What Does A Good Forum Need?

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BDub's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
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Hey folks -

In a few other threads, we've talked about why the current forum isn't satisfying a lot of people. What I want to know is what does a good forum system need to have? If we could compile a list of specific requests, it'd be a lot easier to get something that we're all happy with together.

Please, stay away from phrases as vague as 'I like phpBB', or any statements that are 'I don't like x' unless it finishes with 'y is a better option.'

-BDub

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Joined: Sep 3 2004
Posts: 6
Copy - Paste

Why isn't the text in this forum COPY - PASTEable?
Sometimes there's a link to another website and I can't click it to get there, nor can I copy the link's text to paste it into the URL bar of my browser.

This seems an unnecessary bug.

Mackie's picture
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Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 92
Strange, I've never had that

Strange, I've never had that problem.

Browser/OS/Version? Cool Mac

tmtomh's picture
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My Top 10 Suggestions

First off, I think this is a great forum, and it meets a lot of my needs. That said, I offer the following observations/suggestions in a constructive spirit:

(1) I don't like the nested response system, where you can respond to the original post or to a subsequent post. I find the resulting indents visually unpleasant, and I don't like scrolling up and down a long thread to try to find where the new post is, if it isn't at the end. So I would like to see "add a new comment" be the only option. If folks want to respond to a particular post, they can quote it in their response.

(2) Related to the above item, I would like to see a "Quote" option in the same place where there is currently the "reply to this comment" option. If I clicked on the "Quote" option, when my "type your comment here" window came up, the post I was responding to would automatically be quoted in the text field where I was going to write my post. The 68kmla forums work this way. This, in my opinion, would encourage more dircect replies to posts, making threads easier to follow, and would more than compensate for any flow issues produced by moving to a flat reply system (as I suggest in item 1 above).

(3) I would also like to see a compressed layout of all previous posts on the "type your comment here" page. Currently I see only the post to which I'm ostensibly replying. Sometimes you want to reply to more than one post, and so you want to be able to see the text of all previous posts while you're composing your own. Again, the 68kmla forums do this well.

(4) I would like to see initial posts in threads be editable by their creators.

(5) On my Mac, the "posted by ... on [date]" text is too light to read, except for the initial post in a thread (where it's larger and, to my eyes, darker). I would like to see the font size increased for that particular text, or the grey color darkened.

(6) I find the hacks categories too loosey-goosey. I know I can search for a hack, but if I browse by "case mod" or "custom desktop" or "engineering hack" I get three different lists of hacks that are neither identical nor totally exclusive. There's some overlap, depending upon how many categories the person who posted the story decided to use. I would like to see these consolidated into one "hardware hacks" or perhaps "desktop and laptop hacks" section (accessory/peripheral hacks could still be a separate section I suppose).

(7) Unless I'm mistaken, the forum front page only indicates if there are new _threads_ since one's previous visits. To see if there are new posts within a thread, I have to look at the "last post" info and remember if the time of the last post is more recent than my last visit to the forums. I would like the forum front page to more clearly indicate when a new post has been made to a forum, regardless of whether it's a new thread or an existing thread.

(8 ) I would like to see every forum thread -- especially Colour Classic and Hardware Hacks -- have an FAQ page that's reasonably up to date and answers many of the questions that frequently come up here. Along these lines, it might be a good idea to have a sticky at the top of at least some forums with a link to the FAQ page.

(9) Is there a page somewhere with links to parts/hack vendors? I don't know about any conflict of interest issues, but I would think a links page with URLs for places like Digikey, EarthLCD, Krylon (for Fusion), Bryndana (for Colorbond), perhaps some Japanese importers, etc., would be useful for noobs and old hats alike.

(10) These aren't suggestions exactly, but I would like to see two bugs squashed. One, which drives me a little bonkers, is that when I have more than one AF page open in tabs in Safari, if I reply to a post and then clisk "post comment," I will not always be directed back to the right thread. Instead I will be directed to what I believe is the most recent thread Safari has opened (whch is usually already open in another tab). I figure this has to be either (a) a caching issue on the AF server, or (b) a "feature" of the forum code that assumes you've only got one thread open at a time, and therefore that it can specify the most recent thread instead of actually specifying the ID of the thread in question. The second but (at least I think it's a bug) is the logout issue (which appears to have just recently come up). It would be nice if that could be resolved if possible.

Okay, that's all I have for now. Thanks to Tom O and all the mods for these forums. I think they're great.

Best,
Matt

doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355
inbox depth

I have noticed that you can only hold about 20 displayable messages in any given mailbox, but all messages are still there. If I have to find an older message, I must create a new mailbox and move items around until the older message moves up the line. Basically, if I have a mialbox dedicated to old PMs that I think I should retain, I would like to display ALL of them, or at least have an option to move to a next page. This was the case when I needed to dig up old PMs from RavenDarkness - I created a new mailbox for PMs from him, but I had to create a few temp mailboxes to shift things around to find them all and the end result was I had more PMs from him in the "RD" mailbox, then could be displayed.

--DDTM

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Tom Owad's picture
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I especially like Mackie's fi

I especially like Mackie's first point here.

This is the real thing, btw, so if there's some forum feature you want, say so now.

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olikicksmacs's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
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Counter

Hi,

I liked it in the old forum where it showed how many posts you have, well..... posted. That would be cool to have back as I like to show off!

Oli

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Joined: Dec 19 2003
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Re: Counter

olikicksmacs wrote:

Hi,

I liked it in the old forum where it showed how many posts you have, well..... posted. That would be cool to have back as I like to show off!

Oli

i would say the opposite ... post counts are bad as they encourage people to post junk just to up their post count ... they are also not a good judge of how experienced a member is, as a brand new member to the forums, or one that posts rarely, may have far more knowledge than a member with thousands of posts Tongue

anyway ... maybe instead of post counts have some sort of "karma" system like they have on some forums where members are rated on how useful their answers are Wink

TOM

tmtomh's picture
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Whose Point?

Tom, are you referring to my first point? (Mackie posted just above me but didn't have any specific suggestions in that post.) Just trying to clarify, to see if any of my suggestions are garnering support. Wink

Best,
Matt

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 455
Re: Copy - Paste

Dick wrote:

Why isn't the text in this forum COPY - PASTEable?
Sometimes there's a link to another website and I can't click it to get there, nor can I copy the link's text to paste it into the URL bar of my browser.

This seems an unnecessary bug.

This happens on ALL the computers (not macs) that I use to go to applefritter with.

All of the comptuers that I use are using Windows Xp pro with either sp1 and all the other updates or sp2. I use about 6 different computers. They all use whatever version of IE that is installed on them.

It drives me nuts as well that I can't copy and paste from the text on this site easily. If i try to highlight a big section, the only thing I can get to highlight is the entire page but not sections of it.

I do not have any alternative browsers installed.

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Re: Counter

tomlevens wrote:
olikicksmacs wrote:

Hi,

I liked it in the old forum where it showed how many posts you have, well..... posted. That would be cool to have back as I like to show off!

Oli

i would say the opposite ... post counts are bad as they encourage people to post junk just to up their post count ... they are also not a good judge of how experienced a member is, as a brand new member to the forums, or one that posts rarely, may have far more knowledge than a member with thousands of posts Tongue

anyway ... maybe instead of post counts have some sort of "karma" system like they have on some forums where members are rated on how useful their answers are Wink

TOM

Bleh.

Almost all forums have postcounts in one way or another and it sucks that this site doesn't have any post counts.

The only sites that don't appear to have post counts are usually "professional" sites like hp.com's forums or simliar company support forums. But they also usually have the points ratings at least. This site has none and its one of the fun things that I miss about AF1.0. Sure you end up with post whores but its just plain fun to see your post count go up and see your rating go up. I don't remember any obvious post whores at AF1.

Tom runs a tight ship here compared to a lot of "fun" forums. He appears to run it somewhat like a company professional forum and I think that is lacking with AF. AF is a fun forum (by fun forum, i mean its not a company forum like hp's forums where the company has a vested interest in the forums in supporting their customers and its not a paid/earned support forum like experts-exchange.com (about ee, i'm proud to say that I recently just earned my 10k points there and i am listed on the top 10 for laptops after being a member for 2 months).

We need to have more of the "fun" stuff back at AF just to make it more relaxed atmosphere. I would have never stayed here at AF due to how strictly things are run here (spelling, use good grammer, clickly clickly, etc) BUT the sheer brilliance of the people who post here make it someplace that I try to visit every day. We do have a very high calibur of people here and thats an awesome resource. Where else can you find people like Dr Bob and his extreme hacks and Naturgrl and her cool prototype cases and people who actually own Apple 1's?

So what if there are a few post whores here at AF. I'm pretty sure that the other members here will give them the treatment/attention that they deserve in one way or another.

Heck, the last time I checked, boards like macaddict and macfixit had post counts (that was a few months ago so I dont' know if things have changed since then.)

I just wish that AF2 had the look of a php bulliten board, they just seem "cleaner". I don't give a rats butt about needing to be "different" if thats the intent of AF2.

And I wish for post counts and rankings and all that worthless fluff that entices post whores.

Leave the rankings/karma/points to the professional type support forums and lets have more fun in here, this isn't some stuffy hp support forum!!

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BDub's picture
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Re: Counter

bobotech wrote:

And I wish for post counts and rankings and all that worthless fluff that entices post whores.

Perhaps we could have an option to view/hide post counts?

-BDub

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DrBunsen's picture
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Re: What Does A Good Forum Need?

More sophisticated search?

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moosemanmoo's picture
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Joined: Aug 17 2004
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The current search system see

The current search system seems to be more or less useless. I can search for something that I know was posted just a couple weeks ago and I get lots of stuff that has nothing to do with it at all. Why not just use Google's site search?

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