For regular users of a forum “New” tab works best and is used widely. They may have bookmarked the best comments and Favorited the topics. The current system works like charm for regulars.
But for new users the current setup seems little lost.
- He is presented with “new” and “categories” tab. But both contains more and less same information. Newest topics / new topics by category.
- “New” tab is about the current discussions which necessarily does not mean the best discussion and it won’t reflect the depth or the best of a forum.
- Categories also have topics sorted by age only. So other than knowing the high level setup of forum no more information is provided to user from second tab
- There is no section or tab to represent most liked topics, most discussed topics, editorial /admin marked topics.
We have pinning feature, but it reflects Important note, attention rather than the best quality topics.
We need little more flexibility to showcase site’s depth and quality. My suggestions are:
Provide settings where admin can pre-select the sort order for topics shown in categories tab (and topics of single category on selction). That will solve some part of problems. (Admin can decide if it is views, likes, no of comments which he thinks is important for his forum.)
Extra Tab for Editorial /Admin marked Best of Topics. (many forums are still one man army (very few users) )
Tab for Favorited topics by all users
I think first one should be easy, other two can be debated.