Xander: The funny thing is, that I think we are on common ground. I'd also like to see the community's suggestions in a well-organized structure. The problem here has multiple aspects.
1) The forum is unstructured
2) There aren't forum admins (or at least they don't seem to do anything)
3) People are eager to share and discuss ideas
4) There is a 'policy' which says you should search before you post
5) Search is crap
6) Some people still want to see the ideas in a structured way so they behave as self-proclaimed admins, trying to enforce the above mentioned policy on noobs.
7) Noobs get offended.
=> Unhappy noobs, unhappy 'admins' - lose-lose situation
For the sake of argument imagine this scenario:
- The forum is structured and there's a policy about how that structure should be used
- There are forum admins with the ability to close/relocate threads.
- There is a clear forum policy on where the given threads belong.
All the problems would be solved. 1) and 2) would get solved by definition. 3) is not really a problem, but the source of current problems, but if the forum was structured, people could more easily share their ideas in a structured way. Even if some noob would open a thread in the wrong place, admins could move it to the right subforum. 4) and 5) Would be solved mostly by the fact that if the suggestions would be collected in subforums, users wouldn't be so much enforced to use the crappy search anymore. 6): Self-proclaimed admins wouldn't be needed if there were real ones. 7) If the rules were clear, there would be little reason to get offended if a real admin enforces them.
I still maintain that it would require minuscule effort for these forums to work that way. IV has already asked the community to help with wiki administration - I can't see why the same thing couldn't work for these forums.
xander wrote:Fora are good for discussing information. The underlying structure of any forum is one geared toward discussion. Discussion doesn't work if everyone shouts out their ideas without engaging with the ideas that others have brought up. If all IV wanted was a list of suggestions, then they would provide an email address that we could send ideas to, and there would be no need for a forum. The fact that there is a forum means that discussion is possible and desired, and repeating the same things over and over again breaks the advantage that fora have.
My point: The structure of this forum is not geared towards anything, as it lacks any structure. Imagine what a noob sees when he first visits this page. A single unstructured forum with a forty-some pages long list of totally unrelated ideas on top of each other. Do you seriously expect him to try to obey some stuctural rules if there's no apparent structure?
If IV wanted a structured list of suggestion, they would have already provided a structure, the suggetions can fit into. The fact that they haven't set up such thing so far, implies that they are okay with this mess.
xander wrote:Basically, this comes down to "We shouldn't bother trying to impose structure on the forum from within because IV have not done so from above." It is as though you want there to be more structure, but when people try to organize that structure, you object because they have not been magically blessed as admins or moderators. You want the same thing that I do, but because no one has "official" moderating powers, you are going to object to my efforts. That is, at any rate, what it feels like from my perspective.
You got it right. The supposed purpose of the forum is to provide input to IV for further development. Only IV knows in which format they require that input, and if they wouldn't like the way this forum works, they would probably have changed it already as they have the power to do so. Apparently they are okay with the way it currently works. This is why I see the efforts of all the self-proclaimed moderators pointless. If IV would think that moderaion is really necessary here, these forums would already be moderated.
On a sidenote: Shouldn't we open a separate topic for this?