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#1 Nate-2004

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 02:46 AM


I like it here, I like these forums, but there are some problems with this old school format.

 

  • Threads get unruly fast and they're quite difficult to follow.
  • There are no branching trees like Reddit, where conversations can branch off on their own.
  • While you can search the forum easily you can't search individual threads. 
  • The rating system is limited, often abused and typically is centered around the restricted nature of the software (can't go off topic, etc).

If you look at sites like Reddit each post comment can be recursively veered into their own conversations. It's not pretty, but it is an idea. You also have a more basic rating system of up and down votes that ultimately hide comments that go into the negative.

 

While you can't make a subreddit have more than one category, it shouldn't matter because the most popular conversation is always at the top at any given time. You don't have to swim through countless subforums and categories to find what's new.

 

I'm not saying we should go to Reddit at all, but I'm saying this classic 2000's message board style has way too much room for improvement.



#2 jeffshek

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 03:49 AM

I guess a question is - are the moderators open to changing the forum format? I do agree with you. I would be open to helping (from a technical perspective) if the goal was something related in Python/Postgres. 



#3 caliban

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 05:55 AM

The problem that conversations go off-topic is as old as the hills. A 'branch-off' structure was possible as soon as mailing lists and bulletin boards were invented. A forum like this is a deliberate decision against that style.

Contributors are trusted with the maturity to link-out of an unrelated conversation and start a new topic. That means that if everyone posts intelligently, you should find under any given heading only information that is actually relevant to that topic - and if an interesting new but only vaguely related point emerges you can find it under the appropriate description, not under some unrelated heading.

 

While preferences differ and there are points for and against,  (https://blog.codingh...flat-by-design/  ; http://www.fullcirc....eadedlinear.htm

There are fancy alternatives [http://www.drewgl.com] and when our friends at "SingInst" (as it was then) embraced the 'lesswrong' format we thought very seriously about these. But ultimately, technical options in themselves do not necessarily enhance discussion quality. It only works if users are committed to it. Our community is small and our resources are limited. We have 'maxed' the forum platform to incorporate enhanced features including subscriptions, signalling cookies, personalised notifications, linklists, libraries, regimens, quizzes, self-moderated groups, tags, keywords etc. and even these extra features are barely used. LongeCity's mission is not to pioneer new ways of curating internet discussions.      

 

 

To belabour the point in a way: I have -hopefully correctly- identified the above as the OP's 'main point'. There are other -to me, unrelated- issues thrown in, including: 

1- while you can search the forum easily you can't search individual threads.  - Yes that is a deficit that we could look into given resources. But unless the thread is super-long, you can search it using the browser search function.

2- The rating system  - this really is a separate issue, which has been hotly discussed. Again, the decision to go away from "up/down" votes was very deliberate.  

3- "the most popular conversation is always at the top at any given time" - that is the case here as well, but certainly not always a good thing.  

 

 

 

Forums in the LongeCity style once used to be more ubiquitous for various reasons. First, wikipedia emerged to allow for more orderly pooling of crowdsourced knowledge. 

Then social media took over 95% of the remaining space - it is a wonder that forums still exist at all. 

Those dominate that have a big userbase (reddit, chans, craigslist...)  based on their near limitless range of topics. 

In contrast, LongeCity is positioned with a clear mission and -although developed in many different aspects and considerations- theme for discussion. 

 

Also popular still are straightforward "One Question - answered" forums  and "One Article - comments" forums. Most discussions on LongeCity are not in that pattern. 

 

For us, the 'old school' forum structure still works better than any other system that we would be able to implement. I say this because that question is not 'closed' but under active, if occasional review.

So: if you have any tangible models in mind that we could seamlessly migrate to which would work much better for our mission, please let us know.      


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#4 Heisok

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 05:20 PM

caliban thanks for the explanation. Maybe I am the exception, but I like the straight chronologic order of posts within a topic.

 

One has to use a multi step process to search specific threads.

 

Example:

 

1.I remember something about hypertrophy in the manipulating mitochondrial dynamics thread.

2. I go to the first page of the thread.

3. I cut the URL address from the browser, which in this case is: http://www.longecity...drial-dynamics/

4. In the Google search, I type hypertrophy site: and then append the address. hypertrophy site:http://www.longecity...drial-dynamics/

5. hypertrophy site:http://www.longecity...drial-dynamics/

6. Search results might say that some results were omitted, but just click repeat with those results.

 

It is a pain, but some topics get huge.


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#5 Heisok

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 09:49 PM

For whatever reason the software truncates my search string by making it a hot link. I will show it, but where I instert a parenthesis they should be removed.

 

hypertrophy site:http( : )//www( . )longecity( . )org/forum/topic/94224-manipulating-mitochondrial-dynamics/


Edited by Heisok, 06 October 2017 - 09:53 PM.

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#6 Nate-2004

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 07:37 PM

What if instead you had a "reply into separate thread" sort of button where if you hit that it does three things:

  1. Creates a separate new thread.
  2. Makes a link on their post that says "Nate-2004 replied to this read here for new thread" or something along these lines.
  3. Notifies the user replied to.

This way going off topic is easier and if people wanna follow that line of conversation they can without disrupting the overall continuity of the thread. It could be subtle or something.  Personally I prefer to have as few rules as possible through proper design. If people are annoyed by off topic posts then that's something design should solve. The more rules a society has the more evident it is that there is a major design flaw in the system, this especially applies to software.

 

Facebook also has a feature I like where there's really only one indentation, it isn't recursive and flying off to the left of the screen. However this would hide it from the current thread completely and allow you to just click into the new thread. 


Edited by Nate-2004, 08 October 2017 - 08:15 PM.

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#7 caliban

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:15 AM

What if instead you had a "reply into separate thread" sort of button where if you hit that it does three things [...]

 

 

That is a good idea. It will take some time to develop, but one for the do-do list.

 

Anyone with IPB (3.4) coding experience or wishing to donate to this feature development is welcome to get in touch  :)



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#8 Mr. Olive Oil

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 03:01 AM

caliban thanks for the explanation. Maybe I am the exception, but I like the straight chronologic order of posts within a topic.

 

One has to use a multi step process to search specific threads.

 

Example:

 

1.I remember something about hypertrophy in the manipulating mitochondrial dynamics thread.

2. I go to the first page of the thread.

3. I cut the URL address from the browser, which in this case is: http://www.longecity...drial-dynamics/

4. In the Google search, I type hypertrophy site: and then append the address. hypertrophy site:http://www.longecity...drial-dynamics/

5. hypertrophy site:http://www.longecity...drial-dynamics/

6. Search results might say that some results were omitted, but just click repeat with those results.

 

It is a pain, but some topics get huge.

Thank you for this information. It really helps! I ironically found this by searching Google for "how to search threads on Longecity".

 

I know I am bumping a 3 month old thread, and to make matters worse I have hardly any posts... so I am probably stepping out of my place so to speak...

 

I would like to also put my little tiny vote in for the ability to search a particular thread.

 

For example in some of the 90 page threads, I have a hard time locating specific keywords.

I come from the old traditional forum style and Longecity feels very comfortable for me. I actually dislike the branching feature with Reddit. I find it slightly chaotic and I end up expanding the branches because I feel I am missing out on something if I don't.

 

Going to disappear into the background now, thanks once again Heisok.

 


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