July 28, 2004 at 5:45 am #21678
I find it slightly annoying not to see the full context of a message that was written in reply to another one immediately after opening it.
This is how I usually go about surfing on this site:
I open the “System” menu and select the “New Messages” link. If I find something that was posted since the last E-Mail notification, I open the message by clicking on the subject link. If the message starts a new thread I read it and all is well. If it was written in reply to another one, however, I often have to open the original message first before I can fully understand the message I’ve just opened (I’ve usually read it before, but I don’t have a photographic memory). I’m referring to the kind of messages that start with lines like “Are you sure?” or “I disagree!” (I’ve made these up, but you probably get the idea.)
It gets even more annoying when I reply to such a thread. You can imagine I get annoyed when the whole context I took an extra step to display is gone again before the message editor has loaded and all I see is the last message of the thread. It’s easy to work around this by [SHIFT]+clicking on the “Reply” button to open a new window for the reply. This way the full thread stays open for reference in its original window.
However, I’d really appreciate the implementation of “Viewing Options” in the “My Account” menu offering the options “Show context by default” and “Hide context by default”. The “hide context” option would be the current default, while the “show context” option would jump directly to the thread view. For the editor (I find it even more important to access the full context of a message when replying) you could add a checkbox to the “Viewing Options” that, when checked would “Show full context when replying”.
Let me put it this way: I’m getting used to it, but maybe other people are experiencing the same problem.
July 28, 2004 at 10:01 am #21679
(re: Offer an option to “Show context by default” in the “My Account” menu) Good idea. I have another programmer who has been working for me on the message boards. He’s only working part time, so progress has been slow, but steady.
I’ll pass along this comment to him. I agree with you that I’m not happy with how the message boards work. I’ve looked at all the various systems, and each has its flaws. I keep thinking I’ll get some great idea which will revolutionize the whole concept — but, seem to be striking out. I’m always adverse to doing things as others have done them, because I just don’t like that kind of thinking .. but, there are times when it’s the right thing to do. Oh well….
July 28, 2004 at 11:36 am #21680
(re: Offer an option to “Show context by default” in the “My Account” menu) Great! I really do find the overall usability of the site very good, but I’m a control freak. When I’m browsing a message board, I’d best have a permanently displayed treeview where I can see exactly how the discussion went and jump from thread to thread.
Come to think of it… how do you think chances are that a treeview module for thread viewing might ever be implemented to your website software?
I’m always adverse to doing things as others have done them, because I just don’t like that kind of thinking .. but, there are times when it’s the right thing to do. Oh well….
I think there’s nothing wrong with looking at how others approached a situation or solved a problem and learning from them, as long as you don’t end up reinventing the wheel.
July 28, 2004 at 12:14 pm #21681
(re: Offer an option to “Show context by default” in the “My Account” menu) Simon:
My programmer, Milton, has already put a tree-view mode into the code, and is debugging it now. This software spans 400+ sites with more being added every day. Each webmaster can decide what style message board they want, and even change it for different message boards.
Would you like to work directly with him on refining the BBS code? (as an unpaid beta tester?) If so, I’ll put you directly in touch with him.
July 28, 2004 at 12:39 pm #21682
(re: Offer an option to “Show context by default” in the “My Account” menu) Ken,
That’s great news! I’d definitely like to help your man getting the job done. The question is how demanding this would turn out for me. I wouldn’t want to end up having to decide between sacrificing a lot more time than I wanted to and letting you down. I suggest you ask him to e-mail me about to what extent beta-testing is desired.