tsn8 - A Work In Progress

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Re: tsn8 - A Work In Progress

Postby Neo » 06/10/15, 9:59 pm

I've added a new BBCode for Youtube tonight. It works like this (removing extra spaces and filling in the blank):

[ youtube ] ______ [/ youtube ]

Fill in the blank with the "V" value from a normal Youtube URL. For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcfQVmEGGS0
would be shared as:

[ youtube ]OcfQVmEGGS0[/ youtube ]

Then you can center it by enclosing it in some [ align=center ]... [/ align] tags. Like this...

[[Neo]]
"Because I choose to."

Re: tsn8 - A Work In Progress

Postby Neo » 06/29/15, 1:09 pm

I have finally come up with a forum concept that merges the intent of this site and the current state of social networking sites into something that I think will be much easier to work with for end users.

I am still fleshing out the details, and there will have to be some incremental changes and it will take time before it's all said and done...but I figured I'd announce that a solution was discovered.
[[Neo]]
"Because I choose to."
Any idea approximately how long it will take to do everything? I'm excited about it. Personally I think that is what's needed to start bringing back some of our members.
-D$
:ninja:
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DMoney
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Re: tsn8 - A Work In Progress

Postby Neo » 06/29/15, 3:36 pm

No solid idea yet on timeframe, since I'm still working out the features and use-cases. It's basically going to involve using phpBB as the data source, and writing templates that act as an API layer to get the data I want into the format I need to display these new features. And then of course there is the whole issue with the design of the page. Like I mentioned, it'll probably be incremental changes, the way Facebook incrementally improved its News Feed design over time, adding new features when they were ready. Just hopefully more frequently than Facebook did.
[[Neo]]
"Because I choose to."
Some of you might have seen the images I posted up on Google+ about the My Spot block diagram. I threw them up there so I could get a link to share here. I don't have any image hosting going on with the tsn servers - mainly because it eats up server space, and Google will do it for free when I share there.

First, there will be a renaming of the My Spot page, to something else. I'm not sure what it will be called yet, but the reason why will be mentioned below. Here's the block diagram of what the general idea for the new My Spot page will look like:

Image

The idea is to collapse the header to a sticky navigation bar at the top, and go for what is called a "mobile-first" or "ugly-desktop" experience, where the site is assumed to be mobile, but still functions when on a desktop. Kinda like http://www.time.com has done with the mobile-style menus on the desktop version of their site.

The left side where we currently show the user profile and the forum list will be collapsible like the experience of Google Inbox's folders/tags list, so that it will be an optional experience. The information will be pared down greatly from what is currently there relating to the logged in user. Current designs have the avatar, name, title, join date, and post count making up the whole User Profile area. Below it will be a more legible forum list.

Out in the main content area, something that isn't shown is the right-side panel we currently have. That information will be pared down and consolidated to a box at the top of the main content area, focusing primarily on: online users and forum stats. The majority of it will go away.

Below that will be the tsnSpecialReport post. There will be a read/unread state change similar to what we have now...where if you've read it, it's collapsed. I'm not sure what this will look like entirely, but some thoughts are to complete hide it if it's been read, and let new posts to the thread show up in the "New Posts" section to keep the thread at the forefront.

Then there is the "New Posts" section. This will require the most work, and I'll be developing an algorithm to handle the content that is there. I'm still working on that algorithm, but it will take the "Friends and Foes" section of the User Control Panel into consideration when it chooses what to display. The main issue this remake will solve is the apparent lack of activity when someone comes to the site and nothing has been posted since their last visit. There will always be something displayed in this area in the next version, and it will have two methods of sorting (Most Recent, and My Spot). This is the reason for the rename. I want to tailor this page's contents to be about the user's relationship with the people on the site via the "My Spot" sorting, with the option to show it chronologically as the Most Recent sorting. Details about these methods of sorting will be available when the algorithm is complete, but rest assured, both methods of sorting will place things in chronological order - their difference will be based on the Friends and Foes ranking.

There is also an image about the New Posts area itself, but I am still working out the details for the different states and experiences surrounding that area.
[[Neo]]
"Because I choose to."
Then there is the "New Posts" section. This will require the most work, and I'll be developing an algorithm to handle the content that is there. I'm still working on that algorithm, but it will take the "Friends and Foes" section of the User Control Panel into consideration when it chooses what to display. The main issue this remake will solve is the apparent lack of activity when someone comes to the site and nothing has been posted since their last visit. There will always be something displayed in this area in the next version, and it will have two methods of sorting (Most Recent, and My Spot). This is the reason for the rename. I want to tailor this page's contents to be about the user's relationship with the people on the site via the "My Spot" sorting, with the option to show it chronologically as the Most Recent sorting. Details about these methods of sorting will be available when the algorithm is complete, but rest assured, both methods of sorting will place things in chronological order - their difference will be based on the Friends and Foes ranking.
Image

This image specifically addresses what will be called the "My Spot" section. This section will display a feed of comments and threads, focused primarily on the first post, last post, and any unread posts in a thread.

There are two methods of sorting the information in this section: My Spot and Most Recent.

In both cases, the order will be with regard to time (newest first, always) at the day-level (all the posts in a given day will display before any posts happening on the previous day).

With the My Spot sorting method, some priority will be given to those marked as "Friend" and less priority given to those marked as "Foe". A neutral priority will be given to those who are unmarked. This would bring Friends to the beginning of the day, and Foes toward the end of the posts for that day.

The Most Recent sorting method would be the same as if someone did not bother to mark any other members as friend or foe. Everyone would be given a neutral priority, and they would be sorted chronologically.

This My Spot area will work similarly to how Google Inbox functions, in conjunction with how our current New Posts area works. This area was the hardest to figure out how it would make sense to incorporate a consolidated informational design like Google Inbox with the concept of a threaded forum conversation. But really, it's no different than an email thread when you get down to it, which is why forums spawned from newsgroup and bulletin boards.

Initially the view will be of the "newest post" in a thread, sorted by the user's preference. The poster's avatar, the thread title, an excerpt, and the "metadata" (i.e. the poster by-line, post time, and forum) will all be contained within each row.

When a post is clicked, the row expands to show the first post and poster in the thread along with the post's metadata. This first post will be separated with an indication of how many post occurred between the first post and the first unread post. Following the separator, [this part is not in the image] the unread posts will display collapsed (as the other last post rows do) and stacked one after the other until the last post. The last post will be fully expanded to show the full text. All unread posts will be marked with an indicator along the left side border to assist in knowing what has been seen and not. At the bottom of the last post there will be another separator and the ability to post a Quick Reply, or option to open up the full Post a Reply editor.

The strategy for this concept is to make replying to posts easier, especially for the mobile experience, and to bring posts to the forefront that are made by other users of interest, and sink the posters who are less interesting to a given user. I also wanted to stylize this whole page experience so that it wasn't a barrage of stats, information, and useless content surrounding the thing people are most interested in: what's happening on the forums.

Some of these details may change as I investigate the capabilities of the system. Currently the "Foe" indication is used to actually *hide* posts made by a user considered to be a Foe, and not sink it in priority. I may have to adjust the sorting algorithm to only have a positive and neutral - no negative - if this Foe status prevents the user from seeing the post when they click through.

I will have a full design mockup available in the near future.
[[Neo]]
"Because I choose to."

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