NARGS Forum: Boards, Sub-boards, and topic categories

Submitted by Mark McD on Wed, 02/23/2011 - 14:51

Hello fellow moderators,

I have created this topic to discuss any suggestions or issues relative to the structure of boards, sub-boards, and topic categories. We can start off with some excerpts from recent email discussion.

Grazyna wrote:
Dear Discussion Forum Moderators,

Can we have on our Forum a category "Plant and seed swap" - people would do just that, swap plants and seed.

Mark McD replied:
So far as the NARGS Forum itself, it is easy to make a new "board" entitled something along the lines of "Plant and seed swap", this can be done in a minute, but we'll wait to have some discussion. There is such a board on SRGC, it is entitled "Plants, Bulbs and Seeds: Offered for Exchange"... there are many topics added to the board, but here is Maggi's kick-off message for the board itself, which has some interesting "disclaimer" type information in there:
http://www.srgc.org.uk/smf/index.php?topic=4541.0

Comments


Submitted by Mark McD on Wed, 02/23/2011 - 15:02

One area to look at are the "orphaned" topics that get created below the  "Family, Genera, Species" board, where topics get started that don't fit into the existing sub-boards.  The existence of those additional topics is easy to miss.  So, some cleanup is due, many of these could be moved into more suitable locations, for example I moved "Asperula" and "Acantholimon" topics into "General Alpines". We could rename the "Penstemon" sub-board to "Penstemon and other Scrophulariaceae" then move the "Chionophylla jamesii" topic into it.

Some of these topics are more problematic about where they should reside, they could remain there, or we can discuss finding a better home for them.


Submitted by Mark McD on Thu, 02/24/2011 - 21:27

Todd wrote:

I rather like the idea of an exchange forum...great way to access plants/seeds that don't crop up in the standard seed exchange.

I agree Todd, this one seems like a cinch; it's been requested, it makes sense, it adds value to the forum and NARGS as a whole, the only thing we might want to consider is some disclaimer language, cognizant of the issue that when encouraging plant/bulb/seed sharing, there are interstate and intercountry restrictions that need to be recognized.


Submitted by Mark McD on Thu, 03/03/2011 - 22:00

Following up with the general agreement to create a board that encourages the exchange of seed & plants among forumists, please react to the following:

Create a new board named: Plant and Seed Swap
The initial message is locked, and it provides a statement of the intent of the new board, with the following disclaimer (comments on the language welcome):

{draft} It is the purpose of this board to provide a place where forumists can post about seeds or plants wanted, and conversely seeds or plants available to donate or swap.  We ask that all forumists comply with any regulations pertaining to the exchange of seed or plant materials in the countries involved in such exchanges.  An additional aspect of this board to to help forumists who seek certain plants, to find seed or plant sources in their area that they might not be aware of.

Forumists are then able to create whatever topics they want under this board, to state seed/plant wants/swaps/donations.


Submitted by Lori S. on Fri, 03/04/2011 - 00:24

Sounds great! 
Just some minor grammatical points (since you asked  :)).... see below:

McDonough wrote:

It is the purpose of this board to provide a place where forumists can post about seeds or plants wanted, and conversely, seeds or plants available to donate or swap.  We ask that all forumists comply with any regulations pertaining to the exchange of seed or plant materials in the countries involved in such exchanges.  An additional aspect of this board is to to help forumists who seek certain plants, to find seed or plant sources in their areas. that they might not be aware of.

Excellent idea, as always, Mark!


Submitted by Mark McD on Sat, 03/12/2011 - 11:40

I have been looking at the various forum Boards, and suggest some additional tweaks.

1.  In the "Family, Genera, Species" board, change Scutellaria to:
Salvia, Scutellaria, Teucrium, Thymus and other Lamiaceae

2.  Eliminate the separate Eritricium board, I don't think it'll ever have much in it to justify a while board, move the 2 topics into General Alpines.

3. Go through General Alpines and move some topics into specific genera/family topics where appropriate, example, move several posts about Penstemon into the "Penstemon and other Scrophulariaceae" board.

4. Should the "Veronica" board name be expanded to include other relevant genera in the family?  If so, what family... it is now in Plantaginaceae versus Scrophulariaceae :rolleyes:  Same is true of Penstemon, depending on which authority is looked it, it is in Plantaginaceae instead of Scrophulariaceae too :rolleyes: :rolleyes:  I am for keeping Penstemon as referencing Scrophulariaceae  where almost all resources still point to, and if so, does Veronica get listed along with Penstemon (both being scrophs)?

5.  I've gone through some posts in the NARGS and Chapter Events board and consolidated messages.  To what extent should old news items hang around... do they still show new members/forumists that NARGS events do happen thus have a purpose?  To what age threshold do we keep such messages around?  I moved my "Members in the News" thread I created in the "General" board to this location, then merged a couple earlier messages from Hugh into that topic.

6.  General rule of thumb, when leaving a redirectional post (when a topic is moved), leave it for about 1 month, then delete it.

Any other comments, just chime in!


Submitted by RickR on Mon, 03/14/2011 - 00:03

Mark, have you been reading my mind?

I wrote this a week ago, then put it away thinking I would sleep on it and perhaps add or delete things, then promptly forgot about it:
------------------------------
Regarding cleaning up the board:

As you all may remember, I was the stick in the mud seemingly always complaining that a board that is too academic repels the beginner rock gardeners who will be the future of NARGS

To that end, I thank you all for the concession made to include main genera in titles of the family child boards.  At least the beginner can get an idea that Rosaceae includes Dryas and Potentilla, and not just Rosa.

May I take this one step further?

While I also envisioned listing some genera with each family as being a passive teaching tool, it has become lost, due to its format on the main board: All the child boards are in one long paragraph, delineated only by a myriad of commas, and requiring meticulous study for its use.  I am sure that any beginner just throws up their hands in utter confusion.  Is it possible to list these in column form:

Ranunculaceae - Anemone, Aquilegia, Delphinium, etc.
Fabaceae - Astragalus, Oxytropis, Lupinus, etc.
Campanulaceae - campanula, Codonopsis, Edraianthus, etc.
Castilleja
Caryophyllaceae - Dianthus, Lychnis, Silene, etc.
Brassicaceae - Draba, Arabis, Physaria, etc.
Asteraceae - Erigeron, Hymenoxys, Townsendia, etc.
...

If that is not possible, could each child board in the paragraph be separated by dashes, slashes, or some other symbol so a reader can easily tell where the title of one child board ends and another begins?  (I realize that hovering the pointer over the names do highlight each board name individually, but not everyone knows this.)

And do we need a child board dedicated exclusively to Eritchum?
-----------------------
P.S. I'm good with your suggested tweaks, Mark.  And I don't think Veronica warrants its own board either.


Submitted by Mark McD on Mon, 03/14/2011 - 20:45

Thanks for your input Rick, good comments all around.

As to the way the "child boards" are summarized into one long paragraph, I do believe that is not a configurable option, but just the way the SMF (Simple Machine Forum...e.e this forum software) works.  I looked at some other SMF forums, and when child boards (sub-boards) are used, this is what you get.  So, I looked to see if some sub-board naming syntax might help, and I added a sequential number in front of each board.  Doing that, when looking at the run-on-listing of sub-boards, one's eye does read and stop at the sequential numbering, let me know if that is a help. 

By the way, I went ahead and did this on the live-existing NARGS Forum... it's only board names, and if people don't agree, it is easy enough to rename them to what people want.  But to see first-hand what the suggestion looks like, I just went ahead and did it.  Rick, let me know what you think.... I do think some syntax added to the board names is the best solution, but the trick is, if one actually clicks on the "Family, Genera, Species" board to expand the sub-boards, you'll see the same syntax there in the sub-boards names, so it needs to make sense and not be a syntax trick that works for the strung-together-summary but also works for the individual sub-board names... the reason I chose to number them, which I think works visually.

I also moved the 2 Veronica topics into "General Alpines" board, then deleted the Veronica board.  I also moved the 2 Eritrichium topics into the "General Alpines" board, but left behind redirecting messages, mostly because Lori just posted a nice message on an Eritrichium species.  In my adding number prefixes to all of the "Family, Genera, Species" sub-boards, you may notice that the Eritrichium one does not have a number, it has been skipped over, as it'll most likely be deleted.  You might also note, for the sub-boards on single genera "Castilleja" and "Eriogonum" I added their respective common name.

Regards,

Mark


Submitted by RickR on Mon, 03/14/2011 - 23:46

Yes, that helps considerably, Mark.  I had never thought about clicking the "Family, Genera, Species" to expand the child boards.  But I doubt anyone new to to the board would either.
---------------------
Another thing that sorta bugs me now and then: Family, Genera, Species
The three nouns should be all plural or all singular, IMO.
Either "Families, Genera, Species" or "Family, Genus, Species"

In the interest of beginner Latin speakers, I vote for the latter so it is less confusing.  I learned what "genus" was long before I realized that "genera" was the plural form.

Rick


Submitted by Mark McD on Tue, 03/15/2011 - 08:37

RickR wrote:

Yes, that helps considerably, Mark.  I had never thought about clicking the "Family, Genera, Species" to expand the child boards.  But I doubt anyone new to to the board would either.

I wish there was a way to suppress display of the "childboard summary" but there isn't.  I changed the subtitle on the "Family, Genera, Species" board to say:  click to see a listing of subcategories, or start a new topic
Hopefully that will make it more obvious to click to the parent board see an easier-to-view listing of subcategories.

RickR wrote:

Another thing that sorta bugs me now and then: Family, Genera, Species
The three nouns should be all plural or all singular, IMO.
Either "Families, Genera, Species" or "Family, Genus, Species"

In the interest of beginner Latin speakers, I vote for the latter so it is less confusing.  I learned what "genus" was long before I realized that "genera" was the plural form.

Good pick-up Rick, I think it should be the singular form too... changed it to reflect that consistency.

I have also corrected the spelling of "aficionados" on the Bulb board subtitle.