Please read this thread first to get an idea of the origin of this thread:http://www.crows-town.com/showthread.php?t=4108
What I'd like to discuss here is the number of different forum board area we have here, and whether it's useful to maintain them all at this point. The question came up for me for a number of reasons.
I know just historically from my experience moderating a number of other fairly large and active forums that it is generally best to avoid a lot of fragmentation. For those trying to keep up on the forums it's more convenient to check fewer areas, it makes it easier and quicker to post and participate, and it is especially helpful with smaller and/or less active forums because it avoids diluting what posting there actually is by not spreading it among many different areas where it's less visible. It gives the impression of greater activity basically (which is a good thing for newcomers especially).
I also noticed that a lot of the areas here get very little activity. Some get a post a week or every few weeks, some even less than that. A few haven't been posted in since 2009. Some have less than 10 posts *ever*.
Another problem this creates is simply an aesthetic and usability one. Right now you have to scroll way down on the forum page to see everything. It seems unnecessary.
Many of the boards we have here would be considered "off topic". There's nothing wrong with that of course, and if we want to foster a long-term community we need to feel comfortable discussing things other than Counting Crows. After all there's only so much we can talk about there! Hehe. Still, at present I count 13 boards of this type, with a lot of fine-grained segmentation, while there are 10 "on topic" (Counting Crows) boards and 5 additional "utility" type boards (site news, etc.). Not that strict numbers are the only thing that matters, but it does seem potentially imbalanced.
So my question is, how do you all feel about consolidating some of these forum boards? Would it really be a problem to have just 1, 2, or even 3 "off topic" or "general" boards where anything and everything (that is not CC or trading or site related) could be discussed? Do we need "whacky news", "facts of life", "odds and ends", and more? Why not just "Fun and Games"? Same with "Everything Else Chat". I could see this being taken care of by 1 or 2 boards. "Sports Chat" gets a post every 2-6 months, for example, and could easily be talked about effectively in amongst books, movies, and a lot of other stuff.
Fortunately nothing would be lost if we were to do this. We can merge boards and maintain all the prior topics. They'd get all mixed together, but I don't really see that as a big problem.
I don't have a particular arrangement or consolidation plan in mind. I could easily come up with a suggested strategy for what boards I think could be combined, but I thought we could start with discussing whether people thought it was even worth consideration. If so, then we can figure out what boards could be best combined.
Feel free to vote in the attached poll if you'd like. Not a requirement though, I'd sooner see feedback in a post than only in the poll.
Looking forward to your thoughts.