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Feature request: A commented/discussed tab

edited January 2014 in Technical Questions
Is it possible to add a tab next to All Discussions that lists all threads with at least one follow up? Just a filter that hides as yet undiscussed threads and maintains recency. This prevents the often expressed tensions here. It is already a solved problem in many forum platforms, so no need to reinvent the wheel and discover unintended consequences with new solutions.


  • Interesting suggestion... I find that I already visually "filter" in just that manner: threads with a fair number of follow-ups.
  • ron
    edited January 2014
    very good, too much not very worthwhile to some.
  • edited January 2014
    just my observations:

    seems to me every discussion question someone poses - always has a follow-up except for postings that just contain a link.

    is this the problem too many "nothing in post but links" clogging up fund discussions when it isn't a fund discussion at all.

    perhaps a link category might be appropriate. and if it becomes discussed the op could change the category to fund discussions.

    I don't make command decisions, so it is not my decision.
  • There are many possible solutions and none of them are perfect. My advice again would be not try to reinvent the wheel because this very need has already been solved after much trial and error in other places.

    The suggestion to have a link category might work if it can automatically change the category when someone responds but it will not work if OP has to go manually change the category when someone responds. Just not gonna happen even if you assume the OP is hanging around. And the automation will not know which category to change it to.

    The simple filtered tab does not require change in poster behavior, gives flexibility to those who want it and for those that don't care, nothing changes. Anyone who has dealt with user interactions know that combination is optimal in terms of design which is why similar solutions are present in so many places.

    Just looking at the current page it will filter it by half which means you will get two pages worth of recent discussions in one page at any time which should be sufficient to capture recent discussions. And nothing needs to be done when someone responds.

    The problem is not so much the interspersing but the lumpy nature of link posts when they arrive. By filling up to half a page at a time, it tends to push many threads being actively discussed to the next page immediately.

    As @Old_Joe confirms above, it is consistent with how many scan the articles, look for ones with discussion and then if you have time scan the new ones or vice versa.

    At any rate, doing something is better than nothing since there is an ever present tension that is getting directed at individuals. This is better solved with technology than dictating what one should or shouldn't do.

    For whoever makes these decisions...
  • Reply to @Accipiter: "is this the problem too many "nothing in post but links" clogging up fund discussions when it isn't a fund discussion at all."


    An "Ignore" option would also be a huge bonus.
  • edited January 2014
    Reply to @JoeNoEskimo:

    >An "Ignore" option would also be a huge bonus.

    all I need is the ok to implement and it can be done.

    @chip any thoughts of what you would prefer.
  • edited January 2014
    I could add a filter similar to the way show unread works if there are no comments.

    just need the ok to proceed.

    I'll check back tomorrow. and them probably at the end of the month. if there are any decisions made as to have an ignore user option as well as a filter to hide discussions that have only one comment (it would filter out, but not repaginate, so if there are 15 discussions with no comments on the first page - you will just see fewer discussion topics per page.

    the code is ready for both if it is decided to implement.

    the ignore user - only blocks comments for a ignored users , not discussion topics.
  • edited January 2014
    Ok thanks.
  • edited January 2014
    I still think a links category is the best. whether the op moves it or not. In that way people who want to view links and/or links with discussions added later, they can view the fund links category. And those people who purely want to see fund discussions that were initiated with a question or a discussion would have a clean category free of "nothing but link in post".

    To me. it seems the best of both worlds. then you can choose All discussions if you want to see everything, or if you want it "filtered" then you could look in the each of the 4 categories "Fund discussions, fund links (with a possible discussion), Technical Questions, and Off-topic. Pagination would work better and everybody can see or avoid what they want.

    Then if there is a links category, and people continue to post links without discussions in thre fund discussions, they could be asked to place them in the correct category, and if it isn't - the discussion posted in wrong category could just be deleted.
  • Reply to @Accipiter: I agree. The original idea has the problem that if most people ask for a list of all threads with at least 2 posts, few threads will get that second post. I suspect that once people realize this, they won't use a new filter button that filters one post threads. Anyway, if it is decided that a filter is needed, the new category would be excellent. People who don't want to filter these can continue to hit discussions. People who do can peruse the forum by category. In fact, with separate categories, the new idea has more merit because you could ask for link only threads with at least 2 posts.

    On the other hand, we are managing as is.

  • Reply to @Accipiter: I suggested the 'articles' or links category back in Dec. and I still think it is the best option, at least to try. Another "nice" option with that would be to be able to choose more than one category at a time. Have a little check box by the categories you want to view. Maybe you could click "all discussions" and be able to unclick the ones you don't want. Another nice would be if the category automatically changed to discussion if there was at least one comment.
  • Reply to @Accipiter& Other Geek Squad Members:: You better believe you don't make command decisions, now would you please get to work and allow more characters in the Title Box, and in the message text so I can highlight Copy & Paste articles. Regards,
  • Reply to @Ted:.....says the guy who clogs up the board most.
  • edited January 2014
    Reply to @Ted:

    FYI -@Ted. I am not in a geek squad, and I don't know if anyone else appreciates the appellation, but i will continue to ignore requests you make with the appellation. So feel free to use "geek squad" , but also realize you will be ignored by me.

    - I think your toning down of insults to everyone would go a long way.

    - In the past people complained the titles were too long and took up too much real estate. I suggest you use a succcint title or use (...)


    yes the links or Articles category comes up often and was discussed with the inception of the forum. I personally would prefer it this way, because I feel it clogs the forum. As far as choosing more than one category, the forum code would require a major overhaul to do what you want and is not designed with this option, and would make upgrades nearly impossible, if the software were forked.
  • edited January 2014
    This discussion is good because a hastily designed solution can be worse than the problem.

    But it seems like too many engineers, not enough product managers.:-)

    Let us step back from the solutions and look at problems being solved.

    Unfortunately, Ted or his link posts are seen as a problem by some. There is no technology solution to this other than an ignore button which I think is a very bad idea and sets precedent for discouraging discussions of all kinds of views as an unintended consequence. In most forums that implement this, the ignore becomes part of the argument to create cliques where people are encouraged to ignore what some don't like and so stifles views that are unconventional. At best, it creates echo chambers. In reality, this is just a form of hitting out at someone you don't like. Think about this very carefully before you implement. The solution is worse than the problem.

    For people suggesting solutions, please get over your views on Ted if you want a practical solution or spend a week searching and culling posts to see how much work that is.

    In my brief history here, I don't see this as a Ted problem but a usability problem that needs a technical solution.

    I can see the tension between posts with links not all of which result in discussions and posts that have broad discussions. The avalanche of new posts with links may seem to suddenly create an end to a discussion as if it is time to move on. It especially punishes people who may have spent considerable amount of time to write a thoughtful post or comment only to see it banished to archives (not the first page) quickly. It also prevents discovery of threads with multiple views or comments when it is "archived" quickly. I think we can all agree that this is A usability problem to solve without bringing Ted into the picture.

    This is not the first forum to have faced this problem. Reddit is probably the closest in terms of facing a similar problem while no two forums are alike. It has solved this with multiple tabs to filter by as you can see by visiting the site. News content sites also want to draw attention to latest news headlines while making articles that have an active discussion or are popular in some metric also be discoverable. Same problem at a high level. Most of these have converged over time to a multi tab display based on usage patterns NOT on tagging or categorization for some valid reasons.

    @Accipiter's solution has some engineering merit but often good engineering design is not necessarily the best product design. My issues with it is:

    It primarily tries to solve the usability problem by making it a Ted problem and "banishing" Ted to a different category. This will appeal to those with an antipathy to Ted but it will not work for the following reasons, not all of which are engineering reasons:

    1. Ted is not going participate by being "banished" as much as his detractors might like. No one would. How is the enforcement of Off Topic category working out? Not very well. Besides, you cannot come up with any objective criterion that would force that "banishment". What if he posts a link with a question in it? Is it in the Link category? If not, then every link post will come with a question attached however trivial. The point is, you cannot have a viable solution that diminishes Ted in any way as long as he is critical to the vitality of this forum. Deal with it.

    2. It solves a problem that isn't the central problem by making a weak assumption that I don't think is true. That people want to differentiate between discussions that arise from a link post and discussions that arise from a question posed. I could be wrong on this based on my own usage pattern, but I think the problem is really separating posts with discussion from posts that don't have any and making BOTH easily discoverable without one overwhelming the other. I don't think people care if a broad discussion came about from a link post or a question post. The tab solution and the link category differ in this very basic premise of the problem and I think you should arrive at a consensus of which problem you are trying to solve first.

    3. Even if the problem to be solved is separating links and link-based discussions from other discussions, then the empirical data from the forum shows it to be a weak one. My quick scan shows almost 75% of the posts with discussion arise from a link post, not necessarily a Ted post. So the solution wouldn't really filter effectively and the link category will have the same problem we have now being almost as big as the All threads category.

    @Anna's worries that threads without a follow up will not be found is a valid one but not a realistic one. It may seem realistic to those that view the solution as a way to avoid Ted but not otherwise. It is not some filter that will be the default and no one will see anything outside it. The user behavior will be the same as now with all discussions being the default but people can switch tab to see discussions with followups easily and participate without fear of that thread being archived quickly from an avalanche of new link posts.

    I respectfully suggest that some of you with strong feelings against Ted (and I am not saying they are wholly unjustified, he is what he is) not confuse this as a way to avoid Ted or to get at him in some way and look at the solutions by factoring that out.

    I don't have a personal solution to pitch. Just suggesting a solution that already exists for similar problems elsewhere and arrived at after much experimentation. No need to reinvent the wheel.
  • edited January 2014
    The issue is caused by one poster. Many of his articles are just noise. He is obviously bored with nothing else to do, very stubborn and very rude (see his "holier than thou" post above). Kick him out and problem solved.

    No need to reinvent the wheel there.
  • TedTed
    edited January 2014
    Reply to @JoeNoEskimo: Before you kick me out, at least let me buy you lunch since your definitely not in the will. Might I suggest this from Joe's menu
    Buffy Meal

    (Age 12 & Under) Choice of Little Joe, corn dog, peanut butter & grape jelly, chicken tenders or grilled cheese. Served with fresh-cut French fries, corn chips, or potato chips, green beans, low-fat cottage cheese, baked beans or applesauce and any soft drink in our special Wee Amigos cup

    Nose To Nose.

  • edited January 2014
    Reply to @cman:
    @cman said: Is it possible to add a tab next to All Discussions that lists all threads with at least one follow up? Just a filter that hides as yet undiscussed threads and maintains recency. This prevents the often expressed tensions here. It is already a solved problem in many forum platforms, so no need to reinvent the wheel and discover unintended consequences with new solutions.
    1) I said i could implement "add a tab next to All Discussions that filters out all threads without at least one follow up" - if given the ok.

    2) ignore user - I said I could implement if given the ok -

    3) Add a new category called "Article Links and Discussions" - @cman It is just a new category(not banishment) that separates link related posts from general fund discussions that don't base the premise of discussion on the link that was included. No value judgement need to be added to category. If it is added, one would hope that people would follow the suggested category designations (if not then they are not helping everyone by showing they are capable of adapting to norms). All you have to do is click on categories you want to read from, not too difficult and would make acutal fund discussion viewing easier.

    not sure which wheel is being invented or reinvented.

    but the bottom line it is David's forum and he does how he sees fit.

    - 1) add a filter
    - 2) add ignore option that hides comments (not discussion topics) based on user (and that would be private - no one else would know who you ignore).
    - 3) Add a new category called "Article Links and Discussions" for topics with only links in posts and no discussion in original post (irrelevant of who posted topic).
    - 4 do nothing.

    anyone of these choices would not be detrimental, and one or two of them may be beneficial and make everyone happy if they are willing to bend a little. otherwise you can say we are no different than congressional gridlock.

    since decisions are not hastily made here. I would think everyone who has an opinion, could state whether they could live with option 1, 2, 3, or 4 or a combination and then David could make an informed decision based on squeaking wheels.
  • Reply to @Accipiter: Appellation, I'm impressed with you command of English. Your web hosting skills, that's another matter
  • Ted, you know exactly what you can do with that menu, don't you, buddy?
  • Reply to @Accipiter: Thanks, Accipiter. I wonder whether you'd like to start a new thread with a poll and a summary of choices?
  • edited January 2014
    Reply to @InformalEconomist:

    thanks for the rational words. this thread seems to be drawing attention and thought, as well as other.

    feel free to copy and poll, I just try to help when i can as far as coding. I don't run the site. And opinions are my own not the site's opinions.
  • edited January 2014
    Well FWIW, here's my 2¢ worth-

    For folks who stay glued to the site on a regular basis, being overwhelmed by a huge number of posts may not be all that much of an issue, as it's possible to keep current as you go. For those like myself who may not visit the site for a couple of days, the huge number of posts to be gone through can indeed be overwhelming. And I do not suggest that this is "caused by one poster".

    A number of comments have been made suggesting that Ted is a major factor in this, because of his multiple "link posts". In fact, Mindy's original post on the subject suggested placing a limit on such posts to ten a day. So now the two subjects, (1) a large number of posts and (2) "link posts" unfortunately have become intertwined and conflated.

    cman's original suggestion (this thread) addresses "filtering" by essentially placing posts with no replies in a separate category. Note that while this may include a large number of Ted's posts, it is in no way aimed primarily at Ted or any other poster, links or no links. I was attracted to the suggestion because it verbalized the technique which I had subconsciously developed of "filtering" based on active community participation in a particular post.

    I think that it would be very unfortunate to designate link posts as a separate category. As a practical matter (as others have noted above) it would be impossible to regulate, as witness the already frequently violated "Off-Topic" category. I also think that creating an "ignore button" would implicitly suggest that since link posts are "ignorable" then they are somehow "inferior".

    Since it is impossible to discuss "link posts" in this forum without considering Ted's contributions, lets just note that there are many members, myself definitely included, who very much appreciate the time and work which he spends researching that information.

    I've mentioned elsewhere that it is possible to consolidate multiple links in one post, which would help with the so-called "clutter" issue. But let me also note that on various occasions (especially when Ted has been absent from the site for an extended period of time) I've tried doing that myself on a fairly regular basis, and it is definitely one hell of a lot of extra work. Given the amount of input Ted generates, I don't think that it's reasonable to expect him to do that.

    So my tentative vote goes with cman, for the creation of an "active conversation" category. Many of Ted's posts do generate response, so they would make that cut also. But cman also presciently observes that technological "solutions" frequently generate unintended consequences. It occurs to me that one such unintended consequence of an "active conversation" filter might be to greatly increase the number of conversations which never get started. If a lot of us used such a filter, we would never see a post that hadn't already been answered by someone, yes?

    Should we maybe just leave well-enough alone?
  • Reply to @Ted: Did you need a link to figure out what an igloo looks like? Can you post anything without a link?

    It's probably getting close to "lights out" at the old folks home, Ted. Stop hogging the only shared computer in the assisted living wing and waddle back to your closet of a room.
  • Reply to @Old_Joe: A+ material, and you can both pitch and catch !

    "It's probably getting close to "lights out" at the old folks home, Ted. Stop hogging the only shared computer in the assisted living wing and waddle back to your closet of a room."

    Amen ! I officially declare this thread as over
  • edited January 2014
    Reply to @Accipiter: In order of preference: #3, #1, #4, #2.

    I don't really see a problem with a creating a new category, assuming people play nice and use it. I'm assuming the option to see all posts would still exist as it does now? That isn't creating any sort of ghettoized category, but just giving users a further customization/usability option. It also would enable those users who do find value in Ted's links a one-stop area, sort of like Charles' Balcony functions.

    I suppose adding a filter is also fine, but seems like more work for you and runs the risk of limiting some discussion, though you can always just turn the thing off. Ignoring doesn't solve the problem the OP brought up, and is something adults should be able to do on their own.

    And I, for one, think you and Chip do an incredible job managing MFO's technical side. Thanks.
  • Reply to @Ted: "I officially declare this thread as over".

    No, Ted, you see, that's the don't have the power you think you do. We don't care what you declare.

    And if you feel like posting 100 articles in 1 day, you should not be allowed to do so.

  • edited January 2014
    I think Old_Joe hit on something with his above post. So why try to fix something when it is not broken. When a post has run its due course it drops off as comment activity wains and new post enter the lineup.

    Ted brings useful information to the board with his links. I have been on the board dating back to the fundalarm days. There were times when Ted was gone and the board was very slow with activity. I'd rather have the many post that he makes over not having them at all. And, form time-to-time I find one that turns out to be most useful.

    For those that do not wish to read all of Ted's post there is the option to skip over them. One of the things though is that sometimes the topics of discussion get burried deep down in the stack ... but, with this, when someone makes a comment on the post it comes back to the front of the lineup again in the topic listings. So, is the system really broke? From my thinking, I don't think it is as it lets the topics that are no longer drawing comment(s) fade along with those post that contain links only with no comments.

    I also think Ted will make comments to spark activity and draw comments even when it comes at the expense of others. With this, I wish he would lighten up in this area so there are less flair-ups with other posters. I have myself found, Ted likes to challenge you and call you out at times. It is ok to say you don't agree with someone but let's do it in a manner that does not cause conflict. I think back on some of the exchanges I've read in the past and felt that it has caused one poster "Catch22" to step back away form the board. I read most of Catch's post because he brought a different perspective to the board than that of my own. It made me think someone is seeing something here that I am discounting and I'd might wish to revisit my own thinking and review this one more time. I did not attack Catch for his thinking and perspective on being heavy in fixed income as I felt he was light in equities. What he was doing was working for him and that is what counts most. If what you are doing is working for you and is meeting your investment goals and needs then it is not broke in my way of thinking. And, writting about what you are doing should not draw hard abrasive comments. Thanks again Catch for expressing your past thinking inspite of your critic.

    And, thanks again Ted for all the links. They are most appreciated.

    I don't think the site is broken so why waste the time to attemp to fix something that is not broke in the first place. It is simple, if you don't like Ted's post then don't open them and let them age deep in the stack. If you enjoy reading them then open them and make comments if so inclined. And, if there was a board monitor(s) posts that were not conforming could get removed (deleted). Old Roy zinged a few of mine.

  • In plain words, the issue as I see it here is that someone will put up a question or a discussion and then that thread will be pushed to another page when someone posts dozens of threads with links to stories. Isn't this the main issue here? This is not personal, but left alone will drive many away from the site.

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