Eventually we can move to consolidating categories and making more use of tagging… but not yet. As for the longer names in the Coding category, I get that, but they don’t roll into two lines and it’s very clear what they are for. That can’t always be said about the other subcategories with shorter names.
Out of curiosity, though, what would you rename them if you were to make them shorter?
Here’s my full personal viewpoint on categories so far (obviously subject to change and corrections) :
Forum Gallery: The upcoming Discourse Gallery plugin may make this category outdated. We’ll see how it goes but if it does, maybe we can make some room and ditch that one.
Focused critiques and Works in progress: Merge them. To me they mostly split the same thing in half. If you post a WIP, it’s because you want critiques and, on the other hand, if you post for critiques, it’s because you’re not finished with your project. Now, those categories claim to separate serious work vs … I don’t know… not serious? But just looking at the threads they really seem to do the same. And after all, if you post your WIP for feedback, doesn’t it imply that you want to improve it and therefore that this is serious for you ?
Sketchbooks: I wonder if the upcoming Gallery plugin will allow us to make our own portfolio but if it does, I think after some time we can ditch that category too.
Released Scripts and Themes: rename it to “Add-ons, Scripts and Themes”. There are too many add-ons in there to ignore it in the title. And “Released” is not really needed in my opinion, since its obvious enough that unfinished scripts should be discussed in support categories instead.
After the 2.8 release, this category will eventually become a deserted town, so when that time comes, we could remove it from the home page.
Lighting and Rendering: I would separate those 2 because Rendering is more technical and lighting is more artistic. However I would rename “Lighting” to “Lighting & Framing” (because those two disciplines are very intertwined)
Materials and Textures: Material equals Shading, and Shading equals Render engine, so material support belongs in Render engine categories. I would rename this one to just “Texturing” (plus it would be more consistent with the category right above it: Modeling)
Blender Artists Website Support: this name is a little confusing. Either use “blenderartists” in lowercase and without a space in-between or simply name the category “Meta”.
There’s only one subcategory there and it’s lost at the very bottom, this doesn’t seem right to me. I would put the “Off-topic Chat” category in General Forums and ditch Misc, since whatever you would write in Misc-only would definitely fit either in “Off-topic Chat”, “Blender and CG Discussions” or any existing category.
There you go, now tell me what you think and please be as specific as possible.
When we get to re-organizing categories (and yes, you’re way too early on this), the overarching goal will be to reduce the number of categories in favor of using tagging more extensively. Now, with that in mind… specific notes:
Where do you think that gallery plugin will be sourcing its artwork? Yes, it could be done with tagging, but personally, I would prefer that it just be a different display mode for artwork categories. Then the gallery view works not just for the Forum Gallery pieces, but all of the Artwork subcategories.
In the history of the forum, we’ve done it both ways. Split, merged, and resplit. The final split was done at the request of our members. People posting WIPs don’t always want critique. That’s a false assumption.
That said, if we had a #critique-wanted tag (and people actually made use of it), then merging the two makes more sense.
Not likely. This category was also generated at the request of our members. We’d be more likely to merge Blender Tests with this category and incorporate a #sketchbook tag as well as a #blender-test tag.
“Released” is absolutely needed. We already have people posting support requests for using scripts and add-ons here. Taking the word “Released” off only heightens ambiguity.
This would likely remain a single category. Tags will be used to differentiate render engines.
This one is trickier. It’s true that there’s a lot of overlap between rendering and materials, but the workflows for lighting and final render versus material and shader editing are still very much different… This one requires further thought.
The BA support forums will likely be better suited in Misc… and I’d recommend adopting “Site Support” as the name. Meta is too vague.
The Off-topic Chat forum is at the bottom for a reason. Way back in the day, it was up in there with the General Discussion categories. It leaked negativity all over the place. One might argue that the General Discussion categories still haven’t fully recovered from that. But with Off-topic Chat down at the bottom, that category is a much more pleasant experience.
In fact, I might go so far as to suggest that we move all of General Discussion to the end of the list, bumping Artwork and Support to the top. Those categories are really what this forum is all about and what I’m personally most interested in promoting. Who knows, maybe that move would help promote further positivity in those categories.
I’m not a fan of the “put everything in one bag and search for it with tags/metadata” method. It relies too much on both the user have strong google-fu (knowing the correct search terms) and the content being tagged accurately (e.g. “witch” vs. “spellcaster”). If the user doesn’t know the appropriate term to search for, or the content is missing appropriate tags, then nothing is found. If the only applicable search terms are very generic then the user will be overwhelmed with a deluge of results.
In addition to @Fweeb’s point about problems in the past due to this, I don’t think the Off-topic Chat is important enough to be in the General Forums. I joined blenderartists for the artwork and support; if I wanted to discuss thing non-related to Blender I would have gone elsewhere.
I know but I don’t see how it’s problematic. In fact, to me the earlier we discuss and debate about it, the more thought out the final decisions can be.
That’s true, yet the About page for the WIP category says this :
so that makes it a little confusing.
That would be perfect for me !
asking for support on using them is something I would expect, but are there many people asking for support on developing them there ?
I thought of that after posting and edited my post right away (but you were ahead of me)
However I would again change my mind : Instead of separating between “Rendering” and “Lighting & framing” I would just rename the current one to “Rendering”. The reason is, Lighting has both an artistic component and a technical component. For the artistic one, it actually belongs in the artwork category (but doesn’t need its own sub-category, just a good #critiques-wanted under Work in Progress should do it). For the technical component, it’s just a part of the rendering process, so no need to add it in the title with Rendering. Otherwise we could even add Shading. I think simply naming it “Rendering” would go well along with “Modeling” and “Texturing”.
I agree 100%, but I still find it useless to have the Misc category with only one sub-category. It’s like adding a folder to put one file in it.
I can understand that. In that case, maybe we could replace “Misc” by “off topic” so it doesn’t have a sub category ? I don’t know, I never go there so I don’t know what those who do would think about it.
a good way to ensure awareness and extensive use of tags would be to show the Tags button next to the Categories button
Lighting and shading typically go hand in hand. So maybe have lighting and shading(materials and texturing). Then Rendering and Compositing. If we are to go with multiple word categories.
I’ve got to say though I still like the list I made earlier. When reading it do understand that I had heavy tag use in mind, while I was also a lot more conservative in merging support categories because of how important they are to newcomers .