Consolidation, Layout Change, and New Titles

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BuckGB
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Consolidation, Layout Change, and New Titles

Postby BuckGB » Sun May 23, 2010 12:27 am

Based on the feedback you guys have given me over the last several months, I've went ahead and consolidated a number of forums while also wiping out one extra level to click through while navigating the forums.

Here's a list of the forums that were consolidated:

D&D Campaign Settings -> Dungeons & Dragons
GameBanshee Announcements -> GameBanshee Discussion (renamed)
Non-RPG Discussion -> Speak Your Mind
Diablo III -> Diablo I & II (renamed to Diablo Series)
Dungeon Siege -> Dungeon Siege II (renamed to Dungeon Siege Series)
Fable II and Fable III -> Fable & Fable: TLC (renamed to Fable Series)
Fallout 3 & New Vegas -> Fallout 1, 2, & Tactics (renamed to Fallout Series)
Lionheart -> General RPG Discussion
Titan Quest -> General RPG Discussion

Please let me know what you think of the changes and whether any other forums should be considered for further consolidation. I considered merging the Icewind Dale and Vampire titles into series forums, too, but there are a lot more threads to deal with there. I'm not sure our members would be too fond of four medium-sized forums being consolidated into two.

Additionally, my plan is to introduce more user titles to spice things up a little. Here's a preliminary list of the direction I'm thinking about taking:

Initiate (0 posts)
Neophyte (100 posts)
Apprentice (250 posts)
Counsellor (500 posts)
Scholar (1000 posts)
Lorekeeper (2000 posts)
Scribe (4000 posts)
Taleweaver (8000 posts)
Sage (16,000 posts)
Exalted One (32,000 posts)

Thoughts? I just whipped these together earlier this evening, so I'm certainly not opposed to going in a different direction if any of you have better ideas. Would it make more sense to use RPG character-like titles?

There are also some large number gaps above, so feel free to speak up if you think the above list should be changed or altered in any way. Once we get a new title system in place, I can also look into offering other perks for each level our members attain.

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Postby dragon wench » Sun May 23, 2010 1:07 am

Sounds good Buck, and the front page looks much better. The only thing I'd suggest is to maybe consolidate IWD 1 and 2 into a single forum. Take a look and see what you think, but neither area is very busy... Your thoughts?
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Xandax
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Postby Xandax » Mon May 24, 2010 1:05 am

While I'm positive over the consolidation of sub-forums, the sub-forum overview on the main view looks messy and very confusing.
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BuckGB
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Postby BuckGB » Mon May 24, 2010 9:07 am

dragon wench wrote:Sounds good Buck, and the front page looks much better. The only thing I'd suggest is to maybe consolidate IWD 1 and 2 into a single forum. Take a look and see what you think, but neither area is very busy... Your thoughts?


I don't mind consolidating hundreds of posts, but I'm not sure about 21,000. Both forums still see some traffic, and we're the #1 spot for Google searches for either forum. Switching it to "Icewind Dale Series" will hurt search traffic, at the very least.

Xandax wrote:While I'm positive over the consolidation of sub-forums, the sub-forum overview on the main view looks messy and very confusing.


I don't disagree, but do you have any suggestions for how to improve it? I either have to push all the forums to a second page (the previous method), list them as sub-forums on the main page (current method), or give them each a standard listing spot on the main page. I'd rather not go back to forcing users to scroll down through dozens of forums, either.

We could potentially do more consolidating, but I don't want to sacrifice a lot of search traffic to do it. Alpha Protocol and Drakensang: The Dark Eye are the only two I think are reasonable picks right now, and that's assuming that Alpha Protocol won't be popular with our visitors and we won't end up having a whole Drakensang series forum with the release of Demonicon and River of Time.

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Postby Xandax » Mon May 24, 2010 10:32 am

BuckGB wrote:<snip>
I don't disagree, but do you have any suggestions for how to improve it? I either have to push all the forums to a second page (the previous method), list them as sub-forums on the main page (current method), or give them each a standard listing spot on the main page. I'd rather not go back to forcing users to scroll down through dozens of forums, either.
<snip>


I don't know how much control you have over the layout possible, but perhaps just if they were ordered in two columns, or similar, so they don't look all mashed together.
Or if the subforum list could span the entire length of the forum table, so the "last post"/thread count/post count don't have to take up the entire height of the row.
You're somewhat limited by the narrowness of the forum itself when there's the left hand menu (understand why it is there, not asking you to remove it :D ), so a better utilization of the forum listing table would be worth some thought.

Also the thread count/post count might be irrelevant on the main forum listing? If they aren't - you seem to be missing the headlines for the columns?
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Postby BuckGB » Mon May 24, 2010 12:04 pm

How's that? Better? In order to make a two-column listing work, I had to shorten some forum names (Arcanum lost its subtitle, Knights of the Old Republic became KotOR, etc.). I'm not sure if this will present search engine issues, but it was a necessity in order to keep the text size readable.

I can easily change it back to the original listing method, though, if the two-column solution doesn't work for whatever reason.

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Postby Xandax » Mon May 24, 2010 1:29 pm

It is better because it gives a cleaner and more easy to read overview and usable then all the sub forums mashed into each other making the list neigh unreadable and difficult to navigate. It makes it symmetrical.

Also if it is search engines you're worried about, a sitemap and/or one singular listing main page is much more effective this. Haven't taken a SEO look at the page though, as there's properly other things to tackle as well.
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