Scientology Discussion Topics: Pending Reorganization

Discussion in 'ESMB Public Announcements' started by ethercat, Feb 4, 2016.

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  1. ethercat

    ethercat Cat in flight

    Or perhaps I should just say "Organization" as the forums under "Scientology Discussion Topics" seem to be in random (that is, no particular) order.

    There are 31 separate forums, some with subforums, in the "Scientology Discussion Topics" section. It is difficult for me to find a specific forum, even if I know it exists. I imagine that it is also just as difficult for others. As a result, the "General Scientology Discussion" forum often ends up being a catch-all and collecting posts which really should be in a more appropriate section, but I understand because it's the first on the list and the others are all so random.

    So, I am going to work on arranging the forums within "Scientology Discussion Topics" section into groups of similar subjects.

    However, I didn't want anyone to be alarmed when things start moving around on the main forum listing page, so I'm making this announcement first. I will also add a dismissable yellow notice at the top of the forum closer to the time when I begin, pointing people to this post in case they missed it. Primarily, I don't want anyone to think there's something wrong when things don't look quite the same as they did.

    This will not all happen immediately but will be more of a gradual process as I look at each individual forum and determine which forums are similar enough in subject matter to be grouped under one heading.

    Here's a "for instance", although the specifics may change from the example given here:

    For New People:
    New Member Introductions
    Welcome, Media People, look here for contacts

    Personal Stories:
    My story from inside Scientology
    Staff "War Stories"

    Documenting Scientology:
    Legal and Government Actions against Scientology
    Leaks (leaked emails and other stuff)
    Completions lists

    [table="width: 75%"]
    [td]Each of the new headings will appear the same way that the headings "The Board" and "Scientology Discussion Topics" appear here, that is, as a blue stripe with a description on a gray background below that, followed by the list of forums in that section. Subforums, for the most part, will probably stay under the same forum they're currently under.[/td]
  2. freethinker

    freethinker Crusader

    So you are putting in more blue banners and sub-classing from them?
  3. ethercat

    ethercat Cat in flight

    Yes. Something like "For New People", "Personal Stories", and "Documenting Scientology" (and others) will be on the blue banners. Those may not be the exact classifications ultimately, but are just used as examples here.

    Edited to add: This is not just for keeping General Scientology Discussion cleaner, but more to make things easier to find. Keeping General Scientology Discussion cleaner will hopefully be a side benefit.
  4. chipgallo

    chipgallo Patron Meritorious

    Something delicious, something malicious, something for everyone a dramedy tonite!
  5. afaceinthecrowd

    afaceinthecrowd Gold Meritorious Patron


    Thank you for all your time, patience and thoughtfulness to keep ESMB's First Class Rodeo going and making all the GREAT STUFF that's been, is currently and will be put down here more accessible for current and future Members and Lurkers. My Heartfelt gratitude to Emma, You and the Mods. :thankyou::yes::thumbsup::clap:

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  6. OutToe83

    OutToe83 Patron with Honors

    I'd like to repeat that sentiment. ESMB as been a great source of information, enlightenment, and comfort to me in the year or so I've been here. Thank you!
  7. HelluvaHoax!

    HelluvaHoax! Gold Meritorious Sponsor

    I really understand and appreciate the "reorganization" of the website and why it was necessary to split up certain jumbo threads (i.e. The Stupid Thread).

    And I really appreciate all the hard work that goes into all this behind the scenes.

    But, I do want to make a suggestion. It is meant as support of the website not as a criticism.

    I don't think the NEW way things are sequenced is good. I mean when someone first visits the website.

    They now have to literally slog their way through tons of reference materials and other stuff before they see the discussions way down the page.

    And some of the fun drawing cards to the message board are now buried way down the page and inside of sub categories. If I was a new person, I might never discover some of the really entertaining and hilarious threads. I hate to use the STUPID THREAD as an example again but it makes the point. It used to be on general discussions, meaning it quickly showed up for anyone arriving at the website.

    Now it is buried 3/4ths of the way down the page of sections. And even then it is buried in a sub-category ("criticizing Scientology).

    I think people arriving at the site need to first and foremost have fun. Not be plowed into all the books and reference materials and a lot of really inactive/academic threads.

    If I came here and didn't find the fun part, I wouldn't stay long. In fact for a very long time after I came to ESMB I only was on the "GENERAL DISCUSSION" page and didn't know about all the other sections and sub-threads. LOL

    I think it hurts the site to bury the fun threads and make the new viewers work too hard.

    Just my thought du jour.

    In business, I always try to lead with the most demanded and popular items. That way "customers" at least come in the "store" and browse around a bit. Why hide/bury all the more fun parts instead of using those to attract visitors and make the message board a more fun place to hang out? I can't count the number of people, for example, that have told me they stayed on ESMB because of some of the fun threads like "Top 100 Stupid Moments" et al.

    I think it is something to really consider when re-mapping how people are "greeted" when they first visit the site.

    For my vote, I would say that fun/entertainment is a major factor to not discount or just file away in some subcategory where it might never be found.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  8. ethercat

    ethercat Cat in flight

    HH, thank you for the suggestion. I'm not finished yet, and the order of things will change. It's just easier to put the obviously similar topics together, then decide on the order those things should go in, both within the individual sections, and the individual sections themselves. I was going to write a better post here to say I'm not finished yet, later, but saw your post and wanted to reply now. I'll say more when I can think straight again (vBulletin admin panel hurts my brain!).

    Feel free to make specific suggestions, everyone. I can't say I'll definitely follow them, but I will listen. :)
  9. ILove2Lurk

    ILove2Lurk Lisbeth Salander

    For example, if a new person comes to the site and we want to point his or her attention to a new COS book release . . . well, I don't know exactly where I'd put news about a gem like the one below.

    Oh, you didn't know?

    Well yes, the COS is finally going to reluctantly admit the existence of the long-excommunicated brother of LRH, L Don.

    They can't keep him under wraps anymore, since he's been so vociferously outed on the ESMB in recent years.

    So here's the latest release of the RON Mag Series . . .


    Oh Jesus, I bet I just veered off topic in my rush to find the right thread!

    On a more serious on-topic note, is there a vBulletin admin panel plugin that you can install so we could download all of a single member's posts for reading all at once, as opposed to searching thread to thread endlessly?

    There's just so much good stuff in prior years from many individual posters, but it's just so, so hard to get to.

  10. HelluvaHoax!

    HelluvaHoax! Gold Meritorious Sponsor


    That's a classic that is now on a Routing Form to the Stupid Thread.

    Freaking hilarious!
  11. ethercat

    ethercat Cat in flight

    I believe I am mostly finished with the reorganization now, although there is still a bit of tweaking I might do.

    I have a couple of things I'm not sure what to do with.

    Breaking News:
    For now, it's in the "For New People" section because I imagine many people end up here when there's some breaking news item related to scientology. The problem with it, though, is that Breaking News becomes News, then becomes Old News. And sometimes, Old News becomes News again. And things need to be moved into their more appropriate sections once they're no longer breaking (which we've obviously neglected). So, "should we keep Breaking News?" is a question I'm asking myself.

    MartyWorld, currently a subforum under "Freezone, Independents, and other flavors of scientology":
    Since I think most of us would agree that Marty is not strictly an Independent anymore, and although there might be debate about how much scientology-think Marty retains and may or may not lose over time, I think it does him a disservice to keep his subforum under the Independent label, unless we somehow designate "Old Marty" from "New Marty" (for lack of a better designation). However, he is still being posted about and discussed, so it doesn't make sense to just archive that subforum and not allow further discussion in it, and it's actually a possibly valuable education in the transition some people go through. So, "What should we do with the MartyWorld subforum?" is another question I'm asking myself.

    Feedback, suggestions, answers to the questions I'm asking myself, and comments are welcome and invited. :)
  12. freethinker

    freethinker Crusader

    What you have done looks good. It makes things easier.

    I would keep breaking news as breaking news because it was even if it isn't now. The posts are dated and they could slip below a bar when they don't generate much traffic like when you go to Today's Posts and there is a bar that separates what was just posted from that which isn't new from the last time there.

    It might be getting too technical as far as when it was new and as a result no longer breaking. But breaking news usually has major news events about Scientology. So perhaps calling it Breaking and Major News.
  13. Lone Star

    Lone Star Crusader

    This reorganization effort strangely gives me a vision of re-arranging the chairs on the Titanic. :melodramatic:
  14. JustSheila

    JustSheila Crusader

    You've put a lot of work into this and the forum looks much neater, more organized. Thank you, Ethercat. :thankyou: It is appreciated.

    Re. 'Breaking News,' it is one of the first categories I search for and one I always read without fail. It's a good title and section for both Newbs and veterans, but I think it creates problems later, too.

    After 30 days, it's certainly not breaking news.

    Can the news automatically be moved out after 30 days?

    Can those who post breaking news be prompted to assign a permanent category where it can be moved afterward, before the posting to 'Breaking News' is complete?

    Can the same sort of prompt be used in General Scientology Discussion after say, 90 days, where the OP is prompted to 1) archive, or 2) assign a permanent category?

    Of course I have no idea if this is even possible or how much work it would be. Just some ideas.

  15. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Terrific job Ethercat, it feels like a spring clean.

    I’ve noticed in the last 24 hours that there seems to be more people reading different forums instead of a concentration on ‘General Scientology Discussion’ and that’s a good thing. And yesterday there was 800 Guests for a while, I don’t know what that was about.

    Breaking News is a problem. I just had a look and if you limit to 30 days there would only be a few threads. Perhaps going back 3-6 months? I know from experience of trying to find particular threads that they get buried in there, so moving them into appropriate forums after a set period would be good at least let them be found in an area you think it might be.

    Marty – well that sub forum came about when he was a main topic of conversation back when I think. It’s not an active forum and the threads are historic in a sense. Current discussion on him is usually about Monique’s court case and I see you have a new sub forum for that, so I’d suggest leaving Marty World where it is. I don’t suppose he would care. :)
  16. Helena Handbasket

    Helena Handbasket Gold Meritorious Patron

    What would that be called? Broken news? :biggrin:

  17. TrevAnon

    TrevAnon Big List researcher

    DO LIKE!

    As regards "breaking news":

    I think I would put it under Analyzing Scientology while renaming that to "Discussing Scientology".

    Under "Discussing Scientology" I would use this order
    - General Scientology discussion (or maybe short General discussion?)
    - Breaking news
    - Evaluating and criticising Scientology
    - ... and the rest of them like they already are there.

    This would mean that "General Scientology discussion" and "Breaking news" are in the same order they used to be. :)

    IIRC there was a "Breaking news" forum on WWP in the past, and they renamed it for exactly the same reason that you are giving (breaking news becomes news etc.).
  18. ethercat

    ethercat Cat in flight

    Changing it to "Breaking and Major News" sounds like a good solution.

    I've been asked this question before and, when I looked, there were no plugins that did this, although a number of people had asked about it. There's a database query that can be used, but I don't want to start running queries for this purpose because 1) it's a manual process, and 2) there's always a chance that a mistake in the query can wipe things out of the db.

    So your best bet is using the Advanced Search and the fields there to limit your results. One of the fields is user name, and you can limit by forums, dates, keywords; and display them as threads or posts.

    It's unfortunate that the vB programmers made the search URLs expire so they can't be copied and saved (or posted) for later, but you could open all the pages for your results right after you do your search and either keep them open till you're finished, or save them to your HD as HTML for later use. Sorry I don't have anything better to offer.
  19. JustSheila

    JustSheila Crusader

    Yesterday, right around the time Ron Miscavige's book was announced on Drudge reports and other major sites, ESMB's visitor number was at about 1800 and it stayed there for quite some time. It was the highest I'd seen in a long time, and many of those visitors clicked on threads about Scientology. Views went way up on important threads. You've made quite a difference with all your reorganization, Ethercat, and it shows in the high Visitor numbers and so many hits on the other threads.
    :thumbsup: :clap: :clap: :clap:

    A couple of months ago I mentioned I had more ideas about the ESMB media area.

    Ethercat, what do you think about now organizing threads about all of these exposures of scientology in book and movie releases under the media area, so some of the bigger ones with numerous threads, like Leah Remini's, have subforums? I noticed you've also included Keywords for the OP. That is so cool.

    The second part of the idea is to include links for the sale of these books so others can click on the sale icons here at ESMB to buy them.

    Just ideas, of course, but I'd like to offer my help on this in any way I can if you find these ideas appealing.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  20. Gizmo

    Gizmo Rabble Rouser

    To me, part of the charm of any message board is learning to navigate through it. I'd never though about could ESMB be "better " organized.

    I've just been so damn glad ESMB has been here, is here, to educate me & so many others. ESMB has allowed so many to contribute a piece to the puzzle of the spider web of scientology.

    No doubt when that cult is dead & gone that ESMB will be properly credited with putting the stake right through it's heart.

    So, hey, organize away - or not. It is nice to know somebody is not only thinking about making ESMB better for all but taking action !

    Whatever the changes, I'll adjust & end up loving 'em as I suspect 99.9 % will.

    I do like breaking up threads that get huge - as many do !

    Keep up the good work !
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016

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