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Forum Layout - Ideas?


VaKo
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So, the new layout proved unpopular? What are your suggestions or ideas? What do you think is missing? What do you think is needed?

Also, Community Projects is a bad name, any ideas? Its meant to be a place for projects such as Analog 5, Folding@home etc, a place that covers showcasing what people have done, and some of the old ideas about community involvement that Dev.5 was meant to be. Community Projects isn't right, and hacks mods and coding always had a massive overlap with questions.

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Might I suggest a mod of the original:

The Playground:

- Hardware Hacks, Mods (+/- Questions - They all get asked here anyway.)

- USB Hacks Script Kiddy High (USB or otherwise + All Coding)

- Pandora Time shifting [here be dragons]

The Water Cooler:

- N00b Center (All welcome center and child boards in one)

- Everything Else (+ News & Debates)

The Show:

- Hak5 & Hak5Live (+ Suggestions + Polls)

- LAN Party

- Contests

The Back Office:

- Hak.5 Radio

- #hak5

- Analog5

- Folding@Home

- Dev.5

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Sorry Vako, I'm sure you put a lot of work into the new layout, but I liked it better the old way.  If I think of anything better, I'll come back and post it.  The way it was broken up before was kind of nice, depending on what you were interested in there was a place to go for it.

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I for one really like it the way it is now. All the boards that were not of any use individually combined to a masterboard which makes everything a lot better functionality wise. Take the community project boards. There was maybe... one post a month. Now that they are combined, the look is more sleek, and because of them all being in one place, people that come for one thing, see another, make a post, and revive topics. These revived topics revive the projects and so on.

Questions and Hacks, Mods and Code have always should have been the same thing in my opinion. Questions get asked in Hacks, Mods  and Code all the time, and it was only natural for them to be joined.

News never got much use at all, and people posted news in Everything Else as well, so the condensation was good. Forum welcome center was also a bad idea in my opinion. All that was there, and all that was really needed was an introduction thread.

As for the show matters, The Lan party, Contests, and Polls boards were not utilized at all. The only topics would ever come from Darren. Contests were not used. Polls had one monthly topic, and the Lan Part only hat alot of older topics from big parties of previous episodes. This combined with Suggestions brings more content to all areas.

As for the regrouping of where certain board are, Pandora and USB hacks should definitely be with the show. Thats where they spawned from, thats where you will get information from them. #Hak5 also requires separation from the rest of the community projects. Its not run by Hak5 itself, its its own entity.

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The Playground:

- Hardware Hacks, Mods (+/- Questions - They all get asked here anyway.)

- USB Hacks Script Kiddy High (USB or otherwise + All Coding)

USB hacks needs to  be kept seperate, as just like pans people, its about a very specific topic which was featured on the show. Each season has one like it. It can't be just turned into a random script kiddy free for all, as its the very thing we're trying to cut back on.

- Pandora Time shifting [here be dragons]

The Water Cooler:

- N00b Center (All welcome center and child boards in one)

The welcome boards was orginallay a abortive attempt at creating a newbie dmz where stupid questions could be asked without fear of flamage, it was decided that we should stamp out flammage all together instead, and we were left with an entire subforum for a introduce yourself sticky.

- Everything Else (+ News & Debates)

Done

The Show:

- Hak5 & Hak5Live (+ Suggestions + Polls)

We need some distionction between discussing each episode and general chat about the show.

- LAN Party

- Contests

These where never used.

The Back Office:

- Hak.5 Radio - Again, just needs a bigger wiki persence, doesn't need its own subforum.

- #hak5 - This needs to be bumped up more, as its a seperate thing.

- Analog5 - Dead idea.

- Folding@Home - Pretty much turnkey, install the software and go. Could just be a sticky pointing to a wiki page instead.

- Dev.5 - Dead idea, its just an archive now. Its supposed to inspire new ideas in community projects [name to be changed].

As it stands, I could see Community Projects becomming a new Hacks, Mods and coding subforum, but more focused on producing working examples of whatever it was that was created, which then get posted in a subforum called completed mods or something.

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- Hak.5 Radio - Again, just needs a bigger wiki persence, doesn't need its own subforum.

- #hak5 - This needs to be bumped up more, as its a seperate thing.

- Analog5 - Dead idea.

- Folding@Home - Pretty much turnkey, install the software and go. Could just be a sticky pointing to a wiki page instead.

- Dev.5 - Dead idea, its just an archive now. Its supposed to inspire new ideas in community projects [name to be changed].

Just these to the wiki and be done with them.

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Also, building some redundancy into projects, so if someone can't keep it going it can be handed over to someone else instead of dieing.

Thanks for volunteering yourself to take over every single project and to be completely familiar with all aspects including the code, issues, gui, and design roadmap.  I think if it was that simple to build in redundancy it would have already been done...  People simply don't have the time or aren't interested in certain projects.  Also, even assuming the project is portable, sometimes qualified people aren't available to take over.  Look at the USB hacks forum, so many of the payloads don't even try to disguise the fact that people are using them illegally.  I thought Hak5 had a zero tolerance policy for breaking the law, anytime you want to have a discussion on what other possible uses a keylogger has, especially one that talks about having to disappear from the school computers within the same paragraph, I'm free and ready to go.  Maybe the USB hacks forum needs another moderator or someone to kick people out when they bring it up. 

(None of this is directed at you personally, its basically me just being displeased at how the USB hacks forum has turned into a scriptkiddy zone)

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Frankly I'm not even sure what's tolerated any more. I can't run around culling posts and removing download links if there's nothing outside of my head to say they need taking down. Sure, I don't like skiddies, I don't like the USB hacks and I *hate* when both of them come together. But it ain't my show, it ain't my community and it ain't my forum.

The project itself is questionable. A USB stick that pwns computers? I can't see how that can be anything other than shady at the very best, so anything discussed around it is going to be a little "back street" really.

As for school computers, I think our opinions have been made clear a million times. DON'T BE A DICK. There's only so much we can say or do to prevent people screwing up that badly, some people have a self-destruct mechanism. Some might just be doing it because it's the only environment in which they have access to a computer network... that's not an excuse but it does make it seem a little more positive. Thing is, we don't know. We also don't know how people are using the USB hacks (though we can guess half the time).

Projects need more than 2 people in them!!

I cannot stress this enough. To back up what VaKo said, you NEED redundancy. If 1 person dies/loses their net/kill their computer/gets bored or pissed off with the community, etc, etc then the project's dead. Start with more than 1 or 2 people involved in the first place, you'll have a few more when people drop off. Be welcoming to newcomers, if they want to help then show them the ropes so they can take over.

On the forum - I like it, it works for me. I like fewer links and headings and stuff, it looks much cleaner and there's less "hum, where do I post my thread..."

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Thanks for volunteering yourself to take over every single project and to be completely familiar with all aspects including the code, issues, gui, and design roadmap.  I think if it was that simple to build in redundancy it would have already been done...  People simply don't have the time or aren't interested in certain projects.  Also, even assuming the project is portable, sometimes qualified people aren't available to take over.

Me? Hell no. The community as a whole? Yes. All I mean by redundancy is just getting enough written down so that in the event it needs to be handed off to a new person, it can be. Kinda like the google maps project, which was one revision from being released before Bliz vaniished taking the src with him. Maybe just cvs.hak5.org or something like that. Just enough to keep the project portable.

Look at the USB hacks forum, so many of the payloads don't even try to disguise the fact that people are using them illegally.  I thought Hak5 had a zero tolerance policy for breaking the law, anytime you want to have a discussion on what other possible uses a keylogger has, especially one that talks about having to disappear from the school computers within the same paragraph, I'm free and ready to go.  Maybe the USB hacks forum needs another moderator or someone to kick people out when they bring it up. 

(None of this is directed at you personally, its basically me just being displeased at how the USB hacks forum has turned into a scriptkiddy zone)

I'll be honest about this, we're not that sure what to do with it. Yes, it is kinda script-kiddy ish, but in terms of sheer output volume its been one of the most constructive parts of the forums. What would be nice is if other parts of the forums could match it in terms of output. As for the illegality of what is produced, the whole USB hacks thing was never whitehat, no matter how you try an play it.

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Didn't get used enough tbh, this whole re-order was done to work out what bits we did need and expand them again. Everyone does have to admit that most of the action was in a few subforums, the rest hardly got used. So our plan is to shift a fair bit of stuff that was read only to the wiki (mostly the community projects stickys) and keep the focus on discussion.

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The ones I used the Most(Before the new layout) were the following:

1: Hacks, Mods Codes

2: Everything Else

3: Questions

4: News

5: Hak5/Hak5 Live

I rarely ventured into USB Hacks, only to see what was there, but I do not own a U3 drive and have no desire to "pwn" someones box with a USB drive. I did however try to browse for learning code and such, which never really seemed to appear in that topic. I know there were a few scripts here and there but most of these things were compiled to be placed on a U3 drive.

Pandora topic, while may be cool for some people, I found my own alternative ways to rip the songs from pandora, and once I did, I stopped doing it. For me, it was learning somehting new and figuring out a way to do it on my own. That is one of th things I like about the forums. Ideas that spawn your own work or inspiration.

The rest of the topics were barely used by myself, but occasionaly I would browse through them, just to see what was in there. I was not one of the lucky ones invited to the hidden forums, so I never even knew about Dev.5, but I was happy with the way things were. I am no uber skilled programmer nor do I consider myself a great hacker. I am however enthusiastic about learning new things and all the was part of the show as a whole. The things I learned on the show, while not a lot of it was truly ground breaking or technical to most, was new to me and keeps me excited about computers. The forums help continue that process and I think having specific categories to keep that momentum and excitment is what is starting to be lost. Too many flame wars(which in itself are needed at times for good debate and making strong points on topics) and script kiddies come in here asking questions that really have nothing to do with Hacking, Hak5 or community based technolust. Asking how to beat content filters at work and school might be cool to learn, expecially when your able to accomplish it from reading up on it yourself, but when the question gets asked 500times a week "how do I hack my school" or "how do I get on mySpace at work" it starts to get old. Instead, how about learning about proxies and how networks work and get into the code side of things, or learning how all of it intertwines in general.

It's always been about the tech for me and not about the script kiddie quick fix. If it can be done with a script, you should at least be able to understand the script and reproduce it on your own, otherwise what are you learning. If all you want is someone else to do the work foryou, then stick with google and search for some shady off the map hacking site where your never going to be able to trust anyone or know who isn't trying to con you in the process of helping you.

I have a lot of respect for the Hak5 show in general, and what it provides as far as entertainment and knowledge. It takes a lot of work to pull it off. The forums are the same way. I know it's no cake walk either and I think everyone who works on the forums, Vako, Moonlit, etc, have done a great job keeping the peace and having things organized. For the most part, the old layout worked.

I think the new layout goes against the whole "Too many buckets" syndrome, and tries to put too much into one particular bucket. The buckets seem to be leaking and maybe you need just one extra bucket or two to hold some of that overflow.

A forum is going to grow no matter what size it is. Eventually new topics or tangents will need to be created when one topic gets too large for one forum area.

::off topic::

@VaKo and K1u - My post the other day about the red shoe, I thought was just humorous and not threatening or flaming. I was not trying to pick on K1u. (Although some of his posts are questionable.) When I have something so say to someone in a thread or call someone out on somehting, I  do so directly at the person in the thread or in a PM.

In my sleep deprived state, it was just funny to me at the time and not meant or directed in any way as a flame about his post or question. Beleive me, there are times I would like to go at it with a few on here, but I generally restrict myself from full on flame mode just be cause I could not be bothered. I have bigger fish to fry. Just like Darren sometimes replies "I like peanut butter sandwiches", there was no rhyme or reason other than at the time it was funny to me. I got a laugh out if it. He played into it and I rolled with it continuing with the pic and then the whole uncyclopedia link.

Maybe because K1u has had a brush with a few people in the past on the forums, it was looked at like I was picking on him, but if I was, it would surely be directed at him in plain english. He asked a perfectly legit question, to which I replied a perfectly stupid question that was not even on topic. I know, it probably was a dumb post, but I still get a laugh about it when I think about the question I asked. So if anyone was offended, sorry for the offense, but tis only one red shoe, and I found the other one "on my head".

::off topic::

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There isn't a great lot that can be done about USB hacks, other than to contain the script kiddies within it and generally segment it away from the general population. We could police it a bit more heavily but thats going to take a shit load of effort that could be better used elsewhere.

"Ideas that spawn your own work or inspiration." This is what we're trying to encourage, its early days yet but if the community works with the staff (like you’re doing now) we can take feedback and address these issues with solutions that work for everyone. It’s very hard to tell how other people view a situation without in-depth discussion, which is hard to get going for some reason. People don’t seem to have an opinion until you have done something.

Most of the hidden forums are specifically for various groups of staff and currently we have only have 4. Some of those really haven't been used since the Brainkill Incident. Dev.5 was opened up because I didn't want to delete it, and if I’m not going to delete it then why not set it up as a library?

My current thinking is that community projects should be replaced with a new Hacks, Mods and Coding sub-forum (with much heavier moderation, the emphisis on , and a couple of new child forums for a: Community Projects such as Rainbow Tables, folding@home etc (stuff you can join in on, established projects that are being developed still, stuff you can sign up for etc) and b: Completed Projects you can download or use. Stuff like bypassing proxies, gaining admin on windows and other topics of that nature can be moved to wiki pages and covered in greater detail there. The wiki is a much better place for topics where the topic has been done to death a million times already.

::off topic::

Studies seem to show that you can basically beat the n00b out of someone. N00bs have proved to be pretty damn insult proof, sticking around threw a hail of them that would make a UFC champ cry. So if they ask 10 questions, 7 of which are stupid, give them 3  answers and nothing more. Eventually they will learn how to get 10 answers. Either that or we ban them and light there houses on fire.

::off topic::

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in the main area, it was better with the position  where each category was listed as they were most commonly used and were easier  the way they were before

the old layout of the main forum page was just more efficiently designed, everything was clearly labeled and  in the spots where all used to

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in the main area, it was better with the position  where each category was listed as they were most commonly used and were easier  the way they were before

the old layout of the main forum page was just more efficiently designed, everything was clearly labeled and  in the spots where all used to

What did you like, what do you hate, what specifically do you think is missing?

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My suggestions -

#hak5, does not belong in the water cooler board. Move it to a community services board of some sorts.

The Water Cooler:, not that great of a name, General Discussion is better, generic name but it works.

Pandora Timeshifting, USB Hacks

Create a new category for these since these veer from the show. Community Projects would be nice.

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in the main area, it was better with the position  where each category was listed as they were most commonly used and were easier  the way they were before

the old layout of the main forum page was just more efficiently designed, everything was clearly labeled and  in the spots where all used to

What did you like, what do you hate, what specifically do you think is missing?

the problem is that there is just less available and it is not as organized

before all of the projects were in 1 place so it was easier find them  (when the forums changed to the new look, i thought they deleted the pandora time shifting when really they hid it  somewhere else)

here is a side to side comparison from the old look to the new look

http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/1842/hak5...sindexvszv2.jpg

the old look had the labs section at the top where all of the projects were in 1 place

then the water cooler was under it that has all of the other non project related stuff,

with the new look, they have become randomizes and now parts of the water cooler are in the labs  and parts of the labs are in the show section.

it is like they removed the labs section then randomly placed them  in the water cooler and the show section

the new look clears some clutter but  due to the removal of the labs, it is hard to fond those topics,

if the forums looked like this, it would be better (as the projects are commonly used sections and they would be much easier to fine if they had their own section

goodxt8.jpg

it could also use a script to make it fit different screen sizes kinda like whats shown in this videoclip

(sry for the bad quality,  putfile over compresses everything  (recorded it a while back when we were trying to get the admins to just add a little code so the forums could fit larger screens as currently the g4 forums are made to fit 800x600 so users with large displays and wide screens  have the forum as just a small stripe in the middle of the screen

http://media.putfile.com/jive-script

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