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"What have you done to my beloved forum?!" - Page 4  

post #46 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by sipang View Post

Ok bear with me, this is a long one.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

I was curious to see how other forums were managing their transition to the Huddler platform so I did a bit of browsing around and the least I can say is that I'm not too optimistic about the future.

 

From the numerous feedback threads, the slowness seem to be a recurring problem even months after the launch (some of those website are on Huddler since 2010 apparently). A quick check on alexa.com shows that all the websites rate from "slow" to "very slow".

 

Aside from minor cosmetic differences, all the websites pretty much look the same as current version SF: same layouts, same vertical spacing and readability problems and same right-hand sidebar. I'm afraid these features are here to stay.

 

 

The thing is that Huddler is much more than just another forum platform like vBulletin
 

 

While I absolutely don't have a problem with that in principle, it seems that Huddler's focus is much less on the community side of the website and much more on all the adverstising/marketing side.

 

Here's a somewhat harsh assessment of the situation from a post on head-fi.org.

 

 

Now, I don't want to say this is 100% accurate but by the look of things it sure feels like the Huddler forum platform is an ersatz at most as shown by the loss of core forum functionality: no stickies, copy/paste pop-up window, no text to smiley conversion, poor search function etc etc. I understand this might still change or be caused by some bugs but the fact that other websites experienced the same problems a while ago and that we still do too today makes me sceptical.

 

What also struck me is that several members on these other websites mentionned how the forums felt "dead" since the transition which is something I've definitely been feeling these last couple of days. I can't quite explain it but it seems like the posting rate has been dropping significantly except for noob threads (I'm talking about SW&D here), maybe that's just in my head though, idk...

 

In any case I personally don't enjoy browsing the forum anymore. While I used to stick around and browse for a significant amount of time until last week, I now find myself checking one or two threads and then quickly moving on to something else. Everything just feels "fragmented" now which is the opposite of a community, I'm not sure it's something you "get used too". I don't know if many share the same feeling and I'm not saying this is the end of SF but I definitely think something is missing.


Unfortunately, I think the worst case scenario is what is spooling out here.
post #47 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by sipang View Post

While I used to stick around and browse for a significant amount of time until last week, I now find myself checking one or two threads and then quickly moving on to something else. Everything just feels "fragmented" now which is the opposite of a community,

I find myself sticking mostly to threads that I have subscriptions for. Somehow the forum pages seem disorganized to me.
post #48 of 226
Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncontrol View Post

 

Quote:

In any case I personally don't enjoy browsing the forum anymore. While I used to stick around and browse for a significant amount of time until last week, I now find myself checking one or two threads and then quickly moving on to something else. Everything just feels "fragmented" now which is the opposite of a community, I'm not sure it's something you "get used too". I don't know if many share the same feeling and I'm not saying this is the end of SF but I definitely think something is missing.

 

Nailed it.


+1 - I sign on, check a few posts which I have posted in and have new replies, check some new items for sale (which is a PIA now) and go on my marry way. Come back a few hours later. I use to be browsing, reading though threads all night long.

post #49 of 226
Because they are. Not bragging at all -- my site is incomparable to SF in terms of scale or content -- but compare my threadlisting to the one here:

http://harajuju.net/Forum-Style-and-Fashion

The one on SF right now is just hard to read; it confuses your eyes trying to find the relevant information.
post #50 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncontrol View Post

Because they are. Not bragging at all -- my site is incomparable to SF in terms of scale or content -- but compare my threadlisting to the one here:

http://harajuju.net/Forum-Style-and-Fashion

The one on SF right now is just hard to read; it confuses your eyes trying to find the relevant information.
I don't think you're making the point that you think.



J, Fok, all - thank you for all the work before and now.

However, I think multi-item listings & bump/reply functionality for B&S should be revisited. The old B&S built familiarity with sellers and allowed buyers to help push listings to the front - putting the forum, not strangers, in charge of good B&S content. It also helped confine items that weren't priced well or interesting to most members.

The new B&S - while a breeze to use - feels muddled and anonymous.
post #51 of 226
I think what Uncontrol was trying to point out is that his site is faster and way easier to read/browse/navigate than the new SF.

He is right.
post #52 of 226
Re. The Hudder thing - the core functionality of the Huddler *are* the forum functions that are most frequently used, perhaps with one site, Denimblog, which is the amalgam of a blog and a forum, being the exception. Otherwise, they would be trying to convert other types of sites. They are very aware that a site like Styleforum is valuable because it has a vibrant, dynamic community, that interactions between members makes the community, and that the other things are gravy, albeit profitable gravy. (Sometimes, the gravy can even directly help the community.)

That quote from HeadFi with the quote from HTF is an inaccurate analysis based on incorrect interpretation of a poorly worded quote, probably from one of the engineers, who are typically good guys, but have a knack of making things sound terrible.

What the Huddler has been doing is carefully observing user behavior on the forums it converts, not implementing VB functions that are seldom or never used, and adding new functions to improve the user experience. For example, the "stickies", whether you like them or not, were developed because 1) people always complain about too much real estate being taken up on VB forums by pinned threads, 2) pinned threads, especially the rules, are largely ignored. The typically pinned threads would not have been more difficult to develop. The fact that the stickies are different was a conscious choice to improve the user experience.

Some functions are both profitable and helpful to the community. The reviews are one of those. A lot of our traffic (and those from most product based sites) comes from search engines, which explains the many "newbie" questions that pop up on and clutter up forums. A good database of reviews allows search engine users to find their answers without having to Having a useful review system requires products in the system that are actually used by some people on the site. When we have time catch some air, we will be going through and culling some obviously stupid items from the site. We've also asked both our MC and SW&D affiliates to upload their products. You can also add items manually if you wish.

I have seen the official development "roadmap", and the official goal is to develop the community engagement tools, then the administrative tools, and then other stuff. The large majority of the improvements in "community engagement" are forum tools. We are not allowed to show everyone this document, because otherwise, there would be over a million cooks in the kitchen. It's unfortunate, because I think that it would alleviate a lot of people's suspicions. Contrary to what some conspiracy theorists on other sites think, fucking things up after you've invested a shitload of money is not a particularly viable business model. I would also take the assessment of disgruntled members of other sites with a grain of salt. You can look at the Alexa stats (which, btw, have issues of their own, but it's the best you can get without getting into proprietary information) for head-fi.org, and you'll see that the site remains dynamic. We are tracking things pretty carefully, and we are always responsive to the needs of our community.

The system is not perfect, and j and I are not "good enough" people. Anyone who has met us will be able to tell you that we are pretty forceful, in different ways (so, useful for different things,) that we really care about the forum and think a lot about how it can be made better, and that we are pretty good advocates for the community. There is definitely a learning curve associated with this new platform but I hope that you will try to learn all the ins and outs of the new system while we focus on getting the system working better.
post #53 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncontrol View Post

Because they are. Not bragging at all -- my site is incomparable to SF in terms of scale or content -- but compare my threadlisting to the one here:

http://harajuju.net/Forum-Style-and-Fashion

The one on SF right now is just hard to read; it confuses your eyes trying to find the relevant information.

+10000000000

That is the correct way to display threads on a forum page. Minimum spacing, clear and easy to read font, dozens of titles readable at a glance. The new SF is still making my head hurt.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianpore View Post

I use to be browsing, reading though threads all night long.

Same here. I used to spend tons of time at work browsing and searching the archives. Now the site is a headache to use and the search function is worthless, so I just glance at the handful of new threads and then procrastinate elsewhere on the web.
post #54 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianpore View Post


+1 - I sign on, check a few posts which I have posted in and have new replies, check some new items for sale (which is a PIA now) and go on my marry way. Come back a few hours later. I use to be browsing, reading though threads all night long.


Same here. frown.gif
I would have thought the old SF was doing pretty well. If SF was receiving say just 5% of my purchases & proxy purchases through the BB, STP, Zappos, Endless,...links they should have been bringing in at least $1000 a year from me alone. When I was selling things in the old B&S many of my purchases came from members who joined just to buy an item. Now many of them have 100+ posts and visit the site everyday. I am sure they bought through the links too.

I will keep visiting the site, hoping it speeds up and the the B&S problems are resolved.
post #55 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

I would also take the assessment of disgruntled members of other sites with a grain of salt. You can look at the Alexa stats (which, btw, have issues of their own, but it's the best you can get without getting into proprietary information) for head-fi.org, and you'll see that the site remains dynamic. We are tracking things pretty carefully, and we are always responsive to the needs of our community.

Shrug, as a long time poster/consumer of head-fi I know for a fact that many of the veteran posters who helped make head-fi a place worth visiting have moved on. There are a lot of reasons for that, but the huddler conversion was the last straw. I'm sure there's been an influx of new posters to replace them, but the content that those veteran posters generated has not. So I'd recommend taking Alexa stats with a grain of salt. Though perhaps Huddlers personal stats cover this and somehow refute my anecdotal evidence... I have no idea. Anyway as I've said previously I'm about as mercenary a fellow as can be so if content is good, usability is good then I invest my time. So far though my experience has been the same as Uncontrol's.

Really though I can boil it down to a single thing and that is the lack of a sensible stickied post solution. Like most I only really read 5-7 threads and the stickies managed that well. All this has been mentioned before but the links don't gut it primarily for 2 reasons for me: 1. Doesn't bounce you to the last post 2. There's no bold/unbold system to let you know if there's new content on one of the stickied threads.

Fix that and I really have no complaints. I don't browse enough mobile-wise to really care about the broken experience there which would probably be detraction #2. If I felt motivated at all to browse the B&S system the lack of size searching/browsing aids would probably be detraction #3. But since I don't do either of those things really just complaint #1!

Hopefully you don't have vet attrition any greater than it was prior to the switch, because that's when things really do go downhill. I don't know what metrics you are tracking, but I would worry very much if that stat spikes. Anyway, I know that this isn't a bell that can be unrung, so all I can do is hope for the best. I absolutely don't consider myself a veteran and you can definitely afford to lose me smile.gif
post #56 of 226
Where can I find details of the new charging structure for B&S? Thanks.
post #57 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by tatecloths View Post

I don't think you're making the point that you think.

J, Fok, all - thank you for all the work before and now.

However, I think multi-item listings & bump/reply functionality for B&S should be revisited. The old B&S built familiarity with sellers and allowed buyers to help push listings to the front - putting the forum, not strangers, in charge of good B&S content. It also helped confine items that weren't priced well or interesting to most members.

The new B&S - while a breeze to use - feels muddled and anonymous.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraxis View Post


Shrug, as a long time poster/consumer of head-fi I know for a fact that many of the veteran posters who helped make head-fi a place worth visiting have moved on. There are a lot of reasons for that, but the huddler conversion was the last straw. I'm sure there's been an influx of new posters to replace them, but the content that those veteran posters generated has not. So I'd recommend taking Alexa stats with a grain of salt. Though perhaps Huddlers personal stats cover this and somehow refute my anecdotal evidence... I have no idea. Anyway as I've said previously I'm about as mercenary a fellow as can be so if content is good, usability is good then I invest my time. So far though my experience has been the same as Uncontrol's.

Really though I can boil it down to a single thing and that is the lack of a sensible stickied post solution. Like most I only really read 5-7 threads and the stickies managed that well. All this has been mentioned before but the links don't gut it primarily for 2 reasons for me: 1. Doesn't bounce you to the last post 2. There's no bold/unbold system to let you know if there's new content on one of the stickied threads.

Fix that and I really have no complaints. I don't browse enough mobile-wise to really care about the broken experience there which would probably be detraction #2. If I felt motivated at all to browse the B&S system the lack of size searching/browsing aids would probably be detraction #3. But since I don't do either of those things really just complaint #1!

Hopefully you don't have vet attrition any greater than it was prior to the switch, because that's when things really do go downhill. I don't know what metrics you are tracking, but I would worry very much if that stat spikes. Anyway, I know that this isn't a bell that can be unrung, so all I can do is hope for the best. I absolutely don't consider myself a veteran and you can definitely afford to lose me smile.gif

The B&S rules and fee structure are something we can play with. And there are little things that we can change there that can make a big difference. I made a post in MC that outlines an alternative system. It would be interesting to hear comments on that. That system was built for us, and so there is more latitude than other parts of the system.

Apart from that, I haven't done it for Head-Fi, because it is a PITA, but I am actually pretty good with things like thematic content analysis, so I can run tools on Styleforum that will give me some indicatsion of quality as well as quantity changes, and will actually be monitorning that closely. Yeah, Alexa stats are always to be taken with a grain of salt.

I should clarify that we do have a lot of access to internal statistics that are not publicly available. However, I would be highly surprised if anyone at The Huddler kows as much as I do about thematic content analysis as I do, and even if they did, in order to use the tools to make quantitative conclusions about quality requires a pretty intimate knowledge of a subject.
post #58 of 226

Hope this is what your looking for http://www.styleforum.net/wiki/buy-sell-trade-premium-memberships
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

Where can I find details of the new charging structure for B&S? Thanks.

 

 

post #59 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianpore View Post

Hope this is what your looking for http://www.styleforum.net/wiki/buy-sell-trade-premium-memberships
 

That's it. Thanks
post #60 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by sellahi22 View Post


+10000000000

That is the correct way to display threads on a forum page. Minimum spacing, clear and easy to read font, dozens of titles readable at a glance.

I'm sure Huddler, Inc. could soon fix that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sellahi22 View Post

The new SF is still making my head hurt.

Just like they did with SF.
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