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A Linear Board?

POSTED BY: HAKEN
UPDATED: Wednesday, June 5, 2002 13:06
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 6259
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Sunday, June 2, 2002 11:36 PM

HAKEN

Likes to mess with stuffs.


What is a linear message board? Seems as though many of the Buffy and Angel fans are used to using one of these. Maybe I can build one here if I saw one.


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Sunday, June 2, 2002 11:49 PM

SHAMUS


This is the one they are talking about. http://www.bronzebeta.com/ Personally, I think the format sucks. However, there are many people who swear by it.

Nothings exceeds like excess.

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Monday, June 3, 2002 1:41 AM

HAKEN

Likes to mess with stuffs.


It looks like one big BLOG. Not much different from my little Taglog. That's what they want?


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Monday, June 3, 2002 3:12 AM

SHUGGIE


I really don't understand why linear boards are so popular. They are a pain to read. Everything jumbled up together.

On the other hand the official Firefly forum one-post-per-page style drives me potty too.



Shug

Her lips were saying 'No' but then I looked into her eyes
... and her eyes were saying 'read my lips'
- Niles Crane

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Monday, June 3, 2002 6:51 AM

J


As far as the linear thing goes, it is simple mechanically, I guess. There's no navigating beyond refresh and scroll, refresh and scroll. You can find everything and don't have to keep track of what you've visited and what you haven't. But linears are very particular. The new posts have to be at the top, there has to be spoiler font and support for large sigs, visible IP numbers are preferred (for troll hunting), it has to be archived and searchable - probably all kinds of things I don't even know about. For me, it's easy enough to lurk on in a kind of incoherent way, but genuinely following the convo is hard and contributing to it has always been beyond me.

I come from the opposite end of the spectrum - to me even boards like this and the official Firefly site, as different as they are, fall into one class I call "hybrid" because they're like a bunch of linear boards at the same site. True threaded for me means each post is unique and self-contained on a thread list and there's a hyperlink to each that changes when you've visited it.

This is a great place, though, and I'm green with envy - my coding abilities are to this as "goo goo ga ga" is to English. But I've just started trying to teach myself the hyper-advanced bits of HTML and CSS, along with a JavaScript gimmick or two. In time... in time.

The one thing I'd especially ask about is how to find new posts. It's all great except that keeping track of timestamps and scrolling around for new posts is really unfun. vBulletin (another hybrid format) has a great system of anchors for each post and interwoven hyperlinks and a new messages page that shows you every new message since the last time you were on, using cookies. Does this site have something like that and I'm just missing it?

I've written an epic. Sorry about that.

Oh - and maybe a preview screen. Somehow I catch dozens of errors proofing a preview screen that I've missed by just looking back through the post page.

Case in point - had to come back and edit that very freakin' paragraph.


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Monday, June 3, 2002 9:52 AM

HAKEN

Likes to mess with stuffs.


Quote:

Originally posted by J:
The one thing I'd especially ask about is how to find new posts. It's all great except that keeping track of timestamps and scrolling around for new posts is really unfun. vBulletin (another hybrid format) has a great system of anchors for each post and interwoven hyperlinks and a new messages page that shows you every new message since the last time you were on, using cookies. Does this site have something like that and I'm just missing it?



This site currently does not have a system like that, but I'm working on something similar. Should be ready real soon.

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Monday, June 3, 2002 11:23 AM

SHUGGIE


Quote:

Originally posted by J:
True threaded for me means each post is unique and self-contained on a thread list and there's a hyperlink to each that changes when you've visited it.



How does that work?

You have a link to a thread - you click on it and have a series of links to posts within that thread? And there's a way of seeing which posts you've already read? Is that it?

Sounds like a lot of clicking to me.

Shug

Her lips were saying 'No' but then I looked into her eyes
... and her eyes were saying 'read my lips'
- Niles Crane

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Monday, June 3, 2002 12:58 PM

HAKEN

Likes to mess with stuffs.


Check it out. I just wrote the function. Look to your left under latest posts. The only question is, how do you want to sort it? I currently have it sorted from oldest to newest.

This is a one shot deal. Once you leave the thread or refresh the thread, the pointers are reset to the time you read the thread. Now if you were to hit refresh after someone makes a new post, it'll show up.

Just click on the name or date and it'll take you to the post.

Even I gotta pat myself on the back for this little hack. :hyper:




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Tuesday, June 4, 2002 2:33 AM

TIEKA


I am much more used to threaded boards. Yes there is a lot of clicking, but the pages load faster, and I only have to load the links and then just what I want to read. If I go to the pages every few days or so, the hyperlinks remember where I've been, (that is, they are a different color for visited. The time is set up by my browser) so I can tell at a glance what is new.

The problem with the linear type forums is load time. I know a lot of people have much faster connections, but I don't see the point in loading 20 messages that I have already read.

Then you add in the confusion of taglog forums. To me they resemble chat rooms. I guess if you are really comfortable in chat rooms and that type of discussions, then taglogs are fine. I still don't like the load time for a taglog.

Now for me the ideal forum is threaded, with 5 posts per page (assuming that there are at least 5 replys to the same post). There is also a nice little greeting when I log on that tells me there have been 7 replies to my posts, 4 new topics, 9 new replies. Then it would put all of the new stuff on one page for me to select from. There would also be avatars, images, UBB coding, and the whole thing would never crash, and would load in less than 10 seconds.

Oh yeah, while I'm at it, I want world peace, cold fusion, and cats that sleep in as long as I do.

Tieka
to all

/:>Cannot find REALITY.SYS...Universe Halted.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2002 3:32 AM

HAKEN

Likes to mess with stuffs.


Quote:

Originally posted by Tieka:
Now for me the ideal forum is threaded, with 5 posts per page (assuming that there are at least 5 replys to the same post). There is also a nice little greeting when I log on that tells me there have been 7 replies to my posts, 4 new topics, 9 new replies. Then it would put all of the new stuff on one page for me to select from.



Now that I can actually tell you what posts are new in each thread since you read it last, I can do most of the stuff you ask. In fact, I could probably stick all that info under the "MY FIREFLY" screen. You could say that it's sort of an "OUTLOOK TODAY" for this website. If there's a definate interest in this, I can create it.




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Tuesday, June 4, 2002 4:00 AM

J


Yeah, I'm getting kind of weird effects. I dropped by earlier today and screwed it up - I saw a list of new posts in one thread and nothing new anywhere else. So I thought I might have goofed up somehow and came back and now I'm seeing ALL messages in the thread. Which is actually cool. If "Latest Posts" showed all the posts on a thread you could just relabel it "Thread Index" and that much of it would be just like a threaded board, as long as the visited links changed color. There's an extra kind of hack on that in that forum titles might change back to an unvisited color once a new message was added. That way if it looked visited, you'd know nothing was new and if it had changed back to unvisited, you'd know to go find new messages. But what you did's really cool. I think this board could end up being more popular than the official one. *pats on the back for Haken*

I sympathize with you, Tieka - I've got a slow connection, too. I like the graphics and all so I leave them on but the one problem with vBulletin boards is they can be SO graphics/function heavy I do have to disable some stuff. - Oh, Tieka -are you a Buffy/Angel fan? My main board sounds like it would be pretty good for you - very slow-connection friendly.

And Shuggie, it sounds like you've got it. It is a lot of clicking, but I don't even notice that because the pages load right up, so I'm just reading or typing and hardly even notice the clicking. It's really easy to keep up with stuff. But it definitely isn't for everybody. Matter of taste - some people are big linear fans, some threaded, some sort of mixed. Actually, as content is all the same, I wonder if it wouldn't be possible to code all three views into the same posting board. Like inside this mixed view, Haken's almost got a pure threaded, too, with the New Posts part. I wonder if you couldn't code like a top layer that was a big blog linear sort of thing, then an inside layer of the mixed view, with the table of the thread view. That'd make one board the ideal board for everybody.

- Um - that smilie's supposed to be a wink. I'm seeing something else. I have all kinds of smilie problems everywhere I go. I'm gonna download Mozilla 1.0 when it comes out or something. My IE 6 plays all kinds of tricks on me.


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Tuesday, June 4, 2002 5:19 AM

SHUGGIE


I wasn't really expressing a preference - I was trying to find out what you meant about a 'purely threaded board'.

I don't use web forums much - I use usenet a lot though.

What I like/would want is a way of seeing 'what's new since I was last here'. Maybe a way of tracking certain threads I'm interested in. I'm thinking out loud here - so don't go off and put a lot of work into something Haken - unless it's what you want to do anyway.

Probably the only thing I do know for sure - is that I'm not that keen on weblog-linear type boards.

Shug

Her lips were saying 'No' but then I looked into her eyes
... and her eyes were saying 'read my lips'
- Niles Crane

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Tuesday, June 4, 2002 10:26 AM

HAKEN

Likes to mess with stuffs.


Quote:

Originally posted by J:
If "Latest Posts" showed all the posts on a thread you could just relabel it "Thread Index" and that much of it would be just like a threaded board, as long as the visited links changed color.



So you're saying that you would prefer to see the entire index and opposed to just the new posts?

Quote:

There's an extra kind of hack on that in that forum titles might change back to an unvisited color once a new message was added. That way if it looked visited, you'd know nothing was new and if it had changed back to unvisited, you'd know to go find new messages.


Hmmmm...that's possible, but I'll have to experiment a little with that one. Normally your browser keeps track of the visited links and sets the color accordingly depending on the stylesheet or HTML settings for visited link specified on this end.

I can't really reset your browser and tell it to use the unvisited color. I can, however, add a little something else, perhaps a little icon that'll tell you that there are new posts in the thread.

Quote:

I wonder if you couldn't code like a top layer that was a big blog linear sort of thing, then an inside layer of the mixed view, with the table of the thread view. That'd make one board the ideal board for everybody.


Actually, when I was doing the "Latest Post" thing, I started playing around with a linear view of the messages. Basically, instead of showing the posts for a single thread, I'll show you all the posts for all threads all at once. I can see why someone would want to have something like that.

It's similar to Tieka's "Outlook Today" idea, where she can see what new threads and replies were posted since she visited the site last. I'll play around with that idea for a little while and maybe have a beta up for you all to look at.

Quote:

- Um - that smilie's supposed to be a wink. I'm seeing something else. I have all kinds of smilie problems everywhere I go. I'm gonna download Mozilla 1.0 when it comes out or something. My IE 6 plays all kinds of tricks on me.


It's not the browser's fault, well, it is to a certain extent. The problem you're experiencing is due to the fact that this site and other sites that uses emoticons, uses the same filename for the each individual emoticon.

For example, on here the smile emoticon has the filename "smile.gif." If you went to another site and they have a different looking smile emoticon with the same filename of "smile.gif," your browser might cache that file and the next time you visit here, your browser will use the cached "smile.gif" instead of the one from this site.

The solution for this is to rename my emoticons so that they have their own unique filenames. I've been slowly doing that, adding "fly" to the filename so that "smile.gif" is now "smilefly.gif."

So don't go switching browser just yet. IE works well with this site because that is what I use. I have no idea what this site looks like with other browsers or whether things work right with them.


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Tuesday, June 4, 2002 1:00 PM

J


Quote:

Originally posted by Haken:
So you're saying that you would prefer to see the entire index and opposed to just the new posts?



Well, it wouldn't really make much difference but if everything was up and the links changed color I wouldn't have to worry about sessions, and maybe losing a connection in the middle of checking posts and losing what had been marked new. Making it browser-history dependent is more solid than session/cookie stuff. And by being able to see what I had visited, I'd know I wasn't missing anything. So it's a plus in my book, but not worth it if it's a huge pain to code.

Quote:

Hmmmm...that's possible, but I'll have to experiment a little with that one. Normally your browser keeps track of the visited links and sets the color accordingly depending on the stylesheet or HTML settings for visited link specified on this end.

I can't really reset your browser and tell it to use the unvisited color. I can, however, add a little something else, perhaps a little icon that'll tell you that there are new posts in the thread.



Yeah, the icon would work. I have no idea how to program the link to change back to unvisited but I think the principle has to do with appending a number to the forum "name" that works like a counter based on the messages, rather than with the browser itself. Like forum 5 has 50 messages in it, so my browsers reads it as forum?5.50 and when somebody posts a new message it becomes forum?5.51 and my browser thinks that's a new forum it hasn't visited yet. Something like that.

Quote:

Actually, when I was doing the "Latest Post" thing, I started playing around with a linear view of the messages. Basically, instead of showing the posts for a single thread, I'll show you all the posts for all threads all at once. I can see why someone would want to have something like that.

It's similar to Tieka's "Outlook Today" idea, where she can see what new threads and replies were posted since she visited the site last. I'll play around with that idea for a little while and maybe have a beta up for you all to look at.



Yeah, that sounds like it would make everybody happy. There's a big divide in the Bronzer community based on board preference. It'd be cool to have everybody talking to each other and just viewing it how they liked.

Quote:

It's not the browser's fault, well, it is to a certain extent. The problem you're experiencing is due to the fact that this site and other sites that uses emoticons, uses the same filename for the each individual emoticon.

For example, on here the smile emoticon has the filename "smile.gif." If you went to another site and they have a different looking smile emoticon with the same filename of "smile.gif," your browser might cache that file and the next time you visit here, your browser will use the cached "smile.gif" instead of the one from this site.

The solution for this is to rename my emoticons so that they have their own unique filenames. I've been slowly doing that, adding "fly" to the filename so that "smile.gif" is now "smilefly.gif."

So don't go switching browser just yet. IE works well with this site because that is what I use. I have no idea what this site looks like with other browsers or whether things work right with them.


Yeah, this does seem to be perfect for IE - if stylsheets are controlling the width, people using Netscape might have to scroll from side to side a little or something - I think Netscape has a smaller view window in most configurations and isn't very customizable anyway.

This doesn't have anything to do with you but if you don't mind me asking - at another site they've recently added some new smilies and I can't see them at all - I get the red-cross box like a busted link. But everybody else seems to be able to see them. I can't figure out what's wrong - that's not a substitution error - it's just nothing. What seems even weirder is that when I click on properties and paste the address in I get a 404 Page Not Found, but when somebody else hyperlinks me I can pull up the image.


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Tuesday, June 4, 2002 10:47 PM

KAMLEY


Quote:

So don't go switching browser just yet. IE works well with this site because that is what I use. I have no idea what this site looks like with other browsers or whether things work right with them.




I've come here with both Netscape and the beta (I think) version of Mozilla- everything looks great and fits the windows fine. Keep up the good work!

-Kamley

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Wednesday, June 5, 2002 4:06 AM

TIEKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Haken:

Now that I can actually tell you what posts are new in each thread since you read it last, I can do most of the stuff you ask. In fact, I could probably stick all that info under the "MY FIREFLY" screen. You could say that it's sort of an "OUTLOOK TODAY" for this website. If there's a definate interest in this, I can create it.



I've had a chance to check out the new system and it is easier than before. It is a bit of a pain that the listing goes away if I refresh or go to another page. Perhaps you could list the last 5-10 posts, irregardless of when they were (similar to the list on the main page). Then on the "FIREFLY TODAY" listing, have all of the new messages since last visit.

Now for even more coding---what about the icon idea? An icon if the post is new, a different one if it is read, and another one if it is Important, News, ....etc. Then when I read the threads I want, I can use the new function that will make all threads read, or I can get a list of just the News posts

Okay, I know I'm asking for a lot more programming, but you keep offering to do it. Seriously, I like what you've got so far, it is a lot better than the official board. I'll be really happy with the "FIREFLY TODAYy" inside "MY FIREFLY".

Tieka,
who thinks Haken needs a lot of for all of his hard work.

Once you've been in Serenity, you never leave. You just learn to live there. --Zoe

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Wednesday, June 5, 2002 1:06 PM

HAKEN

Likes to mess with stuffs.


As a temporary solution, I've modified the LATEST POST thingy to display all new posts for the current day when there are no listing of posts since you last viewed the thread.

Let me know if this works for you all.



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