Oh I don't know what, if any, threads are collapsed. But the ones I vote down are collapsed for me forever except in the very rare instance when somebody refers me to a voted down thread and I reinstate it.
Let me see if I understand this then, you think the new software is less conducive to communities because on it you vote topics down? Why not just not vote them down.
If you don't vote down threads, 'new posts' beocmes almost unusable to keep up with much of anything...
This page works just like the old new posts did, with two key exceptions. 1) it doesn't reset every time your session dies, which was a big complaint on the previous software. 2) it doesn't have read tracking, which is a big deal that few people note how much affects them.
Those two things aside, the list works exactly like the last one did. So why exactly do you find this one to require the voting down of threads?
...but if you do vote down threads you think are of no interest, then there is no subsequent opportunity for somebody to peak your interest in that thread.
Call me crazy, but if your problem is that you are voting down topics then why not just not vote down topics?
The problem of unanaswered posts is sometimes inadvertent and sometimes just because the threads move off the page so quickly, folks who would have resonded to that post never see it.
How is this any different than it always was?
This isn't a complaint. It's just an observation of why it is much less user friendly for somebody like me.
And there's the rub. There are plenty of legitimate problems with this site, and there's a lot we have to work on. But the most vocal people complaining about the software really don't tend to have any actionable feedback. If your problem boils down to how you are voting topics down and find this regrettable then just don't vote down topics. It'd work a lot better than blaming the software.
How many 'like me's' there might be, I have no way of knowing. But I do think it is isn't conducive to building community and is likely why we have lost so many of the folks who used to visit regularly.
If you don't think it's conducive to building a community then don't do it.
But if we don't voice complaints and/or suggest ways to remedy what we perceive, then you have no way of knowing what the perception is.
It's not useful if it's not founded in reality. Since this site opened I've listened to people go on and on about what's wrong with it. Since the site began there have been people who are unhappy with it, and who leave.
Sometimes there's really good feedback, but a lot of times it's not actionable feedback and is not something that can be corroborated.
Maybe you're right. I don't know. I can only report my perception and how it impacts the way I use the board. Obviously viewership of the board is way up and, if that is where your bread and butter is, you can't afford to accommodate what some of us perceive.
Large general forums are relatively poor bread and butter and the primary motivations I've had with able2know are not financial. Of all the things our company does this is by far the worst thing we can do from a financial perspective, but we genuinely like doing it, and want to build good community software. We formed our company so that we'd have time to work on projects like this that are technically and socially rewarding and I'm very much interested in "building community" and in extracting actionable feedback from criticism. Hell even though times are tight I've been paying for use case completion and feedback from Amazon Mechanical Turk (which is part of the reason there have been more "make money online questions" recently btw). I'm very passionate about doing this kind of challenge right and the notion that we're selling out to financial considerations just couldn't be further from the truth. This is a project we have on a pedestal, our magnus opus if you will and frankly we'd all be better off financially if we invested our time in more profitable, if less satisfying, pursuits.
As an example, 90% of the advertising on this site goes for under $0.50 per 1000 impressions. We have other sites where we earn as high as $2,000 CPM. Sites with a fraction of the traffic a2k gets are much more valuable financially to us, because the traffic is of a different nature in more profitable niches. We don't do this project for the money and we do want to get the psychology of the software right. That's why you've also seen fewer and fewer ads as this new software evolved. We want the site to be financially viable, but our aim is a vibrant community more than financial profit.
So I'm not rejecting criticism for the almighty dollar, but I've been around the block here, and have been listening to a2k criticism for years
and I know there's a lot of it that I really can't do anything about. In this thread there are people who have claimed to be offput by the new software, and thusly using the software less when if you look at the numbers their activity is higher than it's every been in the history of the site.
There are claims of how the activity is dwindling, or how "so many" folk are leaving while the numbers don't bear it out and I've been listening to people say this since the first 6 months of the site.
You can't please everyone, and some people will always feel strongly against something about the site, whether or not their perception is accurate. I want to extract the useful feedback I can, but otherwise just have to do the best I can and learn to live with being unable to make everyone happy.
So when people give negative feedback I do pay attention. I've spent hours investigating some of the claims you and others have made, about how the ratings system is impacting your experience negatively. When people claim their topics, or the topics they are interested in, are not getting attention because of the voting system I dig into it to see what's wrong and how it can be made better. The voting algorithm is one thing we know needs work, we have reputation scores hidden while we perfect this and I spend a lot of my nights running the data against various mathematical algorithms finding ways to make it more socially useful. And when I see claims that the software is negatively impacting use I spend a lot of time and thought investigating and seeing if I can find a way to make it better.
And most of the time what I find is that what they claim is simply not happening. The writer complaining about being voted into oblivion didn't have a single topic that's collapsed, and was getting more views and responses than he previously did, and had voted their own work down hundreds of times in some form of strange self-depreciation. The people telling me how god-dammed horrible it is now can often be found telling me how god-dammed horrible it was before. The people saying they are unhappy and are leaving have always been here.
By now I'm used to it, and I need to measure things objectively. I have to find things that can actually be improved, and learn to have thicker skin for the less constructive criticism. There are always going to be unhappy people, and they aren't always going to be right about what makes them unhappy and we just have to do our best at trying to extract the useful feedback from both. We can't make everyone happy, but we're willing to try, and willing to listen to constructive feedback.