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I've very taken with the courtesy and attentiveness of your replies. Okay - I'll write a bit more.

About the reply box, I find it annoying to use. First, it's too small. Second, I see no point to the supposed "preview" below; it looks exactly the same, and the movement is distracting. Third, contrary to what you said, it does not seem to show what the post will look like. (I experimentally bolded, and it showed up as italics.)

The problem with the word "articles" is that it already means something. For most of us, I think it means a fairly substantial piece of coherent writing to make a substantive point, by a professional writer. Some websites have forums that are really just add-ons to a site where the main function is to post articles. I think the word "articles" here may be confusing or intimidating. Most people are posting quick questions or informal rants, not "articles."

I wasn't suggesting that the Geek Lounge be re-named. I was really thinking more that maybe there should be a Geek Lounge that was about casual geeky posts related to computers-tech-internet, and then a separate forum for totally off-topic subjects. In other words, the Geek Lounge would be for questions like "Are you concerned about Net Neutrality?" or "Are you an early adoptor of new electronic gizmos?" - and then the Real World Non-Tech forum would have questins like the current ones about pets and music and atheists. Maybe it would be nice to have an internet-politics forum, or a travel forum or a work issues forum. That's an example of what I meant by maybe splintering the forums further.

Also, I'm thinking lately that threads should have a cap. To me, the idea of a thread with 900 replies is ridiculous.

My point about "new" is, really, what is "new"? A week old? A month old? If I haven't read it, but it's a year old, is it still new? Doesn't it imply that new is better?

To me, "reply to this article" vs. "submit this reply" isn't splitting hairs. The first is what you click on to start, and the second would be what you click on when you're done.

Yes, I think the "blackout" is the "fade effect."

I just found an example of what I meant by overly splintered. I see that someone wrote in the Storage forum about needing to recover lost data. But it doesn't look like there's much traffic in that forum, so who knows when he'll get an answer. Maybe something like that should be folded into a more general repair fourm.

It would also be good to have a single listing of all forums without having to check all the pull-down menus.

Sorry, but not only can I not provide screenshots, but I don't even know what was going on before to try to reproduce it.

Anyway, thanks again for taking this seriously.

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REMOVE THE (EXPLETIVE DELETED BY ADMIN) FORMATTING.

It is too annoying. Or at least give people a option of "text only": When Im copying and pasting something I complains about unformatted text or something like that.

It is very very annoying. Give people options and dont force them.

Edited by happygeek: please keep it pleasant

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About the reply box, I find it annoying to use. First, it's too small. Second, I see no point to the supposed "preview" below; it looks exactly the same, and the movement is distracting. Third, contrary to what you said, it does not seem to show what the post will look like. (I experimentally bolded, and it showed up as italics.)

The editor should grow vertically as you type (or paste). Are you talking about the horizontal size? There have been complaints that it doesn't match the size of the post window, though I'm not sure if Dani has gotten to that in her list of things to do. Or it may be that the editor and live preview boxes aren't easily made dynamic, since the post window is relative to your browser's current width.

Would you mind sending me a PM with that bold/italic experiment? While the font may be inaccurate if you're in the middle of typing due to the boundary characters not being complete, the live preview and final result should match exactly once everything is formatted for submittal.

The editor itself is my current headache. We're using CodeMirror as the back end for the editor, and it's finicky at best. ;) I've been working feverishly to bring the editor's highlighting in line with the live preview and final post, but it's somewhat slow going.

The problem with the word "articles" is that it already means something. For most of us, I think it means a fairly substantial piece of coherent writing to make a substantive point, by a professional writer. Some websites have forums that are really just add-ons to a site where the main function is to post articles. I think the word "articles" here may be confusing or intimidating. Most people are posting quick questions or informal rants, not "articles."

That's a fair point, and I don't disagree.

I wasn't suggesting that the Geek Lounge be re-named. I was really thinking more that maybe there should be a Geek Lounge that was about casual geeky posts related to computers-tech-internet, and then a separate forum for totally off-topic subjects. In other words, the Geek Lounge would be for questions like "Are you concerned about Net Neutrality?" or "Are you an early adoptor of new electronic gizmos?" - and then the Real World Non-Tech forum would have questins like the current ones about pets and music and atheists. Maybe it would be nice to have an internet-politics forum, or a travel forum or a work issues forum. That's an example of what I meant by maybe splintering the forums further.

We had something like that before, but scrapped it in favor of posting directly to the Community Center instead of as a subforum, IIRC. However, you can't have it both ways. We can splinter the forums more, or we can splinter them less. Splitting the Geeks' Lounge into a tech talk forum and a true miscellaneous forum would be splintering further, and we're already at the limit, in my opinion.

In fact, we're moving more toward a tagging system to alleviate the splintering.

Also, I'm thinking lately that threads should have a cap. To me, the idea of a thread with 900 replies is ridiculous.

Generally only game threads and threads on religion reach such high numbers. And often the latter will be locked before they reach a ridiculous post count due to flaming. I don't see any benefit, since the practical result would be multiple threads where the first post links to the previous capped thread. This increases confusion and effort for all parties.

My point about "new" is, really, what is "new"? A week old? A month old? If I haven't read it, but it's a year old, is it still new? Doesn't it imply that new is better?

In order of questions asked: New is new posts since you last visited the thread or marked the it as read. Yes. Yes. Yes. Not really, unless we're accounting for people new to computers, the internet, and forums in toto. Given the subject nature of Daniweb, I'd say it's safe to assume a relatively computer literate audience. ;)

Riddle me this: if we used picture-based icons or a simple color change for the read status, would you still be have an issue? Is it the word "new" itself or the different icon that's problematic here?

To me, "reply to this article" vs. "submit this reply" isn't splitting hairs. The first is what you click on to start, and the second would be what you click on when you're done.

Also a fair point.

Yes, I think the "blackout" is the "fade effect."

I'm not sure what the rationale behind that one is, so I'll defer to Dani.

I just found an example of what I meant by overly splintered. I see that someone wrote in the Storage forum about needing to recover lost data. But it doesn't look like there's much traffic in that forum, so who knows when he'll get an answer. Maybe something like that should be folded into a more general repair fourm.

We're phasing in the tagging system to help with this issue. Technically the tagging system has been present for years, it just wasn't heavily used. Ideally we'd eliminate the more specialized and less active forums in favor of top level threads tagged appropriately.

I agree completely about the splintering you're talking about, but it wouldn't be a good idea either in terms of SEO or community impression to kill a bunch of forums quickly. ;) Rest assured we also see it as an issue and are working on migrating into a (hopefully!) appropriate solution.

It would also be good to have a single listing of all forums without having to check all the pull-down menus.

You and me both! In fact, I'm pretty much the sole reason why you'll see a full listing of forums on the right hand column of the home page. Dani got tired of my whining about it and added a one stop view. ;)

I'd also be thrilled to see a forum read status marker on the drop down menus, but that's not exactly a practical feature. :(

Sorry, but not only can I not provide screenshots, but I don't even know what was going on before to try to reproduce it.

No worries. If you encounter it again and can remember what you did to reach that point, just shoot me a PM with the reproduction steps and I'll look into the issue.

Anyway, thanks again for taking this seriously.

Thanks for the great suggestions. :D

REMOVE THE (EXPLETIVE DELETED BY ADMIN) FORMATTING.

It is too annoying. Or at least give people a option of "text only": When Im copying and pasting something I complains about unformatted text or something like that.

The formatting error is probably due to a code check when there's not really any code. Occasionally there seems to be a false positive when checking for indentation, but unfortunately I don't have any solid cases where it always happens. If you could send me some reproduction steps through PM I'll see if I can fix that particular bug. Regardless, removing formatting wouldn't accomplish diddly for avoiding that error since it's a completely separate check.

Now, by removing the formatting do you mean highlighting in the editor or all formatting in the final post? I too would like an option to disable formatting in the editor, but I'm having trouble convincing Dani of its usefulness. ;)

As far as no formatting in the final post, that would be exceptionally difficult given that we store the contents of a post as raw text with the Markdown characters. To view posts as unformatted would mean either removing the Markdown characters entirely, or simply viewing the raw text. The former might be problematic; I'd need to look through the Markdown parser to see what kind of effort would be involved in removing the formatting characters while preserving the desired text. The latter wouldn't be any better than now as posts would be somewhat hard to read since Markdown wasn't designed as a human consumable raw format. It's better than BBCode, but still designed to be parsed away.

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The editor should grow vertically as you type (or paste)
It does not grow veritically for me, it skitters and shakes when I reach the bottom of the textbox. As for articles, webecedarian makes a good point, I had no idea what this forum meant by ariticles. I originally thought that if I created my own article that I would have to create some sort of paper or something like I do in university. Are they called articles in order to differentiate between this and other .NET forums?

I really like this site, I like the layout and the ease of jumping around the forum. I don't understand what the big deal is about linking to crossposts on other sites though. Is it a competition thing? I'm seeing this type of rule being implemented on another site that I used go to because they feel threatened by linking to "competition". These are free help forums are they not? Why is there so much perceived competition? To add to that, if a person comes here first, and then is rerouted to another site where the answer exists, doesn't this site still get a hit in its counts? I moderated a forum for about a year and in that time, everyone that I had suggested a link to always came back to thank me (or other members of course) for the link that solved their problems. Now that site has made some big changes in order to be competitive to other sites. This (amongst other reasons) created an exodus of senior members as well as most of the moderators to quit. Like I said, there were other reasons for the exodus of members but the prohibiting linking to solutions on another site had its affect on us. Anyhow, this is not a huge issue but it is still one that I am unable to understand.

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I don't understand what the big deal is about linking to crossposts on other sites though.

There's no problem with linking to other sites/forums as long as it's an informative and relevant link that isn't spam. What gave you the impression that such things aren't allowed on Daniweb?

If you're talking about someone who posted a question on one forum and then links to that thread on umpteen other forums before getting an answer on any of them, many people find this practice offensive. The similar practice of copy-pasting a question on every forum one can find is also often considered extremely rude, and could potentially violate our copyright rule depending on how the other forums claim ownership of post contents.

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Hopefully this adds rather than derails the thread. I'll stick them here rather than start new threads. Hopefully this is pertinent to this thread, though it might be more under "How do we retain the veterans?" Attracting newbies and retaining veterans need not be conflicting goals and the points below could apply to both. Well, maybe not point one.

  • One, every time you upgrade, inevitably the old posts no longer parse correctly with the smily faces, list items, etc. As a result, once again, a bunch of old posts that looked just great now look terrible. I think I have a solution. Simply look a the post date and select a parsing / rendering scheme based on that date. That shouldn't be all that much work I would think. You have the old code that parsed the old posts. I know next to nothing about the parsing mechanism, but I imagine you have raw text stored in a database, you query the database, then pass that raw text to a parsing / rendering function and it returns the rendered text with fonts, formatting, etc, and renders it to the browser. Perhaps check the post time and based on that, pass the raw text to the appropriate parsing / rendering function. I don't know if it's that easy or not, but if it is, it's worth doing so the old posts don't look ugly. It's discouraging to spend time making a post look nice, then a new mark-up / down makes it look terrible.
  • Don't parse real-time. Have people type into a text box, then have a preview button that they can press to see what it will look like. I don't know how anyone else's computer works, but for me, the parser can't keep up with my typing. It's faster to type it in raw, then hit a preview button.
  • I may be missing it, but in the old days, I could see whether anyone else was currently looking at a thread. If someone like, say, Narue, was looking at a thread, I didn't bother answering, figuring she had it covered and my advice would look frankly dumb by comparison. Now I find myself answering threads only to find out that mike_2000_17 was answering at the same time. Just substitute him for Narue in the previous sentence. It would be nice to see if someone else was viewing the thread to avoid duplication.

Edited by VernonDozier

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@deceptikon, I started a thread here and after some time with no response I posted the same question at one other .NET site. After doing so I was told by poojavb that I was breaking daniweb rules. It's not really a huge issue to me but it is what I am used to regarding forum policies on cross posting (always cross post).

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After doing so I was told by poojavb that I was breaking daniweb rules.

I'm not 100% sure that poojavb was referring to the cross post link, but regardless I don't see anything wrong in that thread. If you ever have any questions about interpretations of the rules or if you've done something you think might be a violation, don't hesitate to contact myself, happygeek, ~s.o.s~, or any of the moderators. We'll be happy to clarify things for you.

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He must have been referring to it as it was the only link in that thread. Thanks though for OK'ing me to contact you if I am unsure about things.

EDIT: I guess he could have been referring to the link in my code. I never thought of that. I'm going to slap a big "DUH" on my head under my dunce cap for being a tool! :)

Edited by Stuugie

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After most of the weekend away from the computer, everyone else (deceptikon, especially) seems to have responded to everything the exact way that I would have, so I can't really find a lot that I need to add. I assume that by "blackout" he's referring to when the ads are hovered over. Additionally, some of the more splintered forums (i.e. Storage) still get traffic since everything posted in them appears within their parent categories, such as Hardware and Software or PC Hardware.

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Oh, and deceptikon ... they are referring to how the flag to mark articles new is buggy and incorrect.

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almost all of my complaints have been mentioned in this thread, mostly the new coding bugs. however,(of course) a few have not been mentioned:
1.searching for a topic within DW has never been easy, i can't think of the words to describe, but noobs keep posting the same questions over and over, but i do a search and nothing found(even though i know they exist!)
2.bugs,bugs,bugs, doesn't bother me personally, but it may seem unprofessional to noobs.
    a.when i logout, it logs me out, but then says "you're not allowed to do that!", what is that?
    b.too many hover pop-ups sometimes cause clumsy clicking 
    c. compatibility view makes things worse
    d.i'd suggest more QA testing(on ALL browsers, in a sandbox) before implementing upgrades. and i'm not talking about automated testing, maybe recruit members directly to do QA. reporting bugs is not fun unless you enjoy it.
3.i had some more issues, but i forgot them, maybe i'll remember if/when they happen again.
    a. as i tried to post this, i was informed that my code snippet is formatted incorrectly. automation is killing education!
well, there's my two cents, don't spend it all in one place! haha
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We use Google search to power our internal search feature, so there's nothing we can do to improve the search results. No algorithm I can ever possibly come up with can ever beat Google's!

We're of course working as fast as possible to squash bugs. We usually tackle the big bugs within hours of discovery.

When you log out, it returns you to the page you were just on. If you're on a page only accessible to logged in members (such as editing your profile or private messages), and then click on logout, it takes you back to that page, but you no longer can see it so it says you're not allowed to do that.

What hover popups are you talking about?

The problem with QA testing is that there is only so much that we can do in a sandboxed environment. We DO it already, but 99.9999999% of bugs are things that could not potentially be discovered in a sandboxed environment, unfortunately (most recently things related to our server load during certain times of the day, for example).

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wow i found another 2 cents in the air...how about like an IT trivia section for noobs only? trivia could come from commonly asked questions that are so annoying(to some)....it would need guaranteed rep pts. for first correct or best/first answer. and harder trivia could reward more extra bonus pts. m
the details are up to y'all, but i think maybe like once or thrice a day at random times would be good....

-edit- popups maybe not the correct term(can't think of at moment) but i do like the mouse hover to see the first few thread lines, but they don't stay up long enough to read.
the voting comment hover is what gets in my way the most, along with of course, the blackout effect of the ads. but i can live with the ads...

Edited by skilly: response

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i do like the mouse hover to see the first few thread lines, but they don't stay up long enough to read.

Ah, those are the browser tooltips. They stay up as long as you don't move your mouse ... either way, it's a browser feature, so each browser treats them slightly differently (and it may actually be a configurable setting).

We're starting with the code snippet contest, but plan on getting into more different types of contests if it goes well, potentially with multiple contests going on at once. Trivia could be one of them :)

You can turn the ads off in your member profile if you'd like :)

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and also thanks for changing the logout action, now it logs out and stays on the page you are on.

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I didn't change the logout action? It stayed on the page you were on all along.

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The formatting error is probably due to a code check when there's not really any code. Occasionally there seems to be a false positive when checking for indentation, but unfortunately I don't have any solid cases where it always happens. If you could send me some reproduction steps through PM I'll see if I can fix that particular bug. Regardless, removing formatting wouldn't accomplish diddly for avoiding that error since it's a completely separate check. Now, by removing the formatting do you mean highlighting in the editor or all formatting in the final post? I too would like an option to disable formatting in the editor, but I'm having trouble convincing Dani of its usefulness. ;) As far as no formatting in the final post, that would be exceptionally difficult given that we store the contents of a post as raw text with the Markdown characters. To view posts as unformatted would mean either removing the Markdown characters entirely, or simply viewing the raw text. The former might be problematic; I'd need to look through the Markdown parser to see what kind of effort would be involved in removing the formatting characters while preserving the desired text. The latter wouldn't be any better than now as posts would be somewhat hard to read since Markdown wasn't designed as a human consumable raw format. It's better than BBCode, but still designed to be parsed away.

Here is a great example: I click in the quick reply box and it automatically pastes what I had copied on my clipboard which has your post. That isnt NORMAL in any forum and is annoying most of the time. Give a option to allow this type of actions OR, just maybe, do like every other forum and allow it to be turned off and have the user MANUALLY put in the tags.

Speaking on tags, "tab" is universally used to move. As a matter of fact, Im not sure if its even legal because someone with disabilities that cannot use the mouse cannot use your site......I hit tab about 5 times and it made a stupid formatting which I have no idea what it means.

Also great quoting but WHO am I quoting? Most forums have the option to include the user your quoting's name or remove it.

Why when I type a math formula such as 2 * 2 does everything become italics? Again NOT NORMAL*

Try putting /**/ and then something between. The cursor does some weird next line stuff. And this is all bolded what Im typing when the post isnts in bold

Why cant I use tags like [QUOTE][/QUOTE] Why does the first quote turn blue and the second turn red? Quoting Rainbow Man: What does it mean?

Stop, just stop. If people like the new (messed up) system, let them use it. BUT allow people to use the normal forum way. And let people write in raw text if they want to. You can use some weird "Markup" such as <id span="rawtexftw"> (Again as I typed that green, red, and blue.....going to give me a epileptic attack) and when it detects that it can simply type out text.

Daniweb is just getting annoying to post; There are types I actually DONT post anymore because its annoying to make a post, with all the copying, pasting, number lines, etc etc.....

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Just tell it like it is riahc3, don't hold back. :)

The autoquote thing - I agree annoying. If I select text in a post for copying, because I want to modify the code block, I get the darned quote once I click in the editor (ctrl+Z works to get rid of it) - annoying.
The tab I like - more like a coding IDE - substsantially better than having to indent each individual line with spaces when you realise that you need to place an outer conditional or tag around the code!
I also agree with your autopreview remarks - confusing - a click to show preview (show on click, hide on next action) at that point in time may be better.
However, that doesn't stop me from contributing to what I consider to be an amazing forum. I doubt whether these features will be removed though - I think the number of users complaining about it are quite small.

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The thing I am MOST annoyed about is no choice. Being forced into this. Thats what pisses me off.

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Well the entire platform that powers the site changed. DaniWeb used to be powered by the vBulletin forum system, and we aren't anymore. So it's not like we just reskinned the site and aren't giving the option of "choose the old skin or choose the new skin". It's not feasable to say "choose if you want your post to be parsed with BBCode or with Markdown."

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"choose if you want your post to be parsed with BBCode or with Markdown."

True. But an option in your profile to disable the preview and one to disable auto pasting would be very welcomed.

Votes + Comments
Excellent suggestion
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I copy and pasted a code right now and had to remove comments. I COULDNT. The editor erased the line above when the line selected as another one.

Well, if you arent powered by vBulletin, you have two choices:

1: Switch back (which was perfected: If it aint broke, dont fix it)
2: Modify it. Im sure that whatever system you have HAS to have a option to modify this.

Here is a list of forum packages (in PHP since vBulletin was based on it and I dont think you guys would change)....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Internet_forum_software_(PHP)

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You didn't use the link mechanism for the link you posted, that's why it is broken. For the link, you should have used this:

[the link name](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Internet_forum_software_(PHP))

which produces the link name, and it is not broken. You can also use the link button of the editor by selecting the link name, clicking the Link button, and entering the URL. This is just as easy, if not easier than it was before, it also encourages giving names to links as opposed to just dumping the URL in the middle of the post. But I guess this minor issue could be solved by disabling markup when a link is detected (from http://).

I suggest you read the formatting help page, because the new markup system is very nice to use compared to the old BBCODE, once you get to know it (and it is also more in harmony with markups used in other forums).

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Here is a great example: I click in the quick reply box and it automatically pastes what I had copied on my clipboard which has your post. That isnt NORMAL in any forum and is annoying most of the time. Give a option to allow this type of actions OR, just maybe, do like every other forum and allow it to be turned off and have the user MANUALLY put in the tags.

I'm down with providing the auto-quote feature as an option, if Dani approves.

Why when I type a math formula such as 2 * 2 does everything become italics? Again NOT NORMAL*

You might want to read up on Markdown formatting. Note that we switched from BBCode to Markdown, and * is the starting character for italics. If it bothers you in the editor, you can escape that character with a backslash and it won't be highlighted.

Try putting /**/ and then something between. The cursor does some weird next line stuff. And this is all bolded what Im typing when the post isnts in bold

Once again, read up on Markdown. Double asterisks are the starting sequence for bold. And once again, you can use a backslash to escape the starting sequence so that it won't be highlighted in the editor.

Why cant I use tags like [QUOTE][/QUOTE] Why does the first quote turn blue and the second turn red? Quoting Rainbow Man: What does it mean?

Markdown parses the square brackets as a starting sequence for a URL. The two parts of the URL (the display text and the link itself) are colored blue and red, respectively.

Please don't take this the wrong way, because I've been told I sometimes unintentionally phrase things in an offensive way, but the majority of your complaints so far stem from not learning how to use the new system. It's akin to complaining about an Apple computer because you're used to Windows; learn how to use the new system and then complain.

You're far too irate for issues where the answer amounts to "learn Markdown".

I copy and pasted a code right now and had to remove comments. I COULDNT. The editor erased the line above when the line selected as another one.

That's a bug, we're aware of it and working on the editor.

Well, if you arent powered by vBulletin, you have two choices:

1: Switch back (which was perfected: If it aint broke, dont fix it)
2: Modify it. Im sure that whatever system you have HAS to have a option to modify this.

  1. Switching back is not an option. vBulletin was both woefully inadequate for Daniweb's needs and completely cracked by spam bots, the latter being a primary reason why we pushed to get the new system in place before the site was completely killed by them. Yes, it was that bad.

  2. The system we have was written by us (Dani and myself), so we can certainly modify it. But no matter what we do, the user experience won't satisfy everyone. We're unlikely to try being everything to everyone when it comes to features and configurability. If you have a feature you'd like to see, by all means ask for it. I can't guarantee that we'll implement it in the exact form you want, or even at all, but we'll definitely consider it.

Look! The link above breaks and it is a normal link......

Parentheses in URLs are notoriously problematic for linkify algorithms. The regular expression we're presently using is ((?:https?|ftp)://[^\s\'"<>()]+). You'll notice that parens are specifically disallowed, which means something like (http://www.google.com) will be parsed correctly. If we naively allowed parens then the closing paren from wrapping the URL would be mistakenly encoded as part of the URL and it would be a broken link.

As it turns out, it's not possible to properly handle embedded parentheses and the closing paren in a URL without extra logic (at least not for me). A single regex match just doesn't cut it. So there are three options:

  1. Disallow parens even though they're legal URL characters.
  2. Naively allow parens and suffer the consequences of parsing errors.
  3. Write the special logic to handle parens.

The library we use has taken the approach of option 1 (note that we didn't write it, we're just consuming it). I'll look into extending the algorithm to support embedded parentheses without breaking the use case of a paren wrapped URL.

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Having more options in the profile page, as Pritaeas suggests in his last post may have some legs? Turning off the wysiwyg preview below the editor and the live wysiwyg in the editor itself may be an attractive feature. Something I would certainly welcome. I don't want to disparage all the hard work gone into cutomizing this editor, but I'm getting less enamoured with it by the day.

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