What do you think about Bobino's use of a curated channel?

I’m a bit puzzled. @Bobino regularly asks questions in his collections which result in very useful resources. This current topic* for example. I can see it in the forum ressources, tips and techniques. should there be in the resources forum a duplicate wiki of the List that is being created here*? Or just a reference or should the conversation be moved there? Should we keep the Resources forum “clean “ by only posting a completed resource followed by comments about it and keep the “construction” process in the lounge or, in the current case, Bobino’s collection.

Initially my vision was that the purpose of collections to be lists of references (to threads from this forum or outside) organized by themes by the curator. People could “watch” or bookmark the collections they wanted to follow.

Bobino uses his channel more like a blog with great questions that yield great content/resources.

Your thoughts on this?

  • topic: fmpa checklist in Bobino’s collections

If we were to restrict collections to my original concept, I think the discussions fmpa checklist or file upload checklist should be in a discussion forum. The collection here would be

Collections >> Bonino’s Channel >> Useful checklists

and the content of that topic (collection) original post would be a list of references pointing to discussions where each list is created/discussed.

I don’t know what is preferable. Let people use the collections channels in any way they want or have an additional block of channels for those who want their own blogs.

Should we try to limit proliferation of channels and keep the discussions in the lounge?

Excellent question. My opinion is the checklists by themselves are resources and theses should be in a specific section. They should be maintain by one person, int this case Bobino. But the discussions about those checklists should be just that, discussions. The owner of the a checklist would maintain it and read the discussions about it.

Oh and these resources should be pinned somewhere easy to find. Juts think on official Community how often the same questions are asked, for example “My membership to FDS is active but I can’t find the goodies”. Each week this question come back, and each time the OP is answered the same thing.

Tell us what you think.

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Sounds like a good way to proceed. A curator maintains the document, the community provides improvements.

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Categorisation is great but it really gets in the way if there are too many categories. I find that a few big categories for everything is much easier to manage. I do like the idea of being able to go to a resources area.

Malcolm

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We have keywords for specifics.

Exactly!

Lol
People those sections exist. You keep finding stuff because discourse is great and because I tag and reclassify stuff.

We have the following sections:

News and Gotchas
Feedback and site Related discussions
ER (the help line)
Lounge (all exploratory informal discussions)
Archives (I’m considering removing that section)
Curated collections (think Windows user libraries)
In the spotlight (not used at this time)
Resources (free paid etc)
FMI (not used at this time)
Staff (not used at this time)
Announcement (utility to communicate with site members formally)

My questions was, do we care that Bobino is using his channel to host conversations instead of collections? I find the topics he raises pertinent for the entire community, not for just the subscribers to his channel. So I would prefer to move all those to the lounge and insist that curated collections remains a curated repository of organized links by some curators (DJs)

Just look at the official forums or even fmforums.com for examples of over categorisation that make it really difficult to find actual content.

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The way I structured the site is

FM Help. (ER)
Discussions (Lounge)
Meta communication about our community/site (Feedback)
FM ressources (Ressources)

The rest is utilities

Yes, tagging is paramount. It may not be obvious for new forum members to look into curated collections. The regulars surely have now difficulty to locate them. My be we leave it as it is for the moment and will review in 6 months. Meanwhile we tag…

Then its resources.

@Bobino, did you know that your channel isn’t public?

Those topics are of general interest - they aren’t a back-channel topic.

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Nuance: his channel is viewable by all. But curated channels content choice is subjective and not endorsed by the site.

Warning, this post got me to learn discourse only accepts body shorter than 10000 characters (there should be a badge for that). So I had to split this in 2 separate replies.

Ok, I’ll share a bit more about how I think / behave and we can go from there.

I’m sure we’ll agree that everyone’s brain is different, when it comes to categorization and tagging this becomes even more evident.

Our site has this structure:

  1. Categories (top level channels?) (called Sections/Forums by @Cecile earlier)
    1.1Channels (sub-channels?)
    1.1.1Topics (looks like nesting is only 2 levels deep, sorry for anyone with OCD)

Each topic can be turned into a wiki after the fact (per the author’s trust level of by an moderator / admin), letting anyone edit the original post.

Each topic can also wear any number of tags.
In some scenarios, assigning a tag is mandatory, sometimes it is not.

Each topic can have many comments from community members. (unless comments have been disabled)

Each comment can generate a new topic (if instead of replying you click on the chain icon and select ‘New Topic’).

Also to note, some top level channels have no sub-channels, while some others have many and yet others have a single one (those last ones are the hardest for me as it sometimes blurs the definitions of the 2 levels, like with Heads-Up and In the News).

Topics cannot belong to more than one channel (or sub-channel), so ideally channels do not intersect. I did post about a recent OAuth whitepaper under Heads-Up (really meaning ‘In the news’), and just re-classed it under the WhitePaper sub-channel of the resources channel.

Wikis typically address this problem with transclusion, as it lets you visually display in a page the content from another page. Pages have a single place in the wiki hierarchy, but you can easily create a new page displaying the same content. You only have to manage the content in the original page.

Here is the about topic for Curated Collections:

It so happens there is only 2 other members with curated collections, but they are pretty emtpy or were used for testing purpose. So in terms of making sure I mimic other curators, I don’t have much to go by. Still, that was compelling for me for the following reasons:

  • Like all of us, I do have my own vision on things & what is useful / valuable to share. I am nowhere near having a ‘following’ but I think there is value in packaging together content that comes from me or is initiated by me. (as opposed to scattering this across categories and channels all over the site)
  • Valid / accurate is on me. If I say something wrong elsewhere, I may be misguiding someone. If I say something wrong here, you chose to come here and pay attention to what I’m saying, I did not push it in front of your face. + some of what I say, is subjective and can be disagreed with.
  • If you disagree with me, and happen to not have much etiquette about how to voice your disagreement, I’m moderator in here, so pick your fights wisely and stay professional. (@Cecile I still do not see anything that makes me moderator in my channel, we can discuss about that as an aside)
  • All in all, it makes a stronger statement about who owns / maintains the content.

So collection is not specifically defined in the ‘about’ page, it mentions some example content ‘articles, links, resources, etc’. I interpreted it as the channel is a collection in itself.

It seems I have many because @cecile writes:

So, interpreting the channel is a collection in itself I went and made an about for my curated channel:

So It seems my use is not the one that was intended by @Cecile. She mentions ‘Windows user library’ something I know nothing of. She envisioned ‘lists of references organized by themes’. I can only assume the theme would be the topic title, and references mean there should be no original content, only links. She then gives an example in a later comment, where topics File Upload Checklist & FMPA Install checklist would have been created elsewhere on the site and I would then have created a topic where they are gathered, suggesting in this case something along the lines of ‘Useful checklist’.

My problem with this is:

  • little value added
  • added burden (instead of 2 posts, I need to create a 3rd one)
  • the grouping today may not be the grouping tomorrow
  • finding something can be hard, more so if you are mostly listing links. (was it under ‘useful checklist’, ‘best practices’, ‘I wish I knew’ or <…>)
  • some lists may have single items
  • some theme may require a lot of time before there is mutiple items to group in a list.

I also believe those items are why, here like elsewhere, we see little of ‘top 10 custom functions I use’ / ‘My favorites plugins that pull me out of trouble’, or anything similar. Who cares about Bobino’s usefull checklist, why would I even go look at that content (unless we are talking about someone who has achieved a level of fame far beyond what I’ll ever reach)?


Continued in the next comment

Here is the rest


@cecile mentioned I’m asking questions in my collections, but questions are not how I start my topics, usually I’ll start saying ‘Here is what I do, how about you?’ or ‘Here is what I have, please comment if you see something missing’. Not something I would post under ER or similar channel.

Also, the topics in my channel are not white or black, they are more subjective (when they are not plain into things people get fussy about):

  • mac vs windows (Why I use Mac)
  • Why I love FMPerception
  • Tools people use for text expansion
  • How I prepare for the certification
  • What I check for when installing FMPA
  • My reminders before uploading a file to a server

On the more informative side I have stuff like a wiki page for the list of devcon locations and some info about taking the certification exam remotely.

Not sure I would classify any of this as a tip, technique, or resource.

Layout object selection tip of the day is a tip

Copy/paste layout object with its coordinates is a technique

On the resource side of things, it has 10 sub-channels (the most for any of our top level channels) and I don’t see how my content fits any of them. I read this as, it is not a resource (not to same as not valuable). Some would say I should then post straight to the top level channel, but it so happens that of all the ressource topics that were created, none of them sit in the top level channel.

So just to be clear, not all post I create take place in my channel, when I feel it fits elsewhere, that is where I post it.

If someone wants to do that, I am perfectly fine with that. It would be a good thing. That as a community a list be put together, all the while letting me keep & maintain the one I favor. I hope someone would mention me for initial inspiration or something similar, but the actual content then needs to be owned by someone else (or by everyone if it is a wiki). Also, should someone want to have their own channel where they would maintain their own version of the list it is great. We could then have a lounge discussion about what we like / don’t like about each version!

@cecile also asked many other questions:

  • Should someone post into the ressource channel as a reference (link?) to the original post?
    • I don’t think so, because then that person says they agree with me (partial transfer of validity & accuracy), while I can still edit the content from my end.
  • Should the conversation be moved to the resources channel?
    • I do not think so, because of everything I mentioned. As the author, had I believed it belonged there I would have placed it there, something I am still able to do, should I want to. If a moderator is asking if a discussion should be moved instead of knowing it should move, I would favor leaving it where it was.
  • Should we keep the Resources forum “clean “ by only posting a completed resource followed by comments about it and keep the “construction” process in the lounge or, in the current case, Bobino’s collection.
    • The Resources channel should have a sub-channel for ‘Proposals seeking feedback’ (with a clear about topic that mentions this is work in progress, not final resource), if you are writing a whitepaper and seek feedback, put your discussion there. Once complete, create a matching resource post, or if the discussion itself was short and the original post has been edited to reflect final outcome, then just take the discussion and change its sub-channel. Please note that even if my checklists are seeking feedback (it would be nuts to have this community and not seek advice), they are not proposals to be resources.
  • Should we keep those discussions in the lounge.
    • I see the lounge for things that are more about ‘social stuff’ than this content. For someone not having a channel, I think it would be more appropriate for something like this to be in a floating topic (caring a bit more about how they are tagged then).

People are still able to ‘watch’ or bookmark this content. The entire community gets to see that content. People who care about it can subscribe. I got comments from people who I am pretty sure did not subscribe.

Blogs nowadays shy away from letting people add comments, they are a one way communication to readers, a bit like newsletter subscribers (newsletters often point to blog posts). So I do not agree that I am using my channel as a blog. I am using it to share things that are useful / valuable, usually on topics where things are very subjective, and welcome comments along the way.

@planteg also asked for feedback. He mentioned, “these resources should be pinned somewhere easy to find”. The fmSoup is a community site, it is not a wiki and it is not a site to document the product we all like. Easy to find means something different to everyone (how many clicks, where on the screen, tags, naming, categories…). Bottom line is not everything can be top level and that means the space becomes crowded over time. I don’t see it as fmSoup’s responsibility to make something easy to find. Good content gets attention and people who ask will get pointed to. For people who know about the content, it is for them to have their own system (I like both dynalist and tiddlywiki, some people use evernote, …) that will let them get back to the content when they need it. Discourse has bookmarks (so does any browser).

So if I recap:

  • people like the content, I’m sharing like we expect, just not where you would expect
  • I’m using a feature no one else is using, yet to some it looks like I am not using it the right way
  • I feel the content does not belong elsewhere (not resource, not tips / technique, not lounge) and when I feel otherwise, then I post in those more traditional channels.
  • To me it would feel a bit weird to change this if in the end, no one else is publishing to a curated channel in the fashion originally intended. If that feature goes extinct because no one use it (like maybe we will pull out the archives channel), then it will feel very weird.

So after all that, you pretty much know what I think about this. Where do we go from here?

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oh dear… my java-server is redlining, but I still don’t get everything. I realize that my knowledge of the english language is limited, yes, limited… (java-server: coffee-machine…)

I’m using Deepl for understanding better, but robots are not always helpful.

I personally would love to have things as simple as possible - and the way it is (‘bobino’s channel’) is fine for me. I did not question why it’s called bobino’s channel, I just find it really interesting and I love to read all these postings. It does not feel like a blog for me (the fmi forum is more blog than a forum IMHO)

If these threads/postings would not be here, it would be a loss - for me, naming/categorizing does not matter much - but maybe I just didn’t get the point

Will read again later, business is calling

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Thanks @Bobino for sharing your thoughts on the subject. I appreciate your reasonning about how you use that space.

I want to stress out that the lounge is not dedicated for social. It is for in depth discussion about development, fm, etc. Humour and a relax ambiance is the trademark of the soup so it can feel social in any channel really.

For clarification: I referred to the channels as “section” trying to use planteg’s frame of reference to illustrate that what he was asking for already exists in the site. Discourse nomenclature is Categories and Topics. I altered the code to replace Categories by the word Channel. So you are right, There are Top level channels and sub channels. The nesting can go as deep as one wants. I kept it at two levels.
To me a topic is more a type of content within a category. That is why I prefer to refer to discussions as “threads”; exceptionally, in the curated collections, each thread is a single collection where the first post is the collection and the following posts are comments.

Also: asking a question does not imply asking for help (these questions are asked in the ER) questions can also be great discussion openers. So when I say you ask great questions, which yield fruitful discussions, that is what I mean.

Often when people create new discussions they leave it in the floating channel. That is perfectly fine if they are not sure where it should sit. I move those where they belong and tag them when I have a chance.

I hope I conveyed that I am not opposed to your use of your channel. The reason why I brought up this subject, is in fact because I see material that is created that fits in other places, sometimes in resources, sometimes in discussions so it had me puzzled. Also, since you are “hosting discussions” (more accurate than refering to it as blog I hope) in your channel, you might need some sort of index to inform your visitor about the list of subjects you have touched.

You are right, you are the only person using a collection channel. The other two were tests. The origin of my idea was that on Community, some people are known resources on certain topics. Eg. Jeremy Brown for java script. If Jeremy was a member here and had a channel, he could have two or three collections: 1- All things java scripts
2- some fm subject he likes particularly
3- some other subject

In each of his 3 threads, the first post would contain a list of links to posts in stockoverflow, community fmsource that are discussing javascripts. In the list he could link in other sections of the soup, for example to a post about a code snippet in java script (in the channel resources, scripts and codes…).

That was the initial intended use. Because in Community the bookmarking and such is difficult, this would have been a way for people to access reliable information through a reputable curator. Now, it might not be something needed here.

Tagging works very well in discourse. Hence my question.

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Having read @Bobino’s posts and yours, in conclusion we could leave things as they are.
In his curated collections, Bobino provides information and matter of thought that goes well beyond the stream of conscience-like posts in other categories and warrants the distinction.
All members can access them and participate.
I would mandate for growing the tagging system rather than categorisation. Someone already stated that what today seems to be a good category choice may not be the same in the future. Tags that closely relate to the subject will remain.

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if one would check an example for categories, check those 2 other sites in discourse

  • Tidbits (just a few cat’s), talk.tidbits.com
  • Agenda (quite some, similar to fmsoup but more traffic), agenda.community

btw. I’m using ‘DiscourseHub’ on the iPad, from the appstore