1 2 Previous Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Apr 20, 2011 4:04 AM by Chuck Usher
babowa Level 7 Level 7 (23,285 points)

The frustration some of the regular "helpers" (including myself) here have expressed in various topics trying to make answering technical questions as easy as it was just a few days ago, and trying to resolve several frustrating issues myself, I kept wondering about the necessity of some of the new features and it suddenly struck me:

 

This new format appears to mimic a social networking site more than a tech forum!

 

One indication: the "people like you" column on the right - exactly how does anyone know who may or may not be "like me"??? Totally superfluous in a tech forum, but probably interesting to people who are into social networking. I am not and I do not visit any of those sites.

 

The new format is pretty much newbie-proof in how to ask a question; trying to answer, keep up with that particular topic and/or additional posts in that topic is frustrating at best.

 

This type of forum may appeal to some; it does not to me. I spent enough time previously keeping up with my subscriptions and/or looking for new questions I may have an answer for. I never used the emails - too many clicks; I simply went to my subscription page and clicked on any topic with new content. When finished there, I scrolled through the forums I usually watched to see if there was a new question I may know the answer to. Those easy processes have suddenly become cumbersome, time consuming, and frustrating.

 

Maybe we can get the useful functionalities incorporated while maintaining the new "social networking" type of interface?


27" 3.2 GHz iMac i3, 12 GB RAM, 13" white early '09 MB,, Mac OS X (10.6.7), LaCie d2 DVDRW, 2 LaCie d2 Quadra ext HD , Wacom tablet, Epson A
  • 1. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    trilobyte Level 3 Level 3 (545 points)

    From what I've been gathering, the site is designed to get smarter over time.  As it builds up a history of usage patterns, what you're replying to or where you're spending your time, or what sections you've started following... eventually there will be enough data that the site will probably be able to make some really good guesses.

     

    I'm reserving judgment on the site.  I really want to like it, and it does seem awfully pretty and has a 'candy-coated' feel to it, but right now it just feels less functional and more poorly organized.  I figure that part of that is because I've been using the old system for many many years, so I'll give myself time to try and adjust.  It definitely has the feel of something trying to be more of a social network, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  This is, after all, a community-based site (and always has been).  Rather than answers being provided by Apple themselves, responses and solutions come from the hive mind of the Apple user community.  While change can take some getting used to, I'm generally in favor of anything that builds on or improves on that.

     

    As for the point & reward system, I never really cared for it/followed it on the old site, and it seems even more annoying this time around.  I've been coming to these boards and fishing for answers (as well as helping others if I can) for the last several years (since 2007 with this account, and for a few more years before then), and I still haven't "earned the privilege" of creating a custom avatar?  I'm all for offering rewards and kudos and calling out the folks who are consistently helpful to others, but the current system just seems kind of petty and silly.

  • 2. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    trilobyte Level 3 Level 3 (545 points)

    D'oh!  Forgot to include a few things I think I might be learning...

     

    While I glossed over the majority of the profile stuff when I signed in for the first time, I suspect that it's a good idea to go back and fill in some bits.  Areas of interest or expertise, etc.  May help the system to better make recommendations or suggestions.  Maybe at some point it'll get smart enough to suggest specific message threads or questions to you, based on your expertise & history.

     

    I'm also going through the list of communities (previously the board's major categories) and following the sections that I'm interested in, or that pertain to my hardware/software.  That will help the system better filter the various feeds, and makes customizing the widgets and creating my own workspace more useful.  It's still all a bit clunky and cumbersome to me, so "useful" is still relative.

     

    I haven't yet really wrapped my head around many of the social aspects (or possibilities), we'll see how that all works out.

  • 3. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    babowa Level 7 Level 7 (23,285 points)

    Some interesting thoughts..... I'm waiting for it to evolve a bit more as well; judging by the presence of hosts in various topics, it appears they are checking to see how well it is received.

     

    I haven't yet really wrapped my head around many of the social aspects (or possibilities), we'll see how that all works out.

     

    Well, I prefer doing my "social networking" in person - what a novel (or old-fashioned) idea !

  • 4. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    Sekoya Level 2 Level 2 (225 points)

    I fully agree, on your personalised Facebook Apple Communities page you can even add RSS feeds, your list of bookmarks, text fields and even your own HTML code. How is that not trying to mimic social media? (Although admittedly, a lot might have just come with the package, ie, the third-party software used for the forums.)

     

    What really annoys me is not that these options are there but that for about 85% of the features asked about here, you have to customize your AD homepage. Want a complete list of your postings, go to the homepage of AD, go to 'Your View', click on personalise, click the triangle, select edit widget, change number of results to really high, click save, click publish.

     

    Apple really dropped the ball here in trying to skirt all responsibility for creating a useful webpage layout since anybody not finding it useful could always customize it and the fact that the result in the end wasn't great was essentially the users fault. It's bit like giving people only a very rough cut of the Finder in OS X and then telling them, hey you can create your own Finder with Interface Builder. Imagine trying to explain that to newbies or troubleshooting or explaining this to others remotely.

  • 5. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,440 points)

    Hi babowa,

     

    Took a few minutes to figure that alias out...after having zero time for over a month, what a surprise to see the communities format.  Sure takes some work to figure out how this thing works now.  Sometimes it greats me as admin, sometimes as guest...very inconsistent.

     

    When the greeting is as admin, each community seems to need a separate login, but as guest it is to the entire community.

     

    Anyway, any tips you care to throw out will help...oops, moved the mouse and typed in an whole new area...sure hope this doesn't take two days to figure out.

     

    Ralph

  • 6. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    babowa Level 7 Level 7 (23,285 points)

    Well, I've been on an ID theft watch (both my health insurance and bank managed to lose server disks containing financial info of thousands of people) and I decided it was best if I was not "google-able" (cool new word??), so I had requested a change and they actually did it during the rollout of the new interface. So, that is one good thing about the new forums....

     

    any tips you care to throw out will help

     

    hahaha, surely you jest! It took me an hour to add my "special needs" disabled user friend so I'll know when he asks a question...... at this point, I am not pleased. And it's not good to not please babowa 

     

    In any case, was worried, so I'm glad to hear you're still kicking.....

     

    Oh, one tip: I use Firefox and don't have any of the issues others have mentioned with Safari.

  • 7. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    ~Bee Level 7 Level 7 (30,770 points)

    Barbara --

     

    I'm not having any problems with Safari.

    This site . . . that's another question, LOL.

  • 8. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    Peggy Level 8 Level 8 (38,230 points)

    babowa wrote:

     

    One indication: the "people like you" column on the right - exactly how does anyone know who may or may not be "like me"??? Totally superfluous in a tech forum, but probably interesting to people who are into social networking. I am not and I do not visit any of those sites.

    The "people like you" seems to pick people who's profiles list the same location as you do. Try changing it & see how the selection changes. You can check other users as well. Mine does show 4 people in Maple Valley & one that says "I'd rather be."

     

    The similar questions/posts is a complete waste of space & I've deleted that widget from my page.

     

    I understood the "like" button to approve of the post - its contents, not necessarily it's author. Particularly as a way for those who are not the OP to show the post has good content. But then I don't use any "social networking" sites so I could be completely wrong.

     

  • 9. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,440 points)

    Still kicking, but been completely committed to non0leisure activities for past five weeks.

     

    I have been using the old discussions.apple.com page and also via apple.com support communities with the same behavior for both.  I just need to take some time and figure out how to work through this system now.  There has been some rather strange behavior (almost said flakey, but don't want to go there) when logging in, replying, etc.  System is probably just having teething issues right now.

     

    I have been using Firefox and IE8, but not Safari so far.

     

    Great to have a chance to get back on here and talk to friends.

  • 10. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    babowa Level 7 Level 7 (23,285 points)

    My main problems are: not being able to find new content/posts in topics I'm involved in; the silly social-networking-site-like interface, and the "features" not yet activated such as "like" this poster = making him/her popular so they pop up everywhere . To my utter horror, I just read about that in another thread - if/when that happens, I am done here. I liked these forums precisely because they were not chat rooms or Facebook like - if that is what Apple wants them to be, then they can have them. I refuse to be part of it.

  • 11. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    romad Level 3 Level 3 (590 points)

    trilobyte wrote:

     

    From what I've been gathering, the site is designed to get smarter over time.  As it builds up a history of usage patterns, what you're replying to or where you're spending your time, or what sections you've started following... eventually there will be enough data that the site will probably be able to make some really good guesses.

     

    No, all it does is find other profiles that have the SAME words included. For example I have the words "California Republic" in my location, so it is telling me that everyone whose location has "Dominican Republic" is "like" me!

  • 12. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    dwb Level 7 Level 7 (20,200 points)

    It would be nice to get some info from the hosts on things like this. I can see like within the context of people liking the answer and having that liked answer bubbling up to the top. Given that the original poster has one Correct vote which might actually be all wrong, the like button might be a way to get a more correct answer to appear higher up the list in a search.

  • 13. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    babowa Level 7 Level 7 (23,285 points)

    Be careful what you ask for - I just read someone's idea in another thread to not only have 'like' but 'dislike' or "grade" them as one can apparently do in iTunes. I don't care for pre-teen or social popularity contests. Fro what I gathered, one the 'like' feature is enabled, your name will pop up everywhere "the most popular posters" - never mind what you said or whether or not that topic is of interest to me: You are the man (or woman)!!!

  • 14. Re: I figured it out (only took me 2 days...)
    John Potts Level 4 Level 4 (3,100 points)

    romad wrote:

     

    trilobyte wrote:

     

    From what I've been gathering, the site is designed to get smarter over time.  As it builds up a history of usage patterns, what you're replying to or where you're spending your time, or what sections you've started following... eventually there will be enough data that the site will probably be able to make some really good guesses.

     

    No, all it does is find other profiles that have the SAME words included. For example I have the words "California Republic" in my location, so it is telling me that everyone whose location has "Dominican Republic" is "like" me!

     

    The same is true for the "more like this" panel: it appears to look simply for the same words (or even symbols).

     

    For example, this current thread in this community

    Screen shot 2011-04-19 at 6.00.11 PM.png

    has these "more like this" suggestions:

     

    Screen shot 2011-04-19 at 5.59.50 PM.png

    - including Shopping for a new mouse!

     

    Q: why is Shopping for new mouse suggested as being "like" this thread about the changes to the Discussions?

    A: because it, too, contains a post with five asterisks...

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