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Approximating a newsreader

Paul B.

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I've been playing with the Outline Display Mode, and clearly there must be a reference tag in each post in order for the board software to record threading information.

If that is the case, I wonder why no board that I know of has gone the extra step and implemented threading based features, such as

- Views which only show full subthreads - Color marking of one's own posts and its replies - Ignore subthreads - Filter subthreads based on posters - etc

In addition, especially with today's wide monitors, a thread navigation pane on the left, like file managers usually have, would seem like a good idea.

Web forums have advantages, most particularly moderation, but I find that reading threads in newsreaders is much easier and effective for focusing on wanted information and avoiding the rest. And that is at the very root of good conversation. It puzzles me why, if the basis for the improvements already exists, some board maker hasn't gone this route yet.

Be well,

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[quote name='bfarber' date='05 October 2009 - 03:14 PM' timestamp='1254770078' post='1863730']
I think on the whole, 99% of our users don't really use threaded mode, or at least don't use it often. As a result, there's very little demand for improvements to it's functionality.

Maybe the real enhancement here should be that the section that displays a topic should be replaceable with a mod (that doesn't require source edits). Same for the code that displays the list of topics in a forum.

If this feature would be implemented, then modders might produce some innovative viewers for IPB (including AJAX based viewers).

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I guess I'm not too surprised. I only started using Outline on long threads, where it became impossible to keep up with the conversational flow in the standard view.

Nonetheless, I think that if these functions were developed and featured, they would catch on. I have to believe people understand a good thing when they see it. I hope I'm correct, because I'm convinced that the limitations of web forum software are adversely affecting communication.

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To be honest, newsgroups and the older BBs software used threaded mode, which evolved into the current linear display used by most bulletin board softwares (as I understand it at least - I'm a whippersnapper after all). Assuming I'm remembering this correctly, we'd be going *backwards* to enhance threaded mode. I tend to believe most people are moving away from it, not towards it.

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You may be correct about trends. But consider what I can do with my newsreader.

[*]I can Watch a subthread, which will retrieve the message bodies for that subthread only. [*]I can color my own posts, and those of posts that are replies to me, so that my eye is immediately drawn to the conversations that most concern me. [*]I can manipulate the View so that only the posts that conform to certain conditions (see the above functions) will be visible. [*]With the touch of a key I can show or hide the quoteback. This is an immense benefit in these days of wanton requoting. [*]I can navigate among posts easily by selecting them in one static pane and having them displayed in another. And I can skip around in various ways via hotkey.

My problem with current forum technology is that the entire thread (or pages thereof) must be loaded each time, and then scanned for the posts that concern me. This is terribly inefficient and ineffective.

This is why it's hard for me to see the current move to web forums as a step forward, with the exception of their capacity for moderation.


[*]I can ignore any poster, and optionally any replies to his posts, automatically.

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