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Tom_K

What is the point of activity stream?

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I've read a lot of topics criticising the activity stream feature and I find it utterly unuserfriendly as well. What was the logic behind this change? It seems like a case where someone was trying to fix something that already worked and made it worse. Like Microsoft and the whole Windows 8 debacle.

Activity stream may be useful for a low traffic board and works on Facebook where you only get certain "posts" in your stream. But what is the point of having an activity stream on a high traffic board? It's so clumsy at what it should be doing.

Instead of letting you know which topics have new posts so you can get up to date, you face an endless stream of new posts (often from one and the same topic).

Basically what I'm asking si how the h**** should I be using this feature to help me browse the board? It obviously isn't doing its job properly but I'll allow the possibility that I'm just not using it as it was intended.

Can anyone help me understand this thing better? And why we can't simlpy have a choice of both (the old new content list and activity stream)? This way it just seems it was forced onto users.

Edited by Tomzl

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MY users are asking something similar. They want an easy way to find threads they have posted in which contain new content. I think it can be done with the activity feed but I am not sure exactly how. I linked my users to the feed and one said this to me "it's not notifying me of new posts.  This just shows me where I've posted in the past. "

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I have mixed feelings about it, but the "Who We Are" plugin has been pretty well received by my community. Only one freakout. It does some things that may not be necessary but it does a pretty good job of surfacing new topic/post content in fairly self-evident way.

On the other hand, the stream does a much better job of ferreting out new gallery images and comments, status updates, blog updates, etc.

I'm sympathetic to all sides. This is a tough nut to crack!

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I quite like AS, particularly its flexibility across different Apps and the customisation options. But, and this is a big but, its feels so unfinished with several bugs and/or inconsistancies which have been reported / discussed many times with little impact.

1 hour ago, Tomzl said:

Activity stream may be useful for a low traffic board and works on Facebook where you only get certain "posts" in your stream. But what is the point of having an activity stream on a high traffic board? It's so clumsy at what it should be doing.

Totally agree with above, and this is my biggest bugbear with AS. I do not think it is really usable on medium / high traffic boards due to the lack of pagination or similar. Again, discussed many times, but unclear what is going to happen, if anything. On this site I rarely use 'load more activity' due to the subsequent difficulty in switching between AS and actual content.

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There's very active sites that love it. Admittedly, some that don't as well. Perhaps you can outline specifics in terms of what you'd like to see or what would help the user experience and get the most from the AS. I know for some, the gut reaction is "give us the old way." Let's move past that for a moment and focus on the modern content discovery system that's in place now. What specifically makes it feel "clumsy?" When you reference pagination are you literally meaning you want to click page 6 (and if so, why?) or are you mostly wanting to maintain browser navigation, ie: click a topic, then click back to return to your place in the stream. In the case of the latter, we are working on just that and improving the overall flow of following through the stream. In the case of old-school pagination as in click page 6 -- we've tested different methods and all lead to significant performance overhead given how the stream works. My sense is, you don't really care about arbitrary page numbers, but instead want to maintain your place in the stream (correct me if I'm wrong and please do indicate why) -- in which case, we believe this will be doable. :)

I'm very anxious for further feedback on this, but let's please keep the focus on the AS -- we're nowhere near the point of considering a "VNC Throwback" feature at this juncture. Tell us what would make the AS perfect for you and what your top issues are, specifically. 

Thanks as always.

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The issues I have are:

You did ask.....

Edited by tekguru

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@Lindy I like streams a lot especially the ability to stream all content in one list instead of just forums etc. My Blogs are pretty much dead but when I upgrade to 4 finally I am going to jump start them, and then members will realize that the discovery is much better and hopefully they will start using them instead of making "bloggy" type forum posts. Same for status updates, and all content. The method of discovery is much better when I felt like in 3.4 it was hidden (except for forums, which made everyone only want to use forums). This, overall, makes for better social engagement.

What I think can be improved is filtering the stream you are in instead of creating a new stream. We can set defaults and rely on member creation, and yes, there is edit/update, but 3.4 had the pane on the left where you could filter on the fly. If you can't do live filters, maybe there is some middlegound here. Like, a menu could actually contain member or site defaults (saved by member). Say, top 5. So instead of having the filtering abilty on the left, you have your top 5 presets (streams) readily clickable in the stream. I'm not sure where this would fit layout-wise, perhaps horizontal is best so at the top. But it would save clicks from going to the menu, and also, for perception's sake, creates "filters." Most members will have a few streams they bounce between, and having those right there would be great.

Otherwise, streams are are great tool and I am looking forward to getting my members to actually use other apps! ;) 

And as @tekguru mentioned, yes, the first bug he posted needs attention, as well as this bug, and the first unread setting which I believe is coming soon.

Wish list:

I would like to reorder streams in menu.

I would like to set AA as site default (can't, not sure if bug).

I would like to be able to add the "Likes" etc. to another stream to clone AA but customize.

Thanks!

Edited by chilihead

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  • Posts from the same topic in 'All Activity' stream is very unfriendly way of get updates in my experience. I don't use it, but this is the only way for guests to get updates
  • The "unfriendly" 'All Activity' stream seems to be the only way for guests to get new posts updates
  • Topic start date is missing from the activity stream
  • Number of views is missing from the activity stream (it's nice to have)

 

Edited by Machsterdaemon

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1 hour ago, Lindy said:

When you reference pagination are you literally meaning you want to click page 6 (and if so, why?) or are you mostly wanting to maintain browser navigation, ie: click a topic, then click back to return to your place in the stream. In the case of the latter, we are working on just that and improving the overall flow of following through the stream. In the case of old-school pagination as in click page 6 -- we've tested different methods and all lead to significant performance overhead given how the stream works. My sense is, you don't really care about arbitrary page numbers, but instead want to maintain your place in the stream (correct me if I'm wrong and please do indicate why) -- in which case, we believe this will be doable. :)

It is browser navigation which I want, as you define above (in bold), particularly for Activity which follows use of load new activity (ie page 2 onwards in old speak). But there must be some easy to see visual clue as to where you left the AS when you return to the AS (eg highlighting). The little blue blob is lost in the extended AS unlike the old VNC.

Personally I'm not bothered whether this is achieved by pagination or by some form of voodoo magic.

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On 1/3/2016 at 1:57 PM, chilihead said:

What I think can be improved is filtering the stream you are in instead of creating a new stream. We can set defaults and rely on member creation, and yes, there is edit/update, but 3.4 had the pane on the left where you could filter on the fly. If you can't do live filters, maybe there is some middlegound here. Like, a menu could actually contain member or site defaults (saved by member). Say, top 5. So instead of having the filtering abilty on the left, you have your top 5 presets (streams) readily clickable in the stream. I'm not sure where this would fit layout-wise, perhaps horizontal is best so at the top. But it would save clicks from going to the menu, and also, for perception's sake, creates "filters." Most members will have a few streams they bounce between, and having those right there would be great.

I'd like to add it is a pain to use different streams on mobile. Too many menu clicks (4 clicks to My Activity Streams). Filtering or a stream menu in the streams (like stated above) would be great for full site and mobile both. Or some solution to click between streams. Thanks

Edited by chilihead

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I am OK with the activity streams. However, I would like to see pagination added. The only thing I don't care for is when I click on load more activity and click on a topic then go back and have to start all over. I know there are ways to fix this, but I would like to have pagination as the answer. 

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We have some cool ideas for the AS that we think should solve most of your concerns, including those mentioned here. On the fly filtering may be one thing. We're not going to do pagination (as in navigate to page 4) as it just doesn't fit technically into the backend of the content discovery module.... but, we are working on navigation and you will be able to click a topic in the stream, hit back and pick up where you left off. I get the sense that's what most want with "pagination" so we'll start there. 

That's not months out by any means and should be relatively soon. Virtually any example given regarding "it doesn't do what VNC did" has been successfully refuted. It is every bit as powerful as VNC and then some - I think there's just general confusion on how to use it to its full potential and we need to make a few improvements to make it more intuitive. 

Thanks for the tangible, bullet list feedback - it's very helpful.

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12 minutes ago, Lindy said:

We have some cool ideas for the AS that we think should solve most of your concerns, including those mentioned here. On the fly filtering may be one thing. We're not going to do pagination (as in navigate to page 4) as it just doesn't fit technically into the backend of the content discovery module.... but, we are working on navigation and you will be able to click a topic in the stream, hit back and pick up where you left off. I get the sense that's what most want with "pagination" so we'll start there. 

That's not months out by any means and should be relatively soon. Virtually any example given regarding "it doesn't do what VNC did" has been successfully refuted. It is every bit as powerful as VNC and then some - I think there's just general confusion on how to use it to its full potential and we need to make a few improvements to make it more intuitive. 

Thanks for the tangible, bullet list feedback - it's very helpful.

Surprise me @Lindy as you always seem to do. :)

Edited by CP

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On 3. 1. 2016 at 7:25 PM, Lindy said:

Perhaps you can outline specifics in terms of what you'd like to see or what would help the user experience and get the most from the AS. I know for some, the gut reaction is "give us the old way." Let's move past that for a moment and focus on the modern content discovery system that's in place now. What specifically makes it feel "clumsy?"

Tell us what would make the AS perfect for you and what your top issues are, specifically. 

@Lindy since you asked, I would like to know how I can get a list of topics with new (unread posts). When I come to visit the board, I want to know which topics have new replies since my last visit. I don't care for individual posts and I don't understand why I should even see each specific post that has been made. Busy boards can have 1.000+ new posts each day. Do you really expect a visitor that comes back to the board 24 hours later to go through an endless stream of individual posts to see what is new?

What would you suggest to that user to stop complaining about the loss of overview he had with VNC?

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I have to say that my community doesn't like it either. I would purchase a plugin that restored the old functionality of the "View New Content" feature of IPS3. I think that Activity Streams is just too much of a radical change. Personally, it feels too much like RSS Feeds. One would think that with so many licensed users if IPS complaining about the same thing, that maybe enabling the previous feature, alongside with Activity Streams, that it would be a sort of compromise until communities can get used to the feature. I'm also bothered by the fact that IPS seems to be relying too much on AJAX and that just because a few communities like the feature doesn't mean that the IPS family at large enjoys.

I don't agree that it should be removed but I think that a compromise should be considered, adding VNC back into the software. Even creating such a VNC link doesn't do the same as the original VNC feature.

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i don't like it either and I really don't use it. Users from my board also dislike it.

44 minutes ago, Tomzl said:

I would like to know how I can get a list of topics with new (unread posts).

Anyway, you can mimic the VNC by creating a new stream with the following setting:

Capturar.png

It will show:

Capturar.png

Then you set this stream as the default.

This is the closest you will get of VNC.

Edited by Adriano Faria

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I've tried that before too but I ran into a problem. When a new update or upgrade happens, the customized VNC link becomes corrupted and it has to be removed and recreated. I discovered this glitch during the recent IPS 4.1.6 update.

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@Adriano Faria I actually tried that same filter but I see you used the condensed view and that looks much cleaner. But this would be useful if it could be added as a permanent link for all users not just as a personal AS. Can that be done (even the condensed view setting)?

I think I understand what IPS wanted to do with the AS but it's still very rough around the edges. Trying to display all the activities (Board, Blogs, Gallery etc.) on one page is mission impossible. Having tabs or a similar solution would enable different views for different content types. Or maybe just group the activities by content type. And if the user wants to see all the new topics or all the new images added, expand that section.

Edited by Tomzl

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10 minutes ago, Tomzl said:

But this would be useful if it could be added as a permanent link for all users not just as a personal AS. Can that be done (even the condensed view setting)?

You just create the stream and set it as the default. Everyone will use it.

Streams_2016_01_06_17_42_21.png

Edited by Adriano Faria

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19 minutes ago, Morisato said:

I've tried that before too but I ran into a problem. When a new update or upgrade happens, the customized VNC link becomes corrupted and it has to be removed and recreated. I discovered this glitch during the recent IPS 4.1.6 update.

 

1 minute ago, Morisato said:

Unfortunately, there is now a permanent glitch with creating that custom stream. I can create it, but when I click on the link, it gives a permanent link error. Refuses to load.

You got an issue on your install, for sure. I use this since 4.0, never had a problem.

Submit a ticket.

16 minutes ago, Tomzl said:

Can that be done (even the condensed view setting)?

To make condensed view as default, you should use this plugin from @DawPi:

 

 

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