New Forum - UPDATE!!!

Member for

5 months

Posts: 87

Afternoon all,

Here's the update I promised to give you regarding forum fixes. Once again, I’d like to thank you all for the constructive feedback received so far, we are using that to develop the forum further into something agreeable with the users.

After noting your problems with the developers, some changes will be made by the end of this week. More changes will come but these will take a bit LONGER to implement.

"As some of you have identified, this initiative was necessary and intended to bring our content and Forum community closer together, not least of all to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the Forum and protect all the important discussions it’s housed over the years. We chose not to use third party off-the-peg forum software due to the limitations it places on us in the longer term but also, because increasingly it’s outdated." <--- My superior

As from your feedback, we know we haven't got it all right and we're doing all we can to rectify some critical usage issues thanks entirely to your feedback. We also plan to continually look to improve the service and capability of this forum and the broader site on an ongoing basis, something we would never have been able to do with our previous software. We want this to be better and I’m pleased to share that the following work will be in development this week, to be released between Friday and Monday.

These updates include;

  • Adding a forum search. Isolated from the rest of Key Aero, enabling users to find threads without having to be bombarded with other content.
  • Adding a wysiwyg editor. Enabling emoticons to return along with other features.
  • Layout. We are moving up related articles and removing the post originator badge (on the right hand side of the page above related articles), which will free up space across the page. The aim there is that related articles will move up. The first comment on the thread which seems to stick on every page will go. This will free up space for user comments to spread into and fill. (If you get me :D). The text box for editing will also become bigger.

As I've said, this is just the start, basically the tranche 1 upgrade based on your comments and further upgrades will be made in the coming weeks on other areas noted by those in your constructive comments, which we are taking into account.

As per a moderators-only forum, we're looking into that too so bear with me, in the meantime I may set up a moderator-only thread so we can all talk easily.

SIDE NOTE: While it may not feel like it to all at this stage, we have already seen some positive signs such as site speed having increased by five times since we migrated to the new site. And mobile traffic increasing significantly, more in-line with global web usage. This means that more people are likely to see your discussions and posts in future, as we open up to new audiences while we hope to better suit the needs of existing forum users.

Kind regards,

Khalem 

 

Original post

Member for

13 years 5 months

Posts: 9,690

Thank you for taking our honest criticism so seriously and responding so quickly, and positively.

For myself, I apologise that the criticism has been so negative but many of us have found a wonderful refuge at the Key Aero forum to exchange views with like-minded individuals; I doubt anybody would have taken the trouble to 'complain' in such a heartfelt way if this forum wasn't an important (and constant) part of their lives!

Many online friendships are formed here and much important information is exchanged, information that may otherwise be lost forever; I hope we do not seem ungrateful but the 'loss' of this forum, in its previous incarnations, would be little short of a tragedy for many here.

Member for

5 months

Posts: 87

Hi Creaking Door,

As a forum user myself, I understand what you are all getting at and I respect all of your opinions, as do Key on the whole. Although my day job isn't to manage or change this at all, I want it to be the best that it can be and will acknowledge and pass on the criticisms made by users because user-happiness is the way forward and I'm going to be present as much as possible to help, unlike Key's previous forum presence, it will be a lot more prevalent now I'm around.

Regards,
Khalem

Profile picture for user Ant.H

Member for

20 years 1 month

Posts: 2,953

Thanks for the info Khalem, I'm looking forward to the changes. Thanks too to the Key team for putting the effort in.

Just as a polite nudge, while all of the above is great stuff, I really think 90% of the strife would be sorted by just two actions. Firstly changing the font to something more substantial, and secondly changing the format of the pages to a more landscape format rather than the portrait-like one we presently have. If the text boxes were just a bit wider it would make things a lot easier.

Could these two be made a priority in Tranche 2, or even Tranche 1b??

All the best.

Member for

16 years 5 months

Posts: 6,614

Thank you for listening ,lets keep this as a positive and hope it is the start of many improvements to get people back in here and posting again. :)

Member for

5 months

Posts: 87

Hi Ant. H and Trumper,

Totally agree, the boxes will become bigger after this weekend's update Ant. H as the profile box at the side will be scrapped, as will the sticky post at the top which carries on over each page and has been an annoyance. I will note down the font change and pass it on to the developers.

As for Tranche 2, I will update on that when I know what the updates will be. It may not be the greatest of starts but it can only get better and you guys (along with the other forum users) have pointed us in the right directions.

Thanks,
Khalem

Member for

5 months

Posts: 87

That is being explored Bob. Developers know users aren't happy with it.

Khalem

Profile picture for user Bruce

Member for

20 years 1 month

Posts: 8,426

Thanks chap. I know you are doing your best, and look forward to the first update.

I think your acknowledgement that this is a new piece of software is important, and it’s also important for the developers to understand what a forum community actually is.

It’s fair to say that the final update of the previous forum software didn’t go well, and it has been extremely slow ever since. I can understand that based on that experience, that a bespoke software package that one has full control over becomes attractive.

However, it’s important to understand how users actually use a forum. Private messages, user accounts, with control over posts content. An ability to review posts that we as users have made, as well as the ability to see what others have posted. As a moderator, the ability to be able to delete whole threads where necessary, sanction users, merge threads and so on.

I just don’t feel that those implementing this new forum have fully understood how the dynamic of a forum works. I absolutely get the need to change, but in losing functionality, one kind of loses the point.

Happy to work with you all to make this as god as it can be, but you will continue to lose users the longer it goes on, which would be a shame.

Some sort of mod forum/thread is essential, and quickly please. You have my email if you need it.

Bruce

Member for

3 years 2 months

Posts: 218

Thanks for the update. Just one more request, the add new comments, can you make it post and not save button.

Member for

5 months

Posts: 87

Hi all,

I hear you Bruce, I'll be in touch soon to talk in more detail about the mod forum.

Brenden S - That has been noted, it confused me myself when I started on here. It will be changed in a coming update :)

Regards,
Khalem

Profile picture for user powerandpassion

Member for

7 years 7 months

Posts: 1,197

Khalem, thank you for the update. What I don't understand yet is Keys long term intentions with User's old content. When I log on to update or refer to my old content, 'my' landing page is filled with Key articles, not my old content. So I cannot update old threads with new information, or go to an old thread to refer to somebody else's insights on a subject. I am not logging on looking to be served 'related content' in respect of functionality, but specific information. If I need distraction or to graze over the historic landscape, I can chose to go to your magazines, virtual or digital for this. The forum is more of a merging of global filing cabinets, in respect of what I see as its unique value. 'Stuffing my letterbox' with colourful pamphlets meta tagged with mildly related content is not what I find useful or attractive. I would never 'pay to click' on a related article if it is standing in the way of the the specific purpose I have gone to the forum for. It in fact turns me off. I respect there is a need to somehow 'monetise' the forum and make it pay its way, but what might have looked good on the Key strategy planning whiteboard translates to me as a desecration, like fitting a McDonalds into the Acropolis, 'because there are a lot of punters going there.'

Member for

13 years 5 months

Posts: 9,690

One thing I've noticed on some of my old posts is that where I've quoted somebody all indications that I've quoted somebody have been removed; now it looks like I'm making a point and the immediately disagreeing with myself in the same post!

This failure to recognise old quotes effectively destroys the content of the thread and the meaning of my posts.

More importantly, it also credits me with things I did not write and that's illegal in this country!

Profile picture for user aerospacetech

Member for

20 years 1 month

Posts: 1,437

I recently went through the pain of migration from one forum software (SMF) to another one (Xenforo) for my own site. I tried lots of different software packages out and in the end went from a free package to a commercial package that best suited my needs. I even had to rewrite sections of the importer myself to preserve some really old attachments from 2006/2007. It isn't easy.

I can see that you've gone for Drupal 8, which is an interesting idea and unites the forum with the main site content in one place. Its one I pursued for a while, but the required forum functionality isn't there out of the box and serious development would have been required.

Most critical are the data issues being reported about posts with quotes missing etc - you only really get one chance to get that stuff right, and it's really hard to fix after.

This needed some basic user testing with moderators etc. I did my migration twice, let the users test out the first iteration and changed stuff based on feedback.

Hopefully you can quickly get to at least something half usable without killing the community in the meantime.

Profile picture for user aerospacetech

Member for

20 years 1 month

Posts: 1,437

You should take a good look at OpenSocial, its a Drupal distribution for communities which covers almost all the bases you need for a robust forum - PMs, social logons, lots of stuff. It would give you a good idea of which Drupal modules might prove useful.

Profile picture for user Tony C

Member for

16 years 8 months

Posts: 379

One small issue to add, can the small blue 'Privacy setting' tag at the bottom of the page be removed, once consent for use of cookies has been approved?

Profile picture for user swerve

Member for

14 years 8 months

Posts: 13,433

It's nice to see that criticisms are being taken seriously.

I'm afraid that my initial reaction (which hasn't changed) is that the layout is terrible. Choice of fonts (e.g. the "COMMENT" above this box is too narrow, too heavy, too big, & probably shouldn't be italic), colours, & the boxes - which I'm glad is being addressed. I've not really looked into functionality yet, because I've been put off by the visuals.

I've been here a long time, & I'd like to stay, but at the moment I don't find it at all comfortable to use.

Member for

5 months

Posts: 87

Hi all,

Sorry for the late response. Another busy day. I have noted points from all of your comments and will pass them on to developers.

More updates are on the way, some of these issues may already be on the list to address in those. More info will come when I have it.
Kind regards,
Khalem

Profile picture for user Blue_2

Member for

10 years

Posts: 5,065

Hi Khalem, it's nice to see the issues and concerns of forumites being taken seriously and addressed. Thankyou for taking the time to communicate with us, keeping us in the picture, and for doing your bit to sort this whole mess out!
I've added another update in my Meteor prioject thread. Writing another update, embedding pictures etc. appears to be no different, certainly no worse, than it was on the last version of the forum. I agree with what someone said above re. the blue privacy settings tab; I've accidentally caught that myself a couple of times now. The only issue is how the finished item appears on the forum, and the readability (or lack of) afforded by the forum format and layout.
And I for one will be very pleased to see the back of the omnipresent first post in the thread!

Member for

5 months

Posts: 87

Hi Blue_2,

Thanks for your comment and no problem. I want to help you guys as much as I can. I'll also be happy to see the sticky post and side profile thing gone, it will give the forum more space to spread into. I've noted the privacy setting tab from a couple of users and it has been passed on to developers.

Kind regards,
Khalem

Profile picture for user Bruce

Member for

20 years 1 month

Posts: 8,426

Hi Khalem,

The spammers have discovered that there are no controls at the moment - head to the GA forum and look at the first three postings on there. I went to see if I could delete them, but I can only remove replies to threads, not whole threads themselves. Without effective moderation, those guys will flood a forum in hours.

Bruce

Profile picture for user Whitley_Project

Member for

20 years 1 month

Posts: 2,800

Yup, the new forum is a triumph of form over function. Actually the form isn't very good either.