Forum Consolidation

HARMAN_ChrisHARMAN_Chris Harman Professional UniversityPosts: 293
Harman Professional has begun efforts to unify multiple user discussion forums into one platform. Our expectation is to fully merge existing data and users into the new platform and we are seeking to minimize any disruption this change will cause. During the migration, this forum will be taken offline, and a landing page will inform users of the initiative and our anticipated completion date. One of the key drivers behind the project is compliance with new European Union privacy laws that impose strict new rules on web sites containing user data. We anticipate a smooth migration and hope to have the forum operational within a short time frame.

I am asking this community for user input on how to restructure a new forum. When comparing the architecture of the current site, there are clearly areas that are used more than others. We are considering this change in format to be an opportunity to improve the usability of this resource and would like your feedback on different ways to organize content based on either how you view the site hierarchy or how you view the organizational structure. We anticipate having dedicated forum pages for specific brands -- much like the current division, but still unified on a common platform and base URL. Any section of the forum that is deemed no longer relevant can be moved into an Archive/Legacy section as a holding repository for older posts that may be relevant to others and available via the forum search functionality.

What are your forum architecture suggestions?
Is there a missing feature you would like in the next iteration of this user forum?
Vendor/Platform selection is close to finalization, but is there a different forum platform that you have used with a fantastic layout and feature set you want to be sure is considered in this process?

Thanks,
Chris

Comments

  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,509
    Must this go offline for migration? I can see thinkng you need to block new posts during the transition, but even that is not needed... if you can leave this up, with a notice on landing and another upon any posting attempt saying that new content entered during transition will NOT migrate to the new platform.... this would permit the frequent day-to-day assistance that is emblematic of this forum to continue uninterrupted.

    At least consider leaving the forum READ-ONLY during the transition. I know I'm not the only one who comes here mid-crisis to seek a historic tech tidbit hint. At all hours.
  • sling100sling100 Junior Member Posts: 101
    +1 for John's post. Taking it offline just says 'we aren't here' not 'we are moving'.
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,159
    Here are some of my thoughts:

    1) I'm involved in a number of similar online forums of various shapes and sizes. I feel like this particular format (the old-skool 'forum') is the best for this environment. RSS feed-types or Facebook Groups (or similar social media equivalents) don't provide a more in-depth venue. They then to be kind of one-off "How Do I Do X" places that don't really foster long running discussion like we can engage in here. Searching for a topic is not nearly as granular as it is on this kind of forum.
    2) I would do a bit of trimming on the forum. There is really only discussion going on in the General Area and TP Control and a few others. Some parts of the forum haven't been touched in years. I'd suggest broadening the folder organization a bit. I'd vote for perhaps General Discussion|TP Control|All the other stuff in a new folder

    3) I echo John's sentiment that shutting the forum off for (what I feel) is a long enough time would ultimately kill it. Granted right now it's nothing close to it's glory days of yore.. But, there are still quite a few of us left hanging out at the bar.

    I have more thoughts if you don't like any of these.
  • zack.boydzack.boyd Smacks Keyboard Repeatedly Posts: 94
    ericmedley wrote: »
    3) I echo John's sentiment that shutting the forum off for (what I feel) is a long enough time would ultimately kill it. Granted right now it's nothing close to it's glory days of yore.. But, there are still quite a few of us left hanging out at the bar.

    We have a BAR????? How have I not known about this???? :D
  • washuuwashuu Very Junior Member Posts: 2
    While this forum may not see much in the way of active posting in some areas, I use it (very!) extensively as a resource - if I have a question about how to do something, it's probably been answered on here at some point. I'm glad to hear that there will be a total migration of the archives and that the forum will just be moving to a new home rather than disappearing altogether (or going to Discord or a mailing list or some other harebrained idea like some other forums have done...).

    Also, +1 for hoping "mark it read-only during transition period".
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    How about:

    Making it run fast so it doesn't feel like I'm on dialup in 1995.
    Having an actual login page instead of a Javascript popup for autologin purposes.
    Having lots of quicklinks like "unread posts", "subscribed posts", "new posts" etc.

    Paul
  • MLaletasMLaletas Junior Member Posts: 225
    So I hear that because of the consolidation it will be down for a considerable amount of time and not for brief period of time. There is no option to have the main switch over and transition over a matter of days?
  • HARMAN_ChrisHARMAN_Chris Harman Professional University Posts: 293
    Matt,
    The timeline is not currently established. Members of the IT team are working this migration as an IT project and I am not familiar with all of the details. Read-only mode is apparently not in compliance with either the GDPR requirements or quite possibly our interpretation of the requirements. There is a group tasked with ensuring all of our web entities are in compliance -- not just this site. That group has undergone reviews of the various properties and made a plan for ensuring each is in compliance by the deadline, or are deactivated by the deadline. Entities that are deactivated can be restarted upon becoming compliant. I am not anticipating months of downtime, but not being in control of the project, I cannot say that with any degree of certainty. The act of migrating this to a new provider is not expected to be a particularly long process, but we do anticipate there being internal discussions on forum architecture, marketing will need to put their spin on branding/look and feel, and the team will need to migrate data. Considering where we are in the PRO AV Calendar, the marketing review would likely be the longest part of the project given their current focus on InfoComm. Trust that this is not as simple as one guy making some changes and then turning the lights back on. There are considerably more people involved and other sites are splitting attention and effort to conform with the requirements.
  • HARMAN_icraigieHARMAN_icraigie Technical Trainer II, Harman Professional University Posts: 471
  • fogled@mizzou[email protected] h4x354x0r Posts: 549
    Wow... 20 days shy of the 1-year anniversary of my post asking if we could add a new section of the forum for RPM, and the ensuing "we'll have to discuss it" response from AMX. I've been waiting to bump that thread at it's one-year anniversary, to express my relief that basically, things are staying the same, that this forum was obviously a low priority that was unlikely to get attention (for either upgrades, or the axe). Turns out it's not any internal corporate discussion, but external corporate pressure from a country I don't live in, that's driven the requirement to do something with this site.

    I will upvote the notion that the site shouldn't need to be down for an extended period of time. And, that we maybe should bring up my original point a year or so ago, to shuffle off some sub-forums dealing with dead products and services, and maybe open a couple new ones up, like maybe for RPM.

    But whatever, I haven't been on this site much since my last post a couple weeks ago; I could easily go a few more weeks without it.
  • HARMAN_icraigieHARMAN_icraigie Technical Trainer II, Harman Professional University Posts: 471

    Congrats @[email protected] for the last post at the old forum :lol:

  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,509

    And congrats to icragie for not saying "FIRST!" on the new forum.

  • fogled@mizzou[email protected] h4x354x0r Posts: 549

    Five solid months.

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