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  • Is it just me? - Is this site turning from a forum into just another profess'nal site

    Discussion in 'Help, info & forum announcements' started by cam2248, May 2, 2014.

    ?

    Are you worried about the marginalization of the actual FORUM on this site?

    1. Return the forum to its place of honor, both on the main page and in the email subject lines

      1 vote(s)
      20.0%
    2. Return the forum to its place of honor in the email subject lines only

      1 vote(s)
      20.0%
    3. Return the forum to its place of honor on the main page only

      1 vote(s)
      20.0%
    4. I like things the way they are now

      2 vote(s)
      40.0%
    1. cam2248

      cam2248 Member

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      I love this forum because there are so many interesting and relevant question topics posted here, and because you can ask any ME question and get relevant answers. Now the main page is mainly articles, with the forum posts on the sidebar as if they were an afterthought. While this may be a good thing (attracting more attention so the actual forum will have more users), I am disturbed about the changes in the email subjects. Linkedin sends me regular emails from this group and from a bunch of others. This group used to stand out because the subject lines were different (and much more relevant to me): they were always actual engineering questions, of one sort or another. Now it seems the articles have taken over the forum on this website, at least that's how it seems from the emails. I really hope this never happens and that the emails return to focusing on actual Q&A rather than professional articles.

      By the way, having the Q&A topics in the subject of the email probably increases the chances they get answered, don't you agree?

      Is this just me?
       
      Last edited: May 2, 2014
    2.  
    3. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      Hi cam2248, sorry it took so long to get back to you! I really appreciate the feedback and thanks for taking the trouble to post. It's great to know that someone cares enough to make the effort.

      Here's a bit of feedback on the points you raised:

      1) Just to clarify, the MDF homepage has always been exclusively articles, right from the beginning

      2) The only thing that was changed on the forum main page was that the "latest articles" widget was moved up to the top. The reason for this is to draw attention to the articles which a lot of time and effort has gone into. In response to your concerns, I agree that it would be good to have better visibility of the actual discussions in this area, so I have moved the "new forum posts" widget up to its original position near the top.

      3) The LinkedIn Announcements: All the original engineering discussions are still there in the emails, it's just that we've attempted to "showcase" 2 or 3 of the latest articles near the top. A lot of people have put a lot of hard work into them and I feel they deserve to get the necessary recognition. However, I do take on board that this might detract from the social aspect of MDF. Therefore we might try out a few different things in future to make sure discussions don't appear to be sidelined.

      4) LinkedIn email subjects: Despite us showcasing articles in recent weeks, I do feel that nothing much has changed in terms of the email titles. I have listed some of the most recent ones below. Can you indicate which you're not keen on so that I can understand better?

      08 May 2014: Dog wheelchair, gravity casting, bioprinting ...& more
      01 May 2014: 20 Great Reasons to Become a Mechanical Design Engineer ...& more!
      23 Apr 2014: How to select a joining process, active aerodynamics, steam engines ...& more!
      04 Apr 2014: Proof of Concept, pulley selection, CAM packages ...& more!
      28 Mar 2014: Last call to win the 3D Mouse / Writers needed / Want an interview?
      20 Mar 2014: Tell us what you LOVE about mechanical design, and WIN a SpaceMouse Wireless 3D mouse!


      Finally, it is important for us to keep the articles coming. They will ultimately benefit the "Q&A" side of MDF: a bigger audience will result in more members and a greater wealth of knowlege for all to enjoy. I would like to emphasis that the articles are not at all promotional in nature. Nobody's paying us to have them included. They are also not "professional" SEO-style keyword trash. Most articles are written by enthusiastic MDF members, which I think is fantastic.

       
    4. cam2248

      cam2248 Member

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      Hi Gareth,

      Thanks for the reply. The MDF Homepage that I thought I was remembering was in fact the Forum Main Page, and I thought that was still fine even with the articles widget on top. But I guess I had never actually been to the MDF Homepage before and got confused.

      I was indeed bothered about the email subjects. The emails from 01 May, 28 Mar and 20 Mar in particular were the ones that were getting me worried, as one could not tell, from reading them, that they came from a forum site. They looked like they were coming from Vault or Engineering Jobs Worldwide on Linkedin. I actually didn't even open the ones about the 3D Mouse, assuming it was just an announcement email :p.

      It is also true that since 20 March, there has been so much announcements and article content at the top of the email, that without scrolling down one wouldn't see any forum Q&A at all, even with a 7-1/4" tall screen and with the browser maximized. I'm not sure which was bothering me more, this or the email subject lines.

      Anyways. I was hoping to get more feedback with the poll, but maybe it is only me :D
       
    5. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      Thanks again for raising these points cam2248. I'll certainly take them onboard. Anyone else got any views? I would welcome any further feedback on MDF. Good to see that some people have voted, by the way
       

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