Message Board Updates and Constructive Ideas

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Ornoth
Member
#

The point about GA is important. For every visible user/poster, there are usually numerous lurkers like myself, and GA or login counts will capture that data.

I’m not thrilled with Reddit. Low S/N ratio and poorly organized. It’s too chaotic.

At the same time, I’m glad to hear this forum is being replaced/updated. With coding support at a premium, a custom solution lacking common features makes no sense at all. I can’t say phpBB is my favorite interface, but a popular system like that would be stable, minimize coding & support time, and be more familiar to users, which might wean some of them here from Reddit.

The strength of this forum has is that it’s actively used, stays topical, and is pretty simple to use. I hope those remain true after the anticipated update.

PS: I couldn’t get the “Quote” reply button to work for this post… ;^P

imnsho ymmv.


jonawebb
Participant
#

Yeah, the quote and image insert buttons haven’t worked for a long time. Also long threads eventually stop taking you to the last post (the Dangerous Drivers thread is currently broken this way).
We’ve been working around these problems, e.g., creating new threads when they get too long. But doing without being able to insert images was just too much.


reddan
Keymaster
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The image insert button now works.


Mick
Participant
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Even though I’m OK with most of the legacy of the BP Forum being as obscure as the pre-Bike-Pgh bicycle activism stuff I’ve worked on, it would be a tremendous shame if there was no record of Tag-O-Rama.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

At least save the history, even in read-only mode. Some of the conversations even from ages ago are still active and relevant — dangerous drain grates, Amtrak, Wabash Tunnel, to name three.

If we can simply link to the old one from the new one, I guess we have to. Tag-o-Rama, out of town news, and a few other threads are now into multiple editions.


Ahlir
Participant
#

A belated thank you.


Ornoth
Member
#

Some initial feedback on the MB software update

  1. User profiles are not editable. The “Your Account | Edit” button correctly goes to /message-board/users/USERNAME/edit/, but nothing (e.g. profile photo, caption) is editable.
  2. User directory appears borked. The “Messages | Directory” button goes to http://www.bikepgh.org/pm/?pmaction=directory, which displays a completely blank page. Some of the source gets downloaded, but looks like it aborts shortly after the header section.
  3. I have not confirmed, but RustyRed reported that email notifications for topic subscriptions are not being sent.
  4. The default resizing for photos is much larger than before. Nice!!!
  5. I’m a bit saddened that the link to the MB is buried under the main nav’s generic “More” button, rather than being a visible button. For me, the event/ride calendar and the board are the reasons I visit the site.
  6. I wonder if we’ll still need to chop topics into multiple volumes when they get larger. And I wonder whether that would still be desirable or not.

I’ve only tested with Fireyfocks on El Capitan.

Thanks for the update! It’s much appreciated, given the apparent idiosyncrasies of the old board. Hopefully once a few new-software issues are ironed out, this’ll be better for everyone.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
#

in, at least, Chrome on Windows, the bar with the ‘donate’/’become an advocate’/’volunteer’  buttons is added in such a way that pagewise scrolling is messed up—several lines get skipped, because they were under the bar and not accounted for.

 

ETA: also, the combination of no background shading or colouring and no lines between posts makes it extremely difficult to tell where one comment ends and the next begins, and it’s also difficult sometimes to tell among several short comments which poster name goes with which comment.


paulheckbert
Moderator
#

After using the new website for a couple weeks, my top complaints & suggestions:

URGENT:
* Make it possible to log in on an iphone! On my iphone 5, I tried many, many things for about 20 minutes yesterday, and was unable to log in to bikepgh.org! The LOGIN button is at the bottom of the screen and when you tap on it, IOS always grabs the tap “event” and brings up the back/share/bookmark/windows footer. In other words it is impossible to tap LOGIN so it is impossible to log in on my iphone. See below for screenshots of what happens before and after I tap the “LOGIN” button, every time. Rotating the screen, zooming, attempting to scroll, tapping a little higher, starting from many different bikepgh subpages – none of those worked! If I can’t log in then I can’t post to the messageboard from my phone. Grrrrr! Fix this today!
* If you’re not logged in, but browsing an MB thread, why the !*% doesn’t the text “You must be logged in to reply to this topic” include a link to the login page? Fix this today!

MEDIUM PRIORITY:
* Eliminate avatar pictures in threadlist and make inlined pictures smaller; you’re wasting too much screen space on unimportant stuff, especially for those using phones. See my earlier suggestion that you make it dense, more like reddit.

* Sometimes, when links or pictures are included in a post, several inches of white space is added below the link or picture. Pure waste of screen space!

* The “donate / become an advocate / volunteer” in the non-scrolling screen footer are an annoyance and a waste of screen space. Stop wasting it!

* On an iphone 5, browsing the threadlist, I can see only two or three threads at a time because each is so bulky. It’s hard to browse when you can see so little at a time (like browsing your inbox in a window that’s only two or three lines of text high). After axing the avatar, also shrink the text size, abbreviate “hours” with “h”, “minutes” with “m”, make it 2-4x as dense, you can do it! Doing so will boost messageboard use.
* It’s hard to tell where one person’s post ends and the next person’s post begins, because of the absence of background color changes or delimeters.

* The form for submitting new posts is similarly invisible: a white void on a white background. How is a first-timer supposed to know where to click and type?
Below are pictures before and after attempting to click on the word “LOGIN” on an iphone 5.


unicyclemike
Keymaster
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Thanks Paul for letting us know.  Trying to find a workaround but no luck yet. We’ll get our developers on it asap.

 

Mike


Italianblend
Participant
#

You’re probably aware, but the message board has been loading very slowly lately. Like, 15-20 seconds to load a page. Just wanted you all to be aware.

 

On ipad.


paulheckbert
Moderator
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I submitted a version of the following comment yesterday. Either the web system lost my post or I forgot to hit “submit”.

After more experimentation, I discovered that the login-from-iphone5 problems I reported a few days ago were limited to Safari. Try as I might (I tried everything I could think of) I was never able to log in on my iphone5 using Safari. But I succeeded, by using the Google app to get to bikepgh.org. Apparently that app has its own stripped down web browser that displays web pages differently enough from Safari that the LOGIN button was clickable. Also, no problems logging in from a macbook. I suggest you fix the “You must be logged in to reply to this topic” text to include a link, first. Do that today! Fixing login to work in Safari is also vital, since Safari is the native browser for iOS.

The page load time for the messageboard seems to be 20-35 seconds. Atrocious. Make it 10x faster.

As you’ve probably noticed, postings to the messageboard are way down since the web change. Probably the combination of slow page loads and near-impossible login is driving users away.


Ahlir
Participant
#

vaguely apropos, re apple and google…

https://medium.com/@elliotjaystocks/the-apple-google-shift-bf5949c82d0f#.zajzoeh0n

[short version: these days, google stuff mostly seems to work better than apple stuff.]


Italianblend
Participant
#

I usually use iPad, Safari. That might explain things. Can you guys look into this? Probably losing a lot of traffic.

But still 15-30 seconds for me.


Steven
Participant
#

The site’s also very slow for me using any of Firefox, Chrome, or IE on Windows. About 8-10 seconds per page at the moment.

Looks like a message board page drags in about 1 MB of JavaScript from a total of 51 files, plus 600 KB of CSS from 21 files. A mobile device’s slower CPU might take even longer than a desktop system to plow through all that.


Ahlir
Participant
#

Looks like a message board page drags in about 1 MB of JavaScript

I use chrome and even with the site already loaded I get these delays. If it’s stuff like a static JS I thought it would be cached. But maybe I’m unclear on the underlying model.

It is definitely an annoyance.

 


Steven
Participant
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It should certainly be cached (at least on a desktop system), but if the JS interpreter has to parse through a MB of code, it might take a while. And first it’ll have to load those 51 files from the cache, on disk. (But I’m just guessing about the cause of the slowness. Maybe modern browsers are really good at that stuff.)

The site seems to be noticeably quicker at the moment, though, at least with a desktop browser. About 5-6 seconds per page load.


Ahlir
Participant
#

And one more thing…

Could someone finally figure out how to reset the timezone on the message board? I mean, really.


erok
Keymaster
#

lol. did that just fix it?


Ahlir
Participant
#

Following a link featured on this board, I go to http://www.bikepgh.org/2016/09/02/setting-the-record-straight/

It has a nice article by ‘scott’ (you should read it). But the name links to http://www.bikepgh.org/. Identity crisis? Let’s not go there…

At the bottom is a comment section; I think. An <h2> proclaims 2 comments. None are in evidence.


Italianblend
Participant
#

Board seems quicker in the past few days. Thanks!


jonawebb
Participant
#

Posting links doesn’t work, at least from my phone. It rapidly cycles back and forth showing the link input box.

Also, i can’t upload images from my phone. Not sure if this is a problem with my phone. There’s no indication of what’s going on. I browse to the image, click find, then nothing happens when I submit.


paulheckbert
Moderator
#

Regarding the bikepgh blog, if I go to http://www.bikepgh.org/2016/09/02/setting-the-record-straight/ with Chrome or Safari, it says “3 comments” but does not show the 3 comments and there seems to be no way to get them to show.


sped
Member
#

NM, figured it out.

  • This reply was modified 3 years ago by  sped.

Eric
Member
#

hi —

As @jonawebb says, I can’t post images from my phone either.  Does seem to work from my computer, though.

overall I do like the update.  took me a few days to get used to, but the website is now solidly in the mid-2010s in terms of design.  :)


buffalo buffalo
Participant
#

A couple issues:

– if you post a bare link, it should automatically turn into a link–see @paulheckbert‘s post above.

– I’m also seeing the ‘3 comments’ issue on ‘setting the record straight‘ — i.e., the header suggests there are comments, but they’re not displayed, in Chrome, Firefox, or IE.

– It’s bad enough there’s a huge slug of JS to be downloaded every time, but if it’s blocked (I use NoScript typically in Firefox), the page is entirely blank.  Everything seems to still be there, just overlaid with a blank white sheet.


Marko82
Participant
#

Hey a nice thick black line now surrounds the text entry box; Yeah! But the text/visual tabs have disappeared; boo….

Also, the green dot that tells me that I haven’t read a thread seems to be broke today (it was ok yesterday). When I read a “green” thread it takes me to the last entry, but when I click “back to forums” the thread still shows green.


Steven
Participant
#

Not only are the Text/Visual tabs gone, but for me at least, it seems to be stuck in Text mode again (no way to upload an image, for instance, and no buttons for formatting). And the text I’m typing inside the box is in a tiny font.


jonawebb
Participant
#

Also, now the board’s not updating when I read a message. Still shows unread. Suspect we rolled back/forward to a bad release…


Eric
Member
#

Re the 3 comments. Bike Pgh has the comments section available but has never allowed the comments ago pass moderation, ever. So there are probably 3 comments to the article but none will ever see the light of day.

probably better to take off the comments section on these blog posts (there is a word press plugin to do this) than to have comments you can’t see.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Two new things I don’t like:
1) On a real computer, while I do get a nice box to type in, the text is so incredibly tiny as to be unreadable. It wasn’t like that last week.

2) After I post, I cannot see what I posted. At all. I have to go to a different browser altogether.

One old thing I am finding darned irritating: Those “Donate / Become an advocate / Volunteer” boxes at the bottom of the screen. Way too much real estate being taken up by stuff that I have no interest in seeing 100% of the time.


Eric
Member
#

I think there is something wrong with the cache settings. The green not ungreening instantly. The replies not always showing up. I think in an effort to speed up the site someone tweaked the cache (super cache plugin?) Settings and it is causing these problems.


Steven
Participant
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A cache problem seems likely. After posting, it takes about five minutes of repeatedly refreshing the thread until the new message shows up.

One step forward, four steps back. Sigh.


Eric
Member
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ON this new version of the message board how do you change your profile picture? If I go to “your account” and then edit I can edit my name, display name, password, etc. etc. etc. But can’t figure out a way to change the picture associated with my account (righ tnow I have no pic).


erok
Keymaster
#

edronline- If you look on the first page, and click the Help, there’s instructions on changing your profile pic


jonawebb
Participant
#

I have to tell ya, the message board not refreshing properly is pretty annoying. Though perhaps I should be checking it less frequently…


Vannevar
Participant
#

I’m unable to put an image into a post. (Win8, laptop, Firefox)

There doesn’t seem to be an Image Upload feature.

the Donate/Advocate/Volunteer boxes get too much real estate.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

The wait to see a post is at least 11 minutes, but even there, it has been saying 11 minutes since I posted for almost five minutes.

What makes this so irritating is that I often correct a post upon proofreading, either to correct a typing mistake, or to add a cross-reference, or clarify a sentence. I cannot wait 10-15 minutes to do that. I might repeat that editing step three or four times in that 10-minute span.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Make that 20 minutes. And my “blinkies” post is still not showing up.


Eric
Member
#

I posted something, it showed, I went back and edited it, the edits didn’t show up, but then when I tried to edit it again, it had the correct version on there.

This is a ll cache stuff and easily fixable. Wondering if the people who are doing the website are monitoring this thread?

BikePGH is using a slow server. That makes sense, since traffic isn’t all that heavy, and getting something faster requires more $$$, and it probably isn’t worth the trade off — using more member money for a faster server means less services delivered. So they are probably using a cache app on their wordpress setup (if this is word press). and the settings are off a bit.

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