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An alternative to sub-forums?

  • There’s a sub-forums ticket open at the moment, assigned to Matt, and I thought have have a quick think-aloud to see how feasible this idea is…

    I think the combination of forums, sub forums and tags encodes too much structure into the application and the db; I can see another (possibly more flexible) way of delivering the same capabilities, which involves three steps:

    1. Add descriptions to tags, so they can behave like forums.

    2. Remove the old forums altogether and instead allow tags to be sticky – sticky tags then go on the front page, with their descriptions, like forums.

    3. Avoid the restrictive tree structure of forums and sub-forums by using a graph – i.e. in the same way that any post can be linked to any tag, any tag should also be able to be linked to any tag.

    The net result would be the same operation for the user, but more more potential for adaptive content structure and semantically rich navigation by, for example, seeing related articles from “nearby” tags.

    There’s probably other advantages, and maybe caveats that I’ve not seen… :)

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  • ear1grey, I concur.

    I’m already using tags like WP “categories” as they are the most easy-to-use feature of bbPress (thanks, AJAX), and quite analogous to what we call “forums” anyway. After all, we’re just talking about context really, and tags achieve that easily.

    My only real complaint is that the word “tag” is so generic it ends up meaning many things and nothing all at the same time – category is a much better “tag” for “tag”.

    I would love to see something like sub-forums implemented into bbPress earlier in the “game”. I think that would be so awesome. phpBB hasn’t even gotten to that “point” until phpBB3 beta or whatever.. lol!

    I know it might not work, and function extacly like “that”, but.. atleast it’s a start of it.. ;) :)


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