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The official forums seem so over complicated?

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  • The official forums seem so over complicated?

    Could FIRST please have a usability professional look at the entire method of clarifications and the current forum structure? I'm all for getting students to read, but the official forums have so many subforums, and categories, that it's just plain painful to try to follow along. We've got two game manuals, a 93 page pdf of clarifications so far... Anyone want to count the the links needed to visit all the rule posting subforums? It's so overly burdensome now I find it has the opposite effect of making students even less likely to visit/follow the forums.

  • #2
    I agree that there is a lot for students to keep up with and these forums are hard to sift through. We have been told in the past by an inspector that we should have known a rule about a circuit board that had been posted in "the forum", but it feels like reading an encyclopedia sometimes with the overwhelming amount of info. That inspector could have also practiced more gracious professionalism in her reply, but that's a different point.


    • #3
      Yes, I agree the current system is too messy. I was thinking something more wiki-like, but read-only, which I guess means it is more blog-like, which would be ok. Tag each post with appropriate standardized tags so it can be easy to search for applicable posts. There should be a subscription system so teams could get an email (if they wish) each time something new is posted. Maybe something like stackoverflow?


      • #4
        Originally posted by TheSkipper View Post
        There should be a subscription system so teams could get an email (if they wish) each time something new is posted.
        That feature is currently available. You can subscribe to a thread by pressing the subscribe button on the right side above the thread.


        • #5
          Yes, and in fact I do subscribe to some threads now. I meant any new design should continue to have that feature.


          • #6
            The current forum set up is not practical. I'm a motivated FTA / coach / judge / inspector and I have a hard time finding something again in the forums when I remember having read something about it before.

            The idea of creating subforums is nice and the tree structure with lots of categories and sub-categories is a very engineering oriented solution. However this engineer has learned over the years that this is not a good user interface.

            Please scrap all the subforums and just have one "answer" forum with 4-5 answer topics for different areas. You get beyond 5 threads to search and it becomes unusable.

            I would further suggest that FTC adopts the FRC model - which means a new game manual is periodically published with fixes/clarifications. That way we don't have to search both the forum and the manual. Yes - it is a little bit more work for the GDC to update that manual (or for some other editor to) but the time it would save all the inspectors & refs would be enormous. Not to mention making it a better experience for the teams.


            • #7
              ^^ I agree with everything said by DanOelkeFTA.
              sub-subforum layout makes it very difficult to find anything, to the extent that you very specifically have to know what you're looking for AND have a pretty good suspicion of what subsection nto find it in.
              Note - above it was mentioned to use the Subscription feature. This is only useful if you are subbed to a particular sub-forum. To my knowledge there is no way to get any/all new Q&A replies, besides going through hand subbing to every one of them, which is a real pain in the backside.
              As a coach it is really important to keep up w/ the Q&A as it evolves over the year, but it is extremely difficult to do this. It is especially troubling when there is sudden bombs dropped like today's, "you can't build a second robot at all during the season" which everyone should know immediately, but few will find....