Gengulphus wrote: the main point of the board distinctions is to help readers (*) pick out threads of interest to them. As one example of how (there are others), the main use I make of them is that I subscribe to boards which are reasonably likely to contain threads of interest to me and have my notification options set to tell me when a new thread is created on a subscribed board. I then look at the thread and bookmark it if I am interested, and routinely read bookmarked threads that contain new posts. I un-bookmark them when I lose interest or I become reasonably convinced they've run their course.
That is certainly one way to use this site. But there are others. So for example the way I use the site is completely independent of the boards. Rather it is topic-focused. When I sign in I scan all the new or unread topics since the last time I signed out. This is easily done via the "Quick Links" pull-down menu.
Yes - but how I use the site is just an example of how board distinctions helps some users. Not the only one - another example would be someone who just goes to the site's home page, picks the appropriate board for what they happen to be interested in and either skims through the list of existing threads looking to see what's already been said about it or starts a new thread about it. That method would probably make most sense for someone with no intention of systematically reading the site or parts of it, just of dropping in from time to time when they have a particular issue.
Your method of using the site is similarly an example of how board distinctions fails to help other users. Indeed, it must be at least a mild hindrance for you, as you say that the "which board?" question only arises for you when you have to pick a board for a new thread you're starting, and that must seem like a bit of pointless extra work for you. And I suspect strongly that it's also an irritation for you when you post something that wanders off-topic for a thread's board, due to not paying attention to which board it is, and you get stopped short by the moderators - I know it is for me when something similar happens to me!
But equally, from my point of view, having tried using "New posts" and "Unread posts", I found them distinctly irritating, for a number of reasons (for instance, too poor a signal-to-noise ratio). The fact is that different users have different wants, and if the site starts letting its policy be dominated by those of any one group of users's wants, it will simply drive the others away...
It seems to me that the net result is that having board distinctions is something that's very useful to some users (like me) and somewhat irritating to other users (like you). From the site's
point of view, that seems to me to be a net benefit... Or put another way, irritating just about everyone a bit, in differing ways, is just part of the price the site pays for being attractive to a wide range of users. The reasonably achievable goal is not to irritate anyone too much, rather than not to irritate anyone at all.
One point I should clarify: I said in my last post that "Separate boards for investors who are outside the UK and investments which are outside the UK would do a better job for those readers, and an entirely adequate job for those who are interested in both - they just need to subscribe to / read both boards.
" That could easily be read as suggesting that a new board should be added to the site, but I didn't intend that - I simply failed to see that reading at the time. What I meant was that using "International & Expat Investors" for investors who reside outside the UK, and the appropriate one of "Share Ideas", "Gilts and Bonds", "Investment Trusts and Unit Trusts", etc, for non-UK investments (alongside the corresponding types of UK investment) does a better job IMHO than using "International & Expat Investors" for both investors who reside outside the UK and non-UK investments. And indeed, it is a better match to your statements that "To the more general question, we do not differentiate any of the boards by UK versus foreign, so it might be a slippery slope if we start doing that now. I have for instance seen foreign-listed funds discussed on the funds board, foreign shares discussed on the HY boards, and so on.
", which I agree with: it's just that it seems to me that the idea that "International & Expat Investors" is intended for discussing non-UK investments is the start of that slippery slope...
To sum that up, I wasn't trying to suggest adding more board distinctions, just clarifying the existing one. This thread has highlighted that fact that some are reading "International & Expat Investors" as intended just to discuss issues facing investors who live outside the UK, while others are reading it as also intended to discuss non-UK investments. Whichever is the intended reading, I think that clarifying which it is will help both
users who use the board distinctions and
those who don't use them but do have to pay attention to them when posting a new thread. And it does seem to me that the first of those readings is the better for the site, though it doesn't help me much because I've little interest in either emigrating or investing significantly abroad (current interest, that is - there are various obvious reasons why things might change in the future!).