Software

Your wishes have (mostly) been granted


Over a year ago, I posted this discussion

on TechRepublic asking how the site in general and Geek Trivia in

particular could be improved. Sixteen months later, the idea of a GeekRepublic

has been abandoned, and a far larger site improvement process has

begun, of which I am a part. Today, I'd like to take stock of which

wishes were granted, which are still pending, and what just can't come

to pass.


"The My Discussions link used to show the

discussions in which I've participated, listed in an order starting

from the most current. I suppose I'd like that back. Now it shows some

very old and obsolete discussions."

--maxwell edison


Well, max, we're still working on this. The My Discussions list is

sorted by activity--when the thread was last posted to--rather than the

age of thread. We hope to make multiple sort options available, and

offer a more complete list, once we get some database optimization

issues sorted out.


"You could stand to attract more readers by

offering a free xml web service of titles and links to CURRENT

discussions allowing other web developer to create dynamic links to

your site based on your users activity - e.g. top ten discussions. your

e-mails do have this but they are generally out of date by the time

readers get them!"

--Matthew_Longmate


Well, Matthew, we've built several RSS feeds for TechRepublic content, including one to help your monitor Blog posts from your contacts. Feeds for Hot Discussions, New Discussions, and Discussion posts from your contacts on only a week or three away.


"I am sure others will point out everything I

care about already, but I would like to stress that the extra space in

posted links really annoys me. Both that I have to take the time to fix

it, and also that other people who don't know better accuse me of

posting bad links."

--dpetrak


This has been fixed. Spaces are no longer inserted in URL posted in discussions, and we've enable emoticons as well.


"This is what I am wishing for a long time but have given up on.

Support for Opera. They say its there but hasn't worked for me yet.

Getting the Favourites Back. Subscribe does not at all work!! No

notification! Is it just me or anyone have this problem?"

--Perseus


Can't help you on Opera support; we have enough trouble with IE and

Firefox. Favorites has been restored, only we now call it Links, and

its got way more features. An old-school Favorites-style link on

articles and downloads is in the works. As far as the subscriptions go,

we rolled out that fix about six weeks ago, along with a fix to the

"disappearing posts" problem, so you're gold.


"Hot topics and new discussions sometimes give

an inaccurate view of what this site is all about by consisting of the

offtopic threads. While I know, if you go through the different

categories within discussions you will (accurately) get the opinion

that this is a worthy technical site - if you go by the cover of the

book or first impression if you are a first time visitor, including off

topic discussions in the hot topics gives the impression we are not a

serious technical site, and the first-time visitor may take one look at

those and run the other way, never to return. Us regulars know to click

around in miscellaneous to see if those off-topics interest us, so I

would prefer us to make sure the impression we give to the newbie is

more positive, and let them find out about those off-topic discussions

(and how hot and heavy they can get) when they are more comfortable

with the site!"

--mlayton


The "off topic" discussions are now suppressed from the Hot and New lists, so you have to navigate to find them, or subscribe to the Community NetNote and read our weekly "Too Hot for TR" feature. Our first impressions should be more technical now.


"When the site launched there was a vague

promise that someday members would be able to redeem TechPoints

for....something...anything. While it's a nice bargaining tool when you

need to attract people to your question in TechQ&A, it'd be nice if

a decision were made about it. Also, I recommend losing that horrible

'View entire article' approach to generating clicks. What a crock!!!"

--wordworker


The TechPoints issue is being addressed, but I can't give

details right now. The old 'Article View' problem, where articles were

truncated to the first five paragraphs and you had to log in to view

the rest, has been done away with. Those responsible have been sacked.


"Ages ago you used to have the answer to last

weeks question on the end of the the current question. I really liked

it that way. Also, there used to be less advertising. Now i have to

ignore over half of the email before i get to the interesting part. I

quite like the quibble of the week. There's nothing quite like geeks

arguing about trivial tid-bits."

--tristanchipchase


Alas, while this is a frequent and popular request, it is one we cannot

meet. The dot-com free ride is over, so we have to entice you to the

site with the Trivia answers. Of course, by jumping to the site, you do

miss all the extra ads in the e-mail. Glad you like the quibble, it's a

lot easier having the audience edit my columns than doing it myself.


"With the Discussion link being above the

Technical Q&A link, people constantly post questions in

Discussions, pretty annoying when discussions are buried that way,

especially when the discussion tracking and subscriptions no longer

work. I suggest a new name for Technical Q&A, which sounds link a

site support link or FAQ's link. Maybe 'Get Help' or 'Find Solutions'

or anything other than Technical Q&A. 'Edit'

feature for posts would stop a LOT of flaming and also provide a way

for us poor typists to ensure our posts read correctly. This is a

standard feature for most forums now. Site consistency, well

you guys revamped the home page, whether for the better or not, it

still doesn't match the rest of the site which makes it very hard for

new members to follow the site links, navigation must be consistently

placed. The navigation layout itself needs much work, a top NAV

bar (Home>CIO>IT Manager etc) and a side bar of LARGE text links

is really poor layout, I'm sure you guys can incorporate it a little

better and more effectively to retain visitors by offering faster,

simpler navigation. I feel like I'm flogging a dead horse here,

this same question has been raised four times that I can remember since

the 'new site' was being built. FIX THE DISCUSSIONS!!"

--Oz_Media


Ok, here's; where it starts to look like we use Oz_Media as our one-man

focus group. We tried the Tech Q&A name change to "Ask for Help"

and it flopped colossally. We're working on a unified Tech

Q&A/Discussions submission form explaining the difference between

the two, so that should help. We've added the edit posts feature, as

requested, including more advanced formatting. Yet another front door

revamp is being designed as we speak, addressing many of Oz's concerns,

and we're toying with a customized "My Front Door" idea powered by your

member profile, but that's a ways off. The site navigation has been

rebuilt, as requested, and the left-nav has been eliminated. We now

navigate by site feature, instead of job role. We fixed the discussions.


Nobody asked for blogs, tags, the complete Links feature, or a revamped

profile, but we built those anyway, and most of that seems pretty

popular. Anything else we should be looking at, folks? Can't promise it

will get done (we're working on Tech Q&A, we swear), but we have

been and still are listening.


About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...