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New Format *****!

7804 Views 154 Replies Latest reply: Aug 8, 2011 7:19 AM by annexit RSS
  • Fabini Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 2:52 AM (in response to smalcom)

    What have they done? It appears to be a remodel.

    It wil be fun to figure out and get a lay of the land. After a few visits it will be old hat.

     

    Message was edited by: Fabini (that's me!)

  • Saxman Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 3:10 AM (in response to Topher Kessler)

    So far I see one person doing all the defending & selling of this quite UNintuitive new format...  The opening salvo, "the majority who dislike it are new to the Apple Support site" alone is a major hit to your credibility, as it's completely off base, I didn't see an ounce of evidence to support it, & in fact, see quite the opposite! Why would those new to this site be complaining so much that it's just been turned upside-down? I just got here, & thought I somehow ended up in the wrong place! I didn't see or hear anything about a completely new Discussions site, even on the first page, I guess Apple's turning into another Facebook, where major changes just happen, with no word, no warning, & not much to explain how what's new is supposed to work, much less be a real improvement.....

     

    I think this set-up is horrible, and like others have said, wonder what was wrong with the way it was, & how is this supposed to be an improvement? What can be simpler, or more intuitive than a clearly laid out menu of topics, in outline form, where each category then gets broken down from general to specific???  I honestly have no clue as to how this is structured, and I'm quite an intuitive type person. When we start seeing lots of defenders of this, & presenting us with some actual evidence of how this either simplifies or expedites our use of this forum, then a case can begin to made that the only ones complaining are just old stick-in-the-muds, unwilling to change, etc.... which, by the way, contradicts your initial statement that most of those complaining are NEW to the support site. Which is it, neophytes or crusty old *****?

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (26,960 points)
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    Apr 18, 2011 3:45 AM (in response to Topher Kessler)

    Topher, I agree with your sentiment, but you're taking it too far by suggesting that anyone with a problem with the new forum is a stick-in-the-mud and there aren't any problems.  For example, answer me this: how can you find this message and tell that it is new, other than skimming the entire thread looking for familiar posts or trying to read and process every single date (and remembering the exact date and time you last read it)?  At this time, you can't!

     

    There are problems.  There are good things.  Everyone needs to quit getting on each other's nerves and let the hosts know about problems, then quit complaining and arguing.

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,880 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 5:29 AM (in response to Saxman)
    Saxman wrote: I didn't see or hear anything about a completely new Discussions site, even on the first page, I guess Apple's turning into another Facebook, where major changes just happen, with no word, no warning, & not much to explain how what's new is supposed to work, much less be a real improvement.....

    Well, actually, this was annnounced last August or September and I think that announcement remained on the Feedback about Discussions page. But I suppose it blended easily into the background and was easy to miss.

     

    For me, the changeover came as no great surprise -- just a small one (especially when I saw Eric W's recent  post on the new points system, I had a feeling something was up), but it would have been useful for the mods to have given a heads up when the change was imminent. Something like "This Saturday we will be...." (Or did I miss something?) We were growing used to the idea that it would never happen.

     

    I do agree, for those of us who answer questions here, the new forums are an enormous PITA.

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 8:18 AM (in response to Saxman)

    Saxman wrote: ...(above)...

     

    If you'll notice I mentioned that as a first impression, and basically took it back in my next posting. If it's wrong then it's wrong, and I'm not hammering it home blindly. Your use of this to bring credibility into this discussion has little merit.

     

    ...and yes you can be an old "stick-in-the-mud" and still be new to the Apple forums, so that's not contradictory either. There are plenty of old BBS forums out there that people use regularly, and could have used without being a regular user here.

     

    Regardless of these details, if it's not the case and in fact there's a huge dislike of these forums (which I've still yet to see, despite the claims of you and others in this thread) then so be it, but the points everyone is making about how horrible the site is have little backing. Each time you mention something that's unintuitive there's really nothing true to it.

     

    I'm not just blindly defending the change, but rather am countering the ridiculousness of the argument that this is somehow vastly different in function and that it is uninituitive.

     

    You mention needing an outline of topics? In the Community home page there is a list of all of Apple's products you can scroll through. Select one, click a sub-topic if necessary, and start asking a question. It's really that simple, and to say that's unintuitive and somehow difficult is straight up daft.

     

    For people asking questions they're presented with a dynamic search option on every page, from which they can refine their search (to people, discussions, places, etc) to find their answers or post a new question.

     

    If you're looking to answer questions, you can scroll through the list of communities (just like the index page on the last forum) and select one you want. Then see all the questions, click one, and start answering. It's really not much different than the previous forums...at all.

     

    Don't get me wrong, there's room for improvement and refinement, but the basic functionality here is VERY intuitive. The only time it's not is if you are specifically looking for another way of doing things (ie, looking for the layout of the previous forum) and are not seeing these options right in front of your eyes. Take a few seconds and look around. As Fabini said below it's just a remodel, and after a few visits you'll be right as rain, provided you just take a look around.

     

    As for the newness of the site, are you just mad that the change is so sudden? Apple announced seven months ago that it would be changing. There were discussions about it and mentions of it on numerous tech news sites (especially Apple-oriented ones). The Apple folks even kept a sticky thread about it that was linked to directly from the main forums page for all those months as well. There was plenty of notification.

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 8:31 AM (in response to thomas_r.)

    I agree there are refinements that can be made, and adding a "date created" column to the list of discussions is a needed feature. When it comes to these details there is definitely room for improvement, and I'm not at all denying that. Rather, my argument here is against the notion of "the entire thing is unintuitive", as baltwo said above and others in this thread have reiterated. I'm fine with details and specifics, but even in their arguments they mention the most intuitive aspects as being the least: How to ask a question? How to find a topic? Come on...it's right there in front of you.

  • Saxman Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 8:51 AM (in response to Topher Kessler)

    Oh, so it was announced by a sticky in a thread somewhere here, or it was talked about on some tech news sites? Great, sorry, but for most of us, hanging around this forum or on tech sites is not our M.O., and Apple could've simply sent word to all it's users, we are registered, and it's not rocket science. To only find this out, when coming here due to an issue  that we just want handled ASAP is NOT the most opportune time to have re-learn a whole new system, now is it?

     

    And as is all too typical here, with those of you who hang out here to "help" the rest of us, your condescending  tone, and blanket judgments of all who don't see things your way, is anything but "helpful". The last thing we need to hear, when what we are seeking are solutions, is a scolding by self-appointed "experts"....  That is neither good customer service or simple common courtesy...

     

    Now, if this is so "intuitive" & easy to deal with, why when I have a question pertaining to using my Mail program, and I put MAIL in the search window, NOTHING comes up, absolutely not one discussion? And no, I'm not just mad that the change has been sudden, but that it is quite evidently not as simple or intuitive to use as it was before, cause if it were, then I and all the others unhappy with it, would be able to just switch gears & carry on, intuitively! I make my living being intuitive, improvisational, and my ability to adapt & adjust in the moment, so I believe I do have some credibility as to my view of this site's "intuitiveness".  Even the terminology, "Apple Support Communities", I mean the majority of us are not here to seek "community", we are here to find the quickest path to answering a question, and then to get back to work. I'd rather see topics, sub-topics, searches that pull up relevant  posts to address my issue, & a clearer navigational road map.

  • Saxman Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 8:55 AM (in response to skalicki)

    skalicki wrote:

     

    It's still under development - care to share exactly what you don't like about it?

    If it's still under development, why roll it out & replace what was already working just fine?

    If they wanted to get the bugs out & get feedback, then why not release it as a BETA program, and let those of who voluntarily want to evaluate a Beta program have to deal with this? That's what most other software developers do, even Apple, why not with this? Why would this be considered less important than an OS? They don't release their new OS if it's still in Beta form, why use a help forum as a guinea pig, when most of us don't want to take the time & effort to figure this all out, and just want solutions?

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (22,095 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 9:00 AM (in response to Topher Kessler)

    Your example just exemplifies my point. If you need to find a user, start typing that user's name in the search field and it will offer you user names.

     

    False assumption. Actually, I am not as stupid as you think - I did all that. I spent an hour because the user did no t show up with the method you claim is easy (and which I was able to use without needing your tutorial). The only way I found him was to go to the forum he usually posts in and hit show every user - which meant I had to scroll through pages and pages because he did not show up when narrowing/changing choices, so there were thousands. I was finally successful.

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 9:25 AM (in response to babowa)

    What user was it? I've used the search options for usernames several times and the results are usually spot-on. If not, there are advanced searches for locating users. While there may be bugs and problems with a few usernames (especially common ones), it has worked well the majority of the time (I've just tried numerous searches right now on random names, and they've all been successful). To suggest a glitch with one situation now requires you to spend heaps of extra time locating people doesnt lend any credibility to the fact that the people search option does work quite well the majority of the time.

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 9:43 AM (in response to Saxman)

    ...well, if you did not see the announcements and discussions about the forum change then...ok; however, the fact is it happened and I think it's not right to claim that Apple threw this new layout on you without notice.

     

    I'm not blanket-judging anyone. Rather, I'm just countering the notion that the basic functions of this site are counterintuitive and pose a major hurdle to get over. There is room for improvement, and some features will have bugs, and others will require participation before their relevance kicks up (ie, tags), but overall the ability to ask questions and get answers is just as easy (if not easier) than it previously was.

     

    When I search for "Mail" I get a number of discussions (a couple of pages of them--see the screenshot).

     

    MailSearch.png

     

    What question do you have about your Mail program, and why don't you just ask it in the search box as an alternative to just typing "Mail"? If I type a more specific situation (e.g., "Mail unexpectedly quits") I get a number of relevant posts about Mail. Now with that said I agree that the subcategory for "Mail & Address Book" should be presented to the side whenever "Mail" is searched for, so people can get to the parent community for it easier.

     

    Besides searching, however, if you browse through the communities to your OS version then there is a "Mail & Address Book" subcategory for that OS version. I agree this also needs some refinement, but do not see it as an impossible hurdle to overcome.

  • JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 10:02 AM (in response to Saxman)

    And as is all too typical here, with those of you who hang out here to "help" the rest of us, your condescending  tone, and blanket judgments of all who don't see things your way, is anything but "helpful". The last thing we need to hear, when what we are seeking are solutions, is a scolding by self-appointed "experts"....  That is neither good customer service or simple common courtesy...

     

    That's being a bit judgemental of many of the people that volunteer here to help out.  There are a number of threads geared towards the folks who offer help here (vs. asking questions) who have expressed frustration over the new format as well. 

  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (59,160 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 11:13 AM (in response to Topher Kessler)

    In the six or so years that I've used these forums, I've never had any occasion to search for a user, so that pointless. The search function, which I've tried three or for times today, using the ask a question returned nothing, so it appears that not working as you think it is. It appears that you and the designers think that the only users of these forums are those in need of an answer. I've probably only posted a half dozen or so problems. I mainly come here to see what posters are asking, so the search feature is one of my last used tools. However, tell me why I can't link directly to the Unix or AppleScript category, as an example of places I normally go to see if someone has a problem.

     

    Let me suggest that if you know how to navigate these new and improved forums then you should put together the needed tutorial and post it at the MacFixIt site, where one can't find any of the previously useful tutrorials, but can find compilations from these discussions posted as hints and tips without any reference to where the information came from. BTW, your data mining skills are noteworthy.

    27" iMac i7 12 GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.6.7), G4 450 MP GB 1.5 GB RAM w/(10.5.8/10.4.11/9.2.2)
  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2011 11:40 AM (in response to baltwo)

    I agree there should be a way to link to the sub-categories, even if they are canned search results. For now though, you can still get close by linking to the parent category: https://discussions.apple.com/community/mac_os/mac_os_x_technologies

     

    I think Apple's tutorials for using the site are quite thorough enough, and they're quite easy to locate.

     

    I'm surprised you're bringing MacFixIt into this. To your point though, perhaps you dont read the MacFixIt articles carefully enough to see on every posting at MFI we reference the relevant discussions in a link, if the source came from them. Unfortunately there's no way to link to the many many emails we get about the topics we write about, but I try to at least describe the source in each posting.

     

    As for the tutorials, if you go to the "Archive" menu and choose "Tutorials" you will see all the tutorials (past and present) listed. I agree though, that CNET's search feature is not the best for uncovering past articles (not much I can do about that though). It does have a "relevance" sorting criteria that does a better job than the default "date" criteria; however, if you use Google and restrict by site to "cnet.com" then you will likely get a more relevant result.

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