New forum - issues and complaints

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NickThorpe
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New forum - issues and complaints

Post by NickThorpe » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:55 am

Hi guys, as you'll doubtless be aware, we tried out new forum software once the site returned from its downtime on Friday afternoon. It was intended to resolve some of the ongoing technical issues that have crippled site performance recently and bring a new look to the place. Shortly afterwards, this version of the forum returned without any explanation.

Having spoken to the tech guys this morning, I can confirm that they reinstated the current version because of the complaints about the new software. In the state it launched in on Friday, the new forum was disastrously inadequate as a successor to the current software. I'd like to apologise for this - we shouldn't have launched something that was clearly not ready.

For the time being this version of the forum will remain, but from what I understand it is one of the key sources of our recent technical problems, which is why the switch was attempted. This leaves us with a problem: our current software must eventually be replaced, but we care about our customers and the community we've built, so we don't want to leave you stuck with a product that is overwhelmingly unpopular and less functional than the original.

The solution involves your feedback. The tech guys have asked me to collect and pass on your complaints, so that we can work on the withdrawn software and ensure that it meets the standard that we all expect. So far, I have noted the following complaints:

- Design/Font issues (ugly, hard to read, large blocks on right hand side)
- Loss of old replies
- Loss of private message function
- Loss of subscribed threads
- Loss of user post counts
- Loss of view new posts link
- Problems with quoting
- Problems with editing posts
- Problems with editing signatures
- Problems with login (I can only see this from Bub&Bob - did anyone else have issues?)
- [flatapex] Images and links not working in signatures
- [bub&bob] iPhone layout issues

If you want to elaborate on the problems above or add any issues that I've missed, please reply in this topic. The more specific you can be in your criticisms, the better - that way we can pinpoint the issues and get to work on them.

If you missed the new software during its brief run on Friday but want to help us improve things, you can try it here: http://www.retrogamer.net/forum/forum/r ... ine-forum/
Last edited by NickThorpe on Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Bub&Bob
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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by Bub&Bob » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:43 am

NickThorpe wrote:- Problems with login (I can only see this from Bub&Bob - did anyone else have issues?
Specifically, when I tried to log on I got a wordpress holding page with the following message "ERROR: Incorrect username or password.3 attempts remaining."

After 3 failed attempts I was then told to wait 20 mins.

When I clicked onto the Lost your password button I entered my user name as instructed, clicked Get New Password and the Google appeared.

When I tried to register as a new user after entering my details again Google appeared.

Since then I have created a new account here but I get the same again.

So, who do I contact when the new version rears its ugly head again and I cannot log on? I did email retrogamer@imagine-publishing.co.uk on Friday but have not had a reply so far....
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c0nfu53d
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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by c0nfu53d » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:02 pm

other than what you've listed we would like abit more notice next time.

Let the tech guys know I appreciate the attempt to solve the forum issues even though it failed - I also liked the fact we had YouTube bb code on the new forums too.

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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by speedlolita » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:29 pm

Communication.

There was a lack of it, that was the issue. Don't just change things without notifying people.
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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by NickThorpe » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:39 pm

Thanks for the comments so far, these have been helpful.

This thread needs to concentrate on the forum software specifically. I appreciate that there were issues with communication, but that's an issue which will definitely require Darran's input and he's away from work this week. The tech guys are here now, so let's concentrate on what we can fix first.

Bub&Bob: sorry it hasn't been sooner, but expect a reply to your email this afternoon.
Last edited by NickThorpe on Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by flatapex » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:44 pm

hyperlinks in signatures were just displayed as text (links were disabled), oh and retrocollect banners were disabled too

for example mine was all text and my collection tracking link didnt work
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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by markopoloman » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:20 pm

A quick lesson for forum moderators would be handy!
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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by markopoloman » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:24 pm

Is the forum upgrade happening to all Imagine forums? Or are we a special case due to actually having members using the place?!
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RetroBob
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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by RetroBob » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:37 pm

As a minimum, the forum should have the same functionality when it comes to well, anything... formatting posts, embedding, messaging, stuff etc.

For me personally, I don't wade through every single forum. Currently I just click 'view new posts' and click on the 'view newest post' for each thread I want to look at. Anything less than this would take too long.

Thanks Nick for handling the communications.
Last edited by RetroBob on Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by Hitman_HalStep » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:49 pm

NickThorpe wrote:- Design/Font issues (ugly, hard to read, large blocks on right hand side)[/url]
it may have been a coincidence but i had a bit of a headache that day and after reading the "new" version of the forum i found it getting seriously worse,the font looked too small.i have excellent eye sight and don't use or need glasses.

i've never had a problem with the old font.
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Liamh1982
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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by Liamh1982 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:07 pm

Just avoid the Wordpress forum software and stick with phpBB.
Either of the versions used by RetroCollect and/or RP2MP would be more than sufficient.

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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by Bub&Bob » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:17 pm

NickThorpe wrote:Bub&Bob: sorry it hasn't been sooner, but expect a reply to your email this afternoon.
Thanks....and you have nothing to apologise for.

For me, the font was poor.

It was very difficult to read on Google Chrome (Win XP) however it looked reasonable on the ipad. Then again, the whole format of the new site was a total mess on the iPhone.

I will also echo the comments that I always (and pretty much only) click onto View New Posts so this needs to stay.

Finally, I do hope that all of the historic threads and posts are not wiped as there is a wealth of useful info in there.
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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by Antiriad2097 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:42 pm

NickThorpe wrote:- Design/Font issues (ugly, hard to read, large blocks on right hand side)
- Loss of old replies
- Loss of private message function
- Loss of subscribed threads
- Loss of user post counts
- Loss of view new posts link
- Problems with quoting
- Problems with editing posts
- Problems with editing signatures
- Problems with login (I can only see this from Bub&Bob - did anyone else have issues?)
- [flatapex] Images and links not working in signatures
Of the above:

Design: The font, colour scheme and layout combination was ugly and not especially easy to read. The current forum (and most forums I use) has a plain font with colours that aren't quite so stark, with differing background colours for each reply. This makes it easy to pick out thread titles, and within threads, to see where a reply starts and stops, with the next one being lighter/darker each time. A small thing, but of huge impact to the look and feel. If we are having a specific design imposed for the look of the forum, I'd hope there's at least one alternate theme available from the user control panel (perhaps a new & classic theme so Imagine can have the default look they want, but a more 'standard' alternative. Forum software creators haven't come up with default sets of themes by accident, they know what works.

- Loss of old replies: While I don't think this is critical in the long term, we did see a backlash from the main website when all the comments to reviews were lost. I forsee similar if we lose old threads completely. If possible, old content should be retained, even if in read only format. This is of obvious and clear use to those trading on the forum, but also applies to other threads. I know I for one often search old threads for particular comments or discussion. It would be a shame to lose that 'library' of information.

- Loss of private message function: This is essential. I have addresses and stuff in my PMs which I wouldn't like to lose. If we are going to lose the old PMs, at least give use a few week's warning so we can back stuff up locally (since some people may be on holiday, working away from home etc - my access while offshore is limited if I can get on at all). As a moderator (well, spambuster, but it equates to much the same for the IT guys since I have limited mod powers to edit/delete posts), we do message one another from time to time regarding action to take for the benefit of the forum. Obviously we don't always want to do that on the forum itself, so a PM facility is a requirement, or at the very least a 'hidden' mod forum section.

- Loss of subscribed threads: I'm indifferent to this, but for less active users this may be a much used function telling them they've had a reply and need to log in.

- Loss of user post counts: As one of the users with the highest post count, I don't mind losing this tbh. I don't see any great benefit from it, its not some sort of status thing, it just shows I've posted a lot of carp over a long period. The only issue is with our current trading 'rule' that users should have 50 posts. Losing post counts potentially impacts that.

- Loss of view new posts link: Essential, and my main bugbear beyond the horrible design. I never, ever, look at individual sections of forum on any of the forums I visit, I always go directly to the 'new posts' link and skim the resulting threads for titles of interest. I don't want, or need, to go to 'off topic', then 'games', or anything else to find what's happened since my last visit. Losing this is a major backward step. In fact, I can't recall how many years its been since I saw a forum without this function. Loss of this really puts me off visiting.

- Problems with editing signatures: As with others, I tried to edit my current sig to correct it (or at least remove the bad bits that didn't work). I wasn't able to, as the new forum thought my signature was blank in the edit box. All my posts still had the text only though, without the links or images.

- Problems with login: No problem for me there, though why I'd want to log into that forum is beyond me.

- [flatapex] Images and links not working in signatures: As above, I had the same issue. All other users signatures were broken, showing text only, and I wasn't able to edit my own to correct it.

If the side panel with the stats on recent posts, replies etc is to remain, can we have it togglable so it can be hidden/reduced. Since its only really telling me a fraction of what the 'view new posts' does anyway. Its just dead space to me, I will never use it.

Every thread should have a 'view first unread post' button, just like we have now. At the moment, I can look at any list of threads, and every thread has this. When clicked, it takes me to the first post I haven't personally read. Its a massive time saver and makes the forum useable. Without it, following any thread becomes a memory test. Again, this is standard on every forum I've used for years, so its omission puzzles me.

Working tags to embed Youtube videos would also be appreciated. As would some means of reporting technical issues to the IT guys directly. We really shouldn't have to be doing this via the mag staff, which seems odd when the subs department is unrelated but manage brilliantly with any issues raised directly with them.
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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by playzooki » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:48 pm

The login boxes were messed up on mobile

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NickThorpe
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Re: New forum - issues and complaints

Post by NickThorpe » Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:12 pm

Antiriad2097 wrote:We really shouldn't have to be doing this via the mag staff
Trust me, I'd rather be writing about Midnight Resistance right now too. =)
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