON SPECIFIC MND ISSUES
Equipment & Medication - All equipment and medication found useful by members
Financial - Local Authority, DLA, Rates, benefits etc
Mobility - Transport, personal mobility, vehicles etc
Handy Tips - A catch all for everything else until/if it develops that a new category is required.

MISCELLANEOUS DISCUSSION AREAS
Site news & announcements
Off Topic
Feedback & help

icingoncake
10th May 2011, 17:43
i would welcome a way to see info in more specific areas rather than having to check everywhere. especially as everyone adds more and more information we can all share

Jenny

Robin142857
9th June 2011, 13:06
We've had a month of the new and it's working well, I think. Tips and Hints is underused (and maybe the Wills post should be under finance anyway) so perhaps that thread might be dispensed with if it doesn't get more use. Certainly, keeping it simple is key, and the fewer topics the easier it is to manage and find one's way about.

If we want more of the sort of quality and type of post submitted by Sue and Rob (and we do, for sure) is there a way of getting round the apparent silence of the readership? It is discouraging to carefully write your heart out and get no feedback. Are you doing the right thing? What could be done better? Does anyone care? Did it help anyone? How about pre-adding a vote facility (ie rate this post -helpful, yes or no) to the bottom line of each post and add a summary of the statistic generated to the header page (useful vote = 5% or 75% of reads). Perhaps I'm up a gum tree, but it's one way of arranging the feedback I think is missing - or perhaps there's a better way?

Robyn Copley-Hirst
9th June 2011, 14:06
Hi Robin,

Thanks for that feedback. You echo some of my own thoughts. We can only encourage more people to join in by being the friendly and encouraging bunch that you are!

There is the facility to have ratings on posts, as you say. Although, I would hate for anyone to post their genuine thoughts, feelings and concerns and get a rating of "one star" essentially saying that the community did not value their input. I think everyone would agree that all input is welcomed and valued here, but in a nutshell, this is the reason I have not activated this rating system for forum members.

Unfortunately in some forums this rating system can be used quite callously, which I suppose is the background for my decision on it.

I will, as always, go back and have another look at this feature and my thoughts behind the original decision for it. I normally try and gauge member opinion on an issue (the public opinion on the use of possible facebook and 'like' buttons being one I remember from a while back now).

I'm glad you're enjoying the rest of the changes, they seem to have fitted in seemlessly thanks to everyones thoughts and input into the changes.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Robyn

Robin142857
9th June 2011, 17:01
I see the problem of low ratings, and of their potential for destructive use. If our rating system were confined specifically to 'was it useful to you' thereby avoiding the question of quality of the input and tipping the assessment towards usefulness, it would still be able to give the writer some clue about their input and might also avoid the pitfalls you describe?

Robyn Copley-Hirst
10th June 2011, 12:19
Hi Robin,

I'm working on it...and thinking on it and I'll be in touch soon! It would be interesting if anyone else has any thoughts on this.

Robyn

jadedjohn
10th June 2011, 13:07
Hi RobinI'm not sure of the rating system to be honest, forums are meant to be an easy to use method of data interchange, I find on this forum a few people seem to paste massive articles from the Internet, which I personally find very hard to read, after the first paragraph i have lost interest. Although I suppose if we had a rating system this word make the culprits obvious!!

John

miranda
10th June 2011, 19:20
I do not see how a rating system would always work. Sometimes people use the forum to share their thoughts and fears as well as to mention positives and highlights. It might be relevant for information sharing but not for our posts which are more emotive.

Robin142857
11th June 2011, 10:14
I woke in the night thinking about this. I have a compromise suggestion as a result. How about having a single tick box on each post labelled "Useful to you? Tick here" Then add a cumulative statistic 'voted useful %' which would be votes x 100 divided by views.

My point is to depersonalise the vote from the people, leaving only a measure of how useful the contribution is. I think that would help direct writings (improving the quality of info posted, and that would be just perfick), and remove the sort of problems John describes. And of course, if the subject isn't appropriate to a usefulness vote of the sort that Miranda describes - perhaps a discussion - it won't get a vote and/or the result will be ignored as inapropriate.

Robyn, I had one other (useful, I hope), idea. Perhaps the vote suggestion is more appropriate to some Forum areas than others. So, for instance, the new four subject areas of mobility, finance, equipment and tips might well find more relevance in ratings than some or all of the others. Perhaps the ratings idea only applies on part of the site?

Hey ho, over to you. I'm going back to sleep.

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