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Author Topic: Gothic Idea for new page on the site/forum -- random thread page  (Read 5735 times)
mouser
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« on: January 25, 2010, 11:47:07 AM »

Gothic (aka John, the DC server admin) had a fun idea the other day, that we should have a page that showed a few random general-interest thread on the forum at a time.

The idea would be that it could alleviate boredom but also be used to revive some attention to older posts that don't otherwise ever get seen.
I think it's a fun idea and will implement it -- but before I do I thought maybe I should ask if anyone has any ideas or suggestions for how it should function and what it should show and in what format, etc.

Thoughts?
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VictorM
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 06:48:50 PM »

very interesting you'd be going down that route - most forums are worried about bringing old threads from the grave. I for one would like to see it - really old threads should be closed, anyway.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2010, 10:48:17 PM »

I never understood the desire to avoid old threads, much less close them. If an older thread has relevant discussion for a current topic, it should be added to. Nothing worse than duplicating old discussion, or the pointless kludge of "see previous topic here".

Anyway, sounds like a cool idea. I think just random threads, inclusive of anything not locked, and displayed in a "latest threads" style I suppose. Nothing too complex.

- Oshyan
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Gothi[c]
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2010, 06:19:21 AM »

The reason why I came up with it, is that we have quite a few threads on dc that aren't very popular due to their very special area of obscure geeky interest, which get buried in time.

The fact that the forum pushes older posts with less replies down into oblivion by default makes the entire thing feel kind of like digg ( which isn't a good thing smiley ).

Quote
really old threads should be closed, anyway.

Only if they have become irrelevant or deprecated. If it's just information or a topic that nobody at the time had interest in or knowledge about, it's perfectly fine for it to be revived later on if someone does come along with that interest.

Imagine if scientific researchers could only work on an idea until it gets pushed down because of newer more popular posts, then having to constantly re-start their project. Nothing much would get done. That's how I feel forums work sometimes, the same stuff keeps popping up now and then, and gets discussed without depth, or mediocre-depth until it is forgotten. Except for the very popular topics (our huge note-taking thread comes to mind...)

Sure, you can search for things using the forum search, but that wouldn't help you find discussions you wouldn't think to search for.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 06:27:10 AM by Gothi[c] » Logged
sgtevmckay
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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2010, 09:50:06 AM »

Greetings Gothic & Mouser

Something we are looking at coding for the Rainmeter forum is a simple Random type button to add to the menu bar.
This would target certain forum threads (ie. Tips and trick) then return a random posting.

This will keep certain ideas fresh and/or updated.

We have also considered targeting the recorded dates from the DB, anything older than 4 months may also be part of the Random function.
Of course for us...4 months is a long time and we are still relatively new to the Game.

I am thinking this is a great idea, especially here, as DC has been around for a long time, and there are literally thousands of posts.
We are unsure about doing this for ourselves at this point, as we are fishing our threads and deleting irrelevant information at this time.

But here it may even produce just a trip down memory lane.

It is part of the thinking: Bored??? Press here!
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mouser
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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2010, 10:03:13 AM »

Quote
a simple Random type button to add to the menu bar.

yes, and maybe when you hit random, and it shows you a random general thread.. the page where it shows you the general random thread would have some alternative random buttons that would give you slightly different things.

like "Random unreplied post" | "Random popular topic" | "Random blog post"
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sgtevmckay
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2010, 10:24:40 AM »

Yes:
Your thoughts are an expansion on the concept (I like it), but yes.  Thmbsup

I guess kind of like the StumbleUpon addon for Firefox  tongue
Sometimes you do get something interesting
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 10:26:42 AM by sgtevmckay » Logged
steeladept
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2010, 10:55:33 AM »

Perhaps it could be somewhat user defined.  For example, if I want to always exclude a certain topic (say the programming schools for example), then I could set it to exclude that.  For many threads, it doesn't get visited because it is not something most are interested in.  Ideally, the way I would want to see it is each person has a weighting scheme attached for each broad area of the forum.  They can then change the weights so some areas pop up more often, and some don't pop up at all.  So I could set, for example, the Living Room to show old threads 40% of the time, Reviews 30% of the time, Coding Snacks 10% of the time, and DC Website Help 20%.  Then I could set the rest to 0% and ensure I only see old threads that I would deem generally relevant to what I was interested in.  Just a thought....
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sgtevmckay
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2010, 11:46:07 AM »

Perhaps it could be somewhat user defined.  For example, if I want to always exclude a certain topic (say the programming schools for example), then I could set it to exclude that.  For many threads, it doesn't get visited because it is not something most are interested in.  Ideally, the way I would want to see it is each person has a weighting scheme attached for each broad area of the forum.  They can then change the weights so some areas pop up more often, and some don't pop up at all.  So I could set, for example, the Living Room to show old threads 40% of the time, Reviews 30% of the time, Coding Snacks 10% of the time, and DC Website Help 20%.  Then I could set the rest to 0% and ensure I only see old threads that I would deem generally relevant to what I was interested in.  Just a thought....

I see what you are suggesting, and being the forum admin for Rainmeter...you have actually given me a shutter.
Something like this may actually require individual Options, and calls to the DB.

Granted my experience is limited, but I instantly see two options regarding the concept.
1.) An attached options page to each users account (Nightmarish)
2.) Something similar to a search page, with filters and a search box that can also handle additional command line type exceptions that will query the DB.
Do-able: Yes....Now do you want to program it  tellme

Understanding the program concept and the calls that will be made to the DB to produce the results....I like Mousers Idea better.

Of course I suspect (Correctly I believe) that Gothi[c] has way more experience than I and this may be less complicated to his eyes than mine
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steeladept
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2010, 12:00:17 PM »

Of course I suspect (Correctly I believe) that Gothi[c] has way more experience than I and this may be less complicated to his eyes than mine
Or it may not.  I was looking at this from the end user POV only.  I am not a programmer and do not play one on the TV, er, computer.  I know just enough to know it is possible.  Not to know if it is realistically feasible.  That is why I throw out the ideas and someone else throws them away - or impliments them if it is worth it.  Cool
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sgtevmckay
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2010, 12:01:49 PM »

It's all good  Thmbsup
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Gothi[c]
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2010, 12:40:15 PM »

Hahaha, I can already see this fun little project turn into Super big giant mega project for mouser. Don't give him too many ideas or we won't see it this year cheesy
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mouser
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2010, 12:44:34 PM »

well.. one thing to do would be to piggy back on the search functionality, which already lets you select which boards to search and put in some terms.

so one solution would be to:
add options/parameters to the search page to make it randomize within the results it returns
allow you to specify no search terms (meaning find a set of random threads that meet other criteria)
add options to bias results to only older unread ones

And then you could add an "im feeling lucky" button to the main page that just conducted one preset search, but people could make their own bookmarks for arbitrary lucky "searches"

The one drawback for this would be that the search function puts a pretty heavy load on the server and i'm not sure how wise it is to increase it's use in this fashion, compared to an "Im feeling Lucky" function which could be designed for minimal db use.
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sgtevmckay
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2010, 03:09:50 PM »

I am concerned along teh same lines as you in regards to server load...

A Random Button, that just loads a random older post
An "I;m Feeling Lucky" attached to search

These are relatively easy  thumbs up

A full end customized search page with a lot of filter options and command entries to the search box.
Coding would be fun, but not only the load factor on the server, but also the system "Fart" factor if there is no search Limiter.
ie. Something that will return either the least active, or most active posts.
No limitations on the search (In a custom search) may also take time to return values (again; the load factor)

Gothi[c] is right in program timing (Rome, a day, and all that)
So maybe an "I'm Feeling lucky " button for search Parameters, and a "Random Thread" Button to start (???)
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app103
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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2010, 01:01:11 PM »

Why not just the random button that takes you to a random thread from the Livingroom section, only? The stuff there is pretty much of interest to just about anyone and would be an interesting collection to browse through.
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housetier
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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2010, 07:36:29 AM »

Can we somehow make use of stumbleupon or so? But that might expose uses to that service who do not wish to get caught in their fangs... privacy (perceived and actual) and such.

I am thinking of a 'thing' similar to stumbleupon though: users can rate, tag, and suggest threads and posts to other users; users could stumble through the forum according to certain criteria (unread, tag=foo, older than x days, in this subforum, not in this subforum, and more).

Naturally this should be optional and not force people to change the way they use our forum.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2010, 03:46:37 PM »

Housetier, what you're talking about starts to sound like a pretty cool general mod for SMF sites, and maybe even combined with a 3rd party site that you can optionally connect to, a sort of directory of communities organized by topic and keywords, with each having associated membership thread highlighting, etc. Let's say you're a user of the "SMF Stumbler" and you have found a new interest in knitting. You could do a web search for "knitting forum" or "knitting community", but maybe it would be better to look for keyword (or category/subject?) "knitting" in your SMF Stumbler account, and *bam* you have top-rated threads/communities on your subject of interest. Hmm!

- Oshyan
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