Isn't it possible to divide the discussion section into subcategories as 'suggestions', 'questions', 'general comments' etc.?
This is actually a bit complicated.
I don't know if staff plans to implement this idea or not. They have their own set of factors for what they choose to do, and I don't have full knowledge of those factors.
My thoughts on the complications: Some of the complication comes from the fact that, the more areas there are for discussions, the more difficult they become to moderate. As it is, there are already many places that moderators must move around to: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1278938 See the guide for "Where to Discuss What on Duolingo." For anyone curious, we already have Troubleshooting forum, a forum to discuss each Language, the General Discussion forum (for general suggestions, questions, and comments), an Immersion forum, and mini forums to discuss each sentence in the lessons.
Some people would suggest that we simply increase the number of moderators. However, then a different group of people becomes more upset. They are people who don't like that there are any moderators at all or who think there are currently too many. They feel that the more moderators there are, the less consistency there will be. Or, that people can self-monitor without any help: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1334797$from_email=commentcomment_id=1394032 (As it is, moderators are given a set of general guidelines, and we are expected to uphold them, much like every other Duolingo user. From there, rather than micro-manage us, Staff give us broad decision making authority so long as it fits within the guidelines. (Users can always file reports if they feel that moderators are abusing that authority and Staff will take that into consideration of whether or not someone stays a moderator))
In addition, not only would moderators then need to monitor more separate places, but Staff would have to as well. Whereas, right now the most popular ideas rise to the top in a single location.
I hope this has helped to explain some of why the idea of more discussion forums takes careful consideration, rather than being an easy thing to make happen.
Though I partially agree with your reasoning, it doesn't need to be either one or the other. It simply depends on how the information is displayed. For example, the moderators can still have their current view of the discussions, and the rest of the users see things in categories. There are other options that have been used for a decade, such as showing unread threads (since last login or Generally speaking), showing new threads within a day, and so forth. You can also simply tag the current threads and search using the tag.
I know moderators might need to move the discussions to the appropriate area, but overtime if users are slowly taught where things go they ultimately post their ideas/comments in the relevant area. In my opinion, as long as the General discussion ( and/or off topic) is well visible and instructions are well indicated it should not be a problem.
Experienced forumers will know what to do, the inexperienced ones will learn from them, or risk having their threads be downvoted (hidden) and not responded, and so the community self-moderates to an extent.
I could get behind these ideas. I hadn't thought of the split view. As for moving posts between forums, Moderators have asked for it, but, so far it hasn't happened. I hope it does eventually. I've typed out so many "how to move" posts. I think the forums are about to get much easier to find though :)
Thanks for your detailed reply. Actually I would love to see all suggestions in the same area or all similar/ related questions together etc. so that I can reach what I look for easily.
@foglia, I think that might have been what the Discussion search bar was for. When I first joined, I was heavily encouraged to use the search bar before ever posting a topic. But, then we gained several million more followers within the next two months and that practice went out the window.