New Forum Wishlist - but read roadmap first

I have closed the original New forum Wishlist - and boiled it down (and added some stuff) to the things we will do, the things we might do, the things we are unlikely to do and the things we won't do. Here is our roadmap. There are no timescales as we have a lot of other stuff on our plate. El Reg forums roadmap - no time …

This topic was created by Drewc .

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  1. Corinne

    Reasons for reporting abuse

    I had reason recently to report a post for something that in my view was taking just that one step too far in the direction of abuse. This was the first time I've done that here, I'm not one to be easily offended and I'm happy to get the gloves off & argue my point, or just ignore it when I think someone has been ridiculous.

    But this one post I decided I needed to report as IMO it crossed one particular line; and I was very surprised that when I did so I wasn't offered the chance to say WHY I felt the post was abusive. Obviously the mods need the ability to make judgement calls on whether something really is abusive rather than a personal vendetta or just someone disagreeing with a particular post, so surely giving the person who reported the post the opportunity to say why they felt it was abusive could help this?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Reasons for reporting abuse

      Good point. I reported a spammer the other day. Well I think it was. 3 posts in 2 days from signing up the account, all plugging one app.

      But just reporting the one post, that was almost in context, wouldn't have made much sense. So I reported all 3, in the absence of an ability to comment.

    2. Drewc Gold badge

      Re: Reasons for reporting abuse

      Typically we get two or three posts reported a day. More often than not, the reporter simply dislikes the post - but with the rest it is obvious at a glance why the post has been reported e.g. xenophobia, overly abusive, libellous - and so on. So, right now this is a non-issue. We would have a re-think only if volumes of reported posts increased substantially.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Reasons for reporting abuse

        Drew,

        Only a couple of posts reported a day. That's impressively high quality moderation! Given how few dodgy posts I've spotted, I think I've only ever reported about 5, I'm very impressed.

        I know you let a lot go that some other sites wouldn't (and long may that continue), but even so there's always a good number of problem posters who need dealing with. So I guess your pre-moderation for trouble makers is very effective.

        And/or you have the most amazingly lovely commentards in the whole of internet-land...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever happened to "Ability to view replies to self via my posts view"? Just a number of replies to a particular post would do. Right now the choices are relentlessly call up the 'My Posts' page and then locate your comments (which feels somewhat narcissistic); or potentially ignore someone who may have had something useful to say.

    Just a 'number of replies to this post' in the 'my posts' page would do the job admirably.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh yeah - also a direct link to that post if it's not too tricky to do; now that I think about it and seeing as I'm making unreasonable demands anyway. Comments can be quite hard to find if it's an active topic.

  3. Vimes

    This already seems to be in the roadmap - partially at any rate - but is there any chance of adding wysiwyg functionality when formatting posts rather than just adding HTML tags around selected text? If it's already on the list is there any sort of estimate as to when it will be available?

    Incidentally whilst it has also been mentioned that you used to use beehive forums in the past - or something similar to it anyway (can't locate the message at the moment) would it not be more appropriate to move back to something like that if you want to grow these forums past the point of just being a way of commenting on individual articles?

    This might benefit your website as well as it's users: at the moment you just have wasted whitespace on the right hand side after the thread reaches a certain length - if you use a layout that includes a static menu bar at the top - a la beehive - then this guarantees that any advert placed within it will always be visible for example (believe it or not I'm not against advertising per se, just the sorts of excessive displays that I've seen from time to time on this site).

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Thanks for the feedback - we will do some serious thinking next year about forums.

  4. Mondo the Magnificent

    Where has...

    ..my little Bronze vulture award gone?

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Where has...

      "..my little Bronze vulture award gone?"

      To be bronze, you need to have made 100 posts in the last year. My guess is that a big bunch of your earlier posts are now more than a year old - knocking you below that threshold.

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  6. monkeyfish

    Mobile site icons.

    Can we have icons for the mobile site please? It's not as if they are large images that will slow down the connection... Personally I prefer the mobile site even on the desktop, as it re-flows text properly, and allows me to resize the window as I want it.

  7. Faye B
    Angel

    More icons please

    Or have a review of the ones available. We could really do with a 'laughing my ass off' icon or a better 'I am not being at all serious, tongue in cheek' icon. I have also been using the Paris Hilton icon to indicate the female perspective but we should have a separate one for that (maybe a Ada Lovelace portrait).

    I have used the Divine Being icon here to show what I mean about the confusion/lack of laughing ones.

  8. Vimes

    One more idea (which may well have already been mentioned) but have you considered offering some sort of paid-for membership that would allow members to see this site without adverts?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A FILTER to skip comments from trolls that are repeatedly & heavily downvoted

    I'd like a filter system that skips comments from trolls that are repeatedly heavily downvoted. You banned Eadon. But actually having a filter option would have been fairer IMHO!

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  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comments posted on a first-come first-served basis in GMT time-zones

    At the moment comments are listed on a first come first served basis. This hugely benefits 'hey I'm first poster' commentards in GMT or nearby time-zones. That doesn't always promote quality discussion!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm probably dreaming right?

    I'd like to see certain commentards get their own articles from time to time. Sometimes, just sometimes, enlightened comments rival the quality of the parent article. For example Games Reviews. But hey- I'm probably dreaming right?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Promote Comments from Posters that have past proven to be intelligent, thoughtful & offer insight

    The problem with the comments section is that it never promotes or rewards quality writing. So what do you get? Mostly noise! I'd like to see comments get some kind of ranking or promotion based on a hidden rating system. We shouldn't know what that system is, so it can't be gamed! But as a start, it might have something to do with having posted over a hundred times and having a high ratio of upvotes to downvotes.

  15. monkeyfish

    Posted Wednesday 30th October 2013 14:50 GMT to 14:51 GMT

    Several AC posters are all within minuets of each other. Talk about gaming the system... (I mis-read some of the times and down-voted Vimes, sorry about that, how about an un-up/down-vote option.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Posted Wednesday 30th October 2013 14:50 GMT to 14:51 GMT

      I accidently downvoted someone once. The only way I could find to undo it was to turn it into an upvote.

  16. FartingHippo

    Longer log ins

    Why do I have to re-enter my credentials every day? Disqus, vanilla and several others do not require this.

    If you insist I re-enter my password intermittently, please can it be weekly, or at worst every 72 hours?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paris: time to move on. And formatting. And thanks

    My discomfort with the PH icon and the way that it is used grows daily. Nerds, turds and CEOs in the IT industry are fair game, but Paris is none of those things.

    Sure, I have no time for the celebrity as ...celebrity culture either, but this icon, smacks to me of victimisation.

    Now I've got that off my chest...

    Yes, we are all supposed to be moderately techie, but html remains the language I'm second-least enthusiastic about learning (the first is sql) and the sheer difficulty of typing all those damned angle brackets every time I just want to italicise everything is really a major pain. Couldn't we have, at lease, basic ctrl-i, ctrl-b, etc formatting?

    PS...

    Thanks for one-click voting. Wonderful.

  18. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Please don't sacrifice usability

    I actually think that the Reg is the best coded site I use.

    Even though the pages are quite complex and detailed, the site loads smoothly, fast, and reliably on both my low specced tablet, and my "so old its brothers are in landfills" mobile phone. (Mind you, I can't use icons on my phone. I get the javascript thing where the icons are brought up in a seperate 'div', but when i click on an icon, although it's highlighted, the page simply reloads and ignores my choice.)

    Even on my more powerful desktop, if I've got a lot running, and maybe a lot of browser tabs open, whilst other sites can be slow, El Reg is still super fast.

    What I'm getting at is that I am no luddite, but please, don't sacrifice usability for new features..

    For instance, a WYSIWYG editor was recently mentioned. If you do that, please let us have the option to disable it (a settable option in the account settings too, not just a check on browser capabilities, because even if a device is capable of doing something, it could still be detrimental to the user if it slows things down somewhat)

    Incidently, I had a few more suggestions, but they have all been covered in the (very old!) roadmap.

    Thanks, Jamie

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  21. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Some simple(!) suggestions!

    1) "Send Corrections" link

    The "Send Corrections" link should be back at the bottom of the article (like it used to be, and as still mentioned on the 'House Rules' page!), and not just on the forum page.

    2) Number of posts

    When you click on a user-handle via the forum section (including your own) , it shows total number of posts (and join date).

    If you click on 'My Posts', this information isn't present, and I don't know why!

    3) Time-stamps

    Any chance of articles being time-stamped, and not just date-stamped? - the time is displayed next to the article on the main index page, but not within the article itself!

    4) Easier 'href' parsing

    ..... when posting HTML links.

    5) Saving incomplete posts

    I've often lost along post before posting it (especially when using a tablet) - Also, sometimes, I don't have enough time to complete a posting I'm working on - I'm sure that I'm not alone in either scenario!

    Lately, if the browser has started playing up I've intentionally posted an incomplete post, just to continue writing it via the edit function. (And 'preview' is no use, as the content is still not saved remotely)

    I think an option to save posts without publishing would be most useful - you could modify the 'preview' button to be 'preview/save' - that would work as it does now, but also save the draft copy.

    You already have 'held post awaiting moderation' facility - holding the post in a similar way, but with non-expiring edit/post buttons would be great. Once a post is finally posted, it would simply be treated as it is now.

    You could even delete non-posted drafts after a week (for example)

    6) Keeping track of 'Anonymous cowards'

    Sometimes it's hard to keep track of 'anonymous coward' posts.

    It would be nice if each coward was assigned a unique identifier (seeing as all anonymous posts are from registered users)

    As there would be concerns about genuine anons becoming more recognisable over time, you could have different random id's per user per article forum comment section - I.E. each id assigned to an anon is only trackable within that particular articles forum section. Maybe using the forum post id as a an internal reference?

    This not only makes the forum more readable, it also stops anons gaming the system by replying favourably to their own posts.

    The username could be shown as:

    Anonymous Coward #2331

    Where the number is a random or sequential one that hadn't already been used, and is created keyed on the users id, and the articles forum comment section id.

    Obviously, once a user/article pair has been assigned an anon-id, they won't be assigned another one.

    7) "My Posts" housekeeping

    Any chance of the option to permanently delete our own rejected/withdrawn/un-posted(see above!) posts?

    Cheers for listening!

    Jamie

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Some simple(!) suggestions!

      Thanks Jamie, - the random ID thing is an interesting shout.

      BTW why would you want the time stamp in the article - after a few hours, surely this info is irrelevant anyway?

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      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Some simple(!) suggestions!

        Cheers!

        As for the timestamp, more or less for that reason!

        Not often, but sometimes there have been 2 articles on a story in the same day, and it's useful to know which is the most uptodate.

        Also, if a story is about breaking news, it's useful to see the articles time (and/or last-updated time) to see how current the information is.

        As you obviously know, the posting time is available on the main page, and there have been a number of occasions I've been reading an article, and have found myself going back to the main page to check the articles time - that's why I thought I'd mention it!

        Sure, that information is largely irrelevent when the article is a few days old, but even then it could be useful on those occasions that a topic is covered twice in the same day.

  22. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Helping with the non-threaded reply setup...

    A much simpler suggestion this time:

    When someone hits 'reply', how about pre-loading the textarea with something like:

    "In reply to Fred Bloggs post at 12:45pm:"

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Helping with the non-threaded reply setup...

      That sounds good to me.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Helping with the non-threaded reply setup...

        Drew,

        To avoid confusion, perhaps you should dump post titles altogether? Many posts don't use them, and people can just as easily use the first line of the post if they want.

        Thus saving a bold bit at the top for telling us who the post is a reply to . You'd probably want this a bit less bold, but it adds more info without increasing complication. This would mean you'd have to create a new field for when you start a topic though, as currently the title of the first post is also the topic title.

        Personally I still think you should go for full threading. But as I assume that means totally redoing your forum software, this would be a lot less hassle.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Helping with the non-threaded reply setup...

          Without any replacement mechanism, replies do sometimss get easier to track if someone changes the reply title, and then someone replies to that reply without also changing it, but yeah, I like your replacement suggestion.

          But yes, a properly threaded system would be better - I think the closest analogy would be like a traditional forum setup, but where every article creates its own sub-forum (rather than a new post in an already existing forum)

          As for my current use of the system, I'd like to keep track of new posts in a forum I mark appropriately. I'd especially like to be alerted of replies to any thread I'm involved in.

          At the moment, it's either a case of posting early (and missing other posts) or getting in late and missing the party.

          I very rarely visit a forum twice. I have tried doing it whilst switching to 'latest posts first', but found that too confusing when tracking replies.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I have a filter to automatically downvote anyone who uses the word 'sheeple'? Pure laziness on my part, obviously.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Downvoted.

      For what should be an obvious reason ;-)

      More seriously, why do you hate such a wonderfully descriptive mutation of the English Language so much?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Downvoted.

        Firsly the suggestion was made with tongue firmly in cheek...there's zero chance of it being implemented: The coding would be difficult and a feature to automatically apply prejudice is never A Good Thing. I didn't expect anyone to take it a face value, to be honest, but irony never comes across as clearly as the submitter is seeing it in his/her head**

        I have nothing against the word itself -as a portmanteau it works rather well- but rather the mindset of people who use it in forum posts. It conveys a sense of unjustified smug superiority and is almost certain to be followed by something irritating and/or inaccurate. The literary equivalent of that orange fake tan...whenever you spot it, you know there's an arsehole following closely behind.

        ** A sarcasm tag that uses a different font might be a good idea. Perhaps Comic Sans, if you want nested layers of irony. Quote tags might be an idea too.

        P.S. I didn't downvote you - mysterious third party there.

        1. jake Silver badge
          Pint

          Un-downvoted (was: Re: Downvoted.)

          My down-vote was also firmly tongue-in-cheek. Rectified ;-)

          The coding would actually be quite simple. Filtering on a simple text string in the un*x-like languages is trivial (c.f. "bozo filtering" on Usenet).

          Unjustified smug superiority? I question that statement ... I only use it on the occasion that the person or idea I'm replying to is obviously incapable of looking past their religion of choice. e.g Ford/Chevy, PC/Mac/un*x, C/C++, vi/EMACS, the orthogonal multiple sides of so-called "global warming", barley/wheat beer, red/white wine, English/Western equestrianism, ::insert other religious conflict(s) here::

          P.S. Votes as implemented in this forum are meaningless, as my cowardly, voiceless serial downvoters so aptly demonstrate. Regardless, have a cold bevvy on me :-)

          1. Hungry Sean

            Re: Un-downvoted (was: Downvoted.)

            wait, since when can you retract a thumbs up/down??

            That is an interesting development. Looks like I can convert an up to a down or vice versa but can't merely undo. Is there a timer on this?

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  25. Vimes

    Any chance of detecting URLs in posts and adding the necessary HTML so they are shown to the users as usable links?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I asked for this as well; only to be astounded by my own gormlessness on the discovery that it had been there all along. The link for your post is:

      http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2067160

      ...and can be obtained by right-clicking on the date of the post (says "2 months ago" at the time of writing)

  26. M Gale

    User-defined avatars - we don't want to have to store avatars, or vet them, or get angry if someone changes avatar to something abusive.

    Aw, please?

    Think about it this way: The moment someone sends you goatse as a picture to review, you can invoke a "we don't want to see that shit" clause in the terms of use for this place. Rather than ban them, well, that's a use for up and downvotes. To get the ability for a custom avatar or selection of icons back, you're on probation and you need to get a 75/25 split in favour of upvotes over the last 200 (or so) votes on your posts with the count starting from the start of probation and continuing for as many votes as it takes to achieve 75/25 people from the last 200 liking your posts. Until then you're stuck with Anonymous Coward, Hello Kitty, or some other variety of dunce cap.

    If it's something less gross, say annoyingly repeating attempts at trying to get the same disallowed image approved, you can implement the same sanction but maybe minus the enforced dunce cap and with a lower voting sample and easier ratio required to get it back.

    I reckon there's enough people posting and voting for an idea like that to work, and I know I honestly couldn't care less about waiting a week to a month or more to see a batch of icons get approved. I know it's going to take someone a while to sift through the requests at first, and I don't think people will make that many requests when they realise it takes a week to a month or more for changes and updates to be approved.

    If there's a hardware issue, you could always go the whole hog and make it a feature of a Register Plus Ad Free Paid Membership or something. Keep Free pretty much as it is (maybe fix the threading issues, oh please fix the threading issues), £10/year per member to hire a few terabytes in a rack somewhere, buy your own fat pipe and some boxes, or some kind of big blob of virtual cloudiness?

    How much do you reckon you make per commentard (as opposed to, ahem, read-only viewers) from the ads at the minute? If the price is right, I reckon there's people here who'll buy into extra bells and whistles and a full page of news minus the ads, even if you can just run ABP+ for the latter feature.

  27. Vimes

    I'm guessing this will be turned down, but how about logging the IP address of those making the comments and making that IP address visible to posters when the message is in response to one of their own or the person viewing the IP address has been round long enough to earn a silver badge?

    It might help discourage the sort of shrill posts that seem to be pushing one agenda or another that we see pop up from time to time, since it would limit - whilst not entirely removing - the anonymity that they enjoy at present.

    1. M Gale

      I double dare you with sugar on top to determine if I'm a different person to whoever else is coming from the same mobile provider.

      Carrier NAT. It's shit, but it has some uses. Especially if you're a bit of a troll or a company shill.

    2. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      We have no plans to do this.

  28. Vimes

    Just a small suggestion where the look and feel is concerned: the name of the poster - in each thread as well as the previously mentioned posts page - seems to be in a smaller and different font than that of the text of the comment itself.

    I'd suggest making the poster name the same font as the comment text, at least where font name and size is concerned. Granted it's a small thing though, but it just looks inconsistent.

  29. Vimes

    A few requests:

    Please could you consider extending the number of supported HTML tags. The 'u' tag for underlining doesn't seem to be supported.

    A wysiwyg HTML editor?

    At the moment when you reply to a post it starts off by showing the post you're replying to above the form. When you preview your post however this gets replaced with the preview of what you've written. Sometimes I copy and paste bits from the post I'm replying to into my own post when I'm trying to address certain points made by the previous poster, and having this replacement going on makes any referring back to the original more awkward if I want to make any further additions after previewing the post.

    If the user is replying to a post please consider always displaying the post that is being responded to, even during the preview of a post. The user may still want to refer back to it and make more changes.

    Come to think of it. If you have a thread of replies and can link them together then it might be even better if you just showed that thread of replies within the form, so you also have the opportunity of seeing what the previous poster replied to if there is more than one reply in the chain.

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