Design suggestion box



How do we encourage more new community topics on BBS?

Pretty certain it’s still a standard in the UK.


Well, I guess we don’t have the metric system and they space their sentences incorrectly, can’t win.


Another good way to handle that is to show comments you’ve already read in a lighter color; makes it very easy for the eye to spot the new stuff when scrolling quickly. (Especially if you’re using a browser that actually scrolls smoothly: i.e., not Chrome.)


I’m just not grokking the display of replies both inline and at the bottom of the page; seems I’m shown most comments twice. What paradigm am I failing to synergize with?


You can like a reply if you click the arrow to move to the bottom of the page where it’s posted at the root level. Of course, you’re then knocked out of the flow.

How do we encourage more new community topics on BBS?

I guess I’d think of expanded replies as a “sneak preview” button… when you see a post so engaging that you want to “peek ahead” and see what kind of responses it got. Alternately, if you have no plans to read the rest of the topic, if you just came for a specific popular post and are curious about the replies to just that post but not the rest of the topic.

We have discussed collapsing the replies you’ve already “sneak previewed” in the stream.


That would definitely make it more sensible in my head. In fact, that would be like context-aware progressive disclosure, but hopefully with a cooler name.


My RSS reader fades stories once I have scrolled past them and I find it rather annoying. If you read through a thread and want to back to quote-reply, it seems like making those “read” posts a lighter color could make them harder to read. You can have text come back to “normal” if the cursor is hovering over them, like my reader does, but then it is annoying to have text flickering on and off.


I guess it’s a question of degree. I would refer you to the awesome discussion engine at, but they shut all that down last year and turned it into some strange quasi-shopping site.


I think we’re only referring to fading or collapsing posts you’ve read in the future, that is, further down in the stream, not those you have read in the past.


I might be nice to have the “speech bubble” you have replies thing on the front page navigation bar next to the forums link. I bet a bunch of people don’t even know that (very nice) functionality exists, since you don’t see it unless you are looking at the bbs site.


Has the general volume of comments declined since the switch, or is it just my perception of the situation?

I don’t think that it is conducive for the overall level of participation to have the comments and main content separated, as it is now. I think it 's great that there is now a forum for unrelated discussion, but think it could hold its own, while story based comments moved back to whence they came. IMO, comments from the BB community are what dial the site up to eleven. With the current status quo, we’re stuck back at ten.

PS: five days is also too short. I’m in agreement about using a fixed number of days since last post threshold to prevent necroposting. Move on once the body is cold.


See this related meta topic.


Can I suggest, for rabid comment monkeys like me, we have a “phrases I’d like to be alerted to” section in our profile?

So I’d add “guns, movies, church, tools, additive manufacturing” etc, and any BB article or comment containing any of those would be flagged to me?


Saved searches with notifications then? I believe this has been proposed on recently.


That’d do it.


How’s about some kind of live map of topics under discussion. I saw something yesterday, maybe an ad for The Economist, with moving bubbles representing what was going on.

Combine that with a time filter (sliding bar please) and selections to filter in (eg number of views, number of posts, number of likes … maybe in comparative percentage terms, or both, togglable between)

Then I could visit the bubblemap page and home in on zones I’m intrigued by.

Things like, people explaining the hairy saskwatch and why she’s attractive, referencing the “Doodle This” post from yesterday.

Some kind of meta-system to make it very alive. And maybe when you’re in a post, some kind of pathway map of “what they clicked next in bbs”, like Amazon’s “customers also bought …”

The list of posts works well, but I’d encourage bbs to take a big leap forward in community systems! Nullify the whole “no threads is useless” discussion by re-inventing the whole thing.

Hell, I could mock this up in VBA with some time. I’m always doing this stuff for clients in the work I do - just not on the web. Maybe I should.

Tell you what, my thinking is evolving - give me a $500k grant, and I’ll take 6 months to learn this all. You’d be contributing to education.


Make sure you check out

Which is available by clicking the word Categories on the homepage or via the drop down menu at the upper right.


Yep, not old enough yet to not learn new tricks, but quite broad. No word on the $500k?