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Questions/Suggestions related to forums.

Suhas Mandrawadkar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 21, 2007
Posts: 72

Hi,

1. Wouldn't having previous-next navigation while reading a thread be helpful to go through all the new threads ?
2. If I am watching a forum, do I have to watch thread in that forum separately where I have not replied anything and just want to read the discussion ? Or the email notifications are just for new threads and replied threads ?


Regards, Suhas S. Mandrawadkar.
Certifications: SCJP 6, SCWCD 5, Oracle WebLogic Server Administrator, OCE Java EE 6 EJB Developer
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11423
    
  85

Welcome to CodeRanch.

1. Wouldn't having previous-next navigation while reading a thread be helpful to go through all the new threads ?

We used to have next/previous buttons in our old forum software (about 3 years ago), but apparently it caused some confusion due to the very dynamic nature of forums. Lets say you start reading a forum, and you see that there are 4 topics you might be interested in:

  • A topic about the Moose
  • A topic about Java
  • A topic about Ranches
  • A topic about Code


  • Imagine if you start reading the bottom topic. As you in the process of reading it, someone replies to both the topic about ranches and the topic about code (the one you are reading) in that order. What happens when you click the "next" button?

  • If the forum software hard-coded the "next" button to point to the topic about ranches (since that was next when you started reading it), then you will go to the topic about ranches. Once you have read it and click next, you will be taken to the topic about code (since that was modified after the topic about code). Your reading pattern was "Code" -> "Ranches" -> "Code" -> (nothing). You did not get to read the topics about the Moose or the topic about Java.
  • If the forum software dynamically looks up what the next topic should be, then there is no newer topic than the recently read topic about Code. Clicking the next button in this case will take you back to the forum list.

  • Either way this is very confusing for the person trying to read the forums.

    When we converted to JForum, we realized that we were going to loose the previous / next buttons, so we did a short survey amongst the staff to see who would miss it. If I recall correctly, nobody used that functionality due to the problems it caused - we all go into a forum then open a new tab for each topic we want to read. That way we do not have to worry about the forum implementation of what "next" means.

    2. If I am watching a forum, do I have to watch thread in that forum separately where I have not replied anything and just want to read the discussion ? Or the email notifications are just for new threads and replied threads ?

    If you wish to get notified when a topic is updated, and you have not posted in that topic, then you will need to add a "watch" on that topic.

    You can also "watch" a forum - in that case you will get notified anytime any new topic is created in that forum.


    The Sun Certified Java Developer Exam with J2SE 5: paper version from Amazon, PDF from Apress, Online reference: Books 24x7 Personal blog
     
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    subject: Questions/Suggestions related to forums.