Brainstorm

Proposed Talk forum improvements for 2010

Posted on 2009-12-15 07:02 UTC by Randall Arnold. Status: Under consideration, Categories: maemo.org.

There's been a great deal of discussion at talk.maemo.org about the discussion forum needing a redesign and/or usability improvements.  This is your opportunity to provide guidance (no guarantee at this point though that a resource will be available-- this is just to propose ideas to start).

Feel free to add your Solution(s) for a preferred discussion layout.  Detailed outlines, flow diagrams and the like will be especially helpful in an endeavor like this, so try to represent your suggested layout(s) visually and link to your Solution(s).

Thanks!

discuss here: http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?p=428487

Solutions for this brainstorm

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Solution #1: Add checkboxes for Talk Categories for filtering New Posts

Posted on 2009-12-15 18:04 UTC by Gerald Koblentz.

The Problem

It will be easier to understand the "Solution" if you understand the specific problem it addresses. Users would like to view New Posts without having to view all the posts. So, for example, you may want to view the posts listed under the categories "Community," "Software:Applications," "OS/Platform:OS2008 / Maemo 4 / Chinook - Diablo,"  "OS/Platform:Development," "Devices:N810," and "Devices:N800" without having to wade through threads in the other (at this point) 23 Talk categories, such as "Off Topic" and "Devices:N900."

 

Solution

Filter: Implement a way to filter "Searches" by categories. New Posts is apparently a type of Search, and so it should be filterable this way.

Checkboxes: Determine the filters by checkboxes. There would be a layout of checkboxes, with one checkbox for each Talk Category. The user would check off which categories he (including, of course, "she") was interested in, and only threads in those categories would be returned by the search. If, in the scenario I set forth above in The Problem, the user checked off only those 5 categories, then when he clicked New Posts, he would get a list that included all the New Posts in those threads that were in those categories; and all other threads would be omitted from his New Posts listing.

User-Specific Filter Memory: The Forum would remember each user's last filter checkbox selection, just like it remembers what threads you have already visited. That way you would not have to re-check all the boxes for each time you click New Posts or run a search.

 

(This solution is not intended to be exclusive of other solutions. It's intended to be a part of any solution.)

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Solution #2: Handle Hardware/OS specification via tags

Posted on 2009-12-15 18:42 UTC by Joel Buursma.

At a high-level, I propose these categories (I'm open to better names):

Non-OS-specific, non-device-specific:

  • General
  • Brainstorm
  • Community
  • Off-topic

Software (OS-specific)

  • Applications
  • Multimedia
  • Games
  • Design
  • OS/Platform
  • Development
  • Alternative OS/Platforms

Hardware (device-specific)

  • Devices
  • Accessories
  • Competitors
  • Buy & Sell

Any threads created in the "Software" would need to be tagged with the OS or OS'es to which they apply:

  • Maemo 6 / Harmattan
  • Maemo 5 / Fremantle
  • Mer
  • OS2008 / Maemo 4 / Chinook - Diablo
  • OS2006 / Maemo 2 / Mistral - Scirocco - Gregale

Any threads created in the "Hardware" section would need to be tagged with the devices to which they apply:

  • Nokia N900
  • Nokia N810
  • Nokia N800
  • Nokia 770

Known issues:

  • Competitors is not necessarily device-specific unless you're comparing a competitor to a particular Nokia product, so either device should be optional or this should be moved to the first major category.
  • Alternatives is hard. If it's an alternative OS, then should it be device-specific? But if it's installed via dual-boot, then it needs software and may be OS specific.

I also propose the ability to filter new posts by hardware/OS tag. The end goal is for users to be able to know if a thread applies to their device.

 

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Solution #3: Separate Software into Categories by the OS on which it runs

Posted on 2009-12-15 18:43 UTC by Gerald Koblentz.

The Problem

Currently, Talk has a Category called Software, which has subcategories for Applications, Multimedia, Games, and Design. It does not categorize threads by whether the software runs on Diablo or Fremantle or any other OS. This causes at least two problems:

1. If you only care about, say, Diablo versions of an application, you can't look for it as a Diablo program. So, if Solution #1 (filtering by checkbox, above) were implemented with the current subcategorization of Software, you might want New Posts only about Diablo-related applications, but your New Posts search would return a list of threads that included all applications, even including threads about applications that could run only in Fremantle. There just isn't a checkbox to use now that includes Diablo and omits Fremantle.

2. You can't tell whether the software discussed in a thread is coded for one OS or another, unless someone in the thread expressly states which OS it's about. You often can't tell which OS the software is for by reading the title, either. Unless all Original Posters conscientiously state the OS (Maemo 4/Diablo or Maemo 5/Fremantle) in the title, the thread is ambiguous in a very important way ... especially considering the two OSes do not run the same software. This isn't like Windows 98 and Windows XP; this is like Windows XP and Mac OSX.

 

The Solution

Divide the Software Category in Talk by OS. This could be done different ways, but let's get to a consensus that any one of these ways (or something similar) is a good idea.

1. Make sub-categories under Software for "Fremantle" and "Diablo/Chinook". Then, under those OS Sub-Categories, make subcategories for Applications, Multimedia, Games, and Design. Or ...

2. Keep the current subcategories for Applications, Multimedia, Games, and Design; and under each of those create OS categories for Fremantle and for Diablo/Chinook. Or ...

3. Do the same thing as in #1 or #2 but reduce Applications, Multimedia, Games, and Design to just "Games" and "Other Applications and Software." Or ...

4. Eliminate distinctions for Applications, Multimedia, Games, and Design and simply divide up Software into Fremantle and Diablo/Chinook.

As you can see, the solution does not much care how Software is set up, so long as the set-up makes categorical OS distinctions.

"Other OSes" as an Issue

Pre-Chinook can just go into Old for now.

Harmattan. When Harmattan gets applications, another category (or set of categories) for Harmattan can be created, just like the Diablo/Chinook and Fremantle categories. And then there will be three instead of two OS categories under Software (like in #1) or under each of Software's Sub-Categories (as in #2).

Harmattan + 1: Same thing, another category or set of categories will be added, and everything else can stay the same. So then there will be four, clearly defined OS categories. It's simple and everything has its place. If Harmattan +1 turns out to be compatible with Harmattan, then maybe those should be in the same category and another category need not be created. But as long as the OSes are incompatible, each gets its own category.

Mer: If Mer is to operate as I understand it, it will run Fremantle software. So there is no need for a Mer category in Software at all. If Mer turns out different than that, well ... let's cross that bridge when we actually get there (unless someone has contradictory knowledge that includes a firm roadplan for Mer).

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Solution #4: Handle Hardware/OS via sub-categories

Posted on 2009-12-16 05:22 UTC by FatalSaint Alucard.

At a top level I propose the forum structured in this way.  There is some redundancy in the sub-categories of OS's, however it doesn't require users to put specific tags - and doesn't clutter one sub-category with several different OS' software. A user simply picks the OS they are in, and then makes a post under the applicable sub-category.

General

  • General
  • Brainstorm
  • Community
  • Off-topic

Operating System (Software)

  • Maemo 6 / Harmattan
    • Applications
    • Multimedia
    • Games
    • Development
  • Maemo 5 / Fremantle
    • Applications
    • Multimedia
    • Games
    • Development
  • Mer (Optional: this should eventually merge with Maemo 5)
    • Applications
    • Multimedia
    • Games
    • Development
  • OS2008 / Maemo 4 / Chinook - Diablo
    • Applications
    • Multimedia
    • Games
    • Development
  • OS2006 / Maemo 2 / Mistral - Scirocco - Gregale
    • Applications
    • Multimedia
    • Games
    • Development

Hardware

  • Devices
    • N900
    • N810
    • N800
    • N770
  • Accessories
  • Competitors
  • Buy & Sell

This structure, along with an ability to select individual categories to show in the "New Posts" search will allow users to go directly to a software or OS of their choice and see only the software or OS that they want without the need for special search strings or trying to sift through the possibly hundreds of different tags to find the necessary ones.

Known Issues:

  • Applications could potentially fall under multiple categories.
  • Issues could be inside the software or OS, but specific to a certain device hardware.  (IE: incorrect key mappings for the N810 keyboard, which N800 users wouldn't notice.)
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Solution #5: Modify Advanced Search to Allow Null Keyword

Posted on 2009-12-16 21:02 UTC by Dave Pat.

Advanced Search provides a great many options which can restrict searches regardless of how the forums are restructured. Except that it does not allow searches on a null or * keyword. This should be replaced with a max records returned limit or no limit.

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Solution #6: Make it Device Specific at the Top

Posted on 2009-12-16 22:39 UTC by Dave Pat.

I agree with the previous solutions that stress the OS but I don't think they go far enough. Everything should be OS specific. I would also move the General category to the bottom in order to discourage newcomers from posting in the general forum rather than in the appropriate forum. To wit:

 

Devices and Operating System

  • N900 / Maemo 5 / Fremantle
    • N900 hardware and operating system
    • Applications
    • Multimedia
    • Games
    • Development
  • N810,N800 / OS2008 / Maemo 4 / Chinook - Diablo
    • N800 / N810 hardware and operating system
    • Applications
    • Multimedia
    • Games
    • Development
  • Future / Maemo 6 / Harmattan
    • Applications
    • Multimedia
    • Games
    • Development
  • Mer (Optional: this should eventually merge with Maemo 5)
    • Applications
    • Multimedia
    • Games
    • Development
  • N770 / OS2006 / Maemo 2 / Mistral - Scirocco - Gregale
    • Applications
    • Multimedia
    • Games
    • Development

General

  • General
  • Brainstorm
  • Community
  • Off-topic
  • Other Hardware
    • Accessories
    • Competitors
    • Buy & Sell

 

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Solution #7: Tags, in addition to most of the above solutions.

Posted on 2009-12-18 06:47 UTC by J G.

Threads can be tagged by any user

Any user can create Tags

Tagging is not anonymous - Any user Tagging a thread is listed next to the tag

Tags can be added or removed dynamically via the search results UI

 

The categories/tags discussion is not an either/or proposition.  Users should be able to find the content they want however they are most comfortable. This includes scoping the content to show only what they are after.

 

<link to comment in thread for further discussion pending>

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