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Forum pet peeves?

 
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Brent
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Joined: 01 Jul 2005
Posts: 729

PostPosted: Mar 26th, 2009, 8:31am    Post subject: Forum pet peeves? Reply with quote

I'm sure most of you have used many different forum softwares over the years, and have found each has its strong points and its weak points. I'm interested in the parts of forums that sometimes (or oftentimes) leave you feeling frustrated or insulted. I want SapientBoard to be able to avoid such pitfalls, giving the user as positive an experience as possible.

One thing I can come up with is when admins or mods sticky a lot of topics in the same forum. I believe this can lead to "sticky blindness" where the user just scrolls right past the sticky posts to get to the new posts. Any new posts to a sticky topic could get ignored by the person best qualified to answer them.

I believe the solution to this problem is to hide the read sticky topics--only showing them when a link is clicked. The unread topics will be made more prominent by eliminating some clutter and prevent the users from developing bad habits.

What do you think?

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STPendl
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Joined: 20 Aug 2007
Posts: 161
Location: Austria

PostPosted: Mar 27th, 2009, 7:18am    Post subject: Re: Forum pet peeves? Reply with quote

Brent wrote:

I believe the solution to this problem is to hide the read sticky topics--only showing them when a link is clicked. The unread topics will be made more prominent by eliminating some clutter and prevent the users from developing bad habits.

What do you think?

I would expand that functionality further.
Think of three categories of posts:

  1. normal posts
  2. sticky posts
  3. announcement posts

Announcements should be visible on all boards, created by admins and mods only, so their count is kept small.
New ones should always be visible, if there are none, only the last three are visible.

Stickies should be visible on the board they are created, created by admins and mods only.
They follow the visibility rule of the announcements.

Normal posts would follow the visibility rule of the stickies.

This way new members will see all the important posts and longer members will see only the latest posts.

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Stefan

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Brent
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PostPosted: Mar 27th, 2009, 9:31am    Post subject: Re: Forum pet peeves? Reply with quote

If I understand you correctly, I wouldn't be so quick to hide normal topics. On a very active forum, topics could become hidden quickly. New members who aren't familiar with the forum, might mistakenly believe their unanswered post has been deleted.
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Alyce
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Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Mar 27th, 2009, 4:52pm    Post subject: Re: Forum pet peeves? Reply with quote

Okay, this is a general observation, not tied to what you've done in SB...

I like an easy way to view recent posts. The LB board does not give you the ability to display only unread posts, or more than 10 recent posts.

I dislike boards that have a karma feature.

I like boards that allow you to upload an image. It's a pain to upload images to a distant site, then post a link. (Images limited to small file size are fine.)

Board admins should be able to allow/disallow things like member edits and deletions of their own posts.

I'm sure I could list dozens more Smile

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STPendl
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PostPosted: Mar 28th, 2009, 9:28am    Post subject: Re: Forum pet peeves? Reply with quote

Alyce wrote:

Board admins should be able to allow/disallow things like member edits and deletions of their own posts.

Controlling deletion of posts is recommended, if there are replies to a post, the post should not be deletable by a member.

Only admins and mods should be able to delete any post, with replies or not.

This will prevent the problems we currently have on the other forums, where members delete their posts, if the problem is solved or other things happened, making the whole thread useless.

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Stefan

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STPendl
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PostPosted: Mar 28th, 2009, 9:32am    Post subject: Re: Forum pet peeves? Reply with quote

Brent wrote:
If I understand you correctly, I wouldn't be so quick to hide normal topics. On a very active forum, topics could become hidden quickly. New members who aren't familiar with the forum, might mistakenly believe their unanswered post has been deleted.

The number of visible posts should be increased above three for normal posts, the last ten or so would be good.
The displayed normal posts could be based on creation time too, so only the posts of the last few days are visible, with a minimum to be displayed, if there a none in that time frame.

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Stefan

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STPendl
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PostPosted: Mar 28th, 2009, 9:36am    Post subject: Re: Forum pet peeves? Reply with quote

Alyce wrote:

I dislike boards that have a karma feature.

I don't even know how to use the Karma feature, but I think it is some way to collect points of helpfulness, assigned by other members.

I know other forums offer points for solving problems, but I doubt that any post count feature is telling a new member something about the quality of the posts of other members.

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Stefan

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Alyce
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PostPosted: Mar 28th, 2009, 11:17am    Post subject: Re: Forum pet peeves? Reply with quote

STPendl wrote:
Alyce wrote:

I dislike boards that have a karma feature.

I don't even know how to use the Karma feature, but I think it is some way to collect points of helpfulness, assigned by other members.



Members award karma points by clicking the links at the side of a post, under the poster's name. His total karma appears with his name and profile info. You can add or subtract points, and you'll see troublesome members with negative karma.

It strikes me as very childish.

I assume it is supposed to reduce flames, since people can click on the link to reduce karma, instead of writing a nasty reply. Still... childish.

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STPendl
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PostPosted: Mar 28th, 2009, 11:45am    Post subject: Re: Forum pet peeves? Reply with quote

Alyce wrote:

I assume it is supposed to reduce flames, since people can click on the link to reduce karma, instead of writing a nasty reply. Still... childish.

So I totally misunderstood the purpose, I have checked my dictionary about the meaning of the two links, but I was not clear after I knew what they mean.
There is no explanation in the forum help too.

Here we have another thing that needs attention, the forums help system.
I don't find the help videos very helpful and they need to much bandwidth.

Plain and simple help topics written about each screen a member gets presented and the items shown, is what I think is the best to use.
Some kind of best practice would be helpful too.

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Stefan

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Brent
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PostPosted: Apr 4th, 2009, 6:27am    Post subject: Re: Forum pet peeves? Reply with quote

Another thing is when people do unnecessary quoting when replying. Not only do these clog the database and use more bandwidth, but they too often make posts harder to read.

I think a solution to this is to have the software remember to which post you are replying and automatically generate a link to that post. Of course I wouldn't eliminate the quote feature, because some people can have a lot of questions or opinions that would best be handled like a conversation in a reply.

The most popular BB packages don't do this sort of thing. I can see that there might be issues like what to do if the replied to post gets deleted or split from the topic and moved to a place most users can't access.

I reckon the reasonable thing to do when deleting a post is to check the other posts in that thread and zero out the reply backward reference and leave it at that. But it may make a difference who deleted the post. The aforementioned solution is appropriate if a moderator deleted the post, but not so clear if the poster deleted it.

Maybe then the user should not be allowed to delete posts that have been replied to directly. But who knows if the reply was direct or if the person replying just clicked the first reply button he/she saw.

I know some of you feel that only admins and mods should be able to delete posts. However, do you also disallow editing? The poster could edit the post and replace it with, "Please delete." Or he/she could reply to the thread asking a mid to delete the offending post, then the mod has to delete two posts.

I think the best solution for this problem is to allow (registered) users to delete their posts (or even whole topics with replies) in a short timespan after the post is submitted and after that disallow it. This could also apply to user edits as well.

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STPendl
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PostPosted: Apr 4th, 2009, 8:56am    Post subject: Re: Forum pet peeves? Reply with quote

Brent wrote:

I think the best solution for this problem is to allow (registered) users to delete their posts (or even whole topics with replies) in a short timespan after the post is submitted and after that disallow it. This could also apply to user edits as well.

I would only allow users to delete posts, which do not have any replies attached.
You may include an attribute for a count of posts that link to one post, so you can get rid of broken links.

If there is only one post in a thread and it is deleted, the whole thread should be deleted automatically.

Disallowing modifying a post with replies is not recommended, since sometimes code needs changes and reposting the whole thing does only add too much to the database.
In addition how would one correct his typos Question

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Stefan

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Alyce
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PostPosted: Apr 4th, 2009, 3:50pm    Post subject: Re: Forum pet peeves? Reply with quote

Brent wrote:
Another thing is when people do unnecessary quoting when replying. Not only do these clog the database and use more bandwidth, but they too often make posts harder to read.



That is one BIG reason I dislike Carl's (or anybody's) Yahoo group. It's filled with messages that quote every single previous message in the thread, with nothing meaningful added. (The old, "me, too!" syndrome.)

You might notice that I often quote entire posts on the LB forum. There is a reason. We've had too many instances of posters deleting original posts, making the entire thread meaningless. Since Conforums doesn't limit the size of our database, it makes no difference there. I can see that it would make a huge difference on one's own website/server.

I dislike being unable to edit my own posts and I tend to avoid boards that prevent member editing.

I also vote for allowing removal of entire threads by members ONLY if there are no replies.

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