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TechRepublic's official feedback thread for the 2011 upgrade

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TechRepublic's official feedback thread for the 2011 upgrade

jasonhiner Moderator
Alright, so we've launched the new version of TechRepublic and we're very pretty excited about. See:
http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/hiner/techrepublics-2011-upgrade-simpler-and-lot-more-social/7473

On the other hand, we know that we've moved your cheese (see http://bit.ly/moved-my-cheese) and we realize that many of you who come here everyday are going to take a while to get used to the new layout.

However, we'd like your constructive feedback, and your help in running down bugs and alerting us to things we've inadvertently (or purposefully) changed that could have unintended consequences. Please post your feedback, bugs, errors, (and even applause) in this thread. If someone posts something that you agree with or were going to post then use the "+" voting button to vote it up. If someone posts something you disagree with then use the "-" voting button to vote it down.

Thanks in advance for helping us make the site better. We always appreciate your time and input.
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    santeewelding

    To a smiley face.

    Might deflect the shilt that is sure to come.

    Myself, I think you and your people done good.

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    Oz_Media

    As usual, TR uses a pleasing colour scheme, though a bit bland on a notebook without colour matching. Navigation is more complicated and will simply perpetuate the ongoing issue with people not finding their chosen content or posting in the wrong places.

    NOTE: When you edit a comment, all previous formatting is lost and you have to space paragraphs all over again.

    I've come to expect that though, no matter how many changes have been made and how many times TR asked for feedback to find out people want it simplied, it continues to look too busy and takes what would be very simple navigation and turn it into a confusing mess of links (techs, you can't live with 'em and you can't teach them what KISS means).

    Oh hey, I just realised that, under a group of unrelated sidebars all offering links or ads, there is still a short Hot Discussions list (well a bunch of big blue bars with links anyway), hang on, it was on another page too, in a different place though.

    Sorry but you guys could have done WAAAAAAAAAY better.

    I know it takes a while to get comfortable with changes but this is just bad navigation gone worse. There's no logical layout, it changes depending on what page you are on, ads and galleries are mixed with links.

    The right side bar is just a mix of rubbish with no logical layout at all. The last layout was the best yet, after many changes, but this is just good potential made to look like a mess.

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    CharlieSpencer

    I'm using FF 3.6, if that makes any difference.

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    Oz_Media

    Holy crap! Not only is my avatar missing, now I have to open a new account with another picture host. I only assume TR gets paid for image loads or something. So I grudgingly open an account with another hokey online host, pull my avatar from my current picture hosty, upload it and guess what? IT'S A DIFFERENT SIZE AVATAR NOW! So now I have to open in Fireworks, resize, trim redraw, all of my avatars (about 8 for the year) because, for some unknown reason, TR changed sizing and forces using their chosen avatar host. Thanks again fella's! Oh hey, look at THAT, ANOTHER mess of links in a big blue bar at the bottom of the page, NIIIIICE layout guys, didi everyone design a panel at home and then they were all just thrown onto a page with no rhyme or reason? ICK! Of course, you have to scroll by a hideously balanced left white space with bar after bar of links on one side, in order to get to it though.

    Why do people do this when simple site changes to an existing format offer a vast improvements without redesigning the whole page and then reworking a ghastly layout for a year until it becomes sorta usable again. To think that with the money and resources C-Net has, this is the best they can come up with, a website that works like it was designed by n00bs on crack.

    I've seen some sketchy changes here over the years, this has got to be just an early April fools days joke though.

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    jasonhiner Moderator

    You're suggesting we get paid for image loads? Please. You're a lot smarter than that. (But, then again, I did get a good laugh out of it.)

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    Oz_Media

    I thought there had to be some motivation to have a single chocie for user image storage.

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    jasonhiner Moderator

    All you need is an email address and an image, plus then you can not only use it on our site but others as well.

    From our perspective, we get a service that scales images well and keeps up with the latest security and decency filtering in images.

    Win-win from our perspective.

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    8 Votes

    Jason -

    Gravatar should be an option, not a mandatory. Not everyone wants to set up a Gravatar account. I know I didn't want to. It's like the sites that use stupid OpenID for authentication... I now have a WordPress account that I'll never use, just so I can post questions to StackOverflow. It supposedly cuts the clutter for users, but for folks who only need it for one site, it increases the clutter.

    The better approach would be to push Gravatar, but have a fallback option using the old system.

    J.Ja

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    Oz_Media

    I sighed when I realized I was forced to jopin another site, that offers free image storage for an email address, certainly an invitation to a flood of spam and junk mail from their 'affiliates' (anyone who wants to buy the addresses from them.

    The main PO for me was the change in sizing though.

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    1 Votes
    Neon Samurai

    I thought TR might be offering a new library of avatar images but nope.. the profile link lead me to the Gravatar site. It would be nice if TR offered a short list of directly hosted icons. With only two of many websites asking me to join Gravatar; I'll be remaining a blank avatar likely.

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    CharlieSpencer

    It's not like an avatar is a requirement. If one doesn't want to use avatar, the default silhouette is always an option.

    I'd still like to see the TR flag as the default instead.

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    Oz_Media

    TR used to encourage it. they did a points and (reward?) system once to get people to complete profiles and upload an avatar. I know people's avatar's as I would recognize faces in the real world. TR once wanted to encourage use of avatars and completing profiles (as many good sites force you to do before posting) as it cuts down on spammers. People won't post spam links and run if it is a more involved registration process, thus you build a better community with fewer 'post and runs'.


    Now you have a choice, register with a new host, upload and reformat an avatar, welcoming more junk mail and spam, or don't have an avatar. If the latter, why have them at all ,if they are all going to be blank avatars then there's simply no point at all in using them to begin with, just list by user name.

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    Slayer_

    I'm not interested in signing up for another site. Especially since I can't just use a garbage email address, (or can I?)

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    JackOfAllTech

    What could possibly be so hard about just letting us upload a small pic directly from our own PCs? FB does it and so do any number of other, smaller sites.

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    Tigger_Two

    I set up an account and I *might* find a value in it at some time in the future, but I would have liked to take my time thinking it through.

    There are sites that I use that I don't care to use a picture of me, others where I use a specific avatar for specific reasons, still others that I would prefer a more professional appearing pic. In my experience, one size rarely fits all.

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    3 Votes

    Gravatar allows you to use a different picture on a per-site basis. It's a good system, and I like it, but it's not for everyone and it's not a good thing that TR forces you to use it if you want to use a picture.

    J.Ja

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    I know they allow per email address, but I didn't see anything about per site.

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    AnsuGisalas

    I just now went and checked a webcomic I've been folllowing, and the comments I wrote in the feedback section... and now they have this gravatar next to them!!
    And it's not like I've posted there through a login or anything, I just provided my email address in the comment form as required! :0
    Talk about nebulous...

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    On that, and another note, I may stay blank.

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    AnsuGisalas

    Yahoo provides throwaway email addresses, so I guess you could put one of those up for gravatar. It'll still be accessable through yahoo, but it's hopefully insulated...

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    Oz_Media

    Such as Windows Live, Picturetrail etc. you now have to download, reformat, upload images to a new server that you have to sign up for and await a flood of spam and junk mail from. It would have been somewhat palletable if the image size remained the same though. Lose lose from a users perspective.

    If the average new visitor has an attention span of 12 seconds to find what they want, this is dead in the water before the champagne bottle breaks on the bow. Some lifers will take time to muddle through the birds nest of links and panels, but it is not at all inviting for new visitors.

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    HAL 9000 Moderator

    Well Jason for starters the sizes are different which requires you to resize or do without.

    Then there is the slight issue of needing to join yet another site and spread what where previously Secure E Mail Address about. In the Past I was sure that TR wouldn't be sharing my E Mail Address with anyone and they where the only ones to get most of those which can not be dumped at a moments notice.

    Now there is a site Gravatar who has 2 of my E Mail Addresses that would be inconvenient to loose though not Earth Shattering it would certainly be Inconvenient. The remainder they will never see and any Accounts that are already open or may be opened in the future will remain Blank.

    Currently I'm not overly happy with the need to join yet another site just so I can post at TR with the same features that where in place previously. Maybe I'll get used to the FB Look of things but currently at the moment I'm debating weather or not to continue using TR as it's become inconvenient, hard to know where posts will end up particularly in Q&A Threads, Not Possible to Subscribe to Questions/Discussions without adding a post and seriously looks way too much like Face Book which I refuse to use.

    I've also just seen that the Contact TR Link that used to be on every page is no longer there nor is there a link to report Spam Posts so I'm assuming that this was just an oversight that will get changed when it gets brought to your attention. :0

    Col

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    Michael Jay

    it is now called flag, and it gives you several options as to how to report the post, cool, I like it.

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    It's still there... at the bottom of the post is a link that says "Flag".

    J.Ja

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    jasonhiner Moderator

    Here's the link to Gravatar's privacy policy:
    http://en.gravatar.com/site/privacy

    In short, they promise to "never rent, sell, or otherwise distribute or make public your email address." We wouldn't have used them unless they had such an unequivocal policy.

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    9 Votes

    ... just ask Google.

    Sorry, but there's no defense on this one. Gravatar should be *an* option, not *the* option. Personally, I don't mind Gravatar, but I'm standing up for the folks who have every right to not want to use it. Just let people host elsewhere, and offer defaults icons for folks as well.

    J.Ja

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    apotheon

    I bet that policy doesn't apply to governments, for instance.

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    Slayer_

    Have a look.
    http://xkcd.com/792/
    This is exactly why I sign up for as few services as possible.

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    apotheon

    This is now my third or fourth Gravatar account, thanks to the fact I don't use the same email address everywhere for purposes of keeping things separated.

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    1 Votes
    seanferd

    I am hoping that I can at least choose avatars per-site from the same email address as Justin mentions.

    I am still really not happy with TR pulling the avatar from my existing Gravatar account automatically. A note that an existing Gravatar was detected and an offer to use it would have been just fine, if automated social connectivity was what they were shooting for. But the current behavior is <i>just wrong</i>.

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    rmerchberger

    I never took the time to set up an avatar before, but I was considering it... until now.

    Why should I fork over my email address(es) and to some extent my online identity, wade through a bunch of incomprehensible legaleze which becomes null & void when someone buys out gravatar next year anyway... when I have 3 (yea, count 'em 3) web servers in my basement on my own static IPs. I have the ability of hosting my own avatar [and my own email... another reason to not sign up "just anywhere" - extra spam... ] yet it's not an option to host one's own avatar?

    A lot of the changes to the site I dislike immensely -- mostly because I just don't like change. Any time that an option to host ones own images isn't available sounds like there's an underlying (and underhanded) motive (even if it's just PHB foolishness) for the decision.

    I'm just sayin'...
    "Merch"

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    Neon Samurai

    I've considered it more than once:

    step 1, host avatar image on my own managed server
    step 2, give TR my avatar URL
    step 3, collect the logs as all you other TR readers download my avatar image
    step 4, (uh.. ok.. I got not setup four yet)
    step 5, Profit!! (this is where figuring out step four comes in )

    I'm not really sure how much of a concern it is but it does present an option to collect information on fellow TR readers.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    I like the new profile layout. It's easier to follow contacts, update newsletter subscriptions, and set preferences. However, I can't seem to find an equivalent of the Updates listing from the old Workspace. Where is a list of the discussions I've subscribed to? I used this list to try to keep up with my subscribed discussions and now I can't find it.

    Am I looking in the wrong place? Or is construction just not finished yet?

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    Oz_Media

    Now go an edit your comment and see how well it is displayed without spaces or paragraphs. There is a mess of links in the bottom bar, scroll down past the ads and other junk in the right sidebar, you may find a page that disaplys your discussions, it's not uniform, each page seems to offer a unique navigation set.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    I've already run into it, and we've already been told they're working on it.

    As for the bottom of the page, most of that has always been there. It was just ignored except in rare cases when the targeted ads or recommended links didn't make sense or were hilarious. I took a good look and It actually makes more sense than it used to.

    The problem I'm having right now is that I've set my default thread view to Expanded, yet this thread is displayed collapsed and I can find no way to expand it.

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    Oz_Media

    Was mainly redundant as far more logical navigation was available near the top of the page.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    not nearly as useful as the old Print/View All, primarlly because the old way used the entire screen whilst the new way stays to a limited column size.

    I do like that I can set my default view to expanded, however, and not have to click each comment to open and read.

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    JackOfAllTech

    Try setting the default to collapsed, then back to expanded again.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    If I select and individual post, I get collapsed. If I click on the thread title, I get my default selections.

    Weird.

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    @NickNielsen: At the top-right of every page is a menu called "My Account." (It's in the blue bar.) Mouse over that menu and select "My Stuff," and you'll go to a page listing all the discussion threads you have participated in. Also available on that page are all your Q&As.

    Scarily, mine go back to 2006!

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    4 Votes
    Oz_Media

    It was more accessible and sensibly laid out before. It doesn' matter though, TR always asks for feedback, defends all the changes against complaints and then leaves it as is anyway. The same thing happens every time there are changes, whether people like them or not. The mentality is 'you'll get used to it' whether it works or not. It's really just about 'user issue' feedback and will acting on botched script issues but if the layout was purple and yellow and deemed absolutely repulsive, TR has no intention on changing it, apparently they know what everyone wants.

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    5 Votes
    David Slade

    Of course we can't make everyone happy, but we're working on it. We don't pretend to be perfect and all knowing. If you have constructive feedback, we are listening and want you, the community to take a role in shaping this site. TR didn't change a lot for a long time due to resources, but this is changing and the site will continue to evolve. Here's your chance at being a productive, civil member of the community. It's your choice.

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    2 Votes
    Tigger_Two

    David's right, you know. TR is in the impossible position of trying to please everyone.

    There is a Google Docs link around page six (assuming you view 50 entries per page) that is attempting to gather up the issues in a way that will enable the tech team at TR to address them without things falling off radar.

    Oh wait! I have the link right here... https://spreadsheets1.google.com/ccc?hl=en&hl=en&key=tyt9_mAgySTdvb1ot3cL2Wg&authkey=CJmbw7sB#gid=2

    The last TR update was so many years ago that I was still using a Nokia cell phone that closely resembled a brick. You didn't get thumbs up, you got points for answering questions... if you were lucky. Peter Spande hadn't been replaced by Jason Hiner yet, and we still wrote our own News.

    In twenty years of working in technology, the only constant I have seen is the mandate, "Change or die".

    Oz, to be fair, TR has asked NUMEROUS times for feedback on what people want. I have personally started a few posts requesting such information. VERY often, all anyone got was crickets- INCLUDING me.

    My opinion? They are doing their best. Realistically? They pay for the bandwidth and they assume all the risk. If they re-design my playground every few years, it's a small price to pay.

    That Google docs link? There is a page JUST for suggestions.


    Edit for typos and poor sentence construction

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    jasonhiner Moderator

    Appreciate the perspective.

    And, just for the record, I was part of the last big redesign in 2006, too -- when we rolled out Workspace and a lot of community changes. Pete Spande was the general manager of TechRepublic at the time and I was the head of editorial. We're organized a little differently now, but today David's role is similar to Pete's back then (only David's role is even more focused on the site itself). Also, the editorial department is now in a separate branch of the organization, so David and I collaborate closely on the big picture strategy of the TechRepublic site. He's a super-knowledgeable guy with a lot of great experience in UX and we're lucky to have him on the team.

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    JackOfAllTech

    And no one liked those changes either.

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    JackOfAllTech

    Seriously, TR looks like a FB wannabe now. Did you invite a random sample of members to give their opinions? Did you do any mock-ups?

    I honestly don't think I can stand it. This is so ugly. Wouldn't it be much more user-friendly to have a just plain text theme for serious business users?

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    JackOfAllTech

    There really should be a smiley that indicated sarcasm.

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    HAL 9000 Moderator

    While it doesn't directly impact on me I do have a few clients who are Color Blind so maybe I'm more sensitive to this issue but I can tell you any person that is Color Blind will simply loose most of the links up top when they are active.

    That is taking into account if they can see them at all which most will not be able to.

    Col

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    lwalden

    I'm color blind and don't have any issues with the page color scheme. I do however dislike that I have to view it with ie as Opera 11 doesn't like it.

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    TobiF

    My Opera 11 doesn't complain. Maybe you have some old CSS-file in your cache?
    Try refreshing your cache and/or restarting Opera. (Oh, there was an update to Opera some 12 hours ago. Why not run it...)

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    6 Votes
    apotheon

    Unfortunately, the list of discussions is completely useless now. It shows my own comments; it gives me absolutely nothing about most recent comments to discussions. No matter how much activity goes on in a discussion, nothing changes on my discussions list unless I make a comment myself -- and even then, all it tells me is that I made a comment. Well, duh, I know I did, because I'm the person who made the comment.

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    3 Votes

    I have NO WAY of keeping track of the conversations, short of waiting for the email alert, getting an RSS feed (I really hate RSS feeds for busy conversations, its inbox overload), or hitting refresh and hoping to notice what's new, because the coloring of visited/unvisited doesn't work.

    J.Ja

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    David Slade

    as a quick fix for what's been seen and unseen. will review the conversation tracking outside of email and RSS. send me any ideas.

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    That's great, thanks!

    J.Ja

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    Even though I, too, convert my feeds to email, I deposit them into a different folder so I can scan them more quickly. They don't mix well with correspondence.

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    David Slade

    thanks for that perspective, will note it for feature improvements.

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    David Slade

    so you expressed what you don't like, so what elements would be useful to display?

    thread title, who started it, who last commented? and/or contacts that last commented? link to your comment?

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    Neon Samurai

    Discussion, Contribution, Date, Posts, Votes

    These are good columns. I think they just need to reflect different information. It seems to track comments user's have posted into discussions rather than activity in discussions users are interested in.

    Discussion; show me the discussion or article title. This allows me to track specific discussions rather than my own comments within discussions.

    Contribution; optional though I'm not sure how it relates to discussions. I see how it relates to tracking user comments.. just not how it relates to tracking discussions.

    Date; the date/time of the last comment. Date was there in the past, time was missing. With time now indicated, I can see if comments are newer then my last discussion scan even if my browser does not grew out the discussion link as "visited".

    Posts; number of posts in the discussion is good. Number of responses to my posts or number of posts since my last post could be handy information also. As is, it indicates how large a discussion is though so fair enough.

    Votes; maybe this indicates how many votes a person has gotten in the discussion though votes really does refer more to a specific post.

    Alternatively, maybe leave the display table as is; focusing on user posts. The user can see comments, if they've been voted up/down and Posts could refer to replies in the subthread versus total posts in discussion.

    So, what happens if a post is added but not under one of my comment's subthreads? Currently, I don't see that update. Potentially, you add an additional column; just wide enough for a "new posts" icon. In this case, I'm getting the current information; my comment title, time/date, replies to it, it's being voted up or down - which is all good stuff to know. I also get the indication of new discussion comments outside of my own and subthreads.

    My other example would be OSNews.

    The display is by comment not by discussion similar to the new TR layout versus the old. comments are in cronological order newest to oldest. With each comment, I see votes up/down and number of replies. Links provide direct access to the sub-thread starting with my own comment.

    What OSNews system lacks is the overall discussion indicator. One must go back and scan down the discussion hoping to spot new comments in amongst the already read stuff.

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    3 Votes

    Others should chime in, too, but here's what I would like ideally:

    One page, on which I can find, organized by discussion, an individual link to every comment *that I haven't visited yet* on every discussion in which I have participated. Added bonus: a way to mark one of those comments as "read" without visiting it.

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    0 Votes
    Neon Samurai

    That's the key problem that's alienating me; I can't track discussions I'm interested in. Lurking the "Hot discussions" list gives some indication when it's time to check back on chatter but it's not ideal. Hopefully it's enough of a crutch to keep up while the TR devs finish polishing.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    That page now only carries my last 100 posts. It doesn't have thread titles, it only updates if I post.

    I want to know when people post to discussions I've subscribed to.

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    ... mine only go back to 12/26/2010 -- there must be some maximum on the number listed. I've been a member since the previous millennium.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    for the few contacts that still show in my contacts. Four to five in each category, and categories aren't clickable to display a full list of posts. Again, no indication per post what thread was posted in.

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    santeewelding

    I had a totally acerbic reply, but I was cast into some netherworld, now having to log in again. Is this an anomaly, or, is it designed?

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    several times so far. Good question.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    Can't seem to edit that last one...

    I'd really like to see who made the last post in a discussion or question. Frankly, seeing the same new name ruling the 'last post' column was a dead giveaway that the newbie was a spammer and made it much easier to notice them, as well as find their profile and get rid of their crud. I've also noticed, that when viewing a profile and clicking on a spammers post, I'm taken to the head of the thread, not the post I want to mark. In lengthy discussions/questions, this is going to make it a huge pita to find and get rid of spam posts.

    I'll have more in a few days. Pretty sure you can bet on that.

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    Oz_Media

    I can just people posting lengthy dialogue, properly spaced for easy reading, and then going in to fix a typo and all paragraph formatting is lost. Now that's a PITA!

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    seanferd

    Since a tweak from wayback, editing a comment with HTML entities required re-typing the entity codes. This may have occurred with some other HTML formatting as well,. Haven't even tried with this forum software yet.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    Voting kicks me out and makes me have to log back in.

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    That's really odd, it seems like this kicked on/off thing is only happening to some people?

    J.Ja

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    GSG

    On the old TR, this one, and other sites when I swapped to IE8 and tightened security and changed some cookie settings. I don't know if that's what would be causing it for others, but that's what causes it for me. It's an irritation, but I'll put up with it in the interest of a little bit tighter security.

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    apotheon

    There's probably some specific cookie you need to accept to prevent that behavior -- something that registers as a "third party site" origin for the cookie according to your browser, perhaps, even though it is likely to be some TechRepublic-associated property (just with a different domain name).

    It seems that nobody designs Websites to make things easy for people who care about the technologies they use.

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    1 Votes
    David Slade

    as some have noticed we changed domains with the redesign, tr.com.com tr.com, which may be causing some issues. or you have a legit bug! Try clearing your cookies and let us know if you still see login problems.

    please let us know your browser, OS and steps to reproduce. thanks!!

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    11 Votes

    ... after the content issues are sorted out.

    First and foremost, I know how much work goes into something like this... you guys know that I'm real familiar with what these kinds of projects are like. I don't expect them to EVER be perfect or even go smoothly. The redesigned site I rolled out a few days ago was a year of work, and I'm very glad that my name wasn't attached to most of the project because I'm not thrilled with it...

    The overall job done here is something to be proud of, and a lot of the feedback folks have been giving was obviously taken into account, and it's appreciated. So think of this as a "punch list", not as a set of "wow, this sucks!" criticisms.

    One of the things that's really harsh on the eyes is this embedded effect on the text for all of the graphics. It's adding a slight drop shadow on the inside of the "bezel" that makes it hard to see.

    Throughout, many of the color choices are making it VERY hard to read. White numbers on a light green button, for example (the comment counts), or a light green on a light grey background (like right above the box I'm typing in right now). White text on light blue buttons. All of these buttons need a heavier weight font so that they are readable.

    The over all issue is one of contrast. The left arrows on the "Media Gallery" to the right are invisible for all intents and purposes... and I'm using a very high end monitor!

    On the other hand, I like the increased font size very much!

    The content areas are, for all intents and purposes, SMALLER. Why? Because the font size is cranked to a readable level (finally). I have no clue how i am supposed to include code samples in articles or comments when there is less than 100 characters' worth of width to work with. At least I use C# now where the whitespace didn't matter, but for Ruby, Python, VB.NET, etc. code... let's just say it's not going to encourage folks to post sample code.

    The top few navigation bars are totally illegible.

    The highlighted item in the "Blogs/Discussions" nav covers up the pipe character to the right of the button.

    I like the "Collapse" on the giant buttons over the article. I never used them, and it's nice to be able to get those 150 pixels back.

    The navigation, as is, is very poor. It will be extremely improved if the "blog" content goes into the main bins ("Mobile Development", "Leadership", etc.).

    J.Ja

    +
    1 Votes

    I had to do a log out/log in to post. Maybe because I hadn't logged into the new system yet.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes

    It looks like, at least in the blog posts, that code samples are actually displaying fairly nicely (in a colored box in a different font). That's appreciated! Is there a way to tag content in a comment to be code too, like on Stack Overflow and MSDN?

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes

    I am not a coder. I am not a coder. I am not a coder. But I know how to copy and paste, and use the "samp" tag.<samp>namespace Microsoft.Crm.Sdk.Utility
    {
    public class CrmServiceUtility
    {
    public static CrmService GetCrmService()
    {
    return GetCrmService(null, null);
    }

    public static CrmService GetCrmService(string organizationName)
    {
    return GetCrmService(null, organizationName);
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Set up the CRM Service.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="organizationName">My Organization</param>
    /// <returns>CrmService configured with AD Authentication</returns>
    public static CrmService GetCrmService(string crmServerUrl, string organizationName)
    {
    </samp>

    +
    3 Votes

    Looks good.

    How are we supposed to know about this? There needs to be a link near the comments box for formatting help. I've never used the formatting because I have no way of finding out how to do the formatting.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    <samp>Dim lTimeAtRes:
    Dim sDisplayedValue:
    Dim dtOne:
    Dim C32Ext:
    Set C32Ext = CreateObject("Object"):
    lTimeAtRes = 0:
    sDisplayedValue = Mid(vReturnVal,4):
    If sDisplayedValue <> "" then:
    if isdate(sDisplayedValue) then:
    'Remove Date formating:
    dtOne = DateSerial(mid(sDisplayedValue,7,4),mid(sDisplayedValue,4,2),left(sDisplayedValue,2)):
    ltimeatres = datediff("M",Cdate(dtOne), Cdate(C32Ext.GetCRIVar("SY_Today"))):
    End if:
    end if:
    vReturnVal = 750:
    If lTimeAtRes => 12 Then:
    vReturnVal = 250:
    End If:
    If lTimeAtRes => 36 Then:
    vReturnVal = 0:
    End If:
    Set C32Ext = Nothing:

    </samp>

    Fail

    +
    0 Votes

    ... it is completely unacceptable. It cuts off long lines.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes
    seanferd

    out the bottom of the first sample "samp" posted.

    +
    1 Votes
    Slayer_

    <pre>
    Dim lTimeAtRes:
    Dim sDisplayedValue:
    Dim dtOne:
    Dim C32Ext:
    Set C32Ext = CreateObject("Object"):
    lTimeAtRes = 0:
    sDisplayedValue = Mid(vReturnVal,4):
    If sDisplayedValue <> "" then:
    if isdate(sDisplayedValue) then:
    'Remove Date formating:
    dtOne = DateSerial(mid(sDisplayedValue,7,4),mid(sDisplayedValue,4,2),left(sDisplayedValue,2)):
    ltimeatres = datediff("M",Cdate(dtOne), Cdate(C32Ext.GetCRIVar("SY_Today"))):
    End if:
    end if:
    vReturnVal = 750:
    If lTimeAtRes => 12 Then:
    vReturnVal = 250:
    End If:
    If lTimeAtRes => 36 Then:
    vReturnVal = 0:
    End If:
    Set C32Ext = Nothing:

    </pre>
    <code>
    Dim lTimeAtRes:
    Dim sDisplayedValue:
    Dim dtOne:
    Dim C32Ext:
    Set C32Ext = CreateObject("Object"):
    lTimeAtRes = 0:
    sDisplayedValue = Mid(vReturnVal,4):
    If sDisplayedValue <> "" then:
    if isdate(sDisplayedValue) then:
    'Remove Date formating:
    dtOne = DateSerial(mid(sDisplayedValue,7,4),mid(sDisplayedValue,4,2),left(sDisplayedValue,2)):
    ltimeatres = datediff("M",Cdate(dtOne), Cdate(C32Ext.GetCRIVar("SY_Today"))):
    End if:
    end if:
    vReturnVal = 750:
    If lTimeAtRes => 12 Then:
    vReturnVal = 250:
    End If:
    If lTimeAtRes => 36 Then:
    vReturnVal = 0:
    End If:
    Set C32Ext = Nothing:

    </code>

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    "Pre" nor "code" worked, both lost the formatting. What else can we do?

    +
    1 Votes

    Every site I've been to has a way of putting in sample code that does nice formatting and coloring and such. Just use that system, whatever it is, please.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    I am used to using the pre tag...

    +
    0 Votes

    Every site has their own list of what tags do and do not work. Some sites don't allow HTML, but prefer their own markup language (like Markdown). You might know about using pre, but not everyone else does.

    And the pre tag formats them wrong anyways... look what happens to long lines, they run off the edge. Pre is truly the wrong tag. The *right* tag for code samples would do the following:

    * Maintain spaces, indentation, tabs, etc. as types.
    * Wrap overflow text.
    * Use a fixed width font.
    * Set the block in some formatting that makes it obviously separate from the main text.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    Stop avoiding my question

    +
    1 Votes

    Go to StackOverflow or MSDN and see how they do it. It's not just a matter of what we, the users should be doing. It's a matter of what TR needs to do. They need to provide a facility to post code samples properly, and they need to provide explanatory text.

    I'm not avoiding your question, I already answered it above. :)

    J.Ja

    +
    2 Votes
    apotheon

    I actually kinda like non-wrapping, as long as there's a 100 column width box to use (or more), guaranteed for any reasonable display resolution (600x800 and up) and any reasonable screen zoom (150%), because it encourages people to write code with lines of a reasonable length. Then again, I don't care much about Java, C#, and VB.NET -- and I know line lengths tend to need to be <strong>much</strong> longer in those languages.

    I guess I'm just being a little self-centered when I say "So what?" about line wrapping.

    +
    5 Votes

    ... I hope they'll publish detailed instructions in an obvious location on how to post code. It would be really cool if they adopted an approach like the SyntaxHighlighterEvolved plugin, where you specify a code section with an optional language attribute, and it gets syntax-colored as well. The only thing I don't like about that plugin is that it relies on JavaScript being enabled. Seems like the processing could be done server-side instead.

    +
    4 Votes
    apotheon

    Ideally, it'd be something that allows dynamic updates (JavaScript driven, in other words) but degrades gracefully so that a page reload will achieve the same effect if JavaScript is restricted or unavailable for some reason. Unfortunately, it seems like almost everybody in the world has forgotten about the concept of graceful degradation of interfaces.

    +
    0 Votes
    Neon Samurai

    The full selection of display preferences and third party tracking options apear only when I enable scripts. It looks like most of the site runs fine with full NoScript in affect though.

    +
    0 Votes
    jerang@

    @SinisterSlay - your code here is formatted correctly with the pre tag!
    http://www.techrepublic.com/forum/discussions/102-340633-3412219

    +
    2 Votes

    It's cut off at the ends. It needs to wrap. In other testing, Chip's shown that pre DOESN'T work the way we need it to.

    J.Ja

    +
    1 Votes
    Slayer_

    In the old TR theme, scroll bars were automatically added with the pre tag to fix the chopping problem.

    +
    2 Votes

    The votes shown in "My Stuff" seem to have no relationship to actual activity.

    My picture in my bio box on my articles is missing.

    In the bio box for authors, the normal right-click menu is broken.

    J.Ja

    +
    3 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    Appear to be the sum of votes for the entire thread, not the votes for a particular post.

    +
    4 Votes

    It still makes no sense to the user why it would work that way... the only metric that anyone would care about is the number of votes on the post, not the thread.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    in the 'front door'.

    +
    5 Votes

    I can down vote my own comment. I can up vote my own comment. Both are broken.

    Down voting a comment when it is at "0" seems to not update the display to say "-1", but upvoting does.

    J.Ja

    +
    3 Votes
    santeewelding

    I haven't seen any activity with the "up" and the "down" vote. We could all go down in flames when it starts working.

    +
    4 Votes

    The apostrophes are still messed up in many places. This is a Unicode issue, the system needs to replace the various apostrophe characters with the single one that HTML likes. A good example is the header on the poll here: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/programming-and-development/poll-are-microsofts-development-tools-headed-in-the-right-direction/3842

    J.Ja

    +
    5 Votes
    apotheon

    The problem is all those asinine "smart quotes" on the Web. Jeebus cries, people, this is a textual medium perused by technically oriented people; we need characters that can actually be trivially duplicated from a standard QWERTY keyboard whenever at all reasonable. Copying text from articles and pasting them in comments has been kind of a problem because of auto-replacement of totally printable characters with totally unprintable characters off and on here at TR, and it drives me up the wall. People are bending over backwards to do things that shouldn't be done in the first place, putting ungodly amounts of effort into implementing systems to automatically change text so it's less usable. It's absurd.

    <a href="http://sob.apotheon.org/?p=756"><em>Smart Quotes Considered Harmful</em></a>

    Read it for a start on understanding the problem, if you don't already get it.

    +
    3 Votes

    It's especially important in the P&D section to not use smart quotes, because you need to be able to copy/paste into code and have it work. Many languages have a huge distinction between the apostrophe character and the backtick which is often what comes out when copying smart quotes and smart apostrophes. This is even more important for *Nix admins, now that I think about it...

    J.Ja

    +
    2 Votes

    Furthermore, the font used for rendering code samples needs to make clear distinctions between ' and `, as well as between all other characters -- especially between members of the following sets:
    <code>0O</code>
    <code>|l1</code>
    <code>S$</code>
    <code>.,</code>
    <code>;:</code>

    Personally, I prefer when sites leave that up to the browser's interpretation of the <code> tag -- I can set that to Deja Vu Sans Mono and be happy.

    +
    1 Votes
    apotheon

    That would involve just setting it to <tt>monospace</tt> in the CSS, and not setting any other options. Unfortunately, most users just use whatever defaults came with the browser, which in many cases is downright hideous -- and would totally break up the look and feel of a Website.

    In general, though, that's much less a problem for code blocks than it is for other fonts being set to <tt>sans-serif</tt> or <tt>serif</tt>. In fact, I'd say that usually serif fonts are the biggest problem, because of how many people go with the default, and on MS Windows that's generally Times New Roman (a downright awful font for digital display). It's great for narrow-column justified text in black-on-white print media, though.

  • +
    2 Votes
    santeewelding

    To a smiley face.

    Might deflect the shilt that is sure to come.

    Myself, I think you and your people done good.

    +
    4 Votes
    Oz_Media

    As usual, TR uses a pleasing colour scheme, though a bit bland on a notebook without colour matching. Navigation is more complicated and will simply perpetuate the ongoing issue with people not finding their chosen content or posting in the wrong places.

    NOTE: When you edit a comment, all previous formatting is lost and you have to space paragraphs all over again.

    I've come to expect that though, no matter how many changes have been made and how many times TR asked for feedback to find out people want it simplied, it continues to look too busy and takes what would be very simple navigation and turn it into a confusing mess of links (techs, you can't live with 'em and you can't teach them what KISS means).

    Oh hey, I just realised that, under a group of unrelated sidebars all offering links or ads, there is still a short Hot Discussions list (well a bunch of big blue bars with links anyway), hang on, it was on another page too, in a different place though.

    Sorry but you guys could have done WAAAAAAAAAY better.

    I know it takes a while to get comfortable with changes but this is just bad navigation gone worse. There's no logical layout, it changes depending on what page you are on, ads and galleries are mixed with links.

    The right side bar is just a mix of rubbish with no logical layout at all. The last layout was the best yet, after many changes, but this is just good potential made to look like a mess.

    +
    1 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    I'm using FF 3.6, if that makes any difference.

    +
    2 Votes
    Oz_Media

    Holy crap! Not only is my avatar missing, now I have to open a new account with another picture host. I only assume TR gets paid for image loads or something. So I grudgingly open an account with another hokey online host, pull my avatar from my current picture hosty, upload it and guess what? IT'S A DIFFERENT SIZE AVATAR NOW! So now I have to open in Fireworks, resize, trim redraw, all of my avatars (about 8 for the year) because, for some unknown reason, TR changed sizing and forces using their chosen avatar host. Thanks again fella's! Oh hey, look at THAT, ANOTHER mess of links in a big blue bar at the bottom of the page, NIIIIICE layout guys, didi everyone design a panel at home and then they were all just thrown onto a page with no rhyme or reason? ICK! Of course, you have to scroll by a hideously balanced left white space with bar after bar of links on one side, in order to get to it though.

    Why do people do this when simple site changes to an existing format offer a vast improvements without redesigning the whole page and then reworking a ghastly layout for a year until it becomes sorta usable again. To think that with the money and resources C-Net has, this is the best they can come up with, a website that works like it was designed by n00bs on crack.

    I've seen some sketchy changes here over the years, this has got to be just an early April fools days joke though.

    +
    1 Votes
    jasonhiner Moderator

    You're suggesting we get paid for image loads? Please. You're a lot smarter than that. (But, then again, I did get a good laugh out of it.)

    +
    5 Votes
    Oz_Media

    I thought there had to be some motivation to have a single chocie for user image storage.

    +
    0 Votes
    jasonhiner Moderator

    All you need is an email address and an image, plus then you can not only use it on our site but others as well.

    From our perspective, we get a service that scales images well and keeps up with the latest security and decency filtering in images.

    Win-win from our perspective.

    +
    8 Votes

    Jason -

    Gravatar should be an option, not a mandatory. Not everyone wants to set up a Gravatar account. I know I didn't want to. It's like the sites that use stupid OpenID for authentication... I now have a WordPress account that I'll never use, just so I can post questions to StackOverflow. It supposedly cuts the clutter for users, but for folks who only need it for one site, it increases the clutter.

    The better approach would be to push Gravatar, but have a fallback option using the old system.

    J.Ja

    +
    3 Votes
    Oz_Media

    I sighed when I realized I was forced to jopin another site, that offers free image storage for an email address, certainly an invitation to a flood of spam and junk mail from their 'affiliates' (anyone who wants to buy the addresses from them.

    The main PO for me was the change in sizing though.

    +
    1 Votes
    Neon Samurai

    I thought TR might be offering a new library of avatar images but nope.. the profile link lead me to the Gravatar site. It would be nice if TR offered a short list of directly hosted icons. With only two of many websites asking me to join Gravatar; I'll be remaining a blank avatar likely.

    +
    2 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    It's not like an avatar is a requirement. If one doesn't want to use avatar, the default silhouette is always an option.

    I'd still like to see the TR flag as the default instead.

    +
    1 Votes
    Oz_Media

    TR used to encourage it. they did a points and (reward?) system once to get people to complete profiles and upload an avatar. I know people's avatar's as I would recognize faces in the real world. TR once wanted to encourage use of avatars and completing profiles (as many good sites force you to do before posting) as it cuts down on spammers. People won't post spam links and run if it is a more involved registration process, thus you build a better community with fewer 'post and runs'.


    Now you have a choice, register with a new host, upload and reformat an avatar, welcoming more junk mail and spam, or don't have an avatar. If the latter, why have them at all ,if they are all going to be blank avatars then there's simply no point at all in using them to begin with, just list by user name.

    +
    1 Votes
    Slayer_

    I'm not interested in signing up for another site. Especially since I can't just use a garbage email address, (or can I?)

    +
    0 Votes
    JackOfAllTech

    What could possibly be so hard about just letting us upload a small pic directly from our own PCs? FB does it and so do any number of other, smaller sites.

    +
    1 Votes
    Tigger_Two

    I set up an account and I *might* find a value in it at some time in the future, but I would have liked to take my time thinking it through.

    There are sites that I use that I don't care to use a picture of me, others where I use a specific avatar for specific reasons, still others that I would prefer a more professional appearing pic. In my experience, one size rarely fits all.

    +
    3 Votes

    Gravatar allows you to use a different picture on a per-site basis. It's a good system, and I like it, but it's not for everyone and it's not a good thing that TR forces you to use it if you want to use a picture.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    I know they allow per email address, but I didn't see anything about per site.

    +
    0 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    I just now went and checked a webcomic I've been folllowing, and the comments I wrote in the feedback section... and now they have this gravatar next to them!!
    And it's not like I've posted there through a login or anything, I just provided my email address in the comment form as required! :0
    Talk about nebulous...

    +
    0 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    On that, and another note, I may stay blank.

    +
    0 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    Yahoo provides throwaway email addresses, so I guess you could put one of those up for gravatar. It'll still be accessable through yahoo, but it's hopefully insulated...

    +
    1 Votes
    Oz_Media

    Such as Windows Live, Picturetrail etc. you now have to download, reformat, upload images to a new server that you have to sign up for and await a flood of spam and junk mail from. It would have been somewhat palletable if the image size remained the same though. Lose lose from a users perspective.

    If the average new visitor has an attention span of 12 seconds to find what they want, this is dead in the water before the champagne bottle breaks on the bow. Some lifers will take time to muddle through the birds nest of links and panels, but it is not at all inviting for new visitors.

    +
    4 Votes
    HAL 9000 Moderator

    Well Jason for starters the sizes are different which requires you to resize or do without.

    Then there is the slight issue of needing to join yet another site and spread what where previously Secure E Mail Address about. In the Past I was sure that TR wouldn't be sharing my E Mail Address with anyone and they where the only ones to get most of those which can not be dumped at a moments notice.

    Now there is a site Gravatar who has 2 of my E Mail Addresses that would be inconvenient to loose though not Earth Shattering it would certainly be Inconvenient. The remainder they will never see and any Accounts that are already open or may be opened in the future will remain Blank.

    Currently I'm not overly happy with the need to join yet another site just so I can post at TR with the same features that where in place previously. Maybe I'll get used to the FB Look of things but currently at the moment I'm debating weather or not to continue using TR as it's become inconvenient, hard to know where posts will end up particularly in Q&A Threads, Not Possible to Subscribe to Questions/Discussions without adding a post and seriously looks way too much like Face Book which I refuse to use.

    I've also just seen that the Contact TR Link that used to be on every page is no longer there nor is there a link to report Spam Posts so I'm assuming that this was just an oversight that will get changed when it gets brought to your attention. :0

    Col

    +
    4 Votes
    Michael Jay

    it is now called flag, and it gives you several options as to how to report the post, cool, I like it.

    +
    2 Votes

    It's still there... at the bottom of the post is a link that says "Flag".

    J.Ja

    +
    2 Votes
    jasonhiner Moderator

    Here's the link to Gravatar's privacy policy:
    http://en.gravatar.com/site/privacy

    In short, they promise to "never rent, sell, or otherwise distribute or make public your email address." We wouldn't have used them unless they had such an unequivocal policy.

    +
    9 Votes

    ... just ask Google.

    Sorry, but there's no defense on this one. Gravatar should be *an* option, not *the* option. Personally, I don't mind Gravatar, but I'm standing up for the folks who have every right to not want to use it. Just let people host elsewhere, and offer defaults icons for folks as well.

    J.Ja

    +
    3 Votes
    apotheon

    I bet that policy doesn't apply to governments, for instance.

    +
    1 Votes
    Slayer_

    Have a look.
    http://xkcd.com/792/
    This is exactly why I sign up for as few services as possible.

    +
    3 Votes
    apotheon

    This is now my third or fourth Gravatar account, thanks to the fact I don't use the same email address everywhere for purposes of keeping things separated.

    +
    1 Votes
    seanferd

    I am hoping that I can at least choose avatars per-site from the same email address as Justin mentions.

    I am still really not happy with TR pulling the avatar from my existing Gravatar account automatically. A note that an existing Gravatar was detected and an offer to use it would have been just fine, if automated social connectivity was what they were shooting for. But the current behavior is <i>just wrong</i>.

    +
    2 Votes
    rmerchberger

    I never took the time to set up an avatar before, but I was considering it... until now.

    Why should I fork over my email address(es) and to some extent my online identity, wade through a bunch of incomprehensible legaleze which becomes null & void when someone buys out gravatar next year anyway... when I have 3 (yea, count 'em 3) web servers in my basement on my own static IPs. I have the ability of hosting my own avatar [and my own email... another reason to not sign up "just anywhere" - extra spam... ] yet it's not an option to host one's own avatar?

    A lot of the changes to the site I dislike immensely -- mostly because I just don't like change. Any time that an option to host ones own images isn't available sounds like there's an underlying (and underhanded) motive (even if it's just PHB foolishness) for the decision.

    I'm just sayin'...
    "Merch"

    +
    0 Votes
    Neon Samurai

    I've considered it more than once:

    step 1, host avatar image on my own managed server
    step 2, give TR my avatar URL
    step 3, collect the logs as all you other TR readers download my avatar image
    step 4, (uh.. ok.. I got not setup four yet)
    step 5, Profit!! (this is where figuring out step four comes in )

    I'm not really sure how much of a concern it is but it does present an option to collect information on fellow TR readers.

    +
    2 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    I like the new profile layout. It's easier to follow contacts, update newsletter subscriptions, and set preferences. However, I can't seem to find an equivalent of the Updates listing from the old Workspace. Where is a list of the discussions I've subscribed to? I used this list to try to keep up with my subscribed discussions and now I can't find it.

    Am I looking in the wrong place? Or is construction just not finished yet?

    +
    2 Votes
    Oz_Media

    Now go an edit your comment and see how well it is displayed without spaces or paragraphs. There is a mess of links in the bottom bar, scroll down past the ads and other junk in the right sidebar, you may find a page that disaplys your discussions, it's not uniform, each page seems to offer a unique navigation set.

    +
    2 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    I've already run into it, and we've already been told they're working on it.

    As for the bottom of the page, most of that has always been there. It was just ignored except in rare cases when the targeted ads or recommended links didn't make sense or were hilarious. I took a good look and It actually makes more sense than it used to.

    The problem I'm having right now is that I've set my default thread view to Expanded, yet this thread is displayed collapsed and I can find no way to expand it.

    +
    0 Votes
    Oz_Media

    Was mainly redundant as far more logical navigation was available near the top of the page.

    +
    7 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    not nearly as useful as the old Print/View All, primarlly because the old way used the entire screen whilst the new way stays to a limited column size.

    I do like that I can set my default view to expanded, however, and not have to click each comment to open and read.

    +
    0 Votes
    JackOfAllTech

    Try setting the default to collapsed, then back to expanded again.

    +
    1 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    If I select and individual post, I get collapsed. If I click on the thread title, I get my default selections.

    Weird.

    +
    1 Votes

    @NickNielsen: At the top-right of every page is a menu called "My Account." (It's in the blue bar.) Mouse over that menu and select "My Stuff," and you'll go to a page listing all the discussion threads you have participated in. Also available on that page are all your Q&As.

    Scarily, mine go back to 2006!

    +
    4 Votes
    Oz_Media

    It was more accessible and sensibly laid out before. It doesn' matter though, TR always asks for feedback, defends all the changes against complaints and then leaves it as is anyway. The same thing happens every time there are changes, whether people like them or not. The mentality is 'you'll get used to it' whether it works or not. It's really just about 'user issue' feedback and will acting on botched script issues but if the layout was purple and yellow and deemed absolutely repulsive, TR has no intention on changing it, apparently they know what everyone wants.

    +
    5 Votes
    David Slade

    Of course we can't make everyone happy, but we're working on it. We don't pretend to be perfect and all knowing. If you have constructive feedback, we are listening and want you, the community to take a role in shaping this site. TR didn't change a lot for a long time due to resources, but this is changing and the site will continue to evolve. Here's your chance at being a productive, civil member of the community. It's your choice.

    +
    2 Votes
    Tigger_Two

    David's right, you know. TR is in the impossible position of trying to please everyone.

    There is a Google Docs link around page six (assuming you view 50 entries per page) that is attempting to gather up the issues in a way that will enable the tech team at TR to address them without things falling off radar.

    Oh wait! I have the link right here... https://spreadsheets1.google.com/ccc?hl=en&hl=en&key=tyt9_mAgySTdvb1ot3cL2Wg&authkey=CJmbw7sB#gid=2

    The last TR update was so many years ago that I was still using a Nokia cell phone that closely resembled a brick. You didn't get thumbs up, you got points for answering questions... if you were lucky. Peter Spande hadn't been replaced by Jason Hiner yet, and we still wrote our own News.

    In twenty years of working in technology, the only constant I have seen is the mandate, "Change or die".

    Oz, to be fair, TR has asked NUMEROUS times for feedback on what people want. I have personally started a few posts requesting such information. VERY often, all anyone got was crickets- INCLUDING me.

    My opinion? They are doing their best. Realistically? They pay for the bandwidth and they assume all the risk. If they re-design my playground every few years, it's a small price to pay.

    That Google docs link? There is a page JUST for suggestions.


    Edit for typos and poor sentence construction

    +
    2 Votes
    jasonhiner Moderator

    Appreciate the perspective.

    And, just for the record, I was part of the last big redesign in 2006, too -- when we rolled out Workspace and a lot of community changes. Pete Spande was the general manager of TechRepublic at the time and I was the head of editorial. We're organized a little differently now, but today David's role is similar to Pete's back then (only David's role is even more focused on the site itself). Also, the editorial department is now in a separate branch of the organization, so David and I collaborate closely on the big picture strategy of the TechRepublic site. He's a super-knowledgeable guy with a lot of great experience in UX and we're lucky to have him on the team.

    +
    0 Votes
    JackOfAllTech

    And no one liked those changes either.

    +
    0 Votes
    JackOfAllTech

    Seriously, TR looks like a FB wannabe now. Did you invite a random sample of members to give their opinions? Did you do any mock-ups?

    I honestly don't think I can stand it. This is so ugly. Wouldn't it be much more user-friendly to have a just plain text theme for serious business users?

    +
    1 Votes
    JackOfAllTech

    There really should be a smiley that indicated sarcasm.

    +
    5 Votes
    HAL 9000 Moderator

    While it doesn't directly impact on me I do have a few clients who are Color Blind so maybe I'm more sensitive to this issue but I can tell you any person that is Color Blind will simply loose most of the links up top when they are active.

    That is taking into account if they can see them at all which most will not be able to.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    lwalden

    I'm color blind and don't have any issues with the page color scheme. I do however dislike that I have to view it with ie as Opera 11 doesn't like it.

    +
    0 Votes
    TobiF

    My Opera 11 doesn't complain. Maybe you have some old CSS-file in your cache?
    Try refreshing your cache and/or restarting Opera. (Oh, there was an update to Opera some 12 hours ago. Why not run it...)

    +
    6 Votes
    apotheon

    Unfortunately, the list of discussions is completely useless now. It shows my own comments; it gives me absolutely nothing about most recent comments to discussions. No matter how much activity goes on in a discussion, nothing changes on my discussions list unless I make a comment myself -- and even then, all it tells me is that I made a comment. Well, duh, I know I did, because I'm the person who made the comment.

    +
    3 Votes

    I have NO WAY of keeping track of the conversations, short of waiting for the email alert, getting an RSS feed (I really hate RSS feeds for busy conversations, its inbox overload), or hitting refresh and hoping to notice what's new, because the coloring of visited/unvisited doesn't work.

    J.Ja

    +
    4 Votes
    David Slade

    as a quick fix for what's been seen and unseen. will review the conversation tracking outside of email and RSS. send me any ideas.

    +
    1 Votes

    That's great, thanks!

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes

    Even though I, too, convert my feeds to email, I deposit them into a different folder so I can scan them more quickly. They don't mix well with correspondence.

    +
    0 Votes
    David Slade

    thanks for that perspective, will note it for feature improvements.

    +
    1 Votes
    David Slade

    so you expressed what you don't like, so what elements would be useful to display?

    thread title, who started it, who last commented? and/or contacts that last commented? link to your comment?

    +
    2 Votes
    Neon Samurai

    Discussion, Contribution, Date, Posts, Votes

    These are good columns. I think they just need to reflect different information. It seems to track comments user's have posted into discussions rather than activity in discussions users are interested in.

    Discussion; show me the discussion or article title. This allows me to track specific discussions rather than my own comments within discussions.

    Contribution; optional though I'm not sure how it relates to discussions. I see how it relates to tracking user comments.. just not how it relates to tracking discussions.

    Date; the date/time of the last comment. Date was there in the past, time was missing. With time now indicated, I can see if comments are newer then my last discussion scan even if my browser does not grew out the discussion link as "visited".

    Posts; number of posts in the discussion is good. Number of responses to my posts or number of posts since my last post could be handy information also. As is, it indicates how large a discussion is though so fair enough.

    Votes; maybe this indicates how many votes a person has gotten in the discussion though votes really does refer more to a specific post.

    Alternatively, maybe leave the display table as is; focusing on user posts. The user can see comments, if they've been voted up/down and Posts could refer to replies in the subthread versus total posts in discussion.

    So, what happens if a post is added but not under one of my comment's subthreads? Currently, I don't see that update. Potentially, you add an additional column; just wide enough for a "new posts" icon. In this case, I'm getting the current information; my comment title, time/date, replies to it, it's being voted up or down - which is all good stuff to know. I also get the indication of new discussion comments outside of my own and subthreads.

    My other example would be OSNews.

    The display is by comment not by discussion similar to the new TR layout versus the old. comments are in cronological order newest to oldest. With each comment, I see votes up/down and number of replies. Links provide direct access to the sub-thread starting with my own comment.

    What OSNews system lacks is the overall discussion indicator. One must go back and scan down the discussion hoping to spot new comments in amongst the already read stuff.

    +
    3 Votes

    Others should chime in, too, but here's what I would like ideally:

    One page, on which I can find, organized by discussion, an individual link to every comment *that I haven't visited yet* on every discussion in which I have participated. Added bonus: a way to mark one of those comments as "read" without visiting it.

    +
    0 Votes
    Neon Samurai

    That's the key problem that's alienating me; I can't track discussions I'm interested in. Lurking the "Hot discussions" list gives some indication when it's time to check back on chatter but it's not ideal. Hopefully it's enough of a crutch to keep up while the TR devs finish polishing.

    +
    2 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    That page now only carries my last 100 posts. It doesn't have thread titles, it only updates if I post.

    I want to know when people post to discussions I've subscribed to.

    +
    1 Votes

    ... mine only go back to 12/26/2010 -- there must be some maximum on the number listed. I've been a member since the previous millennium.

    +
    0 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    for the few contacts that still show in my contacts. Four to five in each category, and categories aren't clickable to display a full list of posts. Again, no indication per post what thread was posted in.

    +
    1 Votes
    santeewelding

    I had a totally acerbic reply, but I was cast into some netherworld, now having to log in again. Is this an anomaly, or, is it designed?

    +
    1 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    several times so far. Good question.

    +
    1 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    Can't seem to edit that last one...

    I'd really like to see who made the last post in a discussion or question. Frankly, seeing the same new name ruling the 'last post' column was a dead giveaway that the newbie was a spammer and made it much easier to notice them, as well as find their profile and get rid of their crud. I've also noticed, that when viewing a profile and clicking on a spammers post, I'm taken to the head of the thread, not the post I want to mark. In lengthy discussions/questions, this is going to make it a huge pita to find and get rid of spam posts.

    I'll have more in a few days. Pretty sure you can bet on that.

    +
    1 Votes
    Oz_Media

    I can just people posting lengthy dialogue, properly spaced for easy reading, and then going in to fix a typo and all paragraph formatting is lost. Now that's a PITA!

    +
    2 Votes
    seanferd

    Since a tweak from wayback, editing a comment with HTML entities required re-typing the entity codes. This may have occurred with some other HTML formatting as well,. Haven't even tried with this forum software yet.

    +
    3 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    Voting kicks me out and makes me have to log back in.

    +
    0 Votes

    That's really odd, it seems like this kicked on/off thing is only happening to some people?

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes
    GSG

    On the old TR, this one, and other sites when I swapped to IE8 and tightened security and changed some cookie settings. I don't know if that's what would be causing it for others, but that's what causes it for me. It's an irritation, but I'll put up with it in the interest of a little bit tighter security.

    +
    1 Votes
    apotheon

    There's probably some specific cookie you need to accept to prevent that behavior -- something that registers as a "third party site" origin for the cookie according to your browser, perhaps, even though it is likely to be some TechRepublic-associated property (just with a different domain name).

    It seems that nobody designs Websites to make things easy for people who care about the technologies they use.

    +
    1 Votes
    David Slade

    as some have noticed we changed domains with the redesign, tr.com.com tr.com, which may be causing some issues. or you have a legit bug! Try clearing your cookies and let us know if you still see login problems.

    please let us know your browser, OS and steps to reproduce. thanks!!

    +
    11 Votes

    ... after the content issues are sorted out.

    First and foremost, I know how much work goes into something like this... you guys know that I'm real familiar with what these kinds of projects are like. I don't expect them to EVER be perfect or even go smoothly. The redesigned site I rolled out a few days ago was a year of work, and I'm very glad that my name wasn't attached to most of the project because I'm not thrilled with it...

    The overall job done here is something to be proud of, and a lot of the feedback folks have been giving was obviously taken into account, and it's appreciated. So think of this as a "punch list", not as a set of "wow, this sucks!" criticisms.

    One of the things that's really harsh on the eyes is this embedded effect on the text for all of the graphics. It's adding a slight drop shadow on the inside of the "bezel" that makes it hard to see.

    Throughout, many of the color choices are making it VERY hard to read. White numbers on a light green button, for example (the comment counts), or a light green on a light grey background (like right above the box I'm typing in right now). White text on light blue buttons. All of these buttons need a heavier weight font so that they are readable.

    The over all issue is one of contrast. The left arrows on the "Media Gallery" to the right are invisible for all intents and purposes... and I'm using a very high end monitor!

    On the other hand, I like the increased font size very much!

    The content areas are, for all intents and purposes, SMALLER. Why? Because the font size is cranked to a readable level (finally). I have no clue how i am supposed to include code samples in articles or comments when there is less than 100 characters' worth of width to work with. At least I use C# now where the whitespace didn't matter, but for Ruby, Python, VB.NET, etc. code... let's just say it's not going to encourage folks to post sample code.

    The top few navigation bars are totally illegible.

    The highlighted item in the "Blogs/Discussions" nav covers up the pipe character to the right of the button.

    I like the "Collapse" on the giant buttons over the article. I never used them, and it's nice to be able to get those 150 pixels back.

    The navigation, as is, is very poor. It will be extremely improved if the "blog" content goes into the main bins ("Mobile Development", "Leadership", etc.).

    J.Ja

    +
    1 Votes

    I had to do a log out/log in to post. Maybe because I hadn't logged into the new system yet.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes

    It looks like, at least in the blog posts, that code samples are actually displaying fairly nicely (in a colored box in a different font). That's appreciated! Is there a way to tag content in a comment to be code too, like on Stack Overflow and MSDN?

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes

    I am not a coder. I am not a coder. I am not a coder. But I know how to copy and paste, and use the "samp" tag.<samp>namespace Microsoft.Crm.Sdk.Utility
    {
    public class CrmServiceUtility
    {
    public static CrmService GetCrmService()
    {
    return GetCrmService(null, null);
    }

    public static CrmService GetCrmService(string organizationName)
    {
    return GetCrmService(null, organizationName);
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Set up the CRM Service.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="organizationName">My Organization</param>
    /// <returns>CrmService configured with AD Authentication</returns>
    public static CrmService GetCrmService(string crmServerUrl, string organizationName)
    {
    </samp>

    +
    3 Votes

    Looks good.

    How are we supposed to know about this? There needs to be a link near the comments box for formatting help. I've never used the formatting because I have no way of finding out how to do the formatting.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    <samp>Dim lTimeAtRes:
    Dim sDisplayedValue:
    Dim dtOne:
    Dim C32Ext:
    Set C32Ext = CreateObject("Object"):
    lTimeAtRes = 0:
    sDisplayedValue = Mid(vReturnVal,4):
    If sDisplayedValue <> "" then:
    if isdate(sDisplayedValue) then:
    'Remove Date formating:
    dtOne = DateSerial(mid(sDisplayedValue,7,4),mid(sDisplayedValue,4,2),left(sDisplayedValue,2)):
    ltimeatres = datediff("M",Cdate(dtOne), Cdate(C32Ext.GetCRIVar("SY_Today"))):
    End if:
    end if:
    vReturnVal = 750:
    If lTimeAtRes => 12 Then:
    vReturnVal = 250:
    End If:
    If lTimeAtRes => 36 Then:
    vReturnVal = 0:
    End If:
    Set C32Ext = Nothing:

    </samp>

    Fail

    +
    0 Votes

    ... it is completely unacceptable. It cuts off long lines.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes
    seanferd

    out the bottom of the first sample "samp" posted.

    +
    1 Votes
    Slayer_

    <pre>
    Dim lTimeAtRes:
    Dim sDisplayedValue:
    Dim dtOne:
    Dim C32Ext:
    Set C32Ext = CreateObject("Object"):
    lTimeAtRes = 0:
    sDisplayedValue = Mid(vReturnVal,4):
    If sDisplayedValue <> "" then:
    if isdate(sDisplayedValue) then:
    'Remove Date formating:
    dtOne = DateSerial(mid(sDisplayedValue,7,4),mid(sDisplayedValue,4,2),left(sDisplayedValue,2)):
    ltimeatres = datediff("M",Cdate(dtOne), Cdate(C32Ext.GetCRIVar("SY_Today"))):
    End if:
    end if:
    vReturnVal = 750:
    If lTimeAtRes => 12 Then:
    vReturnVal = 250:
    End If:
    If lTimeAtRes => 36 Then:
    vReturnVal = 0:
    End If:
    Set C32Ext = Nothing:

    </pre>
    <code>
    Dim lTimeAtRes:
    Dim sDisplayedValue:
    Dim dtOne:
    Dim C32Ext:
    Set C32Ext = CreateObject("Object"):
    lTimeAtRes = 0:
    sDisplayedValue = Mid(vReturnVal,4):
    If sDisplayedValue <> "" then:
    if isdate(sDisplayedValue) then:
    'Remove Date formating:
    dtOne = DateSerial(mid(sDisplayedValue,7,4),mid(sDisplayedValue,4,2),left(sDisplayedValue,2)):
    ltimeatres = datediff("M",Cdate(dtOne), Cdate(C32Ext.GetCRIVar("SY_Today"))):
    End if:
    end if:
    vReturnVal = 750:
    If lTimeAtRes => 12 Then:
    vReturnVal = 250:
    End If:
    If lTimeAtRes => 36 Then:
    vReturnVal = 0:
    End If:
    Set C32Ext = Nothing:

    </code>

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    "Pre" nor "code" worked, both lost the formatting. What else can we do?

    +
    1 Votes

    Every site I've been to has a way of putting in sample code that does nice formatting and coloring and such. Just use that system, whatever it is, please.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    I am used to using the pre tag...

    +
    0 Votes

    Every site has their own list of what tags do and do not work. Some sites don't allow HTML, but prefer their own markup language (like Markdown). You might know about using pre, but not everyone else does.

    And the pre tag formats them wrong anyways... look what happens to long lines, they run off the edge. Pre is truly the wrong tag. The *right* tag for code samples would do the following:

    * Maintain spaces, indentation, tabs, etc. as types.
    * Wrap overflow text.
    * Use a fixed width font.
    * Set the block in some formatting that makes it obviously separate from the main text.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    Stop avoiding my question

    +
    1 Votes

    Go to StackOverflow or MSDN and see how they do it. It's not just a matter of what we, the users should be doing. It's a matter of what TR needs to do. They need to provide a facility to post code samples properly, and they need to provide explanatory text.

    I'm not avoiding your question, I already answered it above. :)

    J.Ja

    +
    2 Votes
    apotheon

    I actually kinda like non-wrapping, as long as there's a 100 column width box to use (or more), guaranteed for any reasonable display resolution (600x800 and up) and any reasonable screen zoom (150%), because it encourages people to write code with lines of a reasonable length. Then again, I don't care much about Java, C#, and VB.NET -- and I know line lengths tend to need to be <strong>much</strong> longer in those languages.

    I guess I'm just being a little self-centered when I say "So what?" about line wrapping.

    +
    5 Votes

    ... I hope they'll publish detailed instructions in an obvious location on how to post code. It would be really cool if they adopted an approach like the SyntaxHighlighterEvolved plugin, where you specify a code section with an optional language attribute, and it gets syntax-colored as well. The only thing I don't like about that plugin is that it relies on JavaScript being enabled. Seems like the processing could be done server-side instead.

    +
    4 Votes
    apotheon

    Ideally, it'd be something that allows dynamic updates (JavaScript driven, in other words) but degrades gracefully so that a page reload will achieve the same effect if JavaScript is restricted or unavailable for some reason. Unfortunately, it seems like almost everybody in the world has forgotten about the concept of graceful degradation of interfaces.

    +
    0 Votes
    Neon Samurai

    The full selection of display preferences and third party tracking options apear only when I enable scripts. It looks like most of the site runs fine with full NoScript in affect though.

    +
    0 Votes
    jerang@

    @SinisterSlay - your code here is formatted correctly with the pre tag!
    http://www.techrepublic.com/forum/discussions/102-340633-3412219

    +
    2 Votes

    It's cut off at the ends. It needs to wrap. In other testing, Chip's shown that pre DOESN'T work the way we need it to.

    J.Ja

    +
    1 Votes
    Slayer_

    In the old TR theme, scroll bars were automatically added with the pre tag to fix the chopping problem.

    +
    2 Votes

    The votes shown in "My Stuff" seem to have no relationship to actual activity.

    My picture in my bio box on my articles is missing.

    In the bio box for authors, the normal right-click menu is broken.

    J.Ja

    +
    3 Votes
    NickNielsen Moderator

    Appear to be the sum of votes for the entire thread, not the votes for a particular post.

    +
    4 Votes

    It still makes no sense to the user why it would work that way... the only metric that anyone would care about is the number of votes on the post, not the thread.

    J.Ja

    +
    0 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    in the 'front door'.

    +
    5 Votes

    I can down vote my own comment. I can up vote my own comment. Both are broken.

    Down voting a comment when it is at "0" seems to not update the display to say "-1", but upvoting does.

    J.Ja

    +
    3 Votes
    santeewelding

    I haven't seen any activity with the "up" and the "down" vote. We could all go down in flames when it starts working.

    +
    4 Votes

    The apostrophes are still messed up in many places. This is a Unicode issue, the system needs to replace the various apostrophe characters with the single one that HTML likes. A good example is the header on the poll here: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/programming-and-development/poll-are-microsofts-development-tools-headed-in-the-right-direction/3842

    J.Ja

    +
    5 Votes
    apotheon

    The problem is all those asinine "smart quotes" on the Web. Jeebus cries, people, this is a textual medium perused by technically oriented people; we need characters that can actually be trivially duplicated from a standard QWERTY keyboard whenever at all reasonable. Copying text from articles and pasting them in comments has been kind of a problem because of auto-replacement of totally printable characters with totally unprintable characters off and on here at TR, and it drives me up the wall. People are bending over backwards to do things that shouldn't be done in the first place, putting ungodly amounts of effort into implementing systems to automatically change text so it's less usable. It's absurd.

    <a href="http://sob.apotheon.org/?p=756"><em>Smart Quotes Considered Harmful</em></a>

    Read it for a start on understanding the problem, if you don't already get it.

    +
    3 Votes

    It's especially important in the P&D section to not use smart quotes, because you need to be able to copy/paste into code and have it work. Many languages have a huge distinction between the apostrophe character and the backtick which is often what comes out when copying smart quotes and smart apostrophes. This is even more important for *Nix admins, now that I think about it...

    J.Ja

    +
    2 Votes

    Furthermore, the font used for rendering code samples needs to make clear distinctions between ' and `, as well as between all other characters -- especially between members of the following sets:
    <code>0O</code>
    <code>|l1</code>
    <code>S$</code>
    <code>.,</code>
    <code>;:</code>

    Personally, I prefer when sites leave that up to the browser's interpretation of the <code> tag -- I can set that to Deja Vu Sans Mono and be happy.

    +
    1 Votes
    apotheon

    That would involve just setting it to <tt>monospace</tt> in the CSS, and not setting any other options. Unfortunately, most users just use whatever defaults came with the browser, which in many cases is downright hideous -- and would totally break up the look and feel of a Website.

    In general, though, that's much less a problem for code blocks than it is for other fonts being set to <tt>sans-serif</tt> or <tt>serif</tt>. In fact, I'd say that usually serif fonts are the biggest problem, because of how many people go with the default, and on MS Windows that's generally Times New Roman (a downright awful font for digital display). It's great for narrow-column justified text in black-on-white print media, though.