Here are my thoughts and a few suggestions for those that are finding the forum difficult to navigate or feel like you might be missing something.
First of all here’s what I really like about it:
- No character limit. We don’t have to talk in stunted ‘text speak’ to get our point across. Full sentences are awesome!
- Formatting, emoticons, tagging, and private messages. How many times have we had to bump a thread all day to make sure that one particular user found it? And even little things like making this list!
- By using the ‘latest’ option I can see all of the posts, regardless of their category, in order from the most recently made or commented and going back from there. This is nearly the equivalent of how we see it on the other chat. The main difference is that you do have to click on the thread to see what its about versus being able to see the topiic and the last few comments. I don’t find this an issue, but I can understand why some wouldn’t care for this.
- I can follow a post whether or not I’ve commented on it, by either starring the conversation or marking it as tracked. It removes the need for all of the SFL posts.
- The search feature is really handy. At least it will be once we do have the majority of users contributing all of their useful information over here. And it’s not so that we can just say, “did you search for that?”, to people asking a question, but rather we can search and help them out with the information.
- We can link to an individual post or even comment on a post. I think this will be immensely helpful when we refer to a piece of information previously posted.
- Probably my favorite feature is the unread link at the top. Sometimes I don’t have a lot of time to go through all of the latest posts and just want to check on the threads I’ve been active in. This link shows me any of the previous threads I’ve been tracking or have commented in that have been updated. It’s like ‘My Chats’ except it filters out all of the conversations that haven’t changed since the last time I checked them. How many times have you noticed hours or even days later that someone had commented on a previous thread and you missed it because it was buried pages into your ‘My Chats’ section?
At first I felt a little overwhelmed navigating the site. It was formatted in a way that seemed strange to me even compared to other forums. I quickly learned though that using the latest and new tab I can see all of the most recently created and updated threads. I can use the unread tab to see my own active threads and keep up to date with conversations i’m participating in. Using these tabs, the categories are nothing more than descriptors and I’m not having to go into each category one at a time to look at new threads, and I’m not missing anything.
Here’s the things I think need to be improved.
- There needs to be a mobile version that is low bandwidth. While it isn’t a problem for me because i’d much rather look at a laptop than a phone, I understand now that a lot of people are the opposite. Until yesterday I had no idea just how attached some people are with their phones. And I want there to be a site that is reliable so that everyone can participate.
- I hope we will get more participation. I was actually pretty pleased to see how many were using it yesterday considering it was the first real day of use. I think there were a couple of things keeping that from happening. One was several people simply couldn’t get it to load on their phones. Mostly iPhone users, although, some on iPhone’s reported no issues. I do, however, think that some people are simply resistant to change and have decided to dislike it before they really even give it a serious try. The mob mentality that started to develop yesterday certainly didn’t help things. People who ordinarily might have tried it with an open mind saw the people that they chat with every day railing against it and their opinion had been swayed before they even saw it. I’m hoping that as they continue to improve things that will change.
That’s really the two major improvements I think need to be made. I hope that everyone understands this is still very much a work in progress and I think we should try to be helpful in reporting issue’s to Len and his group and give them time to work through those issues before we decry how awful this is. Just my two cent’s of course which is worth about one cent most of the time.
And see… think of how many posts this would have taken on the old chat lol.