I’m new to the forum so I’m late for this party, but this is too important a topic for me to ignore.
But there isn’t any way I can see to get a summary of new topics, just notifications for old ones.
The biggest challenges with nearly every forum I participate on are keeping track (reliably) of read/unread messages (impossible with Yahoo!'s web forum, for example) and catching up with backlog (within reason, depending on volume). So far BroadQ Forums, which use FUDforum software, are the most satisfying and productive because of the ability to conveniently browse all unread postings gathered and merged from all forums. That’s the quickest way for me to catch up on backlog with infrequent visits, even with quite a few postings, with sort of an e-mail-like feel to it that I like.
Something obviously lacking with this forum software is that topics on the Notification page aren’t clickable; only the username is. Makes it hard to use them as pseudo-bookmarks.
A few points:
Too much redundant discussion about the same topics will eventually distract the more experience, intelligent participants. As the forum grows it’ll be helpful to keep questioning whether it’s remaining a valuable resource for as many people as possible. It may eventually be desirable to restructure forum categories in light of those observations, in an open and “non-discriminating” way that benefits newcomers and veterans of different experience, interest, knowledge levels. Whew.
I think it’s important is to discourage the forum from becoming too much of a FAQ or knowledge base for product information, tips, etc. Exporting “best of” information from the forum (e.g. culled from “Usage Scenarios” and “Tips & Tricks”) to other resources that can be more conveniently browsed, searched, referenced would be useful. Forums can be fun and productive for discussions but they make lousy databases. Integrating different communication resources would be useful, and easier if done as part of the infrastructure instead of trying to retrofit solutions later.
I wouldn’t advocate separate forum and e-mail discussions because it fragments useful information and contributes to redundancy for folks who’d participate in both.
From what I’ve read so far on the forum (still catching up ) the DEVONtechnologies user community looks like an interesting, diverse, and talented group of people. I look forward to participating here.