Honest Feedback From Average NaNo Users

Hi!
So, I feel weird making this post as it looks like the only people using this… thread? forum? topic? so far are staff XD
I’m an active member of the Teens forum back on the old site and just came here to check this new stuff out. I was wondering if any of you guys would mind if I give my honest opinion?
Others could also use this topic for giving their opinion and feedback as well :smiley:

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Lots of non-staff here. I think that honest opinions are what this test site is all about.

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Well since someone asked me this in NaNoMail on the current site earlier I’ll go ahead add this here since it’s relevant. I’m just a moderator of the RP forum and a ML, not staff. I just have a lot of experience working with Discourse from hosting installs for friends and doing the regular admin stuff on them like updating. It kind of shows too because sometimes I mention things that I forget are implemented as plugins instead of being in core because I build my own Docker images.

I’m not 100% certain, but I think @Heather_Dudley is the only staff member that is regularly posting here unless other staff are posting with usernames that don’t match their regular site usernames for some reason :slight_smile:

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I’ll start off. I don’t think I’m a fan of the threading model for this board. It’s hard to tell who’s responding to what.

If people will quote the post they’re responding to, that’ll be fine, but there is no culture of quoting on the NaNo boards. And with the turnover rate from year to year, there’s no way to instill such a culture. Every November, a horde of brand new Wrimos shows up with whatever godawful posting habits they’ve learned elsewhere.

We get around that on the regular forums by using the nested view, but (as far as I know) Discourse doesn’t offer that option.

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Also there was a (usually badly functioning,but anyway) button to get “parent” or “context”. That type of functionality would be great.
I’ve always kept “flat”, because it means I can see the unread messages in a thread at a glance – also if you have nested view and get interrupted,it is even more hard to find the actually unread ones.

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I rarely go into threads that have more than 1 or 2 pages unless I’ve already very familiar with the thread. Half the time, I just can’t figure out what the hell people are responding to.

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If you visit some of the threads I’ve posted in you’ll notice on the right hand side of the post header that it links to the post being replied to. It does that unless the post you clicked the reply link on is directly above yours.

When a post has two or more replies (with the exception just mentioned) a new link to show the replies in context also shows up on the bottom left of the post.

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Good example of the parent link thing is Here

Notice Heather’s avatar in the corner. That links to the parent post.

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(post withdrawn by author, will be automatically deleted in 24 hours unless flagged)

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Ok, that’ll help a fair bit.

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I noticed that, and it makes things easier - in my opinion.

I’m terribly old and HoH and some things are harder for me to figure out than others, but this trait makes following discussions easier. It’s very similar to the voice-to-text program I use so I can “hear” other people talking when there are multiple conversations going on in the same place.

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Just adding my two cents as an average user:
(Disclaimer, English is not my native language.)
I’m not really a fan of the forum at the moment. That might just be because I’m human and humans hate change, but I’ll just try to give my reasons anyway.
As I was not familiar with Discourse forums this made it a completely new “forum experience” for me. I’d call myself “internet/forum literate” but the setup and structure of the site confused me at first. I have never seen the main page cut in half like that and I feel it adds “confusing noise”. Something specific should be catching the eye and the main page fails at that.

Furthermore, I’m still not sure what some things mean. Like why do threads have these either dark blue or light blue or both bar next to them?

I wish the forum was also more integrated into the main page. As far as I have read the plan is to have the forum open in a new tab so it’s more separated… Not sure what the reasoning is for that.

I have to say though: I wasn’t a heavy user on the old forums, though I liked to read threads so I’ll have to see how confusing comment chains will get without nesting.

Concerning the “new wild nanoers every year” which will come with their horrible forum usage: We already have the bot to teach people how to use the forum. Add another part to it how to best use the forum (I know quoting is a part of it but one could try to add importance to that part) and then have people complete the tutorial before being able to post.

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The light or dark blue bar just indicates if it’s the main topic or the sub topic. If it has both, it’s a thread in one of the subforums. :slight_smile: The colors are arbitrary (I set two main ones, because the default for discourse is a different color for every category, which makes for an overwhelming, overcolorful mess!)

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As someone with minimal Discourse experience on a very small forum, I admit I’m a little concerned about how it’ll handle heavy traffic, especially busy threads like Respond, Answer, Ask or the various chat threads. But I’m trying to keep an open mind. I think we’ll all miss the nested threading… but at the same time, don’t we all remember times where the nested threading screwed up, got confusing, displayed incorrectly, etc.?

At the very least, Discourse should fix the old “someone deleted their post and now the post counts are messed up and when you click to go to the latest reply it takes you somewhere random” problem, which I’m quite happy about!

EDIT: Ooh first of all this real-time edit preview is nice. But what I edited this post to say was that I’m pretty excited about the ability to like posts–I think it’ll cut down on a lot of the “+1” “this is great” kind of posts that can clutter up discussions, while still allowing people to agree/show that they like something.

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@CinnamonFridge is correct, I’m really the only staffer her. There’s a couple of my mod team, but they’re all volunteers and mostly regular participants. (And a couple of MLs!)

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So, I have a question. When will we be able to add buddies on this new site?

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Well, we can’t give any kind of ETA on new features. :slight_smile: I have no idea!

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Some of it will depend on how heavily a thread relies on deeply nested replies.

As for raw traffic and the ability to scale as someone who has dealt with some rather large installs I can say that it scales fairly well as long as it is configured for proper load balancing. :slight_smile:

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I’m less worried about capacity/response time and more concerned about the practical ability of users to effectively navigate with a huge number of topics, really. Discourse has a much more… integrated view of categories/subfora than most forums. For example, I can say right now that I don’t think the default latest topics view on the front page will be remotely usable come November! The volume of information–as new posts and topics are made at a very high rate–would seem to make it useless to most users, who are only going to be interested in a tiny subset of posts from very specific categories.

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That’s one of the nice things about Discourse. You can mute the categories you don’t care about and the won’t show up in the Latest lists but you can visit them and track/watch topics you care about in them.

You can also mute individual threads instead. :slight_smile:

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