Feature requests and ideas for SFN!

PlayfulPhoenix

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Hey all,

SFN is very much in its early days, and because of that, it remains malleable for us to make it as we want it to be. A little earlier today, in fact, Aiboh added a feature that was requested by @iFreilicht, pretty much on a whim - so we're already beginning to tweak and tune the site as needed/desired.

...Consequently, it makes sense (to me, at least) to have a specific thread where everyone can put in suggestions for features, functionality, or other ideas, to add to the forum. Thus, I've elected to make exactly that :D And although we (obviously) won't be able to work on or implement every request, we've already started to make improvements based on feedback, so I'm sure there's more of that to come.
 

iFreilicht

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The gallery feature is something I've wanted from other forums for a long time, build logs often become harder to read the more pictures there are, compressing them all into a slide-show makes for a much more compact log entry, and we're all about compact solutions on this forum, aren't we? ;)
 
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Aibohphobia

aka James
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The gallery was a nice surprise, I was mostly interested in the integration for GIFs, but it works very well :)
 

BirdofPrey

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So I'm thinking, you should make vendor banners clickable links, to either take someone who clicks to that site, or have vendor profile pages.
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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So I'm thinking, you should make vendor banners clickable links, to either take someone who clicks to that site, or have vendor profile pages.

That's a good idea. It requires template changes and there isn't an existing mod to do that though so I'll add it to the list of things to look into once we can afford to pay someone to make custom mods for the site.


So you'd rather have the back button refresh the page instead of going back?
 

|||

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Sep 26, 2015
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Yes. Right now it brings up the cached page, so all notifications were the same as when you lasted visited. A forced refresh would update the notifications to the most current state.
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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I've noticed the same issue. From some quick reading it looks like there isn't a sure-fire cross-browser way around this.
 

iFreilicht

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So I'm thinking, you should make vendor banners clickable links, to either take someone who clicks to that site, or have vendor profile pages.

I thought about this, too, and I think the latter idea is the better way. When you click the banner, you stay on SFN, meaning that the content you see is still part of the controlled environment here. It also allows to display a list of all reps of that vendor or other information specific to SFN. You could think up other features for that page like a message to all reps so the communication between you and the manufacturer can be handed over to the rep that can help you best, or stuff like that.
On that page, the vendor could of course choose to just place links to their product pages, but they could also present some of their products or themselves there, which I feel would be a nice idea, especially with how good the UI of this forum looks.

In any instance, any links to the manufacturers sites have to include a notice that they are external context and the SFN staff is not in control over these sites.
 

jØrd

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In any instance, any links to the manufacturers sites have to include a notice that they are external context and the SFN staff is not in control over these sites.

i get what your saying but those "you clicked a link that takes you somewhere & your about to leave our site" pages are irritating at best. is it not obvious you have left a site when a totally different site w/ a totally different design, layout, etc loads up in front of you? That said having the username load a light box style popup & the vendor banner load a whole new site seems counter-intuitive, especially when non of the other banners are clickable / interactive. There is already provision for users to place a URL in their profile. I guess im wondering what this would actually add to the user experience when browsing the site that isnt already provisioned elsewhere in user profiles, where people have been taught to expect it to be?
 

iFreilicht

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That's true, they are irritating, but when dealing with companies, things get more dangerous. It's not for user experience but for legal reasons. You don't really need this forwarding page (which I only find annoying when the link actually points to a page on the site you're already on) that I guess you're talking about, a note at the bottom of the vendor profile page would probably suffice.
I'm not sure how important/required that actually is, so me saying "links [...] have to include a notive" isn't accurate at all, but I guess there is a good reason why it is done in so many places.
 

jØrd

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That's true, they are irritating, but when dealing with companies, things get more dangerous. It's not for user experience but for legal reasons. You don't really need this forwarding page (which I only find annoying when the link actually points to a page on the site you're already on) that I guess you're talking about, a note at the bottom of the vendor profile page would probably suffice.
I'm not sure how important/required that actually is, so me saying "links [...] have to include a notive" isn't accurate at all, but I guess there is a good reason why it is done in so many places.

Do you have any documentation on these "legal reasons"? i'd be interested to read it. I think treating external links as "dangerous" on a site full of user generated content is a bad idea across the board, your implying your link writing users as untrustworthy & that you have no confidence in them from the outset. On another note i think having a warning page is largely treating the link clicking user like an moron, borderline condescending in some cases. Generally when people click a link they have a rough idea where they expect to be sent from the context of the text / page / link text itself. This also makes me wonder how Wikipedia have survived so long w/ little more than an icon next to external links (i guess the same question could be applied to Google too) as opposed to a full on warning page. Im also not aware of any American laws (the site is hosted on an american server iirc) that would require this (in the same vein as European laws around cookies) but id be interested to read the legal text of any laws that do given i haven't followed it closely for quite some time now. The only places ive really seen these kind of warning pages used wholesale are places like torrenting sites where there really isnt that assumption of good intention on behalf of the users, either implied or expected.

Thinking about this some, couldn't vendors just put a link to their site in their signature? Circling back to user experience, what does clickable vendor banners really add to it?
 
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iFreilicht

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I don't, it was my impressions that there must be a legal reason for these warning pages to appear. I frequently see them on youtube and webmail services, but you are absolutely right that all pages I've ever encountered them on had a high risk of spam or phishing attacks, I never thought about that.

Wikipedia is highly moderated, though, and Google actually has a detection system for links that contain malicious code which will display a warning page when their sensors strike. Silverstone apparently had code injected into their website a few months ago, and I only found by googleing one of their cases.

As I mentioned earlier, having vendor pages on SFN would allow for interesting applications that are not really possible otherwise. Of course, a link to that page in the signature would work just as well, but I actually tried to click on such a banner recently when I wanted to know more about Kees. Personally, I find signatures in general to be annoying. They waste space and disrupt my reading experience of the forum. The spacious screens we use are wide, so adding a piece of text that I have to scroll through again and again, only reading it once, is just plain unnecessary. I believe everything a signature should contain is what fits into the title text below our names anyway, but that's a topic for a different day.
Clickable banners a much cleaner and more intuitive solution in my eyes.

Maybe we shouldn't stop there, but actually make all banners clickable. Yours is a good example. Not everyone here, especially newer users know what LOSIAS is or what it even stands for. Being able to click on the banner and get a bit of information about it would be a very nice feature. What does Moderator exactly mean? What can they do? Who are all the moderators? How do they differ from Site Staff? All that information doesn't really have a place on the site right now (I know you could make a sticky about it), but by making the banners clickable, you could easily get access to that.
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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I'd rather avoid having links in the signature. I too find them disruptive and annoying. Clickable banners have pros and cons but like I said, that's a long-term thing since we don't have the resources to develop that for now.

Site staff refers to the writing team mainly. But it's fuzzy since most of the staff also help moderate.
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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Maybe we shouldn't stop there, but actually make all banners clickable. Yours is a good example. Not everyone here, especially newer users know what LOSIAS is or what it even stands for.

LOSIAS (Lots Of Stuff In A System) as an entity doesn't exist really anymore. It was the predecessor to SFFReview.com and in spirit, smallformfactor.net. The guys with the LOSIAS tags were site staff on those sites, and they helped in some way to produce the content we have in our archives. It's our way of saying thanks to them for the work they did. If I could have multiple tags, I would have LOSIAS too.
 

iFreilicht

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Must've missed your comment about missing resources. It is just a nicety, though, so nothing of great value was lost. You guys keep working on the important bits ;)

I know about LOSIAS and I think it's awesome that we can carry the legacy of that site, but giving a bit of insight on this on a separate page would be a nice extra and would nicely fit into the banner clicking feature. It'd show that there is a long history to SFF and related enthusiast forums and sites.