When I first joined Forumosa, I was under the impression that this was an online forum to talk about anything related to Taiwan (it’s in the name), and not everything under the sun. Instead, when I log in to the home page I am constantly being spammed by off-topic threads about Joe Biden and Wordle, of all things. I don’t want to have to constantly manually mute all new off-topic threads that get created every day.
There is certainly a place for off-topic discussions, but I believe that those threads should live in its own separate page because they serve a secondary purpose. I believe the home page, by default, should only contain threads that are relevant to Taiwan, and if some users wish to join in off-topic discussions they can click to go to a secondary page that contains them.
The advantage is that the primary purposes of this site is preserved (discussions about Taiwan), and threads that are on topic don’t quickly get bumped to the second page by off-topic threads. I believe this will allow on-topic threads to reach a wider audience, as many users only scan the top few threads and don’t bother clicking to the second page.
As an aside, I am a user experience designer who designs websites, and a universal principle that is followed by all good websites and apps is that the home page should not contain everything under the sun with equal importance and prominence. It should either only contain things that serve the primary objective of the website/app, or display them in a much more prominent manner. All other secondary information or functionality should exist in other pages. If they need to be shown on the home page, they should be shown with much less prominence.
FWIW, you don’t have to do that. Go to the list page for any forum or tag, and you can mute those topics from Latest (our landing page). Then no topics from them will appear there.
This kind of customability is very convenient, allowing anyone to tailor their experience, and the way to go in my view. I see us more as a site for people with connections to Taiwan to talk about anything than a site for people to talk about Taiwan
This is how we described the website to ourselves since the very beginning. When we started the website as ORIENTED.org there was Chris, me, and my 14 Smurf accounts in an infopop forum. Then about 3 weeks in, 3 people who none of us knew started posting on the site. Chris was thrilled; me and my smurfs were terrified, and we watched how over just a few days, the most active forum became the Rants and Raves forum (now the Open Forum)
The current format doesn’t bother me, and I don’t have anything, or anyone, muted (as far as I’m aware).
I think there’s a generational/personality aspect about wanting information to be neatly organized and filed vs. using one’s brain to filter the relevant stuff from the screed. There are a lot of threads on the homepage that I have no interest in and have never bothered to click, but that’s totally fine by me.
My user experience on here isn’t markedly different from Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, and my e-mail inboxes for that matter – a load of bullshit I don’t care about and a minority of things that warrant attention. At least Forumosa has fewer and less intrusive ads.
I think it’s the nature of forums to be a bit messy, and I don’t find it necessary to have a carefully organized homepage before going into a thread that contains a load of irrelevant (to me) comments (and it’s not my business, but I would be on the side of less organization/moderation of comments too, notwithstanding obvious spam).
I don’t like this idea. For me it would be preferable to let users opt out of stuff they don’t want to see (as is the case), rather than make them opt in to stuff they might want to see.