OT: Am I the only one who thinks this forum needs upgrading?

paintpantherJune 29, 2009

Love this forum, dont get me wrong, i have learnt so much from everyone who are always so sincere and helpful.

But I think this forum needs some updating. It is always hard to find my posts. I sometimes lose them because there is no functionality to easily find them. I cannot tell if someone has replied because it does not show the last person responded until i click on the thread.

Sorting, a smarter searching (the search works but sometimes it doesnt return expected posts), those will really make this forum even better. Am i the only one?

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Here, Here!! Totally agree.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 5:50PM
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I'll second that!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 5:56PM
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I concur.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 5:59PM
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Fori is not pleased

It's amazingly primitive--I don't think there is anything like it left on the web!

To find your posts, bookmark/favorite them, and have updates emailed to you.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 6:08PM
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I have thought that for a LONG time. Other boards I go to are much more user friendly. but I'll take what I can get. I love this place!!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 6:11PM
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How about some suggestions, keep it coming guys!!! Here are mine:

1. My Posts link
2. Every thread displays how many responses, also who started when, who responded last, and when.
3. Smarter search engine, allow filters such as post text search, user search, date search, anything other forums offer these days.
4. Sorting

for now.... until i can think of more...

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 6:15PM
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I asked for replys to be sent to my e-mail but they don't get sent. Since there are so many questions our posts get buried. When a person responds the post should bump to the top of the forum line not stay buried under countless pages - out of sight out of mind. The way I've been able to keep up is to search on myself. There has to be a better way. The bumping to top of the line upon answering will also help with re-interest so others may respond.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 6:35PM
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I whatever, 10th that? It's practically archaic as far as forums go. They have to be making enough money off of advertising to afford an upgrade.

My suggestions, in addition to the great ones above:

1. Allow me to subscribe to a thread so that whether I'm the original poster, or maybe I haven't posted to it at all, I can say, "email me when it's updated."

2. A longer history. Considering all they're storing is text and pictures are linked off different websites, you'd think they'd be able to keep a history for a longer period of time.

3. This has already been said, but it's worth repeating: better searches!

4. Forums you 'drill down' into. I'd like a top level, where I can see how many posts have been made in say, the last 30 days, so I can tell whether it's even worth it to click on the forum at all.

I don't really care about other stuff like smilies or avatars or anything, but better navigation and searching would be key.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 7:33PM
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i totally agree ...but we should be careful what we wish for!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 7:41PM
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This has been discussed since I first signed on. When they have garden gnomes in the servers and all the posts go away one becomes grateful for what we have. Sigh. We're probably not a big income stream. I mean how many of us even allow the ads to show, let alone click through? So I don't know if they have an economic incentive to upgrade.

One thing to recognize about the search function is that it seams not to be a live search, but rather looks to an index that is compiled periodically, so searching for new threads doesn't always work.

If you need names on a petition for better software or something, count me in!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 7:50PM
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Years ago, the forum used to require a paid membership. Imagine paying for this! LOL

I, too, would like a better system of subscribing to posts. I hate that they "drop off" after so long, so even ones that are in the "Clippings" get lost over time. That really sucks. I also hate the limited number of Clippings.

A better search function would be great, too.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 7:50PM
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I'm with kateskouros on this one! I am as frustrated with all of the same things others are but there are some handy aspects to GW, like there are not avatars and stuff cluttering up the page. I guess I haven't seen anything better (my limited knowledge) but I've seen a lot worse! I guess if people were to ask for changes, it would be good to identify what should not be changed too.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 8:01PM
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I'd like to see how many views each thread receives. I'm often left wondering if anyone even looks at some of the posts b/c they receive so few replies, while others have a lot of replies.

I'll "third" the comments about no avatars, signatures etc. cluttering up the page. Those can get annoying and I'm glad GW doesn't have them.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 8:09PM
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Agree! It's a great site, but needs some attention! Search function being my number one recommendation for updating.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 8:22PM
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ForgottenSong you don't get replies emailed to you b/c you don't have your email turned on. See the "Read Me" thread to find out how to get your posts emailed to you.

Threads do bump up to the top of the list when someone posts to them. But, this Forum moves so quickly that if you're not around frequently you probably won't see it at the top. Look at the thread list...first are the posts w/no answers (for a while anyway) then the posts are sorted chronologically based on last post to it.

Unfortunately, they appear to only index the Forum's threads once a day, so if you start a new thread today you won't find in a search until tomorrow.

Tip: If I'm looking for a particular thread and I know it's on the first 4 or 5 pages, I'll use Firefox's "find" to find on the page the GWers name or other word in the title...it's faster than the GW search sometimes! (Just do a find, then go to the next page and click "Next"...)

Last...why won't they let me anchor the "Read Me" thread at the top???? This would be even better than a FAQ b/c I think most people ignore FAQs. (Yes, I've asked a couple of times...I've never gotten a response from them.)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 8:49PM
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OK, why has no one said the obvious.. ability to correct or update message or delete it if not pertinent or wrong forum

i think the basis is good and agree too much gets cluttered but agree with the email updates on threads you did not originate but want to hear answers for

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 8:50PM
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I don't think we need anything fancy, but we desperately do need a search engine that actually works. It doesn't even have to be a "smarter" search engine in the sense of fancier, although that would be nice. It just has to work. Routinely, I search on posts that I KNOW are there, using precise words from either the heading or the text, but the threads do not come up. Instead, threads come up that do not contain the searched words anywhere in them. It's not just a matter of occasionally missing something; the search engine is clearly "broken."

Also, no matter how many times I've checked the boxes, I have never received an e-mail notification when follow-ups are posted to a thread I start. And my e-mail on file is correct. I don't know what's up with that.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 8:54PM
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beachlily z9a

Oh, what about the ability to post pictures from our computers instead of having to move them from Photobucket or other photo hosting sites?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 8:54PM
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I like the forums that when you roll your curser (sp?) over the post, it pops up the first few lines of the post so that you don't have to actually open it up. That way if its something that doesn't interest you, just move on down over the next thread. saves a ton of time

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 8:55PM
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I understand why we can't post pics directly to this board. The bandwidth that would be required would be insane! So while using a hosting site like photobucket is inconvenient, it's also necessary.

I know it costs a lot for a good board with all the bells and whistles. Gardenweb has SO much to offer though, I would be willing to pay for it. If they did a voluntary $5.00 yearly fee, I bet most people who are TKO would pay it. Same goes for the gardening side....there are people who practially LIVE there and my bet is that they would also gladly pay $5 for a better board.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 8:45AM
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A longer history.
When I first joined this forum we had 10 pages of posts. Yeah, TEN. Threads dropped off after less than a week! When they finally increased it to 67 it was a miracle!!

Years ago, the forum used to require a paid membership.
Actually, not all the forums were paid. Some, including kitchens, were free. Cooking was one that required paid membership, which, by the way, was $15 per year. And for that $15, not only did you get access to all paid forums, you also got exempt from seeing the ads. Oh, and by access I mean the ability to post. It was always free to read any thread.

As far as searching goes, this doesn't always work but it can be better than GW's search tool. Go to google and type in gardenweb and the word(s) you're searching for. Oftentimes the very thread you are looking for will pop up in the search list.

People have been asking for change at least since I've been here (2004). And yeah, I agree, most of the methods here are antiquated. But hey! I'm used to it! And whenever things like this change, you have to take the bad with the good. So, leaving it status quo is ok with me. But if it changes, I'll adapt.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 11:08AM
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Yvonne Albertyn_Brazil

I'm another one okay with status quo. I like that it's easy to use, no painful popups or ads screaming at me. Here it's all about quality (think function vs. form). There are other boards out there, but there doesn't seem to be the quality of information you find here.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 4:36PM
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s8thrd...you may have the correct email on record, but you don't have it turned on. If it were turned on, I'd see the "Send me an email" link when I go to your "My Page"...I don't see it.

The "Read Me" thread talks about the 3 things you have to do get emails, but I'll repeat them here:

Getting Emails Sent To You...3-step Process

There are three things you have to do to get emails sent to you when someone posts to a thread you started:

  1. Be sure you have a valid/current email address in your profile

Again in your profile, be sure you have the "Allow other users to send you email via forms at our site." box checked (at the bottom of the profile page) Be sure to check the box labeled "Check here if you would like copies of follow-ups to your message emailed to you" when you submit your post. (Below the "Message" box)

Hmmm...maybe a 4th step...don't forget to "Save Your Member Profile" when you make changes! (button at bottom of profile page)

If you do all 3 (or 4!) things, you should get an email when someone posts to your message.

Note: Some members have said they still have problems getting emails. I seem to always get emails, but I have noticed that occassionally there will be a several hour delay and once there was a several day delay...I don't know why.

Also, check your Junk Mail, sometimes the emails end up there. Add "gardenweb_user@gardenweb.com" to your "safe senders" list as well.

If you still don't get emails, check with your internet service provider and be sure emails from GW are not being filtered out as junk before they get to you.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 6:19AM
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There might be some misunderstandings of my original post. My suggestion is to make improvements to this site to make it better, not anything big or fancy, although i wont object to that idea neither =)

Things that can be improved as an example to add a My Post link is fairly easy to do, again, just small things that can help make the site easier to navigate.

How about fixing the readability of posts by not repeating the last couple of words in the next sentence. Again, just something simple to improve user experience.

Agree the information here is very good quality, thats why we are all here. But information is data, which is different from presentation which is what this post is about. Changing the layout of the forum does not change the quality of data.

And oh no I have never paid to go to any forum, do they still exist?!?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 3:15AM
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Yvonne Albertyn_Brazil

Paintpanther, I fear we'll lose people with their fabulous and helpful knowledge if it's too difficult or cumbersome to figure out how to post, read, etc.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 12:47PM
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yandj no offense but again, my post is about making the site better/easier/more user friendly, none of those transpires "difficult" or "cumbersome" to me.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 2:18PM
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And oh no I have never paid to go to any forum, do they still exist?!?

All the forums which used to be paid forums still exist. But now they are free. The only one I remember as being paid was Cooking because I joined specifically to be able to post there.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 6:00PM
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I like the Software running the forum, I find it Fantastic. I do.
-- Someone in their estimation decided Not to give to forum users many of the options that are given to them in other forum Software.
to quote each other in subsequent posts by clicking on "quote",
to post twice with no barriers to doing so,
to use spaces to express meaning (all extra spaces get deleted, and extra carriage returns too, so you cannot easily add extra interline spacing),
to post without reading & reviewing one's own post first,
to know how many "times read", how many people have clicked on a thread.

Between now and the 22nd Century, human society might begin to choose what is ultimately useless information, like how many people have clicked on the thread since it was first created. Let's understand that we don't need to know that level of detail. What we really want to know is whether the thread is worth reading and that depends on concepts and quality of contributors' input: these two things can be tracked on the side -- and eventually included as a tool in a far future version of this forum. I'm assuming you are prepared to look into the future.

There are some irritants but they are of little importance. E.g. CAPS in subject line get bounced to lower-case. It is easy to program into the software a few text management constraints that then surprise You and some others, but that ultimately are a Good Thing to work around and to accept as a good thing instead of thinking that you ought to have more and more options like text formatting. I personally vote in favor of programming that brings us all back to basic text, so all use of Upper Case IN ENTIRE WORDS be converted into lower case so that upper case only be available for word-initial use.

Don't love the search function here... the way it's date-oblivious and doesn't allow you to select a date-RANGE. Hits for a particular keyword brings up a thread from 5 YEARS ago, followed by one from 5 DAYS ago, followed by one from 5 MONTHS ago, etc... But workarounds are easy, and in the future an access tool would get around it easily.

Let's discuss bigger things: what would be useful to help you track the things you want to track and to find the information you want and to call upon the right community (people) when you need them and to be relatively sure that your requests are well received -- this would be a tool for which I would pay to have special access.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 1:36AM
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You can easily find your posts by searching (either "this forum only" or entire site) by doing a search on your user ID.

I like the simplicity and clean appearance of this forum - most others have converted from their customized software to one of the standard forum software pactages like Vbulletin and they all are filled with extraneous graphics and needlessly busy layouts.

The forums here were originally all free - you didn't even have to register. The paid forums (some of them only) were brief - posts to those forums that became paid-member-only became so scarce that they became nearly useless, and they dropped the pay feature quickly (bumming out the few that paid).

You can post twice in a row in a short time, simply by adding a space between words to the "subject of posting" field. This avoids the "message rejected" you-already-posted-here refusal. The software strips away the extra space anyway.

They killed off many of the more interesting forums years ago - a few were since revived, but the old crowd never returned and it hasn't been the same since.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 8:07AM
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