Hi freeCodeCamp contributor team, I have some exciting updates for the forum.
Forum link in Navbar
First of all, you may have noticed that we removed the link to the forum from /learn. We wanted to simplify /learn’s navigation. But it’s clear that many of us campers want to be able to go straight to the forum from /learn without having to use the address bar.
So tomorrow we will add the Forum link to the navigation bar of both /news and /learn.
In the past, we have experimented with stand-alone forums for different world languages. But there are some compelling reasons why it makes more sense to have all world languages here together on the same forum.
It reinforces to people that freeCodeCamp is indeed a global community. Only about 20% of people who use freeCodeCamp are here in the US where we’re based. People all around the world use freeCodeCamp, in every single country on Earth (yes – even North Korea).
Many of us are multi-lingual, and could effortlessly move between threads in multiple languages, helping people in the languages that people use when they ask for help.
Hosting all major world languages here on the same forum makes it much easier for people to realize “Oh – hey – I can talk to people in Spanish here, too.” In the past, this has been harder to point this out to campers, and we’ve had to figure out good ways to tell them “oh, hey, we have a Chinese forum over here.” Instead, they can just easily discover these other languages just browsing the forum.
Having everyone on the same forum means we can reduce the number of accounts contributors have to keep track of (such as freeCodeCamp curriculum, freeCodeCamp forum, GitHub, Discord.)
English is likely to remain the most-widely used language in the freeCodeCamp community. For perspective, even with Wikipedia’s many available languages, about 50% of all use of Wikipedia is their English version.
We will also decide the best ways to filter out non-English results from Search.
The simplest way to do this is to make every world language a top-level subforum. For example, I have gone ahead and created our language-specific subforum here:
I propose that each of our parent-level language subforums have these 9 child subforums. Why these specific 9 subforums?
Simplifying the Forum Into Just 9 Subforums for Each Language
We started out with many, many subforums over the past 4 years. We have gradually consolidated these into a few broad, highly active subforums.
Since we are about to add several world langauge-specific subforums, this is a great time to merge some of our less-active subforums into the more active subforums.
Here are the 9 subforums I think we should have in every world language we support:
- Project Feedback
- Career Advice
- You Can Do This!
- Programming Help
- freeCodeCamp Support
This is much simpler than our current English-language subforum configuration.
Proposed Simplifications for Our Current English-language Subforum Configuration
Currently we have 3 subforums that are a bit fuzzy in their purpose:
- Front End Help
- Back End Help
I propose we merge these 3 subforums into a single subforum called “Programming Help”. This will become the default subforum since – historically – getting programming help has been the most common reason people use freeCodeCamp.
We can not only get rid of ambiguity here, but also simplify the English subforums so that none of them have any child subforums. This is important because the Discourse forum software only allows for 2 levels of subforums (parent and child, but not grand-child). So this would make the English language subforums consistent with the other languages.
Other Subforum Optimizations
I also propose we merge “Mobile App Development”, “DevOps”, “Data Science + Machine Learning”, and “Design” into our new “Programming Help” subforum. These subforms are not particularly active, and I think one reason is that their purpose is not as clear.
All of this should dramatically simplify the process of choosing a subforum for a new post.
- Is it about the Python ecosystem (TensorFlow, NumPy, SciKit Learn, Tkinter)? Post it in Python.
- Is it about something else? Post it in Programming Help.
In the past, we spread our forum community too thin with too many subforums. (At one point we had them for almost every major programming language and for major technologies like Linux and Git.) Over the past year, we’ve successfully simplified the structure, and the community has seems to be posting more as a result.
I am optimistic that by further simplifying things, we can make it easier for campers to use the forum, and easier for contributors to answer questions here. This will also counteract the Paradox of Choice, which essentially means that the more options you present campers with (in this case, subforums to post in) the less likely a camper is to choose to post in any of them.
What are your thoughts?
Do you think it will be OK for us to simplify the structure of the subforums, and distill them down to 9 core subforums for each world language?
Do you think doing this will make it easier for you as a contributor to reply to questions as campers ask them?
What do you think of these 9 subforums I’ve chosen, and their importance in the grand scheme of the forum?
Thanks for your feedback.