[talk-au] topic A: the platform itself

Herbert.Remi Herbert.Remi at protonmail.com
Fri Sep 20 01:14:59 UTC 2019

I will post several concerns and information on several issues, but the first is this platform itself.

There are few problems with the AU forum that leaves that impression that is it not scalable.

- The UX is archaic. People have got used to user-friendly apps for their smartphone. The AU forum is not familiar and alienating. Many who could contribute would not get past the registration. I am interested in setting up a forum for discussion and distribution of information on another non-OSM related topic but have decided against this UX. I believe that the majority of non-technical and older users be happy with this platform.

- It is too difficult to navigate multiple threads and as a result, much of the good information gets lost. For each discussion topic, you need a distinguishable thread and the possibility to read just that one. With multiple threads and people in each thread, confusion would otherwise reign. The current UX is in that sense not scalable. It limited by its very design to stay small as with size it strangles itself.

- There should be a sub-category for every state of Australia. It is also useful for categories for specific topics. Folder structures with unique associations are better than nothing but really, what you need is tags that allow the person posting the message to assign categories relevant to it, and then filter by tags.

- For more complex information and longer texts, you need some formatting to make the text more understandable. A good example of a forum that allows this is the Joplin user support forum on GitHub (here https://discourse.joplinapp.org/). One option used here is a markdown editor but basic RTF features would be sufficient. When copy/pasting text from other website and links, it is important that the information does not require further editing to be legible. One of the advantages of markdown from GitHub is that in translating HTML, the formatting is rarely lost.

- I would be best if the platform is supported by a good app. This may seem like repetition but often I often find good things browsing my phone and can post or forward the information to others from the share function in the browser: choose the app and add the post. Completed in seconds.

- An idea from the OSM support pages is Discord, which appears to be a gaming chat website/app but has many of the features that are discussed here. Not surprisingly gaming creates an environment that allows quick changes between game and community for discussion. Even if you are NOT currently playing the game the app allows easy and ubiquitous engagement with the community. This makes sense.

- If you have one repository for all knowledge it needs to be easily searchable. The discussion about the topic of interest may have been months ago. A search function is required that allows you to narrow down the posts, without scrolling through months of discussions. This I miss the most.

- Finally, and the only reason for discussing this here is you would want to migrate the community to the new platform. The community is the source of the information. The lack of a knowledgable and respectable community has been the failure of many social media platforms. We want to preserve that aspect of this forum.
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