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ABOUT ATS: All about repeat topics and what to do about them.

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posted on May, 16 2004 @ 11:24 AM
Repeat Topics and the User Experience

We are, without doubt, the largest single discussion board on conspiracy, cover-up, scandal, aliens, and related alternative topics. By this time next year, at our current pace, we'll have over 1.2 million individual posts, and more than 70% of them will be ATS conspiracy topics.

For a smaller board, it's generally not a big deal to have several threads on a topic. In fact, to build a base of community and discussion, it's sometimes even a good idea to loosely allow such practice. However, as we regulary experience over 10,000 guests a day, and usually more than 60 new members a day, we need to begin to be very concerned about the user experience that is ATS.

Bandwidth isn't an issue. Storage space, while not currently an issue, is also not really a problem. We will always make sure the technology of ATS is in-step to support member demand.

But the user experience of a digital community discussion board is defined by the amount of diverse content within a narrow focus, and the ease with which people can find our diverse content. If you were to click one-by-one from today's most recent post, through every page of every thread to the first post on this current version of ATS, you would have clicked through 217,192 pages (as of the date of this post). That's a lot of content, and it grows daily by about 514 new "pages" every day.

The reason we are now very concerned about recently repeated topics and/or dead horse topics is this concept of the user experience. Yes, new discussion of old and existing topics can add significant material to the brain trust, and this is always encouraged. New opinions on old concepts is exactly why we're here. But with reasonably current events, this rarely happens as the new posts are very often rehashes of exactly the same material that resides in pre-existing threads.

So, as a rule-of-thumb, we tend to prefer the following when bringing up repeat topics:

When you have a new thought on an old topic, pick up an old thread(s) and...

1) Long recent thread: If the existing thread is too long (more than 15 pages) reference the thread or threads in your first post by linking to them, then pick up with your new twist on the existing discussion.

2) Old existing thread: If the existing thread is more than 3 months old, reference the thread or threads in your first post by linking to them, then as above, indicate your new twist on the older discussion topic.

3) Current events: If you know your topic is related to current news, please take some time to see if it's being covered in our current discussions. Simply find the thread and add your new thoughts to the existing discussion.

Locking or Removing Threads: If you create a new thread on existing topics, especially current events, it may get moved to the "trash bin", or locked by a moderator indicating there is an existing discussion. If this happens, please don't take it personal... it is difficult to keep up with the pace of discussion on ATS at times, and this action by no means reflects on our opinion of you as a member of ATS.

When new users find ATS, it is most often through a Google search. We tend to get 12,000+ people a day coming to this domain from search engine searches (and have had peaks of 60,000 in one day!). Very often, they find older threads. From a user experience perspective, it makes more sense to contain thread continuity through the evolution of thought from original idea, to the newly discovered ideas.

Also, when any thread gets beyond 15 pages, it's time to consider if there needs to be a new thread spawned. Most threads at that length usually contain two or more sub-topics with various involved members focusing on singular sub-topics within a long multi-topic thread.

As members of a community where people come to find answers, it behooves us to make sure they find them with a minimum of confusion.

Use this thread to post your comments about this information:

[Edited on 17-5-2004 by Kano]


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