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the 'recent topics' page is going away...what would you miss about it that's not in the new view?

 
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This thread is for discussion about the 'recent topics' page that is going to disappear soon.  as mentioned by Paul in THIS THREAD

Please start a new thread detailing what is missing from the new look and feel.  

The recent topics page is definitely going away.  Since it is starting to break, that day might be coming really soon.  We need to understand what, exactly, you would miss from that page.  And, more exactly, HOW you use that page.



I use the 'recent topics' page to quickly browse a days worth of posts at a time in all of the forums.  I usually don't know ahead of time what might grab my interest, so I like seeing them all.

When I click on 'forums' to go to recent topics, I set the 'default' view as it has all of the topics in order of posting.  In that view I miss the layout from the old 'recent topics' page where it is just text and no pictures.  Might just take getting used to but the pictures and the layout seem like a lot more work to browse.

The other two available views there, at least at the moment, don't look useful for me and how I browse at permies, although they have the list done in just text, which I find easier to scan.

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steward
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For the most part, I access permies.com ONLY through the "Recent Topics" page. I access every form that I participate in only through the "Recent Topics" link. I don't know how I would even begin to use a forum if it didn't have a list available of recent posts. I expect that I would mostly stop using permies.com if the recent posts page went away.

Sometimes I click on a link in an email to a topic that I participated in previously... But if I miss clicking on the link, then it seems like I don't get another email regarding new posts to that topic, so the topic gets lost to me. I'm not much interested in most of the posts on permies.com, only a minor subset of things like plant breeding, and water collection in the drylands. The recent topics page allows me to easily scan titles to see if there is anything of interest to me. I'm not interested at all in browsing through hierarchies of topics in hopes of finding something that captures my attention.

 
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It's my default. I catch new posts and new replies using it. It keeps the freshest content up top in one easy format.
 
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Judith Browning
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I did a new 'dashboard' and it was relatively easy to change my width of the recent topics there to 100% so the whole page is just 'recent topics'.  I would find it less distracting and easier, still, to navigate without the pics.

If others are just catching up to this, as I was until a few minutes ago, to see the new 'recent topics' page click on 'forums' and then you have choices for the view. the link Paul posted above explains how to customize your 'dash board' and arrange to suit yourself.....  
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Oh, Noses!  Please don't let it go away!

Recent Topics is by far my favourite feature on this site.  

Why I love recent topics
  • fast to load
  • easy to read (less clutter)
  • it matches what my brain expects
  • can see who the last poster was
  • can quickly hop to the last post in the thread
  • see everything I need to know at a glance
  • The format is very simple and doesn't cause the words to crawl over the page like many other forums (it works with my dyslexia instead of against it)



  • I use the main view when I have more time and want to browse, see photos and whatnots, but for simple quick and easy view of what's going on, that's where I love Recent Topics.

    My feelings are that a lot of amazing people out there have slow internet.  A lot of these people are so fed up with slow to load and complicated pages that they spend loads of time out there doing things.  I feel we want them to contribute here because they have so much experience doing things.  If permies could keep a fast to access page like Recent Topics, then people with limited internet would feel included and we would have them participating on our site.  It would be an amazing benefit for everyone.  

    I noticed that we will be able to customize how we see the main view (or are able to already, not sure, haven't played with it yet).  I feel conflicted about it.  I think it's fantastic to give users this option.  I feel frustrated that it is one more thing that people have to learn and that it discourages people who are ... um... let's say they have spent more of their life doing fun things in the garden and/or building things and less of their life learning how to use computers.  These people have a lot to contribute and I feel it helps if we can make that as easy as possible.  

    I adore all the wonderful things you guys at coderanch do to make this site work and all the lovely features you give us.  Sometimes, however, I worry that when one spends their life immersed in a field of expertise, they can sometimes forget that there are people out there that don't live and breath the same subject.  

    For example, a friend was over to help on the farm.  I live and breath farming every minute of every day - I even dream it.  So it was shocking to me when she asked me if ducks lay eggs.  Then going to weed, she couldn't tell a bean plant from a grass.  It's not her fault because she was born and raised in a big city.  She's the same age as me and only now has decided to learn to garden.  I had to stop and reassess myself and my expectations, go back to the beginning and try to see my farm through her eyes.  Once I did that, I could find a starting place where we could work together and I could teach her about farming without her feeling overwhelmed.  

    I think there are a lot of people out there who would make fantastic additions to this forum, that feel overwhelmed by the internet and complicated features.  I've also noticed some of my favourite contributors are on limited or slow internet and have trouble with slow loading times and seem to interact with the site less as the number of features increase.  

    In conclusion: Please keep a quick to load, simple to use, interface like Recent Topics.
     
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    Yup
    It's the most useful feature on the menu bar.
     
    gardener
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    Because of the vertical height preserved for photo thumbnails, the custom "recent topics full view" now available only shows 7 topics at a time on my 19" monitor, which means many scrolls to view the fifty most recent topics as shown by the "recent topics" link we've all been using to date.  In the old view, I can currently see 17 topics at a time without scrolling.  It is MUCH harder to take in recent activity rapidly in the new view -- a problem which the distraction of the thumbnails (too small to make out what's going on in them and too large to visually ignore) only makes worse.  

    In order to make the new view match the functionality of the old, it would need a vertically-condensed mode with option to not display thumbs.

    Like several other people in this thread, all of my quick visits to the site are via the "recent topics" link.  That's my Permies bookmark.  That's where I enter the site.  I would visit permies less often and do less while here if there's not an equivalently compact way to see at a glance what has happened since my last visit.

    Edited to add: The most important information after the thread title is the "latest post by" name, because that's how I track whether someone has replied to a thread I posted to an hour ago.  In the custom "recent topics full view" that information is posted in a much-reduced font size, making it impossible for me to scan for at speed with my aging eyes.  For that view to be as useful to me, that font would have to be restored to equal size with the thread title.
     
    Judith Browning
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    I wonder if the new 'recent topic' page could have an option for presenting it just like the one being dropped?  I see that the other two views available are arranged just like the old page.  The only one with the different arrangement is the 'default view' with clumped together information and pictures.

    It appears that we have to choose the 'view' each time we open the 'forum' page?
     
    Joseph Lofthouse
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    R Ranson: I sometimes wonder if I am autistic...

    All the graphics on other pages? Oh my heck! I'm looking for a more simplified life in every way. Lots of graphics on a web page get in my  way, and make me feel anxious. First thing I do when I get in a car where the last driver was playing the radio, is that I turn off the radio. Same thing with a web site. I often ban downloading of every image from a web site in order to simplify the site so that I can stand to be on it. The "recent topics" page is blissfully free of graphics. That's what I would miss most about it.

    I still remember with horror the HotBot search engine. I'm pretty sure that the black/white text and simple format are why Google skyrocketed to the top of the search engine market.
     
    Dan Boone
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    Judith Browning wrote:It appears that we have to choose the 'view' each time we open the 'forum' page?



    That is correct, however once you select a different view, the URL changes from

    http://www.permies.com/forums

    to

    http://www.permies.com/forums?homepageView=9

    And if you bookmark that later link, your bookmark would let you return to the preferred view without having to select from the dropdown every time.  

    It does seem like a cookie to remember user preferences might be in order.
     
    pollinator
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    Every forum I use, the recent topic page and usually bookmarked or watched topic pages are my default pages where I check content.

    Permies doesn't have a bookmark/watched topic page that orders threads by what has been updated most recently so I only use that on permies to find threads I want to reference or reread. But on forums that do, this is my most used page as it allows me to watch the threads I have interest in specifically and see if new comments have been added.

    I honestly don't understand why anyone would want to get rid of the recent topics page. It is by far the most useful page of a forum. It is where people find new threads and comments to respond to. To find active conversations instead of 3 yr old threads no one is paying attention to. Not to say reviving old threads is bad, I personally like to try and keep topics consolidated when possible rather than having 20 short threads repeating the same things about the same topic. So feel if you find an old thread on a topic you want to discuss, then perfect, revive it.

    If I am understanding the comments on this thread, there is a personalize your view option to sort of take the place of recent topics. But that it depends on you personalizing a page and looks like it isn't nearly as streamlined a set up as the recent page.

    Personally I think getting rid of recent page is a bad idea, but not my house. If it is what Paul wants to do that is his decision.
     
    Joseph Lofthouse
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    Dan Boone wrote:the custom "recent topics full view" now available only shows 7 topics at a time on my 19" monitor, [...]
    In the old view, I can currently see 17 topics at a time without scrolling.



    For me, on a 14" monitor  it's 4 topics in "forums" view, and 12 in "Recent Topics".
     
    paul wheaton
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    So far, all of the comments seem to be broken down into two categories:


    1)  "I like the recent topics page, and I have not tried the new view on the /forums page.  I have a lot to say about what I like, and nothing to say about the new view."

    2)  "I am now trying the new view on the /forums page and I have nothing further to say about that."

    I suppose the right thing for me to do is to turn off the recent topics page today.   And then people will use the views that were made specifically for them on the /forums page.  And then we might start to get some feedback of the type that would be of some value.  

     
    paul wheaton
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    Again:



    http://permies.com/t/57404/tnk/modify-home-page



    Maybe I should lock this thread so people can add comments to that thread.

     
    Judith Browning
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    So far, all of the comments seem to be broken down into two categories:
    1)  "I like the recent topics page, and I have not tried the new view on the /forums page.  I have a lot to say about what I like, and nothing to say about the new view."

    2)  "I am now trying the new view on the /forums page and I have nothing further to say about that."



    these quotes are referring to the new view on the forums page...

    I did a new 'dashboard' and it was relatively easy to change my width of the recent topics there to 100% so the whole page is just 'recent topics'.  I would find it less distracting and easier, still, to navigate without the pics.



    Judith Browning wrote:I wonder if the new 'recent topic' page could have an option for presenting it just like the one being dropped?  I see that the other two views available are arranged just like the old page.  The only one with the different arrangement is the 'default view' with clumped together information and pictures.

    It appears that we have to choose the 'view' each time we open the 'forum' page?



     
    Devin Lavign
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    OK so I went and checked out the site personalization and it isn't too hard, I made a few private options trying things out. Then made a public one "most recent 75% & most recent by category 25%" that seems like I might actually like it better than thew recent page if I give it time and adjust to it. Also I suspect as more people make public dashboard options it will be easier to just click and switch to find one you like rather than having to create one.

    It give recents. But then also recents organized by categories. So I can look at different categories to find if anything has recently been added there, or just look at the whole site recents.

    Might make a few more options and play around with some of the stuff.

    OK Paul, getting rid of the recent page might not be as bad I I thought it was. Though just putting this out. While I found this pretty easy, I know there are a lot of folks out there who are not that tech savvy. Heck the amount of people who seem to not understand that twitter, or facebook is not google search is astounding. So while this might be cool and easy to do for some folks, others might have some difficulty figuring it out.

    If nothing else I would suggest a good thread somewhere for newbies and people trying to figure out how to work the site. Put in it a general guide on how to set up your preferences etc. How to insert images video quotes etc (some people find this difficult) and other useful tips for people.
     
    steward
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    Is there a way to turn off the images in the new version?

    Even pushing my zoom level to 200% does not render them useful.
    This page is just about information.  Crappy graphics add nothing of value (to me).

     
    Joseph Lofthouse
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    Forums/Recent and Top Forums
    Font is too small to read.

    Forums/Default View
    The plethora of graphics make me feel like running away.
    Very cluttered.
    4 Columns of unrelated information?
    I can only see 4 to 5 recent topics.
    Takes a lot of scrolling

    Forums/Recent and Sortable
    Required 2 clicks to sort with most recent posts at top.
    Has a superfluous list of forums on the right
    Font is too small to read

    Forums/Recent Topics Full Width
    Icons are too small to tell what they are.
    Icons clutter up the view.
    Icons take up vertical space that could be used to display more topics.
    Would be nice to list  "most recent poster"
    Only 6 topics displayed per page.
    The titles are hard to read because the title column has other things jumbled up into it.



     
    paul wheaton
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    I wonder if the new 'recent topic' page could have an option for presenting it just like the one being dropped?  



    That is what is being attempted.  

    The key is that the old page uses old stuff on the backend.  And is currently buggy.  


    I would find it less distracting and easier, still, to navigate without the pics.



    So there is one feature request.  

     
    paul wheaton
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    I am now going to ignore this thread.  There is far too much confusing information here.  

    If people want to talk about the new feature and request changes to the new feature, please do so in the thread about the new feature.

    http://www.permies.com/t/57404/tnk/modify-home-page


    Note that the "recent topics" page is going to go away.   The important thing is to make clear requests for changes so that you might be able to have the things you wish to have.
     
    Devin Lavign
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    OK, so just tossing this out. Something I like about the recent topic pages of forums is being able to tell when a new comment is made so I can stay up on conversations, reply to stuff if someone has replied to me, etc.

    Something not in the permies site that is in many other forums is an indicator of some sort of unread comments. At least I haven't seen it here on old view or new view. So here I have relied on sort of keeping track of who the last comment was made by, and if it changes I know some new comments are on there. This new dashboard doesn't show the last commenter and doesn't have any indicator of unread comments that I have noticed.

    Maybe if possible adding something to let people quickly and easily see there are new unread comments in threads? Most forums tend to have some sort of icon appear next to the thread title, not sure if this would be easy to implement or really hard. So just making a suggestion.

    I understand Paul's likely kicking stuff and yelling at his computer, introducing new stuff to a website is never fully popular. Thankfully I signed up just as the new look was being released, so quickly just adopted it to get used to it. But I have seen lots of forums have issues in the community when they adopt changes. Some people like new features and embrace change, others freak out and get confused.

    Hang in there Paul. Sorry for not trying the dashboard thing before my first comment. But at least I did mention it and recognize there indeed was such an option rather than scream the sky is falling. And I am able to admit that the dashboard personalization while might take a little time getting used to I might actually like better.
     
    pollinator
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    I hadn't seen the new views, but based on this thread I ha ve had a play with them.

    Up to this point recent topics has been the view I use 99% of the time. Losing it will be really annoying.

    I predominantly browse on a mobile. To access the new views I had to us 'visit full site' instead of the mobile view. The full site does not display well on my small phone screen. Is there going to be a way to access these new views on a mobile? If not then my access to the site is taking a big hit in usability.

    I used the drop down options to change the default view. I expected it to remember my settings for next time, but when I opened a new tab I had to renter the settings. This will get very tiresome on a mobile, with lots of extra scrolling and clicking.

    Urk... Just typing this reply on the full site version, while using a mobile, involves excessive scrolling to read whole lines of text.
     
    John Polk
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    It is HERE

    If you used the Recent Topics, as I did, you will enjoy this latest update.
    Clean, simple, and uncluttered.  Everything you need on one screen.

    THANK  YOU Code Ranch !!
    Recent-topics.PNG
    [Thumbnail for Recent-topics.PNG]
     
    Devin Lavign
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    Thanks that tabled recent really gives all the info of recent page that is needed.
     
    Joseph Lofthouse
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    John Polk wrote:It is HERE

    If you used the Recent Topics, as I did, you will enjoy this latest update.
    Clean, simple, and uncluttered.  Everything you need on one screen.



    That's making great progress. Thanks. Could something similar be made where the font is the default font size for the site? And where the table width doesn't extend past the edge of the screen? (If I zoom in enough times to read the font, then more than half the table is off the edge of the screen.)
     
    gardener
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    We are all such creatures of habit, aren't we?  My immediate reaction was "Oh no!  Don't take that away!"

    I suppose we'll all adjust when we have to.  Till the, it's nice to still see it there at the top of the page like an old friend.

    Thanks for all you do to make this web-site so successful, Paul.
     
    r ranson
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    Here I was, all ready to create a reply of why I love the Recent Topics view and all the things I want to keep when it goes.

    Then I found "Most Recent Topic As Table" option.  It has everything I love.  It's even a bit easier to read than the old Recent Topics interface.  

    Thank you someone!  This makes me very happy.  
     
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