Author Options:

On the subject of the forums... Answered

The forums are a very important part of Instructables, but I have noticed that a number of people do not find them as useful or workable as they might want, myself included.  Things like vanishing comments and lack of notifications are the most common complaints (that I am aware of).



Here's a thought for the consideration of the development team and the members:

Why not "outsource" the forums, and possibly even the comment sections of projects?

I am thinking of a tool such as, for instance, Disqus, which a number of popular news and blog sites use for their comment sections, and also allows for general discussion within the Disqus site itself (a feature I have not used).  It allows you to log into several sites with the same account, and alerts you to all the replies you get.  It also allows comments to be voted up or down (although that is a very secondary feature in my opinion).

That is, of course, just one example of the various tools available, but I think there are other potential advantages to using something like this.

Anyhoo, the thought is out there.




2 years ago

The forums at Instructables have always seemed like an afterthought -- like something the staff would eventually upgrade. Two points in particular have bugged me for years...

--The inability to correct any mistakes or misspellings in new posts. Most forum software gives a user a few minutes to edit a post (after that grace period it would be chaotic). The current forum is about 15 years behind the curve on this.

--The overall organization...this issue is more slippery, and maybe I'm off base here. There's something about the forums that seems to discourage a cooperative approach, i.e., proposing and discussing projects in their formative stage.

Show of hands --how many users here view "All" forum posts at once? Instructables is the ONLY forum I view in this way. It's due to the lack of nested levels. There are too many choices without categories. In other forums, people tend to gravitate to sub-forums that pique their interest. Here, based on the fact that most of the "active" posters (not a huge number) tend to comment on anything, I'm guessing others view "ALL" like me.

Maybe it's because Instructables encompasses just about everything it's impossible to create active subcultures. People tend to go elsewhere for truly "in depth" discussions and cooperative efforts.

Or maybe it's just the nature of Instructables. Maybe the typical Ible user doesn't like others to steal their thunder, so they are less cooperative than other project websites. And those users don't participate in the forums...

I suppose, technically, they are an afterthought, since they were added to the original site in... late 2007?

Also, my hand is up.

I seem to recall that. ;-). It's been a while.

We used to have more lively discussions, that's for sure. Some of those were clearly inappropriate for a makers forum, but the majority were interesting.

Along those lines, IHO the "Answers" section has drawn most technical discussions away from the forum, and placed them in a format that's inherently non-cooperative (users compete for best answer, and the person least qualified chooses the "correct" one).

fwooh what sound does a raised hand make? I press that button so much it is a reaction

*raises hand*

It's the only way the forums are halfway usable. And even then they don't make it past halfway.

I started this but but after getting no relies at all I checked the forum section itself (Feedback) and it is not listed.
Does that mean I have to manually check now if new topics actually appear in the forums?

I think you got caught in the filters, due to only having one key word, and the nature of that key word....

Now that you mention it I think you are right.
So, note to self: Do not publish something short with keywords that attract the filters!

Personally, if I think a topic's key words might trip the filters, I add safe one first - hat, tree, cheese - and then change them after the topic becomes pubic.

Better be careful though, someone might flag your pubic topics, which will send them back into the filters!

Seems like noone from "up there" is reading here...

Ive got an 'ible with over 400 comments many of them questions or helpful tips. It would be helpful to have way of sorting these comments into subjects or threads.

Just an option to really sort things by the time the comment was made would help too.
Or an option to highlight those postings that appeared since the last check.

I like the idea of a change or fix :)
But outsourcing brings other problems, like lack of control and having site content hosted with someone else.
IMHO it would be nice get rid of the "Autodesk - I'm the best metality" as it is the only reason I find why this site is stuck with outdated and more or less useless editing options and soaked with annoying bugs that often fail to see a fix.
Working solutions for forums are available, even on the freeware base.
Working and more importantly, easy to use editors for commenting and making good postings are available as well.
But we are suck with Autodesk solutions and a team that fails to see the benefit of making it nice and easy for the users.

Since I started here not really much has changed, embedding pictures, formatting an Instructable or simply adding some color to the text requires a degree in computer science here.
For the forum problems I do understand the servers sometimes have hickups and timing problems but why do we only get utterly useless error messages - if we get them at all?
In every forum I use it is possible to simply press the "back" tab in the browser if something did not work - here simply everything is lost and you start over.
Same for the simple task of removing a typo or making some changes - I simply press "edit" and that it - here I can only delete the entire posting and create a new one.
It is time to wake up and catch up with modern technology!
Give the users a properly working forum with good editing options.
Not everyone likes using HTML for basic editing or image hosters and again HTML code for the most basic editing functions.

Enough of the ranting now, would like to see some meaningful reply from higher up in reagrds to value of the users and why they are ignored on an ongoing basis.