Dedicated vendor support sub-forums?

Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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A topic we've been discussing internally is how to better deal with support questions (will this card fit? how long will shipping take? etc.) for really popular projects like the NCASE M1 or DAN Cases A4-SFX. The HardForum thread for the M1 for example is 610 pages currently and is super intimidating for someone new to SFF.

But with our current forum organization, either we have one really long thread in Custom Projects or allow the general/hardware sub-forums to get filled with questions about the M1 and crowd out other discussion.

So we've been considering maybe having a new section with sub-forums for individual vendors (though suggestions for alternate solutions would be greatly appreciated if you have a better idea!) to deal with this. For example, a NCASE sub-forum, a DAN Cases sub, etc.

And this could maybe be combined with/rolled into the Vendor Marketplace so vendors could both sell their project direct and sell, or just support, in the same place.

There are lots of potential issues with this, like qualification criteria, should it be a paid program, moderation, etc.

Also, we'd want to avoid splitting discussion too much, though I'm not sure how to do that or if it'd really be a problem anyway.

Thoughts? Comments?
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
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Feb 1, 2016
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I think this would be of use for certified production products only. I think one thing you guys could do as a value added proposition (for payment of course) would be do some form of co-maintenance on these threads to ensure they are curated and information is up to date. I think that in a lot of cases the individuals running these projects are trying to maintain threads over several forums and if you were to offer this service, it would make SFF.net the defacto choice for product support which will ultimately drive more users to the site. Seems like a win-win to me.
 
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Aibohphobia

aka James
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Josh brought up that idea too, but I don't want to be responsible for ensuring all the information is up to date and accurate.

It's something to consider though, I just think actually implementing it could prove very tricky.
 
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Phuncz

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I like the idea.

I would leave moderation out of the equation for vendors as it might become too involved for them and confusing for the moderators and members (when will he take action, why is that forum more strictly moderated, etc.).

Would we include questions and build logs ?

The qualification seems reasonable to state after a project goes into production.
 

VisualStim

Master of Cramming
Mar 6, 2017
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I would leave moderation of those sub forums to the respective vendors, only step in at certain times.

tbh its time for this forum to start thinking about SFF growth and we know its coming too.
 

|||

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Sep 26, 2015
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I would leave moderation of those sub forums to the respective vendors, only step in at certain times.

Josh brought up that idea too, but I don't want to be responsible for ensuring all the information is up to date and accurate.

It's something to consider though, I just think actually implementing it could prove very tricky.

I think @Aibohphobia was meaning that it would be hard to give limited moderation rights to vendors within the constraints of XenForo (forum software used).

tbh its time for this forum to start thinking about SFF growth and we know its coming too.

I agree, so long as you mean user interest growth, and not case size :p I believe the interest is here, technology just hasn't been able to support it; it is finally coming around (high power density power supplies, HBM, Mini-ITX and smaller motherboards) but still has a ways to go (bulky power connectors, expensive MXM cards, proprietary crap).
 
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Aibohphobia

aka James
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Would we include questions and build logs ?

That's tricky, I lean towards not including build logs since that's more showing off the complete system rather than the particular product.

tbh its time for this forum to start thinking about SFF growth and we know its coming too.

We have several projects were planning, but it's too early to talk about them :)

I think @Aibohphobia was meaning that it would be hard to give limited moderation rights to vendors within the constraints of XenForo (forum software used).

Permissions are annoying to setup but it's plenty doable, but implementing it in such a way that makes sense for everyone in a fair way is tough.
 
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VisualStim

Master of Cramming
Mar 6, 2017
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Build logs should be its whole different sub-forum like it is now. I like seeing variety when I browse that sub
 
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Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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Tapatalk won't happen due to various issues.

Anything in particular wrong with the current experience on mobile other than the lack of push notifications?
 

jØrd

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topic we've been discussing internally is how to better deal with support questions
is this something vendors are actively wanting?
So we've been considering maybe having a new section with sub-forums for individual vendors (
is this the solution their actively pushing?

My ultimate question is, what are there thoughts on this. Do they have any suggestions / recommendations (or inversely any warnings / concerns) , in particular any vendors who are involved in forums where there are vendor sub-forums their active (or not) in? Why? What would they be willing to actually commit to, etc? Where do they (or the majority of them) stand on the issue?
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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is this something vendors are actively wanting?

One is, and while it's only one, this is something we have internally discussed before anyway and they would drive lots of traffic here.

is this the solution their actively pushing?

Yes.

My ultimate question is, what are there thoughts on this. Do they have any suggestions / recommendations (or inversely any warnings / concerns) , in particular any vendors who are involved in forums where there are vendor sub-forums their active (or not) in? Why? What would they be willing to actually commit to, etc? Where do they (or the majority of them) stand on the issue?

Mainly they want an organized space to answer user questions while avoiding the long meandering thread (which is intimidating to new customers) that tends to result from consolidating all discussion to a single thread.

Of course then we'd just end up with tons of threads in a single sub-forum instead of tons of posts in a single thread, but we'd try to combat it with autosuggestions for existing threads when creating a new one and such.
 

Necere

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Feb 22, 2015
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From my perspective, I think this only makes sense where there's already an established community of people discussing the project/product, as a way of organizing those discussions already taking place. Over on the sffpc subreddit, for example, the mods created a pinned megathread for the M1 to keep a bulk of the basic questions out of the main subreddit. That was done only as a response to the volume of new threads being created for M1-specific questions, so it made sense there.

Here, in comparison I haven't seen many M1-related threads/questions at all, so my feeling is that were a dedicated subforum created for it or NCASE, it would go largely unused. It's also advantageous to have more people participating, not only in asking questions, but in answering them too. I sometimes will drop in on reddit or [H] to answer questions that come up, but honestly I have better things to do, and so many of the questions have been asked and answered many times before. Often as not, in the busier threads someone else can - and will - give just as good an answer as I could.
 
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Aibohphobia

aka James
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Yeah, here the best candidate currently would be the S4 Mini since it requires even more thought into component choice than the M1.

And that's my concern too, is that while a huge thread is overwhelming for new users, if creating a subforum instead drops participation then it defeats the purpose of helping new users.
 

Kwirek

Cable-Tie Ninja
Nov 19, 2016
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Personally I'm attracted to huge threads, it indicates interest in the topic. :)
A forum with desolate subfora doesn't look good either... They can also cut up "communities" and give the participants horse-blinders unless they actively stray into adjacent ones.
 
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