Third-level forums

Third-level forums
by on (#169507)
People are requesting a sub-forum for the third competition. So this might be a good time for me to rearrange the forums to take advantage of a feature new in phpBB 3: third-level forums.

nesdev.parodius.com ran phpBB 2, which had a 2-level hierarchy: a site contains categories, and a category contains forums. are "NES / Famicom", "Other", and "Site Issues". In 2012, when Parodius Networking was wound down, nesdev.com moved to a different server running phpBB 3. A phpBB 3 site has top-level forums, which contain second-level forums, with no fundamental difference between forums at different levels. A "category" is just a forum that has sub-forums and doesn't let users create topics directly inside it. Inside of a second-level forum I can make third-level forums.

I was thinking move Reproduction inside Hardware, GB and SNES inside Other Retro Dev, and the Japanese, Chinese, and Middle East forums inside International. Then I could make the compo forum inside Homebrew Projects.

Second? Object?
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169508)
Sounds good.

If you click on 'homebrew' will there be a folder at the top to open '2016 compo' sub-forum ?
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169516)
dougeff wrote:
If you click on 'homebrew' will there be a folder at the top to open '2016 compo' sub-forum ?

Yes. It would appear on the main page in a "Subforums" line, just below "Moderator", and at the top of "Homebrew Projects".
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169517)
I'm OK with this change.
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169518)
Sounds good to me
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169523)
No objections here
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169539)
I just realized that all the second-level forums fit on my phone's screen now, which is nice. I can see where all the new posts are and open new tabs in the order I want without having to scroll back and forth.
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169540)
I was thinking a compo forum would be nice. The changes look good to me, too.
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169545)
tokumaru wrote:
I can see where all the new posts are

I just use View unread posts.

phpBB 3 also fixed a serious bug in "View unread posts". phpBB 2 assumed that all posts prior to your previous session were read; phpBB 3 no longer does.
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169554)
tepples wrote:
I just use View unread posts.

But the forum names are hard to read on my phone without zooming in, and I already memorized the forum order in the main page.
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169563)
Am I the only one who is completely lost since the change? I do not understand what is going on anymore.
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169566)
I fear change. Also I kinda think it's weird to start a whole new forum section for a temporary contest that's only going to be a handful of threads that would be plenty relevant to the Homebrew section anyway.

I often have trouble trying to figure out which existing category my post is most relevant to. Often times I'm doing something I think is relevant to all of "homebrew" and "music" and "nesdev" all at once, and I really don't know where it belongs, and I don't want to cross post, either. So... personally I already think we're overcategorized here.

I don't really care, though, since I also use the view unread posts and just read every thread. The organization of forums doesn't really affect me very much so it's not like my opinion on this should count for anything. ;)
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169576)
rainwarrior wrote:
I often have trouble trying to figure out which existing category my post is most relevant to. Often times I'm doing something I think is relevant to all of "homebrew" and "music" and "nesdev" all at once, and I really don't know where it belongs, and I don't want to cross post, either. So... personally I already think we're overcategorized here.

For that thread specifically, the content deals with music more than anything else, so the music forum would be the most appropriate. Although that's a homebrew rom, it's specifically music being played with no other interaction.

A good rule of thumb is to seek the most specific forum and walk backwards from there, ending at "General Stuff" when there's nowhere else.
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169582)
A third level forum for the compo sounds really nice. I've been trying to lurk each thread about it but I sure don't want to miss anything, especially more official details or rules. Maybe by the time those guidelines are released, I'll have just barely enough experience under my belt to enter something in!

For now I don't have much to contribute other than excitement and encouragement. Keep it rolling, boys!
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169591)
Drag wrote:
For that thread specifically the music forum would be the most appropriate. A good rule of thumb...

I didn't literally mean that I needed help choosing a category. My point was that it's annoying because it's relevant to multiple categories, and this is true for a lot of posts on this board. Forcing something into one category hides it from others.

I guess my ideal board would filter posts by category tags instead of imposing exclusive organization on the posts themselves. A tree structure would be great for the categories themselves, e.g. any post tagged "2016 compo" would end up in the "homebrew" stream. This is just a pipe dream, though, obviously we must make do with what we've got.

The way things are structured here, though, puts posts themselves in very exclusive categories. You don't get to see "SNESdev" posts in the "Other retro dev" stream, they are effectively separate forums, and the tree structure is totally wasted, because the only thing that's really in a tree is the presentation of links between forums. The posts themselves are not functionally acting as if they had a hierarchy.

Because of the lack of effective structure for posts themselves, an excess of categorization makes it harder for someone interested in multiple topics to get to the information they want. Though there is the "unread posts" feature that bypasses the categories entirely, it is only useful for people like me who are willing to open every thread; if this board had higher traffic I wouldn't find it a useful feature at all, and I think for people who read this board less frequently that tipping point is much lower. (e.g. this thread about the SNESdev subforum).

Though, if "view unread posts" was customizable and could omit undesired subforums, that would be pretty helpful in mitigating this organizational problem.


Anyhow, my objection is still weak. I do have an opinion on it, but I don't really feel that strongly about it, mainly because the unread posts feature is still good enough for me (but it's fragile).
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169592)
rainwarrior wrote:
The way things are structured here, though, puts posts themselves in very exclusive categories. You don't get to see "SNESdev" posts in the "Other retro dev" stream, they are effectively separate forums, and the tree structure is totally wasted, because the only thing that's really in a tree is the presentation of links between forums. The posts themselves are not functionally acting as if they had a hierarchy.

This too is my primary concern about/reservation with the "sub-board" stuff. I'm completely flexible about it (I too use the "View unread posts" feature), but it's not really a "sub-board" when it's implying a hierarchical layout (yet isn't). If the sub-boards were listed under a "category" and that category wasn't a forum/board itself, it would make much more logical sense.

One has to remember (speaking generally here, not at rainwarrior): the common usability of a forum as a whole is, IMO, more important than presenting an illusion of a hierarchical tree (what phpBB calls sub-boards). I believe a balance between the two can be achieved in some manner, I just don't know what to recommend that's within the confines/design of phpBB.

In short: the previous layout seemed good to me, but as I said, I'm flexible in this regard. :-)
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169594)
I suppose I'm responsible for this. I thought it would be nice to have the compo stuff together. I had no idea it would create a stink.

I'm pretty excited to contribute to the compo and I'm just in favor of anything that increases accessibility of that. In theory, it would be neat, I think, if you could look at the previous compo posts, and browse them as a group. See what sort of talk was going on about Lawn Mower at the time. It's just a thought though and surely no big deal. It's easy to come up with pipe dreams especially when it's somebody else who would do the work.

Since I started this thing I almost feel obligated to throw in my two cents, although it's not much beyond what I've said. I'm in favor of promoting Homebrew, Newbie Help, and NESdev higher, but that reflects my personal opinion of wanting to see game development. I usually use view active topics almost exclusively. I'll occasionally look at an individual board. When I do, it's usually to see if something appealing slipped past without me noticing or enough people replying to bump it up. To that effect, I'd find that better separation would be more useful. I'll want to keep up with the Compo stuff once rules get posted and things progress and I post my progress thread. Right now there's not much, but I could see there being a couple of pages of threads on the topic by the time deadline hits, and then there will still be plenty to talk about. Maybe I'm being optimistic, but I think a positive attitude is good when it comes to wanting to get people involved in a group activity.

Really, I have no serious stake in the matter, and I wouldn't be hurt if nothing changed from how it was or is now. I just wanted to throw out the idea of a separate category for the compo with the rules stickied and things of that nature.

Now, to the topic of actually doing real forum maintenance, I have long wondered if there is a link to donate to NESdev for the time spent in maintaining this community? I know it's a labor of love but it is for us too, and I for one wouldn't mind chipping in a little here and there. I'm not talking about big bucks but I've used the forum enough that I feel like I should. Maybe some people already do this. I for one would support a donate link. Prominent enough for regular users to find it but not in your face enough to be obnoxious.
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169603)
darryl.revok wrote:
In theory, it would be neat, I think, if you could look at the previous compo posts, and browse them as a group. See what sort of talk was going on about Lawn Mower at the time. It's just a thought though and surely no big deal. It's easy to come up with pipe dreams especially when it's somebody else who would do the work.

I thought LAN Master was pipe dreams, not Lawn Mower :P
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169616)
It looks like there's enough interest to consider unfolding SNESdev and GBdev out from Other. Perhaps consider making a new category for "other retro dev" and have snes/gb/other on the main page again? There doesn't appear to be any complaints for the other combinations.
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169637)
Quote:
I often have trouble trying to figure out which existing category my post is most relevant to. Often times I'm doing something I think is relevant to all of "homebrew" and "music" and "nesdev" all at once, and I really don't know where it belongs, and I don't want to cross post, either. So... personally I already think we're overcategorized here.


Well I never understood the point of the "homebrew" forum, or in what way it is any different from the "NESDev" forum (the first sub-forum, not the forums as a whole). For me they are 1:1 the same thing.

But oh yeah, it's such a mess now that I guess the new status quo isn't that bad. It makes sense to have "SNESDev" and "GBDev" under "other retro dev", obviously. But still separate because they are more "popular".
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169638)
Bregalad wrote:
Well I never understood the point of the "homebrew" forum, or in what way it is any different from the "NESDev" forum (the first sub-forum, not the forums as a whole). For me they are 1:1 the same thing.

The "Homebrew Projects" is for, well, projects. You wouldn't post something like "how do I implement collision" in there. You would post "my new game project XYZ".
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#169639)
From a newcomer's perspective, having a compo subcategory would be at least neat, especially if older compo threads were moved there. My reasoning is that browsing the newbie help category from time to time as an anonymous lurker in a couple of years is what helped me build up the confidence to finally take the plunge get into all the documents produced by the community, pdf scans of 80s homebrew books, and so on.

I hope i can do an entry for the next compo. It may fail, but i'd sure like to try. Being able to conveniently have a scope of how the nes compo scene has evolved would certainly help, and be interesting, and may encourage more newcomers to join in and try to contribute.

That being said, though, it wouldn't help if the category turned out as backwater. Could there be a middle road to mitigate this? What if compo subforum threads were mirrored to be listed in nesdev when browsing that?
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#172096)
If you're like me, and can't distinguish between the "new posts" and "no new posts" icons for the third-level forums (becuase the icon is 12x9 and only 1/3rd of that gets a very slight color shift for the new posts version), then add this to your Adblock rules list:
Code:
http://forums.nesdev.com/styles/subsilver2/imageset/icon_post_target.gif


That'll hide the icon when there's not new posts. So if you see the icon, you know there are new posts.
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#180987)
At this point I'm inclined to agree that the "No new posts" icon for third level forums isn't doing much good, and icon vs. no icon would do a better job of showing contrast. Any objections to removing the CSS rule for a.read:before that adds the icon?
Re: Third-level forums
by on (#181081)
Some difference greater than desaturated light red vs white on exactly the same outline might also help. Colorblindness makes them hard to tell apart…not that I use the front page of the forums, like, ever.