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Tech Forums: Re-Organized


Galaxy S20 Ultra
News Moderator
  • Mar 26, 2008
    As you've probably noticed, the forums have been re-organized into a system that SHOULD make a lot more sense moving forward.

    • Android Help has become "Ask A Question" is at the top and anyone can ask any tech question there.
    • Android Devices has become "Smartphones" under the "Tech Products" Category.
    • Apple Devices has become "Tablets" under the "Tech Products" Category.
    • We'll strategically (attempt to) move threads about Android Tablets from "Smartphones" into "Tablets" as later date.
    • Manufacturers is now "Brands & Models".
    • It's likely that ALL threads for ALL brands get tagged with the brand name (ex: Samsung) and dumped into "Tech Products". The link for "Samsung" would then point to all threads tagged with "Samsung" (like this).
    • Android Lounge is now a forum in the "Software & Apps" Category
    • Carriers is unchanged... for now.
    We'll still need a way to highlight the "best smartphones" etc... so people can access their tags as makeshift forums. And we'll also need a directory of ALL "smartphones" and other product types, although I'm not sure where that will live or how it will be linked.

    How does this look? Make sense? Thoughts?

    Moving onto sports, we'll have one forum for each league and teams will be organized and identified by tag, appearing in alphabetical order below the league name.
    A big improvement, Boss!


    Hopefully, manufacturer categories can be further broken down... for example, "Samsung" could be cut into Galaxy A, Galaxy M, Galaxy S, and Galaxy Z subcategories. Even if we never get back to individual model fora (the proper Latin plural for "forum", prove me wrong), at least people could look at their model types for help. It'll take time, of course, to build that back.. but this site has been here for a LONG time: and I expect it will be around a lot longer if we steward its growth wisely.
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    "Samsung" could be cut into Galaxy A, Galaxy M, Galaxy S, and Galaxy Z subcategories.
    In the new system, all of those would be "Tags".

    So for example the Galaxy S20 tag (notice the "Watch Tag" on the top right- so you can follow individual tags):

    I'm looking into how/if we can tag old threads, but lots of questions remain, since devices have multiple names (Galaxy S20, Samsung Galaxy S20, S20, GS20, etc...). There is a system for handling synonyms, but before I dive into that, just want to get tags working to any degree.

    What's the format we want to use? The full name (Samsung Galaxy S20)? Or brand name with manufacturer separately tagged? (Samsung, Galaxy S20)? No system will be perfect but it would be good to pick a preferred method.
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    Too confusing. I remember all the old names and now nothing makes sense. Also, there's less showing on the front page making scanning the site less efficient as most of the sub-forums I'm browsing are two or three extra clicks now. tons of click, click, go back, back again, scroll, click, click again. This is efficient?

    Buggies Gone Wild is a forum that hasn't changed since 2009, still uses vBulletin. they are doing just fine. In fact, if they tried what y'all done, they'd find out the same way Coca Cola did when they tried pushing 'New Coke' on everyone.
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    Why not just leave the forums organized as they were before instead of making redundant and nested messes? Does anyone even know the meaning of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it?'

    The Android Lounge is literally the only forum under 'software and apps'. Why make it an extra click? it's new folder/new folder (2)/pictures all over again. Others have changed names but otherwise remain the same and that just seems intent to confuse anyone. The whole 'lets move the cheese' gimmick all over again. I bet next week it's gonna be even worse.

    Sometimes you can't improve upon something and it's best left alone, otherwise you're changing for change's sake. There's a reason you don't see cars with 8 wheels instead of four, despite four wheels being done for decades. Not everything has to constantly change.
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    I see what @nickdalzell is getting at. Problem I see now is. There's popular forums that are now 2 or 3 clicks from the front page, e.g. Apps & Games, and other forums that are only 1 click which haven't seen any posts in over 12 years, like Sasktel.

    Surely it would be better just to have the forums from Android Lounge listed on the front page, so directly accesable for Apps & Games, or Rooting, or Development.

    Do we really need so many carrier specific forums listed on the front page, some of which haven't seen any posts in over 12 years. Is it even up to date, are some of these carriers no longer around, or have merged, or changed names, such as Sprint? Keep the popular carrier forums on the front page, we seem to have plenty of posts about Boost or Verizon, and the seldom frequented forums listed under "Other carriers"

    Last edited:
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    'if it ain't broke, don't fix it?'
    With all due respect, AF is pretty broken. We lost 100% of our "Channels" which was the primary method of organizing content and traffic is down about 99%.

    What are the primary things you miss seeing on the homepage? We can certainly add things back. This is my first attempt at consisting forums so that it is easy to find topics for browsing and posting. Personally, I think the topic areas are pretty clear, but if you are familiar with frequenting specific forums I can imagine it is a bit shocking.

    I see what @nickdalzell is getting at. Problem I see now is. There's popular forums that are now 2 or 3 clicks from the front page, e.g. Apps & Games, and other forums that are only 1 click which haven't seen any posts in over 12 years, like Sasktel.
    Agreed, we definitely need to clean and merge old forums, but before permanently moving threads we need to finalize structure or we will make even more of a mess.

    I can understand wanting to move "Android Lounge" higher up so that apps and rooting are exposed, but before Android Lounge covered EVERYTHING. As just a "Software and Apps" forum, isn't it implied that these conversations could take place there? Apps, rooting, platform updates, etc....? iOS, Windows, etc... could eventually join it but this was just a test.

    The MOST POPULAR period of Android Forums centered around forums for specific devices and I would love to refocus and position ourselves with that in mind. That is the big missing component right now and part of the reason the forums seem so crunched down and small. Those convos would largely take place in the respective tech lounges (smartphones, tablets, etc) but we won't really know until we implement.

    Ultimately, I want to make it easy to follow your favorite topics and see the latest updates from them. When everything is perfect i think incorporating a daily/weekly email of top threads will bring people back (if we have relevant and news worthy conversations).

    Yesterday, I tested piping in some RSS feeds from official sources and it was a disaster. Dozens of random posts flooding the forums with little more than a title and link. Good concept but bad in practice/reality. I am wondering if a catch all "news" forum could be for VIPs only and then every 24 hours all threads get deleted unless they have replies or likes, in which case they get moved to their appropriate forum. A way for our premium folks to aim the direction of conversation by deciding what does or doesn't see the light of day. I think it is fair to say we generally know where our news should derive in terms of official sources (ex: Samsung, or the Baltimore Orioles MLB Team for sports).

    I would love to weave an instagram-like "share a photo" feel to the top of the main site to make things more social, but don't see an easy way to do this with the Media integration. Seems like we will need to choose specific purposes for media. I wish incorporating media into posts or making posts ABOUT a specific photo or video were easier.

    Sorry. Very wordy response. But the bottom line is that things ARE broken and I am trying my best to not just fix or bandaid them, but find a way to revive AF into a brand that can thrive in the next decade rather than slowly continuing to sink into the abyss.
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    Though the changes are changes to our normal perusal of the forums, at least it is a genuine effort from Rob to save the sinking ship we all love and enjoy. Even after the changes are made, I'm sure there will be some fine tuning. Will the changes suit everyone? Not likely. The target is to appease the masses, be more relevant, and create more traffic. I keep reminding myself of that fact. What we had is drying up... A change is absolutely necessary. I try to reinvent the forums as I want them but I've been here over a decade and I'm seeing the forums as an old timer and like it as it was. But as it is isn't working anymore. Fresh and interesting input is what we need. I can deal with finding topics that interest me, no matter where they are or how many clicks it takes me to get there.
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    . I try to reinvent the forums as I want them but I've been here over a decade and I'm seeing the forums as an old timer and like it as it was. But as it isn't working anymore. Fresh and interesting input is what we need. I can deal with finding topics that interest me, no matter where they are or how many clicks it takes me to get there.

    Me too.
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    i am with @Rob . something needs to be changed. and i know that some people do not like change. i am for whatever you decide Rob......so far so good as far as the re-structure goes. i do not mind it at all.

    can we add some flashing lights or some crazy banners to make the site pop?
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    The next big change is deciding how to highlight top products/devices.

    Here is one option: each product type gets its own forum with the "top devices" for each displayed prominently. Below, I've only moved "Smartphones" into the top level but "Tablets", "Computers", etc... would each follow.


    Click "Samsung Galaxy S23" to visit the Tag for that device (which is our replacement for "Channels").

    This seems like a healthy step towards resolving observations of @nickdalzell and @mikedt about everything being too condensed.

    Another option is to keep those "Tech Lounges" up top and then use "Link Forums" to organize the top devices. As you can see below, I've created a "Link Forum" for "Best Smartphones" which leads to the related Daily.net article and then phone names link to the related Tag Forums.


    I'm not sure which I like more, and to be honest, it's probably trivial and will likely change over time. It's just tedious to set and once we choose, turning back is time consuming.

    Next up, I'm going to try:
    • Auto-tagging all the "Carrier" forums with their related carrier
    • Dump the updated threads into the main "Carriers" forum
    • Delete all the "Carrier" specific forums
    • Add new Tag Forum links to currently relevant carriers
    Still appreciating all the feedback, both positive and negative, so keep it coming!
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    I'm starting to understand and agree with some of the complaints that our structure is now too condensed.

    I looked back at the old site using time machine:

    That was pretty nice.

    Can't make pretty things like that right now, but it helps to think about organization.

    I'm going to try breaking things out a little further.
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    If Tags are the new thing, and I'm fine with it, can we can a link to Tags at the top of the home page?
    I have the same complaint.

    I hate that they're called "tags" and we can't somehow replace that term, but alas.

    I will put a tag related widget at the top of the homepage and see if I can stick something in the main nav, too.
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    Everytime a company, or service or forum in this case tries to 'appeal to the masses' it always becomes much, much worse. Windows appealed to the 'masses' when windows 10 released, and now everything is a stupid subscription. the masses are stupid. I am certainly glad Linux hasn't tried to 'appeal to the masses'

    us older folk are still around. Does anyone remember what happened to Oldsmobile and Pontiac when they attempted to 'appeal to the masses' back in the early 2000s? They EOL'd. Alienating the few loyal here is not the path forward. New Coke tried to appeal to the masses as well back in the '80s, and almost bankrupted the company. However, that was during a time when customer response actually dictated the direction of a company, not like today where we have the illusion of choice but we just sit an accept anything that happens without question, and telling the few who hate the changes to 'just get used to it'.

    No thanks. if this gets any harder to navigate (I liked skimming the main areas I frequented to see what's new from the home page, now it's 2 or three clicks deep which takes longer) I'll just reside at Buggies Gone Wild who never changes. They're still on Vbulletin and doing fine. I hated the transition here to xenforo for the whole flat design rounded contact icons, missing features like signatures and all. But I was again told to 'get used to it'. I'm just sick of it.

    heck, I miss when Android itself was for geeks. Before it tried to as well, 'appeal to the masses'. Back in the glory days of Android 2.x. Each time I use my work machines that run on 2.2 and 2.1 respectively, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy again. If only a phone that had VoLTE support would run that version as well or even 2.3. I miss it. Today it's a glorfied iOS clone, all locked down tight. Even with extensive themes support like Samsung has, it's never going to feel like Gingerbread again.

    if I wanted r/Android I'd go to Reddit.
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    It's a golf car repair and customization forum. Helpful info there since i'm a golf car mechanic myself. Been a member since 2011.

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