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Poll

Does The test server work for you? Are you willing to sped time helping me test it?

It works for me.
- 5 (29.4%)
It does not work for me.
- 1 (5.9%)
I'd be willing to help test it.
- 6 (35.3%)
I'm not interested in testing it.
- 1 (5.9%)
I might be willing to help test it.
- 4 (23.5%)

Total Members Voted: 12


Pages: 1 ... 38 39 [40]

Author Topic: Agora, A better forum (Open Source Project): Now with Github and test site.  (Read 31404 times)

Maks

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Re: Agora, A better forum (Open Source Project): Now with Github and test site.
« Reply #585 on: February 06, 2017, 06:56:02 pm »

This is about as much as I can offer in terms of feedback right now but...
Why not go with something like Markdown instead of BBCode?

I know BBCode is the 'traditional' markup used for forums, but it feels really needlessly verbose for typing manually - this might be just me but I generally dislike using rich text editors, or at least having to fall back onto buttons a lot when I 'm doing a lot of formatting.

Not to mention that BBCode is absolutely heinous on any device that does not have an access to a proper keyboard - writing B12 posts on my phone is the worst thing sometimes.

I will admit that I don't know how difficult it is to implement either Markdown or BBCode and whether or not you are willing to throw one out in favor of the other, but I really do think that despite being, well, a fair bit more powerful than Markdown, most people do not need that much power and they are especially not fond of the added syntactic verbosity.
Especially with how the rest of the interface seems to be designed in the 'new-age' flat/material/responsive-design sorta way, pairing that with BBCode just strikes me as strange.

Just my 2 cents though. I've been extremely extremely casually watching this thread for a while and I like how much it's progressed so far, but I really feel that BBCode is...not outdated, but not really fit for The Modern Age™.
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Hey uhm, I run a Bay12/Reddit Dwarf Fortress-focused Discord server here. (No downloads or registration required, but both are possible and reccomended.)

Here's my current suggestion game, of political intrigue, and badass peacekeeping, in a soft sci-fi universe. Here's hoping this one doesn't die off in a week!

Retropunch

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Re: Agora, A better forum (Open Source Project): Now with Github and test site.
« Reply #586 on: February 06, 2017, 07:31:58 pm »

These changes are for the expanded view posts, yes? The ones showing the full text of a post, with the graph down at the bottom showing nodes above and below? What about the main forum view? I just changed things so it should show up as the default front page now.

As for your suggestions, I've been thinking of doing the first one. I'll go ahead and bump it up and do it today. The second is interesting, and I'll definitely think about it. The third one I'm skeptical about, but I've heard it before, so I'll definitely consider it. As for moving the text and the node tree to be side by side, I could definitely do that. I'm worried how well it'll work out on smaller displays, though.

Glad you can take the criticism on board, and I'm thrilled you're taking on board some of my suggestions! I honestly think it's a fantastic idea.

I am referring to the expanded posts in my suggestions. In terms of the main view, I honestly don't know if it works well; mostly due to a lack of labelling.

I really do understand that you're trying to sort of make it more 'natural', but without seeing labels I just can't tell where to even start. It's like coming onto Bay12 for the first time, and instead of seeing the different sub-board headers (Other Games, Lets Plays etc) you just saw blank spaces and had to hover over them to see what they were - would that be more user efficient or less?
If you're really convinced that some people may prefer it blank, then put it as a toggle option, but I really can't imagine how people could try to navigate through a forum without labels. Again, sorry my criticism is so strong on that, but it's something I feel is a pretty strong blocker to mainstream enjoyment.

On top of the labelling issue (and something that would help it not look so cluttered), I'd really suggest that you fold up the main view when you enter the page, and allow users to click through it to open it up. As in, it'd just show the first and second row - If you clicked on one of the second row nodes, it'd open everything attached to that node (and so on and so on) - a double click could then open the post itself. A button/whatever to show everything would be good though. Most of this is because on the vast majority of forums, there's tons of boards people aren't interested in. More than that though, if this shows every post on a 30,000+ post site, it's just going to be a complete mess.

In terms of the side by side view - I'd suggest keeping it vertical for mobile devices, but would definitely think it's a big improvement as side by side for non-mobile devices.





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With enough work and polish, it could had been a forgettable flash game on Kongregate.

Angle

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Re: Agora, A better forum (Open Source Project): Now with Github and test site.
« Reply #587 on: February 06, 2017, 09:11:21 pm »

This is about as much as I can offer in terms of feedback right now but...
Why not go with something like Markdown instead of BBCode?

I know BBCode is the 'traditional' markup used for forums, but it feels really needlessly verbose for typing manually - this might be just me but I generally dislike using rich text editors, or at least having to fall back onto buttons a lot when I 'm doing a lot of formatting.

Not to mention that BBCode is absolutely heinous on any device that does not have an access to a proper keyboard - writing B12 posts on my phone is the worst thing sometimes.

I will admit that I don't know how difficult it is to implement either Markdown or BBCode and whether or not you are willing to throw one out in favor of the other, but I really do think that despite being, well, a fair bit more powerful than Markdown, most people do not need that much power and they are especially not fond of the added syntactic verbosity.
Especially with how the rest of the interface seems to be designed in the 'new-age' flat/material/responsive-design sorta way, pairing that with BBCode just strikes me as strange.

Just my 2 cents though. I've been extremely extremely casually watching this thread for a while and I like how much it's progressed so far, but I really feel that BBCode is...not outdated, but not really fit for The Modern Age™.

I didn't even know markup existed. :/

I'll definitely consider it - I'm hoping to have proper editors, so that people don't need to deal directly with the BBCode so much, but failing that I'll definitely consider using markup instead.

Glad you can take the criticism on board, and I'm thrilled you're taking on board some of my suggestions! I honestly think it's a fantastic idea.

I am referring to the expanded posts in my suggestions. In terms of the main view, I honestly don't know if it works well; mostly due to a lack of labelling.

I really do understand that you're trying to sort of make it more 'natural', but without seeing labels I just can't tell where to even start. It's like coming onto Bay12 for the first time, and instead of seeing the different sub-board headers (Other Games, Lets Plays etc) you just saw blank spaces and had to hover over them to see what they were - would that be more user efficient or less?
If you're really convinced that some people may prefer it blank, then put it as a toggle option, but I really can't imagine how people could try to navigate through a forum without labels. Again, sorry my criticism is so strong on that, but it's something I feel is a pretty strong blocker to mainstream enjoyment.

On top of the labelling issue (and something that would help it not look so cluttered), I'd really suggest that you fold up the main view when you enter the page, and allow users to click through it to open it up. As in, it'd just show the first and second row - If you clicked on one of the second row nodes, it'd open everything attached to that node (and so on and so on) - a double click could then open the post itself. A button/whatever to show everything would be good though. Most of this is because on the vast majority of forums, there's tons of boards people aren't interested in. More than that though, if this shows every post on a 30,000+ post site, it's just going to be a complete mess.

In terms of the side by side view - I'd suggest keeping it vertical for mobile devices, but would definitely think it's a big improvement as side by side for non-mobile devices.

I think you're talking about the overview, not the main forum view. The main forum view is the one with all the individual posts displayed as cards, where you click through to open them up. You can find it here.

As for your suggestions on the overview, The labeling thing is something I've heard before, and as it seems to be a frequent suggestion I'll probably start seeing about implementing it. Not sure on the specifics, though. As for opening nodes individually on the overview, that's supposed to be what the main forum view is for. I do have plans to change what all is displayed, though, and allow people to close and remove nodes from the view. Still figuring out the details.

Oh! And just now, I pushed some updates that should make the graph much more readable with lots of nodes. Still working on a few more small changes, most notably allowing it to shuffle nodes around in a layer for improved viewability.

Edit: And now node shuffling is also implemented, and it looks much better. Gonna go and look at implementing these suggestions for the other views next, and maybe fix some old bugs.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2017, 11:33:29 pm by Angle »
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Retropunch

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Re: Agora, A better forum (Open Source Project): Now with Github and test site.
« Reply #588 on: February 07, 2017, 11:33:55 am »

I think you're talking about the overview, not the main forum view. The main forum view is the one with all the individual posts displayed as cards, where you click through to open them up. You can find it here.

As for your suggestions on the overview, The labeling thing is something I've heard before, and as it seems to be a frequent suggestion I'll probably start seeing about implementing it. Not sure on the specifics, though. As for opening nodes individually on the overview, that's supposed to be what the main forum view is for. I do have plans to change what all is displayed, though, and allow people to close and remove nodes from the view. Still figuring out the details.

Ahh unfortunately the 'main forum view' doesn't really work for me (and therefore I didn't realise that was the main view) - if I click connecting posts, I see the 'load all' and 'show list' flash and then disappear - even if I'm fast enough to click on them they don't do anything. I've tried in a few different browsers.
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Angle

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Re: Agora, A better forum (Open Source Project): Now with Github and test site.
« Reply #589 on: February 07, 2017, 12:53:48 pm »

That bug again? Ugh. Alright, I'm gonna try and squash that one today.
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Angle

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Re: Agora, A better forum (Open Source Project): Now with Github and test site.
« Reply #590 on: February 12, 2017, 07:21:49 pm »

Well, it took longer than expected, but I fixed up a couple of the bugs with chrome. It should be much more cooperative now. Anyone give it a try and see if it works better for other peoples chromes, and not just mine?
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Retropunch

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Re: Agora, A better forum (Open Source Project): Now with Github and test site.
« Reply #591 on: February 12, 2017, 08:15:52 pm »

Well, it took longer than expected, but I fixed up a couple of the bugs with chrome. It should be much more cooperative now. Anyone give it a try and see if it works better for other peoples chromes, and not just mine?

It works now, thanks!! Great work all over.

I've got a bit of feedback though(again, sorry to sound critical, it's awesome work!):
- Firstly, clicking on connected posts/load all resets my view to somewhere in the middle of all the posts - it makes me lose track of where I am unfortunately.
- Secondly, but most importantly, this really, really needs a zoom in/out function!
- I'd recommend that when you close one post, it closes all the posts beneath it in the chain. You could have two close buttons, one that closes everything, and one that keeps the posts under it.
- There's a lot of empty space on each card - real estate is at an absolute premium in this kinda design, so each card should be as tight as possible design wise. I wouldn't both with
- I'd change the 'connecting posts (load all and show list)' and 'more' buttons to just being three buttons you can click on from the card - even if you want to add more options (and hence need a fold out more button) then at least allow the user to open up connecting posts and show a list in one click.


All this being said, I think there's a bit of a bigger problem here; you've pretty much got two completely different forum systems running at the same time. The card based view is good, and the node based view is good, but they seem like two separate thing and I don't think they mesh together well.

I'd honestly suggest sticking with cards or nodes and developing that fully. I much prefer the node based design (with some more headings) as the card based design gets really, really quickly unmanageable - imagine loading up even the amount of posts we have on this thread as cards - let alone a thread with 400+ pages.

You can always go back and implement the other system later as an alternative view (or completely different forum software), but currently it's sorta pulling things in two directions at the same time.

 
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Angle

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Re: Agora, A better forum (Open Source Project): Now with Github and test site.
« Reply #592 on: February 12, 2017, 08:52:40 pm »

It works now, thanks!! Great work all over.

I've got a bit of feedback though(again, sorry to sound critical, it's awesome work!):
- Firstly, clicking on connected posts/load all resets my view to somewhere in the middle of all the posts - it makes me lose track of where I am unfortunately.
- Secondly, but most importantly, this really, really needs a zoom in/out function!
- I'd recommend that when you close one post, it closes all the posts beneath it in the chain. You could have two close buttons, one that closes everything, and one that keeps the posts under it.
- There's a lot of empty space on each card - real estate is at an absolute premium in this kinda design, so each card should be as tight as possible design wise. I wouldn't both with
- I'd change the 'connecting posts (load all and show list)' and 'more' buttons to just being three buttons you can click on from the card - even if you want to add more options (and hence need a fold out more button) then at least allow the user to open up connecting posts and show a list in one click.


All this being said, I think there's a bit of a bigger problem here; you've pretty much got two completely different forum systems running at the same time. The card based view is good, and the node based view is good, but they seem like two separate thing and I don't think they mesh together well.

I'd honestly suggest sticking with cards or nodes and developing that fully. I much prefer the node based design (with some more headings) as the card based design gets really, really quickly unmanageable - imagine loading up even the amount of posts we have on this thread as cards - let alone a thread with 400+ pages.

You can always go back and implement the other system later as an alternative view (or completely different forum software), but currently it's sorta pulling things in two directions at the same time.

Again, thank you! Feedback is what I really need right now, criticism or otherwise. Even better if it's nice and polite criticism.
 - Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and break off that functionality and make it so it doesn't constantly do that.

 - I'm definitely considering this. I actually had an idea to merge the functionality of the overview and forum view graphs with zooming, though I'm not sure it's a good idea. I could also just implement normal zooming - we had that at one point but removed it cause it didn't work super well. Shouldn't be too hard to re-implement and get working properly. Should it trigger off of mousewheel or have a zoom bar, do you think?

- I don't think it should always do this, but adding a button for it would be easy enough.

- Yeah we're planning to rework the cards at some point. Not sure on the specifics yet though. We may want to add more information? Like word count, date last edited, etc. And of course change up the buttons while we're at it.

Yeah, we've been thinking about that. I was considering adding a gmail style form for writing new replies, and having that work with the node system? I'm not too sure yet though. Regardless, we are going to have some kind of system for skipping though links more quickly no matter what we do - loading each layer a bit at a time is silly. Probably wait until after we have voting and maybe SAA, though, so we have a metric by which to choose what posts to display.

EDIT: I just added a button to close all nodes descending from a node, recursively. It doesn't close the node itself, but that only takes one extra click anyway. Though I did make it so that the buttons only available if all of the nodes children are open, in retrospect I should change that to only require one open. I'll do that later though. Oh, and it'll take a few minutes for the server to catch up.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2017, 09:15:49 pm by Angle »
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Retropunch

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Re: Agora, A better forum (Open Source Project): Now with Github and test site.
« Reply #593 on: February 13, 2017, 05:14:21 am »

Again, thank you! Feedback is what I really need right now, criticism or otherwise. Even better if it's nice and polite criticism.
 - Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and break off that functionality and make it so it doesn't constantly do that.

 - I'm definitely considering this. I actually had an idea to merge the functionality of the overview and forum view graphs with zooming, though I'm not sure it's a good idea. I could also just implement normal zooming - we had that at one point but removed it cause it didn't work super well. Shouldn't be too hard to re-implement and get working properly. Should it trigger off of mousewheel or have a zoom bar, do you think?

- I don't think it should always do this, but adding a button for it would be easy enough.

- Yeah we're planning to rework the cards at some point. Not sure on the specifics yet though. We may want to add more information? Like word count, date last edited, etc. And of course change up the buttons while we're at it.

Yeah, we've been thinking about that. I was considering adding a gmail style form for writing new replies, and having that work with the node system? I'm not too sure yet though. Regardless, we are going to have some kind of system for skipping though links more quickly no matter what we do - loading each layer a bit at a time is silly. Probably wait until after we have voting and maybe SAA, though, so we have a metric by which to choose what posts to display.

EDIT: I just added a button to close all nodes descending from a node, recursively. It doesn't close the node itself, but that only takes one extra click anyway. Though I did make it so that the buttons only available if all of the nodes children are open, in retrospect I should change that to only require one open. I'll do that later though. Oh, and it'll take a few minutes for the server to catch up.

I'm happy to help - even if I do feel a bit awful coming on and criticising every time I post! I'm truly a big fan though, I've always felt that forums need a bit of a shakeup.

Re Zooming: I'd suggest both mouse wheel and zoom bar - some computers don't have mouse wheels, and laptop trackpads can be awkward to work with.

Re Extra card data: I'd definitely keep it as minimal as possible - any extra information at that stage is just going to be info overload - if they want to get that info then they can look at the post itself.

In terms of a redesign - I'd really try to have everything on one page if possible. Having the node/card diagram on the right with the full text of the clicked post on the left for instance, could work well. Mobile screens would obviously have to have a separate layout, but I believe that forum usage is still largely skewed towards desktops/laptops.
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