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Date Posted: 16:22:55 09/30/04 Thu
Author: Abundance Guy
Subject: Re: The new forum really DOES NOT SUCK!
In reply to: z-dog 's message, "The new forum really DOES NOT SUCK!" on 14:57:14 09/29/04 Wed

>It is however, different. I'd like to take a few to
>refute the complaints, tell you why I like it, and
>thank the DP for the new board.
>Obviously, the more fragmented (or ordered if you
>will) nature of the new forum is a change, and it's
>not at all surprising to me that there are a variety
>of opinions on this new format, both positive and
>negative. The biggest change from an interaction
>perspective is the loss of spontaneity and
>scannability as compared with the old board. To be
>sure, itís a loss, but what have we gained?
><b>Categories and Rules Breed Order:</b> In the new
>site, topics have their own place. This makes getting
>to useful content a bit more difficult in cases like
>ďRiders and TeamsĒ vs. ďRacingĒ where thereís a lot of
>potential crossover between categories, and you might
>not want to bother to check both. But itís sooooo much
>better in the case of the doping or any other
>potentially controversial category. Gone are the
>arguments about what is and isnít appropriate to post
>on the board (it's clearly defined and posted),
>whether doping is a legitimate subject, etc. Thereís a
>place to talk about it, talk freely, and thatís that.
>There is far less noise (arguing about what is and
>isnít appropriate, name calling, etc.) and more
>substantive discussions about the topic. Thatís a huge
>improvement. As the new board matures, topic sections
>that make sense will live on (I presume) and topic
>sections that donít will fade away. <b>Net Result: Big
><b>Less Fuel for the Flame Wars:</b> Threads do not
>extend the length of the page, often with flaming
>titles, dominating the board for a number of days. The
>scannability and spontaneity which is a plus for
>seeing what topics are out there also unfortunately
>contributed immensely to the rapid-fire nature of the
>flame wars. Every person that looked at the board
>could see the flame threads. In the new world, you
>would have to drill into the topic that contained the
>(theoretical) flame war, and even then, youíd be able
>to pass over flame content very quickly (as you can
>see the full text, not just the titles) and get back
>into the meat of the conversation. Conseuently there
>has been a marked decrease in confrontational and
>flame-worthy posts. They simply donít go anywhere in
>this new format, so their number and length is
>dramatically reduced. <b>Net Result: Big
><b>Community/Accountability:</b> I like that there are
>photos of some of the crowd! Itís cool that you can
>send messages to and fro. I like that on this board
>you have to register, and the potential for people
>creating flame-only usernames is greatly minimized.
>Reduces flaming. As does the record of all the posts
>you make under your user name. As does the percentage
>of posts you place in one topic area. All this I think
>serves to passively police peopleís behaviors, as they
>have to be aware of their reputation. Much like ebayís
>ratings. Nothing like this existed on the old board.
><b>Net Result: Big Improvement.</b>
><b>Better users, better content:</b> Because of the
>specific nature of the topics and the small but
>notable extra effort it takes to drill down into a
>topic and scan it, posters tend to be a lot more
>interested in actually discussing cycling content.
>They tend to be a bit more committed to the board and
>the topics at hand. The old board was more conducive
>to people dropping in and dropping bombs. Thereís much
>less instantly visible combustible material (to feed
>the flames) now. I would speculate that the total
>number of posters has dropped. I would also speculate
>that the quality of the posts and the commitment level
>(to the good of the site) of the average poster is
>higher. More quality posters and less drop-in bombers
>is good for business. Itís better content and a better
>image for the site. Itís a trade-off versus pure page
>hit numbers, but I think thatís a pretty easy revenue
>metric to make a call on. On the new board, you have
>to want it more. <b>Net Result: Big Improvement.</b>
>I think there are some other improvements that could
>be made to the new site, like bolding topic headings I
>havenít read since my last visit (much more direct
>than interpreting icons, no matter how well rendered),
>and Iím sure there are more. But this is a platform
>that seems to me to make more sense for the long run.
>As a user for the last few years, I wholeheartedly
>welcome the change, and applaud the DP for their
>implementation efforts so far. Thanks!!
>P.S. I don't have anything to do with the DP, the
>forums, etc. Just offering an explanation of the pros
>and cons to help people understand the potential
>benefits as I see them.

Wow. That's quite a list. If the drug testers explored and disclosed things so thouroughly I think everyone would be more satisfied. I do have a question, though. I've used the "View new posts" option on the other list that everyone is raving about, but I'm not so impressed. I assume I'm doing something wrong. When I click on a thread that interests me I then find myself reading all sorts of stuff I've already heard in an effort to discover what's new. Is there a way to mark the posts you've read so that you can quickly find the new stuff? I've clicked the "View first unread post" but that always takes me to the last post in the thread, regardless of how far along I've read.

Maybe a hybred between these two sites would be possible. Imagine a forum where the current stuff is open and accessible at a glance but where each conversation eventually moves into an archive system like the new forum.

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