What's the right way to organize forums and messages?

Nabble offers a flexible way to organize forums and messages.

An active forum is great, but its many users and diverse interests often drive the discussion off topic. Nabble tries to address this problem by allowing users to easily create child forums. A child forum structure helps to keep messages focused and properly categorized. The hierarchy is displayed at the parent level for easy drill down. Users who want to ignore off-topic discussions can drill down to the relevant child; and the users who don't mind reading all the messages can still do it at the parent forum level.

Create a child forum only when it is truly needed

Creating child forums is a powerful way to add a structure to your discussion, but you should be careful to avoid overdoing it. For example, if you are in a new forum with few messages and users, why bother creating a fancy structure? No matter how well structured, a forum without users is still a dead forum. What's more, a structure that goes too wide or too deep could get people confused as to where to visit or post, thus making it difficult for them to join the discussion. We recommend that you create child forums only when it is truly needed.

Force users to select a child forum to post

After you have created child forums, you may find users ignore it when they post, and most of the messages continue to get posted at the parent level. In such cases, don't just blame the users. Take a good look at your design and ask, does it make sense? Is it clear and easy to follow? Is the hierarchy too wide or too deep? If you feel certain that the structure is sound, and that you and a few other forum members support it, then you can use the "Who Can View & Post" feature to make the parent forum read-only. This means that a user cannot post a new message in the parent forum. They will be prompted to drill down to a child forum to post there.

Keep the hierarchy efficient

You can build an elaborate structure by using a combination of parent and child categories and forums, but don't overdo it. The goal of a hierarchy is to help users navigate. Does yours help people get to the right forum quickly? For example, if a category has only one child forum under it, then it is a waste, because it just means a useless extra click for navigation.

If you still have questions, visit Nabble Help or the Nabble Support forum.

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