Pieces of me on community...

Reflections regarding the intersection of community and technology, broadly defined. A pit stop on the way to the next phase of Microsoft community solutions

Forums and Forum Views

Forums and Forum Views

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Currently on MSDN and TechNet sites, we have forums organized in a general hierarchy of site, groups, forums, and threads (which contain messages).  From an organizational logic standpoint this makes a lot of sense.  A particular message belongs to a thread, which belongs to a forum, which belongs to a group, which belongs to a site.  The trouble is, what if the message that someone wants to post (or find for that matter) can exist in multiple spots?

Right now, we address this situation through moderation.  Threads can be moved, merged and the like such that the content is exposed in the most logical spaces, as determined by the existing hierarchy.  The downside of this is that this is not really scalable long term.

Enter, forum views.  What exactly is a forum view?  Well, essentially it is the lens through which an individual views content traditionally collected in a forum.  Uhm, ok...but how exactly does that change the current state of things?  It all boils down to tailoring the forum content to your needs.  In some ways, this is similar to saying "Show me all forum content, but only things that apply to these particular topics."  All of the content would then get displayed much like a current forum.  The main difference is that the content there is not always "housed" in the same forum.  With a structure like this, the notion of an off-topic post becomes much less of an issue as that post can get displayed in the "correct" context for those who want it.  This also opens up a wide range of options regarding forum creation, as well as facilitating public and private views.  I'll get more into the how of all of this in a little while, but for now I'd be interested in hearing some thoughts on this.

Comments
  • Over the past few months as the product manager for blogs and forums, I've had the pleasure of meeting

  • A "view" seems like a great idea.  My concern post define its context--is it automatic based on the content of the post or does the poster have to add tags of some sort?

  • Hi Peter, it's envisioned that the tags associated with a given site, forum, etc be applied (automagically), as well as allowing the user to add suggested (from context) tags from what others have tagged, and any other tags they wish to apply.

  • With all these milestones , it would be easy to feel happy and proud of all that has happened, however

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