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Doug, please reassure us that the new format . . .(25 posts)

Doug, please reassure us that the new format . . .Cory
Jan 14, 2004 9:51 AM
. . . won't be at all like the confusing, irritating, all-but-unreadable, unnecessarily complicated and hard-to-use one over on the Mountain board.
no infoDougSloan
Jan 14, 2004 10:18 AM
I know nothing more than you all. I just moderate, being uninvolved on the technical or marketing end of things.

I assume all new software works the same. That's just my guess, though.

Doug
I like the new forums software on mtbr. nmundertrained
Jan 14, 2004 10:18 AM
I'm not doug, but it will be the same software package.dr hoo
Jan 14, 2004 10:19 AM
Long story short, that's what will be done.

I would note that they will be looking into adding a "chronological" view, which will let you follow along and skim things in ways you are used to. That, combined with the "hybrid" view will give you a similar surfing experience once you get used to it. Especially if you turn off all the bells and whistles.

I don't like the new software, but they didn't ask me. Sometimes adding features does NOT improve things for the user. But then I am a low bandwidth guy.

The old forum software is no longer supported, and had problems on the admin end. The new stuff is more efficient on the server end, and easier to administrate day to day. So they say.

One good thing, I think the new software has an "ignore" function. That will be handy.
Let's not forget..............Len J
Jan 14, 2004 11:06 AM
that Gregg was pretty clear that this was being done to make it easier to administer......not to be a better tool, this is about them not the user.

Bottom line, if it makes it cheaper for them to administer and that keeps the site up longer, I'm for it. It's a shame that there can't be a win for the users though.

I'm with you, the new software is nowhere near as user friendly as the current one. Hope it doesn't reduce the number of users.

Len
Lots of people like the new software.dr hoo
Jan 14, 2004 11:24 AM
So they say, and I believe them. It just isn't good for how I skim information off of sites.

The biggest risk is that the "view by latest response" option (the best of the current lot) can keep flame wars at the top of a page indefinitely. A few people can keep bubbling up ancient posts that most people don't care about. I've seen that kill sites in the past.

It's a done deal, and I will deal. I just REALLY hope they do a "view by latest POST" option.
Not about "us"..........gregg
Jan 14, 2004 12:23 PM
Sorry you feel that way, Len, I think, maybe I oversimplified my explanations in my previous postings.

Let me reassure everyone that this new board is not about what's good for "us" versus what's good for "the forum users". To be honest, I don't consider the people here "forum users" and I honestly prefer to think of the group here as the "RBR community".

Coming here to the boards to read the latest Hot Topics, or the latest Ride Report from MB1 or the latest shop report is what interests me. I come to read/learn/interact with the other members of this board. Now, my job is such that I can't be as proliferate (sp?) a poster as I'd like to be, but I still lurk as much as I can.

The new features with the new system are very powerful and will only enhance the experience for users. You have the ability to send private messages to other board users. You have the ability to see who's online and which board they're on. You have the ability to use (love 'em or hate 'em) avatars, to add a little personality to your posts. You have an extensive profile, for sharing your personal info with other board members.

My previous response was in regards to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" argument. And my point remains, that well, actually, it is broken. Like I said before, the broken parts are not readily visible to board users, but it will be apparent incrementally. We will be better able to handle trolls, we will be able to deputize more moderators, these things will only add to the quality of the forums, not take away.

I'm not entirely sure how the whole "good for the administrators" vs. "good for the forum users" thing started, but let me say that I am confident that this new forum will be a win-win (terrible cliche, I know) situation.

Yes, we fully expect there to be some complaining and back-lash. Yes, you cannot expect to please everyone all the time. Yes, we are working on tweaking the system (hybrid threaded views and sort-by latest thread) to help ease the transition.

This decision to switch was a two year process for us, not something we decided to do over-night. I am currently receiving emails and complaints about the new system over on MTBR, but these are few compared to the vast majority who have already gotten use to the new boards (if they were not already from another site). In fact, I just this morning, received an email from an MTBR regular who had emailed me complaining about the boards two days ago, and is now admitting that it ain't all that bad.

Thanks for reading this, and as always, feel free to email me with questions concerns.

-gregg

gkato@roadbikereview.com
and, for what it's worthDougSloan
Jan 14, 2004 12:43 PM
I think you have changed software here twice before? Every time there is change, there are complaints, but people get used to it pretty fast.

Hey, you want to hear complaints, try changing your legal secretaries from WordPerfect 5.0 DOS to Word for Windows 7.0, then WordPerfect 7.0, then Word 2000, etc... and maybe throw in a MAC to PC change along the way!

Doug
Getting used to it.......Len J
Jan 14, 2004 2:53 PM
is way different than it being an improvement.

I'll stay because I like the community, I'll get used to the new software, I'll stay around, but (if MTBR is an example) It doesn't appear that I'll see it as an improvement.

I could be wrong though (I hope so).

Len
I have run here, sobbing, from the new MTBRlitespeedchick
Jan 14, 2004 1:05 PM
I'm so sorry to hear this one will be going over to the dark side as well. I am happy to learn that there were practical reasons for the change, not just a misguided attempt to make it better.

I'll still use MTBR for asking specific questions, which is how I discovered it in the 1st place, but as far as the entertainment value of scrolling down the page and seeing an over-view of what's being discussed, that's just not possible anymore (hybrid or no). What concerns me, is that as more people stop using MTBR to amuse themselves, there will be less traffic, and thus fewer responses, and then the "specific question" use will suffer as well.

Bummer.
Let me clarify.................Len J
Jan 14, 2004 2:40 PM
my comment about good for the users vs good for the administers.

The two features that distinquish RBR (other than the people) are the ability to distinguish, easily, the heirarchy of response streams and which you have already looked at and to display by latest response. The two of these combined is what makes this site incredibly user friendly. In working on MTBR, you can do one or the other at a time, which is a PIA, frankly. All of the other things you mention, which are availible on other sites, are relativly inconsequential in terms of day to day use. Avitars and personal biogriphys are nice one time curiosities that fade with time. The ability to personal message is available now just by asking for an e-mail address, or giving one & asking someone to respond, a little less efficient, but for the 3 times a year someone uses it, not that big a deal. I can see who is on line now by who is responding, if someone doesn't respond, what good does it so to know they are there.

I'm not trying to be negative (although I am sure it is coming across that way) rather to point out that all of these wonderful additional capabilities do not IMO make up for the ones that I use every day and will not have. So I am left with my original conclusion, the only group with a net gain from the new software is the administer, for me (Judging by MTBR) it will be a net loss.

Again, I will stay around for the people, it's a great group, let's just be reality based about the change.

Len
Let me clarify.................Len J
Jan 14, 2004 2:42 PM
my comment about good for the users vs good for the administers.

The two features that distinquish RBR (other than the people) are the ability to distinguish, easily, the heirarchy of response streams and which you have already looked at and to display by latest response. The two of these combined is what makes this site incredibly user friendly. In working on MTBR, you can do one or the other at a time, but not both, which is a PIA, frankly. All of the other things you mention, which are availible on other sites, are relativly inconsequential in terms of day to day use. Avitars and personal biographys are nice one time curiosities that fade with time. The ability to personal message is available now just by asking for an e-mail address, or giving one & asking someone to respond, a little less efficient, but for the 3 times a year someone uses it, not that big a deal. I can see who is on line now by who is responding, if someone doesn't respond, what good does it so to know they are there?

I'm not trying to be negative (although I am sure it is coming across that way) rather to point out that all of these wonderful additional capabilities do not IMO make up for the ones that I use every day and will not have. So I am left with my original conclusion, the only group with a net gain from the new software is the administer, for me (Judging by MTBR) it will be a net loss.

Again, I will stay around for the people, it's a great group, let's just be reality based about the change.

Len
Thanks for the clarification....gregg
Jan 15, 2004 8:47 AM
...Len.

I definitely take criticism from a well known board regular, like yourself, more serious than a lot of the other complaints/feedback/comments I receive from more anonymous sources.

And thanks for taking the time to write it all out, and that we are working on the tweaks to help the user-friendly experience.

-gregg
I knew..........Len J
Jan 15, 2004 9:30 AM
you were listening & would take them to heart........which is why I clarified.

We'll get through this together.

When is the cutover?

Len
new manufacturer forums set to launch next week....gregg
Jan 16, 2004 12:30 PM
...we'll do a cross-over period like we did/are doing with MTBR.

So first, manufacturer specific forums, then old forums transferred to new platform, then run both concurrently, then shut down posting to old forums (but remain readable archives indefinitely).

-g
Wow, you got it EXACTLY, dr hoo!gregg
Jan 14, 2004 11:45 AM
Do I know you? You're not one of my co-workers in disguise are you? ;-)

I am working on an overall explanation for the change to post on MTBR right now.

There are many other cool features (besides the "ignore"), too. I like the personal messages (kinda like email that waits for you on the board) and subscribing to threads (emails you when someone posts a reply to something you post.)

-gregg

gkato@roadbikereview.com
not a coworker, but feel free to hire me as a consultant.dr hoo
Jan 14, 2004 1:04 PM
I have done a bit of work on internet communities, what forms them, and what makes them strong, and what can destroy them. I know a bit about various options for board software, training people for various UIs, etc.

I have been around MTBR from pretty close to the start, saw the first post in Passion, yadda yadda yadda. I don't post much there anymore, but I still read what looks good to me. The chronological structure lets me do that. And since I read what you people were telling people on MTBR, and I have the ability to comprehend what I read, passing it along wasn't that tough.

What you see as cool features I see as distractions. But that is because I am old and grumpy. Things WERE better back in the day you know!

Seriously, the new system will help in terms of individual connections, or so I would predict. The problem is that the more channels you open for one on one communication, the easier you make it for people to interact with SPECIFIC people, the LESS that stuff get's played out in public. By narrowing the communication channels down, forcing interaction in the public sphere, the community connections are strengthened. Or, so I would predict.

I think that is what made Passion happen as it did, forming the gatherings and all. We early axe murderers would NEVER have gotten to know each other in the same way if we could talk "backchannel". By watching people become friends "in the open" it helped others "come out of the closet" so to speak.

I hope the transition goes smoothly, both on the tech end and for the users.
Were you Sigmund Fraud?Spoiler
Jan 14, 2004 7:51 PM
I zee zum zimilariteez.
No, though many people suspected it was me.dr hoo
Jan 15, 2004 6:39 AM
I am pretty sure it was DaleRider1, long may his memory live on.
you're right. Dr. Fraud was DR1._rt_
Jan 15, 2004 10:59 AM
may he rest in peace.

rt
it will be the same software (nm)gregg
Jan 14, 2004 11:45 AM
it will be the same softwaregregg
Jan 14, 2004 11:58 AM
I am working on several things right now, but two of them are:

1.) building new manufacturer specific forums to launch like we did on MTBR. This will help ease the transition to the new boards.

2.) a comprehensive explanation of all the reasons for the change. I'm afraid my first attempt wasn't clear enough.

Thanks,

-gregg

gkato@roadbikereview.com
During transition, give up on moderating...The Walrus
Jan 14, 2004 6:51 PM
...it wouldn't be fair to expect civility and genteel language while we are being placed under such undue stress.

In a more serious vein, does this new software have the capability to reject posted photos exceeding the (most reasonable) 600 pixel width? It's a drag when we can't follow a good thread without shifting from left-to-right-and-back, all because some halfwit absolutely, positively must put a poster-size shot of what's usually the world's ugliest bike up there.
Okay.gregg
Jan 15, 2004 8:44 AM
Not! (just kidding) in my opinion we already let a lot of stuff slide as it is, frontal nudity notwithstanding.

About the image size, I'll have to check to see if there's a setting for that. But, if there is, we'd probably set it at something closer to 800 pixels. I agree, the poster size pics are a little irritating, but hey, it's better than no pics, right?

-g
"...but hey, it's better than no pics, right?"The Walrus
Jan 15, 2004 11:49 AM
Not! The problem is not so much with the photos, but what happens to the text. 9 times out of 10, when I see a thread that got messed up like that, I just skip it. Just think how it would s*ck if that happened to a ride report from MB1 or GeoCyclist or Kai-Ming. I think a 600 pixel width works just fine.