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...
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 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 🙂
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?
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.
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 ) 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.
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.