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Could forum order affect choice of posting location?

Posts: 1367
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I've been giving a bit of thought to the heroic effort provided by the moderators to keep topics in the correct places.

Would it help the situation to have the 'beginner' forum at the top so that many of the new visiters post to a 'general' forum by default rather than posting various topics in the servlets (and jsp) forum(s)?

At the time of writing this post, the first page of the various 'java section' forums hold the following number of locked topics (assuming moved, though some may be duplicates or locked for any other reason, of course):

Servlets - 14
JSP - 10
JSF - 0
Portals - 1
EJB - 3
Distributed java - 1
Object Relational Mapping - 1
JDBC - 5
Web Services - 0
Swing/AWT/etc - 2
JNLP and WebStart - 1
Java ME - 2
Sockets and Internet Protocols - 1
Threads - 0
Performance - 1
Applets - 1
I/O and Streams - 3
Other Java APIs - 3
Game development - 0
Java in General (Beginner) - 1
Java in General (Intermediate) - 5
Java in General (Advanced) - 34

Holy cow on the Advanced forum! Either this busts my hypothesis that new arrivals might prefer to post in the first forum they lay their eyes on, or when you are really stuck, no matter how much of a beginner you are, all questions can be considered 'tough'.

I'm relatively new to the site, so I have no idea whether you have experimented with stuff like this before, or whether there have been endless discussions on the topic (I tried searching for 'wrong forum' and 'forum order' in the Javaranch forum, but nothing like this came up).
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Well, the Advanced forum is a strange case - we discussed it some back here. My theory is that some people just want their question to be answered by "advanced" people, even if the question isn't advanced. But I could be wrong.

Anyway, I do think that forum order has some affect on where people post, especially for newcomers. We chose the current order somewhat intentionally because we wanted new users to look to see if there was a more appropriate specific forum, before they posted in the JiG groups. We didn't want the JiG groups to be full, and the other groups have no traffic. I'm not sure how much effect that really has, but that was our intent.

The flip side of that is, yes, a lot of people seem to post in Servlets and JSPs because (a) they're at the top, and (b) many people are, in fact, working with servlets and JSPs, even if their questions have little to do with the servlets and JSPs themselves. So yes, it might be nice to get some of the people posting in Servlets & JSPs to consider posting elsewhere (especially JiG Beginner or Intermediate). But I also have the feeling that whatever we put at the top has a good chance of getting extra posts unrelated to its topic. So I'm not sure there's an ideal solution here... but we'd welcome further comments.
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A line between the promotion info and the list of forums. Something like : "please choose the most appropriate forum for your question". But I think no body will see it
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Just to add a little to what's already been said. In addition to being at the top, the Servlets forum gets a lot of basic "how to compile" questions which, even though it's a servlet that they're trying to compile, isn't a servlet question and ends up getting moved to the beginner forum.

The JSP forum gets lots of posts about stuff that goes on in a JSP that really aren't related to JSP technology at all. For example, questions on HTML or JavaScript, or doing File I/O, or dealing with properties files and so on. And of course, there's specific forums for questions on Struts, open source libraries, and containers such as Tomcat or WebSphere. Lots of questions that are placed in JSP may be specific to one of those areas and get moved.
Katrina Owen
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This question seems to be related to the basic questions of "How can we get newcomers to read the FAQ, search, post useful message titles, and use code tags".

Truly: How *does* one encourage someone to think something through?

Thanks for the input on the issues with servlets/JSP, and the link to the discussion on the advanced forum.
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