Call for Opinions: Topics for “Conversation Forums”

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Steve

(as in GRC)
Staff member
Feb 1, 2019
375
1
996
66
Southern CA, USA
www.grc.com
Everyone...

My thoughts for the organization of the GRC forums has been evolving as I've watched the dialog in GRC's single "Off Topic Lounge." My original thought was that we'd have “On Topic” forums for GRC's various software and service offerings which would be added as needed. But I'm seeing that we can/could do better than lumping everything else into a single “Off Topic” forum. This XenForo system supports “Sub-Forums” which would allow us to subdivide the single “Off Topic Lounge” into many topical conversational sub-forums. By using a Sub-Forum, we keep the main page from becoming congested with forums, while still allowing from some topic management.

For example, I have a podcast. Perhaps we should have a “Security Now Podcast” sub-forum. There's been conversation about health supplements, which is an interest of mine. So perhaps a “Health” conversations sub-forum. There was a discussions of router-based security, so perhaps “Security Hardware” and “Security Software” forums, and so on.

Since I would like to keep the total sub-forum count manageable, some forethought and organization should go into it. So I've created this thread to host a collaborative discussion of a proposed set of sub-forums which would give us good coverage of probable topics while being clear about what should go where.

So... any thoughts??? :)
 

AlanD

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2020
210
69
Rutland UK
For the Off Topic forum, would the existing NG list provide a list of potential sub-forums? or at least the busier ones, e.g. Security, Privacy, Techtalk. Perhaps there should also be just a placeholder for SQRL pointing people to the separate SQRL forums
 

vvbudh

Active member
Oct 1, 2020
38
11
What if we could also have a "newbie corner" or a "getting started" category for those of us (I MEAN ME!) who are getting started in this industry and aren't sure on where to begin.

I do see questions for security Hardware so that'd also be a category. (HDD/SSH question and Protectli vs. Netgate)

I also think "Security Practices/behavior" should be one of them as well. For example we had a recent question about "Better home network security" Which isn't necessarily about the hardware or the software, it's more of a general question of good practice. Yoon, did ask about routers, but he's more asking about how to "plug a hole".

Some were asking for support, so maybe we should have a "Technical Support" Category for anyone having issues with the forums or other bugs they may have found and need help with.
 

Greg S

Member
Sep 16, 2020
22
9
Northeast Ohio, USA
Is it possible to force people to have to post into one of the "sub-forums", or would they still be able to post into the "parent forum" if they feel their post doesn't fit a sub? I ask because I am for the "focused forum". The "anything goes" forums always degenerate into madness and mayhem.
 
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Tazz

Not my real name.
Sep 18, 2020
57
18
Nova Scotia, Canada
It would make it a lot easier to find a discussion about the topic you're interested in or to ask questions. It would also make the Off Topic Lounge a little cleaner.
The GRC newsgroups are broken down into different categories and it works good there. You wouldn't need as many as the newsgroups, I'd say Privacy, Hardware Security, Software Security, Health, Security Now, SciFi ?
 

Guy

Member
Oct 4, 2020
16
3
Hooksett, NH
I'm thinking that "off topic" should be just fun light hearted stuff.. or a way for newbies to get their toes wet. if a subject were better suited to an existing topic, someone should have the ability to move the thread there. (can there be automation for a message going back to originator inbox to say "your thread [subject] is being moved to [name] topic folder"?). At that point structure could be to have your project folders at the top along with your podcast and then any generic (but important) topics like you mentioned: Health, Security hardware, etc...

One thing to keep in mind is that your newsgroups for general items like Security Now could almost be shut down as the forum type of interaction would be for the lay-person.. and the newsgroup for it would be unused as "Security Now" is not undergoing any technical development at this time (like SR6.1). Otherwise you again end up with 2 places to monitor for questions.
 

rfrazier

Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
304
96
Random thoughts, I'm sure I'll think of more. :cool:

An option if possible to be email notified when a new sub forum is created with the option to watch it would be cool. Don't know if the platform supports that.

Possibilities depending on how tightly you want to keep the topics focused. Also depending on how many threads Steve wants to read. :cool: :

* podcast - However, just because something is mentioned in the podcast doesn't necessarily mean the podcast sub forum is the best place for it.
* computer / tablet / phone security
* windows / mac security
* home networking security
* website security, including Wordpress / Wordfence, static sites, site generators, etc.
* alternate energy, including things like super capacitors, batteries, ev's, solar, wind, etc.
(That just happens to be one of my favorite topics.)
* programming / general
" / C
" / python
" / Lazarus - Free Pascal (an interest of mine)
" / assembly language
" / golang
(Obviously this could get out of hand. Depends on your desires and plans.)
* sci fi books and movies
* alternate health

You MAY wish to include a SHORT guideline on etiquette. For example, in the vitamin d thread, you said you wished to avoid controversy. Good enough. I do not promote controversy, but many of the things I like to study are controversial. Many of the cool truths are not "in the box". I don't wish to make a big deal out of the following, but I don't believe moderators should have the job of determining what is true. I only think they should determine what is appropriate and civil (enough). I should also note that, for esoteric topics, you cannot determine what is true from a few minutes of googling. Everybody knew, in the past, that flying machines were impossible, until the Wright Brothers did it.

Thanks for the forums. Thanks for the podcast. Thanks for SpinRite. Thanks for SQRL (although I haven't tried it.)

Sincerely,

Ron
 

PHolder

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2020
751
2
352
Ontario, Canada
Well @Steve, it's your site, so I suspect we start with categories of things you [seem to] enjoy, so lemme give a shot:
Security [Now!] ;)
Insecurity
Nerd toys (puzzles, retro PC simulators)
Recommended Fiction
Health Practices
Picture of the Week/Day/Hour (Humour)
Programming (Assembly)
Computer History
Who Are You and Why Are You Here?

I'm sure others can add to this?
 

rfrazier

Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
304
96
PS, just my opinion. I'm not sure about the purging threads after 7 days concept. Some of what's said will have historical value and references, just like old podcasts.

Ron
 

DarkwinX

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2020
53
9
Melbourne, Australia
It would be a good way to limit conversational topics if you wanted to recude the background noise. What about the main off-topic lounge post sub forums? Will it/should it still be an "everything else" zone for thoughts that don't follow existing sub topics?
 

Wolfen

New member
Sep 18, 2020
4
0
Any forum/sub can have stickies which could include guidelines for that section, this could include whether the forum/sub is purged
Purge is a good way to clean up for some topics that otherwise collect dross, however may not be historically suitable for others.
A few main forums with expandable subs
 

PHolder

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2020
751
2
352
Ontario, Canada
not sure about the purging threads after 7 days concept
Understand that the idea is that active threads hang around, and the ones that go quiet (for lack of participation) die off. Given that it's meant to be off topic to the actual purpose of the site, it's not intended to be a location of long term storage of one's wildest ravings and rantings ;)
 

Vela Nanashi

\//\/
Sep 16, 2020
39
18
I think it would be good to keep a main off topic place for people to post when there is no more refined sub forum, and for the decaying to be quicker in that main forum, then to break out more valuable topics that could be allowed to last longer, and if there are sub sub forums, maybe there could be an archive forum for each topic where threads that have valuable interesting information in it, could be stored away even when not active any more, as it may be valuable even after having discussion complete and be something that can be used as a reference. I mean I know even really interesting stories from the ancient ones (I count myself among them, even if I am more boring than most) that have been posted already are perhaps not on topic for the forum at large, but are interesting to some people, and will be interesting to others who are not even here yet. Yes I am aware this is not some sort of safe historical archive of stuff, but meant to be sort of an extension of support for all things GRC, so I am not making any demands here, just would feel better for me, is all :)
 

Greg S

Member
Sep 16, 2020
22
9
Northeast Ohio, USA
Nothing decays faster than computer technology. They only threads that should persist are those that pertain to technology that is still in use. If people are still using SpinRite 6.x in fifteen years, then threads that discuss how to use it can exist for fifteen years. There is no reason for a discussion about your favorite text adventure game to exist for more than fifteen minutes.
 

AlanD

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2020
210
69
Rutland UK
Nothing decays faster than computer technology. They only threads that should persist are those that pertain to technology that is still in use.

But sometimes old technology is important. There has been a thread in the NG recently about configuring dial-up modems. Most people stopped using those 15-20 years ago, but the poster's father lives in an area with no DSL, and slow dial-up (28.8kb) as the only solution.
 

Steve

(as in GRC)
Staff member
Feb 1, 2019
375
1
996
66
Southern CA, USA
www.grc.com
Great discussion, guys. Thanks. And I should note that I changed the "dead thread" self-expunger to 28 days since 7 seemed unnecessarily short. So it's 28 days from the date of a thread's last posting that qualifies it for auto-removal. And has been noted, any moderator who feels that a thread has lasting value can choose to pin it to the top of the forum and might then, also, clean it up a bit to remove extraneous debris. (y)