How should question filtering be done?
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? Theres 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.
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.
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.
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.
We used to be able to "search" for users - for example from a specific country. Can that be re-introduced?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is this thread still open for discussion?
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.
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 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.
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.