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Re-designing the community

RogersMargaret
Community Manager (Retired)
Community Manager (Retired)

Hey everyone,

 

I'm going to throw something out there ...

 

We're looking to re-design the community forums.  No clue if our wishes will be granted but all we can do is ask.

 

Can you provide me with your feedback on things you'd like to see in terms of design, functionality, UX, etc?

 

Not sure if we'll be able to implement everything but let's start with a wishlist.  No idea is too small...

 

Thanks!!!

13 REPLIES 13

Re: Re-designing the community

Gdkitty
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

Hi Margaret!

 

Only two major things come to mind for me.

 

A) Editing.  The allowing of editing on ones own posts, pretty much anytime.
There are times, where info changes, etc.. and the first post on the thread, is not INCORRECT.  Allowing us to go and edit any of our own posts, would allow to go back and make these changes for someone new to the thread reading the first post.

 

B) Not sure exactly what its called... but much more like in say the rogers redboard.
Threads within threads type of thing.

When someone replies to a specific reply in the main thread.. it is INSET, and shows as a reply to THAT specific persons question, etc.
When sometimes you have multiple people in one thread, can get confusing as to what an answer is to, etc.  This way much more linear to follow along.

Re: Re-designing the community

Hey Margaret:

 

Both the points made by Gdkitty are good and valid suggestions.  There are a plethora of Forums out there on the Web, and many of them, particularly the more technically oriented ones, include those two types of functionality.

 

In my experience, in cases, where a posting has been made suggesting a more involved set of suggestions or steps for the resolution of an issue, requirements arise, sometimes within days, sometimes weeks later, to revise/edit the original text based on subsequent user experience and postings on the basic issue.

 

Another piece of Forum functionality which I think has value is the abilty to relate/"nest" postings that are subsidiary to a previous posting through the use of simple text formatting.

 

For example, I am with this posting responding to Gdkitty's posting.  If my text immediately followed his posting, but was tabbed over once from the left margin, it would be obvious that mine was in response to his posting.

 

If you then posted a response to my posting, it would again be tabbed over once more.  And it would be obvious you were responding to my posting.

 

On the other hand, if you wished to post on this topic, but unrelated to both Gdkiity's and my postings, then your new posting would be totally left-justified, indicating that you were carrying on the conversation, but in a fashion not directly related to either Gdkitty's, or my previous postings.

 

As well, postings could be identified explicitly as a "Reply" to the immediately previous posting item.

 

Hopefully my language is not too obsure!  As an example of this, see:

 

http://sagark.org/optimal-ubuntu-graphics-setup-for-thinkpads/

 

In addition, I would like to have a way of including important items of more general reference interest.  Perhaps this might require a seperate category, or perhaps there is another way to include this kind of posting.  For example, I just went through an exercise with Rogers where I ended up changing my RocketHub service as a result of adding a Wireless Home Phone to replace the voice capabilities of my RocketHub.

 

The conversion process to the new service was somewhat extended and painful.  But finally, I got a basic technical issue resolved through a conversation with a particularly knowledgable and helpful Rogers Support person, Janet.

 

The problem was the APN on my RocketHub after the services were changed over.  Subsequently she sent me an email with a list of valid and usable APN's, which I though could be useful to others.  But, the question to me is, how to most effectively post this information on the Forum, and in a place where it would not just slip down the list into obscurity.

 

To some extent, the distribution of information of that kind is something that needs to be addressed by Rogers support personnel.  But this Forum could have an invaluable role in assisting the support process.

 

skinorth

 

Re: Re-designing the community

RogersMargaret
Community Manager (Retired)
Community Manager (Retired)

hey guys,

 

re: editing ... right now, anyone can edit their own posts for up to 150 minutes after the post goes up.  not 100% sure why the time limit is so short but i will do some digging to find out more.  are you saying you'd want the time limit extended?  and is this something that all users should have access to?  or just super users?

 

re: threads within a thread (i have no idea what the technical term is for this either!) ...yes, totally understand and i'd love to be able to implement something like this too.  i'll ask the platform vendor and see if it's something we can request. 

 

 

Re: Re-designing the community

@RogersMargaret:

 

the key issue, I think, on the editing timeframe length is that certain types of postings may require revision, correction or updating over an extended period of time.

For example, Gdkitty proposed some time ago to create and post a "Bridged Mode Setup Guide".  This kind of posting, by its nature requires lots and lots of technical and procedural details.  Such a posting would be quite lengthy, raising the likelihood that edits would be required to correct minor as well as not-so-minor items in the text.  In addition, edits would very likely be required as a result of subsequent feedback from other postings.

 

As well, as new equipment is made available to the marketplace, for example, it might be desireable that additions are made to the original posting to include that new equipment.  Or if, for example, firmware updates issued by Rogers required modifications to the posting, these also could/would be made.

 

If this capability is not available, the inevitable result is that an entirely new posting would need to be created, or perhaps a new thread initiated that would become, in effect, an update of the original posting.  This not only creates the logistical challenge of how to title the revised postings.  It also creates a significant challenge for those who would make such significant contributions to the Forum in that they would need to maintain an original copy of the initial posting.  They would then need to update/modify their copy of the original posting, and then re-post it in some suitable fashion.

 

This challenge has been dealt with effectively in many other Forums on the Web, and these could be pointed out to you as examples of such functionality.

 

Now, I grant you, that this kind of extended editing timeframe will likely not be required for the large majority of postings done by Forum participants.

 

This could perhaps be done by creating a special sticky posting category which certain "super-users" could use to contribute postings of significant complexity and more general value.  How to judge who would be permitted to contribute, and what vetting would need to be done of their "significant" contributions, is of course and open issue.

 

skinorth

 

 

 

Re: Re-designing the community

Skinorth as always usualy has the best worded explanations for things 🙂

 

Pretty much like he said.. for more technical posts, which could need editing.

IE: Recently i posted the iphone 5s, etc specs in comparison to the 5, 4s, etc.  I had forgot something.. i needed to contact a moderator to move a corrected post from down below overtop of the other, etc.  Much easier if one could edit it themselves.

I would leave the WHO deserves to get those abilities, up to you 🙂

 

 

Re: Re-designing the community

RogersMargaret
Community Manager (Retired)
Community Manager (Retired)

hey guys,

 

okay, got it.  🙂  thanks for the explanation. 

 

lemme chew on this for a while and see if i can come up with a solution.  we are also reviewing the super user program itself so maybe we could grant some privileges as you explained. 

 

what else is on your forum wishlist?  how about things like design, appearance?  and what would you change/add/delete if we were to create an official/public super user program?

 

tks!

Re: Re-designing the community

Appearance isnt QUITE as critical as functionality 🙂

As long as the appearance works properly, and is easy to read..

IE: for the reply method, etc.. that it LOOKS properly tabbed in, etc.

 

If there was to be a public super user program.. well, its tough to do, without sometimes people pointing fingers and going 'favorites' etc..

Really only thing i could see.. would be the editing thing..
Maybe, which hits on some of the points Skinorth brought up, would be the ability maybe to stickey in some form.. to pin some of the more important threads currently near the top.. technical details posting, etc.

 

Much beyond that would likely be viewed more of an 'abuse of power' sort of thing.. say if a user could edit other users, or anythign along the lines of what a MOD can do.

Re: Re-designing the community

@RogersMargaret:

 

after participating in this Forum for a few months I came to the conclusion that what was needed was a sort of bifurcated (no! that's not a naughty word Smiley Wink) approach:

 

1. the default format should allow for the regular banter and back and forth that most postings tend to contain;

 

2. but there is also a need for more technical, reference and instructionally-oriented postings.  These need to be both capable of revision over a long period of time, as well as being retained front and center to emphasize their relevance to new Forum participants, who, we assume may be looking for the information contained in them.

 

The basic "sticky" postings we have now do not seem to achieve the requirements of #2.

 

The requirements of #1 are, for the most part, adequately addressed.  The requirements of #2 are the issue here.

 

The appearance issues are to me of secondary importance.  While cosmetics can enhance the human factors/ergonomics of the Forum, I suspect that we first need to pin down the desired functionality.

 

skinorth

 

Re: Re-designing the community

RogersMargaret
Community Manager (Retired)
Community Manager (Retired)

@skinorth ...

 

re: #2 ... i want to dig in a little further here ...

 

a) who would author these postings? 

b) would it require a lot of back-and-forth banter?

c) how would the posting be 'born'?  i.e. would someone ask a question and someone else would use this detailed, technical posting as an answer?  

 

the reasoning behind my questions ... i *think* there MIGHT be some kind of blogging capability/functionality ... not 100% sure how it works and/or how it would be managed but i'm wondering if it could address what you're talking about.  

Re: Re-designing the community

Gdkitty
Resident Expert
Resident Expert
There has been a number of us from in this group that I know have thought of/wanted too. Main reason myself for not so far is because of the lack of editing.

The bridged mode as an example.
Someone comes in and posts a problem, that there is a tech post that one of us has created that can be linked to to give more info/instructions.
Likely wouldn't really need any responses to it, in general. (Unless someone wants to add info on additional say hardware for the topic)

Re: Re-designing the community

@RogersMargaret:

 

I will respond to each of your questions in turn:

 

A: current thinking is that these postings would be authored by Forum members, either individually, or as a cooperative group/committee.  However, I would encourage Rogers personnel with particular technical specialties/customer support interests to participate as well.  Gdkitty, myself and others had some discussion on doing a "Bridged Mode Setup Guide".  This discussion began January 2013 and the results to date can be found here:

 

http://communityforums.rogers.com/t5/forums/forumtopicpage/board-id/Getting_connected/thread-id/9020...

 

The original concept was to create a complete "Guide" for each type of Rogers cable modem/router combo.  In order to do this rigorously a pre-release version of these documents would need to be reviewed for technical correctness and the removal of typos.  This would be an iterative process, probably done by committee, and done before formal release to the Forum at large.

 

Even after formal release, I think you will agree that practical experience proves that actual user experience with such a guide will lead to the requirement for edits and revisions to handle unanticipated issues as well as other types of inevitable glitches.

 

B: Depending on the size and complexity of the "project" it may require quite a bit of back and forth banter, both at the pre-release review stage as well as at the post-release Forum participant reaction phase.

 

C: The idea for such a posting could be initiated in the fecund minds of any of us.  The gestation process will proceed apace as a result of repeated Forum postings on the same or similar issues (e.g., the constant issues being experienced by Rogers customers with WiFi).

 

Birth of the idea will occur when one or the other of us realizes that rather than constantly posting basically the same set of instructions/suggestions over and over again, it would be much more effective, pre-emptive or pro-active to generate a posting that does the job once and for all.  And then there will be the birthing pangs of actually generating whatever text will be required to address the basic issue.  But in this case, we can actually have a baby by committee!  Hopefully she will be a good-looking baby when all is said and done.

 

My personal experience with numerous technical Forums and Blogs indicates that there are lots of good, even excellent examples out there which could be used for guidance.  I understand that not all available options would be open to exploitation, if only for practical reasons.

 

But the basic objectives should first be defined as a "Functional Specification" based on whatever objectives Rogers wishes to achieve with this approach.

 

My industry experience tells me that increased customer satisfaction and reduced support costs are the usual suspects in such an exercise.  Indirect results desired would be improved corporate reputation and increased market penetration.

 

And, we need to define what really is the Project?

 

skinorth

 

Re: Re-designing the community

RogersMargaret
Community Manager (Retired)
Community Manager (Retired)

hey guys,

 

okay ... i did some digging and i'm back ...  🙂

 

so, as you probably know, the community runs on the Lithium platform.  so, i spent some time chatting with lithium over the last little while.  

 

there is indeed blogging functionality that might address what you're looking for.  so, instead of posting the info in a thread, the info would be displayed in a blog.  collecting/editing the info could still be done in a thread if that works.  permissioning for the blog is something we'd have to figure out ... i.e. could any/all users post a blog?  (not a very good idea).  could we grant permissions to just the community leaders?  (sure ... but i'd like to do this with an 'official' launch of the community leader program)  or, could users author the blog and then submit to the mods/myself to have it published?  (also an option).  blogging is definitely something i'll look into.   

 

now, regarding the whole thing about threaded discussions ... the platform does allow for a threaded view BUT only the subject is displayed.  if you're interested ... go to my settings > display > format for displaying posts > list by topics.  in my mind, this is NOT ideal.  i don't want to see the subject line repeated over and over again whether it's indented or not!  ideally, i'd like to see the entire discussion (or have the ability to see the entire discussion).  kind of like what this thread looks like on chowhound:  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/911466  (yeah, i like food!)

 

lithium has its own version of idea box for customers so i've submitted it there ... who knows, maybe this is something they will consider.  in the meantime, we're not married to lithium forever so i'll also keep my eye out for threaded discussions if/when we investigate other providers.

 

 

Re: Re-designing the community

Yeah, that other method is ALONG the right lines.. getting there.. but that on the sub sections, shows ALL replies on there.. thats way to much, espeicaly for a BIG thread.

And while in the thread, great that you can see how they cascase.. that they are hidden content till you see them.. alot of people are likely NOT going to click on them to look.

Oh well. lets see what they get back to us with 🙂

 

The blog thing.. might work.  Primarily.. i would see it LIKELY to be mostly used by the community leaders. (there are 1-2 people potentialy i could see added into the group as well).
Being FULLY open is probably a bad idea.. hard enough to moderate regular posts as it is..  but maybe could open it for specific people outside as well per request.. they can message saying HEY I HAVE SOMETHING I WOULD LIKE TO PUT, and if OKed put them in an allowed group temporarily or something.

 

The last thing potentialy that i have come up with overall.. not sure HOW much it effects others... not sure what the demographic of the forum views are from.. mobible vs regular browser, etc... but i am often on the mobile version of the site, about 1/3 of the time.

While not groundbreaking.. if there is an issue i can always switch from the mobile to the full site... but it is a pain on a smaller phone screen... would be a few more options.. like the EDIT, REPORT, etc to be somehow available on the mobile version of the site.

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