how to use this site

Discussion in 'Forum Announcements and Feedback' started by 2annbrow, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. 2annbrow

    2annbrow Active Member

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    Is there a way, among the present forum tools, to
    1] go to a forum, and then
    2] search within that forum for New Posts?

    If there isn't, can it be made possible to do, without a large expenditure of time and/or money? I know it would help me, but would it be a help to others also? Probably a good subject for a users' poll - if I could figure out how to post one!

    Hmmm . . . another idea: how about a heading for "Forum tools and how to use them" maybe accompanied by a (sealed? so nobody can ask questions directly to it?) "Troubleshooting Tips" list, for folks who aren't getting their photos to post, or experience other problems with forum tools? Seems like that would be visited frequently!
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Regarding the first question: I think that is accomplished by the thread titles being bolded when viewing the particular forum. Any thread title that is in bold text means it contains posts that you haven't yet read -- however, I'm not entirely certain of this, since I review almost every thread frequently via email notifications.

    And, on the second topic -- the FAQ aka Frequently Asked Questions (in the navigation bar) is set up to do this -- but I don't think I've ever spent any time customizing it for this forum. Any volunteers? Documentation isn't the most exciting thing in the world.
     
  3. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Yes, the new-to-you posts are highlighted in a thread. And any thread that has a new post moves up to the top. I don't understand the problem unless, Ann, did you mean where there are a lot of subforums, to see a list of all the new posts in all the subforums? Or maybe were you looking for what you'd get if when you click on New Posts on the navigation bar, if you could click on the Forum heading to get them sorted by Forum?

    For customizing the documentation, I could think of taking it on as a summer project if no-one's done it by then. There are a lot of explanations of how to do things around in various forum postings. I'd be inclined to leave the FAQ alone, and organize help for the major problem areas under the How-to Forum.

    [edited 2 minutes later]: I meant to add, as long as I don't have to explain RSS feeds <grin>.
     
  4. 2annbrow

    2annbrow Active Member

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    Hi, wcutler!
    Yes, that's just what I meant!
    As for centralizing the Help/tools descriptions, I know that I [and many other users, I suspect] would find it a real blessing! When I start using a site to which I'm new, that's usually what I look for first. But then I'm the odd one - actually try to read directions first!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    Documenting how to use the forums, other than in a general sense, may be problematic. There isn't just one way in which to navigate and read the contents. Members use the forum functions in the manner that suits them. To complicate the issue the documentation could quickly get outdated with each update to the forum software. However, write-ups on distinct functions such as image attachment could be helpful.
     
  6. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Distinct functions is what I was thinking - the hotspots that keep getting asked about, not that they won't still keep getting asked about. Really, I thought I had the clearest explanation in my blog (or someone's blog) about not asking forum-type questions in the blog, with a link to the forum place to ask them, and the very next reply to the blog was someone asking about their plant. I might be imagining that - I can't find it now.

    Anyway, I thought I'd like to root around for postings answering questions about how to do things, steal the best of the explanations and add or simplify what's been written, and put the answers in a how-to forum. There's already a lot right here in this forum. I'm wondering if the separate how-to forum should have less to read - just explanations with no discussion, so there's just one posting to read with the full explanation. Questions about what's written can go elsewhere, like this forum, and once the answer works, the how-to write-up can be amended if necessary. So no replies in the how-to forum, but a link to the place to ask about what's written or ask for further help. I think what's difficult for people who need beginner help is reading through several posts to watch the story unfold.

    I guess we'd want to just leave all the other explanations where they are, like the "How to Post a Message" in this forum, for instance, particularly if the how-to forum doesn't have discussions.

    These are just musings. I'll just walk around thinking about it for a few months and see what suggestions come up, and in the meantime, maybe something brilliant will come to me, or maybe someone will scoop me and do it.
     
  7. 2annbrow

    2annbrow Active Member

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    "root around!" deary, deary me!
     
  8. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Hmm. I guess I'm rooting around in the right place. Ann, I see you already suggested that there not be discussions in the place where the instructions are.
     
  9. 2annbrow

    2annbrow Active Member

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    Yup!
    [Frankly, I think every website should have a specific area for "dumb questions" - you know, the ones where people can make those posts which always begin "I know this is a dumb question, but. . . ." However, that's a whole 'nother ball game, and requires a live human, because most of that comes from folks not knowing how to phrase the question!]

    And as for perfect organization of sites, etc., don't worry about it. Even people who consistently try to think in a logical, organized manner will think with different organization and apply different logical hierarchies! [It's partly biological, and depends on what part of the brain does what tasks when, which can differ greatly from person to person! Mother Nature's "fallback systems," if you will.] That's why there is no "magic bullet" style for everything. Just ask Daniel - you cannot design a system that will satisfy everyone's needs!
    So, what I am looking/asking for is a sort of "toolgroup" category: what they are and can do, how to get to them, and clear, simple use instructions on the "first step: face stove" level. They could be listed in a "task and/or problem: solution(s)" fashion, perhaps?
     

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