With access to the VBB forums and the “back end” of another board, I’ve never been able to figure out what “public groups” are or why one might want to institute them.
Child forums are a useful gimmick that SDMB hasn’t found it necessary to institute. But let’s say that it is decided that Cafe Society would be easier navigated if it were broken into stuff on books, TV, movies, and music – so they start four forums, located on the menu under Cafe Society, in which all threads on these four topics are moved, and where you’re expected to start one – go to “Cafe Society/Music” to ask a question about what Bernie Taupin meant by a given line in “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” Cafe Society/TV to discuss the latest episode of QAF or Big Brother, etc.
I suggested some time ago that with the plethora of questions about computers generally and spyware, adware, browser hijackers, and such in particular, GQ might well find it useful to have a separate child forum devoted to computer questions.
However, the policy of SDMB staff is to keep eight very active forums in which everything is distributed without the plethora of breakdowns possible, it being easier for a relatively small staff to manage them than 25 more “focused” forums. And I can understand and agree with this POV.