Restructure forum topics

I’m the CM of a very technical community (i’m not a very technical person). The way our community forums are set up are (from what I was told) based on org structure, and was done years ago.

I’m wondering if anyone has any thoughts on how to tackle the issue of, how can we revamp the structure/topics to be better for the community.

I’ve thought about just asking them, but I feel like I should have some sort of idea, and provide a few examples and get feedback on that.

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As a technical person, that question is really nebulous.

My first thought is why aren’t you asking them? That is the easiest way to get some good ideas.

Particularly because you were given advice to establish such useful relationships. They are the obvious source to find out what needs changing and what is likely to work.

My second thought, is what is prompting this? There’s no statement of any problem. So is it not working and, if so, how is it not working? Has the organisation structure changed so the forum no longer aligns with it? Why do you need them to give feedback on your ideas?

Anyway, getting ideas is pretty generic:

  • Look at the teaching of the technical experts. Literally, read textbook categories to see how that field of knowledge is structured currently. Course outlines might also be useful. This will likely be broader fields of knowledge than your organization’s specialties but that may indicate new categories for you to add.
  • Look at what the top/trending experts are doing.
  • Understand the reasons for the current organisation structure.
  • Understand the business processes. Does the forum align with those? Should it?
  • Look at the your customers’ categories. You’ve said that your in B2B, so use their websites, brochures, etc. to see their priorities and how they structure their business.
  • Look at the organization’s competitors. If there aren’t any then maybe there is an issue about how the organisation sees itself because there will be some sort of competitor. Maybe there’s a new opportunity to add a new category or redefine what you’re doing.
  • Ask librarians if any are involved in your area of business. They are trained in locating and structuring information.

Hi @iamryan These are all really good ideas. I like them a lot.

Just spent some time looking at your community. I’d suggest a couple of things.

  1. Have a feed of questions that people can see from the homepage or the discussion page. I quite like what datarobot has done here combining both discussion topics and discussions from all areas. I think you would really benefit from a single activity page as well as multiple sub-categories.

  2. Look at what’s popular today. Some areas have 1k+ participants and recent activity, others haven’t been updated in a few days/weeks. I’d combine some of the latter into the former. I think you probably need some superordinate category levels which include several of the sub-categories here.

  3. Look at the size of the community. Today it’s very active but not ‘super’ active. So I’d cut down on the number of categories and expand them out when there’s a clear need for it.

p.s. this webinar might help.