Some changes to the forum categories, new icons

  • muench
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Some changes to the forum categories, new icons

Dear all,

With this post, I just want to prepare you for some upcoming changes to the forum categories. You will notice this change in the next few days when the top bar with the icons will suddenly look different.

These changes are based on the survey results (see here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/10-gen...it=12&start=12#11031 ) and I think are well deliberated, with inputs from many people.

It is a direct reaction to people's comments to the question "Do you think a re-structuring of the forum categories is necessary?".

Whilst some people felt the categories are not so important, I think they are rather important for three main reasons:
  • The e-mail digest (which most people use as their prime source of information for new posts) is grouped by category.
  • Users can subscribe to certain categories, thereby only receiving posts by e-mail in that category.
  • The first thing that new users notice are the category icons; this gives them an impression about what is being discussed on this forum.
Based on the survey results, the following weaknesses of the current structure were revealed which we will address now:
  • Too many good things are buried in "Miscellaneous".
  • There is too much overlap between "Sanitation systems" and "Science and technology".
  • The category on "hygiene, health and schools" is too large and encompasses themes which are not expected under that title, for example CLTS and psychology.
  • We have too many "technical" catgories and too few "non technical" categories, even if there are a lot of "non technical" subjects being discussed these days - they tend to be hidden under "Miscellanous" or the large "Hygiene and health" category.
Therefore, what we are going to change in the next few days (numbering of icons from left to right on the front page):
  • Change text that goes with the 3rd icon to: Mind sets & attitudes (= new working title!)
  • Change text that goes with the 4th icon to: Resource recovery
  • Change text that goes with the 5th icon to: Governance & business (= new working title!)
  • Change text that goes with the 6th icon to: Announcements & miscellaneous
Once Steffen has made these changes in the front page of the forum, I will then move the sub-categories to find their new homes. Luckily, moving threads or sub-categories does not affect their hyperlinks. So any links we have used to threads in the past will still work.

I have indicated that the titles of the two new categories are "working titles". Once I have moved things around, then I invite you all to take a look at the new structure and then we can together modify these working titles if needed to come up with something better.

After that, we will also invite you to help us design suitable icons for these two new categories.

Sounds good? Then please stay tuned for these upcoming changes and let's see how it looks. This is a somwehat iterative process that is not set in stone. Our forum is dynamic and from time to time we have to adjust the forum categories to match them with where the energy and interests of the users lie.

Regards,
Elisabeth

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  • KimAndersson
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Re: Some changes to the forum categories

Dear Elisabeth and all,
I very much like the set of new categories and think that they are relevant and appropriate. Great work!!

Still I have some questions regarding the ‘mind sets and attitudes’ category.
First of all, it seems that when you enter the category, it says ‘Mind sets and attitudes, CLTS’, which indicate that CLTS is the major topic under this category. Secondly, I’m somewhat questioning whether CLTS should have its own sub-category or if it would be better to have one called ‘behavioural intervention approach’ or ‘social intervention approaches’? Then the supporting text underneath could say something like ‘Discussions around different social intervention approaches (e.g. CLTS and PHAST), their strengths and weaknesses.’

About the title of the category itself, maybe ‘Mind sets’ and ‘Attitudes’ are too similar terms. Maybe the title could be ‘Behaviour and Attitudes’?

Best regards,
Kim

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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Some changes to the forum categories

Dear Elisabeth,

Just a quick response....

Where would the following fit in?

Human right to sanitation
Policy
Innovation in sanitation
Political commitments (like political willingness)
Monitoring and evaluation

Instead of mindsets and attitudes, can we rephrase it as attitudes and behaviour change?
Mindset seems a narrow term. These headings should be broad in nature.

And, how about Governance and sanitation business, instead Governance and business (this gives me a bit blank feeling).

Regards,

F H Mughal

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  • hajo
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Re: Some changes to the forum categories

hi all,

one of the sustainability criteria calls for 'Socio-cultural and institutional aspects', I feel the category 'mindset & attitudes' could possibly be called accordingly 'Socio-cultural aspects' and can then include CLTS and else.

The 'institutional aspect' of sustainability will be covered in the category 'Governance & Business' maybe called 'Sanitation Governance & Business' but since the whole forum is about sanitation we may as well drop it to make the category title shorter.

ciao Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Some changes to the forum categories

Hi Elisabeth

Thanks for all this work!

One thought: It is not totally intuitive to me how you have designed the categories "sanitation systems" and "resource recovery".
A few questions that come up to my mind when I look at them:
- Does "system" refer to technological system": means the technologies required along the sanitation chain?
- Or do you refer to system as the interaction of all technical, institutional, operational, social and environmental aspect regarding water and wastewater management in a given area?
(For me, the simplest explanation is that it considers all the processes required to manage the local water and nutrient including the operation and maintenance of theses processes)
- Where would threads regarding resource recovery oriented sanitation system best be placed? And where should fit threats of the on reuse technologies?
There are many more questions I could list here.

I description of the rather short category titles may would help.

However, the most important thing is that people find stuff easily and for this I believe a powerful search and advanced search tool is much more useful to – especially for lay users!!! (That is the experience I have with the SSWM Toolbox where we also face the challenge of putting a loooot of information into an accessible structure – we managed somehow but after-hand I would prefer we would have been inversting more of our efforts into the search tool...).

Cheers, Dorothee

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  • muench
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Re: Some changes to the forum categories

Dear Kim, Mughal, Hajo and Dorothee,

Thank you very much for your good suggestions!

Let me try to summarise what has been said:

The category title "Mindsets and attitudes" should be changed to:
  • Behaviour and Attitudes (says Kim)
  • Attitudes and behaviour change (says Mughal)
  • Socio-cultural aspects (suggestion by Hajo)
Personally, I prefer Kim's and Mughal's suggestion because it is less abstract than Hajo's suggestion. If I had to come up with an icon, I would do something with a brain, whereas for "socio-cultural aspects" it would be much harder (and there might also be overlap with the category on governance in that case).

So far now I have changed it to Attitudes and behaviours, see here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/96-attitudes-and-behaviours
(note this is not yet reflected in the title below the icon in the top banner as I cannot change that myself)

Kim suggested that a sub-category for CLTS is not needed and that topics on CLTS could appear in a sub-category called 'behavioural intervention approach’ or ‘social intervention approaches'.
We currently have a sub-category called "Behaviour change and user psychology issues", see here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/71-beh...er-psychology-issues

I have now moved the CLTS sub-category to be a sub-sub-category of the behaviour change category (as the main aspect about CTLs is behaviour change, right?). *

Is that good? See here to have an overview of how this structure now looks like:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/96-attitudes-and-behaviours

I was worried that it might be too "hidden" like this, but it does seem more logical, so I have followed Kim's suggestion on this one.

This reminds me of a comment that was made in the user survey, perhaps the person who wrote this (or someone who feels similarly) could say something about this and how things could be improved:

Fewer topics, and greater focus on program implementation. For example - this is one of the worst sites to look for information on CLTS or other community and demand-driven approaches. I sense the site is hostile to these sorts of approaches.


I am going to address the other points in a separate post.

Regards,
Elisabeth


* Edit on 4 December: I changed my mind on this and moved CLTS up a level again - back to sub-category level. Reason: make it more inviting for the "CLTS community" to also feel part of this Forum and to use it.

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Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • cecile
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Re: Some changes to the forum categories

Dear Elizabeth,

Attitudes and behaviours seems also much better. I though the topics would be cross cutting with health and hygiene but in fact they are not.
What about the French category ?

For the search option, could there be a possibility to decide to search in the forum only ? For example if I am searching a post on CLTS I would prefer not to see all the library entries with CLTS.

Thanks !

Cecile

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  • muench
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Re: Some changes to the forum categories

Dear Cécile,

Yes, topics that go across several categories will always be there to some extent, but I suggest that users put their topics into the category where they want to place the main emphasis of discussion. And if the thread develops into a different area over time, it can still be moved (or in some cases split in two, although this is done sparingly nowadays).

The French category is now gone. All French posts have been integrated into the forum's thematic area by Roslyn for the secretariat, see her post here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/135-qu...ategory-of-the-forum

About the search option, I totally agree with you. I have asked our IT developer Steffen what can be done in this respect as I think the user should have the choice to either search the entire SuSanA platform or to only search the Forum. The search is always accessible at the top right or here: forum.susana.org/gsearch . There is this Forum search page provided by Kunena but I find it not very good:
forum.susana.org/forum/search

We will definetely work on optimising the search function buttons, this is something that came out of the survey as well.
I agree with Dorothee as well that a good search function is paramount for people who know what they are looking for; for those who don't know, they need the categories to help them browse, I think.

Regards,
Elisabeth

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  • muench
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Re: Some changes to the forum categories

Dear Mughal,

Thanks for your questions about the new forum categories.

You asked:

Where would the following fit in?

  • Human right to sanitation
  • Policy
  • Innovation in sanitation
  • Political commitments (like political willingness)
  • Monitoring and evaluation


My answers would be:

Human right to sanitation
--> this is under governance here with its own (new) sub-sub-category: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/181-hu...water-and-sanitation

Policy
--> also under governance here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/142-up...-sanitation-policies

Innovation in sanitation
--> in the "sanitation systems" category: forum.susana.org/index.php?option=com_ku...iew=showcat&catid=33

Political commitments (like political willingness)
Monitoring and evaluation


--> both would be in the governance category, e.g. in the sub-category on enabling environment:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/97-enabling-environment

So I think they all have a nice "home" in the new structure. :-)

And you said:

And, how about Governance and sanitation business, instead Governance and business (this gives me a bit blank feeling).


What do you mean by that? Are you thinking of corruption issues? Normally governance and business should go nicely hand in hand. I don't really want to add the term "sanitation" to any of the categories as they are all about sanitation "(mind you, the second category does include the term "sanitation" as part of its name "sanitation systems).

Regards,
Elisabeth

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  • muench
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Re: Some changes to the forum categories

Dear Dorothee,

You said:

- Does "system" refer to technological system": means the technologies required along the sanitation chain?
- Or do you refer to system as the interaction of all technical, institutional, operational, social and environmental aspect regarding water and wastewater management in a given area?
(For me, the simplest explanation is that it considers all the processes required to manage the local water and nutrient including the operation and maintenance of theses processes)


The systems category has its focus on technologies, i.e. technical, operational, environmental - but less so institutional and social aspects which I would rather see discussed in the other categories).

The easiest way to find out what a category should entail is to click on the icon and review the sub-categories and posts made. Then it becomes clear relatively quickly what fits into that category.
But to make it more clear, I have now written a short 2-sentence text under each category, see e.g. here for the second category on "sanitation systems":
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/33-sanitation-systems

Where it now says (at the top):
The focus in this categories is on technologies required along the sanitation chains - primarily toilets, transport and treatment (but not reuse as this is in a separate category called "Resource recovery").

and on the page of the "Resource recovery" category it now says:
The focus in this category is on technological, institutional and social aspects surrounding resource recovery from sanitation systems, be it for fertiliser, soil conditioner, water, fuel, electricity or biomass.

Does that make it clearer? Basically the idea is to place a topic in that category where you want to emphasis the discussion on. If you want to emphasis on technology, then the right category is "sanitation systems" (except for the technologies on resource recovery, which should go into the resource recovery category).

You said:

A description of the rather short category titles may would help.


Done. Please give me feedback on the descriptions. View them by clicking on the category icons.

Your point about the search function, I totally agree with (as I just posted above in my response to Cécile).

More feedback by you all about the new category, sub-category and sub-sub-category structure is always welcome!

Also your ideas on how the two new icons should look would be welcome. I am thinking for the category on "Attitudes and Behavious" we could have a brain and a hand somehow. For the icon on "Governance and business" we could have a symbol for a parliament and for money.

Regards,
Elisabeth

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  • muench
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Re: Some changes to the forum categories

Dear all,

As you have probably noticed, we now have new icons for the two new categories, and we have modified two of the existing icons.

These are the two icons that are new:

Attitudes & behaviours:


Business, governance:


And these are the two icons that are modified compared to before:

Resource recovery:



Announcements and miscellaneous:



They are not yet perfect, I know. For the one on attitudes and behaviours perhaps should be a bit more "active" to signify a behaviour? And for the one on "business, governance" we probably need something better than just the dollar sign to signify "business".

By the way, we are having discussions behind the scenes if the category "business, governance" should be split in two.

Arguments for splitting it in two:
  • The are both very broad categories with not so much in common.
  • People who are interested in business aspects might not realise that they should look in this category to find their topics. And the same would apply for people interested in governance aspects.
Arguments for keeping it in one:
  • Business and governance do have a logical connection because the government sets a lot of laws and other types of frameworks within which the businesses should operate in.
  • Would new users find it scary/confusing to have too many distinct categories?
  • There is not (yet) so much content in this category that would warrant splitting it in two - we wanted to have roughly an equal size for the categories (in terms of sub-categories and threads made in that category). Admittedly, the category on "sanitation systems" is very large in terms of number of threads in that category. But that's due to all the technology-related topics which we like to discuss there.
  • We are running out of space to display an eight category. It means the icons would have to become smaller or be arranged differently.
So with this post I would like to encourage you to provide feedback on the category icons? Don't be afraid to tell us that you don't like them, we are always open to feedback and new ideas.

And feedback about the question of splitting the category "Business, governance" in two is of course also welcome.

Regards,
Elisabeth


+++++++

Note by moderator: the discussion continued about the category "business, governance" in this thread:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/10-gen...e-and-new-icon#11312

Community manager and chief moderator of this forum
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Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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