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Happy Jumpin JForum Day 2014 (read about new features here)

Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30595
    
154

A Jumpin JForum Day to y'all. That's right. It is now five years since we went live with the JForum software here at the Ranch. You can read about past years features here. To celebrate, we have some shiny new features for you complements of Jaikiran and Jeanne.

Last year, we introduced cows for JForum Day. Click on your profile to see how many cows you've earned over time or in the last 30 days. Or check the leaderboard to see who earned the most cows in the last 30 days. (It's a bit loaded right now because over the weekend we gave all active moderators and those with the title of Rancher enough cows to get them to 5.) But do keep those helpful posts coming and earn some of your own.

Ok. So what's new?

1) The Rattlesnake Pit - We have a new forum for political, controversial or "too meaningful for MD" topics. It requires 5 cows to post, but anyone can read. See the policies for the new forum.

2) Flags - See a thread you wish had an answer or more discussion. Or more attention in some other way. The flags might look like blue ! to you. (that's because they are.)

If you have a single cow, go down to the bottom of the thread and add a flag. You can add one flag per cow you've earned. If the question gets answered and marked as resolved, you'll get your flag back. Or you can manually remove it to give it to another thread. You can go to your user profile to see what threads you have flagged.

Don't have any cows yet? You can still benefit from this feature. You can view the top flagged threads overall. Or you can check any user's profile to see which threads they have currently flagged.

3) New look and feel - Last year on JForum Day, we unveiled one page of the new look and feel (beta view.) It wasn't quite ready so we hid it away in a drawer. It's back this JForum Day. You can see the following pages in the beta view:
  • Topic (posts page)
  • Leaderboard
  • Recent topics
  • Top flagged topics
  • Hot topics
  • Bookmark list


  • Thoughts on the new features? Share here.

    Let's see if anyone notices that I posted this 4 hours before JForum Day officially starts. Sneaky.


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    Tim Cooke
    Bartender

    Joined: Mar 28, 2008
    Posts: 1055
        
      52

    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Let's see if anyone notices that I posted this 4 hours before JForum Day officially starts. Sneaky.

    In your timezone maybe. But in my timezone you're late....

    I jest of course.

    I think the Flags are an interesting concept and I can see how they might be beneficial. Obviously I can't speak for everybody but my normal visit to The Ranch goes a little like this:
    - Hit "Recent Topics"
    - See what's new
    - Read anything that looks interesting
    - Reply to anything I can contribute to or have an opinion on
    - Go away and do something else for a while (like my job)
    - Refresh "Recent Topics"
    - Repeat

    The downside of this technique is that if a post comes up that perhaps has a particularly taxing/thought provoking/niche topic then it might not get a steady flow of replies to keep it near the top of the Recent Topics list. So it is destined to slowly drift into the history books (which for me is anything not on the first, maybe second, page). I imagine then that the flags feature might help to identify those posts as "unfinished business" if you like. Having a cow based criteria for being able to flag things is a smart move otherwise I could see them being abused as another way to "bump" threads.

    What I like most about the new features you've added is not actually the new features. It's the fact you're always thinking about how to make the Ranch a better place. Great stuff. Well done!

    Tim


    Tim Driven Development
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    author & internet detective
    Marshal

    Joined: May 26, 2003
    Posts: 30595
        
    154

    Tim: So your new process will involve hitting up both recent topics and flagged topics?
    Tim Cooke
    Bartender

    Joined: Mar 28, 2008
    Posts: 1055
        
      52

    Yes I imagine it will.

    Am I right in saying that any flags for a topic will be removed once it's been marked as resolved? That would make sense of course but in practice I wonder how well it will work as I have observed that relatively few topics ever get marked as resolved. Even right now I see just a dozen items in the Flagged Topics list which are "screaming out for attention" but when I read them I find that the discussions are all pretty much wrapped up.

    I will admit that I am as guilty as most in that I'm not sure I've ever marked a topic I've started as resolved. I'm not a moderator so cannot mark another member's post as resolved. Perhaps we should be encouraging our members to resolve their topics when they're happy to? Especially if it's been flagged? Perhaps moderators should resolve threads that look finished or dead? Although I'm sure you guys have enough to do already.
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    author & internet detective
    Marshal

    Joined: May 26, 2003
    Posts: 30595
        
    154

    Tim Cooke wrote:Am I right in saying that any flags for a topic will be removed once it's been marked as resolved?

    That's the theory.

    Tim Cooke wrote: That would make sense of course but in practice I wonder how well it will work as I have observed that relatively few topics ever get marked as resolved.

    We hope to get better at that.

    Tim Cooke wrote:Even right now I see just a dozen items in the Flagged Topics list which are "screaming out for attention" but when I read them I find that the discussions are all pretty much wrapped up.

    I encouraged the other moderators to have a bunch of open flagged items on JForum Day so I don't know how representative that is. And sometimes another opinion is welcome. For example, I'd love to see someone else's thoughts on this one so I added some of my flags.
     
    I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
     
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