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Some Feature Requests

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Hi, I've been trolling around here for a little bit now, and I've come up with a few feature requests that I find very useful on the board where I usually hang out. I find the conversation here to be a little more appealing at times, and therefore it would be great to have these features installed if possible to help the flow along.



Something I miss here is Avatars. They really help one identify the poster a lot faster than naming conventions.

I also am wondering about auto-subscriptions to threads you've started or replied to. I find it difficult to come here and wonder who's replied to what without hunting through the fora again. Something attached to the user's home would be great--I have found this feature hard to live without.

The only other thing is the color scheme... I enjoy AI, however, as most people SCAN pages rather than read them, the separation of ideas is difficult to see when the color scheme doesn't really "pop". I'm not talking about outrageous design, rather an alternating color scheme in thread view so I can easily differenciate one post from the next at a glance.

Thanks for listening.

post #2 of 29
Avatars are evil. I think you'll find that all of the admins and mods here agree on that. AppleInsider's style is one of minimalism. There are two good reasons for this.

First, it's easy on the eyes. There are too many people out there that want to use huge, tacky, flashing images as avatars and signatures. We don't like that. I've seen from other forums where offensive or provocative images cause a great stir of trouble among the members. This is a situation we'd rather just avoid completely. Actually, AppleInsider used to allow signature images long ago, but that option was removed because a number of members were abusing it.

Second, avatars will greatly slow the load times of all forum pages. The default number of posts per page on AppleInsider is 40. The load time and bandwidth needed to pull 40 images from as many as 40 different servers, some of which may stall because of 404s or other errors, is far more than we like. Although its usage is growing in some urban areas, broadband is not available nor utilized by the majority of web users. Some of our own forum admins and mods have to use modems. The extra time needed to load every single page is simply not worth it now.

Thread subscription is a feature that is not available with the UBB software we are currently using. Over the past few months, we have been working on rewriting and custom-tailoring a special install of vBulletin to import the forums into. When we make that switch, there will be some excellent new faculties available for thread and forum subscription.

As for the colors, you'll get used to 'em. There's plenty of difference between the alternating light and dark grey backgrounds to differentiate posts. If you ask around, I think you'll find many people will tell you that our simple, low-contrast is very easy on the eyes and good for reading several pages in long sittings. In fact, when we mentioned that we were working on a new style and templates for vBulletin, we immediately received a number of letters requesting to please keep the current color scheme because it was "nearly perfect", some saying that it is the best forum color scheme they'd seen. Needless to say, the colors won't be changing any time soon.

[ 11-30-2002: Message edited by: Brad ]</p>
post #3 of 29
I don't like avitars, image signatures are not a big loss (people would not use a certain sizes or colors), thread subscription...meh.....

the COLORS ARE MY LOVE!

What i need, however, is my smokey guy in the new forums... other wise...there will not be a happy forum <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" /> <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" /> <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" /> <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />
post #4 of 29
Yes...avatars are evil. They'd still be evil even if I did have broadband, I don't want people's 'art' making the forums look like crap.

And the color scheme is perfect...I remember once when Jonathan changed the graphite (the darker grey with a *hint* of aqua blue) color to just a slightly darker grey, inline (sort of) with Apple's current hardware offerings.

Needless to say, quite a few of us started screaming, especially the older members (no offense. )
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Brad:
<strong>First, it's easy on the eyes. There are too many people out there that want to use huge, tacky, flashing images as avatars and signatures. We don't like that. I've seen from other forums where offensive or provocative images cause a great stir of trouble among the members. This is a situation we'd rather just avoid completely. Actually, AppleInsider used to allow signature images long ago, but that option was removed because a number of members were abusing it.

Second, avatars will greatly slow the load times of all forum pages. The default number of posts per page on AppleInsider is 40. The load time and bandwidth needed to pull 40 images from as many as 40 different servers, some of which may stall because of 404s or other errors, is far more than we like. Although its usage is growing in some urban areas, broadband is not available nor utilized by the majority of web users. Some of our own forum admins and mods have to use modems. The extra time needed to load every single page is simply not worth it now.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Hi, thanks for getting back to my post. As this is your forum, you have the last say, but I don't agree with you that avatars are "evil."

Anything is possible. If one doesn't like avatars, one could always disable them in the control panel. If people are linking them to remote sites, then remote linking could be disabled. An avatar of 50x50 pix is a nice thing sometimes. Could you imagine a Macintosh desktop without icons?

As far as speed is concerned, the user could be allowed to change the default setting of posts per view in the control panel. Forty seems a bit much for my tastes anyway.
:cool:
post #6 of 29
The Desktop analogy doesn't work for me at all. First of all the Desktop displays objects, not large blocks of text, and second of all most of the icons aren't giant horrendous blinking monsters. They are in fact quite benign, and you don't have to wait for them to download.

I really think you have absolutely no chance at all of convincing the powers that be to allow user avatars. Might as well quit now.
post #7 of 29
[quote]Originally posted by MacLuv:
<strong>If one doesn't like avatars, one could always disable them in the control panel.</strong><hr></blockquote>Except that there is no such toggle on UBB...
post #8 of 29
I think he is working on the assumption that you guys will switch to vB soon (har har.)
post #9 of 29
There are good ways of implementing avatars provided the software can do it. store the avatar on the web server, limit it in pixel dimensions and actual file size, and strip any animated gifs down to the first frame only.

But the software has to be able to do that. I don't know that vb does. I certainly know that UBB does not.

I don't think we'll be seeing this feature even in vb. It just isn't our 'stye' I guess

(And Brad, give me a new title again! This one is so 72 hours ago!)
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
Okay, that's fine enough. If you don't understand my icon analogy, then don't worry about it. If the software doesn't support the features I'm asking for, don't worry about it. I just thought it might be nice to provide a few options for people who spend time in your forum.

Kind regards,

MacLuv

post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Brad:
<strong>
As for the colors, you'll get used to 'em.</strong><hr></blockquote>

FYI-- I could also "get used to" having pineapples shoved up my arse, but that doesn't mean I'd like it!

<img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" />
post #12 of 29
[quote]Originally posted by MacLuv:
<strong>Okay, that's fine enough. If you don't understand my icon analogy, then don't worry about it. If the software doesn't support the features I'm asking for, don't worry about it. I just thought it might be nice to provide a few options for people who spend time in your forum.

Kind regards,

MacLuv

</strong><hr></blockquote>

Your icon analogy sucks, as I pointed out, the forums display different information. The Finder is all about browsing folders that contain objects, sometimes other folders. Since they are objects, text is one identifier, but icons also work as a good identifier, since they represent the object better.

In a forum, you look at large blocks of text, rather than objects. Other information should be unobtrusive, which avatars are not. I would like to point out that with (most) text documents, they are not identified by giant blinking things, rather, they are given titles.

I understand that Avatars help you associate a post with a member's name, however, I can read the member's name faster than I can associate a picture with their name.
post #13 of 29
For once Spart is actually right. Good job, son.
post #14 of 29
Score! I feel so loved.
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Spart:
<strong>

Your icon analogy sucks, as I pointed out, the forums display different information. The Finder is all about browsing folders that contain objects, sometimes other folders. Since they are objects, text is one identifier, but icons also work as a good identifier, since they represent the object better.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I didn't even really offer that much of an analogy. I said "what would the mac be without icons."

"Since they represent the object better."

Well, considering you have a way with words, it seems that I have no choice but to deem you the expert of all things great and small, especially when it comes to communication. Forgive me oh great master.


<img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" />

BTW, I thought I was just making some friendly suggestions. If you guys want to start flaming me for it, then I'll take my business elsewhere. I don't really care for the abuse.

<img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />
post #16 of 29
[quote]Originally posted by MacLuv:
<strong>

I didn't even really offer that much of an analogy. I said "what would the mac be without icons."

"Since they represent the object better."

Well, considering you have a way with words, it seems that I have no choice but to deem you the expert of all things great and small, especially when it comes to communication. Forgive me oh great master.


<img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" />

BTW, I thought I was just making some friendly suggestions. If you guys want to start flaming me for it, then I'll take my business elsewhere. I don't really care for the abuse.

<img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" /> </strong><hr></blockquote>

You may not have said it exactly, but it was certainly implied. A desktop with icons and a forum/thread with icons are two very different things.

As for the flaming, I was really just posting my opinion of the inclusion of Avatars, not attacking you.

Why, I think you are a fine person with a respectable personality.
post #17 of 29
Let's just pretend this would be my avatar.

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post #18 of 29
Let's just pretend this would be my avatar.

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post #19 of 29
Let's just pretend this would be my avatar.

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post #20 of 29
Let's just pretend this would be my avatar.

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post #21 of 29
Let's just pretend this would be my avatar.

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post #22 of 29
Let's just pretend this would be my avatar.

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post #23 of 29
Let's just pretend this would be my avatar.

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post #24 of 29
and no, I'm not eager on my post count, I just wanted to give the impression of a board with avatars. go over to spymac and you'll see what I mean.

duh.
post #25 of 29
We understand the request. We know there are acceptable ways of implementing this. We don't mean to give the impression that we are shooting down your idea and classifying it as the most idiotic suggestion of the century. If there is any harshness in our words, it's only because this has been brought up many times before. It's not your fault becaue you're new, but this is the way it is.

We do value your input, and we do want to make this a better place for everyone. However, ultimately, this isn't a democracy and there are certain things we are not willing to implement. We've found it is just easier to not implement avatars, and it has kept things pretty clean so far.
post #26 of 29
I should add that although this is not a democracy, every time the option of setting or changing the look of the boards has come up, there has been a tremendous amount of support for the current muted and uncluttered design. On top of the broad support for the appearance of the boards, it makes the pages load about as quickly as UBB's bloated HTML will permit, and it makes a lot of our work simpler.

Every once in a while someone posts a link to a board with garish colors, animated avatars and giant image sigs that combine to obscure the actual thread content, as if to reinforce our decision.
"...within intervention's distance of the embassy." - CvB

Original music:
The Mayflies - Black earth Americana. Now on iTMS!
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"...within intervention's distance of the embassy." - CvB

Original music:
The Mayflies - Black earth Americana. Now on iTMS!
Becca Sutlive - Iowa Fried Rock 'n Roll - now on iTMS!
Reply
post #27 of 29
[quote]Originally posted by Defiant:
<strong>Let's just pretend this would be my avatar.</strong><hr></blockquote>

And now, please 'pretend' to go back to work.
post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Defiant:
<strong>and no, I'm not eager on my post count, I just wanted to give the impression of a board with avatars. go over to spymac and you'll see what I mean.

duh.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Nothing wrong with that. I don't like graphics in the sig files, though, but I wouldn't mind a little booty shake now and then.
post #29 of 29
[quote]Originally posted by der Kopf:
<strong>

And now, please 'pretend' to go back to work.</strong><hr></blockquote>

when it's sunday, I'm not working dude.
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