The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Questions and discussion about building and using Max for Live devices
mastahlee
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:49 pm

Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by mastahlee » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:07 pm

Dennis DeSantis wrote:Hi folks,

Sorry to take so long for an "official" Ableton response to this topic but, as always, we're buried in projects.

I would say that for now, the best solution would be the one Gregory proposed - ignore the word "Beta" in this forum's name. For all intents and purposes, this is Ableton's official location for Max for Live discussion. We'll change the name soon, and we have plans to reorganize the Ableton forums in general in the near future to make things easier to navigate.

But just because this is OUR official spot for these discussions doesn't necessitate that it's the most active one or even the most useful one. There are also communities at and around Cycling '74's website, as well as the enormously valuable third-party sites such as those run by Clint and Mike.

For right now (and perhaps forever), Cycling's forums are probably much more valuable than Ableton's for users seeking information about the finer points of Max programming. For users looking for a device repository, we simply have nothing to offer right now. maxforlive.com provides a solution here.

As for whether or not it makes more sense to create a single central point for discussion or to let it evolve naturally, we don't have an answer. We certainly could have invested time in developing a better forum structure in preparation for the release, but this would have strained resources and we would have had no way of knowing if it would become the preferred space.

It's also important to us (and I assume to Cycling) to meet users where they are. Maybe Cycling's forums are a more natural place for a certain user simply because that user already feels like they're part of a community there (and vice versa).

In short: if you're getting the information you need, then you're at the right place. I hope this helps to clarify the situation.

Best,
Thanks Dennis, definitely appreciate you taking the time to respond. Thanks for clearing up the confusion about the state of the M4L Beta Discussion: It is meant to be home for permanent discussion about M4L and will not be deleted now that the beta has ended. I'm eager to see what you guys have in store for your forums overhaul. Are you keeping phpBB, switching to different forum software, or rolling your own?

Dennis DeSantis
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Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by Dennis DeSantis » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:18 pm

mastahlee wrote:Are you keeping phpBB, switching to different forum software, or rolling your own?
We have no concrete plans yet, besides the desire to improve the state of forum-like communication.

Best,

mastahlee
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:49 pm

Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by mastahlee » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:46 pm

jon_moore wrote:Ideally I'd like to see a more granular level of forum categorisation. The categories at max4live.info are a good starting point:

Image
I wanted to respond to this, because I completely disagree. I think that arbitrarily creating tons of superfluous subforums is the #1 killer of communities before they start. If I had a penny for every small community site I've run across that had their niche subject categorized into 18 different forums, with about 5 - 10 posts in each, I'd be a rich man.

The most important purpose of a forum is to be a centralized location for people of common interests can interact with one another easily about a topic. The structure of a forum should reflect that desire of bringing people together, not divvying them up into smaller chunks. When you already have a small userbase, you want to encourage all of them to interact with each other, since your problem is generating content, not categorizing it. If a community starts generating enough content that the usability problem is no longer a lack of pertinent material, but rather difficulty filtering and parsing existing material, THEN it is time to start creating subforums.

That max4live.info screenshot says it all. Take a look at the timestamps for the last post in those forums. Most of those forums have only 1-3 topics in each, and three of the forums have not been updated since last month. If you go to the forum today, this is still the case. If max4live.info just took all their subforums and stuffed them into one, all the active threads would still be visible on the first screen. This is a textbook case of unnecessary segmentation. It would take a user less time to visually scan one forum full of all the threads then to click needlessly across all these arbitrary classifications. There is just not enough content to justify separate forums for each one of these topics.

The best approach to these things is to have a dynamic forum structure that you are always changing. Start off with just one forum, a big dumping ground for Max For Live information. If that gets off the ground, and you notice that a particular subject is drowning out other threads (say, Monome and M4L integration) and active conversations are starting to be pushed "under the fold" (onto the second page), then you create a subforum for that topic to help filter and ensure the rest of active general discussions stay on the first page. If that topic then dies down and its separate forum goes stagnant, then you close it and reintegrate the conversation back into the main forum. The idea is to create new subforums on demand, and not to superimpose a structure that you, the site creator, wants to see. Just because you create subforums for Lemur, Monome, and Livid discussion does not mean people will actually discuss those things.

If you design your site to cater to the conversation, and not try strong-arm the conversation with your design, you'll get the best results.

pid
Posts: 354
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Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by pid » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:21 pm

you speak logical and brilliant truth. i went to those forums and thought, 'no way'... shame, i think m4l.info is doing great work, but there is no chance i am gonna delve into that forum mess...

2 cents, is all, design irritation, not philosophical onslaught.

i say we all head over to c74, even if their new site does suck...
3dot... wrote: in short.. we live in disappointing times..

Tone Deft
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Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by Tone Deft » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:28 pm

for me having one forum where most everyone goes and not having subdivisions means I can also get exposure to stuff I might not have looked into before. also things that apply to one project can be applied to another project. cross pollination is a good thing.
"Obsession is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin on learning the banjo

Dell Inspiron 15 7000, Live 10.1, Win10 Home, Edirol UA101, APC40, Remote SL, SPD-SX, mic, guitars, JX305, Nova
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technog0d
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Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by technog0d » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:33 am

I always take criticism from all of my users of my site. If people feel that the forums should be formatted differently then that's what i will do. I just need to know what people want. My whole site is based around user feedback and response. Please tell me how i can improve the experience and i will. Please provide constructive criticism... Like, these are the topics and/or categories that I would like to see and would contribute to.

Regards,
Michael Chenetz
Websites:
Max For Live Community site:
http://www.max4live.info
http://www.noisemakers.info

Controllers: Lemur, Ohm 64, Monome, APC40, Launchpad
Daw: Live 8 Suite
Audio Interfaces: Apogee Ensemble & Duet
Monitors: JBL LSR 4300

jon_moore
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Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by jon_moore » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:53 am

technog0d wrote:I always take criticism from all of my users of my site. If people feel that the forums should be formatted differently then that's what i will do. I just need to know what people want. My whole site is based around user feedback and response. Please tell me how i can improve the experience and i will. Please provide constructive criticism... Like, these are the topics and/or categories that I would like to see and would contribute to.
Apologies Michael, I think you have me to blame for some of these comments seeing as I posted the layout of your forums.

I was going to stay out of this one but it think a couple points are worth bearing in mind. 1.) The C74 forums have a sensible level of categorisation for Max, (MSP, Jitter, Scripting etc) which makes sense to me seeing as Max as such a deep product with a huge variety of end users. 2.) Forum categorisation makes sense for future planning. While the various M4L forums may be under subscribed at the moment the situation will hopefully not be the same in 12 months time when there may be an archive totalling many thousands of messages/topics. At that point I would have thought that it may be useful for a user to research by broad subject areas (e.g. hardware/controller integration, programming tips, device library tips). The level of granularity probably doesn't need to be as deep as you have it at the moment but three or four core areas makes sense to me.

But maybe I'm alone on this and I'm cool to go with the consensus.

Keep up the great work, max4live.info is turning out to be a fantastic community resource.
JM

http://leftside-wobble.blogspot.com/

MacBook Pro 2.8 (10.5.6)

mastahlee
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:49 pm

Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by mastahlee » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:14 pm

technog0d wrote:I always take criticism from all of my users of my site. If people feel that the forums should be formatted differently then that's what i will do. I just need to know what people want. My whole site is based around user feedback and response. Please tell me how i can improve the experience and i will. Please provide constructive criticism... Like, these are the topics and/or categories that I would like to see and would contribute to.

Regards,
Michael Chenetz
Seeing how I wrote an entire treatise on why your forums are terrible, I should probably actually offer to help.

Seriously though, I'm really glad that you're taking such an open approach to criticism. I think what you're doing is a great (Hell, I'm not willing to devote the time and energy to make a website for Max For Live users) and I only criticize as I want to try and help make everything about the Max For Live community as good as possible. My idea of helping is generally telling everyone how what they're doing is terrible and they should start doing whatever I say :P

As not to derail this thread further ( like that's even possible ), I'm sending you a PM to talk about this further.

Tone Deft
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Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by Tone Deft » Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:03 am

2 months later...

what sites are people watching for max4Live geekery?
"Obsession is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin on learning the banjo

Dell Inspiron 15 7000, Live 10.1, Win10 Home, Edirol UA101, APC40, Remote SL, SPD-SX, mic, guitars, JX305, Nova
soundcloud.com/tone-deft

zalo
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Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by zalo » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:28 am

Tone Deft wrote:2 months later...

what sites are people watching for max4Live geekery?
i would say that i go to max4live.info more than anywhere else for news and videos (this is mostly for lemur topics though, funny enough)

but usually when it comes to questions about Max/MSP, google is my first and final stop

i have very few questions about M4L actually since the API is very straight forward and every question i could have is answered in depth via help files

technog0d
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Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by technog0d » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:23 pm

Yeah... I have been doing a little to much Lemur stuff lately. I love the Lemur and use it a lot, but i am definitely going to add some other content very VERY shortly. Thanks for all of the praise btw... I do know my forums are not the best and i am trying to find ways to improve them. I would like some people to contribute to the wiki on max4live.info too. I think it would be nice to share the little tidbits of knowledge that you discover along the way. As always, I respect everyone's criticism and I am always looking at ways to improve the site and add more interesting content.

Mike
Websites:
Max For Live Community site:
http://www.max4live.info
http://www.noisemakers.info

Controllers: Lemur, Ohm 64, Monome, APC40, Launchpad
Daw: Live 8 Suite
Audio Interfaces: Apogee Ensemble & Duet
Monitors: JBL LSR 4300

zalo
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Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by zalo » Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:50 pm

i dont think there needs to be any less lemur stuff on max4live.info, but maybe thats just me

technog0d
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Re: The lack of a good, centralized M4L Community?

Post by technog0d » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:07 pm

Actually, Maybe less Lemur stuff was the wrong phrase... Because, there will be more Lemur stuff guaranteed. What we need to do is just have more diversification.

Mike
Websites:
Max For Live Community site:
http://www.max4live.info
http://www.noisemakers.info

Controllers: Lemur, Ohm 64, Monome, APC40, Launchpad
Daw: Live 8 Suite
Audio Interfaces: Apogee Ensemble & Duet
Monitors: JBL LSR 4300

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