Some time in the next few weeks, Maker Forums will get reorganized.
We have over 100 categories here, mostly as a side effect of importing from Google+, and it’s simply too hard to pick the right one.
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
On the left, the current organization, which doesn’t fit onto a single screen page. On the right, the proposed reorganization, showing all the active content. All the same posts are there, just grouped into fewer categories:
In the old (current) organization, we have two partially-overlapping top-level categories from two separate Google+ communities of laser cutter/engraver enthusiasts. We also have two for 3D printers. Since we already had lots of categories we kept adding more new ones.
- Some posts will just move to the right place. For instance, there were posts about the K40 Whisperer software in two different places, so those will be consolidated.
- Many sub-categories are disappearing, and top-level categories being consolidated. The disappearing categories are being replaced with tags. For example, all the woodcraft sub-categories and the leatherworking category are combined as a single Crafts category with tags for the type of woodcraft (e.g. WoodCraft / Wood Turning posts will be in Crafts tagged as
- Several top-level categories currently have “Discussion” sub-categories. This is an artifact of Google+ communities being set up to require choosing a category within the community. We don’t need that with Discourse, so we’re just tagging those posts as
discussionand moving them into the top level. So posts in K40 Laser / Discussion will move into the combined Lasers category and be tagged
This reduction to eight main top-level categories will make the new Discourse sidebar a useful navigation tool! It’s not quite ready yet for us to enable for Maker Forums, but it’s getting there, and when it is we do plan to turn it on. The sidebar can be dismissed and recalled using the “hamburger” menu, which has moved from the upper right (next to your “avatar”) to the upper left, much like the current gmail menu.
With these changes, Maker Forums will be moving to a new server with more resources than we have previously had, running a new and better operating system. Our gracious host has provided us with additional memory and CPUs to improve your site experience, and the new OS will make site outages for security updates shorter.
See This Live
A generally read-only copy of Maker Forums is now available! You can log in and look around. I’ll be bringing it down from time to time to refresh the copy of Maker Forums, or to make changes inspired by your suggestions here, or make other changes, like improving the way site backups work. If it’s down when you try to look at it, feel free to ask here about it, and I can respond when the site is again ready to view.
If you authenticate to Maker Forums with Google or Github, neither will work for the staging site. Just DM me and ask me to set a temporary random password for you, and I’ll do that and then restore that same temporary password for you each time I rebuild the site for testing, but not when I rebuild the site for real.
If you log in to the staging site while I’m in the process of modifying it and before edits are disabled in public categories, and you make changes, those changes will be wiped out the next time I update. Please keep posting here; the staging site is only for seeing what the new organization looks and works like.
Your Opinions Matter
Maker Forums site leadership have been working on this redesign for about a month, and it’s been tweaked every few days to improve it. There’s no reason to think that it’s perfect yet! Comment here with your thoughts. Are there any posts that seem to be in the wrong place? Categorization not clear? Category descriptions need to be changed? Let’s talk!
The site rearrangement is scripted, so many changes are as simple as changing a configuration file, restoring a backup, and running a script. Don’t be afraid of bringing up ideas that you think might be hard. Some things are hard, but lots of things are actually easy, it turns out. Your idea might be both good and easy to implement!