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New Ten Forward System ProposalEdit

Hello, yesterday Florian K mentioned in our German Ten Forward with the new software is a new plugin available which is designed to take all information from one category and list it dynamically on one page. This is co-incidantally named the forum-plugin and as such used in Uncyclopedia's Village Dump.

With the new system every topic will receive its own article in the Forum: namespace and appear as such on the recent changes and file list in the entry page of Ten Forward. As you can see the plugin that manages this system does also read the last change and author from the topic and sorts the list by date. (Example of usage can be seen in the Sandbox.)

In MA/de we decided to use this new system as well and started to transfor our Ten Forward. However there are still technical restrictions because there is just the fake namespace Forum: (they are considered main namespace articles only). We thought that it would only be logical to introduce the same system in the other language editions as well.

Please note what you think of this proposal, one thing mentioned by defchris for example was that the namespace "Forum" doesn't sound very trekkish and should be "OPS" or "Ten Forward" instead. -- Kobi 09:38, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

I think it's a good idea. A "Ten_Forward:" namespace sounds best, in my opinion. The appearance on the sandbox is really sleek looking, so I don't forsee any problems.--Tim Thomason 09:51, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

To those interested: MA/de has received the Forum: namespace last night. I hope there will be some comments on this feature here as well .. -- Kobi 09:31, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Still seems to be a nice feature, I don't see any problems with it. The namespace should be "Forum:" though, anything else might become too trekkish easily. -- Cid Highwind 10:37, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Good idea, this page is getting ridiculously long. It's been a while now and there aren't any objections so.... lets do it. --Bp 22:50, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Updating it right now! --Bp 02:18, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, done importing. There is still one little bug tho, let's see if it is fixed. --Bp 02:46, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
One more try. --Bp 05:50, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Cool! --Bp 05:55, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Very cool! thank you Bp for making the change! I didn't notice the namespace did arrive already -- Kobi 09:04, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

With the new system, is it still necessary to "archive" old threads? I guess the "forum overview" will simply be split into more than one page if there are too many threads going on? If so, I'd suggest to still move inactive discussions to another talk page if it makes sense, but just keep them here if not. In that case, the archive link/description in the introductory text of MA:TF should be changed, though.
Another thing: We now have Memory Alpha:Forums, which links to TF and the reference desk. Should we perhaps have both fora (and probably others) linked from the Ten Forward main page instead? -- Cid Highwind 09:21, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
Fora not forums, good point. Anyway, maybe it should be called something else like "Communications" or "Comms". I created Memory Alpha:Forums as a "top level" for the Nav templates at the top of threads, it doesn't make sense to have a link to one forum there at the top (left). It is just a quick link to a page that only lists what fora exist and nothing else. Also, about the archive, I don't think that <forum> automatically splits into pages, it only shows the 250 (when count=250) most recent, so there should probably be a link at the bottom to Category:Ten Forward for the older ones. This is the archive kindof, so I'm not sure an archive page makes sense in this case. Inactive discussions just fall off the end. They come back to the top if someone edits them. --Bp 15:06, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
What I meant was: Should we make Memory Alpha:Ten Forward the "top level" page, with both the Reference Desk and the forum for internal communications (however that would be called) plus all other fora/forums that might be created later falling under that label? I think it would make sense, otherwise, we would still end up with Refdesk type questions being asked in Ten Forward all the time...
Regarding the archive: OK, that explanation makes sense. So we could just change the archive description on the TF template to link to that category instead (and probably keep the older archives). -- Cid Highwind 15:23, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

In MA/de we have an additional de:Memory Alpha:Zehn Vorne Archiv that will process pages in the archive category. Indeed the forum plugin will not automatically create subpages (if I understand correctly). Florian is also going to use this system for the reference desk, featured articles and the entire deleting process -- Kobi 17:06, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

I see what you mean about making TF the top level. I don't see why not, except that it kindof screws up the whole Ten Forward like on the Enterprise thing because there was no Reference Desk in Ten Forward. Anyway, about the sub-pages, I added the Category link at the bottom of TF and Ref Desk. I noticed at the forum extension's description/help page [1] there is a line:
start={number} (Starts at the {n+1}th topic of the forum, so large forums can occupy multiple pages.)
That would suggest that the forum ext. can be made to do the multiple pages thing, but I haven't seen an explanation about how you are supposed to feed the number in. A static number doesn't seem to be very useful. Also, I don't like the archive category idea mentioned above because they cant be brought back if new information is added. Well they can but whoever edits it will have to know to change the category back. I think that it is unnecessary since we can just use the TF category as an archive. Kobi just pointed out a cool "feature" of the forum system, that you can link to similar threads in different languages! I can't read german so it doesn't help me that much, but it is cool anyway. --Bp 17:37, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
Using "start=", it would be possible to create, for example, three pages each showing 50 threads: count=50, start=0, 50, 100 - so a static number does make some sense. I also think that the "category idea" was meant exactly as you described and implemented it... ;) -- Cid Highwind 19:43, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

I created the basic structure of a new forum to keep track of currently active talk pages. Discussion at Memory Alpha talk:Article Talk. --Bp 21:39, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Current "Forum" situationEdit

There are some things about how the forum pages are currently handled that I don't like.

First, since this Forum: namespace has been enacted, there are more and more off-topic "idle discussion"-type entries, both in the Ten Forward forum and the Reference Desk. I think this needs to be kept in check, simply because there are much better places to speculate about all things Trek. Other threads are valid discussions, but should better be placed on a relevant talk page than a forum that is basically not connected to any article. Maybe we can work on that by moving some of the threads to other locations.

Second, I'm not so sure anymore if the Forum layout is a good idea for the Reference Desk at all. The reference desk was supposed to be a central page where visitors could ask questions that they couldn't find an answer to. Proper procedure would be to find the answer in one of our articles (or add it there, if it hasn't been already), then link to that article and be done with it. Now, this reference desk forum has become more of a chatroom, probably with several answers not ever added to any article. This has to be changed, and I think returning to a simple list article with questions and answers would avoid some of that. -- Cid Highwind 13:22, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Bump. This seems important, as well, it has come up once or twice in other forum discussions recently. --Alan 03:16, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

I'd still prefer "Reference Desk" to be a single page. Unless there's a good reason against that, let's just make it so in the next days... :) -- Cid Highwind

Hi, Cid, you make it sound like there used to be another type of Reference Desk ~before~ the forum. Is that true? What did it look like? I'm newer, I think it would be a service to us all if we were shown what the alternative is that you're proposing. After all, (Point A) if "The reference desk was supposed to be a central page where visitors could ask questions that they couldn't find an answer to", then, what? Are you saying that there's an alternative way to provide this? Or are you actually saying you don't want such a thing at all anymore but instead a single page with stock Q's and A's, without discussion? Furthermore, (Point B) if there is a "Proper procedure", which "would be to find the answer in one of our articles (or add it there, if it hasn't been already), then link to that article and be done with it", then the problem you described seems to not be about the very existence of the Reference Desk in its current form/format, but about enforcement or explanation (on the Reference Desk main page - no such "procedure" is indicated there currently). So, before anything drastic is done, could you address those two points of clarification and also show us what "returning to a simple list article with questions and answers" would look like? Thanks, SennySix 08:10, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I like the Forum and Ref Desk the way they are. Those single page things are a mess. --Bp 08:49, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Oh, of course, SennySix. Basically, the "old" Reference Desk was a single discussion page, such as this one. People would add a new section if they had a question, the question would be answered (preferably by posting a link to an article where the answer already exists), the section would be removed (or moved to an article talk page) after some time. -- Cid Highwind 09:45, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

I think that'd work. Let's actually lay down the policy (and put it on the page) for removing questions. How about removing/moving them one week after being answered?– Cleanse talk 10:02, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

The basic problem with the forum-style Reference Desk is that there's even less incentive for people to actually do something with the questions that have eventually been answered. With a single page RD, the page starts to fill up, and some of that content will eventually have to be moved somewhere (for example an article where it would have belonged in the first place). With a forum RD, answered questions just drop to the bottom of the thread list and, after that, to an archive category - questions may still not be answered in an article - but no one cares, because it doesn't clog up the page they are visiting every once in a while. -- Cid Highwind 10:19, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for describing the alternative. Cleanse seems incented. When you say "people", who do you mean? I think that admins or wikignomes and maybe the 5% of questioners who are experienced, conscientious contributors are still going to be the only people moving such threads. With or without the Forum, the main problem is still one of defining the parameters and useage model for RD. Today, people see "Forum - ask questions!" and the result is exactly what I would expect. Few questioners (again, except for MA oldtimers) are there to research their MA contributions. They come to ask what happens when a Borg and a Changeling have a baby together so that their RPG scenario will be a hit next weekend. Of course that's never going to make it into any article's Talk page, much less any article. I find the current setup to be very elegant and efficient, compared to the alternative, and its problems can be addressed with text on its thread-creation page, the Forum front page, and also maybe with a change of namespace. Does the namespace have to be "Forum"? That's half the problem, which gives people the idea that it's OK to chitchat about "how to say ponn farr in Ancient Bajoran so I can tattoo it on my self". The solution has not got to do with the technology, it's the community guidance and the terminology we're using. If the "basic problem" is follow-through, it's not the fault of the discussion platform. I think you're not going to incent "people" to clean up after their own or anyone else's RD questions, no matter which platform is in use. I think what you want to do is to dis-incent people from posts that fail to further the MA mission. Still, if we are to have "a central page where visitors could ask questions that they couldn't find an answer to" there's bound to be at least some uncategorizable posts. Where to move them? Nowhere! Let them "just drop to the bottom of the thread list and, after that, to an archive category" - in the platform for threaded discussions, not in a giant Talk: page. Thanks for considering it, SennySix 17:39, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Ten Forward subforums Edit

I just changed the TF main page and the {{Ten Forward Thread Nav}} template slightly. By adding an argument to the nav template, it is now possible to move TF discussions from a "general purpose" area on top to subforum-type listings of active discussions concerning a specific area. Currently supported are the arguments "international" (for discussions not just about MA/en, but about the whole MA community) and "layout" (for discussions regarding the look&feel - styling, formatting and so on).

Other subforums I could think of are "policy" and "technical" (for new features, error reports etc.). What do you think of this? -- Cid Highwind 12:21, 16 March 2008 (UTC)