Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Discussion group interface troubles

Author:David Luebbert
Posted:5/12/1999; 6:05:40 AM
Topic:Discussion group interface troubles
Msg #:6072
Prev/Next:6071 / 6073


I've read the for several months. I don't find I use it as comfortably as other message boards I use (The Motley Fool for example). I've thought about it for awhile and have come up with a list of features of the interface that cause me trouble.

1) When I jump into the middle of a thread from Discuss:Home Page, it's tedious to locate the top message in the thread. I can get there by repeatedly following the "in response to" link, but this is bad news when the thread is deep. Would it be worth it to add a "Top of thread" link to the message header?

2) When I navigate from Discuss: Home Page to Discuss:Top Level Topics via the List Topics link at the top of the page and then navigate through threads, it's tedious to get back to Dicuss: Home Page. I can press the Back button on my browser a bunch of times or edit my browser URL back to, but these actions interfere with my flow. Would it be worth it to add a "Discussion Home Page" link to the menu of links at the top of discussion pages?

3) The calendar interface in Discuss: Home Page currently limits me to the current day's slice of discussion messages. Almost always I wish I could see messages from a wider slice of time, especially at the beginning of a day when not much traffic has arrived yet. Would it be worth it to put links around the month name and the year at the top of a calendar? If you followed the month link, the message list could display all messages for the entire month. If you followed the year link you'd be able to see the message traffic for the year. I realize the calendar is currently implemented in HTML, but if we ever get to the point that it's implemented by code it would be cool to select across a range of days and filter for messages within that date range. In the HTML implementation, could we put a punctuation character (maybe a bullet character?) at the end of each row in the calendar with a link attached that would allow us to filter messages by week?

4) Discuss:Top Level Topics is a compendium of the top of threads submitted since the beginning of the month. I find myself wishing that the calendar that's available in Discuss: Home Page were available here too, especially if it were generalized as suggested in #3. That way you could press a day in the calendar and limit yourself to a particular day's messages. Also you could easily find a previous month's Top Level Topics without first having to go back to the Home page to set a new month before following the List Topics link. The list could default to showing the month's topics as it does currently.

5) When the Thread list in Discuss: Top Level Topics gets large, I wish it were possible to sort the messages by originator. I like to look at Winer and Simmons messages first if I'm short of time, because a lot of thoughtful or authoritative stuff can be found in those threads. I sometimes also wish I could sort messages by subject. This would help me when I'm trying to chunk the message flow conceptually. If the Home page listing could show a month's worth or year's worth of messages, I'm sure I would like the same capabilities over there. Would it be worth it to have links on the Date, Subject and Originator headings in Discuss: Top Level Topics and to have links on the Author and Subject headings in Discuss: Home Page that when followed cause the listings of those pages to be sorted by the selected category?

Whadda ya say?

Dave Luebbert

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