The community I help manage is a professional community that focuses on best practices in the industry and serves as a supportive network (just like Feverbee). The community was acquired by the parent company about a year ago and a community team was created to help manage and build. The community was built around 1999 and has had various periods of high activity and low.
We are now in the process of trying to reorganize and create a better user experience in our discussion boards - of which there are many (50+). Many of these boards have been inactive for years. Some of the boards are redundant or don’t really have much of a purpose any more. There is a LARGE volume of content (posts, threads) going back at least 10+ years. Some of these posts are spam or posted in incorrect boards, but there is still content mixed in which, although out of date, could be helpful if someone is looking for that particular answer/topic. See image below…
Keeping this all in mind, there is one main “central” board which is where members tend to post all posts (probably because it is too overwhelming and cumbersome to go through all of the possible board options and because it is the first option to pick). Initially, we thought to just put all posts in this one central board and then have posts be tagged (automatically and allow pre-determined tags selected by members should they choose to do themselves). Members could then just filter by tags.
However, this will lead to hundreds of pages of threads. We’re worried it will just be overwhelming to go to the main forum board and see “page 1, 2. 3, …500” to navigate through. Or, would it just be an indication for the majority of visitors/members to go to the main forum board and see there are 500+ posts to wade through. Or, is that a good sign of robust discussion?
Keeping in mind impacts on user experience, SEO, and overall community feel, we’re having a good debate around handling this. Spam will be removed. However, the suggestions for the remaining content thus far (none of which I’m comfortable with) are:
How do we define “stale” or “irrelevant” content? Or are all posts (not including spam) relevant regardless of age or lack of continued activity?
If old and stale posts are irrelevant, what is the cut off for “stale/inactivity”? 1 year? 5 years? 90 days?
Once we determine which posts are no longer active or relevant (if that applies), what do we do with it?
- Do we just delete it? (I say no)
- Do we “archive” it (hiding it unless someone uses search and it comes up as a result)?
- Do we post a “View All” link on the board which will pull in posts after that “stale” date?
My gut says that for stale/irrelevant content we just “close” the thread. While I feel that 90 days is WAY too early of a cut off, don’t have another suggestion that makes sense of when to start marking inactive discussions as closed.
Whichever way we go, once we make a decision, I have to determine how many boards we should have. Right now, there is no tagging implemented. Therefore, I don’t know what the natural break would be that would support the creation of a board. While I have suspicions, I don’t have any data that would support it.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!