Dusting off the forum

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Dusting off the forum

Postby mburns » Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:10 pm

Hi gang,

I'm about to add a nice, new green theme to the forum after reorganizing some stale threads a bit. Anything else I should spend some time fixing up, to make the forum more enjoyable and useful?
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Re: Dusting off the forum

Postby generalludd » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:55 pm

Hi: Off and on since i obtained two XOs in January 2008, i have been visiting these forums. The thing i notice most is the very large number of topics, sub-topics and replies. At present it looks like you have "Working/Not Working" with six topics, "People/Posting" with five topics, and "Announcements" with one topic and 54 sub-topics dating from Dec. 18, 2007 to July 27, 2009 (one of which i am replying to). Strangely at the top there is one that is chronologically out of place. Thankfully there is the "view your posts" ("posts" meaning topics or replies that i have submitted) tab which reminds me of which ones i have visited; otherwise i would often be lost.

I am surprised at some topics in which it looks like i was the last replier: example One Million Monkeys. And that was in early 2008.

There are a some things that might make the forums easier to use.

1. Have posts topics and replies default to descending rather than ascending order. It could be set up so that the original topic that started the replies be always listed at the top of any page. On a largely-replied topic that would avoid having to go through multiple pages to get to the original topic. I think most readers are going to be interested in what is latest.

2. Provide a site map: one-liners in a tree that would indicate the major forums, topics, and replies (maybe just number and latest date on the latter).

3. I don't know what you mean by a "green theme" but cosmetic changes especially if they cause the familiar to become unfamiliar are probably unwelcome to many.

4. I don't know what "stale threads" means but i speculate it might mean something like my Million Monkeys that i mentioned at the beginning. You might just have a major forum titled old topics. But don't lose the links to "view your posts".

5. Maybe a new Forum called "Terminal Solutions" could be created. This could cover such subjects as:
• Downloading and installing Opera browser and Flash Media
• How to examine what is running in your particular XO machine.
• Writing help items to a file that can be saved to a removable USB drive, or SD chip.
• Specific step-by-step instructions to do the above with terminal commands
• Updating the XO system. (links to the Sugar Lab might be helpful) . I think by now most users are using build 767 sugar 0.82.1 (those numbers confuse me a bit. What do i refer to as the OS version? )
• Installation of Activities (or applications) if they cannot be automatically installed via the Browser.
• How to use Terminal or Opera to locate and list the contents of the XO system.
• How to boot up another OS like UBUNTU on an XO from an external drive (if possible)

6. There might be related lists forum which would identify other forums that are related to the OLPC, such as the Sugar Labs, Wikipedia, etc.

That's all i can think of for now. I learn a lot from reading these forums, topics, and replies; but i would learn a lot more if they did not seem so fragmented. Invariably i reply to one, only to find another topic that might have been a more appropriate place. Does "double posting" refer to putting the same reply under more than one topic, or does it mean repeatedly responding with the same reply in a given topic (which sometimes happens accidentally)?
Mac Mini,Snow Leopard OS 10.6.2; iMAC OS 10.4.11, Cableone.net Wireless via Linksys Router. 10Mb down/1MB up connection.
Two XOs, build 860
Firefox & Epiphany browsers
Flash Player 10.2..
People perish for lack of knowledge
(revised 02/28/11).
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Re: Dusting off the forum

Postby manymny » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:22 am

a couple things: people familiar with this type of forum (phpbb is very popular) normally use the "view latest post" feature. unfortunately this typically looks like an incredibly tiny page icon, from the right column of the index of each forum.

as far as organization of subforums, i've seen better, i've seen worse. i sympathize with those who find it confusing (and i agree it could be better) but the better you get to know your browser (and features of forums like this one) the less painful they are to use, even when their organization is less than optimal. (although i often use ff in sugar, which helps a lot.)
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Re: Dusting off the forum

Postby generalludd » Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:55 pm

Hi: Thanks for the reply. Some of the items in your reply raise questions.

1. I see no sign of a "view latest post" feature on my page on the right side or anyplace else. (where would the "index of this forum" be?)

2. "I often use ff in sugar which helps a lot" is meaningless to me. How do i do that?, assuming i were using an XO (with browse or Opera) to reply to this forum.

Because of the tiny print and also the relative slowness of the XO, all of this is being done on a Macintosh.

Regards:
p.s undefined terms make the remainder of any document unreadable, even if the term is irrelevant. I learned that somewhere:)
Mac Mini,Snow Leopard OS 10.6.2; iMAC OS 10.4.11, Cableone.net Wireless via Linksys Router. 10Mb down/1MB up connection.
Two XOs, build 860
Firefox & Epiphany browsers
Flash Player 10.2..
People perish for lack of knowledge
(revised 02/28/11).
generalludd
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:14 pm
Location: Prescott, AZ

Re: Dusting off the forum

Postby manymny » Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:27 pm

generalludd wrote:p.s undefined terms make the remainder of any document unreadable, even if the term is irrelevant. I learned that somewhere:)


if that were true, i would have never learned to read. instead, whenever i found a word i didn't recognize, i looked it up. people who already "know how to read" and are satisfied with their vocabulary don't think to apply the same rule to learning the language of computers, but with xo "everyone is a teacher" and "everyone is a learner." consider the latter.

ff is a browser, like opera. i assumed you were using the one in xo, but tabs in whatever browser you use: safari/ff/opera (there you get definition from context) on a mac should help you make the most of this forum, despite its level of organization. if you're using opera my advice applies regardless of whether you looked up ff or not.

I see no sign of a "view latest post" feature on my page on the right side or anyplace else. (where would the "index of this forum" be?)


the "view latest post" feature. unfortunately this typically looks like an incredibly tiny page icon, from the right column of the index of each forum.


at the top of the page you're reading now, you should find a list of links that says:
* Board index ‹ Announcements ‹ Forum Announcements & Feedback
click the board index link and you'll see a familiar page.

p.s. i already go out of my way to see to it that if someone has to look up a term i use, that it's a very common term- not only among programmers- and that hopefully they will not have to look up many or any words at all. sometimes we forget and use an acronym when it's not truly necessary, but there are things that can be done. we geeks have a few things to learn, but so does everyone else.

xo tip: when using browse activity, look to the bar at the top of the screen that says "activity | edit | browse | view" ... clicking on "view" will give you two icons in the top left that look like magnifying glasses with - and + signs. they will zoom text (and sometimes pictures) just like opera will... although opera has always done a slightly better job of it than gecko (browse and ff have gecko in common, it provides much of the user experience) gecko does a very nice job most of the time.

it's good to remember that xo and sugar are designed for children who are still exploring and learning, not old curmudgeons like you and me, who have given up on trying new things just for the sake of curiosity. i think that's the real reason they learn faster than we do, they have an urge, which traditional schooling divides and conquers in us until it dies.

but there's still time to expand our minds a little. if you'd really given up, you wouldn't have asked. that's why the net is fantastic, it lets us ask and learn the things we wouldn't have been willing to ask or explore in the time that preceded it.
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