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Threads going unnoticed

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  #1  
Old 12-17-2001, 10:31 PM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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Threads going unnoticed

I know I'm not the only one who has noticed that every now and then someone will post a thread that will go totally unnoticed. I don't know exactly why this happens but I thought I would bring it to everyones attention. If you post a thread and notice no one answers it or no on responds to one of your submissions for challenges, it is more than likely it found it's way to the dead thread pile. Before you think you're being ignored please bring the thread back to life again by replying to it. I've never seen anyone ask for help on this site that didn't get responded to almost immediately no matter if the people knew how to help or not. So if you don't get a response, it's probably because we didn't see it among the new posts list. (NEVER will it be because your question or challenge entry wasn't worth our attention)

Just thought I would bring that up, especially for the newbies.
DJ
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Old 12-17-2001, 11:36 PM
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Just so you know THIS thread did not go unnoticed I'm responding!
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Old 12-17-2001, 11:37 PM
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Yes, there are many reasons why you might not notice a new thread. And just about every thread that gets noticed here gets some sort of response (a big "YAY TEAM!" for all our helpful members).

As I've described before, the most common culpret is the timeout function of this forum software. It's far from perfect, but it is better than just about any other scheme out there. Some tradeoffs had to be made, but overall I believe they were the right ones. It was explained to me that the only way to make it perfect would necessitate running custom software on an Oracle server. Maybe someday we'll have the necessary $50,000+ in donations for that

Anyway, the timeout is 15 minutes. If there's no activity for you in 15 minutes it assumes you've left. This has no effect unless you've opened a thread or used the "View New Posts" function. In both those cases, it will mark everything you've viewed as read, even if you haven't.

Another possible culpret is using "View New Posts", taking awhile to view/read/respond to them, and then clicking "Mark all as read" without checking first to see if anything new has been posted since the last time you checked.

Possible solutions involve not using "View New Posts" (impractical, in my opinion, that's too great a feature to not use), hitting "Reload" before you close the "View New Posts" page (the icons will be black if you've really read them, yellow if you haven't), and the ever popular "read new posts in their own window, leaving the new posts window open until you're finished" (of course, you'll want to hit 'reload' again just to make sure you've gotten them all).

You can also use this link to see every post made in the past 24 hours whether you've read it or not (you can bookmark this link. I know I do.)

And, the final solution is that there's no solution. As we grow, there will be some point at which it becomes simply impossible to keep up with every single new post. This point will differ for every user, but decisions will have to be made. The only answer here is to periodically browse forum-by-forum to see if anything interesting has passed you by. You can also "subscribe" to particularly interesting threads so that you get an email anytime a new post is made to that thread (you can also unsubscribe via your cp).

So now, by way of illustration:
This post has taken longer than 15 minutes to compose. Should I have used "View New Posts" previous to writing this without actually reading everything, all of them would now be marked as read, even those I meant to read but hadn't gotten to yet.
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Old 12-17-2001, 11:56 PM
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Doug,

Very interesting about the "fifteen minutes" and the notification is gone business. I didn't realize that and its good to know.

Overall, I've got to rate your Forum software as *very* good. Its laid out in a practical and easily followed fashion. As far as the "fifteen minute" business, my thoughts are that people who use Photoshop (and the like), and who are willing to spend hours cloning miniscule dustspots, are the same kind of people who will easily spend quite some time scouring the boards for unread, but interesting, posts.

Don't spend $50K on new software....the software you're running is grand...buy a Porsche instead. (I've heard they're more fun.)
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Old 12-18-2001, 12:02 AM
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One additional thought:
On very busy days, the "View New Posts" page can be more than one page, so if it's long enough to require scrolling down make sure there's also not a little arrow at the bottom telling you to go to the next page. If you miss that second (or more) page, and click "mark all", then you will miss those unseen posts.
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Old 12-18-2001, 01:34 AM
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Addendum:

Forget most of what I just said. I did an experiment and left the site for a half hour (very difficult for me), noting first which forums had unread (for me) posts. When I came back, they were marked as read.

So, the 15 minute timeout is still in effect, but it has nothing to do with the "View New Posts" or anything else. If you leave the site, or simply sit there staring at the same page for more than 15 minutes, 100% of posts are marked as read.

But most of my possible solutions still hold. This way even makes more sense and is easier to remember.
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Old 12-18-2001, 02:02 AM
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Doug, Is there a place on this site which defines the read/not-read icons? There's more than just yellow and black and I'd really like to understand what they mean. Thanks, Jeanie
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Old 12-18-2001, 03:47 AM
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Sure. They're at the bottom of each relevant page. At least they're at the bottom of most relevant pages.
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  #9  
Old 12-18-2001, 09:33 AM
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Smile

Thanks Doug for explaining what I couldn't.
My main objective was to make sure people didn't get insulted by the unintentional lack of response to their posts. Especially if they were unaware that this happens.
The fact that it happens is managable so long as we are all aware of it. That was what I was hoping to achieve by starting this thread.
This new site format is still excellent in my opinion and the glitches are small enough to work with.
Also thanks for that very helpful link. I bookmarked that one right away.

Oh yes, Tim, glad you saved this one from going to that dreaded dead post pile.
DJ
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Old 12-18-2001, 09:44 AM
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Doug, I see now that the icon definitions are at the bottom of the forum pages, but they don't appear at the bottom of the "search results" page after "View New Posts" - which is why I thought they weren't there.

That being said, the icon definitions still don't explain what the round "seal" (don't know how else to describe it) means. Some of the envelopes are "plain" and others have a round "seal" in the middle. Can you give me a clue?

Thanks, Jeanie
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