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Very old and New topics getting mixed up Answered

We are still getting very old topics (questions) and the newer ones mixed together.

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randofo

10 months ago

It is currently being sorted by the most recent activity. This sort is a mix of the most recent forum topics posted and old topics with the most current posts.

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rickharrisrandofo

Reply 10 months ago

Will this be changed as suggested to put newest topics at the top?
You end up either having to read every publishing date or answering questions that will never be read again by the original author.

My understanding of this section was that it was there to share the expertise of the collective "brains" of instructables, may i say some very highly qualified and experienced brains at that, to help makers with their projects.
An answer 10 years down the road isn't helping anyone.

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Downunder35mrickharris

Reply 10 months ago

I can only back Rick up here!
For years we struggled to get a properly working sorting here.
Then comes the update and even the support seems to have silent since then.
I posted several times in regards to this issue but it seems the topics went into the digital nirvana.
The same nirvana we have right now when trying to get through anything in the community section.

It is really not that hard to provide MULTIPLE sorting options, every good forum can show you how it should look.
Even in the most basic form you can sort by latest topic and latest reply to a topic.
As no active user here seems to understand the logic behind the current system I simply state it is too far from being user friendly.
And talking about it for another 6 or more months won't fix it.

Edit:
As far as I can see right now the "sorting" is purely based on date and time.
So year old topics that had no activity might get a reply and end on the top of the list.
Usually no one cares about 5 year old topics but st least it appears on the screen.
A new topic lands somewhere but clearly not at the top, at least not on my screen.
Here is a suggestion:
Allow for a sorting by topic and replies, or offer two list views for that.
As in normal forums include at least a snippet of the reply together with the name of the poster.
Highlighting that the original topic starter replied would be a great bonus.
PhPBB and VBulletin show how it looks when user friendly.
Meet us somewhere in the middle and I think everyone would be happy again.


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randofoDownunder35m

Reply 10 months ago

The problem we were trying to solve for is that the new activity in the forums was minimal. We would sometimes see as little as a post a day. However, people were searching for help in the forums, engaging on older posts, and no one was responding to them.

I recognize the original posts are old, but the people posting there are actively looking for help. This change was less about engaging the original poster than the person who last posts a comment.

Having multiple sort orders is not unreasonable. I will propose this with the dev team.

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Downunder35mrandofo

Reply 10 months ago

Now I am slowly starting to see the Instrubles logic behind it.
Back in my big forum days we had a similar fight, just "in reverse" so to speak.
Old topics suddenly appeared again because someone found it through a search in relation to his problem.
What you guys see as a positive was a big struggle for us as most of these old topics would never see anything from a related person.
We solved this by adding an archive section.
All topics older than xxx months would go in there automatically.
People could still read them but if they wanted to reply a new topic was created with a link to the archive for reference.
This way a user knew right away it is an old topic.
In most cases the person then decided it really is better to check for something newer or to indeed create a maningful new request.

When it comes to engaging people, trust me, nothing beast active people.
It does not really matter if you have 5 or 50 new questions a day if no one finds them or can be bothered to give a useful reply.
I mean check "Most polular...?"
7 yers old!!! and if you would dare to find the last reply you would waste a lot of time and most likely find a new reply that is of no interest to anyone anymore.
When things were still normal here in the community section we had days were the "team" here answered questions within a few minutes at the best of times but usually never later than a few hours.
Someone would always spot a new topic or question.
And as you noticed, right now basically no one can be bothered anymore....
There are not too many users active every day, keeping those here to act should be the main goal.
What is the use of collecting 20 or more questions and topics a day if no one answers them ?
Sure it looks good on paper but not so good for the userexperience as at least I would expect to see a reply if I check my question the next day or so.

Linking questions from or about Instructables here in their own section might be a good idea but it is also confusing.
Same for questions and tips.
From what I see they are more or less Instructables with some real stuff mixed between them.
If I have a question then I post one but not a picture story with Instructions on to build something - that would be an Instructable.
Same for an endless collection of tips with no sorting at all.
Google helps to find stuff if you know how to use it, the internal search here is still miles away from getting even close.

Let me try to explain it with a back to the future trip:
When I started to post here years ago the section was a mess.
But more in terms of being user friendly for options how to edit and create posts.
There was no lack in new questions or topics at all.
In fact we guys here were quite busy and at times even enjoyed making jokes about all the scam postings.
Then the support decided on some unannounced changes.
We creid, we complained, we got promised a fix.
A bit was turned back, other things slightly adjusted but never to the extend a lot of people hoped for.
Things slowed down.
If you need to provide code but get it into your reply in any usable form then it sucks.
If you need to embed a picture in a specific spot to explain it with corresponding text but can't then it sucks again.
And this list went on for miles at the time.
All while we still had tons of new postings coming.
Then came the big breakthrough of a totally revamped community section.
Instructables was so proud of it that for weeks any complaints were just played down or totally ignored with the ongoing statement that all is better now.
To top it off the oftenused funtion to highlight a topic as a bug report or feature request was just removed.
So our complaints were either lost or just not seen/acknowledged.
NOW Instructables noticed that the activity is far below anything acceptable but still fails to see how it started and "WHAT CAUSED IT" .

A community section like this survives on the users posting there.
A new user posting and unable to even find his newly created topic will just move on.
Face it: As always a lot just register to post their sooo important question but some never come back to check. Now even less come back as they think they being ignored.
Stats, counters and all that are not important as in a good section you really only need those for stats as the activity speaks for itself.
I could give you a long list of support forums that all are bad for the same reasons.
And funny enough the reasons are the same as for this one.
1. No user friendly search and sorting options.
This includes topics as well as the replies within - no point knowing there is a new reply if I can't find it...
2. Lack of actual support.
If someone asks a question and the first 5 replies are all meaningless then the system failed.
Same for not getting a response in an acceptable timeframe.
Trust me users these days often think they have to see an answer within a few hours but not days.
3. Advanced options!!!
Once a user has enough reputation, postings, postive feedback, he must be given proper posting and editing options.
Again take a look at Vbulletin for the many options that make posting not only more fun but also much more competent.
Embedding code, hiding long texts, properly embedding images and if required attachments are just plain basics.
Same for using highlighting text to make a selective quote with reference to the user.
4. Sections, sections, sections....
No matter what you do any forum will sooner or later reach its limit in terms of how cludded it looks.
So being able to provide sections makes it easier.
This does not have to affect the sorting either if there is an option to show all new topics and replies from all sections in one go ;)
In terms of new topics a user should be required to specify where he thinks it should land.
For example question on how power a stepper motor could be in the electronics section.
While some question like "How to remove a coffe stain from my wooden table?" could be in woodworking, cleaning or such.
Even with just icons as markers like right now "topic" and different colors a basic section order would be easy.
Again, you can leave the current all in one list system, just double the view ;)
Add the sections like for questions and tipss or in a more modern and graphical selection form for all those who just love to browse through interesting things.
5. Rating, feedback, bugs.
Whether you like to admit it or not, these three things are most vital.
A user should be able to rate all replies to his question or at least select the best one as we had a long time ago.
If I see that just "somone" gave me an answer I might be happy, but if I see that someone with a really high reputation answered instead of a newbie I could be tempted to think I get real help really fast.
Feedback is vital for ever developer, without all his work is just guesswork.
So far the feedback record for this site is not really that good.
Problems that are ignored forever or played down with explanations that just make no sense for a forum are one example.
Often going totally against what the most active people here suggest or ask for is just bad.
So removing a feedback and bug reporting option by just a poseted topic about changes can't be enough.
You guys want the number to go up, we guys want to be able to help the user in the possible and quickest way.
So why constantly work against each other if both sides in essence want the same thing??? ;)

Let us users deal with the newbies and normal users.
Give us the tools we need for it.
Listen and maybe sometimes fix things a bit differently.
Can't make any promises but I am almost certain that all YOUR problems and concerns will disappear around the same OUR problems disappear.
Changes will cause chaos again but if these changes are made bit by bit the transistion will be easier, the rate of errors made along the way will be minimised and maybe no one will even notice any downtime in the section.
Check the topics and questions from the time before the revamp and you will see how fast active averything was.

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randofoDownunder35m

Reply 10 months ago

Thanks for all of your feedback. There are definitely some suggestions here I can propose to the product team for consideration.

Some of your bullet points are easy to address, and we are actually working towards addressing (such as posters getting a response in a timely manner). Others are honestly more challenging, such as creating a robust search tool. A lot of the things you mention are already on our radar for consideration (such as sorting by topic).

There is still obviously a lot of work to be done here, but I think we have gotten back to a good place in terms of basic usability. Now we can start thinking about how to build upon that to improve everyone's experience.

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Downunder35mrandofo

Reply 10 months ago

Well, then once again I will see it as a hopeful start and wait what happens.
Hopefully we are getting to something that both sides can work with ;)

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rickharrisrandofo

Reply 10 months ago

To some degree I appreciate what you say.
However as I recall the real reason questions dies off is that the site made it harder to find the question option. Since then it has been made harder and harder. So fewer questions.
I thought the main thrust of the site after show and tell was to educate and promote the maker ethos.

Most of the "old hands" at answering questions have left, frustrated by the difficulty in finding and answering. Shame.

It might just be that a section for offering technical help with your projects should be prominent and perhaps headed "HELP WITH YOUR PROJECT" Not relatively hidden and headed "TOPIC"

Mmmm -

As someone who understands the value of being able to ask questions of a wiser and more experienced head I would hope this will be resolved in the near future.

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melvinf9

10 months ago

i need your help guys.. i will make dht 11 sensor with lcd. and buzzer that can be set the alarm through wifi app.. like.. if the temo is 40 the buzzer sound and i can change the min or max when that buzzer sound like change 40 to. 45. using a button or app from phone

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randofomelvinf9

Reply 10 months ago

Try posting a new question or forum topic. This is not the correct thread for this question.

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Downunder35m

10 months ago

Tried to mention this several times, most got ignored.
The one that got a reply from support states all if fine....
Seems you are imagining things here Rick ;)

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rickharrisDownunder35m

Reply 10 months ago

Possibly a setting, I'll try the mobile app, Oh no they abandoned that as well!!

A voice crying in the wilderness, but I try.

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Downunder35mrickharris

Reply 10 months ago

Back in the day I could at least add some search functions to the HTTP string, like sort=recent.
This "feature" was removed with the update.
I left here and totally ignored even looking at Email notifications.
Coming back after such a long time and seeing nothing at all has improved makes me wonder...