HomeQ&AHow should question filtering be done?

How should question filtering be done?

5
votes

Note: feel free to skim this -- the important part is getting your ideas. Also remember to vote for other peoples' ideas that you like.


One week into the launch of the new site, I and the rest of the SpanishDict development team are interesting in hearing your opinions about how we ought to sort, filter, and display questions. Currently, we have six tabs across the top of the main Answers page:

  • My Questions – all questions you have asked
  • My Answers – all questions you have answered
  • Newest – newest questions
  • Hot – most recently updated threads
  • Unanswered – newest unanswered questions
  • Categories – questions by category

We've made two changes to this since launching last week: we've switched the default sort method from Newest to Hot, and we've changed Hot from showing recently popular threads to showing the most recently updated threads. There's still a lot of room to improve, and we're interested in how you want this to work.

Different filters work better for different behaviors. Is a user coming to ask a question? To answer other users' questions? To browse interesting questions? To catch up on all activity since his or her previous visit? A combination? Or something else? There’s not one filter that will work for everything and everyone, but there is perhaps an optimal set of a few different filters that ought to just about cover all the bases.

What should be the default view? Or should we try to show different sorts of content together on the same page?

What actions should bump a thread to the top of the list? Currently, answers, comments, edits, and votes all bump a thread to the top of Hot.

What time scales are most important? Do you like seeing literally all activity? Do you wish we would just show you the best threads from the past few days (which is how Hot used to work)? Are you interested in seeing the most popular threads of all time?

How should Categories work? They used to be very prominent; now, less so. We have six categories -- four dedicated to Spanish/English questions, one for Reference articles, and one for web site feedback. Of the four main Spanish/English question categories, Vocabulary & Grammar is by far the most active; in distant second, with about a tenth as many threads, is General Discussions, followed by Proofreading and finally Culture & Travel. How do you use Categories? How could they be improved?

What filters should we ultimately use? We have a limited amount of screen real estate, and we don't want to overwhelm anyone. What three or four filters would do the best job of showing people the content they want to see?


Thank you very, very much for taking the time to read this and share your thoughts. I am confident I speak for the entire SpanishDict development team when I say your feedback is hugely appreciated.

19698 views
updated JUN 23, 2010
posted by Toph
The most important filters for me are: my questions, my answers and newest. - kittybrougham, OCT 8, 2009

18 Answers

6
votes

How do you use Categories?

I have been talking with Paralee about categories. We had one exclusively for "Learn" section and that helped Paralee a lot finding those questions fast and she could answer them sooner. Now she has to look through the whole website category....I think in her benefit, that category should be reinstalled. We can then send the corresponding threads to this category.

Please, Chris, also reinstall the show of closed threads! This saves everybody's time.

updated ABR 22, 2012
posted by 00494d19
I agree with both the above. - ian-hill, OCT 8, 2009
I'm for it also ;) - Behemoth, OCT 8, 2009
Also "learn" one could be good for reporting errors (for such huge site they will always be) and suggestions...(?) So you gays would have all your stuff in one place ;) - Behemoth, OCT 8, 2009
Could you explain to me what was included in the "learn" category? - nizhoni1, OCT 8, 2009
"gays" ? Behemoth - ian-hill, OCT 8, 2009
3
votes

My first thought is that the bumping up of a thread should only happen where a new answer occurs. Coments, if correctly applied, rarely add to the post. This would probably assist in the correction action of comments if the thread was not bumped up. Edits are normally just tidying up errors.

We also had an "hola/Hello" category, where new members posted on fist joining the site. To be honest I don't know how many members would like its return.

updated ABR 22, 2012
edited by Eddy
posted by Eddy
This makes sense, but I have a different take...I guess I like the comments too and like to know if there is something new to read, even if it is just a comment. And edits are sometimes where I learn the most. (hah, and this is a comment!) - kittybrougham, OCT 15, 2009
3
votes

As for threads that one (someone in particular) has either initiated or responded to, those used to be tracked/accessible through the personal profile page. Although I've occasionally found this to be helpful, I don't think it warrants status as a separate view on the main page.

I too liked knowing who last replied to a thread and very much miss the bold/normal fonts on thread titles that indicated whether there had been additional activity since I last viewed the thread.

updated ABR 22, 2012
posted by samdie
Very good point, Sam, this can be seen on other forums and is very useful. - 00494d19, AGO 31, 2009
I agree - ian-hill, OCT 8, 2009
3
votes

We used to be able to "search" for users - for example from a specific country. Can that be re-introduced?

updated ABR 22, 2012
posted by ian-hill
I would like that option - nizhoni1, OCT 8, 2009
3
votes

The stats beside the little portraits are useful. I'd like one more: native language. I can't always tell by the question if they're asking for help with English or Spanish. I'm much more capable of helping with English, especially when someone is asking for a translation, so that would be useful.

updated OCT 8, 2009
posted by Jason_Bryant
Maybe the user should be obligated to give this information. - ian-hill, OCT 8, 2009
"No" to obligation, "yes" to stat option. - Behemoth, OCT 8, 2009
Do we really need to ask for more information? If someone's profile lists them as English: Fluent and Spanish: Intermediate, then English is their primary language. Just go be whichever one is higher ranked. - Jason_Bryant, OCT 8, 2009
2
votes

Nice of you to ask these things, but I bet different people are going to have different opinions. Anyway, I personally like:

1) Newest to oldest as a default 2) I don't care about topics that are too many days old, unless I have a personal interest 3) Options to perform manual searches, such as hot topics, non answered topics,... 4) I'd like to see the name of the last person who's written a comment on a thread when I see the whole list

I'll come back if I can think of anything else.

updated ABR 22, 2012
posted by lazarus1907
I really miss not seeing the name of who made the last post to a topic. - --Mariana--, AGO 14, 2009
2
votes

and very much miss the bold/normal fonts on thread titles that indicated whether there had been additional activity since I last viewed the thread.

Actually, this would substitute in part the last poster's name. Now you can actually not see if the thread has had a new answer since you last posted or viewed the thread, unless , as I said before, you have a very good memory.

updated ABR 22, 2012
posted by 00494d19
2
votes

Is there a way to sort out the brand new people? The ones with all zeros on their stats?

I don't want them to go away, just be put in a separate tab from all the other questions. Their questions are usually requests for quick translations, not the beginning of a longer effort at learning a language. Their questions are like popcorn, you can answer two or three or real quick, while the more experienced people serve up meatier questions that take a little more effort to digest and answer.

Once someone gets some points, their questions could start getting into the regular tabs.

Actually, we could probably solve many of these with a pop-up window. If someone clicks on the "ask a question" button and all their stats are zero, maybe just give them a pop up box asking if they're looking for a translation. If they click no, then they get the regular form, but if they click yes then it takes them to the translation page. I bet 90% of the threads that are just asking for a quick translation would disappear if first timers had an automatic helping hand pointing them to the translation page.

updated JUN 23, 2010
posted by Jason_Bryant
That sounds friendlier than a point barrier. - nizhoni1, OCT 8, 2009
Glad I don't have to do the coding but it sounds like a great suggestion. - LateToDinner, JUN 23, 2010
1
vote

Could you possibly when one choses to edit a question have a pop up box or something similar appear giving you a choice of whether to bump the topic up or not.

I often sign on and start reading message from the Hot list. I edit a lot of titles or change categories of posts. As I proceed down the list I end up almost totally inverting the list from how I originally found it. That kicks newer posts off the 1 st. page. I would like to be able to make these edits without bumping the posts, but at other times I want edited posts to bump up.

Many of us enter an answer then go find online sources or photos to link to our answers and those edits I would like to bump the topic up the list.

updated ABR 22, 2012
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
1
vote

As far as I can see this has been seen to. Comments do not bump up a thread any more. And editing neither. I think that has been an improvement.

I would like to second Marianne's idea. I really miss not seeing who last answered the question. If we don't know this, we have to open the thread again or try to remember the number of posts the thread had when we last saw it, difficult not to say impossible.

I hope this feature can be brought back.

updated ABR 22, 2012
posted by 00494d19
1
vote

Is this thread still open for discussion?

updated OCT 8, 2009
posted by Behemoth
Yes. :) - Toph, OCT 8, 2009
1
vote

I personally liked seeing (and thought that there were many others who shared my opinion) the most popular posts.

I also liked seeing who was the last person to post an answer to a question.

updated OCT 8, 2009
posted by Nathaniel
0
votes

I have a little idea - not about filtering though...

On any page in top right corner we have

Hola, LoginName Logout En español

and beneath of those our stats...

It looks to me like between those two lines is perfect space for

This

wink

updated OCT 15, 2009
posted by Behemoth
0
votes

This is probably impractical (feel free to poke fun!), but I sometimes wish there was a forum for those of us who are a little more serious about studying Spanish or a little further along. I don't suggest abandoning the present forum. We all need to help each other out, no matter what stage of the game we are at. However, sometimes I think it would be nice to have a place to go where we don't have to scroll past all of the questions pertaining to words that could easily be looked up in the dictionary, or "How do I say I love you to my boyfriend", etc.

Again, knowing this is probably not feasible, I thought maybe there could be a separate forum for those who have at least earned a few rep points, badges or taken some of the lessons. I have noticed that the majority of the more frivolous questions tend to come from members who have zero points in all areas.

updated OCT 8, 2009
posted by Nicole-B
How would the new members who are serious be able to gain access to that forum? - Nathaniel, AGO 31, 2009
I'm not suggesting that new members are not serious. We are all new at some point. I was merely trying to think of a way that people who have been actually doing the work on this site could be rewarded. - Nicole-B, AGO 31, 2009
OK - I don´t find the "new forum" idea practical (I like it though), yet how about droping all "newbies" into one category ( =until you have such R/B/P you can post only here ) ? - Behemoth, OCT 8, 2009
After all - it would also block all spammers (when such appear) from "main" forum... - Behemoth, OCT 8, 2009
100/or5/or3000 looks good to me - what do you think? - Behemoth, OCT 8, 2009
I like your idea Behemoth. I might have to think about the exact point definitions though. - nizhoni1, OCT 8, 2009
0
votes

It may be open for discussion, but it is my understanding that the people who would implement any changes are currently unavailable because they are back in school.

updated OCT 8, 2009
posted by lorenzo9
I'm still around from time to time, but you're right, college stuff is occupying most of my time. - Toph, OCT 8, 2009
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