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read biography for - karne

 karne ( 10th Jul 2003, 12:22, Rank: GSV )  reply

auto paragraph


read biography for - karne

 karne ( 10th Jul 2003, 12:23, Rank: GSV )  reply

*, _ and em, strong


read biography for - karne

 karne ( 10th Jul 2003, 12:23, Rank: GSV )  reply

bigger imput box


read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 10th Jul 2003, 13:05, Rank: Patrician )  reply

Worth looking at the previous thread: (union.ic.ac.uk). In particular, my comment from 19th May at 14:21. There's also the original thread at (union.ic.ac.uk)

It would be good to have some way to search the news board for previous threads. Since there are only 6 items per page, it takes a while to slog through. I'd also suggest making "show active topics first" the default (rather than "show topics by submission date"), otherwise comments to old threads tend to get ignored.

It is frustrating to type in a long article, and get no replies, since it feels like I'm blasting things off into the void. I'm not saying that people should add random comments to say "I read it". However, one approach might be to track how many people click on an article? There's an example of this in the Dance Club forum - (union.ic.ac.uk)

On the subject of replies, I think that if people don't reply then there are two potential reasons for this:

  1. They don't have anything to say
  2. They don't want to say it here

Now, if people aren't interested in a particular subject, that's fine. E.g. I never read articles that contain spoilers, so I won't comment on them. (More specifically, spoilers for something that I haven't seen yet.)

The case where people choose not to comment is more important. For instance, take "Matrix Reloaded". Whene Steve added an article about that: (union.ic.ac.uk), there were only 2 comments. By contrast, when I posted about it to my LiveJournal, I got 11 replies - (www.livejournal.com). Now, I'm not saying that people should go and use LiveJournal. What I am saying is that we should ask why people commented in LiveJournal, and not on the website? I think part of this is down to ease of use, and part of it is critical mass, i.e. joining in an active discussion.

One other aspect here is that lots of people went to see "Matrix Reloaded" on opening day (Wednesday), whereas I went to see it on Thursday (due to exams). So, it may well be that people who saw it on Wednesday all chatted amongst themselves afterwards, so they'd already said everything that they wanted to say by the time they got to the website. A similar issue would apply if people watch downloaded episodes before they come to UK TV. And there's nothing wrong with this - I'm not suggesting that we should shun real-world conversations in favour of virtual ones. It's just something to be aware of.

The main thing here is that I can understand why it's frustrating to set up a website and then not have anyone using it. But I think it's unfair to grumble about lack of interest, while not commenting on posts yourselves.

The only other question I'd raise is "how much of this website was actually requested?" I remember discussions in the house about setting up a news board, but if nobody else asked for it, then it's understandable that they wouldn't use it.


read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 10th Jul 2003, 13:35, Rank: Patrician )  reply

One other thing that has bothered me a bit lately - this isn't specifically related to the news board, but just the website in general. Since the dynamically generated pages were introduced, it feels as if static pages are being treated like a poor relation. For instance, looking in the library/resources section, I added two new pages in January ("Sandman spinoff comics" and "Charmed - TV guide"), and overhauled all my pages in May. The previous update was when Simon added a "Doctor Who" guide last October. Meanwhile, the other pages are getting out of date. E.g. Michelle's B5 page has a section for the Technomage trilogy, that says "I will update this with a summary when all the books are out" (the 3rd one was published in December 2001). I'm not trying to single Michelle out for criticism here, that's just an example. It just seems that nobody is interested in the static pages anymore ("that's so two years ago..."). This does tie in with what I mentioned about having a search function in the news board. If I add a film review here, it will be hard to find later, whereas if I put it on my own website (www.golgotha.org.uk) then you can reach it with two clicks from the homepage. Similarly, static pages on the ICSF site are easier to reach, once more than a day has elapsed. This then means that the news board will tend towards inconsequential stuff, rather than anything of lasting interest, which may explain why not many people look at it. (Although I don't have access to any site logs, so it may be that there are loads of lurkers here.)


read biography for - karne

 karne ( 10th Jul 2003, 13:38, Rank: GSV )  reply

sticky function, topic images


read biography for - karne

 karne ( 10th Jul 2003, 13:43, Rank: GSV )  reply

re static vs dynamic pages: i'd assumed at some point we'd mine the old dynamic news posts for review and store them in the static area. WRT to your site vs the icsf site, then of course it's easier to find a reviews on your site. But someone who doesn't know you won't find it there, but may find it here. If you're only writing reviews for your friends then you might as well stick tohomesites/email.

As to whether it's worth having the board, people liked the idea. I'm not going to get into 'well, no one's using it so what's the point' as that's nor exactly constructive


read biography for - karne

 karne ( 10th Jul 2003, 13:45, Rank: GSV )  reply

A views counter is a nice idea but short of unique IPing it, it's way too easy to skew the results, considering the small number of viewers we have.


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 10th Jul 2003, 14:03, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

Right. Oodles of comments.

As I've said in the previous post there are things that are on my list of things to fix. Including the fecking autoparagraph and comment box. They'll get done when I have some free time to do it *and* the union server is up.

The website discussion - there will be a page for this, so it won't be part of the news board, so it won't scroll off. This is pretty high up my list of things to do as it's combined with writing a guide to the website for new users. All of which will be in place for the new intake.

Searching news board - searching is horrendously complicated to write (the relatively simple one on the links site takes well over 100 lines of code and *still* doesn't work. The way I find something - show all articles, ctrl f, keyword. (shrug). In version 4.89 of the website, we'll do a search, but while there are only 4 people using it, it's not worth the development time (likely at least a week).

Yes, I agree it's frustrating to write a long article. If you get more posts on your livejournal posts, then put it there. It doesn't take much time to add it to the icsf site as well. If I have something to add/say I will do so. But I don't comment on *everything* (certainly just to say, I read this, or <aol>Me too</aol>. Believe me, I understand the frustration, but if it frustrates you to get no comments, then don't post. I certainly don't write reviews for the sake of someone else reading them, I write things 'cos it's in my head and needs to come out. I omstly post news stories which don't always need comments, and I read the news anyway, only takes me 2 minutes to post the story there too.

People use livejournal because they are used to visiting livejournal as part of their daily browse. People haven't got to that stage with the icsf site. I don't think it's anything to do with ease of use, of one over the other, just habit. Once the rss feed is set up (which is also on the list) then it will integrate a bit better with livejournal. Personally while I'm at a pc I check the icsf site every 1/2 hour or so, but then I'm a webeditor so freely acknowledge not everyone does this.

Of course people are going to discuss things amongst themselves, frankly it's irritating having to type out a disucssion, you don't always make your point well the first time, lose track etc. People will discuss something immediately and then it disappears (that's why *i* read spoilers). Nothing that can be done about it.

Of course static pages are going to be updtaed less often, it's more hastle. Many of the pages are out of date and when I asked for new content and people to update their pages the response was stunning in it's minimalist response (with thanks to John and Simon). For people to visit static sections (or any section really) it needs to get new content in it, not just updates. That way it can go into the what's new section and get a bit more prominence.

Another plan i have (there's lots of them) to increase visibility is weekly/fortnightly web editor's editorials. These will go somewhere on the site and be mailed out to the list. This will give a chance to highlight active news stories, various sections of the website and guide users to interesting areas a little more.

Reviews are another thing that I want to do differently, I'm strongly considering moving the reviews off the main news board into a more easily searchable section of their own, integrated with the library. But again, it's lots of work which at the moment doesn't seem worth it.

As michael has just posted we're also considering a topic system for the news board, split it up movie/tv/book/gaming/event something like that. Just break it up a bit more, divide it up.

Don't take these responses as shooting down everything you've suggested. A lot of hte suggestions are very good, but they're simply too much work. The three of us (with assistance from many of course) have spent hours upon hours upon hours on this site and the previous versions of the site (this is after all the 3rd major version of the site in 5 years) and at the moment are feeling somewhat disillusioned with the whole thing. As a whole people aren't using the site, 90% of the contributions on this site come from 4 people! We're (understandably I think) a little unenthused with the idea of further hours of works for just 4 people. It's not a go at you, or for the most part anyone else who's *reading* this page, that's my point.

Overall I do have plans to do much of this stuff over the summer. At some point I'll take some time off work and write a list out and work down the list in priority order. This sort of discussion is very helpful for that. Keep suggesting stuff, and if more people chime in with "yes that's a good idea" even for stuff that I've said above is difficult, then it'll get pushed up the prioirty list. At some point I might add a poll, but want a few more ideas here first.


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 10th Jul 2003, 14:12, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

and apparently our navigation system sucks in teh extreme.


read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 10th Jul 2003, 14:39, Rank: Patrician )  reply

Would it be easy to have a more "traditional" interface for the news board? I.e. a list where you have subject/author/date-time all on one line? That way, you could fit more articles onto one page. This shouldn't necessarily be the only interface, but I think it would be a useful option. (You could have a checkbox, or some kind of icon, to indicate the presence/absence of spoilers.)


read biography for - elvum

 elvum ( 11th Jul 2003, 16:16, Rank: Triffid )  reply

Don't take these responses as shooting down everything you've suggested. A lot of hte suggestions are very good, but they're simply too much work. The three of us (with assistance from many of course) have spent hours upon hours upon hours on this site and the previous versions of the site (this is after all the 3rd major version of the site in 5 years) and at the moment are feeling somewhat disillusioned with the whole thing. As a whole people aren't using the site, 90% of the contributions on this site come from 4 people! We're (understandably I think) a little unenthused with the idea of further hours of works for just 4 people. It's not a go at you, or for the most part anyone else who's *reading* this page, that's my point.

If someone tells you that they don't like your site because it's hard to use, then it's likely that they won't use it more often unless you change it. If the only people who use the website are its designers, useability alarm bells should be ringing in your heads. So if you don't implement users' suggestions, there's an extent to which it's your fault if those users stay away and don't take the time to learn to do things the "hard" way.

On the plus side, if you do invest more work in the site to make it easier to use, the chances are that more people will use it :-)


read biography for - bigbob

 bigbob ( 11th Jul 2003, 16:28, Rank: Psycho Historian )  reply

threaded conversations would be good as well. flattended ones arnt as easy to follow. admiitedly thats all a bit iffy anyway threaded is only miuch use if we get a lot of people commenting or something


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 12th Jul 2003, 16:17, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

If someone tells you that they don't like your site because it's hard to use, then it's likely that they won't use it more often unless you change it. If the only people who use the website are its designers, useability alarm bells should be ringing in your heads.

Yes, absolutely. But this is the first time anyone has actually reported having major problems with the interfaces. And when there's no guarantee that the changes we make would improve anything and time is limitted, sticking with something that definately works (even if it is not as intuitive as was thought) is probably preferable.

On the plus side, if you do invest more work in the site to make it easier to use, the chances are that more people will use it :-)

Again, I agree with you in theory. But the thing is, we did all this work to make a dynamic site so that more people gcould contribute without relying on ftp access, but it hasn't worked. Obviously if something doesn't work, you have to find out why and fix whatever the problem is. But this isn't an ideal world and this is a part time project. *shrug*



BUT now that people are coming up with suggestions and if the union server will stay up for a while, hopefully i should be able to fix at least some of the minor bugs/irritations this weekend.


testing


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