Quote Bob Bickerton:
Nice to see Hugh back on deck, though I'm disappointed you have nothing to add to this debate
Hi Bob, It's nice to be back. If I have 'nothing to add' it's because I'm fully onboard with the overall restructuring scheme. I was involved in the planning, I understand the pros and cons, and I think it makes sense. I do think there are a few things that aren't quite optimised yet, but we'll get there. I don't think we handled the restructuring very well as far as its public implementation was concerned, and as a result we have a lot of 'hearts and minds' work to do, but that was largely to do with the unfortunate timing of things and we are where we are.
...SOS intransigence regarding re-introduction of specialist forums.
A major pillar of the decision to restructure was specifically our considered desire to reduce the number of 'specialist' forums. Clearly there are pros and cons to that, but on balance we feel the (potential) advantages outweigh the (claimed) disadvantages. Time will tell... and we plan to give it some time to see.
This community creates the content and this debate is about community not about content.
You are quite right -- re-energising a sense of community is a strong factor behind the changes. That's why we have also re-introduced the lounge and relaxed the moderation policies. Part of the downside of having lots of specialised sub-forums was that we had ended up with lots of separate small niche 'communities', rather than the all-embracing one we sought. The latter is what we had before the sub-forums were introduced and what we'd like to try to restore.
I haven't met a single soul from these forums face to face
This is another aspect that we have plans to address. Prior to the sub-forums various unofficial gatherings were held quite regularly thanks to the inclusive SOS forum community. We hope to encourage and support more of this kind of thing so that forum users can meet up.
Like many, I remain unconvinced.
I understand -- and I thank you for expressing your concerns so clearly. Your comments sum up the feeling of many users and we acknowledge that. We are hearing these comments and we are discussing them -- it's not falling on deaf ears... although that doesn't mean we will necessarily decide to revert to the previous structure overnight. All rights reserved and all that.
Picking up on a couple of Hollowsun's comments, the forum software is very old and clunky compared to the current state of the art, but there's nothing we can do about that until we complete our whole web upgrade process. It's on the list...
The new colour scheme is exactly that. A small element of a makeover which makes the place look a little fresher. I think as many people like it as not, but if it transpires that there are visibility issues or other problems of course we'll tweak it a bit.
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound