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
"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."
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e-mails do have this but they are generally out of date by the time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!"
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."
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?"
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!"
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!!!"
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."
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!!"
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.
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 also follow him on his personal blog.