Thanks for taking the time to think about this. Here’s the case I would make for splitting them out totally.
The single most important factor in the success of community support forums is the perception people have as to how timely and helpful the advice given is. Three things help that goal:
- a large user base that checks in on the forums frequently;
- the ability for people with problems to easily find relevant previously-given advice or discussions;
- a low “barrier to answer” where people who could help answer questions spend as little time as possible finding questions they can answer, leaving more time for actually answering them
Naturally, forum organization can only partially affect these things, but where it can, I think it should.
I was an early administrator of the Gentoo Linux Forums, and its organization reflects these factors. The “Off the Wall” and “Gentoo Chat” categories encourage community-building and get people to check in on the site even when they’re not actively engaged in something involving the distro, raising #1.
#2 is addressed by the “Documentation, Tips and Tricks” category, which basically consists of curated sticky threads, and the “Duplicate Threads” category, which mods use to prune the main forums of dupes without totally deleting them.
#3 is where I think the Ionic forums would really benefit from a reorg that cleanly and deliberately splits Angular, React, Vue, and whatever other frameworks people might want to drop Ionic components into. The architecture-specific forums allowed the devs who were working on those ports be able to come in and deal only with stuff that was really in their wheelhouse. To today’s largely amd64 world, that particular way of slicing may seem archaic and silly, but 15 years ago, it really helped.
I’m not sure if Ionic has the userbase Gentoo did to justify the various non-English forums, but that also really helped #2 and #3, allowing people to contribute in a human language more comfortable for them. On a technical note, I don’t know if Discourse has the ability to make people mods of only particular subforums, but we used that feature of phpBB liberally.
Thanks for listening.