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Say It Right Series

What are Groups?

Posted by boran September 5, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: groups

I think the groups feature has an identity crisis.  It's not sure what it wants to be - an area where like-minded people can discuss similar interests or an attempt at topic categorization.  I think that groups are trying to be two separate things which makes the implementation and usability a bit awkward.

If groups are truly a place for special interests than they should be treated as such and not mixed in with the other general conversations.  General conversations are getting buried even faster now since the groups feature has been introduced.  As such, I'm seeing more and more messages that don't apply to me.  I think it's great that people can connect like this but it's current implementation is creating more noise (purely subjective here) for me to navigate around.

Also, some groups are really analogous to a sub-forum, an attempt to categorize certain conversations.  It seems weird to me that I have to "join" these groups to post in them.  Again, it adds more noise for me. 

My suggestions:

  • Do not mix group conversations with the rest of the general conversations.  Perhaps have a separate list on the same conversations page allowing the user to see all group conversations or just those that apply to them.
  • Have a search feature to find the groups that interest you as well as a better way to navigate the current groups.  This becomes even more important as more groups are added and the possibility of duplicated groups increases. 

I'm not really sure how to distinguish between groups and groups that act like sub-forums.  My fear is that more of these sub-forum groups will be created but without a proper UI to navigate through them, it will become a mess.

I understand that the groups feature is still new and can definitely see people getting value out of them but I'm concerned about what things will look like as more groups are created.

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