CFD Online Discussion Forums

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-   -   To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion (http://www.cfd-online.com/Forums/main/8422-webmaster-forum-modulator-suggestion.html)

ma December 6, 2004 17:23

To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
Dear webmaster,

I am a CFDer and have been reading this forum for a while. It's really a good active place to learn CFD and hear expert's opinions that cover the A-to-Z topics of CFD.

However, as many people may have noticed, a lot of posts are only simple questions and are repeated every several months. These posts would bury some very important posts.

I'd like to make one suggestion: Put the very important or widely concerned posts always at the top of the index, or at least for a long period. In this case, the important posts will gain more attention so that the information is shared more efficiently.

Thanks for your concern.

-ma


cfd dude December 6, 2004 17:29

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
An FAQ section for the eternal subjects of "which is better, Fortran or C++?", or "which commercial code is best?", and similar threads would possibly permit novices to get the info they need without repeating these posts on and on and on.

Of course, there's work for you to decide which are the real FAQ's.

Praveen C December 7, 2004 07:29

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
This is an excellent suggestion. But my idea is to start a CFD Wiki to which anybody can contribute. For an example of what a wiki is see http://www.wikipedia.org/ For example entries in wikipedia related to this forum see the following links

You can even write equations which would be great for explaining CFD.

Jonas Larsson December 7, 2004 09:34

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
This is a great idea.

I've actually already experimented a bit with this and CFD Online has a wiki up and running on a new server to which the site will be moved soon.


Jonas Larsson December 7, 2004 09:51

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
I'm a bit hesitant about forums that sort the posts based on popularity. It can be very confusing when the order of the posts change from day to day depending on how popular that topic is at that time. When you return to a forum it is often good to have the same order as last time you visited.

Besides, I don't think that this forum suffers from too high volume. Posts stay on the forum for about 2 months so there is plenty of time for people to respond to them. Posts that are not so interesting automatically get smaller exposure since they will not produce any responses and thereby gets less visibility.

Personally I'm still quite happy with the present forum system.

However, if there is a strong popular demand CFD Online could switch to another more modern system like phpbb - http://www.phpbb.com or invision - http://www.invisionboard.com/ We actually already have both these forums softwares running in beta-testing on another server.

What do other forum users think about the current forum layout? Is it good or should we consider switching to a new forum software system?


Robin Bornoff December 7, 2004 11:34

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
Jonas, I'm not sure if a new forum format would benefit the 'health' of cfd-online. Over the last n-years there have been some great discussions and characters. The types of posts over the last couple of years have been somewhat repetitive (imho), maybe just a symptom of the age of the forum!?

The freedom of the forum is a great thing but I'm wondering if anything can, or should, be done to 'focus' and encourage freshness into the discussions? Wondering is as far as I've gone however :)

How about 'best CFD item in the news' item each month? 'Most innapropriate application of CFD survey'? 'Odes and poems to CFD'?

Anyone got any ideas?

ma December 7, 2004 11:52

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
Jonas,

[I'm a bit hesitant about forums that sort the posts based on popularity.] Thanks for your concern.

I think my suggestion is not to re-oder all the posts based on popularity, but just to pick out several topics on the top so that more people can contribute to those topics and learn from them. (The other posts remain the same as current situation, so it just need a slight modification of the current system.)

The topics can be decied by experienced forum modulators; and the forum modulators can be volunteer from the users/readers. Certainly, they will be administrated by the webmaster. -- However, I have to say that I am just a CFDer, not a webdesigner, and the suggestion is just an intuition of mine.

- ma


Jonas Larsson December 7, 2004 12:17

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
Yea, that's a good suggestion. We're actually already planning something like that. CFD Online will soon get a new front-page which is more "newspaper-like". One section on that is planned to be "Hot Discussions" where moderators select a few especially interesting discussion threads that will be listed right on the front-page of CFD Online.

ma December 7, 2004 15:39

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
Great! Hope to see it soon.


Jonas Larsson December 7, 2004 15:41

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
The forums at CFD Online have been online for 7 years now so it isn't surpricing that people who have been with us since the beginning have seen the same topics several times and are starting to whish that something new would happen that would attract their interest.

I think that repeated topics are perfectly okay and the way it should be. I see no big problem with new people asking the same question again and again. The forums can not evolve with each person. The forums here will fill a need at certains times in certain peoples careers. Sometimes you will find the forums here usefull and sometimes they are just no help at all.

There will always be new enthusiastic CFD students who are starting to write their own code and want to discuss which programming language to use and there will always be engineers in industry who have been asked to buy a CFD code and want to discuss which commercial code is the best. I think that this is perfectly okay. I even think that this is one of the big merits of a free forum like this. Although us old forum followers have seen these discussions many times before seeing them again helps us stay aware of the developments in these fields where we think we already know everything.

The volume of messages on the forums here at CFD Online is still no problem and if the volume becomes a problem we can easily split the forums into smaller topics.

My feeling it that the forums are most valuable for people who are in the process of learning CFD - when you know enough to ask sensible questions but still could use some advice or hints sometimes.

Having a more "topic controlled" type of forum is another, perhaps complementary, form of forum. More like a slashdot style where a few editors pick each topic and then others can comment on the topics. This could be an complement, not an alternative, to the current forum setup. Personally I'm not very fond of slashdot sites though. I think they are difficult to navigate and difficult follow. Many people like them though and they have obviously been very succesfull in attracting traffic.

zxaar December 7, 2004 21:56

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
sorry for chipping in .... actually topic base idea sounds great but still the current format is not bad .. the reason why i say is ... imagine is am interested in drag coefficient .. the only thing i need to do is type the keyword in search and viola i have them listed ..and can spend my time reading them .... on the topic of questions being repeatative ..they will be repetative ..for example once jonas asked how to enable detached eddy in 6.1.22 he knew that it was present with 6.1.18, the thing is the softwares like fluent they change their implementation and hence the questions could be same but answer may be different ...for general discussion i guess its good idea to put them in category .... but still searching can do your work (i mean if we want to learn we shall put some effort overselves too) ....

matej December 8, 2004 05:24

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
I'm also quite happy with the current layout of the forums. The reason is quite simple. (1) it's fast to load, no extra graphics.(2) I can see directly how long is the thread, and WHO has been responding, which - to put it francly- is usualy the reason for me to read the thread, knowing that XY is a smart and I can learn something. This way I read not only the threads which are of my direct interest, but also some others.

I've looked at the demos of the forums Jonas mentioned, still I like the old style more. (Oh no - I'm getting old and conservative)

On the other hand, searching on forums in phpbb style - like http://forums.gentoo.org/ is very comfortable.

matej

PS: Jonas, it's a great work you're doing here! thanks.

zxaar December 8, 2004 05:43

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
this part i must agree with matej that jonas is doing great job.. and frankly before suggesting i sometimes wonder when we are suggesting the person who has to do is Jonas, and maintaining a site is tough job.

Jonas Larsson December 8, 2004 09:57

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
Heh, I guess we both belong to the category of old and conservative CFD engineers then :) I agree that the search functions on the newer forum softwares are much better, but other than that I'm quite happy with the simple threaded format the current forum has.

Fabian December 8, 2004 11:55

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
Hi Jonas,

I would like to see a new system like invisionboard. There are some more features like RSS feeds ... :)

Greetings! Fabian B.


ma December 8, 2004 16:56

Re: To webmaster or forum moderator: a suggestion
 
1. I should have used Moderator instead of Modulator.

2. I now know that it is Jonas who is taking charge of this forum. Thanks for Jonas' (and others') efforts.

3. Based on the two-day discussions, it seems that half of the people are expecting further improvement/changing of the current forum style; while the other half perfer the current style. It is good to know that Jonas is testing some new style.

4. Please consider the following situation if you don't want any change of the current forum style: (1) 100 posts discussed computer languate for CFD in 2001. (2) another 100 posts discussed this topic in 2002, 90% repeated with before. (3) another another 100 posts discussed the same topic in 2003, 90% repeated with before. (4) in 2004, you get some new idea on this topic and want to post it. Since your are not a newby, you searched before you posted. You then spent 3 hours reading through previous posts. And then you need to decide: shall I start a new post or put it in 2003's posts? If you put it in 2003's posts, perhaps no one will see it; if you start a new post, as can be expected, it will ignite another 100 repeated posts on the same topic.

5. Anyway, I hope cfd-online become more and more popular and benifit more and more people, in a more and more efficient way.

-ma

SAM December 11, 2004 11:56

Re: To webmaster or forum modulator: a suggestion
 
Jonas Larsson :> A way to go for him

I think the current sytle is not creating problem for any body and we are now comfurtalbe with this style.

Keep it up.

SAM


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