moderated Home page ideas #suggestion

Matt Wilkie <maphew@...>

Hello World,

I'm new to, though I've lurked from time to time for a number of months. I'm taken by ideals expressed in Mark Fletcher's, it speaks to me and the discomforts I've had with the discussion platforms I've used over the last 20 years or so.

I'm helping a small club get their digital space together and am exploring to see if it will help or hinder them. One of the things that's given pause is that the website interface is rather busy. Some club members are only moderately tech savvy and all they see is big a wall of widgets and text with as yet unknown meanings and functions. It puts them into  "Ahhh! I don't want to have to learn something else today" and then persuasion is all up hill.

I've been pondering what might help and have come up with some suggestions to consider:

Allow hiding the features in the left hand navigation which aren't being used (e.g. Database, Chats, Files, Wiki, ...). This doesn't mean disabling the features, just not keeping them front-page always-visible prominent.

Home is not really Home as I think of it, it's more like About or Metadata. After reading it once or twice, no one cares unless there's some specific thing to look up ("who's allowed to edit the Wiki?"). To me Home is where you start your morning or end your day and as such would have a selection of trending topics, photos and whatnot.

Redesigning that page to fit the many possible different groups ideas of 'what's trending' means is probably a lot of work. Perhaps somewhat less work (?) would be to allow each group to orde the elements in the page themselves, e.g. push Recent Photos and Message History to the top, float Trending Hashtags to one side, and push the metadata-y stuff like group settings to the bottom.

Another approach with an even lighter touch on the backend is a preference that redirects bare url to any valid url within the group hierarchy. The target could be .../our-little-club/topics, .../our-little-club/calendar or even .../our-little-club/wiki/Welcome, and .../our-little-club/message/00001. (In this event the current home page would then need a name; I suggest 'About'). I think I like this idea best.

Best regards and thanks for reading,


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