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Issues with the new forum interface RRS feed

  • Question

  • I work as a moderator, and there are some new things in this interface that are "a bother":

    1.       The TAB key no longer works. That’s a PITA. I sometimes need to indent things and I don’t want to have to use the space bar. Nor do I always want to use a “table” construct that the code editor generates.

    2.
           In order to “moderate” a message (move, merge, change type) I have to scroll back up to the top of the window. Usually, one has to read an entire message thread before deciding what needs to be done with it. With the tools at the right, it didn’t matter where we were in the message thread. Now, we have to scroll all the way to the top. PITA

    3. I, too, miss the tools to change font size and color. Sometimes, the editor chooses a font size that's almost impossible to read. I want to be able to change that easily. Also, I sometimes want to "quote" only small parts of a message. This is very difficult to manage with the automatic Quote feature. So I usually end up copying and pasting the bits of text I want to quote. In the previous interface I'd format them with a light gray background to imitate the quote feature. I fear I'll now need to resort to the good old pre-HTML message days and <<use double brackets>>. Not as elegant, but there you go...

    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Monday, March 30, 2009 7:51 PM

Answers

  • Yes, it looks like we have a few things to sort out with the editor, the indent is not very predictable. I seem to remember using it the other day without problems, which is why I suggested it, but now it doesn't seem to be responding as I would expect. I also would like to implement TAB. 

    David, I'm not able to repro the paragraphs on carriage returns, what browser you are using. I do like the idea of letting a user set their font size preferences and having that setting limit the per user viewing, I think that's a good idea. I've been thinking about the scrolling complaints, there are a few listed in this thread. While posting

    Regarding quote, as I have stated above, we have the ask to highlight feed the quotes, it sounds like that would certainly make things easier for people. 

    Regarding the move user interface and having to scroll, I agree the ui there needs some work. I'm not sure the 3.0 ux is the answer. Do people think that being able to set a list they usually move to and have that more readibly accessible by default, and then have the ability to dive in deeper to the rest of the big list if they need it, does this sound like it could be helpful?  Or maybe some auto complete box?


    Brent Serbus STO Forums Program Manager
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 4:11 AM
    Answerer
  • Re: 1. you can use the indent feature in the editor's toolbar...this is what I usually do if I want a hard indent. We'll take a look at TAB and see if we can easily make it do what the indent does.

    2. The moderator featuers of a thread (not message) for move, merge and change type are on the root message (thread) header toolstrip. This is in the similar place it was in the previous version. Before last week's update it was also at the top of the page, tucked down in a thread "Options" drop down. It's basic location has not changed. We'll give it some thought to see if there is some way we can make it easier to get at for some of the longer threads.

    3. Are you wanting to change your font sizes so you can see it easier or for the general public? Under what circumstances do you use a different font color?

    4. Quote: I recommend using quote and then editing the quoted part after the fact. We have had the feature request to highlight and then quote but it has not made it's way into the product yet.


    Brent Serbus STO Forums Program Manager
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 3:58 AM
    Answerer

All replies

  • Re: 1. you can use the indent feature in the editor's toolbar...this is what I usually do if I want a hard indent. We'll take a look at TAB and see if we can easily make it do what the indent does.

    2. The moderator featuers of a thread (not message) for move, merge and change type are on the root message (thread) header toolstrip. This is in the similar place it was in the previous version. Before last week's update it was also at the top of the page, tucked down in a thread "Options" drop down. It's basic location has not changed. We'll give it some thought to see if there is some way we can make it easier to get at for some of the longer threads.

    3. Are you wanting to change your font sizes so you can see it easier or for the general public? Under what circumstances do you use a different font color?

    4. Quote: I recommend using quote and then editing the quoted part after the fact. We have had the feature request to highlight and then quote but it has not made it's way into the product yet.


    Brent Serbus STO Forums Program Manager
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 3:58 AM
    Answerer
  • >4. Quote: I recommend using quote and then editing the quoted part after the fact. We have had the feature request to highlight and then quote but it >has not made it's way into the product yet.

    Not a recommendation that I as a forum Moderator can agree with.

    Usually you only want to quote a single line to make sure that the readers know which post (and which part of which post) you are referring to.

    It's then much easier to copy and paste that line than to select Quote All and then delete first the text above that quote and then the text below that quote.

    (Not that I've seen that I could Quote All but that's besides the point)

    I precede those quotes with the standard >    You could if you are feeling generous put all lines with that character at posn. 1 in a different font ...

    -------------------

    One Cindy's main point of too much scrolling, I've post a couple of posts in the suggestions forum asking for two different locations for things like Submit; 
    because of the need to scroll down *everytime* in the present version. While it's true that I also have to scroll up to Move and Merge that's not as annoying in my book as the scroll down to Submit a Reply because that's what I used to do in v3 when Moving or Merging.

    The very WORST scrolling is however not done to get to the Move but as a result of clicking on Move when I get there. In v3.0 I then mostly had the forums I was moving to visible in the selection box for the forum to move to (or just below it). Now they are always a long scroll away (typically scroll down and scroll up as I overshoot). Requests to have this changed back to centering on the From forum as it was in 3.0 have been so far ignored here.

    The Off-topic forum could usefully be either right at the end or right at the beginning as it too is now a long scroll away but still not quite at the end and as the group it is in is a small one it's easy to miss it.


    WSS FAQ sites: WSS 2.0: http://wssv2faq.mindsharp.com WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007: http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com
    Total list of WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 Books (including foreign language titles) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/Lists/v3%20WSS%20FAQ/V%20Books.aspx
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 11:24 AM
  • Hi Brent

    Let's take this post as an example...
    Re: 1. you can use the indent feature in the editor's toolbar...this is what I usually do if I want a hard indent. We'll take a look at TAB and see if we can easily make it do what the indent does.

    I just tried using the Indent button on the first line ("Hi Brent"). Nothing happened. Nor for the second line. It did work for this line, but I've no idea what the difference is/was. Since I had to use the HTML editor to do what I'm doing here, that brings up an additional "pain point" (that started with the move to the forums 3.0 interface):

    5. I want to be able to get in ahead of the Blockquote in order to be able to easily be able to address someone politely. Perhaps that's not "how it's done" these days, but that is how I was brought up and how I usually work - if the OP gives a name. Unfortunately, I don't always have time to go fiddle with the message in the HTML editor <frown>

    2. The moderator featuers of a thread (not message) for move, merge and change type are on the root message (thread) header toolstrip. This is in the similar place it was in the previous version. Before last week's update it was also at the top of the page, tucked down in a thread "Options" drop down. It's basic location has not changed. We'll give it some thought to see if there is some way we can make it easier to get at for some of the longer threads.

    In the previous interface, after clicking "Submit" the focus in the window was usually moved back up to the first message. So the buttons were in the right place as I rarely move a message without first informating the op as to why I'm doing so. In this newer version, without the sliding editor window, that's not the case. Given that the editor window appears under the message to which I've clicked Reply - which may not be at the end of the message - the question of where to put these tools is somewhat difficult. Personally, I'd say at the right...

    Where I'd also want to have the Submit and Cancel buttons again. Often, I read through parts of my message (or even the original question) again before submitting, which can mean a lot more scrolling.

    3. Are you wanting to change your font sizes so you can see it easier or for the general public? Under what circumstances do you use a different font color?

    4. Quote: I recommend using quote and then editing the quoted part after the fact. We have had the feature request to highlight and then quote but it has not made it's way into the product yet.

    And now you see why I want to be able to break up quotes. Either, as Mike says, I don't need to quote an entire message. Or, as here, I want to answer single points of the message "in-line".

    There's also an issue with deleting quotes. If I'm not careful what I select before pressing delete it can take out a lot more than I intend (html structures). All too often, I have to click Cancel then start over - a waste of time.

    I have a really cool off-line reader for newsgroup work. With that, I can first select what I want to quote, then use "Reply". The software picks up only what was selected (or by default the entire message). I can even go back to the original message, select somemore, then use a command to append that as an additional quote. Very efficient :-) It's possible to live with less functionality than that, but what I currently have is less than satisfactory in my book.

    As to the topic of font formatting: It seems with each new interface you implement, the font sizes get smaller. Not everyone who works on computers has "young eyes". The screen resolution also plays a role - and those are tending to increase (making fonts appear smaller). Quite honestly, what I'm seeing today is very difficult to read (at a highish res), and the font display is anything but "smooth". This is very tiring. "Zooming" to above 100% would be a possibility, if that only worked properly. But the fonts aren't spacing optimally, and (just for example) the "Alert me" checkbox is positioned over the text, itself. The Zoom is also affecting the page layout, rather than the layout fitting itself to my browser window. As web page design and accessibility go - very low notes.

    When I use font color, I use it for emphasis or to make sure something is very visible (highlighted). I could live with background color (such as for quoting) if I can't have font color. When I need this, bold generally isn't enough contrast for my taste.

    FWIW, in the forum I moderate we don't get inundated with garishness. There is the occasional message of this type, but it's rare enough that I regret more not having the tools, and have never felt the urge to request they be removed. And most OPs who post such things usually end up toning things down as soon as they realize the forum moderation is responsive and helpful. (After all, it's more work for them to "fancy things up".)
    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 2:28 PM
  • Cindy:

    I have suggested that there be a setting in  My Settings for the default font size displayed in the editor, and another for the main part of the page. This would not alter the content, just the visible appearance for each person. [I assume this is technically feasible ...]
    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 2:39 PM
  • Cindy:

    I have suggested that there be a setting in  My Settings for the default font size displayed in the editor, and another for the main part of the page. This would not alter the content, just the visible appearance for each person. [I assume this is technically feasible ...]
    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP

    Good idea :-)

    Better, if standards were followed. But certainly "better than nothing".
    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 3:31 PM
  • I definately second the tabbing, I miss that.  Also, it seems that the editor occasionally interprets my carriage return as a paragraph start.  It's a bit awkward when trying to write code on the fly to hit enter, and have the cursor drop down two lines.
    David Morton - http://blog.davemorton.net/
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 11:14 PM
  • Yes, it looks like we have a few things to sort out with the editor, the indent is not very predictable. I seem to remember using it the other day without problems, which is why I suggested it, but now it doesn't seem to be responding as I would expect. I also would like to implement TAB. 

    David, I'm not able to repro the paragraphs on carriage returns, what browser you are using. I do like the idea of letting a user set their font size preferences and having that setting limit the per user viewing, I think that's a good idea. I've been thinking about the scrolling complaints, there are a few listed in this thread. While posting

    Regarding quote, as I have stated above, we have the ask to highlight feed the quotes, it sounds like that would certainly make things easier for people. 

    Regarding the move user interface and having to scroll, I agree the ui there needs some work. I'm not sure the 3.0 ux is the answer. Do people think that being able to set a list they usually move to and have that more readibly accessible by default, and then have the ability to dive in deeper to the rest of the big list if they need it, does this sound like it could be helpful?  Or maybe some auto complete box?


    Brent Serbus STO Forums Program Manager
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 4:11 AM
    Answerer
  • >Regarding the move user interface and having to scroll, I agree the ui there needs some work. I'm not sure the 3.0 ux is the >answer. Do people think that being able to set a list they usually move to and have that more readibly accessible by default, >and then have the ability to dive in deeper to the rest of the big list if they need it, does this sound like it could be helpful?  Or >maybe some auto complete box?


    Best: 

    would be the possibility to specify for my user code a list of forums that are to be listed in this Move box.

    In my case that would be: 

    1. all the SharePoint forums   (most of my moves are from one SP forum to another)
    2. the off-Topic forum (I help out the MSDN and TechNet Search forum - you'd be amazed about how many off-topic posts it gets)

    GAP

    3 the forums where people think it's a SharePoint product but it isn't (Search Server; PerformancePoint Server; project Server (if it had a forum - it doesn't yet; SBS - ditto)

    This third section is interesting because although there are new forums for the first two I listed, they don't appear in the present Move box, so they have to go to off-Topic. So being able to list them all (or the ones I would move too) in the Move box would be a real bonus.

    The Move box should in this case contain both TechNet and MSDN forums and should have the same contents - once defined - when accessing via both MSDN and TechNet.

    Note: I don't really need the ability to go to the full list (except when adding!) if I have all the above.

    ------------

    Good:

    Good is the v3 system. 90%+ of my moves are from one SharePoint forum to another. Thus centering on the present (incorrect) forum makes some or all of the other SP forums visible. 

    Centering would actually be a small improvement on the v3 system which as far as I can remember used to list the present forum at the bottom (or top?) of the box. Centering would make more forums in the same group visible.

    Bad: 

    Bad is what we have now !


    WSS FAQ sites: WSS 2.0: http://wssv2faq.mindsharp.com WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007: http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com
    Total list of WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 Books (including foreign language titles) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/Lists/v3%20WSS%20FAQ/V%20Books.aspx
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 5:03 AM
  • Hi Brent

    <<David, I'm not able to repro the paragraphs on carriage returns, what browser you are using.>>

    I see it, too, off-and-on. I think in the HTML editor it would be the difference between a <br> being inserted vs. a <p>. And I think that when a <br> is being inserted that's when the Indent doesn't work.

    I can't tell you when your UI code will insert the one or the other, but I suspect it may have something to do with the tags the IP is nested in at the point where Enter is pressed. When I wrote that reply to you with the quotes broken up I was having all kinds of issues with the normal editor "fighting" with the HTML editor. I had to be extremely careful and accurate while in the HTML editor, and even then I was getting odd line breaks here and there...

    <<Regarding the move user interface and having to scroll, I agree the ui there needs some work. I'm not sure the 3.0 ux is the answer. Do people think that being able to set a list they usually move to and have that more readibly accessible by default, and then have the ability to dive in deeper to the rest of the big list if they need it, does this sound like it could be helpful?  Or maybe some auto complete box?>>

    Now that I've found out I can do something like AutoComplete within the "Move" list, I can live with the current list (the problem is where I have to go to open and use it). It does help me to have the bold topic headers in that list. It would be nice to be able to "lock" the two or three forums I use most at the top (a check list kind of thing - if it's checked it's sorted to the top?). But given what turns up in the VSTO forum, I do need access to the full range of .NET Framework, Windows Forms, VB.NET and C# forums. So I wouldn't want an "exclusive" list such as Mike proposes.
    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 10:15 AM
  • Try typing the following lines:

    public class MyClass
    {
        This is a test;

    // enter was just inserted here.

    // and here

    // and here
    The only way to break the cycle is to press shift+enter. 

    I'm using Internet Explorer. 


    David Morton - http://blog.davemorton.net/
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 10:36 AM
  • One way I could repro David's problem was by bringing up the HTML editor and clicking Cancel.  The editor reverts from inserting <br /> to <p></p>.  Tested on IE7.
    Hans Passant.
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 10:59 AM
  • I found the code editor in V3 so perplexing that I always just compose code in a text editor (or Visual Studio) and paste it as text without using the code editor.

    Works for me.
    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 11:20 AM
  • Best: 

    would be the possibility to specify for my user code a list of forums that are to be listed in this Move box.


    I'd like to bring this point up again. Up until today, the forums I've tried to move messages to have come up when I've used Auto-complete in the Move or Split box. Today, I needed to specify my own forum (Visual Studio Tools for Office). I started typing, and it stuck on something else, entirely. Apparently, this AutoComplete stops as soon as it thinks it's found a match (or maybe there's a character limit)?

    In any case, I had to search and search and search in the list until I found the forum...
    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Tuesday, April 7, 2009 11:12 AM
  • I've tried to get used to it but it is a pita.  Typing the first letter of the forum name doesn't work well anymore.  Nor does Ctrl+F.  And I have to scroll the page as well as the box.  If find myself having to memorize the name of the forum category and scroll to it by hand.  Hard to make everybody happy but I'd much prefer an alphabetical list of forum names without category so that holding down the key that matches the first letter for a while works.
    Hans Passant.
    Tuesday, April 7, 2009 12:47 PM
  • I've tried to get used to it but it is a pita.  Typing the first letter of the forum name doesn't work well anymore.  Nor does Ctrl+F.  And I have to scroll the page as well as the box.  If find myself having to memorize the name of the forum category and scroll to it by hand.  Hard to make everybody happy but I'd much prefer an alphabetical list of forum names without category so that holding down the key that matches the first letter for a while works.
    Hans Passant.

    The problem with doing that, is that not all forum names give the full context of the subject. Some require that category. Also, some people only move things around within a category and would prefer (if the current forum is preselected) to have the forums categorized so that the forums they use are in close proximity.

    What would you think about using the system that is currently on the Ask A Question (i.e. new thread) page with seperate category and forum list boxes?
    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer
    Tuesday, April 7, 2009 10:22 PM
  • Odd, 3.x had them in a combo without category.  Never heard anybody complain about that.  Afaik, the real problem was IE's narrow dropdown list, making it next to impossible to accurately move anything to, say, the Smart Devices forums.

    Right now, separate category and forum names doesn't sound too appealing.  I know the forum name but not the category.  Not infrequently, I have to open the front page in a tab and use Ctrl+F to find the name.  Basically, it comes down to keyboard navigation being the key.
    Hans Passant.
    Tuesday, April 7, 2009 10:37 PM
  • I've tried to get used to it but it is a pita.  Typing the first letter of the forum name doesn't work well anymore.  Nor does Ctrl+F.  And I have to scroll the page as well as the box.  If find myself having to memorize the name of the forum category and scroll to it by hand.  Hard to make everybody happy but I'd much prefer an alphabetical list of forum names without category so that holding down the key that matches the first letter for a while works.
    Hans Passant.

    The problem with doing that, is that not all forum names give the full context of the subject. Some require that category. Also, some people only move things around within a category and would prefer (if the current forum is preselected) to have the forums categorized so that the forums they use are in close proximity.

    What would you think about using the system that is currently on the Ask A Question (i.e. new thread) page with seperate category and forum list boxes?
    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer

    The "Ask a question" format really isn't any better IMO. As Hans says, if you don't know the category... As a last resort, I use the same system he does: go to the Forum Home page, then Ctrl+F...

    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Wednesday, April 8, 2009 4:30 PM