Forum Use and Organization

I wanted to start a general discussion on the forum. How we are going to organize and use it.

We have a couple decisions to make:

Front page - Some are suggesting using the category page as the front page or at least what the forum button links to. It could help as we add more subcategories. I guess this is a good excuse to try a poll.

  • Current front page
  • Category front page

0 voters

How many of you are actually getting here through that button. There has to be a better way than that. I generally follow email updates over here. I have not tried the app yet. I saw someone with a desktop link. Let us know if you have any general use advice.

Categories/ Subcategories - Instead of having a pile of top level categories I prefer just having a few. I was thinking I would start adding subcategories for all of the different pieces of hardware. So soon we would have Dev projects/ M2 and Dev projects/ SuperB subcats. We could do the same in general discussion or leave it more general. Any better ideas?

Optional Tags - We are not using these yet. I was thinking it might make sense to tag things by Make, Model, generation and maybe what circuit and hardware you are using.

Dev Post Format - I always liked the way XDA has a culture around keeping the top post updated with the most current info/ summary. I think it helps new users and new devs. If we want something like that now is probably the time to push for it.

Bounty posts - Should we set something like this up? Where we basically crowd fund small projects like adding support for an obscure protocol and whoever figures it out gets the reward. I’ve seen this on a few forums, but it seems like devs often have a hard time collecting from people who promised 5 buck a year ago. Maybe there is an external platform we could use for this. I would also be nice if there was a tipping module, but as far as I know there isn’t.

Let me know if you have any other thoughts on how we can improve the forum experience.

Personally I can agree with having the forum split into main groups then each of those into sub groups. Many boards I am on have this type of setup and it makes for much easier finding of stuff. Pined topics at the top that are always at the top make sense especially for some items we are starting to see questions about that have already been answered.

Are you saying you want more categories? I guess instead of trying to get people to use tags we could have a Make category with a subcat for the different makes (Ford, …) then discussion like the VW hacking would go in there. Not sure there is a need for it yet though.

Pinning on Discourse is a little weird. You can’t permanently pin a topic. The pin gets removed as soon as you see it once.

I guess that depends on what the statistics of the site are. How many different types of topics are there?

Don’t know that we need to get too crazy with it but probably can use some more categories such as some customer support items.

And maybe announcements. I know there is a blog section but to be honest I don’t ever look there unless something pops up in my email.

Would be nice to be able to navigate directly to any other section from any other section. Such as going to the guide from the forum and vise versa.

Currently I open another tab to the main site and go from there.

Is there a public discord channel? Would be nice to be on that… :wink:

Yeah I agree let’s not add anything until there is a need. There is not a public discord channel.

@CollinK I saw the new update for SavvyCAN (SC) and thought of this discussion. We have a lot of different threads going for SC updates and development. Would that be better as one thread where you kept the top post updated with current files and a change-log like I discussed above, or should SC just have a Subcategory in Dev Projects? I don’t think tags would do much for us here I guess you could tag what hardware and protocols it worked with, but at this point that is pretty simple.

On one hand it seems like we should have different subcategories of Dev projects based on hardware, but I suppose it would be annoying to maintain threads in each if SC was compatible with multiple pieces of hardware.

Since SC is a major project and lots of different questions are out there on it. Personally I think SavvyCAN should have its own subcatagory under the main Categories.

Might be useful to split up the different protocols under a category into seperate subcatagories as well. As people will have different questions related. But maybe just add them as people comment on them or something.

Might want vehicle dependent categories as well. Maybe just post categories on major brands and go that route.
Such as main category of “Vehicle Manufacturer Specific” and within have Ford, GM, VW, Dodge/Chrysler etc.

In my mind Categories should be split up to allow easier finding of related information. No need to add sub categories until someone starts a substantial topic on a new vehicle.


Once the PocketBeagle stuff hits prime time there will be two Macchina products supported and in a very different way. M2 boards use M2RET but PocketBeagle would use the existing SocketCAN functionality. So, very different questions are likely to come up.

People can ask questions either right in the dev category or in a special sub-category and then I could update a static topic and keep the top post updated with the most up-to-date info. I have seen that in places like XDA and it is handy. It’s a bit weird though too if other people are able to post afterward. Then you get a weird situation where the first post is newer than the next one (or really most any other post in the thread). And I find that odd. But, it does help people to find the freshest info quickly.

I’m not sure of the proper answer for how to delineate all the forums. It’s temping to create four thousand forum categories but then you end up with most of the categories unused or rarely used. Only really common subtopics should be broken out just to make it easier to find everything related to that topic. SavvyCAN might be popular enough, a forum for misc user projects (as you already have), a forum for talking about each common protocol (CAN, LIN, etc). Maybe one for talking about the actual application of the M2 to specific cars (all in one forum maybe).

Sounds good Collin. Right now I agree it would probably make the most sense to break up conversations by protocol. But that might change as we add other products. For now let’s just do it as needed and SavvyCAN is probably there.

One downside of having more than one post for something like SavvyCAN is not everyone in the other posts will get notified. But we probably should have a real news letter anyway.