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Forum sections and the logic of where posts go

aeroengineer1

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Stargazer,

I do not understand the reasoning for moving this thread to the speculative section. To me speculative is more along the lines of fan art or some possible SR-71 replacement. In the last year, it seems that there is an almost arbitrary reasoning behind where things get placed. There are many references to unbuilt "speculative" projects in the postwar section, as well as many that made it to prototype stage or even limited production. In the aerospace section we have very speculative topics such as the topic discussing such as the next generation bomber or if the new Russian fighter is more maneuverable than the F22. We also find the topics on SACD, the new Bell Helicopter, the Joint Heavy Lift which are in the aerospace section. I just cannot keep straight anymore where stuff is supposed to go. You are welcome to move this post into another thread, but I felt that it was good to start the discussion here.

To me as I understand it, here is how it should be:
Pre/Postwar-Describe design studies, mock-ups, prototypes, and very limited production run aircraft
Aerospace-Production aircraft and their production variants including modes of operation, design issues, and other things related to a real aircraft that reached a true production state
Theoretical and Speculative-Aircraft that we know nothing about, but might postulate their existence or extrapolate what might have happened if certain events of history had changed.

Please help me understand, I am not trying to be a pain about this, I am just trying to really figure out what seems to be somewhat arbitrary.

Adam
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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I agree we probably need to change something, not sure what exactly.

The forum originally was about unbuilt projects, being aircraft designs from the past which never got built, and avionics, which were two things I found interesting.

Pre-war/ Postwar Aircraft Projects are the descendants of that original projects forum idea.

The other forums have been created to accommodate other topics that appear to be of interest to members but aren't catered for in existing forums and/or are making a lot of off-topic noise in an existing forum.

I have had a lot less time to police topics and move things around recently, so that other moderators, primarily Stephane, have been doing this and their idea on what fits where might not be exactly the same.

The principal grey areas are:

* Current projects, ones which may yet become built aircraft or end up unbuilt. In the past I generally left them in Postwar Aircraft Projects unless/until it was clear they were going to make it to production when they could go into Aerospace. This is the main source of contention - do they stay in Aerospace until its clear they will not be built, or Postwar Aircraft Projects until its clear they will be built. Possibly, given the low hit rate of current studies to actual production the second might be preferable.

* Projects by NASA / University students / some random guy - if it has no connection to a real project by an aircraft company, it should go in "Theoretical and Speculative Projects".

Discussing if the PAK FA is more manouverable than the F-22 probably does belong in Aerospace as its a discussion of current Aerospace technology. However, its also very speculative as we have very little data to base the opinions on, so I might put it in The Bar unless there's signs of actual analysis & thought in the posts.
 

aeroengineer1

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Like I said, I am not trying to be a pain in the rear about this, it just seems that in the last year things have gotten a lot greyer as to where things go and how someone is supposed to know. I have seen one thread get moved, but another thread that talks about the same topics stays behind.

I would also recommend reworking the Theoretical and Speculative section and promote it from its current location if it is intended to work the way you describe. When I took a look through that section, it was mostly junk. A place that I would put below the general standards of information that the bulk of this site sticks to. If you want it to be NASA/NACA studies, then it to me still belongs up higher in the forum.

I would propose a breakdown that would be along the following lines:
-Pure Paper Projects
This would be a section where absolutely no hardware has been built, but the data comes from good verifiable sources.

-Prototype, Mock-ups, and Very Limited Production
This would be a section that there was physical hardware built. It would be something that there were less than say 30 flying examples to its name.

-Full Production both Past and Present
This would be a section where you discuss projects that made it into production, though once again holding ourselves to good documentation

-Speculation and What-Ifs
This is a section where we can speculate about the potential, but not needing good supported information.

Once again, not so much as a gripe, just a I do not understand, and perhaps here is a way to make sense of it. I am willing to help out if needed.

Adam
 

Jemiba

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Principally I agree with you Aeroengineer, but I'm not sure, that splitting our sections up even more will better
the situation. I think, the "Projects" section are quite fine, as they are, even if there are lots of prototypes and
types that did never reach series production. It's just a matter of definition and I think, when started, nearly every
project aims at enormous production numbers ! If they are never reached, it remained just a project ! And dividing
into pure paper projects/built hardware would bring up the next points of discussion: Is an unfinished prototype actually
"built hardware", or has it to be finished ? Is a mock-up built hardware ? And so on...
What I see as more problematic, actually is the "Theoretical and Speculative" section. For me, it's just the place for things,
that never really were intended to be built, or that never existed in the shown form. Examples are designs made as degree
dissertations (purely theoretical), misidentifications and types, that were actually widely publicised, but actually never were,
like many German WW II and Russian cold war designs. That ws the reason for placing the "Fake Black List" there. But we
have many intersections with the sections for "User Artwork" and "Alternative History and Speculation".
And where to put NASA research, like the recent thread about STOL-developments, or the "General Dynamics (Convair) ASW
V/STOL seaplane", I'm honestly not sure.
But again, to my opinion splitting up the sections even more isn't a workable solution, at least not mddle and long term.
It's hard, but the best way probably is to discuss those themes, that seems to we wrongly placed.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Yes, in fact excessive splitting of topics leads to precisely this kind of confusion. However, its also important to remember that the mods don't read every topic, and so users may need to point out topics wrongly placed.


I'd be inclined to make a decision one way or the other e.g. all current projects go in Projects sections until a prototype is flown/driven/fired/sailed. This means half-built/abandoned prototypes stay in the projects section.
 

Stargazer2006

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It is very interesting that we are having this discussion today since I was about to send a message to PaulMM pertaining to exactly that: a suggestion to slightly tweak the forum's sections for better readability. While discussing the forum with some people at Le Bourget yesterday, I realized that by pointing them to the "Aerospace" section I was actually refering to a huge bundle of all and sundry.

So since the discussion is already taking place, and PaulMM is here, and also since I think the suggestion could benefit the discussion, allow me to make it here.

Discussing the Stratolaunch Roc, the Sukhoi Su-35S and an old Messerschmitt glider of the 1930s in the same section is completely weird!
Could we split the "Aerospace" sub-forum into smaller, more relevant units. I humbly suggest the following:
  • "Current Industry Projects", to discuss types that are currently being studied or prototypes being tested ;
  • "Current Aerospace Programs", to tackle currently produced/operational aircraft) ;
  • "Vintage Aerospace Programs", to discuss historical aircraft that were built and produced.
If three is too much, I guess we could always leave it at two by combining the first two. And whichever is chosen, I'm willing to go personally through all 83 pages of them to reorganize them.


As to the "Theoretical Projects" section, I know we've already had this discussion before, but anyway... When NASA or a manufacturer study a configuration in a wind-tunnel, not because they intend to build it but only to gather data on a certain aerodynamic feature or technological aspect, it is not really a "project" per se. Still, I agree that one important distinction could be made here between:
  • the studies emanating from the industry or recognized governmental agencies,
  • and speculative projects drafted by university students or imaginative individuals.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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This mainly stems from the origin of the Aerospace board as the place for off-topic discussions on aircraft not about projects. However, the "Postwar Aircraft Projects" discovery phase is mostly reduced to a trickle and clearly other topics are now dominating discussions while not being catered for in the structure of the site. Having said that, I don't want the forum to turn into Key Publishing forum or f-16.net.


I will think it over and come back with some suggestions for a vote.
 

Steve Pace

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I personally feel that the forum is fine just the way it is - it's up to the members to post within the proper forum section. I'm guilty of posting within the wrong section several times and I've been striving to be more accurate. Just my two cents. -SP
 

Stargazer2006

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One option that I see in use on other forums but that somehow didn't make it to SP is the use of child boards.

See the following page for an example of this: http://www.whatifmodelers.com/index.php?action=forum

With that system, you keep the general structure of the forum unchanged but you create sub-categories in which people can submit more accurately.

Anyway, just a thought.
 

Triton

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JFC Fuller said:
One of the things I have noticed is some discussions about programmes which only made it to prototype/demonstrator phase- or of which only a small number were built prior to cancellation; have been turning up in the Aerospace section or the Bar when to my mind they would be better placed in the relevant projects section. Conversely, a number of active projects (such as the US Army GCV programme) are being discussed in the projects section but would be much better located in the General section of the forum.

Members make their best guess of where they should create their topics and replies based on the information that they know about a particular system or project and what they believe are the current Secret Projects forums guidelines. I believe that these topics and replies should be reported using the "Report to moderator" feature. A moderator can then move these topics and posts to the correct forums and boards.

JFC Fuller said:
A formalised methodology for moving previously active but now defunct projects into the projects section may be a good idea?

I disagree. I believe that creating a formalized methodology would require moderators to periodically scan all the forums topics and replies and move these topics and replies to their now correct forums and boards. I don't know how many thousands of topics and replies we have now on Secret Projects and I believe that it is too large of a job to expect the moderators to be active editors.

Kudos to moderators such as Stéphane Beaumort, aka Stargazer 2006, for volunteering to go throw the post war projects forum and create new topics and move existing replies.

JFC Fuller said:
I absolutely concur that the forum degenerating into a key publishing or defence talk style creche would be a disaster; this forum has flourished because that has been avoided and the sort of individuals who drive forums in that direction have for the most part been kept away.

Again, I believe that the "Report to moderator" function should be used when members find inappropriate, off topic, or low quality posts that are contrary to the standards that we want to maintain here on Secret Projects. With a voluntary moderator staff who also have job, family, and other commitments, I think it is too much to ask to expect them to read the entirety of the forums on an active basis. I believe that each member has a responsibility to maintain the quality of the forums.

Further, some members feel that they are entitled to act like moderators in their replies and these replies should be reported using the "Report to moderator" function. When members do this, they only generate resentment from the original poster that can lead to active battles on the forums. They have no right to be take it on themselves to be enforcers of editorial standards. I find nothing more useless than smart ass replies that a member should use the Search function when they create a duplicate topic. The member should be presumed to have made an active effort to determine that there was not an existing topic when he or she posted and their topic was created in error.

This comment is not directed at JFC Fuller or anyone in particular, but I find nothing more worthless than a post in the Site Feedback forum, or elsewhere, that Secret Projects is turning into, or is in danger of turning into the Key Publishing forums or another forum, or forums, whose content we find to be low quality or objectionable. Such hysteria and broad generalizations are lazy and totally unhelpful in improving the quality of the forums here on Secret Projects. If you find a topic or reply that is of low quality or contrary to the editorial standards of Secret Projects, you should take it upon yourself to bring it to the attention of a moderator. There is no way that the forums can be improved if complaints are made painting broad strokes or making generalizations regarding content. Feedback needs to be specific so the issues can be addressed directly in the topics and replies.
 

Triton

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Steve Pace said:
I personally feel that the forum is fine just the way it is - it's up to the members to post within the proper forum section. I'm guilty of posting within the wrong section several times and I've been striving to be more accurate. Just my two cents. -SP

Steve, you could use the "Report to moderator" function to ask that your replies by moved to the correct place if, on reflection, you believe that they should have been created someplace else.
 

Triton

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I also don't see why members couldn't PM Paul, or another moderator, concerning forum housekeeping issues or questions. Members should remember that it is extremely difficult to address issues that are stated broadly or as generalizations. They really should be addressed on a case by case basis when the issues occur, not weeks or months after they occur.
 

Stargazer2006

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Triton said:
Steve, you could use the "Report to moderator" function to ask that your replies by moved to the correct place if, on reflection, you believe that they should have been created someplace else.

Except this won't work since you can't report to a moderator on a post you wrote yourself! Sending a PM to a moderator seems therefore the most sensible option.
 

Triton

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Stargazer2006 said:
Triton said:
Steve, you could use the "Report to moderator" function to ask that your replies by moved to the correct place if, on reflection, you believe that they should have been created someplace else.

Except this won't work since you can't report to a moderator on a post you wrote yourself! Sending a PM to a moderator seems therefore the most sensible option.

I thought that this feature was changed. As far as I know my report was submitted.
 

Jemiba

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Triton said:
... As far as I know my report was submitted.
It was ! And making suggestions, asking for corrections via PM works fine, too. A difference
may be the time frame you'll get a result. A report is visible for all admins/mods, a PM to the chosen
one only, of course. If that one is not online/busy with other things etc., it may take a little longer.
On the other hand, honestly, the "Reports to a moderator" still yet aren't the most-loved stuff here,
as they are mainly are a repository, where you get to know, who was offended by whom, after being
insulted by himself... I rather like to react to a PM .... ;)
 

Stargazer2006

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Jemiba said:

Good to hear! Means the settings have been tweaked fairly recently on this particular point.

Jemiba said:
And making suggestions, asking for corrections via PM works fine, too. (...) I rather like to react to a PM .... ;)

My thoughts exactly! ;D
 

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