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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I want to see the manager! » » Combining forums (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

jacobsw
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New user
London
64 Posts

Profile of jacobsw
Hi! I am a relatively new user, so apologies if this has already been covered.

It would be great if there could be a single "Show all new posts" button, rather than having to scroll down and look for the red coffee logo on each forum. However, I understand that The Magic Café has been around for 16 years and that might involve a degree of reprogramming that wouldn't be practical!

Still, it seems like there is relatively straightforward way of making it easier to find new posts: have fewer forums.

Right now, to find new posts, I have to scroll through more than 140 distinct forums. Many of those could very easily be combined. For example, right now, "Tenyo of Japan" and "Tenyo Elite" have their own separate forums. I could understand splitting them if the amount of Tenyo Elite content was overwhelming the regular Tenyo forum-- but there have only been 8 posts in the "Tenyo Elite" forum in the past year. That's less than one per month. Surely that could be folded into Tenyo of Japan without too much trouble?

A few examples of forums that might be combined

- "Welcome To The Magic Café," "When Dining With Us", and "A Special Message for Lurkers"
- "The International Brotherhood of Magicians" and "IBM Youth"
- "The Society of American Magicians" and "The Society of Young Magicians"
- "The Fellowship of Christian Magicians" and "The Good News"
- "MINDVention" and "Penny for Your Thoughts"

Also, some forums haven't seen any posts for a year or more. These might be archived -- or, at the very least, moved to the very bottom of the list, so that users don't have to scroll through them every time they visit. Some examples:

- Chef's Specials/ Welcome Special Guest of Honor
- The Magic Menu
- Channel One
- Antinomy


There are more examples of forums that could be combined and forums that could be archived, but I already feel a bit self-conscious coming in to somebody else's home and suggesting that they re-arrange the furniture! So I will leave it there.

Thanks for considering my feedback.

Best wishes,
Jacob
Artie Fufkin
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Special user
857 Posts

Profile of Artie Fufkin
Suggestion ... why don't you wait a bit longer than you have, and post a few more than 3 times before telling the Café Mods how they might "improve" the Magic Café such that it will work better for you?

Just a suggestion.
Doug Trouten
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Elite user
Minnesota
462 Posts

Profile of Doug Trouten
Jacob -- Welcome to the Magic Café!

I think I understand your suggestion about having a single "all news posts" button, but I'm not sure it would be as useful as you think. I think you would find that scrolling through a long list of unsorted posts is even less convenient than scrolling through a long list of forum names.

The current system makes it easy to check new posts in your areas of interest, while ignoring others. For instance, at the moment I'm interested in card magic, but not in cardistry. If the "Pasteboard Frolics" section had a hot discussion going, I'd wind up having to scroll through all of those posts to try to find the ones that interest me. The Café has some forums I visit regularly, and others I ignore completely. The current setup accommodates that nicely.
It's still magic even if you know how it's done.
Terry Pratchett
Chessmann
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Inner circle
3925 Posts

Profile of Chessmann
Personally, having experienced both, I love having the option of seeing new posts - in fact, that is my default on another board. However, as you said, the Café's size may not make that the best choice for the Café, and programming issues could bring other factors which may not make it feasible.

Welcome, btw! Unlike some, you stated your suggestion with courtesy and grace. Hope you enjoy your stay!
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
4890 Posts

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Jacob, welcome to the Café. Regardless of how long a member has been here, we always welcome suggestions and comments that might make the Café a little better. Most of the forums we have are a result of member requests. For example, originally, we only had one forum for card workers. Members requested we break that down to categories like magic with sleights, self working effects, packet tricks and tricks with less than a full deck. Members interested in those areas could go to them rather than scrolling through the entire forum. This applies to all the forums and not just the card area.

Frequently members complain about the time it takes to scroll through all the forums. I personally look at every forum on the board everyday and it takes all of 20 seconds to scroll from top to bottom looking for those forums that have new messages. I don't think 20 seconds is an unbearable time frame.

I'm not sure if this will help you or not but you could try it. On the main index page, if you click on the forum heading "welcome to the Magic Café", you'll see all of the individual topics are removed and you only see forum headings. Now let's say you are interested in money magic. Click on the heading title "show me the money" and that forum will open and you can see which topics have new posts using the red cup indicators. To return to normal, click on the Café logo at the top of the page. Personally I think this takes as much time as just scrolling but you may find it useful.
Where the magic begins
jacobsw
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New user
London
64 Posts

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Artie, I hear where you're coming from. I've been on a board where certain issues were discussed in great detail, and eventually the group arrived at a solution that worked best for everybody involved -- and then some newbie came along and complained about it, without understanding the history and context. It was really annoying! At the same time, there were also cases where people would join the board, post a few times, and then get frustrated or overwhelmed by some issue and just stop coming. If we had listened to feedback only from people with long posting histories, we wouldn't have found out about the issues that were stopping newcomers from becoming old-timers.

So I did hesitate before making my post, but ultimately I decided I'd mention my concern, and then it would be up to the mods whether or not it was something worth acting on, given the limited time and resources they must have.
jacobsw
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New user
London
64 Posts

Profile of jacobsw
Doug, Chessman, and Dave, thank you for your kind words of welcome! And thanks for all the thoughtful points you raise.

Other boards I've been on have had a "All New Posts" feature and (like Chessman) I've found it helpful -- but those boards did not have the 5,648,571 messages (!) that The Magic Café has. As Doug and Chessman point out, it might be less useful on a high traffic board like this one.

Dave, thanks for giving me the background on the history of the various subforums. From what you're saying, I can see how the current structure arose in response to the needs of the users. And Doug, your example is a very helpful one, and I can see how cardistry and card magic are totally different discussions, and somebody interested in one wouldn't be interested in the other.

Still, I can't help wondering if it's worth sometimes merging forums as well as sometimes splitting them. Just to pick a concrete example, consider the Tenyo Elite forum. As Dave very sensibly points out, it's hardly unbearable to scroll past it every time I visit the board. On the other hand, if you folded it into the Tenyo forum, that would mean that users of that forum would scroll past a new, Tenyo-elite related message less than once a month. If all users scrolling past the forum every time they visit is bearable, surely a subset of users scrolling past a new message once every month or two is even easier.

Anyway, I know I'm just one user and I seem to be in the minority on this! Thanks, all, for the discussion.
Doug Trouten
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Elite user
Minnesota
462 Posts

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Jacob -- I think you're right about the possible benefits of combining some closely-related forums. It might also make sense to relocate or archive some very low-traffic threads. On the other hand, any change requires an adjustment on the part of the users, and I appreciate the stability of the Magic Café. It has its quirks, but at least I don't have to re-learn how to use it every few months.
It's still magic even if you know how it's done.
Terry Pratchett
Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
4890 Posts

Profile of Dave Scribner
Jacob, using your Tenyo of Japan and Tenyo elite example, if you read the description of each of those forums, you'll see they are two distinct things. Tenyo of Japan is for discussions surrounding the original Tenyo pieces and company. Tenyo Elite is about a current company offering remakes and new versions of the effects. Combining those forums would combine two different discussions.
Where the magic begins
anatuncay
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New user
Texas
13 Posts

Profile of anatuncay
I find this thread really helpful! thanksss.!!
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