forums: default template needs some loving (latest post, forum selector)
1. Get the Latest Post quickly ------------------------------
latest post on the 1st topic page is definitely not enough for the Simple, Fast, Elegant and what’s more important Usable forums navigation:
there are quite a few multy-page topics here, to reach the latest post one has to go topic’s 1st page — this both inconvinent for forum regulars tracking such topics and imples redundant load on server.
this can be sorted extermely easy way: just modify default bbPress template a bit so the Latest Discussions and Forums list tables have
* either add another column titled ‘Latest Post’ containing such link,
* or just turn ‘Freshness’ column values into clickable links to the latest topic post (with an apropriate :visited style):
it’s about 1 (one) copy-pasted (there’s no apropriate hook) line of code — 2 minutes of work.
2. Jump to another forum quickly --------------------------------
bread-crumbs on top of the topic page is definitely not enough for the Simple, Fast, Elegant and what’s more important Usable forums navigation:
there are quite a few long topic pages (bbPress paginates topic on every 10 posts by default). so, if one would like to quick jump to another forum they have to scroll up to the top of topic page, then go to forums FrontPage, then scroll down ‘Latest Discussions’ list to the bottom of page to reach forum list, and only then they’re able to select desired forum.
there’s also another isuue: sometimes, when people landed to reply the topic from the ‘Latest Discussions’ list they just don’t see which particular forum original topic was filed in (e.x. Ideas) and hence gives strange to OPs replies.
this is also can be sorted very easy: there must be at least a forum selector form, showing current forum name, somewhere just above the Footer: about 5 lines of code — ~5 minutes of work.
3. Easy markup --------------
having to use HTML markup each time just to emphase, quote, link etc is not exactly a very Simple, Fast and Elegant way to do it.
afaik, there’s a plugin which uses A.King’s ‘Quick Tags’, but something which doesn’t requires JS i.e. simplified text markup would be even cooler (such as markdown or texy).
Yes. I’ll second the first two ideas. I’d been thinking about the first myself actually.
For the third idea, why not use BBCode? Everyone knows that.
BBCode is lame just as well as all web-based message boards it’s been devised and used from (phpBB) because of it syntax.
I cant’s see any significant difference in easyness when typing between:
[i]italicized text[/i] or <em>italicized text</em> [quote]quoted text[/quote] or <blockquote>quoted text</blockquote>
compare it with:
*italicized text* becomes: italicized text
>quoted text becomes:
and so on.
[ ] doesn’t require pressing shift, < > does. [i] is shorter than < em >, [b] is much shorter than < strong >, etc.
BBCode seems to me to be the most common form of markup on web forums.
What’s this about web forums being lame? We’re using one right here, aren’t we?
Either BBCode or HTML. The problem with things like an asterisk or other symbols is it’s arbitrary and would require the poster to remember what each means or look them up on a chart. BBCode is prolific and used in many different forums. So much that most websites provide the necessary BBCode for hotlinking, etc. Also, people tend to know it by heart.
HTML is, well, HTML, so no extra training is needed. Also, your idea of asterisk for italics is incorrect. Asterisks around text tends to translate into Bold in most software (especially Microsoft Office).
I do agree with the Latest Post thing, though. Especially in the Off Topic forum it’s annoying to have to click on the link, then hunt down the last page number and click it.
And as far as how many keystrokes something takes: That’s what touch-typing is for.
he-he, following this way ‘*’ is shorter than ‘[i]’, ‘>’ is much shorter than ‘[quote]’ etc… ;-)
as for web-fora it is a rather long story and would be kinda an off-topic here anyway. perhaps, I’ll solicit myself to blog about it.
* they’re good at searching archived topics and accessing ’em from random places (cybercafe, library) — i.e. where web is generally good and what it was designed for; these are only advantages of http://fora over NNTP news://groups without a web-frontend.
* they are bad for people who are on dial-up or paying per KB traffic (like over GPRS).
APPEND: just saw abbyd’s reply
>Also, your idea of asterisk for italics is incorrect.
it’s not mine. it’s been used for something like 20 years already in the e-mail and news.
> Asterisks around text tends to translate into Bold in most software (especially Microsoft Office).
omg, Microsoft Office… they’d better use **bold** for that. anyway, Borg Office’s problems don’t seem to have anything with bbPress — it’s supposed to be accessed by browser, isn’t it?
asterisks could be escaped
quick tags would be a good start already.
There’s also the common practice of using *text* to denote an action or mood. That’d conflict with using *s for italics.
I seem to recall /text/ as signifying italics though, way back when there was hardly any web to speak of, not *text*.
I am really \*confused\*
by such a terrible confilct that prevents denoting an action (or what’s even more important) a mood, which are absolutely required to be denoted so frequently that escaping asterisks by backslashes is so annoying. \*kidding\*
ok, let it be underscores, whatever ;-)
geek speak is sooo very stimulating — the fan goes wild … \*rotflol*/
tt to escape you need the backslash eg \*. :)
Best headline I ever saw was on Fark:
It was a shark story.
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