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My top ten criteria for the new forums

Explorer ,
Feb 21, 2009 Feb 21, 2009

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This is my view on what the new forums should provide. This is what I'll personally be measuring the new forums against when we have a fully testable beta version.

=================================================================

1 - The new forums should encourage the participation of new members, both to feel encouraged to seek help in the first place, but also to stay and become long-term contributing members of the online community here.

2 - The new forums should alienate the existing users as little as possible, as there's no point in having questions with no answers - though equally there's no point in having answers with no questions. A tricky balance to strike.

3 - Response of the forums should be no worse, and hopefully better, than typical performance here in recent months. If that means beefing up the hardware to accommodate the demands of more graphic-intensive software, so be it.

4 - The forums should look not unlike the majority of typical modern internet forums. This will not be favoured by those familiar with the sparse appearance of the present forums, but incoming new members expect to see something that looks more contemporary and familiar in style, even if there's a modest performance cost.

5 - They should function not unlike the majority of modern internet forums, in terms of the user interface and usable features. If you've got your first problem with Adobe software and you arrive in the Adobe forums for the first time, you don't want then to be confronted with something that looks like another problem and which takes time and effort to understand. The learning curve should be absolutely minimal. There should be a very low turn-away rate (potential users taking one look and backing off before participating or even complaining).

6 - The search function should be state of the art. If you have a good manual for the product software, a good user interface for it, and a good search engine for the knowledgebase and forums, the number of questions needing to be asked should be significantly lower.

7 - To support the regular participants it should be possible to list the discussions which have unread posts in any given member's selected forums, and within those discussions it should be possible to go directly to the unread content without scrolling around to find it. It should then be possible to go to the next unread post in the next unread discussion without first going backwards to the overall list.

8 - NNTP access, though a mystery to me, seems highly valued by some, and providing it does not seem to mess with what the rest of us see (setting aside the quoting problem), so let's have it.

9 - An effective mechanism to enforce the forum rules by restricting access by individuals who persistently break the rules should be provided - and there should be no simple way round it. Failing that, provision of an inbuilt method for users to ignore posts by other specified users is necessary.

10 - There should be a properly functioning list of banned words.

=================================================================

That's my top ten list of criteria - though in five minutes I'll probably think of some key stuff I have left out.

What's yours?

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Explorer ,
Feb 22, 2009 Feb 22, 2009

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> If I have to deal with all the wasted space, I will likely quit visiting the forums.

Me too.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 23, 2009 Feb 23, 2009

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b Rating:

>1 = crucial, from the beginning

>2 = wanted, can be added later

>3 = wished, added pleasure

b WANTED, EITHER AS DEFAULT OR PREFERENCE(S), NOT REQUIRING CLICKING SOMETHING REPEATEDLY:

b IN THE THREADS:

b 1a)
A minimum waste of space on anything but name of poster and time of posting, in other words a minimalist format with as much actual posting as possible, preferably one liner headings;

b 1b)
The ability to view all posts in minimalist format;

b 1c)
The ability to archive the whole thread in minimalist format.

b 2)
Easy linking to images, both on external sites and within the forum structure.

b 3a)
The option of a request to keep the thread afloat/turn it into a FAQ;

b 3b)
The option of reporting spam and other things.

b IN THE FORUM TOPIC LIST:

b 1a)
A minimum waste of space on anything but title of thread and flagging, in other words a minimalist format, preferably one liners without unnecessary leading, increased leading preferably being a preference option;

b 1b)
Flagging of new thread/posts;

b 1c)
General instructions placed at the top of all forum lists, standing out as a signpost: WELCOME, READ THIS FIRST linking to a page including (links to) subjects such as:

>How To Get Help Quickly;

>How to format messages;

>How to post images;

>How to quote context;

>How to search;

>& other subjects relevant to newbies, and sometimes to oldies.

b 2)
Discernible colouring of threads already read.

b 3)
Flagging of threads with own contributions.

b IN GENERAL
(just stating (some of) the obvious):

b 1a)
A long term archive;

b 1b)
A working search function, following the poster back in time, rather than the threads, applicable to the thread, the forum, and the whole site, with the forum as default as now;

b 1c)
An easy formatting, with instructions, preferably in the WELCOME part.

b NOT WANTED:

Irrelevant/doubtful non minimalist information, including:

b 1a)
Forum status: others have used derogatory, and fully justified, words about this;

b 1b)
Total number of post in all forums: if anything, let it be total number of posts in the forum in question which is the only way to possibly hint anything about usefulness (corresponding to the present option of searching the name within the same forum);

b 1c)
Marking of answers to OP: sometimes there are different relevant and correct answers, sometimes there are partial/conditional answers, sometimes there are answers to follow up questions by the OP/others, all of which may escape the target group of the marking, often new readers;

b 1d)
Extensive self presentation/promotion: the greatest possible amount of information should be placed within the user profile, clickable from any post;

b 1e)
Extensive whodunnit information about threads in the forum list: the subject is what matters.

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New Here ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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Well one way for #1 (encourage new users) is use the current adobe forums as a great example of the most difficult forums around the web.

a. Logging in is counter-intuitive. Readily used commands are miniscule and not weighted according to need hierarchy. Eg search button I search for it every infrequent visit to these forums.

b. No preview Tab at present. This is a must. How to learn the mark up if you cannot preview?? By posting dud-formatted posts.

c. new content in thread since last visit/ all new content / no new content marker (LED style)

d. quote radio button to include text in a box or watever. text is then edittable (down).

e. side bar with all your user commands log-in, threads I'm watch, threads I've posted, Threads I started etc...

f. a hierarchy of nested folders/forums to present forum at top of page so you can always see where you are.

g. more flexible formatting. ie. not line based.
Tags for formatting different coding languages is used at a forum I'm on. I guess it could parse the language for keywords in colours etc too. They have 8 or so languages. It's open source stuff.

I use Apple forums a lot and they are very functional, easy on the eye (unlike this one), and pretty fast and reliable. Points system seems to encourage devoted use by some high-ranking posters to be there heaps.

Either you have lots of trained hosts or a +/- for hiding/trashing posts. Adobe would get a fair bit of traffic with improved forums so needs something.

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New Here ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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On the current apple forum systems you have a button called helpful. If you find the snswer given to your problem in your case. or a problem you have some one else asked is helpful for your case as well you can choose to click. That give the author one point or one star for that question. But it does not carry over to other questions. It a person has a star by his name in another question That's for that question only.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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hmm...

Jive Software -- boosted by a venture capital injection -- is set to take on Microsoft's SharePoint with Clearspace, its Web collaboration product.

The software is meant to be a lightweight alternative to more structured document management applications including SharePoint.

http://www.builderau.com.au/news/soa/Jive-goes-head-to-head-with-Microsoft-s-SharePoint/0,339028227,339281396,00.htm

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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http://giatalks.com/blog/does-your-wiki-have-the-qa-blues/

>And, Clearspaces discussion component allows the people who ask the question to designate which answers are helpful, and which answer is correct. There are points assigned to each designation, which are awarded to the people who provide the answers. These points accumulate, along with points earned elsewhere in Clearspace, to create a reputation rating for each person. This is displayed on the persons profile, and anywhere their name shows up throughout Clearspace.

the "reputation system" seems like a pretty integral part of the the whole clearspace experinece...

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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Configuring Status Levels<br /><br />Creative status level goals are a great way to encourage people to get involved. People accrue status by earning points as they create and respond to content in Clearspace. Over time, people develop a reputation for reliability and authority in their favorite areas. The more people participate, the more information that is available for the community as a whole.<br /><br />You can set how many points are awarded for a given scenario (an action in Clearspace). You can also define the status levels themselves, setting the point range that the status level represents.<br /><br />Where a person's name is displayed, Clearspace displays a status icon such as <img src="http://www.jivesoftware.com/builds/docs/clearspace/latest/images/statusicon-49.gif"> corresponding to the number of points the person has accrued. By default, for example, Clearspace includes the following status levels: master (501-1000 points); junior (101-500 points); newbie (0-100 points). You can configure the levels, along with how many points correspond to an action and what image should be used for the status icon.<br /><br />Clearspace provides more than 50 status images, but if you want to add your own you can. To do that, put the GIF files into a <jiveHome>/resources/images/status directory. Use the same naming scheme as the existing images: statusicon-<number-in-sequence>.gif. You might want to start your numbering at some higher level to avoid problems if Clearspace upgrades include more images. For example, to add five new images (where included images currently end at number 52), you could add images called statusicon-100.gif, statusicon-101.gif, statusicon-102.gif, statusicon-103.gif, and statusicon-104.gif.<br /><br />Here are a few suggestions for making the most of status levels:<br /><br /> * Set the number of points per scenario based on the kinds of activity you want to reward in Clearspace. For example, if you want to provide a context in which questions are usually answered, award more points for correct and helpful question responses.<br /> * Define status levels that people will be enthusiastic about -- make it fun. For example, you could think of it as a kind of game. Is the highest level a "Ninja"? A "Genius"? "Indiana Jones" or "Nobel Candidate"? Devise a list of levels that goes well with the culture of people using Clearspace.<br /><br /> * Offer rewards or recognition for people who reach or maintain certain status levels.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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Avatar Settings

Enable user-uploaded avatars as one of the ways to let people personalize their experience on Clearspace. You can simply enable avatars, in which case administrators will be able to define (even upload) the avatars people can choose from. But you might find that people get more out of Clearspace by uploading their own avatar images.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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Banning People

You can block a person's access to Clearspace. For example, if someone becomes abusive in their messages (or moderating their content is too time-consuming), you might want to ensure that they can't post any more. You can ban them through their login credentials or their IP address. (If you want to ban them using their IP address, you'll need to enable IP address tracking; the admin console has more information.)

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Explorer ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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Big Brother is a reality and will be tracking us through "Clearspace" and our "reputations" will be affected by the manner that some moronic and spiteful forum visitor who didn't get the answer he wanted, cares to "rate" us?

[ We do get a number of people like that in the Forums unfortunately!]

Do any of us really want to contribute to these Forums any longer under those conditions?

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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Points system in Clearspace 2.5
http://www.jivesoftware.com/jivespace/message/175216

>In Clearspace 2.5, is there a way to disable the points/reward system for users?

>You can disable status levels from the admin console by navigating to: Admin Console -> People -> Settings -> Status Level Settings,
set Status Levels = Disabled

but there doesn't seem to be (quick perusal only) an easy way to disable the points system.... and note on that page they're using avatars, points and status levels.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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more forum examples:

http://www.jivesoftware.com/jivespace/community/features?view=discussions&start=0

personally, it's different, but i don't think i would find it unusable IF THE SPEED IS THERE.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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>our "reputations" will be affected by the manner that some moronic and spiteful forum visitor who didn't get the answer he wanted, cares to "rate" us?

might not be so awful if you can't rate people down. that is, like mom used to say (bless her), if you can't say something nice, don't say anything.

so ranking could go up with a positive attribution (from anyone) but i think a negative ranking button has too much potential for abuse, as a tool for revenge or just petty spitefulness.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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I think that's what Harbs has been driving at (please correct me if i'm wrong, and sorry if i've misinterpreted you!)...

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Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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I really would like some way for moderators to adjust ratings.
I foresee problems with folks gaming the ratings, or getting a good rating for plausible sounding but incorrect answers (worst when the OP doesn't understand the problem or answer).

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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I agree. the forum hosts should have the final say and the ability to make adjustments... and adobe employees should also be able to adjust ratings. (i don't know if they give you guys mod powers or not.) you all would have a pretty good idea of what's a "good" answer. :)

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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I agree. the forum hosts should have the final say. and adobe employees should also be able to adjust ratings. (i don't know if they give you guys mod powers or not.) you all would have a pretty good idea of what's a "good" answer. :)

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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and no rating yourself "up"... :)

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Guide ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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Awful idea, no matter how you look at it.

A veritable nightmare for forum hosts, reduced to nannies and hall monitors.

As I said, check the Apple forums. Threads that clearly contain an answer are not marked as such. Others marked solved are really not solved at all.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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>As I said, check the Apple forums<br /><br />no thanks. dude, get a dell. XD <jk><br /><br />>Others marked solved are really not solved at all. <br /><br />I think "solved" is a bad idea, for reason's i've given elsewhere. i even posted an example thread yesterday (or so) from ps win where the op though it was "solved" and the thread continued to list 3 or 4 other ways to accomplish something, one of which turned out to be better than the one that would've been marked "solved" (non-destructive).

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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>A veritable nightmare for forum hosts, reduced to nannies and hall monitors.

who cares? i'm not a host, are you? if the hosts think it's too much, i'm sure they'll complain.

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Guide ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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There you are.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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um, where am i? 🙂 sorry, i'm not following you.

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Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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No, most of the Adobe employees do not have awesome moderator powers.

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New Here ,
Mar 05, 2009 Mar 05, 2009

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Chris, John has asked the developers that question, tho I don't know what answer he's gotten, if any. You might want to send him an email if nothing else. I'm interested in knowing also, but able to wait on it.

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