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This message board is too fragmented.

Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: August 18th, 2010
Have you administrators/moderators considered consolidating some of the branches? It's nice that the Elderly Autistic Romanian Vegan Women Travelistes have their own branch, but is it really necessary? I'd bet a tall Bintang that consolidating some of the hyperspecialized branches would make this a livelier place.

Hydro

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  • Added on: August 18th, 2010
The Elderly Autistic Romanian Vegan Women Travelers are a powerful lobbying group. They will always have their own forum. But you're right, there are a few that could be folded in to others.
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Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: August 18th, 2010
People are too frightened to agree with me, fearing the iron fist of the BnA junta.

2wanderers

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  • Added on: August 18th, 2010
You've just missed the history. We periodically complain about excessive subforums, and occasionally we win (we don't have a dedicated "traveler vs tourist" forum anymore!), but mostly the forum count stays high. Ever it has been, ever it shall be.

Hydro

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  • Added on: August 18th, 2010
I would hope that we're always open to change.

I ask you both (and anyone else that wants to chime in) what your ideal forum structure would be.

Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: August 18th, 2010
Hydro wrote:I would hope that we're always open to change.

I ask you both (and anyone else that wants to chime in) what your ideal forum structure would be.


Destinations seem fine to me.

Other than that, I can't see why Food, Languages, Travel Writing, Sports (cycling, skiing, diving, surfing), and General wouldn't be enough.

Mama-to-many

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  • Added on: August 18th, 2010
Having used the vagabonding/longterm travel branch a bit, I'd vote for it to stay!
As things are organised now, it makes finding relevant threads easy and avoids asking the same question again.
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seraphim

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  • Added on: August 19th, 2010
I usually just click on "new posts since last visit" so it doesn't really bother me wether there's 1 forum or a hundred. But when I try to find back an older thread, I often have no idea which subforum it's in and have to look around quite a bit.
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Hydro

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  • Added on: August 19th, 2010
How does the search function work for you in cases like that, Karlien? I find it works fairly well, but I use it a lot so I may just have figured out what works and what doesn't.

seraphim

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  • Added on: August 19th, 2010
To be honest, I never tried.
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2wanderers

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  • Added on: August 19th, 2010
For forum structure, I would pick a cutoff, say 200-300 topics, and then consider whether it seriously requires its own forum.
Destinations
For destinations, it's challenging. I can understand why Mexico's 50 posts should be kept separate from the rest of North America, since Canada/US volume will swamp any discussions of Mexico. That said, it might work to have a combined Mexico & Central America thread, as travel in the region is often combined.

Alternatively, I know phpBB supports subforums. Maybe there should be a front page forum for each continent, with subforums for specific destinations which you would like to break out. Not sure how "Middle East" would work on this, since it's vague and may (or may not) span both Asia and Africa, and possibly a little corner of Europe, too.

At a minimum, there should be some geographical relationship to forum order. Having Europe at the top and London + Ireland at the bottom means that threads for London and Ireland have been split between their dedicated forums and the continent forum. The Ireland forum has had a few posts this month, but generally tends to be very dead, going several months between posts. There's also Caribbean Threads in Central America.

Travel Resources
- Best of the boards was a good idea, but isn't sufficiently maintained to be relevant. It's pretty much just making the list longer, now.
- Languages, funding, and food seem to be the losers in this section. I have no particular thoughts on them, but maybe some could be rolled into other forums? I'm leaving BnA Travel Resources off the list, as I figure that it's fair you should promote your services, and the separate forum helps keep them in front.

Talking about Travel
- Mostly this section seems to be something approaching "right sized."
- BnA blogs seems to have mostly turned into technical discussions about the service, rather than actually highlighting great blogs. This is too bad, but it feels like maybe it would be appropriate to merge it with the Feedback forum.
- Travel games. I've never been a big player, but I completely stopped following WITP when it got it's own forum (actually, I kind of assumed it died, I just realised it was still going today when I was analysing the forums.) I wonder how many other people are missing it?

Hostels
This has never worked, as far as I can tell. And because it supports guest posting, the few posts there seem to be mostly spammy.

Combining a few of these would help declutter the forum list, which can be overwhelming.

Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: August 19th, 2010
2wanderers wrote:Combining a few of these would help declutter the forum list, which can be overwhelming.


And that's just it. If this forum had 100,000 users, such segmentation would make more sense. As it is though, it muffles the appearance of activity, which is essential to any board that wants to attract new members. BnA Forums has far more subbranches than the Thorn Tree, which has many times the number of active users as this forum.

halfnine

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  • Added on: August 19th, 2010
How does the search function work for you in cases like that... I find it works fairly well, but I use it a lot so I may just have figured out what works and what doesn't.


I am fairly similar in my use off the boards as Seraphim. I just look at whatever has been posted since I was last there. Which also means I rarely know what branch anything was posted in.

As far as using the search function, here, I don't have much luck with it. I find for more recent posts that I'll just search for someone who I remember posted on the thread. I'll find their name and just look for recent posts by them. Now, if it's an old post I am looking for, then I'll resort to using Google and search the boards using key words that are likely to show up in the thread. That seems to have some success.

Lucky Luke

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  • Added on: September 7th, 2010
FWIW; my thoughts:
I think a lot of the forums could be combined, there are a lot there and only the same few are constantly active.

- Eco travel, Health, Food, Language, Funding, Books and Gear could be rolled into a Lifestyle section or something like that.
- Adventure, Vagabonding, Living Abroad, Volunteering combined into one big "ways to go" forum
- maybe Travelling with Kids, Disabilities, GLBT, Still going, Student and Corp Wasteland could combine into a "not your average backpacker" section?
- Travel Photography and Travel Writing into a "share the experience" forum
- The Hostels sections needs to go; as far I can tell, it has only ever had about 3 threads, all for hostels in Dublin. Surely hostel reviews are taken care of in various destination forums and/or ratings on hostel search?
- Is Bali active enough to not be part of the Pacific?
- London/Ireland into a UK and Ireland section, sat right below Europe to make nice and obvious?

I don't like the idea of sub-forums... it'd just be the same as now but worse because you wouldn't be able to see them all on one page, you'd have to click through until you found what you wanted.

hydro wrote:How does the search function work for you in cases like that... I find it works fairly well, but I use it a lot so I may just have figured out what works and what doesn't


Slightly off topic but one thing that I'd love is the ability to sort search results by either relevance OR date.

Hideo

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  • Added on: September 10th, 2010
And change the "London" forum to be a UK one - no forum exists for the rest of the UK as it stands.

Or combine it with the Ireland one to have a UK & Ireland forum which should be sufficient.
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