Major Forum Changes

Want to change something on the site? Or add new features?

Major Forum Changes

Postby qqwref » Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:28 pm

I think we need to improve the community - make it more social, make it look better to the outside world, and make it easier for new people to fit in. There are a few changes I would make (changes to the Wiki, score lists, website organization, guestbook, etc.), and one of the big ones is to change the structure of the forum. I think the forum is currently structured in a confusing way and it would be better if it was more predictable and social. Right now, there's really no good place to put certain things. And, since almost every other community is centered around a forum, it's very likely that people come to msinfo and see how empty the forum is and assume we just don't have an active community.

Also, I think we should start posting more on the forum. That means that instead of posting things on the guestbook (or, in addition to!) people should post them on the forum. A guestbook is designed for viewing a couple of posts at a time, and not organized to allow for any real social activity. The more people post, the harder it is to find stuff, so having a large active community never happens. However, a forum is perfectly designed for lots of posts, and in fact the more people post the busier the forum will look and the more likely it is that people will post here. So, the community grows exponentially

I've seen this before. Over many years, I've watched the cubing community grow from a Yahoo group to a huge forum. I started out in 2004 or so (I don't even remember) learning from a bunch of websites and following discussions by people far more knowledgeable than me on their Yahoo group (which moved, but never all that quickly). For a while the #rubik IRC channel was the home of much of the active community. Then, in 2008 or so, the speedsolving forum was started. Ever since then, things have really expanded. We regularly get new cubes, new ideas, new solving methods, new people. The average quality of discussion has gone down a bit, but the intelligent people and great ideas are still there - and everyone has more of a reason to stay there because they have so many friendly people to talk to. There's nothing about minesweeper that prevents this from happening to our community too. Look at how big saolei is.

I'm happy to talk way more about this to anyone who's interested. I'm willing to dedicate a lot of time to it, and I've got plenty of coding experience if the website needs to be modified at all. And I'm convinced that the Minesweeper community can get big, and friendly, and even respected. All we need to do is rethink the way we communicate with each other.


Here is one possible way to organize the forum.
- Social Discussion (category)
- - Introductions (new section)
- - General Chat (new section)
- - Off-Topic (= Off Topic)
- Minesweeper Discussion (category)
- - Minesweeper Chat (= General Talk)
- - Math & Theory (= Math & Theory)
- - Personal Records (new section, people would create a new topic when they break a big record, and we could also have a "post your records here" thread like in the nonosweeper forums for smaller accomplishments)
- - - Flagging (= Stats (Flagging))
- - - Non-Flagging (= Stats (NF))
- - Software (= Clones, but also allowing discussion of non-official versions)
- - The World Ranking (= The World Ranking, we can keep the subforums)
- - Tournaments (= Tournaments)
- Site Discussion (category)
- - Announcements (new section - only moderators can post here, but all can read it, and these get put on the front page of the website... this would include new WRs and milestones, clone updates, big site changes/decisions, etc.)
- - Wiki Discussion (new section - more people should have wiki access!)
- - Website Comments and Changes
NF player. Best scores 1-10-39.
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Re: Major Forum Changes

Postby tepples » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:20 am

Would it be a bad idea to give wiki editing privileges to all forum members? There's a MediaWiki extension to let people log in to the wiki with credentials from a phpBB 3 forum, but it appears not to be installed here. But to use it, you'll probably need to upgrade MediaWiki to a newer version (one with security fixes) in order to be able to use it. When I was looking for information on the wiki about how to sign up for the wiki, the only "help" page I could find was "help this site", which ended up meaning financially, not by providing information. I got the impression that editing was available only to sponsors.

I'm not entirely a hardcore fan of record-legal Minesweeper, but I have experience running a MediaWiki site of my own and using various tools to fight spam.
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Re: Major Forum Changes

Postby aradesh » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:34 am

I agree with the sentiments above entirely. Years ago when I first started looking for activity in the minesweeper community I was immediately put off by the guestbook as I had no way to read around to gauge what the community was like (without just reading through a long linear line of GB posts) and it had no immediate appeal. With forums you can browse a while, look at interesting post titles and single out posts by users whose posts you like, etc. I didn't come back to the guestbook until years after the first time I found it. The only reason I can bear the guestbook now is because I read every new post on it several times a week. As soon as I don't view it for a few weeks it's a chore to get back into reading it.

Our forum is currently fairly bare because no one bothers to use it. Even the super-active people (people who regularly post scores to the AR and who hang out in IRC) in the community only check it once every few weeks or months.

I am also willing to devote time to this - and for one will attempt to move my GB posts over to the forum, or include them both here and over there.

The first place new users should be directed to is the forum not the GB, and the GB should either be removed or kept as a historical relic for mirroring announcements and hiscores.
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Re: Major Forum Changes

Postby EWQMinesweeper » Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:43 pm

tepples: there are only a few people who can edit articles in the wiki and damien is the only one who is able to create new articles in the english (the main) wiki. this is because he wants it to be as on-topic as possible. if you think there is something that needs to be put into a whole new article, it'd be best to ask damien about it and, if he's positive, write it yourself, then send t to him. for minor fixes in current articles the easiest way is to post about them in this forum or the gb. shouldn't take more than 3 days until the found mistakes are corrected. besides that, from my point of view there aren't that many things, that need new articles. regarding the 'help' issue: minesweeper wiki != wikipedia. it's not an open wiki. maybe this can be changed in the future, but i see no reason for it atm. obviously it's in our common interest, that the articles are of relevance and not complete nonsense. what i'm trying to say is: i'm not sure whether opening the wiki to more users is one of the first things that should be done in order to generate some activity in this forum.

qq: the forum is currently designed to fit what damien believed were the needs of the community of that time, which was centered entirely around improving on the world ranking. i agree that some subforums are unneccessary and your suggestion for new subforums seems nice. i also agree that YOU (all 3 of you who already posted in this thread and those who read this thread) should post more. if you want more activity,t ehn go ahead do those darn posts! making relevant posts might take some efforts, but if i were to make such a thread, i would have replied to every single post already.

although ms and cubing have some things in common, i really don't want this forum, and more importantly this community, to becomesomething like the german speedcubing one. i really enjoy that there aren't any annoying 12-14y old kiddies here. the more users there are, the more likely there will be sme annoying people among them.

saolei has grown so big, because 1) china has a big population and 2) there are no time-restrictions to be admitted to their rankings. damien has taken notice of this and if you have a look at the country rankings (which you already should have done imo), you will see that since this year he allows all scores on the country rankings.

maybe i need to explain why i love the current state of this community so much: it's nearly 100% spam-free, it's nearly 100% on-topic, most of the actives chat with each other at least once a week, people actually care for others' records, i consider many of the most active sweepers as my friends.
„Das perlt jetzt aber richtig über, ma sagn. Mach ma' noch'n Bier! Wie heißt das? Biddä! Bidddää! Biddddäää! Reiner Weltladen!“
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Re: Major Forum Changes

Postby Tommy » Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:52 pm

http://www.minesweeper.info/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&p=1140

Is all I am going to reply here - the topic linked has an article/rant attached that was inspired by this thread.
Don't anthropomorphize computers - they don't like it.
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Re: Major Forum Changes

Postby thefinerminer » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:00 pm

Last week I re-organised the forum using some of the suggestions. I think it is more user-friendly and clear. This is just a note so people know it was done.
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