Under discussion Create a place to discuss strings (Was: String Theory)

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kkimura

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Should we have a new "Board" dedicated for string postings? Would it be handy to have a place for string researchers to post their findings so that we could find out what string set works for the ukulele we have or want to get?
 
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I have to admit that in the few years I have visited the UU forum I have only used the various boards to start a new thread. And this has not happened often. Otherwise I only use the NEW POSTS feature and nothing else.
 
Sorry I'm late to this interesting discussion. I am relatively new here, but I have gotten fairly active with the site pretty quickly. When I first showed up I was obsessively looking for information about ukuleles here and elsewhere. The FAQ had some useful information, but it was clearly very out of date, so I moved on from there quickly. I found the search function generally a PITA. BTW, this is true of most sites. I just use a general search engine like Google or DuckDuckGo with a restriction to a given site like:
site:forum.ukuleleunderground.com
then if I add keywords like strings 2023. I get back reasonable results and I can use the capabilities of the search engine to narrow the search in a way that I understand.

I starting using New Posts and most of the action seemed to be in Uke Talk, Marketplace, and New Member Introductions. Ukulele Beginners, Ukulele Tips, Tricks, and Techniques, Buying Tips and Ukulele Reviews were just too slow, even though they seemed like titles for more specific that intersted me. My sense was that I was more likely to get questions answered and engage in a discussion with someone knowledgable in Uke Talk. My point is that the titles of the boards were not a very useful index for me. Instead I figured out where to look for things by looking at what people were actually posting where, and then just following the threads.

My own prejudices on this topic are:
  • Fewer broader categories are more effective. I think Uke Talk is about right.
  • Extensive curation and enforcing locations of threads is a lot of work--it's like trying to reshelve books during a tornado. Accept that this is a conversation not a reference library.
  • FAQ should be limited to what you are willing to keep up to date. I would suggest it only be site related FAQ.
  • Pinning information rich threads is a good idea though there probably needs to be either updating or pruning. Maybe a sunset date or at least review time frame with each pinned thread.
  • If there is reference material or data then have a database or reference section where data, not prose is properly maintainted and distribute the curation duties rather than adding it to the task lists of the ops.
The problem with setting any kind of tagging or indexing or category system, is that people have different ways of organizing. To put it another way, the natural categories and what belongs in each category is not universally intuitive, and the more specific the categories, the worse it gets.

New Members Introductions is a good example of a category that works well. It is obvious to a newbie, it encourages first posts, and no matter how a thread meanders it traces back to a first post which is kind of self indexing. It works well, because it has a well defined function that is valuable both to the new user and to the site, and that function is obvious to everyone. The Marketplace is another example that works well for a similar reason--its function is well understood and implicit in its name. The other categories are not terribly useful to me though some are better than others, but that is just me. I primarily post in Uke Talk and join threads via New Posts wherever that happen to show up.

While I am interested in strings, I think it is too specific as a category. Using my search engine based searching I have found interesting things that wouldn't be posted to a Strings board because they are a side discussion in a NUD or a review or the thread in Marketplace.
 
My own prejudices on this topic are:
  • Fewer broader categories are more effective. I think Uke Talk is about right.
  • Extensive curation and enforcing locations of threads is a lot of work--it's like trying to reshelve books during a tornado. Accept that this is a conversation not a reference library.
  • FAQ should be limited to what you are willing to keep up to date. I would suggest it only be site related FAQ.
  • Pinning information rich threads is a good idea though there probably needs to be either updating or pruning. Maybe a sunset date or at least review time frame with each pinned thread.
  • If there is reference material or data then have a database or reference section where data, not prose is properly maintainted and distribute the curation duties rather than adding it to the task lists of the ops.
The problem with setting any kind of tagging or indexing or category system, is that people have different ways of organizing. To put it another way, the natural categories and what belongs in each category is not universally intuitive, and the more specific the categories, the worse it gets.

You've pretty much summarized the thinking going on over with the mod team.

There is a plan for a site specific FAQ section, which is LONG overdue and it's lack a pet peeve of mine specifically. We haven't forgotten. We are working on some other stuff first so that when those things are stable and ready for release, we'll be able to take screenshots that will be accurate, and include accurate information, so that we won't have to redo them immediately (hopefully)!

We are also gently moving on the unpinning and pruning process. Some very outdated and/or just not accurate stuff has already be unpinned at least. We're trying not to get too aggressive in our approach.

Great feedback everyone! This is such a great discussion!
 
I'd like to second ailevins comments about the search capabilities within UU. Improvements in the search (if the underlying software will allow it) might eliminate the need/desire for separate Boards. UU is unique among the discussion groups I participate in because you can post anything—it doesn't have to have anything to do with ukuleles. In a freewheeling site like this, it is amazing that it is as useful as it is. I tip my hat to the moderators.
 
String board sounds very boring to me.
Me too. Spring board would let us jump to new heights.

Seriously, I'm pleased that a lot of discussion and different points of view have been expressed. I don't think a lot of Internet forums allow this kind of input on how they are structured, And so, I'd like to thank the UU Mods for allowing us to pose and discuss suggestions on the structure of the forum.
 
After all is said and done, it is really not too much a hassle to have someone post a new, although repetitive, question regarding strings. The OP would get specific answers or a link from another member to a useful thread.
 
Yeah, there are two things that can derail an forum; not enough rules and too many rules. Here's hoping we can maintain the balance.
 
Not to go too far off topic. But after a search for "string tension database" I found mostly broken links. I have seen those words used often in threads from ten years ago to last December. Is there actually such a thing? If there is, where would we keep it or a link to it if it was deemed worthy of maintaining?
 
Not to go too far off topic. But after a search for "string tension database" I found mostly broken links. I have seen those words used often in threads from ten years ago to last December. Is there actually such a thing? If there is, where would we keep it or a link to it if it was deemed worthy of maintaining?
I’m thinking they are in Uke Talk
 
Improving discoverability is what this is all about. What do we see when we login to UU? The first three major headings are the UU site stuff, UU VIP, then the UU forums.
It’s in the forum area we find most of board headers we use. Having one for “string theory” would raise string discoverability ten fold.
While we’re at it, why not put the UU forums at the head of the list ahead of the VIP and Site headers?
Doing so will help everyone find string posts.
To whom it may concern, many thanks for rearranging the order that the boards are presented when you first log on to UU. Having the Ukulele Boards at the top really helps.
 

Haha, thanks!

Gotta give credit to @kkimura, though. That landing page has been my least favorite thing about the site, and I appreciate the reminder.

And yes, we are indeed working on big things for a new landing page, but there was no reason not to do something small but helpful in the meantime. It's easy to forget that it's always possible to do something, even if the "real" thing is gonna take longer.

Which it is. 🤣

I'll be back soon to properly reply to the rest. :)
 
It's been about a year since I last checked into the "String Theory" idea so here are my thought to date. The "String" label seems to work well as far as bringing together all of the threads that have been tagged with that label. It makes it easy to see and review the info on strings. One difficulty is that you have to find a thread with the "string" label before you can pull up the others and if you're new the process of finding the right label and clicking on it isn't intuitive. The only other thing I wish we had is to be able to add the "string" label to an older thread that predates the creation of the "string" label.
 
The only other thing I wish we had is to be able to add the "string" label to an older thread that predates the creation of the "string" label.

We can, and it turns out that I've just discovered how to do this as a batch process.

A slight logjam is that prefixes are enabled on a forum-by-forum basis, and not all of the forums have it. For example, I haven't turned on any prefixes for the guitar forums. No disrespect intended, just kinda far down the list.

So once I've spread the prefixes around a little more, I'll be able to add them fairly quickly.

Thanks for putting this back on the to-do list! It's a pretty long list, and things do fall off now and again. :)


One difficulty is that you have to find a thread with the "string" label before you can pull up the others

You're right about this, and it has crossed my mind that there's surely an easier way to deal with this. The prefix idea comes from Reddit (at least that's my theory because I saw it there first), and what they do is have a sidebar widget with the available prefixes for that forum. These are for a community I frequent there related to a piece of motion graphics software I used in a previous life but haven't gotten around to unsubscribing from (Adobe After Effects), and this is a grab from the sidebar there.

1715311757187.png

They call them "Flair", and every forum creates its own appropriate labels. Some forums ("reddits") even require them for every single post, which seems a little much for us, but you know what, I think they're on the right track. I think that it's GOOD for forums to have fewer subforums rather than more, because the subforums tend to isolate conversations in ways that aren't helpful.

For example, why is Buying Advice a separate forum? That makes no sense to me. It's easily one of the most frequent topics in the Uke Talk forum, as it should be, so it would benefit everyone if those were all in one place. Same for Reviews, and a few others. It's not helping anyone to have them separate, and I'd say that we're all the poorer for not having more people available to lend their expertise to these topics because so many people tend to focus on Uke Talk.

Prefixes allow the best of both. All the topics in one place, with easy, visual ways to focus on what to include and exclude depending on what I'm looking for right this minute. Want to see all the Buying Advice posts at once? Done in a click. Same for Reviews, Song Help, and others that might be rolled in.

I'm also going to look into ways to include the prefixes in a sidebar widget. That's one thing I really do like about Reddit. I mean, if you don't KNOW that 8-string or Low G are available prefixes, you don't know to look for them, do you? And the reason I created those two prefixes in particular is because it's so hard to search for them! So finding a thread with either of those prefixes in order to click on them is much, much harder than Strings, making it all the more important to have a handy way to find them.

So it might take me a bit to sort all of this out, but I'm glad that you're finding the prefixes helpful as a starting point! I'll prioritize bringing the feature set a little farther along. :)

Mahalo,
Tim
 
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I've tried at least 6 different gauges of nylon and 6 different gauges of fluorocarbon on each string of the primary ukuleles I use to teach and perform with. I haven't bought sets of strings for years. Instead I buy single strings based on my research and my taste in tone and preferred tension. Perhaps very few have any interest in this level of research. But I would love to compare notes with others who have not settled for buying prepackaged string sets.
Please tell me there’s a gathering of the strings geeks in some thread around here! I’m new to uke, but i come from the land of violin, where the first thing you do with a new instrument is test a billion strings. Okay, maybe not everyone, but string geekery is common. So imagine my joy when I discovered sets of uke strings are $10 😁. Anyhow, I’ve been playing uke for five months, so I’m still sorting out what works for me, but I’d love to be able to ask “what mix of strings do folks like on a soprano for Campanella” and hear what the string geeks think!
 
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It's been about a year since I last checked into the "String Theory" idea so here are my thought to date. The "String" label seems to work well as far as bringing together all of the threads that have been tagged with that label. It makes it easy to see and review the info on strings. One difficulty is that you have to find a thread with the "string" label before you can pull up the others and if you're new the process of finding the right label and clicking on it isn't intuitive. The only other thing I wish we had is to be able to add the "string" label to an older thread that predates the creation of the "string" label.
Ah, didn’t know you could click on labels, thanks for that. So far I’ve been using google search to dig for info!
 
I’m still sorting out what works for me, but I’d love to be able to ask “what mix of strings do folks like on a soprano for Campanella” and hear what the string feels think!

The perfect thread for you to start! There are thousands of strings nerds here, far too many to be cornered in any one spot, but I love the specificity of your inquiry! I think you've laid it out exactly, and I've no doubt that you'll get lots of replies!

(My own vote: UkeLogic Soft Tension Pinks, but I'll save the details for your thread. :giggle: )

Cheers,
Tim
 
The perfect thread for you to start! There are thousands of strings nerds here, far too many to be cornered in any one spot, but I love the specificity of your inquiry! I think you've laid it out exactly, and I've no doubt that you'll get lots of replies!
+1 to that!!!
 
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