I was attempting to post in the Game Design section of the forum and failed miserably. After a browsing around the topics, I figured out that you guys have to approve me as a member to prevent spam. Okay, understood.
Still, I'm bored with a keyboard, and I'd still like to start contributing to the community, so I thought I'd give some feedback here. I've only got two things based on first impressions, so here they are.
First: The approval system is a good idea, but you should somehow let new users know what's going on. If I hadn't been digging through topics already, I would feel very confused why I couldn't post, and I might just decide the forum's not worth my time. If you guys have a high number of newcomers who join but make no posts, you might see some member loss? Or, if not, I'm just overthinking this whole thing. Either way, it'd still be nice to have notification ready for us when we sign up.
Second, the Game Design topic seems very disorganized with all the random threads. You might want toconsider sectioning off Halo specific threads in its own folder, and leave the main topic for the rest of the threads.
I've been thinking about opening up the game discussion section because it is a little misleading in that you can post a thread in every forum except this one... lol. And I'm probably going to lift the restriction. The idea behind it was just making sure that only good game design discussion goes in there rather than "is my map good?" So what I'll do is open it up and just shift any threads that don't fit well into the respective forum.
As for sectioning the forum, this forum has thrived because of the small amount of forums there are. Discussion and the community ends up being more focused rather than spread out. A large issue a lot of forums have is starting with 15+ forums... lol. Not only is it a pain to switch between each forum to check for topics, but it also screams that the place is inactive. When you go to a new forum, there might be 1000 posts in one forum, and 0-5 posts in every other forum. It is still going to look ridiculously inactive at first glance. Also timestamps have a very interesting effect. Because we have a small community it would be hard to make every forum look as if it was used frequently with 15+ forums. With the more condensed system though means we don't look as inactive. Looking at the front index makes you feel like people are actually participating and that your time will be well spent. This philosophy has done well for the forum.
So I think right now keeping the topics a bit spread out in the Game Design forum is fine. When it seems like it gets cluttered then we can split it up, but no need to split a forum if it isn't getting convoluted. For the longest time we had just Serious Discussion, but now we have a Halo and an Armored Core section because things would be too cluttered otherwise. You get what I'm saying?
I do appreciate the feedback though bro and I'm off to allow any registered members to start a topic in the Game Design forum so feel free to put what you were going to originally there. :)