Topics

locked Show text preview from most recent message. Is this possible?

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

Since I'm not a moderator I'm really not certain whether this is an existing setting that could be tweaked or if this is a feature request.

My interaction with Groups.io is virtually exclusively through the web interface and using the threads view.  When the threads are presented the small text snippet beneath the thread title is always a bit of the start of the post that initiated the thread.  For myself, I find that particularly not useful and would far rather see that snippet be from the most recent post to a thread.  Is this possible?  I cannot find any user setting to accomplish this and don't know if it can be set at the groups level or not.
--
Brian

A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.  ~ Bill Gray

 

I agree completely with this.

Sent from my iPhone

On Jun 2, 2016, at 7:52 AM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

Since I'm not a moderator I'm really not certain whether this is an existing setting that could be tweaked or if this is a feature request.

My interaction with Groups.io is virtually exclusively through the web interface and using the threads view.  When the threads are presented the small text snippet beneath the thread title is always a bit of the start of the post that initiated the thread.  For myself, I find that particularly not useful and would far rather see that snippet be from the most recent post to a thread.  Is this possible?  I cannot find any user setting to accomplish this and don't know if it can be set at the groups level or not.
--
Brian

A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.  ~ Bill Gray


--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

Maria
 

This is an interesting question. I too have been wondering how groups.io can show new activity in a thread to those in thread view. If we always see the snippet of the post that started the thread - then it ends up looking static even though there may be activity within the thread. You don't want web visitors to feel there has been no activity.

Y! handles this by showing the thread subject, a snippet of the most recent post, yet the author listed in the thread view is the author who started the thread (which is weird as they didn't write the snippet shown). When you click on the thread it then shows you the first and last post in the thread and has all the other posts in between collapsed which you can then expand one by one. The main group page also shows you how many new messages and members have been added to the group in the last 7 days. So you get a sense of the activity level.

Another way that I've seen the need to indicate activity on the web interface is to have a sentence at the top of the thread view that says: "X new or updated topics. Click to view". You then click and it refreshes the threads so any threads with new activity are brought to the top (groups.io already puts the most recently active threads up top but you need to manually refresh your browser.) This forum then also has the words •new• in bold and in a different color next to the threads that are newly posted.

Also on the above forum the favicon in the web browser has a number on it in parenthesis in between the favicon and the site name so you see in your browser tab (if you view in tabs) that there are new messages on the forum. Additionally above the thread view it has tabs to see the threads in specific ways: "latest", "categories"( which on groups.io  = hashtags), "new", "unread" (it only counts the ones you've explicitly followed via selection or participation), and "top" (most active). I personally wish forums would add an "unanswered" tab because there may be a great thread that just didn't take off because it was posted on the wrong day of the week, or got only offline replies, or was suffocated by other active threads when users are viewing in message view.

I think the thread view is the preferred view for the member who is not on the site frequently enough to not lose track in message view, and since that person may be a member whose engagement isn't as high as the person who can keep track because he/she reads all messages (via web or digest), it would be fantastic to add features to engage the occasional visitor so that he/she can jump in and easily get up to speed and participate.

I think if someone visits a few times a week ( your average non moderator / non admin user)  they should be able to get a sense of the activity since they last visited and what's new, so they can use their time effectively to start posting rather than playing catch up.

Maria


Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

Maria,

           Thanks for giving this a bump.  I have to say that Groups.io is the one and only web interface I've worked with where the "snippet" shown is not from the most recent offering (and the author of the most recent offering, not the thread originator).

            I vastly prefer that because it helps me to decide my "plan of attack" on reading order.  We all have favorites and if the latest response is from one of my favorites I will gravitate toward reading the offerings on that thread since my last viewing ahead of looking at others.

            Also, as you noted, it makes it immediately obvious for anyone who does check back occasionally that activity has occurred on a thread if they happen to recall who originated it.

--
Brian

A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.  ~ Bill Gray

Duane
 

I also use the web almost exclusively. I use the date/time (or relative time, depending on personal settings) on the right side to help me know if new posts have occurred, whether overall view or group specific. To be honest, I don't see where a snippet of the most recent post would improve the situation any. You'd still need to go to the thread to see what's going on. I also have my viewing set up so newest posts are at the top.

Duane

 

Showing the most recent snippet of text in a thread may or may not be useful to some people (I personally agree with Brian here and would love to see it). However, showing the OLDEST snippet of text in a thread, which is what happens now, iI think is not useful at best and misleading at worst.
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

Duane
 

Any snippet, new or old, helps to remind me what the thread is about, but I don't really pay attention to them. I always go to the thread and catch up on all the posts. I'm only in 10 groups though and only 4 are fairly active. I can see where it might be useful to someone on a lot more groups or even several that are very active.

Duane

 

It seems like the title would let you know what the thread is about?

Sent from my iPhone

On Jun 13, 2016, at 9:47 AM, Duane <txpigeon@...> wrote:

Any snippet, new or old, helps to remind me what the thread is about, but I don't really pay attention to them. I always go to the thread and catch up on all the posts. I'm only in 10 groups though and only 4 are fairly active. I can see where it might be useful to someone on a lot more groups or even several that are very active.

Duane


--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

Maria
 

What really resonates with me from this topic is the need for the web/mobile interface to be more dynamic in reflecting new activity.

The frequent user/frequent poster will find that activity regardless because they are really motivated to do so for whatever reason they use the group.

The infrequent user - which is the one I'd like to make in to a frequent user - needs to be drawn in for that change in behavior to happen.

On active groups it's hard for the casual web only user to stay in the loop / and feel in the loop ( a part of the community) - so tools to help him/her do that are beneficial.

If it feels too static perhaps it's harder for that infrequent user to feel OK jumping in or for him/her to realize there is activity happening that she/he may benefit from and participate in ?

Maria

Duane
 

On Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 10:02 am, J_catlady wrote:

It seems like the title would let you know what the thread is about?
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.
It would seem so, but not always true. On one of my groups about a specific RV, there are multiple threads about generators. We have 2 different brands, 7 different models, and hundreds of possible problems. So a title of Generator Problem doesn't really tell me much. ;>)

Duane
Getting a bit off-topic, so bowing out

 

On Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 10:24 am, HR Tech wrote:
The infrequent user - which is the one I'd like to make in to a frequent user - needs to be drawn in for that change in behavior to happen.

For my group, I have no particular interest in "making an infrequent user into a frequent user." I want my group to work for the members in whatever capacity or degree of participation each one is comfortable with. I'm not marketing and I don't want members to feel hounded into participating. Some people are simply more comfortable with participating less.

We have members who "lurk" and I'm fine with that. Once in awhile I might ask them how their cat is doing, and they either answer or don't answer, and I'm fine with that, too. Group members get the information they need (and sometimes post out of the blue in response to someone's post, showing me that they *are* paying attention) without being hounded or pushed into more activity.

This is one of the reasons (but not the only one) that I'm against persistent "reminders" about new messages, etc. If I am an "infrequent" user in any group, these reminders would make me less (rather than more) likely to frequent the site - just as I avoid FB now for that very reason (among others).

I do think passive reminders - such as changing the snippet from the oldest to the most recent message - are great.

--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

 

On Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 11:00 am, Duane wrote:
a title of Generator Problem doesn't really tell me much. ;>)

True. :-) 
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

Duane,


           You're right, but the problem of non-descriptive titles is its own issue. It's also a perennial one.


--
Brian

A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.  ~ Bill Gray



 

On Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 11:08 am, J_catlady wrote:
I do think passive reminders - such as changing the snippet from the oldest to the most recent message - are great.

I also don't mind active notifications/reminders in the case that the group member him or herself was the one who started the thread, and someone else posted in it. Some social networking sites that are strictly web-based (with partial email notifications only, not responses via email) reasonably provide that. However, within a combination email/web system like Groups.io I'm not even sure that makes sense. The member could have already read the messages in email and then would be forced to read them AGAIN on the web to make the reminder notice/ or icon go away.  
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

 

J,

The member could have already read the messages in email and then would
be forced to read them AGAIN on the web to make the reminder notice/ or
icon go away.
Or, the subscriber might avoid checking the opt-in for notification of new messages.

The system hasn't been designed yet, but I've assumed from the start that the subscriber would be able to select which types of events create a notification for him/her. And I agree that notification of new messages ought not be default.


Shal
https://groups.io/g/GroupManagersForum

 

J,

This is one of the reasons (but not the only one) that I'm against
persistent "reminders" about new messages, etc. If I am an "infrequent"
user in any group, these reminders would make me less (rather than more)
likely to frequent the site - just as I avoid FB now for that very
reason (among others).
What do you mean by "persistent"?

On Facebook you can zero the notification count simply by clicking on the icon to open the list. There's no need to read any of the items. Most notification systems I'm used to have an easy "dismiss all" function like that.

Facebook also has an extensive Notifications Settings page where you can choose what you get notified about. That page also has a section to control what notices are sent by email, text message, or as a mobile device notification.

Now, I'm really not trying to promote Facebook or get you to use it. I'm just saying that there's no reason to assume that Mark would implement a system that is inflexible and annoying when even Facebook gives users some control.


Shal
https://groups.io/g/GroupManagersForum

Maria
 

I wasn't thinking so much in terms of reminders/notifications (in your inbox or in an onsite inbox) in this thread (i know we've discussed that in another thread).  In this thread I was thinking more about ways to make the interface accurately reflect the activity that takes place within it.

On groups.io if you don't manually refresh your browser you have no indication that there are new messages in a thread or new posts. And when you do the snippet doesn’t change (it’s always the first one in a thread) and there is no indicator to tell you what is new (new replies/new posts). The only indication is the time stamp which only tells you when the last activity was and is less useful on a busy forum: once a day goes by as it adopts only the date - so you see hundreds of posts with the same date.

With so many users on mobile (of the thousands on our group, a majority), and because there is the option of participating in groups.io with “no email”,  perhaps it’s important to think about ways in which those members can feel engaged and connected, and that the activity within the site is accurately reflected for them. Just because they select “no email” should their perception of the site be any less dynamic than those who regularly read email? Or should they feel unclear about what's new, or where to start?


I think there are ways for interfaces to reflect activity and to enhance the intrinsic dynamism of the product while still being mindful of the user's experience. Groups.io already shows us a counter/number when we have a draft that we've started but not sent. Or pending messages to approve. It's very subtle and quiet but very useful.

Some ideas:

- thread snippet reflecting most recent post in thread
- a sentence or indicator that states/shows how many new posts there are (Y! does this and many other forums do)
- a sentence or indicator that states/shows how many new topics/new replies there are (forums do this - feverbee community is a good example)
- links/tabs for most active topics - so you can select to navigate these (Y! does this as do many other forums)
- links for topics that need replies (no one does this that i know of - but I think it’s an interesting idea)
- A visual that appears and gently fades away when you tab back to an open tab in your browser to let you know there is new activity since you last were active on the page (it’s possible for a browser page to detect this). Be it a "new" tag that disappears next to the new posts, or threads with new activity could have a shading that dissipates. Floating/fleeting visual cues.
- A browser detecting if a user is set to no email and adjusting the interface to take this in to consideration.
- An indicator for any “special notices, admin notices” sent by group owners

I'm not suggesting all or any one in particular - just thinking of the many ways in which I've seen an interface reflect the activity that is actually occurring within it.
I think these can be done in a mindful way that doesn’t have to feel like an intrusion. These are tools for the member who wants to participate but has both limited time and confusion surrounding activity (where to start/what needs replies/what’s a great discussion, or as Brian indicated, where the posters who you feel are most interesting have posted, etc).


Facebook isn’t the only example I’d look. FB needs people on their site for those 45 average mins a day because of their advertising driven model. Maybe that’s where the antipathy to their methods stems from. Instead I'd examine the other next generation forums - there are many new ones doing interesting things. The community manager forums on feverbee are a good example.

I see Groups.io as THE next generation product for those who need much more than a forum can offer and for those who run active online communities - it’s taking what we’ve know before at Y! and google to a different level. I think the issue of web only/mobile only users (no email) - or for that matter those who are "'behind" on their email on a busy group - and how to help them feel engaged and value their (limited) time on the interface needs to be explored.

Maria

PS: This ties in somewhat with the other thread Brian posted here: https://groups.io/g/beta/thread/2053650#8710 regarding sub-group activity being somehow made more evident.

 

On Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 09:48 pm, Shal Farley wrote:
Or, the subscriber might avoid checking the opt-in for notification of new messages.

Hopefully there will be such an opt-in for the COUNTER as well as the actual email notifications.  
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

 

On Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 10:40 pm, Shal Farley wrote:
On Facebook you can zero the notification count simply by clicking on the icon to open the list.

That still requires an action on the part of the user. That's what I mean by "persistent." It's fine for web-only sites but not sites where the counter is meaningless because users can read messages both via web and email and may have already dispensed with the items the counter is telling you about. I was going to stop repeating this, but it seems still not to be getting through. 

That page also has a section to control what notices are sent by email, text message, or as a mobile device notification.

I'm well aware of that. The "counter" is the problem in the case where the site is a hybrid of email and web.

--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

 

On Tue, Jun 14, 2016 at 06:11 am, HR Tech wrote:
a sentence or indicator that states/shows how many new topics/new replies there are (forums do this - feverbee community is a good example)

"How many new topics/new replies there" SINCE WHAT? Since the user last visited the site? That's precisely the problem. Seem to be assuming that users are either strictly email or strictly web. My "data" show that most users in our group interact via both email and web - not one or the other. If they only use email, there's no problem with web counters because they'd never be bothered by them. If they only use the web, there's no problem because the counters and notifications would be accurate and would not need to reflect how many of the items they've already disposed of via email. 

Counters that "fade away" are a good idea, and I have no problem with subtle indications of activity that (a) are accurate for users who interact via both email and web, not one or the other, (b) don't force the user to do something to make them go away.
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.