Forum interface issues

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz hmm, the way I see it is that ordering posts by recent comments instead of recent posts is like organizing from specific to general topics instead of general to specific. I think more recent posts are much more likely to be relevant to everybody while a recent comment on an old post could be something bad simple as "wow, I love your work!" which doesn’t make the post any more relevant to other users. I’ve never used other forums before so I don’t know if there is some kind of norm and maybe I’m just not used to this format. Figuring out what works and doesn’t for people is what this post is all about so thanks for offering your perspective!

  • SVS OG

    @Griffin just because a post is new does not mean it's more relevant than the old ones. if we follow your suggestion threads like the monthly art contest will be buried by the end of the month and it will be hard for participants to post their last minute entries. The monthly sketchbooks where members posts the projects they're doing for the month will be hidden. People who have updates on projects they started months ago if not years ago will have no chance of getting heard. There are a lot of discussions that span days even months on the forum. Just because a post is old does not mean it's useless.

    Also, what's so bad with saying "I love your work" or "looking great" or "beautiful!"? Just because you're not getting anything out of it does not mean it's worthless. It may not mean anything to you but it can do wonders to those who made that initial post.

  • I agree that this forum is not necessarily formatted or organized super well. I'd love to keep a sketchbook here, but the threads are not setup in a way for that to be practical. It's kind of a free for all where things can get buried quickly and I miss out on some threads I would otherwise be interested in. But I do personally like that it's organized by recent comments, because that's where more real time convos are happening, even if a thread is picked back up after a while.

    In my ideal world there would be a few permanent sections like "Intros" "Contest" (The current contest pinned to the top, with contest WIPS underneath) "Business" "SVS Classwork". Etc. And the posts in the different sections would be organized by recent comments. You'd be able to come on the forums, see all the sections, with a few of the recent posts in each section displayed, and then be able to see more of them when you click into the actual sections.

    That being said, I will say that I've gotten very used to the forums as is, and it's still a very enjoyable experience for me. I jump on, see if I have any notifications. Glance through the top 10-15 topics to see if I want to jump into any convos, lookout specifically for the contest and monthly studio thread, and refer back to critiques offered on my work. I sometimes use the search feature to track down past convos that were helpful.

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz I think there’s been some misunderstanding 😅 I think it’s great for people to compliment others work! We are all here to help and support one another. I only used that as an example because although it is important to the person who posted it it’s not a comment that would typically open up discussion within a thread so it might not make sense for it to be brought to the top of the forum

    I can see how sorting by recent comments makes sense in a forum like this because that’s where so much happens. I’ve only recently become a regular user on here so I may just need some time to warm up to it. Thanks for helping me understand the forum better 🙂

  • Moderator

    Personally, I actually like the fact that this site is a Forum set up and not like Facebook or IG or Twitter... I've done the FB group thing and it's exhausting. FB's interface doesn't promote (require?) in-depth conversation like a forum does. If I want a quick thumbs up/down on an image I'll post to FB, but I much more often desire actual justified thoughtful input and I only get that when I post here. There are "upvote/downvote" buttons on the bottom right of every post that facilitate simple "I like it" commentary without needing to make an actual post. I use that tool more than anything else because I realize I can't add anything substantive to a conversation and don't want to bog it down with "Cool!" all the time.

    Being an old grognard over 50, I know that forums require a different mindset than the user interfaces of FB or Instagram or Twitter. The honest truth is forums demand more time and investment to use. They aren't built for passive "check-ins", and they don't interface with mobile very well. I'd venture to guess the average age of the folks using this particular forum is slightly older than, say, Schoolism's FB group for example--and that has to do with the industry itself--a lot of folks who illustrate children's books are slightly older than those desiring to go into animation or movies, or it's a "second career" after investing in an initial one. And most already have social media accounts where they post their work for exposure. There's a different reason they specifically come here.

    I'm so sorry, but there's just no getting around the learning curve to using all the little hidden functions of forums (and you're right--they are set up differently and have different UIs for each site wherever you might find them), and the community cultures they generate don't always facilitate quick pop-ins and pop-outs a lot of the time, making engagement a bit of a hurdle for newbies..

    There are mechanisms to help you save time, though.

    You can tell the thread page to not show any threads you've already clicked on.

    Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 7.54.48 PM copy.jpg

    The drop down menus on the right can narrow down what appears in your thread list. One setting, "Watched Topics" under the All Topics button will give you threads only you've made.

    Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 7.55.17 PM.png

    And the All Categories button can narrow your search to different categories, but that is completely dependent on the original thread-maker opting to use the correct category for their particular topic.

    Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 7.55.27 PM.png

    Also note that there is a chat option next to your profile pic on the right that enables you to DM any user without needing to post a thread. AND you can actually follow different users and all their posts by going to their profile page and clicking on the "+" symbol on their icon.

    Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 8.20.46 PM.png

    In the beginning I, too, was like "why do I have to wade through miles of posts I don't want to read?" And then I came to the personal conclusion that while I didn't want to read them, there was actually a lot of good stuff I needed to read. And I've settled on clicking and then closing the thread so the mechanism registers that I've read it. In this forum in particular, correctly informative titles and properly used categories can save a lot of time. It's just making sure we, the community, use them enough for them them to matter and have relevance.

    Please please hang in there. It gets easier. The content on the forums is worth the time it takes to assimilate the UI. I know you're going to get a lot out of what we all share. I know I have, and I'm thankful I found this place.

  • Unless I’ve missed it in your comments, I’m having a different issue. When I’m scrolling on my iPad to go through all the comments, the page scrolls up or down by itself and skips comments. It always happens when I’m trying to see everyone’s submissions for the contests. Is this happening to anyone else?

  • Moderator

    @silvialcg Yes, that happens to me even on my laptop. It has to do with how the comments/images load versus the speed the scrolling happens. If you scroll faster than the images/comments can load, they will load "behind you" and you will find you've skipped over the comments that didn't have time to load. I've had to check my scroll speed and slow down so it gives the connection time to load everything. There really isn't anything that can be done that I know of... @Chip-Valecek might, but I don't. He does webdesign for a living. And of course sending an email to the SVSLearn folks might get you a better answer than mine...

  • @Griffin said in Forum interface issues:

    On profiles it just looks like a mess of replies and comments. I don’t quit know why they are shown in two columns but that adds to the confusion. There should be button to click that is labeled "posts" and one that is labeled "replies" or "comments".

    I agree with your sentiments about the usability of the forum, especially when you’re new like I am, but I’m gradually learning how to run with it and make it work best for me. Although, if changes could be easily made to the format in the future then it’s good to have a thread like this to talk about our different experiences 👍

    Upvotes seem to affect the order of comments in a post with the higher voted and therefore more useful replies will be pushed closer to the top beneath the original post. But it really does adversely affect the reading flow does the repetition of the replies directly beneath comments (where I prefer them because you can see the whole conversation in one area without scrolling) as well as in consecutive order (unless an upvote pushes it up the thread haha) along with the rest of the unlinked replies. This is the one thing I would fix if I could.

    As for within your profile, the left hand column are your ‘best’ posts i.e the upvoted, most helpful/popular posts and the right hand column are your most recent communications, which is straight-forward system when you know about it.

  • @sigross This is a very useful shortcut to learn about! Thanks for sharing 👏

  • SVS OG

    As she carefully replies to the original post...(😆 ) @Griffin I appreciate your concerns. It does take a while to get used to how this forum works. Since I am probably even older than @Coreyartus, I remember forums with topic headings, which is why I love @TessaW's suggestions that would make it easier to find certain active topics like the contests. By the way, Corey, that was a fantastic forum guide you posted here. Your contributions were very helpful as well, @Nyrryl-Cadiz and @sigross Thank you!

    My main problem is that posts get buried so quickly. I confess that I often come here, scroll halfway down the first page, click on a post, and think, "Do I have something I can say here in five minutes or less?" and then either I reply or leave altogether, because otherwise I'll feel guilty about not using my work time well. And I don't usually click unread posts, because I don't want to forget about that critique request I saw and might want to come back to. But I confess that this means that I skip a lot of perfectly good critique requests because I know it's going to take a slow thinker like me 30-40 minutes to write an adequate response!

    I note the same thing for my own posts. I am six hours ahead of the East Coast of the US, so I frequently post at about 4am EDT, when the forum isn't very active. When I return mid-afternoon to check on my post, frequently it has been already been buried by the other morning posts from the US and thus doesn't get a reply. As a result, now I try to ask very specific questions when I request a critique. Last time I even did a poll, which seemed to help. At least this way the person who is kind enough to reply doesn't have to spend so much time crafting a custom response. I have also learned that, even for the same piece, starting a new thread gets more replies than adding to one's original thread. I rather regret doing this, since it would be nice to be able to find the evolution of an illustration all in one place, but so be it. I don't have any solutions here, just wondering if other people are having the same experience?

    I agree that a forum like this takes more work, but I also think it's worth it. People who have been coming here for years have gotten to know one another, and we've also watched people here improve and become professionals, which is very exciting! So, yes, it can be a bit confusing, but hang in there, because it's a great forum!

    P.S. Case in point about recent comments: I replied to this because it was on the top!

  • SVS OG

    @Griffin i want to apologize to you. It was really wrong of me go off on you. I must admit, the forum is not laid out in the best way it could be but I’ve grown to love it and its members through the years. So much so that I saw your suggestions for improvement as an attack which I really shouldn’t do. People have the right to voice out there thoughts and comments like yours are the one’s that bring change and improvement to things.

  • @Coreyartus thanks for all the tips! I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it all soon enough. One thing I’ve been wondering about the up and down arrows is if they work like the arrows on Reddit that actually have an effect on how much the post is seen or if they are simply meant to be a like and dislike button. It seems wrong for there to be a dislike button on here 😂

    Another thing. If I follow someone what does that do exactly? Will I receive notifications when they make a post? Will the feed that I see prioritize their posts and comments?

  • @silvialcg yes! I have the same problem. Drives me a little crazy. The longer the thread is the worse it is, like for the contest. I also mainly use my iPad so I wonder if this is an issue on regular computers as well

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz I appreciate the apology. I know you only had the forums best interest at heart, thanks for understanding 🙂

  • @Lovsey when I look at comments they don’t seem to be ordered by upvotes. The same goes for posts. The home page seems to order posts by recent comments not upvotes so I don’t see what purpose the upvotes serve. There’s the button that sorts by recent but I don’t see what the point of that is if the main page does the same. They way I see it the main age should sort by upvotes while the recents page should sort posts in chronological order or by recent comments

  • @Griffin said in Forum interface issues:

    @Lovsey when I look at comments they don’t seem to be ordered by upvotes.

    Really? How strange, mine definitely are.. If you go to the July Contest Wizard of Oz thread, are the submissions not sorted with the most upvoted cover submissions at the top under the original post?

    The home page seems to order posts by recent comments not upvotes so I don’t see what purpose the upvotes serve. There’s the button that sorts by recent but I don’t see what the point of that is if the main page does the same.

    Posts do appear in order of most recently commented on. But it sounds like you have your home page set to show ‘Recent’. You can alter this in your settings from your profile. I have mine set to show ‘Categories’ so I can browse more specifically when I choose.

  • @Lovsey oh I will have to check the settings on how I have posts sorted. As for comments I just noticed there is a button that lets you choose how to sort RIGHT in front of my face haha. I need to explore this forum more but at least that’s one problem solved 😂

  • @Lovsey I’ve just messed around with my settings a bit. Changed my home page to sort by "top" then I tried "popular" then I tried "categories" but all of them were sorted in the same way so I’m not sure what is goin on

  • @Griffin I hadn't thought to use this either. But I like the idea of sorting 'newest to oldest' then I don't have to do that mad scroll when looking at the competition page!

  • Moderator

    @Griffin said in Forum interface issues:

    I’ve been wondering about the up and down arrows is if they work like the arrows on Reddit

    You found the Popular button. That's why the upvotes button is there... It makes the Forum more like Reddit. I, personally, can't use that--Reddit-style throws me for a loop... hehe...

    Another thing. If I follow someone what does that do exactly? Will I receive notifications when they make a post? Will the feed that I see prioritize their posts and comments?

    When you "follow" someone, you get a little notification next to the bell beside the Search feature's magnifying glass on the top menu, and it will tell you if they have created a new thread. That's it as far as I can tell. It won't tell you whether they have replied to anything. Just if they've created a new thread. So it's good if you are a fan of a community member's art, or their opinions, or their advice.

Log in to reply