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Brainstorming Time for the Topic Feature


One of the features @trentellingsen and I recently have been talking about is the topic feature. Currently, this basically acts as a custom folder that any users can create to link all related forum posts to that page. For example, I created the BGA Giveaway Winners topic page long time ago to curate posts of all giveaway winners.

The idea is great, but it's in need of major work. Here are some problems:

  • Need for organization/sorting/search function - With how it is currently, I've never felt like browsing/clicking on any of them.
  • It's hard to know when a user has created a new topic page. Also, it's hard for me to care if someone created one because in the end, it's just a way to file your posts, and that's it.
  • Part of this is that a topic page is too bland. It has a unique title and a description for the purpose of the page, but nothing beyond that.

I think we should consider revamping the topic feature. Here are some of my thoughts and ideas:

  • First, my overall vision for the topic page is something closer to a combination of a facebook page or a wiki page. So when you visit a topic page like "Solo Board Game Corner," in addition to the linked posts, I'd like to see something like the creator's list (from his/her user profile) that shows top 10 solo games, the hottest solo games on BGA, recent user reviews of solo board games (whether it's reviews by the creator or by others), top most played solo games based on user play logs, etc.
  • Allow the creator of the topic page to make the page public or private. If private, allow creator to be able to invite other users who can join as a co-creator to manage certain things. I could also see this allowing for something like a SU&SD fan page where it has all of the linked video reviews, section that highlights favorite moments/quotes from their reviews, an image gallery, etc.
  • Allow users to follow topic pages, and display the # of followers on the topic page.
  • Your profile should display all of the topic pages you've created. Oh and maybe gold coins you earn can be used to allow customizing the color of the page or any other simple changes.
  • Home page or forum page should display new/hot topic pages.

Those are some of the thought I have at the moment. What do you think--Useful? Not really? Is it worth pursuing? Let me know in the comments! :D

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Supporter8 months ago

I echo some of the same concerns as @thedl. I also wonder what you would do with the existing topics, there are some that are dangerously close to being doubles, how do you decide what to cut and what to keep..... 

Other than echoing those concerns and asking what would happen with existing topics, I mostly like these suggestions, or at the most negative, I'm neutral. I do have a few suggestions though. 

  1. Make it so topic creators have to request to make a topic. I know this probably goes against what y'all consider the spirit of the place, but, I do think that it would cut down on multiple topics that basically cover the same thing. 
  2. Still maintain an option to view all public posts in all topics/games. 
  3. Not allow posts/comments in private groups of less than 5, or 10, or 20, or whatever number you think is wise, to be entered in the GAW. 

Owner8 months ago

All good feedback, clearly there will be lots to think about with this one as it comes to fruition... but

  1. I'm honestly not sure where we'll go with this one. It's certainly something we'll have to look out for.
  2. I agree, it'd be good to have one place to view everything.
  3. I'm actually not sure what you mean by this one. Could you elaborate? Also, in the future, as the community grows WAY larger, I think we might consider running "equal opportunity" giveaways just to prevent bad behavior and people taking advantage of loopholes. Also, if we're big enough to worry about something like that, maybe we'll be able to run even more giveaways than we are now?

Supporter8 months ago

3. I guess I am recomending that you excersise caution with private acounts. I don't think that any of the current regular users would do anything bad with a private acount, but I could see someone coming in and useing it to game the system. They could fairly easily make a private acount for only themeselves, then making a bunch of super cheap posts/comments to boost their GAW entries.

8 months ago

Oh #3 is good thinking. Not sure where I stand on #1. On the one hand, it would cut down on duplicates, on the other hand, people would be much less likely to use the feature.

8 months ago

Ok, so these would be a lot more driven by the creator of the topic, and less of an organization tool for posts. They seem like their own sub-sites almost. I like that idea, and I think it could turn into something interesting, though you'd want to make sure you put a good amount of time into planning what it would be.

From Trent's perspective, I worry about some of the things you mentioned, like the "hottest solo games" section. Is this something automated, or something a user would maintain? If it's automated, it sounds like a special topic that's set up internally by BGA, because I don't know how you would give users the tools to be able to define the parameters to keep a page like that automatically updated.

I guess you could implement an "advanced search" feature and give the users the ability to search for "top 10 games with a 1 player max, ranked by pageviews in the last 30 days", and have the results of that query pinned to the page and automatically updated daily. As a data nerd, that gets me excited, but as a programmer, that gets me excited but also it sounds like a can of worms, haha.

Owner8 months ago

I'd love to see a topic page created by you for "Nature/Science Inspired Board Games" haha. Where I'd go in and see a gallery of images with the games you've linked to, forum posts that show recommendations, first impressions, etc, and a list of top 10 nature/science games that you keep up to date.

8 months ago

Oh that'd be fun! I like that haha. I've got to play more! My friend owns #Photosynthesis and I still haven't tried it!

8 months ago

Ok I'm liking this "advanced search and pinning the results" idea more the more I think about it. You could search for "Games with 'Deck Building' mechanism listed, sort by pageviews in the last X months, limit to top 10 results" and "pin" those results to a topic, and then just constantly have the list of hottest deck builders.

Owner8 months ago

I have no idea what it would take but honestly just want to see some cool stuff to look at on the topic page lol. Even if it's just giving the topic creator the option to display one of their created lists!

8 months ago

I do really like the Geeklist feature on BGG. Having lists of linked items, and being able to write a blurb about each one, and each one can be individually commented on. Is that kind of what you're thinking?

Owner8 months ago

I like Geeklists too, they're very helpful! My idea is for something of a bigger scope that geeklists could also be filed under. For example, if I want to find a great mid-weight euro game for 2p with my wife, I'd google that phrase and see search results with multiple links to different threads from reddit and BGG. Then I need to visit each of them until I find something I like. I'd like one central place that I could refer back to again and again for this very specific type of topic. So if there's a topic page for 2p mid-weight euros, I'd like to see:

  • Title and description (this already exists)
  • Perhaps a list of top mentioned games based on number of times a game has been linked in the forum posts that are linked to the topic page
  • Maybe an additional list that shows the topic page creator/manager's list of recommended games
  • Maybe a gallery of the images from the games that have been linked in the related forum posts
  • And lastly, all of the forum posts (reviews, first impressions, and other relevant forum posts that have been linked to this topic page). For this to work well though, where the topic page can easily grow in its amount of helpful resource, it'd be ideal if everyone has access to link to the topic page, almost like how facebook users are allowed to join a facebook page so that they can contribute.

These are just some of my thoughts. There are lots of specifics that will need to be worked out, but my main wish is for the topic page to be more than just a "folder" that it has been (and not a very good one yet either). I'd like it to become a way for users to have a creative outlet where they can focus on their expertise/passion, while also helping the community find the best info around that topic.

8 months ago

I love it. Keep those ideas flowing! I feel like if you're able to mail down what you guys want it to be and implement it will, the revamped topics could become a signature feature of BGA.

Supporter8 months ago

Those are really cool ideas! I honestly am not very useful when it comes to brainstorming ideas for stuff like this. I can tell you what works and what doesn’t though!

Owner8 months ago

No worries haha. We'll likely start some work on revamping the topic feature in June-ish or maybe even later this month. Will be asking you for plenty of feedback!
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