Community Discussion Board Merger Page.
The problem with the community discussion boards is that there is many about the same topic. There should be a way to merge all of these discussion boards of the same topic together so that there is more awareness on an issue. There are probably thousands of discussions boards open on familysearch, but merging these community discussion boards will help advocate the issues that need fixing more. It will also help moderators to not have to look through so many different discussion boards on the same topic.
This does already happen in some cases, although obviously administration rights are required in order to merge discussions.
The problem with a moderator doing this it that they face criticism if the original poster feels they have a more specific problem than the generic issue created in combining different threads. Also, even when I am aware there is an existing discussion on the same topic, it's a case of me (or a moderator) finding it - especially if more than a few days have passed since the previous posting!2
You are welcome to flag the posts that you feel need to be merged and we can review them.1
I think some posts could be pinned at the top of the category they relate to, so that when people start to write a new post they hopefully will read the pinned post, and may not even need to ask a new question.
Alternatively have a FAQ (Frequently asked questions) section specially written for each, or some categories, and have that pinned at the top of the category.2
Much like the new Help and Learning topic style - the FAQs are listed first for each topic. Maybe there could be linkage to these as 'required reading' before posting is allowed (just require checkbox "I have read ...")? Or the pinned FAQs here in Community could be linked to the corresponding Help articles - rather than responses needing to attach them?0
A FAQ could work for the evergreen topics, but not for the new bugs, and it's really the latter that could often benefit from being combined with other people's reports of the same problem.
Pinned posts exist: for example, there's one about the 1900 U.S. Census that's pinned in at least three categories. They do somewhat reduce new posts about the topic, but not completely. This is because people don't necessarily recognize their problem in a topic title, so they don't read the pinned discussion.
Another problem with combining and/or pinning posts is that bugs are unpredictable: there could be a spate of reports about a problem one day, only to be gone by the next because whatever caused it got fixed -- or the spate could continue unabated for a week while engineers scramble to track down the cause. This leaves a question: how long should mods wait before deciding to combine threads or to pin a topic? Should there be a minimum number of posts and/or replies?0
Thanks guys! I will pass these on to the appropriate team.1
Any FAQ page or option should probably just link to the Help Center.
This Community site would likely benefit from a complete redesign. We currently have:
- General Questions (2,600 discussions)
- Family Tree (4,100 discussions)
- Search (3,200 discussions)
- Indexing (4,500 discussions)
- Temple (6,100 discussions)
- Suggest An Idea
as the areas that get the most use and which have the same types of questions asked in most of them.
Maybe we should have instead:
- How do I .... on the FamilySearch website?
- How do I .... in Family Tree?
- Working with and correcting Historical Record Databases.
- Indexing Projects: Questions and Problems.
- Temple Requests and Problems.
- Bug Reports.
- Suggest An Improvement.
A problem with merging discussions is that the website changes so frequently that a question asked six months ago can very easily have nothing to do the with the current site.2