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Friday, June 14th 2013, 5:35pm

Forum Structure Simplification

Hi camaradas!! Here is a suggestion on simplifying and reducing the forum structure, which goes in the direction to make it a complement to the Members Portal, soon to be open. The new Portal will include a network of blogs and feeds to keep people informed in much simpler ways. The goals of this suggestion are to make the Help, How to Get Stated and the Language Teams sections more visible to newcomers and forum users in general, reducing and pushing to the bottom of the forum all the other areas that imply other levels of participation.

Ok. So here are the suggestions:

  • From the Top Menu:
- Remove the Chat feature - no one seems to use it and removing it makes it one less distraction factor to what is important.
- Both the "Getting Started" and the "Wiki" links takes us to the same place - the Wiki Main Page. Can we put the Wiki link on the very top of the forum, besides the Login, Register and Facebook links? and improve the Getting Started page (more on this later)?
- The "Links" link with the globe is more distracting than helpful for newcomers, and so could be somewhere else in the bottom of he forum.
- It seems to be missing a link to a page that would explain what is the LTI.

  • The Shout Box and the Recent Activity boxes seem to influence us in a nice way. The shoutbox invites us to integrate and say "Hi" or ask anything. The recent activity shows the forum alive and gives examples of what subjects are going on (what can the find if they dig deeper in the threads)
  • The Help Desk has the Introduce Yourself sub-section inviting people to post as they arrive, and the Getting Started sub-section right after it is very important where it is; it just needs some improvements as it only includes a tutorial for Pootle. The rest of the Help Desk subsections of Questions & Answers, Error Report, The Glossary, and Transcriptions/Translations Requests, could be pushed to the International Lounge and, on its turn, this whole section could be pushed to the bottom of the forum, as those are things that are secondary to start translating, proofreading, transcribing and integrating into a team collaboration.
  • That means that the Language Teams Playgrounds would be the next section, after the Help Desk, and to jump from the Getting Started to the Open For Translation or even to a language team sub-section would be just an eye focus further own or a short scroll without too much info on the way. The Order of sub-sections inside the Language Teams Playgrounds seems to help to see and think in accordance to the flow of projects: from the English Team to the Open for Translations and from there to all specific language teams sub-sections.
I have more suggestions to develop in this thread, but for now I would like the most of us to think about the above, as they are the more gross changes, I think. The details can be worked later if we agree with these first.
Just to advance a bit on what I have in mind fr later, the Getting Started forum section and wiki page would need to be simplified. I think they should point to 5 things and have less explanatory text. 1) English Transcriptions and Proofreading, 2) Translations on Pootle tutorial, 3) Translations on Dotsub tutorial, 4) Open For Translations section and 5) Communication in the specific Language Team sub-section. About the International Lounge, the Coordinators Hideout doesn't seem necessary. All threads and subjects can be put in the International Lounge itself and later be moved (in case they fitt in any of the temas) to the PR, Tech or Devs sections.

Have fun!

nomada :rocknroll: It's fun to stay at the ...
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Friday, June 14th 2013, 10:08pm

Just a bit of clarity/history on some of these things:

The Chat feature is one of those things that seems perfect on paper for this kind of collaborative community, but we've tried it twice now and it seems to draw no interest at all. The first time I added it was before there were many forum members, so I took it down when it went unused. I put it back up after we reached 500 members to see if it might prove useful, but it still has gone unused. Regardless, I think it was an enlightening experiment to give it a try. I'll be taking it down right after I send in this reply.

On the "Getting Started" & "Wiki" links:
  • The "Getting Started" menu item currently points to the main page of the wiki that provides the basic info for getting involved with LTI. It's serving as a placeholder for the new, updated "Getting Started" page in the member portal, which of course cannot be reached until after the portal has been launched. It will be changed to link to the portal on the day it is launched. As a historical note, I originally had it pointing to one of the Prezi presentations, but the main page of the Wiki provides the info in a way that most people can understand without having to also get used to working the Prezi interface.
  • LTI's Wiki info is systematically being consolidated and brought into the member portal. Assuming complete success with that, the wiki is likely be going the way of the dinosaur (i.e. taken offline as it will no longer be needed). At that point, the Wiki link will be removed from the forum.


The "Links" feature is an attempt to provide everyone with a simple way for all of us to share valuable online resources with each other. I'm carrying this feature over to the Portal and was hoping that many relevant resource links would have been added here in the forum by now, providing us with a good starting point for the feature in the portal. If anyone has such helpful resources to share, please make use of the feature. It will be removed once the portal is launched, so anything added to it between now and then will help a ton in populating the member portal with valuable shared information.

On a related note, I need to hear from anyone who makes use of the forum's Portal feature. There is no sense in having it taking up server resources if no one is making use of it.


Onto the Help Desk:
While I certainly understand the desire for less distraction above the Language Teams section, I don't like the idea of moving anything below the quite lengthy Teams section (who looks down there other than me and the Turkish Team? :tongue: ), but especially the stuff that newer members are likely to be looking for (questions/concerns that they are likely to keep to themselves if they have a hard time finding a place for those topics). These things need to be very easy to locate & access and, according to thousands of internet usability studies conducted over the years since the www became popular, very few people bother to slide down to see what's at or near the bottom of a forum or web page unless they are specifically guided there somehow. Even then, a significant 'bounce' ratio (those who leave a site, rather than look around for what they need) comes into play.

Considering possible alternatives, some of the info that the forum is attempting to provide is already being moved to the portal (Getting Started, How do I?, Glossary, etc.), which will leave a smaller Help Desk section that is not likely to be as obtrusive to those who don't need it during a given session. Given the 'specific' nature of the remaining boards, I don't see a way to consolidate them much, if at all, but there are other things we might be able to do to limit what shows in the main index page. For example, we can easily reduce the amount of description text that appears with each of these sections, reducing the overall height of them in the front index page.

Another option: The forum is set up to highlight only the top two levels in the index page. Sub-sub-sections (3rd level) appear much smaller at the bottom of their parent board and sub-sub-sub-sections (4th level) do not appear at all until you go inside of a section that includes them. So, we could try to work out a rational way to drop down some of these sections into the third level. However, the result would obviously need to make sense to newcomers.

Also, any sections (such as the Shoutbox & Recent Activity areas) that begin with a minus sign icon can be 'rolled up' when not needed by clicking on that icon to get them out of the way. Personally, I prefer to leave the Shoutbox open so that I can reply to people who post there, but I rarely need the Activity box open to see what's going on and where I might be needed.


It is very important to widen our view to include all that the member portal is bringing together. This major consolidation of "all that is LTI" is very likely to render the LTI wiki, the LTPMS site and a lot of GDocs & online 'pads' (piratepad, sync.in, etc.) fully obsolete. But it will also relieve the forum of a lot of static functions that will be much better served by a website than a forum. Taking these two major resources together (the active forum & informational portal), the ideal result will be everything 'in its proper place', making "all that is LTI" much less cluttered and very easy to understand.


As a final note, it's also very important for everyone to understand that all of these resources are here for YOU; not for the people who do our best to try to continually improve them for you. Without direct and continual feedback from YOU, we can only guess at what may or may not help make this (all of it, not just the forum) the best environment & collaborative resource it can be for all that we are attempting to accomplish here together. Please chime in and be part of the solution by providing all of the insight and experience you can with the rest of us. This is likely the most important continually ongoing discussion we can have. :bow:
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Saturday, June 15th 2013, 1:06am

Thanks for the updates on that Ray :thumbup:

Here is a suggestion to improve the Getting Started reference, until the Portal is open to public with the final version:

Where to begin?
Depending on what you wish to help with, there are different tools and communication platforms to consider. The areas in which most volunteers help with are Translation, Translation Proofreading, English Transcription, English Proofreading, Timestamp Adjustment, Multimedia (TechTeam Group), Software and App development (DevGroup), Promotion of Accomplishments and Needs (PR Group). In all these areas, the main communication platform is the Forum. Be sure you register and say "Hi" in the Introduce Yourself section, so we can help guide you from there ; )

FOR TRANSLATION AND TRANSLATION PROOFREADING:
* Pootle , for text based materials like Books, Websites, PDFs, etc. Click here for a tutorial on how to set you up in this tool.
* Dotsub , for video subtitles translation. Click here for a tutorial on how to use this tool.
* The Language Teams Playgrounds , in the forum, is where you can find the projects and communicate with other volunteers so we can collaborate and make the best out of our limited time without repeated efforts or stepping each others toes ; )

FOR ENGLISH TRANSCRIPTION, ENGLISH PROOFREADING AND TIMESTAMP ADJUSTMENT
* The English Team works mostly with subtitle transcription and proofreading. We do our best to provide the most clear and accurate transcriptions for all the translations teams to base their translations upon. Therefore, dotsub is the platform of election, where you need to register. Give a look to the English Team forum section and post in the Tea & Cookies section so we can guide you from there ; )

TO HELP WITH MULTIMEDIA, WEB & SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT OR PROMOTION/PUBLIC RELATIONS
...post in the respective forum sections for the area of focus you wish to help with. They are the Tech Team , the Dev Group and the PR Group . There are different projects in different times and they depend pretty much on the help of volunteers like you. You can also let us know what you think you can help with and we start from there : )

Feel free to reply to this thread and ask anything you need. Someone will show up to help you soon ; )
Have fun!



What do you guys think? I used a part of the Wiki Main page as a starting point, but in the end I didn't took much from it; I went more straight to the categories/tasks that people can easily identify with and the tools and forum locations.
I also didn't mention the LTI contact page, since many language coordinators aren't always present and many volunteers never get to be in contact with all the support structures, global collaboration and improvements we develop in the forum if they stay isolated in language specific facebooks and other platforms. Many volunteers that offered to help in several languages never gave a sign of being alive and no signs of translations neither. Maybe a more global involvement and support in the forum can help integrate them more efficiently? That is the thinking behind it : )
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Monday, June 17th 2013, 12:38pm

I´m trying to get some feed-back for you guys but before that I must say that, not really knowing what the portal is and how it will work, I don´t really understand everything you both said in here. So I´m not sure this will be interesting... :wonder: Anyway...

I don´t think I´ve ever used the Top Menu, so I can´t really say how it could be improved and what it´s use could be... I just did, after reading this, a quick review of the options in there and I can´t give a clear feed back on that. I did enter the chat twice and felt really lonely there so... gave up. As for the rest of the options, I never really explored them... for no reason I can point out other than... I just dived in the forum it self and never really felt the need to check that menu. :dunno:

About the Help Desk... I agree with Ray that it should stay on top in order to be easier to find. Still, this was the section where I had the most dificulty understanding. Isn´t the "getting started" info repeated with the one on the Top Menu? I just found info in there that isn´t (yet) in the text nomada presented... and my question is: two getting started places with different info in each one... maybe that will become a) redundant and b) confusing. So... maybe the Getting started thing on the top menu and the getting started on the Help desk could be connected/merged, whatever you guys think is best. Or maybe I didn´t understand why there are two... :nuts:

So... that´s it for now... :eyelashes:

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Monday, June 17th 2013, 4:49pm

Great feedback, Kassy!! : )
Really!! It is both interesting and important to know that some people come to the forum and don't look in the top menu.
The Getting Started is repeated, yes. I made the text to reform it and posted it here in this thread as a suggestion to change it, independently of it being in 1 or 2 locations. The less locations the better, I think. I find it best if it stays in the Help Desk as a forum thread that people can reply to.

I must say that, not really knowing what the portal is and how it will work
Ray can explain this in a more complete way, don't know if succint though :giggle: But from what I understood, all the info from the Wiki, with most relevance to the Projects table and Repository, will be in the member portal. Information on how to start, like this Getting Started, will also be there, in a way that will guide people to what they are looking for (because it is a website and not a forum, the possibilities are greater). It will also contain blogs, one for each team. And we can create Categories and Pages inside the categories and post them as in a blog in order to keep everyone informed and spread the info beyond the LTI platform (people can subscribe to the blogs feed and so receive info on which new projects are ready, news, etc). There will be a notification for meetings and many other stuff, all in one, much better than 'head and shoulders' shampoo+softener+dandruff remedy :D

About the Help Desk... I agree with Ray that it should stay on top in order to be easier to find.
I agree too. I meant the International Lounge, which has sub-forums that, usually, only people that are a bit more into all of this participate. I find it most important that they realize there is a Help section, Getting Started, what there is as projects and the teams sections to contact and integrate. The rest is deeper involvement. :kewl:

So, let me know what you guys think of this Getting Started alternative text, instead of the "old" model (still the one in course).
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Tuesday, June 18th 2013, 8:17pm

I like your suggested replacement for the text under "Where to begin?", Rod. It guides people towards the relevant sections in the forum, instructing them to introduce themselves.

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Wednesday, June 19th 2013, 2:33am

Thanks for the feedback, Kassy! :rose:

The portal that I'm talking about here is the one built into the forum, rather than the 'LTI Member Portal" that is getting closer to its public launch. The forum portal is available in the main menu here in the forum. It was installed a long time ago and I have never had anyone ask anything about it since then, giving me the impression that it is going unused and can be removed. I just don't want to remove it if anyone is getting good use of it.

And again, the yet-to-be-introduced LTI Member Portal will soon be handling the "Getting Started" information, so the link in the main menu will send people to the website instead of the Wiki (which is likely to become obsolete). Rod is looking to provide a temporary solution between now and then. I'm thinking we might re-write the forum's Getting Started (as Rod is suggesting) and then point the button on the main menu to that post.
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Wednesday, July 3rd 2013, 11:59am

I like your suggested replacement for the text under "Where to begin?", Rod. It guides people towards the relevant sections in the forum, instructing them to introduce themselves.

No more feedbacks on this? Shall we change the text then?
It's this text: Forum Structure Simplification
oo replace the old one in the Portal and in these 2 wiki pages?:
http://wiki.linguisticteam.org/w/FirstTi…eral_Guidelines
http://wiki.linguisticteam.org/w/Main_Page
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Thursday, July 4th 2013, 9:07pm

I would say yes, let's change the text.

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Sunday, December 1st 2013, 1:30pm

In the forum, we have several sections that don't respect directly to transcribing, translating and other objective tasks. We could maybe put it all in one more general section and so reduce the amount of info a newcomer has to filter in order to get to 'how to start translating/transcriing/proofreading' more easily. Inside that general section, the Coords Hideout and the Public Relations Task Force would be obsolete, since the subjects inside them can go inside that general category.

Anyone else has something to add on the suggestions made in this thread?
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Sunday, December 1st 2013, 10:13pm

Some guys in the "introduce yourself" page have stated that they find the forum a little chaotic. I thought of it myself too when I first signed up. Maybe this change could eradicate this problem given that a newcomer probably decides if he will use the forum based on his first impression. Of course I need more evidence to support that hypothesis. Plus, it is my assertion that most people who sign up in this forum, they do it because they want to start translating, so Rodrigo's concern seems justified, if your goal is to facilitate this process.
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Sunday, December 1st 2013, 11:41pm

Yes, Jimmy, I think it is worthtrying something; there is no doubt the forum is complex for most newcomers.

As an alternative to reduce the International Lounge, I was wondering if there is a way to have it hidden as default and able to be opened (expanded from a tab) by those who wish to dive into it.

Could we do this new general subjects section, to substitute the International Lounge, as a 'Category' inside the only forum section above the Language Playgrounds - the only forum section above the Language Playgrounds would be the Help Desk) - just like the French team has one inside their language section? This would reduce the forum sections above the language playgrounds (Instead of Internat.Loung + Help Desk we would have only Help Desk) and so reduce the amount of info a newcomer has to see in order to get started (reach the projects and the language teams sections). The new general subjects section - with a different name that would better clarify what it contains and the understanding that it is for those who wish to get deeply involved in LTI tasks - would so become a subsection.
http://forum.linguisticteam.org/board2-l…rnational-team/
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Sunday, December 8th 2013, 3:09pm

I agree Rod, it would reduce the size of that section a little and people can still use those sections because they're meant to be used by people who know the system a little better

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Tuesday, January 21st 2014, 12:24pm

Ray made some changes in the forum a few hours ago, trying to make it easy for the newcomers to find the projects and language teams, which are inside the 'Language Teams Playgrounds'. The feedback from everyone could be really helpful in this issue. What do you think of the changes? [url]http://forum.linguisticteam.org[/url] :eyeroll:


I am enthusiastic with the changes but I think we need to alter a few more stuff in order to simplify the forum part that first shows to a newcomer - because that is where we are loosing most of them, it seems; they register but never get to make a post or participate, as we can see here: [url='http://bit.ly/17emLTx']http://bit.ly/17emLTx[/url]

The fact that those new categories that Ray created, so that we can have the possibility of clicking the + or - and so expand or close a whole section, show expanded by default until you click to close them for the first time (then they stay closed even if you go out of the forum and come back in), will make that a new volunteer will have his eyes going through the whole thing before it reaches the projects and language teams ('Language Teams Playgrounds' board). The amount of info that is before that board is, from the top of the forum:
- The Edit Profile, Private Messages and all other links on the top
- The 'Forum', 'Getting Started', 'ToDo List', 'Calendar', etc menu. Until here is enough to get lost because the Getting Started tab leads to a Wiki page, a different platform that is outdated. There, we still suggest newcomers to contact their language coordinator on the list of contacts and we know by experience that this strategy is very limitative in connection of the volunteers with the rest of the LTI support structures besides that many 'coords' are not necessarily available. The role doesn't make the event happen. It is actually a concept that distorts the thinking and blocks many people from taking initiative because they are not the 'coordinator'. So maybe the Getting Started menu tab could take them to the a better Getting Started page, maybe a forum section in the Language Teams Playgrounds (they would be already where they need to get started)?
- The 'Do You Know?' box comes after, and it is a little content but almost surely will have no interest to the newcomer. It will be about a technical specific thing that will just occupy his brain and distract from finding the projects and language sections. Maybe this board can be moved further down?
- The 'Important Linguistic Team Resources' is the small board that comes after, but all the links in it are about info that is not directed to start transcribing, translating or proofreading, except for the English Guidelines but those should be introduced in the English section, after we give our hand to the new volunteer. All links there lead to pages that are way too complicated and they are in a different platform - wiki - which doesn't help the newcomers to not get lost. The 1st link is to the coords contact list, too, which is something that we really should quit as we see that it separates more people from the relevant information and from each others as the whole of LTI when the contact channel becomes limited to 1 to 1 chats, emails or even the use of other platforms than this forum. It is a huge expenditure of energy to make sure everyone is informed when we are on different platforms. It is a technical fault for anyone or any group who is looking for 'collaborating'. The volunteers in the LTI that are most present and having initiatives to manage or improve any of the things we do are the ones who are better connected through the LTI forum and facebook; because they are better informed and connected with the whole. Sometimes I mention these volunteers as 'those who seem to be everywhere' :D We need to create the environment that creates more of this successes of integration and development. Or else, they will continue scarce.
- The Recent Activity board is very useful to me. I think that for anyone that comes to the forum 1 or more times per day. But otherwise, it will likely not show you all the new threads you haven't seen yet and they will most surely not be about anything related to what you came to do in the forum. So I find it more important to have the Language Teams Playgrounds closer to their sight than this R.A. board.
- The Help Desk and the Global Support boards could be merged into one board, where by creating 3 levels of sub-forum, we could put most topics (Error Reporting, Glossary, Tech Team, etc) in the 3rd level, or in other words to help understand, as a sub-sub-forum. These sub-sub-forums only show up after we click to go inside the board or forum that contains them, and they never show on the front page of the forum. Those who found the projects and language sections, got started, communicated and are sharing the global collaboration effort feeling, will dive into these sub-sections as they have extra time and are better informed, and that is the only time they need to show up in front of them.
Adding to the above, The Public Relations Task Force section is obsolete and its contents can be put inside the LTI Coordination, and the Getting Started sub-forum could be improved and moved to the Language Teams Playgrounds.
Another thing that could help is to move these boards below the Language Teams Playgrounds and improve the way people can find them. For example, on the forum menu on the top, we can have, instead of 'forum', 'getting started', 'todo list', 'calendar,'... we could give priority to help people find these sections and have the menu with 'Getting Started' (leading to an intro section in the Lang.TeamsPlaygrounds), 'Global Support' (the other board with everything else), and I don't know what would be the 3rd one most important but the Wiki link doesn't help any specific goal there, the calendar is not being updated and the announcement of meetings could use another strategy. With all of this considered, the initial menu would be simplified and guide them to do what is most likely they came here to do (transcribe, translate,proofread), and help them find out that there is more besides Language specific efforts to all of this. I find it still important that besides adding the new guidance strategies, it is equally important to 'hide' all the extras that can become 'noise' for anyone getting started. 'Removing' most extra info that is 'between' the volunteers and the Playgrounds section will make more sure they will get there. The technical aspect that I am not sure is possible is to link menu tabs to different boards in the forum.

I hope I described all this in a sufficient way. Let me know. I can try to clarify any aspect that I didn't explain so well ;)
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Tuesday, January 21st 2014, 9:23pm

Guys, if the problem is located on the new-comers, why not have the language playgrounds on the top of the forum? You will press the button and the list will open. An active member will probably not have a problem to look further down for what he/she wants. A new-comer however will probably want to see at once what he/she is looking for. What do you think?
Signature from »Christos Pap.« To come to the meetings, install teamspeak from HERE and then press HERE to be transferred directly, and look for the "Linguistic Team" Channel.

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