Lotus Elan

Next Version of LotusElan.net

PostPost by: jcocking » Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:44 pm

I am working on the next version of LotusElan.net. One of the ideas I am considering is going back to a simpler forum structure. This would mean removing the technical section. In it's place, we would implement a tagging system.

Each topic could be tagged when created. When a topic is created the user would click all the tags that applied to the topic. For example:
new-post-view.png and


Within the Elan and Plus 2 Discussion forums, you would see the posts and the related tags. For example:
forum-view.png and


The tags are searchable. You could click on S1 and see all the posts tagged with S1. You could click gearbox and see all the posts tagged gearbox.

This would make the forums easier to review, but would require each person to tag the topic when created.

I am curious on your thoughts.....

jeff
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PostPost by: elanner » Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:46 am

Jeff,

How would you tag the thousands of existing posts?

Anything that reduces the need to use the search works for me! :-) Would it be possible to select multiple tags: S4 & Gearbox? Would the result be sortable, say, by date or by number of responses, etc.?

Would it be possible to add/remove tags to a thread after initial creation?

Anyway, simpler is good, every time.

How about some sort of automated update to the home page? Show the four most recent uploaded pictures, or something. The current home page shows some wonderful Sprints but it's getting a bit long in the tooth (sorry Phil, Greg and David!). :-)

Hey, it's coming up to that time of year again. :-)

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PostPost by: billwill » Wed Nov 18, 2015 1:11 am

I'm very dubious that that tagging would work.

Regrettaly I suspect most messages would not get tagged.
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PostPost by: mbell » Wed Nov 18, 2015 2:10 am

I am for it as long as we get a "baby elan" tag :wink:

Seriously thou, I think it will make it a bit easier to find things if they are correctly tagged. As Bill points out that might not happen. So it really come down to the finer details of the implementation whether it will be an improvement or not.

Things like who can/can't tag topics, forcing of users to tag their topics, having the right balance between number of tags and specific tags, easy of tagging, ability to add new tags to topics will all have a big impact.
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PostPost by: UAB807F » Wed Nov 18, 2015 8:36 am

Sadly Jeff, I'm with Bill on this one, I just can't see it being a long term success because although some folks here are very computer-literate, others will be less so and hence some posts will be tagged incorrectly or not at all.

I can understand the aim to improve data retrieval or even do away with the need for the search engine and on first thoughts, correctly tagged posts are a good way for this. Some topics would work very well, being able to select "S3" and "Gearbox" is just automating the search function in a very user friendly way.

But others ? "S3" and "Body" will presumably give me every post on painting, windscreens, trim and all the other misc. threads that fall into the bucket shop of "Body" when all I really wanted was how to fix a headlamp pod. (for example).

Simpler is better and I fully endorse your aims there. I never browse the individual sections any more, I just click on "new posts" or "search" and I go straight into the forums page rather than via the home page.

I don't know if the board software or servers allow you to watch how people use the board in practice, whether some sections are more frequently used than others for example ? If so, that would be my thoughts on making the forum simpler and presumably easier on the maintenance aspect.

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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:05 am

Brian said "Simpler is better and I fully endorse your aims there. I never browse the individual sections any more, I just click on "new posts" or "search" and I go straight into the forums page rather than via the home page."

Seconded.

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PostPost by: jimj » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:12 am

The BIG problem with the search facility seems simple to me. If I search for, say "S3 wheel trims", I`d get everything with any one of those words, when really I just want the ones with all 3 words. That`s all.
Big thanks as ever Jeff.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:14 am

trw99 wrote:Brian said "Simpler is better and I fully endorse your aims there. I never browse the individual sections any more, I just click on "new posts" or "search" and I go straight into the forums page rather than via the home page."

Seconded.

Tim


Thirded if there is such a thing. How would you tag old posts?

Making the wiki go live should be a priority. Many of the new posts are looking for info that is in old postings. If the wiki were published with peer reviewed answers to common procedures/issues it would be most helpful.
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PostPost by: Lyn7 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:15 am

Hi Jeff, I agree with Brian and Tim and also use the forum the same way, straight into "new posts". The best forum I use , thanks. :D
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PostPost by: tonyr27 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:16 am

I agree with others that only a small proportion of posts will get tagged.

The search functionality could do with improving, I find I get better results inputting my query into Google.

It's a great site even if nothing changes.

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:29 am

Forced tagging of 1 category from a drop down list is conceptually exactly the same as the current post to a specific forum section approach and will have the same issues of is it tagged right or is it in the right forum section

Tagging however allows you to force 1 or more tagging selections or make tagging optional. I would not be in favor of optional tagging. If you go down this tagging route it should be forced to make at least one tag be assigned from a drop down list. I presume if you converted to tagging all the existing posts would have one tag that is their current forum section.

Allowing multiple tags can aid future searches. but can also add confusion as multiple tag options being allowed often result in people selecting almost all the options as they want their post to have the broadest circulation. A brief survey of web sites with this option will see this behavior.

As for searching I always search using Google as this produces a more relevant and manipulable set of result than the site search function which is next to useless.

For normal site access I view all the posts I have not read, I then scan them and open and read those that appear of interest from their topic area and heading and i reply if I can contribute. I then go and mark all the remaining posts as read to reset my unread list to zero so only new unread posts appear the next time I log in.

cheers
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PostPost by: Barty » Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:13 pm

I think it is worth looking at other clubs/web sites to see how they function.

My daily car has always been a Mercedes W124 E class estate.

I buy them for £6-800 and fix any problems as they arise. I'm on my 6th car.

I always use MB Club UK. They have an App. If you post you are automatically pushed to the correct are for the search engine to find you. When you search, even in Google, the first or second answer is always MB club with 5-6 threads of solutions.

Try it... Type "Mercedes W124 gearbox not changing up" and see the third post is 5 solutions to the problem.


Cheers

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PostPost by: elj221c » Wed Nov 18, 2015 1:10 pm

rgh0 wrote:As for searching I always search using Google as this produces a more relevant and manipulable set of result than the site search function which is next to useless.

For normal site access I view all the posts I have not read, I then scan them and open and read those that appear of interest from their topic area and heading and i reply if I can contribute. I then go and mark all the remaining posts as read to reset my unread list to zero so only new unread posts appear the next time I log in.

cheers
Rohan


Exactly what I do...
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:37 pm

Since the Google search is so much better, why not have the internal site code link to the Google search engine?

I know, a long long time ago, I would link to external sites that had increased functionality over what I could provide.

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:39 pm

Add lightness and simplify! :lol:

Anything to make the "search" work easily for ancient posts would be welcome by me.

Thanks, Jeff.
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