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Merging Discussions and Tech Q&A

By sMoRTy71 ·
After reading everyone's feedback about the separation of Discussions and Tech Q&A, I've started to think that there may be a way to achieve what everyone says they want (a separate view of questions and a separate view of discussions) in a single interface.

Below you will find a link to a mock-up that I worked up this morning. It shows how a topic page would look with discussions and questions together.

To differentiate between discussions and questions, I've created some (bad) icons that would be displayed in the thread list.

Also, just above the list of threads, I have added sort options that all you to see discussions only, open questions only and solved questions only.

My thinking on this is that it is easier to find information about a topic when it is all in one place.

Please take a look and let me know what you all think of this approach.

http://techrepublic.com.com/i/tr/unified_topic_page.gif

BTW, the list of threads has been shortened to make the mock-up easier to look at in one screen. The "real" page would have 25 threads per page.

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looks good to me

by shiny_topadm In reply to Merging Discussions and T ...

The idea of access thru a single interface page would go a long way to making it easier to particpate (at least for me and anyone else who only has time to 'skim' the topics instead of taking the time to go here-there-and-everywhere looking for something that i may want to contribute to.) [nice run-on sentence!] The mockup gets your point across, I'm trying to picture how it scales, though...

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Looks good

by BFilmFan In reply to Merging Discussions and T ...

I vote to give it a try. Although, I would like a listing for folks that have opened tons of questions without closing them or providing feedback...

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Deadwood Cleanup

by willcomp In reply to Looks good

Agree that there needs to be a method for identifying, and hopefully removing, the deadbeats.

Dalton

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Good Concept, Worth a Try

by willcomp In reply to Merging Discussions and T ...

Don't know if it will pan out since it is a radical change, but definitely worth trying. Am seeing quite a few TQ&A type questions in discussion groups anyway.

Who determines whether it is a discussion item or a question?

Dalton

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User will choose

by sMoRTy71 In reply to Good Concept, Worth a Try

Yeah, I think that a lot of people are using the Discussion Center for questions because:

1. They can ask questions in other discussion boards
2. Many members don't know about TQ&A
3. It's just a lot easier than doing it in TQ&A

In the "merged" version, a user would specify whether their thread was a "question" or a "discussion"when they start it. Choosing "question" would put the appropriate icon next to the thread and it would enable certain functions like closing questions.

sm

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Maybe They'll Get it Right

by willcomp In reply to User will choose

Putting a lot of faith in users. Many (hopefully most) will get it right. Based on what I've seen in the last few months, many won't get it right.

I believe they expect instant gratification and don't bother to read any directions.

Guess there's just no way to eliminate the Bozo factor when dealing with the hoi polloi.

At the very least ya'll are trying. Will reserve final judgement until after it's been in effect awhile.

Keep plugging away. No one knows for sure what will work until it's tried.

Dalton

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Visually it is nice

by Oz_Media In reply to Merging Discussions and T ...

Although I am getting tired of everyone using the same XP style glass buttons nowdays, I kinda like TR's simple classic buttons, they seem a little more refined, maybe a 1 pixel (green/red)backlight for rollover effect would be nicer than the current 'charcoal' raised effect.

As for the concept, I dunno, personally it scares the **** out of me but it seems others want to see them combined. I would rather see them clearly identified/renamed, organized and separated.

I know you are going ot flag them but it's just not the same to me. Yeah I know I am a grumbly bugger about this issue but perhaps I just have a completely different view of how the site should work and how I would want it laid out.

I think the sample is nice but I feel like I've been there and done that, it seems too common and most tech sites just don't look good to me.

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XP styles and Q&A separation

by apotheon In reply to Visually it is nice

I actually think that the main reason the Discussion center sees a lot of traffic that should be in TQ&A is simply that with a more open discussion style it's easier to get useful answers a lot of the time. That aside, though, the TQ&A section almost certainly also suffers because a lot of people don't know it's there, or find it to be more difficult to get to than the general discussion areas. Making them each accessible from the other by merging the two sections of the site might help to rectify that problem.

I must admit, though, that this mock-up has the two types of site participation less differentiated from each other than I would have expected. I was also immediately put off slightly by the Windows XP style appearance. I wouldn't stop visiting TR just because of the XP stylings, but I don't think that appearance will ever grow on me, either. I guess I'm just not a huge fan of the Fisher-Price Widget Set for Windows XP.

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Chad instead of using

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to XP styles and Q&A separat ...

The good old rock solid almost unbreakable Debian try out Lycoris Desktop LX it is the Linux I recommend for the first time Linux user trying out Linux.

If you think that the listed site here is too XP sh then Lycoris looks so much like that not may first time users can tell the difference even the default desktop theme is so similar. Sure they pick up very quickly that there is no MS Office but the supplied Open Office works quite well and most come to approve of it more than MS offering.

But it looks so much like XP that it is really off putting to me at least but then again maybe it is the "Light Weight" nature of the thing as it defiantly isn't the work horse that Debian is.

Col

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yeah . . .

by apotheon In reply to Chad instead of using

I'm aware of Lycoris as the "other XP". I guess it serves a purpose, providing an easy transition to those who are really uncomfortable with any OS other than Windows. It still gives me the creeps, though. Why anyone would want to emulate that look is beyond me.

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