Discourse is really bad for lurkers



  • There's no way to know/remember where I finished reading a thread.

    If I'm reading a regular forum it's easy enough to remember I was on Page 3 of a topic, and when I return and see it's on Page 5, I can click the "3" to get (roughly) back to where I was and continue to the end.

    I can't do that on Discourse, and it's fancy "remember where you stopped reading" functionality doesn't work for non logged in people. I tend to have to hit "End" to go to the bottom and then keep paging up til I can find my place. For some of the 400 to 500 post threads here, that's quite difficult and annoying.

    From reading the complaints and responding posts from @sam and @codinghorror I would guess that they don't really care too much about lurkers as Discourse is all about improving how people communicate (ie the logged in users) and lurkers aren't really a priority... if so, fair enough. I can log in to lurk I guess.

    But for what it's worth, I think most forums have lurkers and it might be an idea to support them somehow...



  • Agreed. I was forced to de-lurk in order to keep up with the discussions. It's not too difficult to create an account though, so it didn't bother me too much.



  • I'm anticipating the "you're not supposed to lurk, you're supposed to have an identity" response.

    It's kind of annoying me too, since I don't like bothering to login (and then logout) on every PC/device I use. And good luck finding your place in a 300-post thread without Discourse's crutches.



  • @KillaCoder said:

    I think most forums have lurkers
    I'm guessing this can be easily proven now that we have click tracking. I'm too lazy to look for examples other than the Bonecrusher thropic, but I'm reasonably sure I've seen links with more clicks than users.


  • Banned

    How exactly do you propose we store read/unread state on each topic for non-logged in users? Via cookies? HTML5 Local Storage? Server side via IP address?

    Also, having an account is not at all incompatible with lurking. You can lurk forever, there's no demand to post, reply, like, or interact with anything at all.

    Creating an account so we can track your read position doesn't seem too much of an ask.



  • @KillaCoder said:

    it's easy enough to remember I was on Page 3 of a topic,

    Why would I need to do that? I don't want to fill my brain with useless shit like on what book page I stopped reading. I use a bookmark for that. And in this digital age you wan't me to remember pages of a topic? I gladly log in if software can fix that usability issue for me. I'm sorry if the software is too smart for your usage.



  • I don't know how you'd want to implement it. It's a specific (albeit possibly irrelevant) area where your software is inferior to traditional forum software, and you might not have noticed/considered it, so as you're here I thought I'd let you know. I'm not here to attack anyone :smile:

    It was no big deal for me to create an account, barring a slight annoyance of having to login on different devices, but again, not everyone might want to do that. It's something to keep in mind for Discourse, that it's not really useable for people without accounts. Whether that matters or not is up to you, it's your software.

    I do think some forums could see a decrease in traffic, from people who can't navigate threads as a lurker and won't sign up. It might also put off newbies. There's several forums where I lurked for a while before signing up and taking part. If I couldn't lurk without an account, I would never have kept coming back and eventually joining in with the discussion. It's possibly a use case to keep in mind?


  • Banned

    Can you describe exactly how you "lurk" as a not-logged-in user on other forums?

    When you're reading a large ongoing topic, do you just memorize the last post or page number you read?



  • If you're not logged in, and you scroll through a DC thread, you can bookmark where you are, since the URL changes.

    Fixed?



  • What? I'm not telling you how to do anything...

    I agree that the software remembering the position is superior. The problem is the software DOESN'T remember if you aren't logged in. Public forums always have lurkers and Discourse doesn't work for them.

    I've no problem signing up and making an account, now that I've read through some threads, complaints, comments from the developers and seeing how the system works... but not everyone will do that, some users without accounts will just see a 500 post thread with absolutely no way (well, typing post number in URL works but not sure how many regular users will twig to that) to get back to the middle part of the thread where they left off reading and think "Fuck this broken system".

    If they don't sign up, the software won't be usable for them, and if the software won't be usable, they won't sign up. Vicious cycles and all that. Just think it's something the developers should know about and consider.



  • Yup sure! I do simply memorise the page number, then use the page down key to quickly visually scan to where I left off the conversation. I used to do it on the previous Daily WTF site. I'm NOT saying I always get it perfectly right or that it's an ideal or even decent solution, but it's possible.

    I like your infinite scrolling, place remembering software. I think for logged in users it is indeed superior than traditional forums. But for non logged in users it's worse. They lose the advantages of paging and don't gain the benefits of Discourse.



  • @Luhmann said:

    Why would I need to do that? I don't want to fill my brain with useless shit like on what book page I stopped reading. I use a bookmark for that.

    Except when you have the same book at home, in your office, and in your backpack. Then it's easier to remember the page number of the time when you last stopped reading (no matter which one), instead of keeping all three bookmarks in sync.

    It's also slightly easier to remember "middle of page 3" than "post 116", and currently Discourse has no convenient way to go to a specific post. Overall, a minor nitpick, but somewhat annoying.



  • @KillaCoder said:

    absolutely no way to get back to the middle part of the thread where they left off reading

    So what's wrong with bookmarking?



  • @dhromed said:

    So what's wrong with bookmarking?

    You don't generally have your bookmarks everywhere you go.


  • Banned

    You could have your bookmarks on every device, if you were.. wait for it.. logged into Google Chrome or Firefox.



  • @codinghorror said:

    You could have your bookmarks on every device, if you were.. wait for it.. logged into Google Chrome or Firefox.

    If I can log into Chrome/Firefox, I can also log into TDWTF and save myself hassle. The point is, I don't want to log in, I want to just quickly skim new posts.


    Filed under: i just want grumpy cat



  • Bookmarking would work, but it'd be:

    1. A hassle, I wouldn't want to have to continually bookmark, delete, and re bookmark threads to save the place.

    2. Wouldn't travel across devices.

    3. Not very intuitive. The user would have to realise that the URL changes with each post scrolled past, and then realise that means each individual post is bookmarkable. (Other web pages only bookmark the entire thing, not a particular position on the page).

    I don't think that's very feasible.

    Just so we're clear, this isn't me complaining. I'm happy with being logged in and how the software functions when I'm logged in. I'm just saying that non logged in users will have a rough time.



  • Hmm, maybe we need some "call to actions" (or whatever the Marketing Guru™s are calling it these days) for users when they read more than, say, 3 threads, or come back multiple times, as calculated in localStorage?

    Draft 0 of the text:

    Hey, you've been on the site for a while. Why not create an account? The forum will remember where you were last time, making reading that much easier!



  • Dunno. I assume most of the people visiting this forum know how to create an account and consciously choose not to (otherwise, we'd rather see them as objects rather than subjects of discussion).

    Though it might just be my toaster allergy speaking.



  • I think that's an excellent idea! Letting lurkers know they aren't getting the full experience and that navigation VASTLY improves if they sign up would be a good solution, without needing to do any messy technical attempt at remembering non logged-in users' places.

    As I said, I only realised what I was missing out on after reading the Meta threads and the conversations, complaints and responses there. After signing up and getting the full experience, I was (and am) much happier :smile:



  • @KillaCoder said:

    After signing up and getting the full experience, I was (and am) much happier

    backs away



  • Do I sound a bit too much like a successfully brainwashed cult member? Haha I'm just trying to be polite so they know I'm not a part of the rampaging horde trashing Discourse non stop.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @KillaCoder said:

    I'm not a part of the rampaging horde trashing Discourse non stop.

    Get him!



  • @KillaCoder said:

    Haha I'm just trying to be polite

    Umm...

    Yeah.

    Don't worry, we'll knock you into shape.


  • :belt_onion:

    @Maciejasjmj said:

    It's kind of annoying me too, since I don't like bothering to login (and then logout) on every PC/device I use.

    And have fun typing long passwords on a different device if you use a password manager to store long random passwords for you. I have a limited copy of my KeePass database on my phone so I can c/p there, but if I want to log in on someone else's PC it's typing random 20 character strings by hand while reading them from a small screen time, yay!

    @codinghorror said:

    You could have your bookmarks on every device, if you were.. wait for it.. logged into Google Chrome or Firefox.

    mumble, functionality "borrowed" from Opera Link, mumble


    Filed under: :o: Never gonna let you go, pretend it's an Opera icon


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election


  • :belt_onion:

    Damn, my memory is not what it used to be it seems. Correction acknowledged.


    Filed under: I have no memory of this place!, meme overload



  • @codinghorror said:

    logged into Google Chrome

    No. Just No. No way, no how, never ever, just NO!


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @HardwareGeek said:

    @codinghorror said:
    logged into Google Chrome

    No. Just No. No way, no how, never ever, just NO!

    Syncing my work and personal history/bookmarks seems like a terrible idea.



  • Why have you bookmarked all that porn?


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Luhmann said:

    Why have you bookmarked all that porn?

    No, no, not bookmarked porn... bookmark porn!


    Filed under: Slide it in between those pages., That little tassel is so kinky.



  • @Luhmann said:

    Why would I need to do that? I don't want to fill my brain with useless shit like on what book page I stopped reading. I use a bookmark for that. And in this digital age you wan't me to remember pages of a topic? I gladly log in if software can fix that usability issue for me. I'm sorry if the software is too smart for your usage.

    Browser book mark. With the post # in the URL, it saves the right spot. Problem solved.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.