I was asked in the comments section of Paul’s Post why the change in forums and I thought it might be helpful to repeat what I had written there.
On the older forums, one could not respond to a post directly. There was one reply button at the end of the chain and you hit that. If you wanted to have it answer a specific question - and in the meantime, three other thoughts were added by others - you were forced to quote the original post so it would all make sense. Not the end of the world, but not great either. This forum solves that.
Secondly, long threads were nearly impossible to wade through. Some extended 10, 12 even 20 pages long and imagine anyone jumping into the thread trying to search for something of value. A nightmare to go through, one I and others have lived through on the forums on a repeated basis. Not informative. This forum solves that.
Thirdly, the search on our older forums sucked. This forum solves that.
Forth, the front page of our older forums was near useless and an unorganized blur, requiring drill down to find something or figure out where best to post. Often we had repeated threads because our older forums didn’t support subcategories. This forum solves that.
Fifth. For those of us that get emailed the forum’s questions and answers, like me and others, you had to click the link in that email to then open a browser, go to the webpage, get to the post, scroll past any other posts that occurred afterward, to finally answer. This forum is different. When you receive an email of the thread you can simply reply to that email and it automatically posts your response right where it belongs. No webpage need be opened.
I will agree with you that the older forums were visually better. Less blingy and friendlier. From a use standpoint I believe this new forum blows away the older one and in the end, it is the practical use of the forums I much appreciate. That’s what they are about.
Lastly, our IT guys have complete control over the visuals of the UI. If there are suggestions how to tone it down or make it friendlier I am all ears and eyes. In this case, however, I think two things: First, let’s let this settle in and get used to it for a week or two. Secondly, I think choosing function over form, in this case, has its merits. Our forums are gathering so many page views and new people that we wanted to step up their usefulness.
For those curious, our forums get about 600,000 page views a month and grow each month. That’s a lot greater readership than many of the online review sites. So, we want to make the forums as good as we can, and I believe this to be a step in the right direction.
We remain open to all suggestions to make this base starting point into something visually and functionally the best audio forum in the world.