[Meta] Forum Layout Proposal and Discussion

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benrob0329
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[Meta] Forum Layout Proposal and Discussion

by benrob0329 » Post

I've had some ideas for a while to help freshen up the forums a bit and try to reduce redundancy from days past when we didn't have things like ContentDB. Namely I'd like to condense and bring community news to the forefront, push content publishing fully onto ContentDB, and give obvious channels for community feedback and ideas. Additionally, I think that adding clearer help categories (rather than leaving it mostly to the Modding and Game Discussion subforums) will help newcomers be able to ask questions and search for answers more easily. I think that some of these ideas could easily be put into practice now (such as central community and development news subforums) without risking too much disruption.
  • News
    • Project Announcements (official news from devs and staff for releases and meta or user-facing changes)
    • Development Announcements (anything dev or modder-facing such as WIP PRs, new API features, etc)
    • Community Announcements (anything anyone in the community at large are working on such as mods, games, servers, etc)
  • Feedback
    • Feature Requests (preferably off of Github so that the issue tracker can be less cluttered and more discussion can be had with the community at large)
    • Forums
    • ContentDB
    • Website
  • Helpline
    • Programming
    • Texturing
    • Modeling
    • Sound Design
    • Tools and Utilities
  • Discussions
    • Minetest Related (what is currently General Discussion)
    • Forum Games (because they can be fun but shouldn't clutter up offtopic)
    • Offtopic (because the confusing 3-way split offtopic is the worst thing and should have never happened)
Thoughts?
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Zughy
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Re: [Meta] Forum Layout Proposal and Discussion

by Zughy » Post

  • Project Announcements ---
  • Development Announcements I guess it would be the new "Partly official engine development"?
  • Community Announcements Imho the name could be misleading. Reading that, I think about announcements FOR the community. I'd opt for a clearer name
  • Feature Requests On one hand I'd say "yes, please". Because in this way who wants to add something, it can simply fish it from here, a place definitely less technical than GitHub and more user-friendly. It'd also mean getting rid of about 400 issues (415 currently). On the other wouldn't be harder to track things? Ie. bounty ones, or feature requests that are still pretty techincal like this one? Also, the forum doesn't have a label system, it'd be way harder to keep track of all these features. Probably the relevant ones on here would be front-end things like "make a player invisible" (please core devs review this PR, it's so useful), but back-end ones would be kind of buried
  • Forums not sure about the utility of this one, but in case I'd put it last
  • ContentDB ---
  • Website ---
  • Programming ---
  • Texturing maybe merge it with Modeling?
  • Modeling ---
  • Sound Design at the moment I think it'd be pretty useless
  • Tools and Utilities such as? Nodebox help?
Fine for the rest

Languages: Italian section is pretty dead, but things like German and Spanish are kind of active. Is it a good idea to remove this section completely? Probably German/Spanish people could chime in

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Re: [Meta] Forum Layout Proposal and Discussion

by sorcerykid » Post

I'm all for tighter integration with ContentDB, but I don't foresee ContentDB supplanting these forums as a means for content creators to post news and announcements and to engage with end-users in their own independent threads.

I also think that servers still require a dedicated subforum, since there is no other centralized repository of information about individual Minetest servers. Neither ContentDB nor the Wiki serve that purpose. And reddit, Discord, IRC, etc. aren't really viable alternatives for long-term discussions between players and server operators.

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Re: [Meta] Forum Layout Proposal and Discussion

by benrob0329 » Post

Perhaps servers should be able to advertise a homepage with the new URL button on the main menu. That way players can see more information about the servers without it being completely reliant on the fourms.

ContentDB supports threads/discussions, but this doesn't help server owners. I don't think we really need to host forums for all servers, since some already have forums of their own that are much better suited and many others have messaging channels. I don't understand why messaging channels aren't suited for long-term discussions, forums are good for slower questions and posts but many server-related questions can be resolved rather quickly by pinging a mod in the appropriate channel.

Zughy: Perhaps "Community News" would be better, I just wanted to avoid having "news" so many times under a section already labeled "news". For tools we have a couple IDE-like editors, the Nodebox editor, a few plugins for different development environments (both generally Lua based and MT-specific), and probably more to come.

Feature requests is a hard one to move completely, as you said the forums lack labels and many are rather technical. I suppose it would be more for the ones which are concepts or outlandish proposals, rather than those which have a proper roadmap and bit of it in-development.
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Re: [Meta] Forum Layout Proposal and Discussion

by v-rob » Post

I like talking about what I'm working on, but no one seems to look at Partially Official Engine Development. It sounds technical (which it often isn't) and non-official (which if often isn't as well). Almost no one seems to notice the stuff I post about my UI work, or maybe they have nothing to say. I post that stuff for the benefit of the general public, but if the general public doesn't notice it, it's not very useful, is it? :) So, I do like the idea of extra news forums.

I do support feature requests separate from GitHub issues, but I don't think the forums are the best place for it. There's no way to sort, label, close, etc. We'd get waaay too many feature request related to MTG, many more duplicates, bunches of low quality and far too general suggestions, etc. I don't know where they could be moved, but I don't think the forums are the place to be. We do have Feature Discussion though, and that serves its purpose fairly well.
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Re: [Meta] Forum Layout Proposal and Discussion

by paramat » Post

benrob0329 wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 04:38
push content publishing fully onto ContentDB
This would be impractical and an unnecessary restriction in my opinion.
Often creators of content have content they want to share, but they consider it not at a suitable standard for ContentDB, or unsuitable for ContentDB for some reason (examples, proof of concept, forever-WIP content). Most of my mods and games are like this.
I think people should have the freedom to distribute in an alternative way, and to have an alternative place to discuss content, and this is harmless.

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Re: [Meta] Forum Layout Proposal and Discussion

by MeseCraft » Post

I don't think this layout takes into consideration how important communication about modding and server forums are for modders and server operators. Having a space for them really helps small contributors get feedback and help contribute and become part of the community. They can also have their own space without hosting their own servers/resources, which helps people rally around Minetest. But I just don't see that happening with the proposed layout.

Community news should be on the front-page of the main website (Official announcement posts and feeds) You could perhaps have a corresponding topic in the forums for general update and news discussions but it shouldn't be the majority of the community's focus. News isn't really a discussion usually rather, its a post or story that shares information and the medium for that isn't best conveyed through forums. An entire forum category with three forums for announcement is really ridiculous.

Feedback should probably be one forum, not a category with four segmented forums. Its important to get feedback but its not something that should take up 25% of the focus of discussion.

I've gotten pretty used to how things are around here in the last year. I'm OK with how things are, I'm sure some tweaks could improve things, but I really don't see how your proposed layout would help the community. It seems like it makes discussion more downstream from development and the forums a bit more authoritative instead of a community focused thing.
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Re: [Meta] Forum Layout Proposal and Discussion

by benrob0329 » Post

paramat wrote:Often creators of content have content they want to share, but they consider it not at a suitable standard for ContentDB
Wouldn't that be what the community announcements/news category be for? Also, how is that any different from posting it on the forums, since that has about the same level of "It should not crash on startup".
paramat wrote:I think people should have the freedom to distribute in an alternative way, and to have an alternative place to discuss content, and this is harmless.
Freedom sure, but not necessarily that the project needs to host. Having redundant publishing methods is confusing, especially for new users. Having more work for the forum moderators to maintain these publishing areas is also not harmless, since they seem very removed nowadays.
MeseCraft wrote:I don't think this layout takes into consideration how important communication about modding and server forums are for modders and server operators. Having a space for them really helps small contributors get feedback and help contribute and become part of the community. They can also have their own space without hosting their own servers/resources, which helps people rally around Minetest. But I just don't see that happening with the proposed layout.
Mods have threads on ContentDB, but I agree that we don't have anything quite like that for servers. Understand that this is mostly a collection of ideas, not a cut-and-dry "Remove everything that's not in this immediately" kind of suggestion. I'd like to decrease server's dependency on the forums for information (see the suggestion for in-menu server homepage buttons above) but it should not be done immediately.
MeseCraft wrote:Community news should be on the front-page of the main website (Official announcement posts and feeds) You could perhaps have a corresponding topic in the forums for general update and news discussions but it shouldn't be the majority of the community's focus. News isn't really a discussion usually rather, its a post or story that shares information and the medium for that isn't best conveyed through forums. An entire forum category with three forums for announcement is really ridiculous.
I disagree, firstly because the forums are the easiest and most central place for news and discussion about it, and secondly because the website is static and news needs to be a feed. Updating the website with bits of news all the time would really bloat up the git history, and is unneeded since it links to the news section here anyways. We also already have 3+ forums which people use for announcements, this is in fact more condensed than current.
MeseCraft wrote:Feedback should probably be one forum, not a category with four segmented forums. Its important to get feedback but its not something that should take up 25% of the focus of discussion.
Perhaps, but inviting feedback for different things specifically is often helpful.
MeseCraft wrote:It seems like it makes discussion more downstream from development and the forums a bit more authoritative instead of a community focused thing.
Really? Giving everyone in the community a front-and-center place to post announcements, contributors a place to post new developments, inviting more feedback, inviting forums games back, and reducing confusing redundant publishing makes it more authoritative and less community focused?
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Re: [Meta] Forum Layout Proposal and Discussion

by Linuxdirk » Post

benrob0329 wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 04:38
Thoughts?
It totally misses out forums for server, mods, and games discussion. It also has two off-topic forums. It’s missing the “other languages” forums.

+ Spoiler

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Re: [Meta] Forum Layout Proposal and Discussion

by sorcerykid » Post

benrob0329 wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 20:20
Perhaps servers should be able to advertise a homepage with the new URL button on the main menu. That way players can see more information about the servers without it being completely reliant on the fourms.
To eliminate the subforum for all servers just because some servers happen to have their own homepage isn't reasonable in my view. As for messaging channels, those already exist. That's what in-game chat with IRC integration is for.

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Re: [Meta] Forum Layout Proposal and Discussion

by Zughy » Post

Chiming in again: I think a good compromise for now could be to convert into one single section the off topic sections

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