Re-designing the Heroes Forum

OK....

So many people have asked for "...a better Forum...", and we know this is being thought about..

BUT:

1> What do people want?  I'll start with "...better Search facilities/tagging facilities"

2> What are examples of a GOOD forum?

3> Who out there is doing an example of "Good" or "Great"?

4> What helps a forum work better?

5> How do we validate answers better?

Let's crowdsource a solution, and help build a new Heroes site.

Bruce

39 Replies
Fiona  Telford-Sharp

This is the only e-learning forum I visit, but I have been part of forums for many, many years. IMO there is great need for -

Definitely a better search function.

A 'go to last read' button next to the posts.

More categories, so you can easily go and look through old threads about related topics.The other forums I visit have lots of different categories.

Daniel Brigham

Be careful what you wish for...

But I might at least consider:

  • sectioning out the topics: Quizzing, ID, Audio/Visual, etc.
  • related to point above, creating a place for job postings (one of the reasons people come to the forum is to find expertise, and it seems logical to make expertise easier to find
  • somehow giving people credit for giving a helpful answer ( though I'll admit the points thing doesn't sit right with me, not totally sure why)

The Captivate forum does the points thing, though I'm not sure if that proves anything. Captivate forum also sections out the links. But man, the visual look is uninspired. Makes me want to play some Green Day or something.

A question I've been kicking around is "How can we make it better for the person who just wants a quick solution to his problem and wants to get out quickly?" That's like 97% of the users. The super heroes will come back no matter what.

Nancy Woinoski

Don't like the idea of points much. Not sure what purpose this would serve. Better search capabilities and better topic categories should help people find info faster on their own. I would also like to see better product documentation and have this type of resource material more exposed. I can never find the articulate documentation. I'm not a big fan of tutorials and screeners for situations when I just want an answer to a question.

although I don't think it could get much better for the majority who just want an answer to a question. Seems like Most questions get answered and often within minutes of being asked. Can't get much better than that.

Sheila Bulthuis

I second (third?) the request for better search capability. This would be my #1 request.

I'm with Nancy on the points, don't like that idea.

I really like the "white space" - to me, it's the opposite of the Captivate forums, where the font always seems tiny and everything is all squished together. 

And I really, really want spell check for posts.  I'm a terrible typist and spellcheck helps me correct that.    yes, i know it's minor but I still want it!

Phil Mayor

Better search, I don't like the points idea.

Sheila Cole-Bulthuis said:

And I really, really want spell check for posts.  I'm a terrible typist and spellcheck helps me correct that.    yes, i know it's minor but I still want it!


If you use firefox, chrome, safari your browser will spellcheck for you (doesn't help me though)

Graham North

As a frequent user of the Microsoft TechNet forums (with thousands of points ) I am not too keen on having a point system here.  It seems to encourage posting for the sake of points. Although I visit infrequently now I come across baffled users with quite simple questions bombarded by "answers" from people trying to accumulate points.  Often these answers are given with no consideration to the users request and inevitably involve solutions out of the depth of the user (indicated by the wording of the question).

There are however some interesting developments on their collaboration sites beyond a forum, such as a Gallery in which samples of solutions to common problems can be located and used/adapted if required (posted solutions are exchanged for you guessed it points, so there are some obvious spamming of solutions).  This would probably be an extension of the Downloads area here opening it up to community contributions.

Of course it's now branded for the new look 2013, basically a very bland white everywhere, but within the forums themselves one feature that may be an improvement is the ability to expand a thread and collapse it without leaving the list of posts.

Just my comments.  Little needs changing after all it's the people that make this type of collaborative working a good experience or not.

Phil Mayor

Graham North said:

As a frequent user of the Microsoft TechNet forums (with thousands of points ) I am not too keen on having a point system here.  It seems to encourage posting for the sake of points. Although I visit infrequently now I come across baffled users with quite simple questions bombarded by "answers" from people trying to accumulate points.  Often these answers are given with no consideration to the users request and inevitably involve solutions out of the depth of the user (indicated by the wording of the question).

There are however some interesting developments on their collaboration sites beyond a forum, such as a Gallery in which samples of solutions to common problems can be located and used/adapted if required (posted solutions are exchanged for you guessed it points, so there are some obvious spamming of solutions).  This would probably be an extension of the Downloads area here opening it up to community contributions.


Agree with this, the Microsoft example was one I gave on another post.

Also agree with the gallery a way to upload files would be great

Rebecca Fleisch Cordeiro
  • +1 (ad infinitum) to better searching
  • and, a way to search specifically within different products. So, for example, if I want to ask a question about quizzes I can filter out Quizmaker vs. Storyline Quizzes (if that's already doable, apologies and please share how)
  • and, perhaps, a way to filter out by date
  • Don't like the points idea re Graham's comment
Nicole Legault
  • Agree with all other comments that it would be nice to have more categories for the content (including one for LMS, and maybe even subcategories for the different LMS systems?).

  • Perhaps have a rating system for how good an answer is (somewhat like Daniel Brigham suggested). Perhaps a three star system and any other user can rate an answer from 1-3 stars. This might also help encourage people to post more valuable content if they think their posts might only be rated a “1 star”. Maybe the comments with the most stars appear at the top of the thread?

  • Maybe a different color for the posts that are just comments and general information, versus the posts that are answers to questions. Check off a box everytime you post a comment to indicate if it’s a general comment or answer (like you do now when you create a new forum thread). Maybe this would be easier to scan through the forum quickly and differentiate between answers/comments.

  • An area for community users to share their own templates, assets and .story files (you’d need to filter through the materials and weed out the stuff that’s really not that valuable for others)

  • Another area for community users to share their published content (only the content that they feel comfortable sharing, obviously!) so you could easily go to one place and see a lot of published content to get ideas.

  • Aggregate all the posts that answer the same question… (but maybe this would be done by creating more categories)

  • Have an area where it’s easy to find all of the Super Heroes, and the community members who contribute a lot, for people to look to for questions easily… Maybe also include what people’s strengths are somehow (for example some people are super great with Javascript and coding, others have a lot experience troubleshooting LMS issues,  etc.)

  • I don’t know the feasibility and impacts of this but it might be cool if you could create an e-Learning heroes forum account through your existing LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook account (like you can do on Screenr). I just find it makes it easier to log in to stuff and more convenient when you have to remember less usernames/passwords

  • Might be cool to have a feature like the sidebar in Facebook that is always scrolling and showing the newest content and updates, and I like the idea of maybe even having a window that displays which forum users are online, and having an ability to chat with those people…

Not sure if these are all do-able, but those are some of my ideas off the top of my head..

Bruce Graham

Some GREAT ideas here - thanks all.

I feel that the future of eLearning is in niche skills networking together - so I'd love to see the ability to create/invite and run sub-groups -but also to hide areas of the Forum that we have little interest in.

Categories is a difficult one - fewer is easier to manage, I can see an "LMS category" would be great, but one for each one? Not for me.

A "Content Gallery" where you go to see what people are posting is a great idea - perhaps For Comment/Answer to Queries/I'm Stuck?

Great stuff.

Thanks

Bruce

Jerson  Campos

Definitily better search functions and more categories. I think we should add tags too. This could help with finding what we are looking for a lot easier.

I'm not for or against the points. But I'll play devils advocate and point to a forum that has actually achieved great success with implementing a point system. StackOverflow.com. The way they implemented it has actually contributed to a better community and better answers that are easy to find.

Here is a basic breakdown of how they do things. StackOverflow.com/about

Michelle Reeder

The biggest thing for me is to be able to separate out Storyline related posts from Studio. Also, have one place for everyone who wants to share templates and resources. Can we currently receive emails to follow threads of posts? I don't think so, but am not sure since I am new to this forum. Thanks.

Tracy Parish

Am I mistaken or can you only attach 1 file to a posting?  Being able to attach more than one is helpful.  (and +1 to the majority of comments above)  (-1 for a points system)  (+1 for adding a "this has been answered") (-1 for a rating system - your great answer may not be my great answer).

Fiona  Telford-Sharp

One thing this forum doesn't really have, which other forums I visit regularly do have, is any general chat threads. I think that is one of the things that builds community on a forum - ie general chit chat so people get to know each other a little.

E.g. on  the cycling forum I visit, as well as all the sections for different topics and technical questions, there is a thread which is hundreds of pages long about 'how was your ride today' - you get people posting in there regularly and they get to know each other, which then spills over into a friendly vibe in the other threads.

Same on the parenting forum I visit, as well as all the sections and questions, there are a few never ending chat threads for different groups of people. Buddy groups if you like.

I don't know if there is a place for that sort of chat on here, (it's not for everybody, some people like to get in, ask their question, and move on) but it definitely builds community. I am imagining a pinned thread on 'what are you working on today'. Or a section for buddy groups for people working in similar interest areas.

Anne Pead

Jerson, you beat me to it! I was just about to suggest Stackoverflow as an example of a well done forum system where users get recognition for helpful answers.

The tags could definitely help with the improved search functionality that everyone seems to agree is needed. Or perhaps something as simple as a few checkboxes when posting to indicate which product you're posting a question for (making it easier to then filter your searches for Storyline vs. Presenter questions for example) and a few more general checkboxes to help define the question - probably a search through the current forums would show what are often current topics to put in there like audio or LMS?

Other than that, I really love the eLearning Heroes forum and I hope that if it is changed it doesn't lose any of the awesomeness it's already got going for it!