Any thoughts on better organization for Forum Categories & Pinned Posts?

@Duaneski started an interesting conversation about how to deal with Pinned Topics in a way that doesn’t drown out the visibility of other topics, while also addressing the necessity of pinning popular topics to make them easy to find, avoid missed announcements, and reduce duplicate thread creation to a manageable volume for the volunteer player moderators.

I think a likely good solution is to consider rethinking the Forum Categories a bit, to provide a new home for some of the posts, so there’s more visibility overall.

I’m creating this thread to continue that discussion, and am merging in the start of our discussion from the other thread where it was off topic.

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@zephyr1

Why do we have 6 posts pinned to general discussions at all time?

I get that they’re pinned because they’re common hot topics, but this system doesn’t allow for other topics to show from the main page? That seems flawed.

You can unpin the posts for yourself, just click on the pin.

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Appreciate the tooltip - I tried it and it didn’t work though.

Also. Doesn’t answer my roundabout question.

The reason recent topics cycle to the top of a forum is so that other forum goers will see what’s currently being discussed. If the top 6 spots for users who don’t know this trick (and who it works for) - surely the vast majority - are occupied by moderator posted content then that doesn’t give any room for non moderator posts to be seen from the main page.

I don’t like it.

(I’m sure this has nothing to do with my anti loot box post I just made :wink: )

Unpinning not working:

@Duaneski, I see your point. But these threads disappear once you visit each one. They will no longer be in your below list, unless you get the notification “unread”. I do this all the time.

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I’m not sure why that’s not working for you, but an alternative is to make sure this is set in your settings and then scroll to the bottom of a pinned thread:


Indeed, and that’s what shows in New, where pinned posts aren’t listed once viewed or dismissed:

https://forum.smallgiantgames.com/new

You can also see what’s most recently had posts in Latest:

https://forum.smallgiantgames.com/latest


If you consider the “main page” to be the Categories list instead of New, Latest, Unread, or Top, that could well be true. I don’t ever look at that page, personally.

It’s unfortunately impractical to deal with the volume of merged that happen when major topics aren’t pinned, and I don’t have control over the Discourse settings for how the Category list you seem to be looking at is displayed.

But the other views don’t put pinned posts on top, so there’s plenty of ways to see a list of new or recently updated topics.


There are several new posts from during the time these other ones have been pinned that have received a large volume of views and replies, so I don’t really accept the premise that people are incapable of noting there are other threads in existence.

Your new thread has 40 views from the last 38 minutes, which seems like a reasonable start.

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That’s interesting. Maybe that’s why they’re not unpinning - because I haven’t read them or opened them…

Lol I’ve been using this forum for a year and dont think I’ve ever used that. I always scroll from the main page and honestly assumed that everyone else did, too.

I understand there’s a wide range of forum goers out there. I think you may be seeing things from a very specific, opposite of casual forum goer perspective.

I don’t know if it’s possible or practical to make changes to how things display on the main forum landing page, all I know is for a very long time I haven’t personally seen any fresh topics from that page, and I think that is a shame.

If the posts appearing on the main forum page are ‘featured’ to all forum goers, they’re obviously more likely to gain more views.

That doesn’t mean they’ll be the only ones to gain views. Just that they’re more likely.

I’m not at all saying people are incapable of finding other trending threads. I’m saying they’ll have to actively seek them out, instead of having them front and center.

Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing is fair to debate. But maybe I’m a very uncommon forum goer. Or maybe you are. I have no idea.

Oh schnoodles. I really meant that tongue in cheek. I complain about stuff as I notice it is all :stuck_out_tongue: and yes the response volume is totes adequate. I wasn’t sure I’d get any views or responses so that’s very solid to be sure.

That said, my concern stands.

That’s the point of pinning, after all, so when someone is looking at the category view in particular, they surface higher, which reduces duplicate threads, or missed announcements.


How are you navigating to new topics, then?


I can appreciate and share your concern, I’m just not sure that there’s much to do about it, unless you want to submit a feature request to Discourse.org to change how they handle pinned posts in the Categories view.

I’ve tried having a central thread in the past, instead of one thread per hero, but changed that a long time ago based on the feedback in I strongly dislike merged topics. My reason for that originally was actually to reduce the number of top-level threads.

Having separate ones clearly solves some issues while creating others.

But this is also a pretty ephemeral occurrence, since Avalon will end in a few days, and the posts won’t be pinned then. And other than during Seasonal Events, this is the first time there have been this many hero threads plus an event thread at the same time.


I think the best solution would probably be additional Forum categories.

#general-discussion is increasingly for popular topics like this thread, and complaint threads. It’d be helpful if there were a more natural home for topics like your new one, or of the popular topics like this one could move elsewhere.

Everything else is landing in one of the other categories, especially #gameplay-help-tactics — and the only thing typically pinned there are the Class Trials threads for 24 hours.

This is super off topic for this thread, obviously, so I’m going to move it to an new thread so we can think this through more.

EDIT: Moved to a new thread

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New sub categories for:

  • Beta Beat (topic should be closed if all features has been released as for each feature/hero a new topic is released)
  • Trials, Raid tournaments, challenge and seasonal events(all guides and people discussions about these will be in that category)
  • HoTM and Special heroes discussions and thoughts

And only Mods (we all know that @zephyr1 lovesbto do ALL of the above topics and i really apperciate all the hard work) can create topics in these sub categories
Inside them the ongoing discussions will be pinned

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This only works if you are logged in, or using cookies.

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Presumably @Duaneski was logged in at the time, but maybe it’s a cookie problem.

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Interesting.

Probably to prevent players from skipping important forum announcements.

Should go away if you just open them.

Most topics have 2 view in the first 30 seconds.

Even the Math Apocalypse ones.

Probably a staff member and @zephyr1 .

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That is odd.

Works for my account.

users can unpin a topic clicking on the pin icon

Try searching

For a solution.

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Maybe you could have different categories

Examples off the top of my head:

Hero and Levelling Advice
Challenge Events
Raiding and War Advice
Quests and Tournaments
Titan Tips and Advice
Buildings and Base

That way you go to the area you need. The current categories are named too generically. If you did this (instead of the current General Discussion and Gameplay sections) you’d have less pinned topics too, so each would be pretty specific

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I agree with all your suggestions @Infinite. Was trying to articulate my thoughts and you’d encapsulated them nicely - thank you.

I also wonder if there’s a need for a vent your spleen / rage quit thread where people can just go blah, and no one else has to read it (unless they choose to, but :man_shrugging:).

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Thank you for the feedback! I’ll be taking notes on the ideas presented on this topic so far.

Just wanted to quickly comment that having too many sub-categories might end up the forum being too cluttered. We also have tags here which could be used more. Would those be helpful?

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I don’t think many people use or understand tags. But that is just my thought, you may have better evidence from the back end diagnostics you’d probably get from the forum engine

Agree that we don’t want it too cluttered with extra subjects, but right now it is (in my view) too generic and could be sharpened up to make navigation and finding things a bit easier.

Just ideas, and I’m happy for anybody to add to or modify the subjects identified above

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I would agree that a separate category for hero discussion would at the least be needed. That tends to be a common theme in the forums and grouping them together would make them easier to find/search and clean up the general discussion category somewhat.

Is there a way to make the search function more prominent? A permanently-available search box instead of a magnifying glass in the corner that [pops up the search box might make the search function more-used. Then (in my dreamworld here) there would be a lot less thread duplication.

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I like the idea of categories. My frustration comes from doing a search for a specific thread/post that I remembered reading and not being able to find it.

That’s usually because of some creative headings, for instance …

What the Heck! vs Game Crashing Upon Opening

It doesn’t occur to me to do a search of What the Heck! :grin:

At least with more specific categories my search would be more productive. Even with the occasional duplicate posts being placed in two separate categories, I’m sure overall the threads would become more efficient and manageable.

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Because. Humans.

Having worked in library/ storage/ records since I was a teenager, I firmly believe there is no single good solution to the problem of a forum dedicated to a multiple year, MMO with IAP.

Tags

I tried to use tags initially, but there are problems

  • Tags are non intuitive on the mobile version of the forum ( I love the mobile version, but smartphones are not 20 inch monitors)
  • Popular tags become difficult to search ( edit: nope. just hidden in advanced search )
  • Tags are not uniform (multiple spelling and wording)
  • Tags are limited to 5 per topic ( most successful forum use of tags have unlimited tags and forum regulars can assign tags to other users’ posts. see not uniform above. )

Like many forum features I really like tags.

But like coding a game versus playing a game, writing tags is more work, and less fun, than using them.

(https://blog.discourse.org/2017/10/its-time-we-talked-about-tags/)

Staff

More sub forums do mean more hours for staff to monitor the forums. This is a non trivial consideration.

Users

More sub forums do make the end user experience more effective for Elder forum users ( separate from Elder GAME users ).

But it makes it more challenging for new forum users.

Reference

Reference ( read only, important links, important archived copies, etc. ) would be helpful but more work for mods. Probably have to increase the number of mods ( which is always a headache).

Single most useful category. Also the single most dependent on the quality, and quantity, of mods and staff. This is not a coincidence.

This could include a “Server status” post that could be unlisted after 14 days.

Add Categories

  • Base would be helpful for all players, at all price points. Especially After Stronghold 21 made everything weird, complicated and more min/ max gameplay instead of open world gameplay.

  • Limited time would be helpful for limited time posts ( Challenge events, Atlantis Rising, Seasonal events, etc. )

  • HotM would be insanely helpful because of SGG business model

  • F2P would balance HotM and should be very strongly considered.

  • Summons would be helpful because of SGG business model.

You can see how this can quick suck as a post about Hero Academy could fall under Reference, base, summons, HotM, F2P

Maybe

  • Leveling is not as helpful as you think due to inherent design mechanisms, but insanely popular.

  • Ascension items is not as helpful as you think due to inherent design mechanisms, but insanely popular.

  • Emblems is not as helpful as you think due to inherent design mechanisms, but insanely popular.

  • Raid would be helpful since it has its own chest and heavy use of HotM.

Rant

Rant is tempting, but doing anything to a rant topic invites more rage and anger.

No good way to deal with rant posts because people ranting are already upset.

Plus trolls.

Do not add

  • Do not add. Titan less helpful because so much titan info is obscured. Do not add.
  • Do not add. War less helpful because tight coordination needed but needs of coordination often conflict with needs of game studio. Really war was an excellent idea with two fundamental flaws - communicate and logistics.
  • Do not add. Tourney suffers from all the problems of a Titan category. Do not add.

maybe combine into "Alliance activities " since only Alliances can participate if titan battles and war.

Beta Beat

Given paywalls, and merciless RNG, this is INSANELY popular.

But.

It is really just a blog

I would call it “Mod corner” and only allow mods, and staff, to create topics.

We love you @zephyr1 . You are officially not allowed to die. Please contact HR for you spirit jar kit.

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