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I just wanted to create a new topic discussing the effects of forum usage in general. This will answer a few questions/issues people have about them and bring to light a few features that people may not have known about on the forum. Let's start. Section 1 - How we see How some of us view the forum: How the rest of people view the forum: From the above pictures we can see major differences between the two views. The top one has advantages such as filtering and easily finding articles that others have created or responded to. The problems start with the introduction of newcomers. They are not the problem however. This is: The last one I sorted by newest first. You can immediately see what the problem is. There is no option to remove duplicate threads from the search option. Because of the lackluster search function, everyone has trouble searching for relevant threads without spending an hour to sift through them all. If you have a question, the easiest method to do would be to create a new topic. This leads to the unintended consequence of the general section being bombarded with repeat questions. This bombardment also buries topics that could still be relevant today. In the long run, these topics will be lost in the general section unless someone else can tell you where to find it or answer your question from memory. There are other reasons (lack of experience) as to why it is harder to search for information, but this is the most prevalent one. Section 2 - In General The general section is also used for much more than questions. People post ideas, theories, builds, concepts, guides, you name it. You might ask "Why don't the devs/moderators create more sections other than general, suggestions, and bugs. In theory, this would solve the problem of not being able to find the thread you are looking for. The problem with this is that not everyone will agree on how to categorize the topics. On top of this, discussions within a thread can bleed into other categories. The quick answer is philosophical in the sense that categories are in essence how our brains perceive information, but not how the world functions in reality. The general section cannot be decided by a few people alone (more on this later). Section 3 - The Psychology of Topics From the above two sections, we know how we view the forum. Now how do we interact with it. Let us go through the process. 1. Create a new topic: We know from sec.1 that it is easier to create a new post than to search for one, so we choose the option to create a topic. 2. Waiting for a response: I've seen a few threads that do not even get a response, though this is quite rare 3a. Satisfactory Response: The topic discussions slowly end as time goes on when everyone has said what they wanted. There is a possibility to repeat from step 1 if a person who is involved or has read the thread in question believes he/she gleans new information that is worthy of creating a new topic. 3b. Unsatisfactory Response: The topic discussions generally end much sooner especially when the original poster believes that his/her questions have been unanswered or partially answered. When this happens, there is a higher chance that a new topic will be created. Now let us go through the process of someone answering a question or responding to a topic on the forum. 1. Notice unread topic on the forum: This goes back to sec.1. You will be able to see new posts/responses easier if you use the "Activity Feed" feature. 2. Deciding to open/respond to a topic: As humans, we instinctively judge the book by its cover. This is unintentional and unavoidable. You will not open every new topic that comes into view. Ain't nobody got time for that. Titles are important for this reason. Example of a bad title and a good one. The content is irrelevant in deciding whether or not you will decide to open the topic for the first time. If you have already posted in a topic, there is a chance you may not want to reopen it thinking that you have already answered the original question. This is one of the main reasons that questions go unanswered. People do not return to the same thread even if new questions are asked. 3. Reading the Thread: The original post is the flashiest part of a topic. Not only is it the first thing people see, it is sometimes the only thing they see. It is common practice/courtesy to read the entire thread before posting so as not to duplicate information. This cannot be helped if two people are posting at the same time. In order to save time, most of us will skim the thread to get a general idea which can lead to accidental misunderstandings, duplicate information, or missed questions/information. 4a. Not Responding to a topic: The majority of people who view a topic decide not to respond. There are a plethora of reasons as to why someone would do this: The mentality "someone else will answer it" You do not know the answer or do not know how to put a response into words You do not have the time, or simply do not want to respond You have already given an answer and decide this is enough More reasons I can't think of at the moment 4b. Responding to a topic: Assuming you have followed proper forum etiquette up to this point, you are now deciding to respond to a topic. You may respond in a mix of ways such as: Answering a question Asking a question Giving an opinion Giving a statement More reasons I can't think of at the moment Section 4 - The Effects of it All or TLDR Searching for a thread is harder than creating a new one Creating a new thread leads to a quicker response over posting in the same one The general section is prone to overcrowding and losing valuable information due to lack of time/indexing Your questions will go unanswered due to crowding within the thread, general-section crowding, non-returning posters, etc. Section 5 - So What Now? Now we wait. Not much we can do without an upgrade to the forum. That is not the entire truth though. If you have seen my other posts, then you already know where this has been leading towards. You guessed it. Creating an additional layer of sub categories that the community as a whole can control is one way to eliminate crowding in the general section. On top of this, information can be indexed and searchable without the need for a search function. This does not mean that we do not need a search function in general. Also, this does not get rid of the need for the general section or fix the inherent problems with the forum. Where would you post if you didn't have the general section? Section 6 - Why Post...This. And Why Here? My questions have gone unanswered more times than I can count and I could not understand why until I started using the forums more. Why here and not the "other services" section? I want this thread to be viewed by more people and since I normally post in this section, I hear from the same people. This makes sense to me even if it were to be called abusing the psychology of the forums. If it makes people feel better, this is related to the uni in a way even though it could be applied to the forum in its entirety. I play ONI more than any other game made by Klei, so there will be no university for DS or DST. Did I get something wrong? Is this relate-able? Got an idea? Share your thoughts.