Not easy to browse new posts

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Not easy to browse new posts

Postby B Marcelly » Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:04 am

Hi,

When I click "View new posts" I get a list of these new posts.
In OOoForum you get a column indicating in which forum it was posted. This is handy to select those you are interested.
snap001.gif
OOo Forum

But here, the forum name is inside the second line of each post title.
snap002.gif
OpenOffice.org Community forum

It is visually more complex to browse and skip those posted in forums you don't care.

Furthermore, you only see the sub-forum title, not the main forum title. So if the post was in "General use", where was it ? Word ? Calc? Impress? :o

_ _ _

If instead I look at a given forum, e.g. "Macros", I cannot see a list of the new posts in the forum and any sub-forum.

I cannot even have a global view of existing threads in the forum and sub-forums.
I have to open each sub-forum to display its posts.

All of this means that following the forum takes more time than in other classical forums. With high traffic it will be practically impossible. :cry:


[edit]
Added the problem of "General use".
Changed term "section" to : "forum"
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby huw » Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:49 am

I also think these would be very nice features for the site, along with a way to quickly mark all the new threads I can see as read.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby DrewJensen » Thu Nov 22, 2007 4:08 pm

Hi,

You may notice that when your cursor goes over the name of forum , in the second line of the message, that it displays as a link, which it is - click on it and you go to the forum head, if the forum has more then one un-read message there is a little icon to the right of the subject anem, click that and you go to the first unread message in the forum.

A Much better use of space then in Version 2 of phpBB IMO.

But that doesn't address the issue with Main forum - Sub Forum names...

As for the others, I hadn't thought about this listing problem when each got a general sub-forum...they should be renamed to be unique I suppose...one way to do it anyway.

The macros/extension area setup is a mess I agree...need to rearrange that ASAP, as in this weekend.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby DrewJensen » Thu Nov 22, 2007 4:28 pm

B Marcelly wrote:All of this means that following the forum takes more time than in other classical forums. With high traffic it will be practically impossible. :cry:



I don't agree, necessarily - we can find ways to handle these things - you seem to forget that there is another level of complexity here - the software itself OpenOffice.org .

Why do people keep asking the same questions over and over - it is because they can not find the answer. Why is that? Partly because of structure, or lack there of, IMO.

But it is going to take working out the structure and features...we have two sides to this question - a structure and feature set for the casual user, and for those of us that are less 'casual' about it.

For instance, what if the result set where in a tree structure, representing the forum structure, using indent levels?

What if we could setup custom search scripts?
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby acknak » Thu Nov 22, 2007 7:04 pm

I agree, it seems a little inefficient, but I think the old way was not efficient either, only familiar ;-)

I've been using the "New posts" link, and I agree, it's a little hard to get much context from that list. I wish the location link could include two levels: "Writer ‹ General Use" would be far more helpful than "General Use" alone.

What I find awkward at that point is browsing the list of new posts. I'd like to step through the list quickly. What I do is open each message in a tab, then step through the tabs. The problem with that is: it's tedious to open them all, and the threads are stale by the time I get to the end.

If I just work with one at a time from the list, then it's hard to find the "next post" in the list.

Waah, wahh!

Maybe once things settle down, I can focus on just a few forums and browse by forum instead of all new threads.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby huw » Thu Nov 22, 2007 7:09 pm

A very handy view would be an amalgamation of all new posts from user selected forums. I would choose Writer & Calc General Use, Calc Formalas, General Discussion, & Site Feedback. Others, no doubt, would choose differently. It would need to be a sortable view.

Combined with the "View your posts" view, and a "View bookmarked posts" view it wouldn't be necessary to keep seeing threads you have no involvment or interest in.

I suppose all this would be easy with RSS and a good reader.

As an aside, I used a site today to request information, and as I filled in the web form, a list of hits on their knowledge base was updated, live as I typed, below the question box. Clever.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby B Marcelly » Thu Nov 22, 2007 8:10 pm

DrewJensen wrote:You may notice that when your cursor goes over the name of forum , in the second line of the message, that it displays as a link, which it is - click on it and you go to the forum head, if the forum has more then one un-read message there is a little icon to the right of the subject anem, click that and you go to the first unread message in the forum.

Yes, but then it's simpler to click on the link to the forum or sub-forum in the main forum page :) and not use the "View new posts"

DrewJensen wrote:Why do people keep asking the same questions over and over - it is because they can not find the answer. Why is that? Partly because of structure, or lack there of, IMO.

They ask the same questions because many are not smart enough (or too lazy) to search the forum answers.
Now they will have a hard way finding which sub-forum(s) have -maybe- an answer.

Same for posting, don't expect that these people will post in the correct sub-forum. They have a problem to solve, they don't need another headache just by looking at the forum. It's simple for you but not for those people.

Of course a better choice of the structure names could help, but real problems cannot be easily classified. Many problems with Base are dependent on using macros. Where do you put the question ? In Base, in Macros ?
In general people are concerned with the application (Writer/Calc/Draw/Base) and a macro is only a means to answer a need in this application. That's why, even in OOoForum, they put macro questions in Calc or Writer forums (and even Code Snippets :twisted: ).
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby TerryE » Thu Nov 22, 2007 8:53 pm

I think that the underlying feature that many of us would agree would be a nice feature like would be some form of "smart view" capability, preferably linked into an RSS feed for those that want to visit the forum on such a trigger. This is a very nice to have rather than a show stopper, so we should try to identify an approach sometime in the next few months. We need to look at the mods out there; also functional issues such as
  • do we support one or multiple "special views per user.
  • If multiple then how does the user select one?
  • How does the user add and remove items from a special view?
  • what entities can be added — individual topics, folders, folder trees? message smart tags?
But let's put it on the list. Good point Bernard.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby huw » Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:54 am

I've never used a dedicated RSS reader, only what's built in to Firefox, so I could be wrong, but, I thought the board would just have to supply a full feed, and all the filtering would all be customised by the user in his/her reader. Or is that too heavy for dial-up users?
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby DrewJensen » Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:57 am

Actually the board could supply filtered lists based on individual forums or, as I was planning for the first cut, top level forums:

Writer, Calc, Match, Draw, Base

It need not be the overall board.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Nov 23, 2007 9:59 pm

huw wrote:I thought the board would just have to supply a full feed, and all the filtering would all be customised by the user in his/her reader.

But that's quite something to configure I guess (would each section give a specific keyword in the threads titles ? like the French forum feed). Much easier to have different feeds. I use the Wizz RSS news reader extension for FF BTW. Along with the All in One Sidebar, it's very powerful.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby huw » Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:01 am

Hagar de l'Est wrote:
huw wrote:I thought the board would just have to supply a full feed, and all the filtering would all be customised by the user in his/her reader.

But that's quite something to configure I guess (would each section give a specific keyword in the threads titles ? like the French forum feed). Much easier to have different feeds.

I assumed some developer somewhere had done all the hard work, and you could just plug in an RSS module to the board. It seems such an obvious use for RSS. It's impractical to create a feed for every possible combination of forums here, so RSS, whilst a nice enhancement, isn't going to solve the problems some people (myself included) are having trying to quickly read everything they want.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby DrewJensen » Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:59 pm

B Marcelly wrote:Hi,

When I click "View new posts" I get a list of these new posts.
In OOoForum you get a column indicating in which forum it was posted. This is handy to select those you are interested.
snap001.gif

But here, the forum name is inside the second line of each post title.

snap002.gif

It is visually more complex to browse and skip those posted in forums you don't care.

yes, I understand what you mean about it being harder to skip...now how to handle that.
We could be a new display that broke it out - but I would hate to make that much of a change before the next release of the base phpBB package - still if that is not out of the question.

Furthermore, you only see the sub-forum title, not the main forum title. So if the post was in "General use", where was it ? Word ? Calc? Impress? :o


I changed the names of the sub forums from 'General' to
Writer General, Calc General , Impress General

This will at least handle that situation.

_ _ _

If instead I look at a given forum, e.g. "Macros", I cannot see a list of the new posts in the forum and any sub-forum.

I cannot even have a global view of existing threads in the forum and sub-forums.
I have to open each sub-forum to display its posts.

All of this means that following the forum takes more time than in other classical forums. With high traffic it will be practically impossible. :cry:


So in the end you really saying that - you don't like the sub-forum idea at all..or ... are you saying that what you want is the ability to turn off the sub-forum view and see a flat view for a given top level forum?
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby Hagar Delest » Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:22 pm

huw wrote:It's impractical to create a feed for every possible combination of forums here, so RSS, whilst a nice enhancement, isn't going to solve the problems some people (myself included) are having trying to quickly read everything they want.

You don't need to set up all the possible configurations. You just need to have one feed for each forum (I'm talking about the main forums, not the sub-sections). Then, the RSS reader can combine the different feeds you want.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby DrewJensen » Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:26 pm

Hagar de l'Est wrote:
huw wrote:It's impractical to create a feed for every possible combination of forums here, so RSS, whilst a nice enhancement, isn't going to solve the problems some people (myself included) are having trying to quickly read everything they want.

You don't need to set up all the possible configurations. You just need to have one feed for each forum (I'm talking about the main forums, not the sub-sections). Then, the RSS reader can combine the different feeds you want.


right - the RSS feed ( atom ? ) will be custom built for the forum - using some existing code as a starting point.

The first thought I had was to make it per-forum, that includes sub forums - but it makes sense to offer a feed from the top level forums. So if you select a feed for writer you get all the latest posts from all the sub-forums for writer also.

That sound about like what folks would want?
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby Hagar Delest » Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:54 pm

DrewJensen wrote:That sound about like what folks would want?

I think so.

Having a feed for each sub-level could make sense for the Setup and Troubleshouting area where you can subscribe for Mac issues only for example but that's rather far from the common use, so a top-level feed is enough I think.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby DrewJensen » Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:56 pm

So, then would we not offer feeds for the sub-forums - only for the top level forums?
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby Hagar Delest » Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:03 pm

That's my position but I only speak for myself ! Let's see what the others think about that.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby acknak » Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:51 pm

The custom RSS feed would be a nice option, but it should not be the only option to solve B Marcelly's problem. The forum itself should have a way to handle this without requiring any outside solution.

Drew, are you sure that the forum does not supply some way to either duplicate the old summary content, or to provide a summary grouped by the top-level forum? That seems like a key feature that ought to be available.

Now that the traffic is going up, I am also finding that I waste time trying to find the posts I have a shot at answering.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby DrewJensen » Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:01 am

It is a function of the theme...as far as I can see this theme does not supply this...but we can add to, or change, the way the pages are displayed...

Let me do two things then...

One I will ask on the phpBB support board about features that perhaps I am just missing...blindness is not all that an uncommon affliction with these type things..

Two - if this the priority then I can start work on making changes to the basic page layout for this...

OK - let me go ask the question first..and see what I can discern from that...then we can look at what we need to do here...

Meanwhile, assume that we will be customizing the theme's list pages...and think of how you would want that to go..

For example - instead of changing the default page, maybe a custom page makes more sense. One where you can chose which forums to see new posts for...this has an advantage, in that, when an upgrade to the basic packages happens it doesn't break the upgrade scripts...I just have to upgrade the custom page, IF, anything changes in the database structure.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby acknak » Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:22 am

... maybe a custom page makes more sense. One where you can chose which forums to see new posts for...

That would be superb. And if the RSS feed came off of that, it would serve two purposes.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby DrewJensen » Tue Nov 27, 2007 7:02 am

Ok

This one will give you the last 20 posts in all of the Writer forum and sub-forums
syndication.php?type=rss&fid=7,28,29,30&count=20
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby Hagar Delest » Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:17 am

Works perfectly with my Wizz RSS extension !
Thanks.

NB: it's not yet able to actually detect the feeds.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby DrewJensen » Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 am

Hagar de l'Est wrote:NB: it's not yet able to actually detect the feeds.


Sorry, not sure what you mean there?
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby huw » Tue Nov 27, 2007 11:01 am

This is probably just me, but I only noticed yesterday that there are posts directly in the top level forums, along side the sub-forums. Although this is normal for a directory structure, I have not experienced it on a forum before. I assumed posts could only go into the forums at the end of branches. I think it relates to my preference for USENET.

DrewJensen wrote:So, then would we not offer feeds for the sub-forums - only for the top level forums?

I would vote for sub-forums too, because it allows full customisation for those who want it, but I don't use RSS for forums at the moment, so I abstain.

DrewJensen wrote:
Hagar de l'Est wrote:NB: it's not yet able to actually detect the feeds.

Sorry, not sure what you mean there?

Available feeds are usually "announced", allowing "autodiscovery".
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby DrewJensen » Tue Nov 27, 2007 11:06 am

OK - well I am just getting started with the code for the feeds, so not all features yet..not even close.

Also - When I said feeds for top level forum what I meant is that the feed would aggregate posts for all the sub-forums under that top-level forum.

Actually, as it is going that would be up to the user - so, setup feeds for every level and if one can then put together whichever ones they want. But this is still just a start - I have to spend time at making a living today, but by Thursday we should have a bit more to play with and actually start to work out how this should be implemented.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby Hagar Delest » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:00 pm

Back to the forums issue. I've a problem with the General section of each application forum. I can't see the difference with the top-level forum. Anyone against deleting the General sub-forum of each application section ? That would leave only the special sub-forums, which sounds rather logical.
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby DrewJensen » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:19 pm

It is reasonable to me...
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby Hagar Delest » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:25 pm

Well, done.
I hope nobody will complain :mrgreen:
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Re: Not easy to browse new posts

Postby B Marcelly » Sat Dec 01, 2007 3:14 pm

DrewJensen wrote:
B Marcelly wrote:If instead I look at a given forum, e.g. "Macros", I cannot see a list of the new posts in the forum and any sub-forum.

I cannot even have a global view of existing threads in the forum and sub-forums.
I have to open each sub-forum to display its posts.


So in the end you really saying that - you don't like the sub-forum idea at all..or ... are you saying that what you want is the ability to turn off the sub-forum view and see a flat view for a given top level forum?

Yes, I dislike those sub-forums :evil:
And Yes, if sub-forums are here to stay, a flat view from a top level forum is a necessity.

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An RSS feed may be used by some, not me. I don't find it practical when you want to reply some posts. RSS feeds are better when you only have to read. That's my opinion of course :)

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