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New forums design bad

  1. Sep 17, 2003 #1
    I have to say the new design is not the greatest. Now you have to goto 5 different pages to see new messages in the Physics area. It takes way too much time for busy people.

    JMD
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2003 #2
    And sifting through 10,000 topics to find one on quantum mechanics was quicker? :smile:

    PF has become more structured and in return you can find topics easier. Think libraries or video stores just throw their books and videos in room and ask you to sift through them all?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2003
  4. Sep 17, 2003 #3

    Phobos

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    Try using the forum search feature for new topics in the physics forum.
     
  5. Sep 17, 2003 #4
    I think that the mathematics section needs a miscellanium forum, for example where fit topics like graph theory, topology, nonlinear dynamics, category theory, fractals, knot theory, as well as other areas of mathematics?
     
  6. Sep 17, 2003 #5

    hypnagogue

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    My concern with the new design is the same as meteor's, but more general. I'm sure for every one of the main PF topics there will be relevant issues that are not easily categorized into any of the newly specialized sections. I would respectfully suggest that each subforum be given a 'Miscellaneous' section so that potentially interesting and thought-provoking conversations are not pigeonholed out of existence on PF.
     
  7. Sep 17, 2003 #6

    Tom Mattson

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    Thanks for your input. It's certainly true that we could not think of everything. I did not think of those topics because they were hardly ever mentioned in PF before.

    Greg's vision for PF seems to be to get away from having "catch-all" Forums for miscellany, and to move towards having everything organized.

    My suggestion for including the topics you mentioned:

    *Change "Set Theory and Mathematical Logic" to "Set Theory, Category Theory, and Mathematical Logic".
    *Add a "Graph Theory, Knot Theory, and Topology" Forum.
    *Add a "Chaos, Fractals, and Nonlinear Dynamics" Forum.

    As an alternative to #3, we could simply host all discussion of Dynamic Systems in the Differential Equations Forum.

    Another one I thought of after submitting my list of suggestions to Greg is Combinatorics, which I would lump with Number Theory. In any case, it is certain that things we didn't think of are going to come up, and that we will need to adjust accordingly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2003
  8. Sep 17, 2003 #7
    Well, I wont judge the new set-up yet, but let me just say it's going to take alot of getting used to.

    If I may (humbly) point out one possible problem with segregating so thoroughly: there will be even more constant debate on whether a thread is in the "right forum", adding not only to the responsibility of the Mentors, but also the possibility of completely side-tracking a thread - into a discussion of where things do and don't belong. Remember the threads that lead to the "God Topics" announcement? That could be happening quite a bit more, IMO.

    Again, that's just an observation.
     
  9. Sep 17, 2003 #8
    You need at least one General topic in each section. When certain general topics become big, you move them into a new topic. I guess in Physics the General Topic could be Theory Development. But Theory Development is under the Strings topic. There are many other Theory Development topics that are not string theories. Theory Development should be a separate topic.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2003
  10. Sep 17, 2003 #9

    LURCH

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    Just a minor point, but I would like to see the "Aeronautical" in Engineering changed to "Aerospace". That way there's a clear-cut territory for us NASA buffs.

    Also, would it be considered imoral to have a Millitary Tech in the Technology or Engineering Forum? I hate war as much as anyone and more than some, but I can't deny that the machines of war are a field of definite interest to alot of people, myself included. Man tends to develope some of the most engenius things when life-and-death is on the line.
     
  11. Sep 17, 2003 #10

    hypnagogue

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    I understand this and I think it's a good idea. However, who says you can't have both? As it stands now, the design of the forums implicitly discourages active discussion of topics that are relevant to a given field but don't really fit into any of the given specializations of that field-- and I'm sure the last thing anyone wants is to discourage relevant discussions of interesting or insightful ideas. At the very least, the current design forces people to arbitrarily choose which one of the specialized forums to post in. Case in point, Ivan's post in 'Classical Physics' about the 'Sync' article is not really relevant to classical physics in particular but, as he points out, there was no other forum that the article particularly belonged to either. What if someone interested in exciting new ideas in physics misses the article becuase they are not particularly interested in browsing a forum dedicated to classical physics? In this scenario neither Ivan nor the unfortunate reader are to blame, rather the flow of communication was blocked off by the structure of PF itself. Such a post would be a natural fit for a 'Miscellaneous' or 'Other Topics' subsection of Physics.

    I think the vision of organized discussion is great, but without some sort of miscellaneous subsection for each topic the structure of the forums become unnecessarily restrictive and/or arbitrary.
     
  12. Sep 17, 2003 #11
    We will work on a solution for this problem.
     
  13. Sep 17, 2003 #12

    chroot

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    I agree in general with all of the above sentiments. I think there are two problems:

    1) I now have to take a look at least 10 different pages to see threads that used to all be together on one. Greg, your insistence that the organization will make it easier to find a thread on quantum mechanics is not really applicable -- I don't think many people come here with the specific intent to only find threads on quantum mechanics. In fact, I used to enjoy seeing the wide variety of topics under discussion in the physics forum -- now I have to click on ten different pages, and am usually disappointed by nine of them.

    2) It is apparent that few people really know where to put their new posts. So far, I've seen at least a couple of threads moved because the thread starter thought that apples falling from buildings is quantum mechanics, or that dark energy and special relativity are part of quantum field theory. This problem is likely to accelerate, and we're going to find that half the threads in some particular forums are ghosts of threads that were moved elsewhere. This seems hardly productive to me.

    - Warren
     
  14. Sep 17, 2003 #13
    I don't like it. I have a lot of reaons why, but i want to get too hung up on it right now. Maybe i'll get used to it, but i'd still rather it be simpler. I just don't like it.

    edit: this sucks. Too many forums; overwhelming. I'm afraid of posting
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2003
  15. Sep 17, 2003 #14

    Chi Meson

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    Well I like it pretty much, and it's been what, a day? Let's see if we get used to it. But really, do we need "Quantum Mechanics" AND a "Quantum field" forum. Why not just "Quantum"?

    After a while I'm sure that the things that really don't work will reveal themselves by being perpetually empty.
     
  16. Sep 17, 2003 #15

    Tom Mattson

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    That sounds like the best solution to me. Rather than anticipate which new Forums we would need, we can let the membership determine it for us. I second this.
     
  17. Sep 17, 2003 #16
    That means we'd have to add atleast 7 more forums to an already long list.
     
  18. Sep 17, 2003 #17

    Tom Mattson

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    This is the tradeoff I was talking about in another thread (or maybe it was this one). Having to look at 10 pages for the threads you want to see may be an inconvenience, but so was having to scan down a list of mixed up topics. The difference now is that at least you will know where the topics you want are.

    We're asking you to try that on for a week or so. It does work at other forums.

    "Usually"? C'mon, buddy, the new format has been in place for one day! There are 2 threads in the QM Forum right now. Can we at least let it fill up a bit before we get disappointed?

    Yes, I moved that falling ball thread out of QM.

    Two things:

    1. I think the problem is actually likely to decelerate. I think that once some solid, representative threads are placed in each Forum, people will start to figure out the order of things. But then again, this is an experiment and the only way we are going to find out is by trying it.

    2. The threads that are moved are signified by a "Moved" tag, and when you click on the link it takes you to the new Forum. We didn't have that feature in PF v2.0, but we do now.
     
  19. Sep 17, 2003 #18
    I want to see what will happen when and if some of the new catagories fail to attract very much traffic, lagging horribly behind others. Will they be up for elimination in such a senario?
     
  20. Sep 17, 2003 #19

    Tom Mattson

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    One possibility: Merge some Forums that are closely related. After all, when I put my suggestions forward I did not expect them to go unaltered. It's just that no one else really chimed in. So...

    One possibile solution:

    Math: Merge Set Theory and Mathematical Logic with Probability and Statistics. There is some overlap there.

    Physics: Merge QM and QFT.

    Engineering: Merge Chemical and Materials Engineering

    Philosophy: Merge Metaphysics and Epistemology

    That would make room for a "General __________" Forum in each department. As for Astronomy, I would think that Observational Astronomy is general enough.
     
  21. Sep 17, 2003 #20
    Cross Posting with Multiple Topics

    Greg that's what you get for wanting to discuss Physics plus everything else under the sun in one forum. Most other people would stuff your forums into about 10 different websites.

    Believe me there will be more and more urgent topics surfacing and more sections and soon you will have 20 topics under 20 sections making for 400 topics in total. If you don't you will have lopsided topics where 90% of a section is in one topic and the remaining 10% in 6 other topics. And there are more topics than this to discuss if you want to discuss anything and everything in the world.

    If you want to have so many different sections, it just might be best to have only one topic (General) for everyone. I guess that is how it used to be.

    I've studied classification quite a bit when organizing and researching my own information. Most ideas don't want to be stuffed into little topics. Libraries did that with one place on a shelf. But with computers we have the ability to sort according to multiple topics. Libraries now use 8 or more subject fields. The Internet went backwards. Yahoo and everyone was trying to stuff information into tiny topic areas again. There are just too many topics and cross field topics.

    I once tried to advertise in the Yellow Pages, but my topic wasn't there. There was no place to put my ad. And they wouldn't add another topic. Too many topics already, just like you are claiming now.

    Already you are splitting up common topics. Cross posting is already necessary. String theory has it's roots in both Cosmology and Quantum Theories. Should we post a duplicate message in both groups?

    If forum software had the ability to tag single messages under multiple topics that would be best. Yeah computers have the ability to do anything but programmers often just limit them to such basic things.
     
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