Forum Conversation: Changes to categories and category names

Hi Generator!

Following up from our member nite- One of the things we talked about was categories; names and need.

So I’d like to open this discussion up:
We discussed Consolidating General and Discussion,
We discussed Changing ‘Members’ to something else (Call to Artists? Barter town?)
We discussed that we want to add a shops category,

SO I’d like to formally open this up for discussion with the hopes of refining it, or adding changes. I’d like to do all the update work at once, so i’d love more specific input here. If i’ve forgotten anything important, my apologies, and i’d love to see it here.

Thank you!


My first suggestion would be to move this post to the proper category: Site Feedback :wink:

This is the current layout of the Forum:

This is my proposal for improvements:

A couple of priorities I had in mind while re-designing:

  • Do no harm - This forum needs to meet the existing standards of our current forum
  • Comprehension - How clear are the classifications to any new user
  • UX - How clear is the process of navigation to any new user
  • Humanism - How inviting is the space

So lets step through them:

  1. Announcements Announcements constitute the bulk of the current forum. Michael Metz is the single most prolific user of the forum and primarily uses it to distribute information about news and events. That is very important. That is also why this category is first.

  2. Member’s Lounge Previously categorized as General and Discussion… both can be folded into this one category. I prefer Member’s Lounge over either because the title creates a clear, welcoming, and informal mental space.

  3. Showcase Previously called Projects, the term Showcase has a bit more panache. If our motivation is to get people to show more of their work… I feel this helps a bit. Projects works fine for some builds like a table, or a robot… but someone who might write an interesting bit of code might not consider it to be a full fledged “Project” and be reluctant to share something that doesn’t seem big or tangible.

  4. Inspiration The purpose of this category is creative momentum. Ideas without projects. The work of other artists. Design tips from nature. This is where I would tend to post the bulk of my posts.

  5. Exchange I still feel this should be its own category. There have been enough posts on the google group to warrant it’s own category. It’s also a means of communication that expires rather quickly so it makes sense to keep transient posts together.

  6. Wiki Any information that Generator has that changes the least frequently and doesn’t require a dialogue. A breakout of the proposed sections of the wiki is listed below.

  7. Site Feedback Probably won’t get much traffic, but should be in here.

  8. Admin Previously called Lounge, I liked the name so much I felt it was better suited to use for the Member’s Lounge. Admin will only be seen by people doing the forum maintenance so fairly straight forward.

Well… that’s what I got.
Looking forward to hearing what everyone else comes up with.



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This is all really thoughtful and relevant to our community, Thank’s Mike.

Is the idea of “Exchange” as in people offering/searching for materials? Is there any more to it than that?

Overall, i almost feel like if site feedback won’t be used often, we might as well just make it a tag that people can use instead, but maybe keeping it separate will help for people who don’t want to be e-mail subscribed. I’m still not positive if people can be selectively subscribed to tags, vs by category.


I would say leave Site Feedback up there. Since not everybody can edit the Wiki it may help members alert administrators to corrections. It doesn’t cost anything and its at the bottom. Every site has it.

Yes, Exchange is what it says… buy, sell, trade, donate “stuff”. Not limited to materials. A garage full of old lumber, a certain model raspi, 100ft of ethernet cable, tools, etc. What would have been “bartertown” only in plain English.

You may have noticed my tendency to change nouns to verbs. I find this helpful in communicating not only what the thing is (noun) but how it should be used (verb). Also, as an animator, I see every “thing” in the world as a verb. :wink:


I feel like the wiki should not be a place for discussion it should just be a reference.

So with that in mind I would recommend that we move the “Shops” into its own category. I am still of a mind that there should be a category for each major area but I feel tags can properly capture the areas as well

I moved Shops to the Wiki because I imagined it being used for Shop reference… not dialogue.

I feel we need a dedicated place for Shop information, but I’m not sure there would be enough dialogue among shop users to warrant a dedicated forum category for each shop. I feel like we’ll gain a little more momentum and be able to fill the void a little faster if we have people posting to the Lounge, Showcase, or Inspiration (with tags) regardless of shop.

However, if we had a ton of traffic/members I would completely agree with you, but as is I was trying to keep things tight.


The reason I would not want to start that way is the number one complaint I hear from people is that they are not interested in whats going on with Shop A and only want info (notifications) from Shop B. They eventually stop paying attention to the whole thing because they have to see all the notifications.

That why I originally started looking into proper forums for the Generator

I tend to be interested in just about every area that Generator has to offer so I was not aware people felt that way.

That would mean of course that having a “Shops” category would not suffice… you would need to double the number of current categories to include each shop. Certainly possible… I just imagine many of them sitting empty.


Mike I also tend to watch all the areas but can understand the complaint.

I do not think we need categories although I would not object as I originally suggested that but @RobinLloydMiller made a good point that it becomes very fractured like that. Alternatively the tags can be used to trigger notifications?

I’ll definitely have to look into it!

alternatively is having a “shops” category as a parent category, like wiki is, and we do in fact split everything in there- it’d keep it tidy; since sub categories don’t display as their own bar on the front page, and would allow for people to subscribe to all of it, or certain parts of it-

would that still feel like too many?

would that be a better alternative then tag based triggers?
I think it’d make the tags a little redundant, but not entirely redundant as they’d have some practically separate uses.

I like the idea of setting up the Shops with sub directories. I think thats a great compromise for all concerns

Agreed! :+1:

Without any further comments, I’ll be implementing these changes Tuesday Night unless anyone has any obligations-

Thanks for being proactive about this! I’ve had some things to post but have been waiting for forum adjustments.

What waiting for change to post cool things?! :dizzy_face:

The changes look good, although I am not sure I am a fan of the tiled format.

One thing thats always bothered me is the Rapid Prototyping area now being called Prototyping.
We place the laser, 3d printers and maybe the vinyl cutter in that category.
Everything in our building can be used for prototyping and where the laser is pretty quick the plasma can match it and the other cnc machines can exceed its capabilities with similar speeds.

The 3d printer is far from quick if you have simple shapes that can be milled (a lot of the stuff that gets printed can be milled).

All that aside I have no better name for it just a feel that we should have a better name.
Anyone have any ideas? Or am I overthinking this?

This is making every bone in my body scream. Please tell me we have something better. :persevere:

I agree also with Gary. Rapid Prototyping is the proper name. Laser, 3D Printers, and Vinyl Cutter.

Can we please change the “sub headings” for each area as well? Half of them have the old headings that don’t make any sense.

Would also like to see Announcements come before the Member’s Lounge and to Matt’s earlier point at the member’s meeting… the top menu bar should reflect the same titles and order.


My point about Prototyping or even Rapid Prototyping is that it is not an accurate name, but I do not have a better suggestion.

To clarify your point though it is the way the bullets are displayed above or is it just that some have awkward names? I think if we moved back to the “list” method it might look a bit more tidy. Names could use some help but they get the point across

I do agree that Announcements should probably be at the front.

Ultimately I think I’d prefer the list view. It’s much better for forums. Tiles are better for visual based information design like Netflix or Instagram. If you look at the site on a mobile platform it reverts to a list view which is really very nice.

I knew what you were saying Gary… I was just trying to distract you. Rapid Prototyping is what generator has called that section for some time. The forum should reflect that. Perhaps it’s not the best name, but I feel it’s good enough for the time being. I hate that all software related skills are generically grouped in with the “Learning Lab”, but people know what it is.


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I did not think software skills were grouped into learning lab, that said I also did not think we had a software group. Nobody is really helming that either though right?

And we should never just do things because they were always done that way. We can always change and update when a bit of inspiration comes our way. I just have not had any inspiration in terms of a more appropriate name for the laser and 3d printer group. But now would be a good time to figure to out