This is far as I've gotten in doing the forum analysis. I think it's an okay start and I'm sure you will have lots more to contribute.
@RicardoRug I think you will have some ideas here
_Note: We can’t solve this until we finish the strategy framework. Then we need to decide what the function of the forum is. Then we can go through the remaining steps below, restructure the forum, do some user testing, and then do a final restructure based on the user feedback. _
1. What is the purpose of the forum?
- Platform for user-generated content (e.g. events, documentation)
- BoST workflow management
- Network creation
- All of the above
- Something else
Actions: 1. The forum likely has a number of functions. Discuss functionality in forum. Make a decision.
Actions: 2. If it is for the BoST worklow, then I suggest that the structure of this section should be task-driven ie the structure should clearly link to the BoST open task list (BoST meetings, Newsletter, Blogs…). Create task-driven BoST workflow structure (TBC).
2. What do we want the community to do on the forum?
- Run and register events,
- Document solutions,
- Share ideas,
- Something else
It isn’t clear to users how to participate. User comment: “it was difficult for me to tell how I could attend or participate in any events, especially not having a project myself. Also, I was wondering if you have any panels to help people explore topics together or talks for people to share knowledge. I know "doing" is incredibly important, too" . We need to make it clear how people can get involved/contribute/participate in the community.
The forum should be designed to encourage this activity. If it is a platform for user generated content, then we should prioritise the content according to the type of content we want to be created.
For instance, at the moment the main 'Documentation' heading is placed under the ‘Global Coordination’ sub-heading and this contains information about the coordination of documentation rather than documentation of community solutions. If the main activity that we want to ‘community’ to do is to document solutions, then we should have a clear signpost for them. Even in the solutions category where you would think this might be, there is no mention of ‘documentation’. Neither is it requested in the ‘local groups’ category:
- If we want the community to document ‘action protocols’ and that is the main thing that we want them to do, then we should collate all guidance for the community on how to document and put under a new sub-heading specifying this.
- Similarly, if we want them to contribute to tasks, we should have an easily accessible and clearly signposted open list of tasks to get involved in.
- At the moment there is no designated ‘community’ space, we rather have local events and activities. If we want to encourage interaction between local groups, then tailoring the communication to encourage might make sense.
Note: Based on what I currently see I think we should change the ‘local events and activities’ section to ‘community’ and have a set of sub-headings under this single category. This is because the tagging of cities and themes isn’t really working and an event = an activity. Then under the ‘community’ we should provide three simple ways that a participant will get involved.
Action 3: Identify the main ways (say three key options e.g. run events, share knowledge, document solutions) that we want a community participant to get involved in and structure the forum to encourage this.
3. What are the categories of information that we want?
To me the organisation of information is not very intuitive and somewhat inconsistent. Initially, I think we have ‘tried’ a lot of different ideas over the last years and I think we either:
a) haven’t given them enough time to mature and/or,
b) promoted them enough and/or
c) they have been bad ideas.
There are also lots of categories of information:
Assemblies, projects, nodes, reports, documentation, tasks, discussions, questions, actions, priorities, talks, tools, videos, global actions, challenges, questions; resource; outcomes; global reports….(not an exhaustive list).
- E.g. some challenges appear in ‘Activities’ others in ‘Local Events. The same information is being categorised in different ways. Find a way to reduce this issue. This information could be consolidated and organised according to the activities that we decide we are going to focus on after the strategy sessions are finished.
- E.g. I have tagged my post ‘fashion’ but it doesn’t appear in the fashion category.
There are two places to find ‘solutions’: the drop-down menu and the header menu. There isn’t a clear indication of why these two places exist for what looks like the same information to a user. (This menu heading was changed recently? The header used to be ‘How-Tos’?) (Note: this has been addressed in BoST call September 11 2017)
4. What are the hierarchies of information that we want?
We should establish a hierarchy of information, based on the new strategy as well as the responses to questions 1) 2) and 3) above. Example of hierarchies of information:
OSCEF Projects -> Project lists -> task lists -> reports
Community -> Activities / Discussion / Assemblies (Tagged: themes / location)
Action: 4: Change the Main heading ‘Solutions’ back to ‘How-Tos’, or change the drop down menu to ‘Activities’ to differentiate between these two places more clearly. (DONE)
Action 5: Discuss main categories of information that should be emphasised (and their sub-categories).
Action 6: Reorganise forum based on outcome of ‘Action 5’.
Action 7: Add a post format to the good practices guide on ‘How to Use the Forum’: [ONBOARDING:blah blah blah ]
Action 8: Blog category separate to ‘OSCEdays global communication’. Suggest to move this under ‘OSCE Global Communications’. (TBC)
Action 9: Collate all video content on a single video channel and provide a link to that channel on the website / forum. (Some but not all of this is on YouTube)
Action 10: The meta-level list of BoST meetings is unfinished. To me it makes sense to keep this list updated as it is very useful. Keeping information in a single place reduces noise. We could also use this format for the newsletter from now on.
Action 11: Suggest to create a single sub-menu for all the BoST meetings. This is the most consistent thread that we have, so why not give it it’s own sub-heading.
Action 12: Suggest to change the heading ‘top’ to ‘hot-topics’ or ‘hot-threads’ to make it clearer what it is about.
5. What roles do we want the community to take on?
There have been lots of different community roles over the last few years (E.g. Community Connectors, Country Connectors, Community builders, ‘Channel Keepers’)
Action 13: Decide whether or not any community roles are open and list them under a new ‘community’ heading (TBC) on the drop down menu. We could also provide a place for the community to suggest roles that they would like to take on. This could also be clearly linked to the ‘task list’. Small tasks for new community members help them to get engaged and feel a part of it.
6. What themes are prominent in the community?
There is a convergence of topics being proposed for challenges/questions i.e there are many very similiar threads and challenges, in particular: the board game ideas, mapping resources, growing at home ideas. These don’t appear in the ‘Top’ threads because they are not all in the one place, but are clearly something the community is interested in. This lack of steering and organisation between challenges/questions, is, from what I can see in the forum, limiting possibilities for iterative versions of ideas/outcomes.
(Proposed) Action 14: identify and consolidate challenges that are converging and present them as open challenges that are ‘top challenges’. Only encourage new challenges if they are sufficiently differentiated.
If/when you start a new post the forum makes suggestions ‘this post looks similar to thread BLAH’. Maybe we need to encourage use of this feature more in a good practice guide of how to use the forum.
- E.g. this thread is not already linked to the other circular cities threads: http://community.oscedays.org/t/public-wiki-osce-cities-to-become-circular-cities/810
(For this I can move the post to an existing topic if that’s acceptable by others?)
- There are lots of threads about ‘The Future’, it makes sense to me to combine them/have them in one place.
- Threads about calls for skills, announcements, videos: are these active or inactive? (related point to good practices in closing threads and cross-posting videos to relevant threads)
Action 13: Add these three points to a/the good practices on how to use the forum: 1) Close down old posts
2) Make sure there isn’t an existing thread on the topic before you create a new one 3) Create cross-links between similar threads
7. What processes do we need to set up to maintain a coherent structure within the forum?
- All BoST members know and implement forum good practices
- ... ... ...
8. Minor queries
Do users receive an email when they are mentioned? If not, this could be a way to encourage engagement with the forum/content. Or is it down to personal settings?
Is this still true: “While the forum can be used as a mailing list - you can for instance follow the Business Model Channel and receive mail each time a topic is created - this newsletter would be addressed mostly to people that are not necessarily registered on the forum and that still want to follow the latest news and information. It could also be used to communicate on major news such as a call for cities and reach a broader audience than the one on the forum?”
9. Specific Thread Related Comments (that indicate forum larger user issues?)
10. Other random comments:
- There was a lot of cool people involved in the early stages.
- What happened to the paypal donation option? It’s not clear from the forum and the page isn’t active on the website.
- Maybe we should have an open call for blog contributions.
- Events package: poster, lamp kit, storytelling guidance, zero waste guidance, overall event planning
The internal category?
- “we can collaboratively edit text documents with ownCloud, there's no support for editing xls/ods spreadsheets yet.”