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edited February 2010 in - WM and WN
Hello everybody,
In an effort to keep Talkback tidy and structured, we're thinking of changing the categories slightly, but I wanted to hear everybody's thoughts before changing anything.
"Members general chat" is by far the most popular category at the moment, I suspect because the comments are not public, but that makes that category rather a mixed bag and finding a particular thread can be difficult.
Let me know what you think about these suggestions, particularly as to what should and shouldn't be private:

Introduce yourself - Intros, profiles, link your website, etc - PRIVATE THREAD (Exists as "Welcome writers" )

Official postings - forum rules, WM/WN info, etc
•Talkback Help
•Website problems
•Announcements (to incorporate "WN and WM" )

Writing topics
•Exercises, critiques - For online exercises or comments on each other's writing PRIVATE THREAD (Exists as "Writing exercises" )
•Poetry - Discuss your poetry (Exists as "Writing poetry" )
•Writing problems - Where writers help writers with prose problems (Exists as "Writing Problems" )
•News and queries- Topics and articles of direct interest to writers, including market information, competitions, and questions about the business of writing (To incorporate existing "Writing queries" and "Writers World" )
•Writing tales - Don't be shy, spread your good news, tips, advice and encouragement (to incorporate "Writing successes" and "Writing Tales" )
•Reading - Discuss your favourite books, articles, and other writing (Exists as "Writers and Readers" )

Off-topic (ALL PRIVATE)
•General chat
•Writers' Break - jokes, games, links and articles unrelated to writing


  • Do you think we should have a separate category for competitions, outside the "News and Queries" one? We don't want to have so many categories it's confusing, but do want them all to be clearly delineated.
  • Personally, I wouldn't mind a separate category for competitions, it'd make it easier (IMO) to find them and know where to look quickly when you need to.

    At a quick glance though, the categories (and which are private) seem okay to me.
  • I'll just go along with whatever you do, Webbo. I do like the idea of more 'private' freds though.
  • edited February 2010
    Whatever is done I would find it helpful to be able to know what each category encompasses and obviously if it is Googlable or not- so the info can be seen when you click that choice.

    (Would it be possible to hover the mouse over an option on the drop down list of categories, and read what it covers and whether it is open or private?)

    There have been a lot of items I've posted that should have gone into a specific category, but knowing how discussions can develop and go on to include stuff that it is better not to have picked up by Google- I've erred on the side of caution and put it in the Members General Chat. Obviously that makes it harder to locate threads.

    Yes a category for competions announcements wiould be useful.
  • edited February 2010
    At the moment, Carol, the best option would be this page ( http://www.writersnews.co.uk/writers_talkback/categories.php ) but you probably know that!
    Not sure whether you can get a mouseover effect on a dropdown list, so if not, perhaps we'll look at doing the list differently.
  • I think a section of Writers Resources would be useful where people can post reference materials like books, websites, software, blogs etc. This wouldn't need to be private.

    Also at present all recently posted threads come up by default. I know each one has a category heading but would it be better to arrange the page according to categories rather than most recently posted? That way anyone new to the site will immediately see where to find things. If someone posts in the wrong category a Mod can move it.
  • I think so, flyingtart. You can filter your results to show only one group at a time at the moment, but it's not very intuitive. Hopefully, the front page will go to the groups rather than the threads, and if things are in the wrong category we will be moving them.
  • I think making the catagories clearer is a good idea, and we definitely need more "private" catagories. Currently, if anyone wants to discuss something in particular or wants feedback on WIP (as I did yesterday), you have to put it in the Members' Chat to stop outsiders from picking it up. I understand that posting everything on there does clog up the board, but right now, it's the only place to put anything.
    It would be good to have a "private" catagory, like the exercises one, where we can post our work and get feedback/ critiques from our TB friends.

  • I wouldn't discuss my poetry except in private... or give advice, but maybe that's just me...
  • Thanks Webbo. I forget that categories section is there. As I tend to open a new discussion box and paste the link, if you then click the categories tab it takes you away from the new thread you've opened (but not yet posted), so you have to remember to check it first- or start it all again after checking.

    A front page that goes to the groups worked well on the old original board- that way you could choose to go to a specific section or go to all of them in one.
  • I like the revised categories, and would definitely like a Comps category ('cos I suggested it - tee hee :)) I also like Flyingtart's suggestion of a Resources category.

    Personally, I like to see the latest postings straight away after logging in. It's one less click than choosing a category first. Personally I'm not that fussed about categories except when I'm posting a new discussion.

    Oh, and is there a way threads can be removed by the original poster? For example, sometimes I post details of jobs related to writing that have definitive end dates. They're irrelevant after a while and could throw out search results. Thank you.
  • That would help too when we duplicate a post. A few times two of us have posted the same item but haven't seen the first one because it has slipped over the page.
    Or like the current 'error, let this drop' thread that hasn't. :)
  • I like the list of categories too Webbo, but like LilyC, I like to read the new posts - whether I am particularly interested in the subject or not - I just like to know ho's been saying what most recently !

    Sure your capabilities will come up with a happy for all situation :)
  • I like the idea of categories being the default opening page, but as some people like to keep up with 'hot topics' how about top ten most recently posted upon threads and categories on default page?

    As to private threads, I think there should be a private one for discussing poetry and also one for prose, aside from the proposed writing exercises. The reason behind my thought is that sometimes one wants to post a chunk of personal work for feedback. As this is obviously not yet ready for publication I, personally, and I am fairly sure many others, would not want this in the public domain.

    I would like to see a category for competitions. It would make them so much easier to find! (even the mag has a separate booklet for comps once a year!)
  • I too would like private threads for discussing ongoing poetry and prose.

    A competitions thread is a good idea, too.
  • Yes agree with Lolli and Rosalie on this.
  • I agree with all the categories suggested by Webbo, as well as the new ones for Competitions and Resources, which would be very helpful.
  • I would only ever use a private area for any posting. I don't want to be identified by any clients, so it's either that or I have to be very, very careful what I say, and never mention anything I'm working on.
  • Could only a few be public? Perhaps they could be a different colour to make it jolly obvious? Like instead of white and pale blue, pale pink and pale blue?
  • Or just a symbol to make it obvious which is open. It can be hard remembering which is open and which ones are private.
  • A symbol like a locked or open padlock, like websites use to denote secure sites?
  • Whichever are public should be clear when you select the category. I have resorted to members chat to ensure it is not available more widely on a number of occasions.
  • I think a lot of us have done the same Mutley.
  • edited February 2010
    If I may chip in my views - I would personally prefer all the writing topic threads to be Private. I like the idea of a separate category for Competitions and Resources.

    I would prefer the default page to be the category page as it used to be. This doesn’t have to mean we lose the current All Categories page – on the old system the default page of categories included ‘All Categories’ you could click on.

    It would be good to see a return to thread topics being posted in their correct categories (as far as possible). The current muddle makes checking threads I might be interested in very time consuming. We all acknowledge that a lot of the muddle has resulted from over-use of the non-googleable Writers General Chat category, hence my preference for making all the writing topics private.
    (And then you wouldn't have to worry about checking which ones are private or public either.)
  • That all sounds pretty good to me, Webbo. There is one thing that would be great to see on here, though; Would it be at all possible to have some sort of sticky (but closed) that welcomes new members and gives them a quick run through of how the whole place works? We have a few on icons and avatars from different TBers for newbies that sort of got bogged down by pages and pages of comments. This site is fairly easy to navigate but it might be sort of helpful for new members if there was something 'somewhere' on the front page to welcome them and explain how the categories, whispers, icons, quotes and anything else that they might need, works. Just a thought. Thanks.
  • That's a good idea IG.
    We will always help someone out if they are having problems, but if the info is there we can quickly direct them to it if they have missed it.
  • Exactly. A succinct welcoming sticky explanation page somewhere from the administrator - but closed so that no comments can be added which would result in endless pages of information to have to trawl through. Then, if the newbie still has a question on something that's written, they can ask on another thread somewhere else and someone will be sure to answer it for them.
  • [quote=flyingtart]Also at present all recently posted threads come up by default. I know each one has a category heading but would it be better to arrange the page according to categories rather than most recently posted?[/quote]

    *applause* I've been asking for this for years, but have generally been shouted down :)

    I like Lolli's idea of a "10 threads most recently posted on" as well, though I suspect most of the time these will be the long-running joke threads!

    As for the issue of where to post work-in-progress for comment: perhaps it would be a little more explicit if the thread was labelled "Writing feedback" or "Feedback and critique" rather than the present "Exercises"?
  • edited February 2010
    Thanks everyone, there's some really good suggestions here. Will definitely look into making a "clean" closed welcome sticky.
    I'd rather not make all the categories private, as we would be unlikely to appeal to casual visitors if they can't see what goes on in the forum, but will post a revised list of categories when I get chance, taking as many suggestions as possible into account.
    One thing I will definitely do is add labels to the category names, so that is easier to see whether you're private or public eg. "Members General chat (Private)"
  • Thanks Webbo.
    That label adding will go a long way to helping.
  • I would like to see Successes retained as a separate category. It's our chance to list where we have been accepted, published, won a competition or done something we are proud of, and to congratulate each other. A shame to lose that by merging it with anything else.
  • Agree with Viv, I love hearing about what you've all been doing - and sometimes adding a bit (when I manage to sell something!)
  • Thankyou Webbo. :-)
  • edited February 2010
    i only ever go on all discussions page as it is quicker to find out who has been saying what. I really would hate to lose it. But agree that categories on the first page would also be good.
  • Me too Neph.
  • edited March 2010
    Any chance of a spell-check? Even if it's only on the topic title?
  • I have a spell check by using Firefox as my browser.
  • Have the categories been re organised yet?
  • Dora if you click the categories tab at the top it shows which are private. But you can't start writing and then open the list because you lose what you've already written.
    It would have been better to have been able to click on a link and that opened the list- like we do when we post a link here and we can open it from where we are, but I assume that wasn't possible.
  • can we unsticky this now?
  • PLEASE ????????????????????????????
  • edited May 2010
    Sorry for the delay. We're still waiting to get the categories sorted... it's not going to be a massive change in the end, but all the private categories will be labelled as such, so it'll be easier to know where to put things "safely".
    I'll put a new thread up explaining everything when we're sorted.
  • Thanks Webbo, all the team's hard work is much appreciated. :)
  • Thanks webbo.
  • Ooh we are unstickied

    I feel liberated ...... wheeeeeeeeee :)
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