Watercooler

What do you think of this discussion/forum format?

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0 Votes
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What do you think of this discussion/forum format?

jasonhiner Moderator
Our sister site Gamespot recently launched a redesign:
http://www.gamespot.com/news/6311924/resistance-3-demo-rising-with-battle-la-blu-ray

I like the more compressed format, AND I really like the option to view "Latest Posts" or "First to Last."

I've asked our product managers to look at this as we consider tweaking the format of TR forum threads.
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    1 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    I don't want non-forking threads!!! I want my split ends, dammit!

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    0 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    the Gov. tried again this year and lost !

    I'm just suggesting the width part of that forum, I'm not much of a white space fan

    scroll down a few replies in any discussion on TR and a giant white gap about 1/3 of the screen appears on the right side of the screen

    -

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    1 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    It's the indent, but then the indent is what makes the different branches discernible.
    But right now TR has impossibly bloated message spaces; that makes the whitespace problem worse. If the space around the text was trimmed down, it would help a lot.
    Maybe all the "controls" (prev, next, #votes, vote+/-, reply, flag, favourite) could be grouped along the right hand side of the message box, that would cut the wasted space by about five lines.

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    0 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    but the "Right" side of the screen

    see here:
    http://i832.photobucket.com/albums/zz249/WhatNameShoudIUse/TR-AdGap.png?t=1304716240

    note 1/3 of the screen is empty

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    0 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    Now I see it, the space taken up by the social media controls and ads, which don't scroll along down (Thank you, God!)...

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    1 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    the indent is
    to the <- left and the giant white space is on the right ->

    they need a button like in yahoo email that collapses the right side of the screen and compresses the vertical space by spreading the thread posts to the full width of the screen

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    like Print/View All? ]:)

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    0 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    here's a pic of the button that hides the ads frame in Yahoo- Email

    when clicked the frame collapses and the in-box / mail list and preview pane expand to fill the space

    http://i832.photobucket.com/albums/zz249/WhatNameShoudIUse/Y-Mail.png?t=1305611043

    if the TR site had a similar function then we could collapse the white space on the right side which would expand the posts horizontally which would also compress the vertical size and necessity to scroll while reading

    Cheers

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    3 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    If anything, it's worse than what we have now. There's no nesting at all. It's impossible to tell who is responding to whom. It doesn't appear to have a 'Subject' field, so you can't even identify the member you're replying to in that fashion.

    I can live with a format with some white space and having to click a Sort option when I reload the page. I personally don't care about the 'look and feel' or voting, as long as it stays out of the way. I understand ads pay the bills. However, not being able to follow a conversation is a deal-killer. As far as I can tell, Who Am I Really and Jaqui's offerings suffer from the same issue. Call it nesting, threading, indenting; it ain't there.

    The inability to easily detect multiple new comments is another greatly missed feature. Just identifying the single 'latest' comment is tolerable on forums where the activity level is much lower than it is around here, but it's pointless when 15 comments came while I was at lunch.

    It's the same as my inability to follow a Twitter conversation - there's in this example to tie comments together either.

    This isn't an attempt to present something worse so we'll say, "Well, the new format isn't as good as the old, but at least it isn't THAT.", is it?

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    1 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    They show both ups and downs, which we've mentioned would be nice here too.
    After all, a post with a -10 total will be viewed differently if it's +90/-100 than if it's +0/-10... that sort of stuff can become relevant if (=when) there's a big fanboy flamefest again.

    Overall, I don't like the one-dimensionality of it. We need the threads to be indented, or we'll be able to find things even less. If the posts are compacted more (which I think sounds good), consider upping the indentation - it will increase findability.

    All kinds of options for filtering the posts are good!
    The *NEW* flag is sorely missed, by the way :)

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    0 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    Ultimately the "#up - #down = total" is cluttered, confusing and superfluous.
    The clever way to do it is to show the sum of the votes, and then the total#votes_cast - I think it's safe to say that most TR users can do the math.

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    5 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    was quite good. Significantly less pain in the wazzoo than any other forum I frequent. That blatantly indented, tree format made forum life easy. So did that orange word 'new' next to new posts. Of course it was the back end of TR's previous incarnation that we miss and that made this place stand out (besides the people, of course).

    Sort options are good, though. We didn't have those... Less blinding white space is good.

    imo

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    3 Votes
    seanferd

    Instead of having a linked comment show up at the top of a thread.

    You used to have the best branching and print views of any forum. The blue "greenbar" display was nice as well.

    Gamespot? Much better. More room for extraneous blinking dreck alongside the tiny comment boxes with huge avatars. Fantastic! Comment list with no branching - good for some sites, but branching has always seemed to work really well at TR. Latest posts? Out of context, who cares?

    Honestly, if ads were not so ridiculous, I'd click through just so <i>a site I love</i> would get the referral points. (I know that not all ads work that way, but I do it all the same.)

    Mostly, since it has settled down, the forum design here isn't too awful, but reading it is like being snowblind.

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    1 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    I also feel like I have reversed binoculars strapped to my eyes... very very near-sighted.

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    1 Votes
    PurpleSkys Moderator

    the hp site seanferd posted. Yes, there may be some white space, but at least it's better than the friggin' bazillion ads all down both sides of the page. There's nothing worse than kaos on a website, makes my head ache. And that's my two cents for the day...

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    seanferd

    (And the answer to the eponymous question is "not seanferd" in this particular case. :D)

    So, I can't take credit for posting that link.

    I agree, though, that KAOS goes much better with <i>Radio</i> or <i>The Man From UNCLE</i>, not so much with site design.

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    4 Votes
    jfuller05

    I didn't see nesting, which is crucial to following conversation in a discussion forum.

    My main complaint is our profiles. Before, and by before I mean the previous TR, I could follow discussion/question comments via my dashboard. I logged in to TR, went to my dashboard, and I could see the latest comments to discussions and questions I was participating in. Now, I login to my profile, I see my latest comment on a discussion which I don't care about. I can see that a TR member commented on a discussion I'm participating in, but I don't see their subject heading like I was able to in the previous TR. Being able to click on the latest commenter's subject heading and go the latest comment on the forum was a very nice feature. Also, seeing "new" next to the new comments was very nice.

    Another annoyance is that I can't see water-cooler discussions in my profile. Why is that?

    My complaints rest firmly on the inability of following conversations via my profile. The features I mentioned in the previous TR site that are lost now were very nice and I would like to see them back in this TR.

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    1 Votes
    Slayer_

    I really hate the 100 per page thing, especially since viewing a post on the second page takes you back to the first page, or viewing any post resets the sort order and number of posts per page settings. And though it was promised to add an "All" option to our settings for this, it has not happened. I would think this would be a pretty easy change.

    I find it funny that, if you go to the water cooler from the Q&A tab, it uses the Q&A display to show the same discussions.
    The old Q&A design was far better, it allowed for multiple correct answers and an easier way to track the progression of an answer.

    I really dislike that in discussions, the page has to reload for each post you click, why can it not simply expand when you click on it, where you click on it.

    The links to the posts being the date just seems unintuitive. Why not simply add a "View comment" button?

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    1 Votes
    LocoLobo

    at this one:

    http://www.city-data.com/forum/

    As a member it keeps track of where I've been. So I have the option to go to the first new post in a thread. It doesn't do the forked threads though and that is a problem for some.

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    1 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    ... when posters quote what they're replying to
    hopefully, the act of "replying" would automatically quote the post replied to

    the Sonic / Roxio forums do it that way as well
    (quote inside the reply)
    check this thread for example
    http://forums.support.roxio.com/topic/70426-problems-with-cineplayer-dvd-decoder-pack-231-esd/

    .

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    2 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    Is that it takes up a whole lot more space, especially if multiple people quote the same content repeatedly. It's necessary if you're not able to reply immediately below the comment you're referencing. Indenting reduces the need for that, since that content is directly above.

    I dislike forums that display large chunks of a member's entire profile down the left side. This same format is used on a music site I visit. One of the fields displayed under the avatar is called "Currently Listening To". Some members list so many artists that the text under their picture is ten or more lines deep. This takes up huge amount of space every time they post, even if they post only a single line of text in the comment space. For examples, see the fourth, fifth, and tenth comments here:

    http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,18184.0.html?PHPSESSID=072371c66e93262d2a86f7a5a58af3e7

    Still, I could live with it if we could get indentions back.

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    1 Votes
    seanferd

    That is a problem even in some email threads - some lengthy description or diatribe is quoted many times in multiple posts which have only one-line responses (and sometimes no response at all that I can see).

    So, no, I don't like the auto-quote reply method, either.

    <blockquote>I dislike forums that display large chunks of a member's entire profile </blockquote>
    And a huge avatar, two or more "sigs" of ridiculous size, plus a huge animated image "sig".

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    1 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    when I open this discussion from the links on the front page(s) Q & A and Discussions

    it opens like a Q with no titles in the replies

    and when I open it from the link on the page within the water closet it opens normally with all the titles intact

    weird ?
    .
    anyone else seen this?

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    1 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    Been workin' that way from the outset of the new TR.

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    2 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    as the replies don't always make sense when the title /.subject is missing from the comment

    this post won't make as much sense if the title isn't there

    +
    1 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    Don't worry about it; we're used to that from you

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    0 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    that's probably because,

    End User is not my first language

    I'm a hack from way back,
    I don't just use systems
    I beat them into submission !
    - every install of win 2K : 18 - 20 Processes at start (depending on the system)
    - every install of win XP : 20 - 26 Processes at start (depending on the system, usually 24 is the norm.)

    cheers
    .

    +
    1 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    Wrong spot. How the heck did I do that? :0

  • +
    1 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    I don't want non-forking threads!!! I want my split ends, dammit!

    +
    0 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    the Gov. tried again this year and lost !

    I'm just suggesting the width part of that forum, I'm not much of a white space fan

    scroll down a few replies in any discussion on TR and a giant white gap about 1/3 of the screen appears on the right side of the screen

    -

    +
    1 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    It's the indent, but then the indent is what makes the different branches discernible.
    But right now TR has impossibly bloated message spaces; that makes the whitespace problem worse. If the space around the text was trimmed down, it would help a lot.
    Maybe all the "controls" (prev, next, #votes, vote+/-, reply, flag, favourite) could be grouped along the right hand side of the message box, that would cut the wasted space by about five lines.

    +
    0 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    but the "Right" side of the screen

    see here:
    http://i832.photobucket.com/albums/zz249/WhatNameShoudIUse/TR-AdGap.png?t=1304716240

    note 1/3 of the screen is empty

    +
    0 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    Now I see it, the space taken up by the social media controls and ads, which don't scroll along down (Thank you, God!)...

    +
    1 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    the indent is
    to the <- left and the giant white space is on the right ->

    they need a button like in yahoo email that collapses the right side of the screen and compresses the vertical space by spreading the thread posts to the full width of the screen

    +
    0 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    like Print/View All? ]:)

    +
    0 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    here's a pic of the button that hides the ads frame in Yahoo- Email

    when clicked the frame collapses and the in-box / mail list and preview pane expand to fill the space

    http://i832.photobucket.com/albums/zz249/WhatNameShoudIUse/Y-Mail.png?t=1305611043

    if the TR site had a similar function then we could collapse the white space on the right side which would expand the posts horizontally which would also compress the vertical size and necessity to scroll while reading

    Cheers

    +
    3 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    If anything, it's worse than what we have now. There's no nesting at all. It's impossible to tell who is responding to whom. It doesn't appear to have a 'Subject' field, so you can't even identify the member you're replying to in that fashion.

    I can live with a format with some white space and having to click a Sort option when I reload the page. I personally don't care about the 'look and feel' or voting, as long as it stays out of the way. I understand ads pay the bills. However, not being able to follow a conversation is a deal-killer. As far as I can tell, Who Am I Really and Jaqui's offerings suffer from the same issue. Call it nesting, threading, indenting; it ain't there.

    The inability to easily detect multiple new comments is another greatly missed feature. Just identifying the single 'latest' comment is tolerable on forums where the activity level is much lower than it is around here, but it's pointless when 15 comments came while I was at lunch.

    It's the same as my inability to follow a Twitter conversation - there's in this example to tie comments together either.

    This isn't an attempt to present something worse so we'll say, "Well, the new format isn't as good as the old, but at least it isn't THAT.", is it?

    +
    1 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    They show both ups and downs, which we've mentioned would be nice here too.
    After all, a post with a -10 total will be viewed differently if it's +90/-100 than if it's +0/-10... that sort of stuff can become relevant if (=when) there's a big fanboy flamefest again.

    Overall, I don't like the one-dimensionality of it. We need the threads to be indented, or we'll be able to find things even less. If the posts are compacted more (which I think sounds good), consider upping the indentation - it will increase findability.

    All kinds of options for filtering the posts are good!
    The *NEW* flag is sorely missed, by the way :)

    +
    0 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    Ultimately the "#up - #down = total" is cluttered, confusing and superfluous.
    The clever way to do it is to show the sum of the votes, and then the total#votes_cast - I think it's safe to say that most TR users can do the math.

    +
    5 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    was quite good. Significantly less pain in the wazzoo than any other forum I frequent. That blatantly indented, tree format made forum life easy. So did that orange word 'new' next to new posts. Of course it was the back end of TR's previous incarnation that we miss and that made this place stand out (besides the people, of course).

    Sort options are good, though. We didn't have those... Less blinding white space is good.

    imo

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    3 Votes
    seanferd

    Instead of having a linked comment show up at the top of a thread.

    You used to have the best branching and print views of any forum. The blue "greenbar" display was nice as well.

    Gamespot? Much better. More room for extraneous blinking dreck alongside the tiny comment boxes with huge avatars. Fantastic! Comment list with no branching - good for some sites, but branching has always seemed to work really well at TR. Latest posts? Out of context, who cares?

    Honestly, if ads were not so ridiculous, I'd click through just so <i>a site I love</i> would get the referral points. (I know that not all ads work that way, but I do it all the same.)

    Mostly, since it has settled down, the forum design here isn't too awful, but reading it is like being snowblind.

    +
    1 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    I also feel like I have reversed binoculars strapped to my eyes... very very near-sighted.

    +
    1 Votes
    PurpleSkys Moderator

    the hp site seanferd posted. Yes, there may be some white space, but at least it's better than the friggin' bazillion ads all down both sides of the page. There's nothing worse than kaos on a website, makes my head ache. And that's my two cents for the day...

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    0 Votes
    seanferd

    (And the answer to the eponymous question is "not seanferd" in this particular case. :D)

    So, I can't take credit for posting that link.

    I agree, though, that KAOS goes much better with <i>Radio</i> or <i>The Man From UNCLE</i>, not so much with site design.

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    4 Votes
    jfuller05

    I didn't see nesting, which is crucial to following conversation in a discussion forum.

    My main complaint is our profiles. Before, and by before I mean the previous TR, I could follow discussion/question comments via my dashboard. I logged in to TR, went to my dashboard, and I could see the latest comments to discussions and questions I was participating in. Now, I login to my profile, I see my latest comment on a discussion which I don't care about. I can see that a TR member commented on a discussion I'm participating in, but I don't see their subject heading like I was able to in the previous TR. Being able to click on the latest commenter's subject heading and go the latest comment on the forum was a very nice feature. Also, seeing "new" next to the new comments was very nice.

    Another annoyance is that I can't see water-cooler discussions in my profile. Why is that?

    My complaints rest firmly on the inability of following conversations via my profile. The features I mentioned in the previous TR site that are lost now were very nice and I would like to see them back in this TR.

    +
    1 Votes
    Slayer_

    I really hate the 100 per page thing, especially since viewing a post on the second page takes you back to the first page, or viewing any post resets the sort order and number of posts per page settings. And though it was promised to add an "All" option to our settings for this, it has not happened. I would think this would be a pretty easy change.

    I find it funny that, if you go to the water cooler from the Q&A tab, it uses the Q&A display to show the same discussions.
    The old Q&A design was far better, it allowed for multiple correct answers and an easier way to track the progression of an answer.

    I really dislike that in discussions, the page has to reload for each post you click, why can it not simply expand when you click on it, where you click on it.

    The links to the posts being the date just seems unintuitive. Why not simply add a "View comment" button?

    +
    1 Votes
    LocoLobo

    at this one:

    http://www.city-data.com/forum/

    As a member it keeps track of where I've been. So I have the option to go to the first new post in a thread. It doesn't do the forked threads though and that is a problem for some.

    +
    1 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    ... when posters quote what they're replying to
    hopefully, the act of "replying" would automatically quote the post replied to

    the Sonic / Roxio forums do it that way as well
    (quote inside the reply)
    check this thread for example
    http://forums.support.roxio.com/topic/70426-problems-with-cineplayer-dvd-decoder-pack-231-esd/

    .

    +
    2 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    Is that it takes up a whole lot more space, especially if multiple people quote the same content repeatedly. It's necessary if you're not able to reply immediately below the comment you're referencing. Indenting reduces the need for that, since that content is directly above.

    I dislike forums that display large chunks of a member's entire profile down the left side. This same format is used on a music site I visit. One of the fields displayed under the avatar is called "Currently Listening To". Some members list so many artists that the text under their picture is ten or more lines deep. This takes up huge amount of space every time they post, even if they post only a single line of text in the comment space. For examples, see the fourth, fifth, and tenth comments here:

    http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,18184.0.html?PHPSESSID=072371c66e93262d2a86f7a5a58af3e7

    Still, I could live with it if we could get indentions back.

    +
    1 Votes
    seanferd

    That is a problem even in some email threads - some lengthy description or diatribe is quoted many times in multiple posts which have only one-line responses (and sometimes no response at all that I can see).

    So, no, I don't like the auto-quote reply method, either.

    <blockquote>I dislike forums that display large chunks of a member's entire profile </blockquote>
    And a huge avatar, two or more "sigs" of ridiculous size, plus a huge animated image "sig".

    +
    1 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    when I open this discussion from the links on the front page(s) Q & A and Discussions

    it opens like a Q with no titles in the replies

    and when I open it from the link on the page within the water closet it opens normally with all the titles intact

    weird ?
    .
    anyone else seen this?

    +
    1 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    Been workin' that way from the outset of the new TR.

    +
    2 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    as the replies don't always make sense when the title /.subject is missing from the comment

    this post won't make as much sense if the title isn't there

    +
    1 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    Don't worry about it; we're used to that from you

    +
    0 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    that's probably because,

    End User is not my first language

    I'm a hack from way back,
    I don't just use systems
    I beat them into submission !
    - every install of win 2K : 18 - 20 Processes at start (depending on the system)
    - every install of win XP : 20 - 26 Processes at start (depending on the system, usually 24 is the norm.)

    cheers
    .

    +
    1 Votes
    boxfiddler Moderator

    Wrong spot. How the heck did I do that? :0