Feature suggestion: Promote to front page (Update 2: we're halfway there!)
I've been playing around a lot on the Verge today and I love how it turned out. But I feel like some of the features aren't being used to their optimal potential. I wanted to suggest something that could raise the quality of forum content and attract more people to the forums as well.
It looks to me like the forums are designed not as a regular forum, but as a platform for people to generate their own articles. Articles that have the potential to be just as interesting as the articles on the front page. This really shows in many things, like how forum posts are viewed in exactly the same way as front page articles and comments are separated from the article in the same manner. But maybe even more important the editor gives users the options to make pretty posts with integrated images or even videos when it applies.
Right now though, the articles that are posted are much more like a traditional forum. People write content aimed at engaging a discussion, rather than writing about something people are just interested in reading. I think a lot of readers would like to be more than just readers and actually generate content from time to time. A lot of us have probably wondered what it would be like to work for the Verge, but would never apply for a job as editor because they have a completely different and separate career.
What I would like to suggest is give these people the tools they need to write their own opinion pieces, features, reviews and other articles and encourage them to write quality content by occasionally promoting user generated content to the front page.
This would give people on the forums an incentive to generate great content that others want to read and at the same time draw people just lurking on the front page to the forums in search for more great user generated content.
After all I think we all feel like we could be writers from time to time and I think we need to value those who actually have the talent and make sure people get the chance to enjoy it!
Update: I'm glad to see that great content is already appearing on the forums. If you want to see what kind of content I'm talking about be sure to check out Sony - A Brand With a Future in Mobile? by glypo.
Update 2: Dieter Bohn posted a front page article today linking to several quality forum posts including the one mentioned in the last update. It's great to see this content is being noticed and getting some extra exposure. It looks like we're halfway there!
Ps. I played some with the editor and the HTML view and the result doesn't exactly look as planned. It takes some getting used to predefined and unknown styles. But at least the tools are there to play with!