New user indicators and post counts


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @cconroy said:

    If only there were a visual indicator of when someone joined and how many posts they've made...

    Such futuristic technology must be 5, maybe 10 years away.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @error said:

    Such futuristic technology must be 5, maybe 10 years away.

    9.


  • Banned

    Tap or click the username or avatar here on the left to see join date.

    Eventually I want that to show some other stats like, when does this user tend to post, statistically speaking, and a history of your interactions with this user.

    Filed under: it's all about you


  • mod

    @codinghorror said:

    @error said:
    @cconroy said:
    If only there were a visual indicator of when someone joined and how many posts they've made...

    Such futuristic technology must be 5, maybe 10 years away.

    Tap or click the username or avatar here on the left to see join date.

    If only we could see that information without having to look for it. Imagine if were just ... there.

    @codinghorror said:

    Eventually I want that to show some other stats like, when does this user tend to post, statistically speaking, and a history of your interactions with this user.

    Now that just seems like too much information for a little popup. :neutral_face: Better make it a new page. :laughing:



  • @abarker said:

    If only we could see that information without having to look for it. Imagine if were just ... there.

    But where would you put this information? It's not like there's a bunch of white space all around where you could just put information.


  • Banned

    If you just want to know if someone is a newbie, new users have light grey usernames.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @codinghorror said:

    If you just want to know if someone is a newbie, new users have light grey usernames.

    No, I'll be honest. I want users to know my post count is bigger than theirs.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @error said:

    I want users to know my “post count” is bigger than theirs.

    So that's what they're calling it these days!


  • mod

    @error said:

    @codinghorror said:
    If you just want to know if someone is a newbie, new users have light grey usernames.

    No, I'll be honest. I want users to know my post count is bigger than theirs.

    And besides, it takes longer to evaluate "is that dark gray, or light gray" than to determine if 20 is a small number or if 2,000 is a big number.



  • @error said:

    No, I'll be honest. I want users to know my post count is bigger than theirs.

    Post count is so 2013. Like/post ratio is where it's at now.


  • mod

    Another thought: our definition of "newbie" probably differs from the one Discourse uses. If I understand correctly, Discourse bases its definition on whether you've read enough, which has nothing to do with when you joined or how much you've posted.



  • @codinghorror said:

    If you just want to know if someone is a newbie, new users have light grey usernames.

    Ah, so it's 50 Shades of Usernames... But seriously, how is having an undiscoverable feature indicated by a slight color change (and a difficult-to-read color at that) better than having an explicit, quantifiable piece of text?

    Jeff, I get what you're trying to do. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you've actually built a pretty decent article commenting system. A forum, however, is a different beast, and you're sacrificing usability to fit your Grand Unifying Theory of web discussion. Trying to shoehorn both modes of discussion into a one-size-fits-all interface is distracting at best, user-hostile at worst.

    There are some great features here -- for one, the ability to automatically pick up where you left off reading is killer. But that could be just as easily applied to a paginated forum view as an infiniscroll of comments. And all the little things that people are used to from pretty much every other forum ever -- pagination, post count, timestamps -- are just visual styling. It can't be too much to ask for some configuration options (meaning built in to the software, not "go write a plugin").

    Maybe installing Discourse in a new site that has no preconceived notions of a web forum would go more smoothly, I don't know. I just think you're uprooting long-held expectations for the sake of being different. Sometimes being radically different is good and/or necessary; I don't think this is one of those cases.



  • @cconroy said:

    Ah, so it's 50 Shades of Usernames... But seriously, how is having an undiscoverable feature indicated by a slight color change (and a difficult-to-read color at that) better than having an explicit, quantifiable piece of text?

    Alert!


  • .username { color: red; }


  • Banned

    Here's an actual picture of a new user vs. not a new user, for context



  • @codinghorror said:

    Here's an actual picture of a new user vs. not a new user, for context

    <img src="/uploads/default/2236/31e86c42c102b6f4.png" width="596" height="294">

    You mean an actual picture at 200% zoom? That light grey is really hard to read at regular size, and worse, it's ambiguous. One could easily interpret it as logged in vs. logged out, for example. Sorry, I'm just not a fan of stuff fading in and out all over the place.


  • mod

    @cconroy said:

    One could easily interpret it as logged in vs. logged out, for example.

    :thumbsup:
    Agreed.


  • Banned

    New user indicators should be visible, but not loud and obnoxious -- we're trying to avoid putting scarlet letters on new users:



  • @codinghorror said:

    New user indicators should be visible, but not loud and obnoxious

    A date and a post count don't seem terribly loud or obnoxious.


  • mod

    @boomzilla said:

    A date and a post count don't seem terribly loud or obnoxious.

    Seconded.



  • I'm not sure "new user" is such a scarlet letter, though. Is it?


  • Banned

    @boomzilla said:

    post count don't seem terribly loud or obnoxious.

    If you put a number next to someone's name, they will do everything in their power to make that number go up. This effect is unbelievably strong.

    So then the question you have to ask yourself is:

    • do we want a lot of what this number signifies?
    • what will it be like when people do everything they can, even unethical or incorrect or abusive things, to make this number go up?

    In a conversation, posting is talking. Reading is listening. If the conversation starts with the premise "please talk as much as you can, and the person who talks the most gets the biggest number", what kind of conversation will that be? For the participants? For the much larger number of people who will read it, as a page on the Internet, potentially forever?

    @dhromed said:

    "new user" is such a scarlet letter

    It can be good, in the sense that "hey you're new here let me help you out shank you." Did I say good? I meant bad.



  • Self-blog crosslink, total denial that the suggestion is reasonable, and lolcatism. What's not to like?


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @tufty said:

    Self-blog crosslink, total denial that the suggestion is reasonable, and lolcatism. What's not to like?

    I'm starting to wonder if Jeff is a sophisticated spambot trying to raise the PageRank of codinghorror.com.


  • Banned

    It's a very dangerous suggestion, actually. I linked the blog entry for a deeper explanation as to why.

    And it's unclear to me how you want to treat new users here. The usual derision and sneering? But without some influx of new users, eventually your community will die.


  • BINNED

    @codinghorror said:

    And it's unclear to me how you want to treat new users here. The usual derision and sneering?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @codinghorror said:

    If you put a number next to someone's name, they will do everything in their power to make that number go up. This effect is unbelievably strong.

    So then the question you have to ask yourself is:

    do we want a lot of what this number signifies?
    what will it be like when people do everything they can, even unethical or incorrect or abusive things, to make this number go up?
    In a conversation, posting is talking. Reading is listening. If the conversation starts with the premise "please talk as much as you can, and the person who talks the most gets the biggest number", what kind of conversation will that be? For the participants? For the much larger number of people who will read it, as a page on the Internet, potentially forever?

    Are you serious? We already have this. If you want to know the effects of showing post counts, all you have to do is go to the CS forum and read some threads.



  • @codinghorror said:

    It's a very dangerous suggestion, actually.

    Bollocks. Somehow existing forums have managed to get by with not only post counts, but in many cases, rank badges based on post counts. The world hasn't ended yet. One forum I was on had a specific "post whoring" thread, which thread ironically ended up as being fairly interesting in its own right, but which eventually died due to becoming unfunny. That said, I might go and necro it, just for laughs.

    Personally, once you get above the "tens of posts" limit, I'd say post counts are merely useless, but I wouldn't go so far as dangerous. Certainly not as far as linking back to one of my own blog posts in order to provide "proof" of that "fact".

    It occurs to me, on typing the above, that post counts could only be considered dangerous for narcissistic wankers. The kind of people who'd think nothing of justifying the trite drivel they spout by crosslinking to their own blog posts, even.

    amirite?



  • @codinghorror said:

    This effect is unbelievably strong.

    I play RPGs. I know exactly how that works.

    @codinghorror said:

    what will it be like when people do everything they can, even unethical or incorrect or abusive things, to make this number go up?

    Morbius and I once passively raced eachother to reach 10,000 posts on CS. I say passive, because although both of us would add a few funny junk posts to get the number go up, we by and large just posted normally.

    As far as every single forum community I've ever been a part of goes, this particular "passive race" is the extreme extent of what actually happens when displaying post count. On all other forums, what happens is nothing. That's my data set. Add it to your own, redo the numbers.
    @codinghorror said:

    In a conversation, posting is talking. Reading is listening.

    You have no method of controlling this, and by even wanting to control it, you're a patronizing bastard at best, or a totalitarian dictator at worst. You can have you opinions, and you can talk and preach the good word, but you have no control and you must not seek it.

    @codinghorror said:

    If the conversation starts with the premise "please talk as much as you can, and the person who talks the most gets the biggest number", what kind of conversation will that be? For the participants?

    The person with the really low number (1, or 3 or 5) will make me ask (in my head!) "Gee, have you spent enough time talking with people here yet? Perhaps not." That's all. At a few dozen posts and up, that sentiment is gone-- at least for me. But I've been around the block, as far as internet goes, so I know what the numbers mean.

    @codinghorror said:

    It can be good, in the sense that "hey you're new here let me help you out shank you." Did I say good? I meant bad.

    I don't share you worries. Is the block that I've been around perhaps a tiny one? Can you provide more blocks that I can look at?

    one more level



  • Great, Jeff, splitting the thread broke the arrow links in my quote snippets of your post. :cry:



  • @codinghorror said:

    And it's unclear to me how you want to treat new users here. The usual derision and sneering?

    ...We don't do that.

    Maybe you can dig up some dirt and I'll be like whoa but in my memory we've never stepped on someone for having a tiny post count. An e-nis, if you will.



  • @codinghorror said:

    If the conversation starts with the premise "please talk as much as you can, and the person who talks the most gets the biggest number", what kind of conversation will that be?

    And yet, you implemented the like system, which happily backfired on this forum once you consider what kind of posts get the most likes. Hint: they're usually related to a certain brand of forum software...


  • Banned

    @tufty said:

    Somehow existing forums have managed to get by with not only post counts, but in many cases, rank badges based on post counts. The world hasn't ended yet

    Forum software is reviled and arguably dying. Institutionalized 1999 era bad decisions like these are a big reason why.

    @tufty said:

    once you get above the "tens of posts" limit, I'd say post counts are merely useless

    Agreed, so why have them at all?

    @tufty said:

    post counts could only be considered dangerous for narcissistic wankers

    Why give them a weapon, then?

    @dhromed said:

    by even wanting to control it

    Control? No. Influence.

    @dhromed said:

    The person with the really low number (1, or 3 or 5) will make me ask (in my head!) "Gee, have you spent enough time talking with people here yet? Perhaps not."

    So the first thing you want people to do is talk, and the more the better? There are so many community metrics that are better: time spent reading, total number of topics entered, likes received, and so forth. Even join date is defensible, but it gets really onerous seeing the same date repeated under someone's name forever until the heat death of the universe.

    @Maciejasjmj said:

    the like system, which happily backfired on this forum

    Seems to be working as designed from my perspective.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dhromed said:

    Morbius and I once passively raced eachother to reach 10,000 posts on CS. I say passive, because although both of us would add a few funny junk posts to get the number go up, we by and large just posted normally.

    I've been reading and posting here for years, and I've never noticed any junk posts. Flamewars, nested quote abuse, and trolling, but no junk posts.



  • @codinghorror said:

    But without some influx of new users, eventually your community will die.

    You'll be pleased to know that I am in the special minority of currently active posters who've been here for yeeeaaaaarrrssss. Near as I can tell we're doing fine with new user influx.

    There's another small community I frequent that truly isn't as lucky, and in recent times I have noticed nostalgia threads popping up at an unhealthy rate. Not quite the case for TDWTF just yet!

    remember when we were still funny? yeah


  • mod

    @dhromed said:

    @codinghorror said:
    And it's unclear to me how you want to treat new users here. The usual derision and sneering?

    ...We don't do that.

    Maybe you can dig up some dirt and I'll be like whoa but in my memory we've never stepped on someone for having a tiny post count. An e-nis, if you will.

    For the most part, from what I saw lurking in CS, the new users here were generally treated a bit friendlier than the more common users. As they stuck around longer, or participated in rougher conversations, they were treated as part of the group. Now I'm just guessing here, but I bet the post count was at least a factor in determining how treat a given poster.



  • @antiquarian said:

    I've been reading and posting here for years, and I've never noticed any junk posts. Flamewars, nested quote abuse, and trolling, but no junk posts.

    Just little replies. Doesn't have to be hurtful or 100% insipid to be junk.



  • @tufty said:

    rank badges based on post counts. The world hasn't ended yet. One forum I was on had a specific "post whoring" thread

    Wait, somethingleet?

    That can't be.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I don't consider those to be junk. Remember, most of us are here because we're bored at work. It doesn't really take that much to entertain us.



  • @Maciejasjmj said:

    which happily backfired on this forum once you consider what kind of posts get the most likes. Hint: they're usually related to a certain brand of forum software...

    That's not my experience, but we'll need some awesome graphs to sort that out.



  • @abarker said:

    For the most part, from what I saw lurking in CS, the new users here were generally treated a bit friendlier than the more common users.

    My first thread got me bashed for about four pages. So, i don't know... when someone appeared and started talking shit, they didn't really get a free pass.


    Filed under: i still remember it like it was yesterday... *sob*



  • @dhromed said:

    somethingleet

    Good lord no.
    @codinghorror said:
    @tufty said:
    once you get above the "tens of posts" limit, I'd say post counts are merely useless

    Agreed, so why have them at all?

    Because below the tens of posts limit, they are useful. And because some of your users, inexplicably to me and you, like and desire them. A bit like nested quotes. And paging. And everything else that annoys you so much.


  • Banned

    I moved 6 posts to a new topic: Should big digressions be split to a new topic?



  • @codinghorror said:

    So the first thing you want people to do is talk, and the more the better?

    I meant talk with, not just talk. That's why I wrote "with".
    I can't get to know them if they don't talk, obviously. And I gotta talk back to let them know how they're received. In short, discourse.

    @codinghorror said:

    it gets really onerous seeing the same date repeated under someone's name forever until the heat death of the universe.

    I agree it's kind of arbitrary to put that one particular tidbit of information only a saccade away, and "hide" everything else on a card of profile page. I think it's a holdover from one person's silly idea, decades ago.

    @codinghorror said:

    Agreed, so why have them at all?

    Let it be known that I don't care if they're displayed, but:

    • There's no reason to strongly oppose them;
    • A tiny grey tint change doesn't cut it to differentiate the new posters participants from the ol' blathermouths.

    PS.
    This is my 1603th post, wich is 10% of my CS post count in all those years. Dicourse really facilitates posting i.e. talking.



  • @dhromed said:

    Discourse installation really encourages whining

    FTFY


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @codinghorror said:

    There are lots of places on the Internet, I hear.

    And there are at least 2 prominent users who have left here for those places. I'm sure that number will increase if you continue your present course.



  • @tufty said:

    Good lord no.

    Dude, don't trash one of my old hangouts from Way Back When Firefox was Phoenix.
    I was a fucking hero and mod there.



  • @tufty said:

    Because below the tens of posts limit, they are useful.

    You can display a wee babby icon below their avatar.


  • Banned

    This is exactly what the light grey new username is designed to convey.



  • I know, but it's also what the light grey doesn't cut.

    In fact, I don't remember seeing it anywhere?


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