Topics

locked Change presentation for Subgroups #suggestion

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

I think I've brought this up indirectly in the past and want to bring it up directly now.  As far as I'm concerned, and based on my observations of activity on subgroups on the groups I'm subscribed to, the current way Groups.io presents subgroups essentially forces them into being "dead ends."  They get no traffic because they're essentially treated just like another group in the user interface and when you're viewing the main group they're under you are not made aware that these even exist, and that's even if you're subscribed to them.

The presentation used by whatever forums software that's used by the folks at BleepingComputer.com makes it much easier to know that subgroups exist and actually drives appropriate threads/topics to those subgroups when the main group for a given area is not the most appropriate/focused for a given topic.  It looks like this:

In the case of BC all subforums of a given forum are presented at the top, whether one has subscribed to them or not.  Given the slightly different nature of Groups.io something like this would probably best display all subscribed subgroups similarly to what's shown above but also have either a link or dropdown or something that would indicate that there are other subgroups that one could view if not subscribed or use to subscribe once viewing them.  This would alert anyone using the web interface that subforums do exist in a minimally intrusive way and act to encourage their actual use.

I have no idea how/whether this would play in to the mobile interface, but even something that is a single element alerting users to the presence of subgroups would be useful.

Of course, the only subgroups one should be able to see are subgroups that one would be able to join, but I imagine the mechanisms for presenting what is available for interaction by any given user are already in place.  It has already been mentioned that there are subgroups that are meant only for specific group members, e.g., moderators or owners, or some select list of the group as a whole, and I can't imagine that this isn't implemented by specific inclusion or exclusion of visibility if you don't fit into the list of people who are supposed to have access.

Virtually any group I've ever been a part of has members who, quite appropriately in my view, wish to ask what are occasional off-topic questions to a group of folks they regularly interact with and where they believe they may be able to get a better or more immediate answer by doing so.  Some moderators are much more strict than others about allowing this and some groups have a culture where should someone relatively new break the unwritten "absolutely no off-topic posts, even if noted as such" rule it can get ugly.  A change in presentation for subgroups would make it very easy to add a subgroup dedicated to "idle chatter"/"off-topic questions"/"anything goes [within the bounds of the terms of service]" and get those sorts of things posted there instead of in the main group or other subgroups where it's not appropriate, either.
--
Brian

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

Maria
 

I'd love to see a "subgroups" menu item in the main group, rather than only having the subgroups listed on the home page of the group. 

This would bring main group members to a list of all available subgroups with descriptions and info for each one. 


Maria 

 

Maria,

I'd love to see a "subgroups" menu item in the main group, rather than
only having the subgroups listed on the home page of the group.
This would be another case where group mods/owners (for whom there is already a Subgroups item in the left column) would see something substantially different than what a plain member sees. As with the Members list idea, this could be overcome with a "View As Member" control for the mods/owners.

This would bring main group members to a list of all available subgroups
with descriptions and info for each one.
As Brian mentioned there may be subgroups that ought not be listed there (or on the home page). To this end each subgroup has a Privacy setting that controls whether or not it is listed in the parent group.

Each subgroup also has a "Restricted" checkbox that controls whether parent group members need approval to join, but it looks like the only way to outright prevent the parent group members from applying would be to set the Privacy control so that they don't see the subgroup at all.

In my PTA group, for example, we have a "board" subgroup which I want the general membership (primary group) to know about but not be able to join. Right now I handle this by making the board subgroup Restricted, and resolve to not approve anyone who isn't elected or appointed to the board (no one has tried that yet).

In that particular case I would like the primary group members to be able to post to the board, but not read the board's messages. At the moment there's no way to do precisely that: I've set the board group to allow Non-Subscribers to Post, but that is too general - there's no option for parent group members only. Fortunately the Privacy option does have a "Listed in parent group, archives viewable by subgroup members only" selection, so that's most of what I need.


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

Maria
 

On Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 05:48 pm, Shal Farley wrote:
This would be another case where group mods/owners (for whom there is already a Subgroups item in the left column) would see something substantially different than what a plain member sees. As with the Members list idea, this could be overcome with a "View As Member" control for the mods/owners.

I am envisioning a sub-group menu item that is more of a "subgroup directory/listing" not a place to do admin work as the current subgroup menu item for mods/owners is.

What I mean is just a page where all subgroups of the parent group are listed, with descriptions, with info, and with links on how to join or how to view.

Maria

Maria
 

On Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 05:48 pm, Shal Farley wrote:
As Brian mentioned there may be subgroups that ought not be listed there (or on the home page). To this end each subgroup has a Privacy setting that controls whether or not it is listed in the parent group.

By "all available" I mean, any that are available / visible to members of the parent group but that may be sub-groups that only those approved may post to.

My main concern is making sure that a newbie can easily see which sub-groups are offered and then apply to join those that are relevant. At the moment the only way is to view the sub-group listing on the home page of the parent group. When you have many sub-groups, listing them on the homepage is not efficient and also not attractive as it makes that homepage drag on too long. Which is why I'd rather see a subgroup listing/directory within the group as a menu item.

Especially if the homepage isn't really the landing spot because we go straight to messages.

Maria

 

Maria,

I am envisioning a sub-group menu item that is more of a "subgroup
directory/listing" not a place to do admin work as the current subgroup
menu item for mods/owners is.
Understood.

I was addressing what I think would be Mark's same question (#10632): how do mods/owners see the members' version if it has the same name as the existing Subgroups button.
https://groups.io/g/beta/message/10632

One answer is to do nothing: mods/owners see only the admin version and must log out and log in as a member to see the member version. Another answer is to add yet another item on the sidebar (as seen by mods/owners), and figure out what to call it.

My suggestion supposes that mods/owners would relatively seldom want to see the members' version, so using a generic mechanism (View group as Member) would solve both issues (Members list and Subgroups list) and might have broader utility. My suggestion is really a variation on the "do nothing" answer, but a little more convenient for the moderator than having a second group subscription (as a member) and switching between them.


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

 

Maria,

My main concern is making sure that a newbie can easily see which
sub-groups are offered and then apply to join those that are relevant.
... When you have many sub-groups, listing them on the homepage is not
efficient and also not attractive as it makes that homepage drag on too
long.
Understood, and I agree.

I'm not sure I would go as far as Brian's sample screen shot, which looks to me like having the subgroups listed at the top of the Topics View page, but having them be more discoverable and convenient than just on the Home page seems like a good idea to me.

Especially if the homepage isn't really the landing spot because we go
straight to messages.
Perhaps, in groups which have sub-groups, the proposed new Subgroup page ought to be the landing spot for members, especially if it includes information about new content in the primary and each subgroup.

Perhaps a kind of hybrid of the Your Groups list and the All Messages page (via the Groups.io logo), but containing only info pertaining to the primary group in question and its subgroups.


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

Maria
 

The only thing to consider is that it's a page that Mods/Owners would need to refer to, to:

1- edit it to add info perhaps (unless it's all automatically entered - which would be cool)

2- provide the link to newbies when a query comes up and also in group files/documentation/reminders.

I think another menu item would be fine since that menu for members is limited. Perhaps it just gets a different name...?

Maria

Maria
 

On Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 11:03 pm, Shal Farley wrote:
Understood, and I agree.

I'm not sure I would go as far as Brian's sample screen shot, which looks to me like having the subgroups listed at the top of the Topics View page, but having them be more discoverable and convenient than just on the Home page seems like a good idea to me.

I am not keen on the example Brian offered either. I don't like the idea of the main group design/interface being altered and I find the example provided unattractive. In my view, all we need is a menu item for subgroups. You can already see all the recent messages for any subgroup you are actually in in "ALL MESSAGES, right?. So no need in my opinion to disturb the group "messages" lay-out as we'd be duplicating to a certain extent "all messages".

I also don't think the landing page needs to change. One see's all the groups one is in, in the "your groups" area. Then you select which one to go to.

To me, it's more an issue of making the list of sub-groups not be on the homepage of the main group but as a separate area a member can explore and easily remember how to find so that he/she joins a sub-group that's more relevant or useful for the needed purpose. 

Maria

Maria
 

On Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 10:33 pm, Shal Farley wrote:
I was addressing what I think would be Mark's same question (#10632): how do mods/owners see the members' version if it has the same name as the existing Subgroups button.

 Could one idea perhaps be that on the menu the admin/owner options are listed under an ADMIN menu that then has sub-menu items? So that even if there are 2 possibly similar menu items (member directory or subgroup directory) the admin version by similar name (but with different content) would be located as a sub-menu item of an ADMIN menu?

Perhaps it's worth thinking about separating what are admin menu options and what are the group options. Also as a reminder to the owner as to what he/she sees and what members see as well as a way to shorten the menu in to 2 sections?

Maria


Maria
 

On Mon, Aug 15, 2016 at 05:36 am, HR Tech wrote:
Perhaps it's worth thinking about separating what are admin menu options and what are the group options

At minimum I think it's worth revisiting the order of the menu items in the owner/mods view. 

We currently have options that are not visible to members intermixed with options that are.

I'd put all the member viewable options on top and the admin only on the bottom. Preferably in an Admin top menu with sub-menu choices.

(sorry for fragmented thoughts!)

Maria

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

Unless I'm somehow the exception, when using the topics view, which is all I use, it is as though subgroups do not exist.  There is no way when you land on the topics page to know that there are subgroups.  Even if it were a single button at the top that read Subgroups and somehow gave an indication as to whether or not there were new messages "hiding" there would be a major improvement.

To each his or her own on the final design, and that could be fleshed out.  I'd rather see the top list, with each subgroup having a single line that clearly indicates its current "new message" status if you're logged in.  I'm perfectly OK with alternatives that require a "click to check" with some sort of clear, fixed indicator on the main messages/topics page.  If you don't have that then we're back to square one, particularly since the far more logical "land on messages/topics page" default has been implemented.   I am subscribed to a number of subgroups, most of which I have e-mail notification on for because they get little traffic, but if twenty more were created for a given group I'd be really unlikely at this point to ever know that they were there if they were not announced.

I consider subgroups to be part and parcel of a group, but just a way to guide message creation in a more structured way.  As a general rule, though few have them here, I like any group to have a "chat" group that allows members to post whatever they please (within the realm of common decency).  I have yet to be a member of any group where, at one point or another, members don't post something that's off-topic because they want to solicit answers from people they think might have them who they interact with regularly on the actual central topic of a group.
--
Brian

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

Maria
 

On Mon, Aug 15, 2016 at 07:25 am, Brian Vogel wrote:
To each his or her own on the final design, and that could be fleshed out.  I'd rather see the top list, with each subgroup having a single line that clearly indicates its current "new message" status if you're logged in.

Just by way of explanation, the reason I don't feel the top list will work for groups like ours is that we have over 50 subgroups. So putting the link and recent activity on top of the main group topics would essentially bury the main group's topics view/ messages view page. It would create a subgroups list plastered on top of the main topics list when you have groups with many subgroups. 

Thats the reason I think a separate subgroups menu item would work better and be cleaner design-wise.

Maria 


Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

Maria,

             What you say makes perfect sense if you have that many subgroups.  It would be interesting, though far more coding work [which I'm not proposing, by the way], to do something like if there are 5 or fewer subgroups just present them sans the need for a button or link and if more present the link that would reveal them.

              The button, link, alone would be enough to greatly increase general user recognition of the presence/existence of subgroups.  That would be fine as far as I'm concerned.

               Fifty subgroups of a single group suggests to me that you really have more than one group that you're bundling under one very general umbrella group.
--
Brian

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

 

Hi All,

I just pushed a first pass at a Subgroups page. It's a new sidebar menu item. Subgroups are sorted by name and the ones you're not subscribed to are shown first. The page doesn't infinite scroll yet, but will like the others when I'm done with it. Please let me know what you think.

Thanks,
Mark

On Mon, Aug 15, 2016 at 9:18 AM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

Maria,

             What you say makes perfect sense if you have that many subgroups.  It would be interesting, though far more coding work [which I'm not proposing, by the way], to do something like if there are 5 or fewer subgroups just present them sans the need for a button or link and if more present the link that would reveal them.

              The button, link, alone would be enough to greatly increase general user recognition of the presence/existence of subgroups.  That would be fine as far as I'm concerned.

               Fifty subgroups of a single group suggests to me that you really have more than one group that you're bundling under one very general umbrella group.
--
Brian

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


Maria
 

On Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 10:21 am, Mark Fletcher wrote:
Subgroups are sorted by name and the ones you're not subscribed to are shown first

 Very cool! But I'd suggest having the ones you *are* subscribed to shown first and then the ones you are not subscribed to but that are available to apply to shown after.

Maria

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

I'd actually go a step further and have subgroups that one is subscribed to shown similarly to the example I posted from BleepingComputer.

Things hidden under controls simply don't often get attention.  Subgroups still remain substantially buried.

The above being said, this is still a significant improvement.  I also agree with Maria that the groups one is subscribed to should "bubble to the top of the list" rather than those one is not subscribed to.
--
Brian

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

 

On Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 10:30 AM, HR Tech via Groups.io <m.conway11@...> wrote:
On Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 10:21 am, Mark Fletcher wrote:
Subgroups are sorted by name and the ones you're not subscribed to are shown first

 Very cool! But I'd suggest having the ones you *are* subscribed to shown first and then the ones you are not subscribed to but that are available to apply to shown after.


Done!

Thanks,
Mark 

 

On Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 12:42 PM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

I'd actually go a step further and have subgroups that one is subscribed to shown similarly to the example I posted from BleepingComputer.

Things hidden under controls simply don't often get attention.  Subgroups still remain substantially buried.

I see your point, but I'm not sure about adding them to the archives pages.. Let me ponder it a bit.

Thanks,
Mark 

 

I would suggest that if the group has no subgroups, then the side menu bar item should not appear. At least not for ordinary members.

I'm also thinking there's likely a better way to present them, but I don't have any new ideas at the moment.

JohnF