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IP.Board 3.2.0: Search/VNC Interface Improvements


Amy T

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This is clearly labeled in 3.2:


"Content I have not read" - Shows you topics you have not read. Once you read the last page, it is marked as read and vanishes from the list


"New since my last visit" - Shows you topics new since you last visited. Once you read the last page, it is marked as read BUT remains on the page.



I think this fulfils the purpose of VNC.




Matt, could we have a "View topics without replies"?
This would be very helpfull.
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Matt, could we have a "View topics without replies"?


This would be very helpfull.



Yes, please! I added this to a previous version of IP.Board, but having just upgraded to 3.1.x (which has a rewritten search system), I haven't gotten around to adding this again. It's very useful to go through and find threads where people asked a question that nobody answered, especially for moderators.

..Al
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How so? In my first post I describe the two basic 'states' VNC can encompass (viewing all unread content, and viewing all content since your last visit). In my second post I said we don't intend to make VNC show every topic ever made on the board with topic markers next to them.





Basically it is your wording. Basically how you are wording it is you are saying in one post it does not show all and in the other you are saying it does show all and will not be some thing added.


VNC does not just show a few weeks. I'm not sure where you gathered that from? It can optionally show you content that you have not yet read (based on your topic markers - i.e. if it shows unread in a forum, it should show unread up in VNC), or it can show you content posted since your last visit (so if you were gone for 3 months, it would show all updated content in the last 3 months).




In that you are saying it shows all. How ever it has been my experience with this site and my own that it does not go back to your last visit. With 2.6 it seems to be random how far it goes back and on this site it does seem a little better but if I have been gone a few months it only shows a few weeks of posts.
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The frustration that catch people off guard is that explications are not being met -

If I perform a search for something - i know its going to provide a result set that is in nature a smattering of posts from any point in time. and pulled out of context from a hierarchic forum structure
- from the day the site was founded to present.

If I go to an link that is <NEW CONTENT> or some other notation my expectation is that I want to see stuff that is NEW from some relative point in time being it TODAY or YESTERDAY or knowing
i was just on a month long cruise <fat chance> from 1 MONTH AGO. once that SET of records is returned to me I have a new starting point of context I can potentially know there is a measurable
number of posts that meet that first criteria.

Now once that has been established FILTERING the existing found set to some other individual user preference makes sense. Show me rather HIGHLIGHT the posts or content that I have NOT read
highlight stuff since my last VISIT.

In the latter two filters the manner of display is critical when you remove from view or never present the view of where theses items exist in TIME or the STREAM you start to feel that you are MISSING
stuff - I may have started to read a thread but a phone call or something took me away from the computer for what ever reason when I return if I were to perform that same request as before
that thread would be MISSING from my view - gone - lost - I would have to try and figure out where it was posted.

If visually all posts still showed in the list but were dimmed or reduced under a disclosure triangle or some manner that could be expanded inline and be with in the context of the Search Range and Filter.

I prefer to visually step over ONE or two posts I have already read then have them disappear from context because my A.D.D i may suddenly have an epiphany and want to return to that post and pound out
a few thousand words.


S

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My brain is actually beyond saturated with this. I am unable to actually take in any further opinion on the VNC. I literally am unable to comprehend that last post.



In a feeble attempt to make your brain explode:

I don't use VNC and don't see how it's important to forums. If your forum has any appeal to users then they will come to the board, browse around, and find stuff to reply to. I compliment you on making it this far though as I was lost long ago. :P
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In a feeble attempt to make your brain explode:



I don't use VNC and don't see how it's important to forums. If your forum has any appeal to users then they will come to the board, browse around, and find stuff to reply to. I compliment you on making it this far though as I was lost long ago. :P




I don't use VNC either. What I don't like about it is lack of context. In VNC all the content of the forums are mashed together in one view. I personally like to view things in the forums they are intended in. So like if I am viewing the Feedback forum then I know everything in there is feedback. I can just as easily scan my eye down the feedback forum looking for the "unread icon" than in VNC. When I am done with feedback I can then move on to another forum. I just prefer category organization like that rather than a huge "feed of new stuff" that VNC creates.

But to each their own I guess :)
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Ya I find it kind of annoying that all links specially ones to other sites do not open in new tabs. I got used to the bazaar link configuration on here so I right click all links so I know they will open in a new tab.




This has nothing to do with IPS, it's the a (pseudo-)standard of webdesign! When I, for example, visit a site and it opens up new tabs without me wanting it, I'm leaving instantly. I can always use my middle-mouse-button to open up a new tab or rightclick and select "open in new tab" or something along that line.
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um ok - so you guys don't use VNC because you either find no value or because up to this point it has not served you as you'd expect. OR your duties are restricted to
an individual forum - i get that.

But some forums moderators are site wide they are reading and welcoming all ALL content coming in the front door. Why make them struggle and have to visit over 100 separate forums,
just to see what's new?!

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um ok - so you guys don't use VNC because you either find no value or because up to this point it has not served you as you'd expect. OR your duties are restricted to


an individual forum - i get that.



But some forums moderators are site wide they are reading and welcoming all ALL content coming in the front door. Why make them struggle and have to visit over 100 separate forums,


just to see what's new?!




For the record, just because some or all of *us* don't regularly use VNC doesn't mean we don't want it to be the best it can be. :) Clearly we are entertaining a discussion here about improving it, in addition to the changes we've already made to improve it (mostly from an interface and from a reliability standpoint, not so much changes in functionality). We are also, as I mentioned earlier, planning to act on some of the feedback received.

Just want to be clear that we do still *care* about VNC, even if a good number of us in-house don't use it. We respect that it is an important tool for many users and communities.
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I don't use VNC either. What I don't like about it is lack of context. In VNC all the content of the forums are mashed together in one view.



So why not have an option to display results by forum name with a separator between each forum's new content. Pretty nifty idea if a I do say so myself.

I think Stephen's suggestion and demonstration of stepping through new content / result day by day is excellent. That's a lot more useful and easier to manager than say getting 7 day's results all at once. I travel away a lot so often want to catch up when I get back home. Being able to view new posts day by day would allow me to view a day or two, do some other stuff and then come back later and carry on.

3DKiwi
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So why not have an option to display results by forum name with a separator between each forum's new content. Pretty nifty idea if a I do say so myself.




I think what would be more useful (and has been requested in the past) is a way to set a filter somewhere that says "only show me new content from these forums". One reason I don't *personally* tend to use VNC is because I am not interested in topics from many of the forums on sites I visit. I'm only interested in content from a very select few forums, generally speaking. If I could adapt VNC to only show me new content from those forums, I may find myself using it more often.
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If I could adapt VNC to only show me new content from those forums, I may find myself using it more often.



I'd have no qualms if you want to surprise us and implement it as a standard feature in IP.Board. :unsure: I have a hook that does this now and having it integrated into IP.Board with a nice interface would be fantastic.

..Al
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Well you can already filter it by "just items I follow"



That's fine, but my members want to be able to exclude just a few forums from VNC, not have to Like 50+ forums just to get rid of the handful they don't want. Plus then you have to deal with the notifications mess if you "Like" a ton of forums. Since there's no way to just get notifications for specific forums, it's not an ideal situation. So there is still a need for a "Block Forums from VNC" feature even with the "Just items I follow" filter.

Thanks,

..Al
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If you want to filter by forum why not just... visit the forum you're interested in? You then just scan down the list for topics with the unread icon. Seems so much easier to me.

Don't get me wrong... I see your point :) I just don't personally browse that way.

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If you want to filter by forum why not just... visit the forum you're interested in? You then just scan down the list for topics with the unread icon. Seems so much easier to me.



Don't get me wrong... I see your point :) I just don't personally browse that way.



Exactly, and the forum displays them in the order they were posted in as well as a little mark to show which ones you've replied to.
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I almost hate to bump this topic :)

I realize that view new content is very important to some of you. I thought you would like to hear that we now have a select few non-staff persons using 3.2 and they are all expressing surprise at the huge usability and functionality improvements in view new content. After actually being able to use the new interface those people have also pointed out a few improvements we are making. Expect another blog entry on view new content next week with luck.

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Will this update include a ACP setting to turn off the side filter panel and reinstall a basic VNC (with technical bugs worked out) from the current link in the upper right corner?

My site is small. It has only 3 tabs: Portal, Forums, and Members. Since I have member profile updates turned off and comments disabled, effectively there is only one area in which to search for content: Forums. So my users will have no use for the top section (Applications) of the left panel.

In the Time Period section, they wouldn't use six of the 8 choices (Past 24 hours, Past week, Past 2 weeks, Past month, Past 6 months, and Past year) -- the board doesn't get that much traffic and my users tend to check in frequently.

Those 6 choices would be most used on very large boards with a lot of content, where some users might occasionally visit. Occasional visitors would use these filters so as not to be overwhelmed with content.

My users also don't need New since my last visit -- the functionality is subsumed into Content I have not read. The topics that are "New since my last visit" appear at the top of the not-read list.

The only options my users would ever have use for would be:

- Content I have not read (satisfied by the current VNC)
- Just items I follow

The other 14 options are not needed for my board. My users would get little payoff for having the topic list crowded by the left-hand control panel, with additional scrolling. Browsing the list is an extremely important activity on my site.

Also, for my board, some kind of designation of Forum for each topic is absolutely essential. I have private forums. An accidental posting of confidential information in a public forum would be a major problem. For me, the lack of a designation of Forum for each topic would be a deal-killer on its own.


So why not have an option to display results by forum name with a separator between each forum's new content. Pretty nifty idea if a I do say so myself....



This could also be accomplished by making the column header sortable, as is typical of many list formats, which would take up less space than separators:
post-192431-0-74582800-1303065795_thumb.


Thanks Stephen. Filtering by forum is a logical enhancement of the VNC system. Pity we're having such a struggle convincing IPS of the benefits of this. Seems like a no brainer to me....



While I agree identifying the Forum for each topic is important, filtering by forum might interfere with browsing the topic list. People typically scan (browse) the topic list to find those of most interest, which needs to be across forums.

My site, which is just getting started, has 15 forums. Where would you put a list of links that long?
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While I agree identifying the Forum for each topic is important, filtering by forum might interfere with browsing the topic list. People typically scan (browse) the topic list to find those of most interest, which needs to be across forums.



My site, which is just getting started, has 15 forums. Where would you put a list of links that long?



Filtering by forum would have to be an option. I agree not everyone would want to filter new topics and posts by forum name.

In the Time Period section, they wouldn't use six of the 8 choices (Past 24 hours, Past week, Past 2 weeks, Past month, Past 6 months, and Past year) -- the board doesn't get that much traffic and my users tend to check in frequently.



That list of choices isn't the best either on a medium or large forum. Stephen's suggestion and demonstration by being able to browse new content by date is much more useful.

Let's see what IPS come up with this week. Let's hope they have taken on board some of the suggestions.

3DKiwi
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Will this update include a ACP setting to turn off the side filter panel and reinstall a basic VNC (with technical bugs worked out) from the current link in the upper right corner?



My site is small. It has only 3 tabs: Portal, Forums, and Members. Since I have member profile updates turned off and comments disabled, effectively there is only one area in which to search for content: Forums. So my users will have no use for the top section (Applications) of the left panel.



In the Time Period section, they wouldn't use six of the 8 choices (Past 24 hours, Past week, Past 2 weeks, Past month, Past 6 months, and Past year) -- the board doesn't get that much traffic and my users tend to check in frequently.



Those 6 choices would be most used on very large boards with a lot of content, where some users might occasionally visit. Occasional visitors would use these filters so as not to be overwhelmed with content.



My users also don't need New since my last visit -- the functionality is subsumed into Content I have not read. The topics that are "New since my last visit" appear at the top of the not-read list.



The only options my users would ever have use for would be:



- Content I have not read (satisfied by the current VNC)


- Just items I follow



The other 14 options are not needed for my board. My users would get little payoff for having the topic list crowded by the left-hand control panel, with additional scrolling. Browsing the list is an extremely important activity on my site.



Also, for my board, some kind of designation of Forum for each topic is absolutely essential. I have private forums. An accidental posting of confidential information in a public forum would be a major problem. For me, the lack of a designation of Forum for each topic would be a deal-killer on its own.




This could also be accomplished by making the column header sortable, as is typical of many list formats, which would take up less space than separators:





While I agree identifying the Forum for each topic is important, filtering by forum might interfere with browsing the topic list. People typically scan (browse) the topic list to find those of most interest, which needs to be across forums.



My site, which is just getting started, has 15 forums. Where would you put a list of links that long?




No. :)
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