I agree, I find the forum a big improvement over the old one. I found it overwhelming to begin with, but that’s to be expected, now I find it much easier to use.
I, too, think Discourse is much better than the previous forum software. In the time that it took to old forum just to load I can read every new post and move on to something else. I would like to see some of the themes that are available offered as user customization options - perhaps even a pair of PS Audio custom-built themes that mirror the black and silver component color schemes.
I was more comfortable with the old forum (not surprising as it was what we were long used to) but the improvements in speed and search alone justify the change IMHO. I try to at least skim all posts and it’s easy to find new threads and new posts in the new software. Not that that was difficult in the old forum–at least when things worked. But that’s part of the problem–the old software had become pretty unreliable.
I’m with bootzilla on this one. It is much more difficult now to use the forum and I haven’t been around much.
It’s amazing that we have had such different experiences. I normally read the forum on my iPad and it was so easy: I would get to the bottom of a thread, tap once to go to the top of the page, and tap once to pull down the list of new topics, from which I could pick the next one I wanted to read. Really fast and efficient. I will of course take Elk’s word about the superior administrative functions of the new software.
First: can someone explain to me how it is that there are about 250 new topics but I only have 35 that are unread?? Also, what is the difference between ‘new’ and ‘latest’? I’m trying to replicate the fast and easy experience I had previously but so far no luck. That’s my biggest complaint. My instinct is to use the ‘unread’ view (or whatever the right term is) but then a bunch of new topics seem not to appear.
I also find it visually distracting and cluttered. The old layout was very clean; now we have a lot of wasted space with those avatars and so forth. Consider the main page where people land. I mean, seriously: does anyone with even a smidge of interest in high end audio need multiple lines to explain what a power amp (or preamp or whatever) is about? Just cluttered and you can’t see most of the forum areas without scrolling. I could go on but you get the idea.
For me, the biggest bother of getting to the next topic with unread posts on the old forum was how slow it was and getting the “go to top button” visible so that one could click on it.
Turning to this new forum . . .
Latest, New and Unread:
Latest is just that, the latest topics with posts. You will see a little red line labeled “last visit” in the middle of the line which delineates between the latest topics with new posts and those that were there when you last visited.
By default, topics are considered new and will show a new indicator if they were created in the last 2 days.
Visit your preferences to change this. You can choose New to mean topics you have not viewed yet, topics created in the last week, topics created since your last visit, etc.
By default, topics are considered unread and will show unread counts (the little blue circle with a number in it) if you:
- Created the topic or replied to the topic
- Read the topic for more than 4 minutes, or
- if you have explicitly set the topic to “Tracked” or "Watched’ via the notification control button at the bottom of each topic.
Again, visit your preferences to change this.
To replicate your previous forum experience, I suggest setting your Default Home Page to Latest (this setting is in preferences under the Interface options). You get to your home page by clicking on the blue PS Audio button in the upper left. A single click on this button anywhere in the forum will then bring you to the page showing the latest active topics. This is akin to the button for unread on the old forum. You can then pick what you want to read.
I hope this helps and did not confuse you more.
The forum software is powerful and provides each individual user with a great deal of control. But like all software which is flexible, it can be confusing and a bit overwhelming at first.
Thanks, Magister, and thank you Elk for your tireless work at making the forums better.
Magister I took your suggestion about the clutter of descriptions and simplified them. See what you think about the home page now.
I had never heard of Xenforo but it is nice. Nothing’s set in concrete. We want the best, easiest, friendliest forum experience possible and Discourse was an excellent choice over what we had before. No, its intuitiveness wasn’t immediate but I soon got used to it and then liked it a lot better. Let’s see if we can tweak it to get better and if not, perhaps over time and enough community input we can move it to something like Xenforo or whatever’s better.
We really appreciate that and want to make this a great place to be. We’re more than open to criticism and comment. We do measure the traffic and will be comparing it once things settle down. It’s a good question and one I want to watch carefully. So far they are about the same.
Thank, Paul. I, too, am curious as to whether the forum traffic changed. It never occurred to me to grab previous traffic information to later compare with the new figures, a lack of foresight on my part.
The home page seems tidier. I think monochrome buttons are visually quieter (amusingly, Vinyl is still blue - I am amused by the little color perk).
Thank you, Elk, for your post #165. I will try your suggestions and probably can improve my experience.
I still really miss those buttons at the right side that would take you to the top or bottom of a page. (Weird that they were not visible to Elk.) I located the keyboard shortcuts but didn’t see anything that would replicate this function. Example of where this would be useful: In response to Paul’s comment about having changed the look of the home page, I went there by clicking the PS logo. Then I came back to this page and found myself at the top and had to manually scroll down to create this reply. Long manual scrolling is particularly a nuisance on a tablet – it’s easier on a desktop system.
I use many different software packages and understand the tradeoffs between power and convenience. But when developers use an ordinary term in a way that is unusual, that’s bound to confuse users. I now understand what ‘unread’ means on this software. But that’s not what a person would normally expect it to mean. That’s a very poor choice IMO.
I do like the look of the revamped home page better.
Hi Paul, thanks, those shorter descriptions are an improvement. The individual topic home pages still have a lot of extraneous clutter, though. For example, this Users column from the DACs topic:
With the utmost respect, I have no idea who tan-colored “M” is versus lime-green-colored “M.” And I have no idea who “E,” “J,” “L,” “R” or “S” are, either. Ditching the “Users” column would be another improvement IMO. Thanks.
I agree. Even if every user had an avatar and I recognized the user, I don’t read posts based on the author. I read them based on whether the topic may be of interest to me. I have often found that new people have good things to say so I wouldn’t pass over an interesting post because I didn’t recognize the author from his/her avatar.
To go instantly to the top of a topic, click on the date at the top of the slider to the right. To go immediately to the bottom, click on the “ago” at the bottom of the slider.
The colored circles are the default display when the user has not uploaded a profile picture. The letter is the first letter of the user’s avatar. If you hover your cursor over a circle the user’s avatar is displayed. The colors appear to be random. I, too, find these useless and visual noise. We may be able to get rid of them.
(As an aside, I am surprised how few have uploaded profile pictures. It is very easy and typically they are popular with many. I will walk you through it if anyone needs help with this.)
Got it, thank you.
Mine just showed up on its own on the previous forum after I’d used it once on a completely different forum. The transition to the new forum just kept it.
I always thought the Ravensburger fire dragon was fine, so there’s no need to change it.
I suspect the other forum registered the picture as your gravatar. This forum recognizes gravatars.
Couldn’t agree more. Let me work on it.
“Gravatar?” Vas ist los ‘Gravatar?’
I assume users noticed we added auto links a week ago. These are the slightly lighter bits of text you will see in a post, such as Bridge and DS and Audioquest.
Have you found them useful? Are there others you would like added or imagine others may find helpful, especially new members?